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  • Canadian Oil Stocks: Acquiring The Acquirers [View article]
    I suspected as much and that's perfectly okay. There are lots of approaches to the investing world. I wish you the best of luck!
    Jan 8, 2015. 01:34 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Canadian Oil Stocks: Acquiring The Acquirers [View article]
    Oh and I keep meaning to ask: Is anyone else annoyed at this or just me? It seems to get attached to every one of my articles. Too bad SA doesn't classify the TSX as a major exchange.

    "Editor's Note: This article discusses one or more securities that do not trade on a major exchange. Please be aware of the risks associated with these stocks."
    Jan 8, 2015. 12:12 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Canadian Oil Stocks: Acquiring The Acquirers [View article]
    Your comment is exactly how I feel about it. The powers that be created this situation and I plan to make it work for me personally. I'm not running off in fear. The economic recovery must have been taking longer than they wanted and high oil prices were shackling growth in other parts of the world. This is the kind of opportunity that could help one retire much earlier than previously planned and ! hope to be ready. I agree, one wants to own them before, not after they start recovering and too early is better than too late if you won't get scared away. I think we'll have that opportunity in a couple months as I think things will get worse yet before they get better. Stocks are recovering but oil is still falling. Not a good sign. I expect to see multiple announcements of bankruptcies and take overs before this is over. Let's call it the Calgary Culling. I would really like to be wrong and see things turn around and recover gradually. I'm not an economist and I don't study oil markets. These are just the ramblings of a retail investor. None of the companies I mentioned are in danger of failure as far as I am aware. CPG is in danger of cutting the dividend.

    Great job on the IPPFL. As it's already an outsized position, I'm not looking for more, but I was watching it and almost bought Keyera, but decided to wait. The pipelines and larger names like SU, CPG and CVX will be safer to buy, but I don't think PD and WCP have seen the bottom yet. Let me know as you buy other things!

    I used to own Legacy. LEG.TO. So glad I sold it Dec 2013 as part of my "moving up to quality". I thought it was value at book value when I bought it, but now it is only 20% of book value. Ouch. But I'm not generally looking at mid-small exploration companies now.
    Jan 8, 2015. 12:07 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Canadian Oil Stocks: Acquiring The Acquirers [View article]
    Hi Adec,
    I am only familiar with these companies, do not know a lot about them. I try to stick to the largest, best companies in each space. Usually extremely well known. The only one that doesn't fit this in my list is Whitecap. This means they usually weather the storms well, but don't have the biggest gains (or losses). I don't need the biggest gains, it's not part of my goals.

    Penn West has a current dividend of 27%. That's frightening.

    If you want to know more about my goals and approach my year end review articles for the last couple years explain them.
    Jan 8, 2015. 11:29 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • 2014 Year-End Portfolio Review [View article]
    Rents are quite similar here TimmiesRegular. The big payout will come in the far distant (hee hee 15 years) future when we plan to sell them in those neverland years between retirement and social security and RMD's. Because the cap gains are taxed at half and will be split between us, it is very advantaged income and since it's all borrowed money that we're investing, then the return on invested capital is ridiculous as long as all current expenses are covered by rent. It's one of the strategies I'm employing to create future portfolio windfalls. I'm not seeking get-rich-quick schemes here using high leverage. This is not get rich or quick. This is slow and steady long-range planning with careful preparation. I had hoped to buy one property each year since we bought the first one, but this is only #2. It's hard to find places that the numbers cash flow well right away and I'm not interested in risk or being a slumlord.
    I agree. A good, fair landlord in a reasonable market with decent housing should be able to find good tenants. A careful screening process is key. I've already turned away a prospective tenant for this place as they didn't fit my profile.
    Good luck to you too!
    Jan 7, 2015. 04:37 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • 2014 Year-End Portfolio Review [View article]
    Thanks for you encouraging post. Spreadsheets do have such nice, tidy solutions to life's problems. Maybe that's why I like them so much, so clean and uncomplicated by reality!

    I really like how you put it that every player on the team needs to do his job. I turfed a couple for not doing their jobs. AFL being one. I am considering turfing TGH and half of Ford too. Not right away, but they've had time and are not doing their job. Like teammates, it's hard to know if they will step up their game, or it's time to be benched. I would just move the TGH $ sideways to UTX. It's a small amount and in a year and a half all I've gained is the dividend and currency. Cap gain is very slightly negative.

    With F, it's been a big movement year, ending in... well, nothing. Maybe it's time to de-risk and cash in my nice 60% gains and move along before something happens that I don't like. Still thinking. Maybe I'll wait until April.
    Thank you for commenting, Bill.
    Jan 7, 2015. 01:26 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • 2014 Year-End Portfolio Review [View article]
    Hi Astarr,

    I'd be happy to share and discuss wishlist! I won't share my energy stocks though as that article will be up hopefully shortly and I don't believe it's time yet to buy them, but I'm watching some eagerly.

    Everyone's watchlist is so different as (at least for me) each holding needs to fit nicely into current sector and location holdings, fit with the available currency in the right account, be a good valuation, AND I have to notice! It's a wonder anything gets bought! ;)

    As I don't expect exchange to be any more attractive in the near term I"m looking at mostly Canadian right at the moment. I have holes in the portfolio (no direct insurance co. after I turfed AFL) so I'm looking seriously at Intact Financial (IFC) and later in spring Manulife (MFC) I could also use a utility other than pipelines, so Fortis (FTS) is an obvious choice. I am eager to have more TD and A. Couche Tard (ATD.B) sooner than later. As the portfolio grows and my REIT portion diminishes in relation I want Chartwell Seniors CSH.

    But I do have some USD waiting and I have very small positions in HSY and PG and others so I hope to buy in and make those positions bigger. Disney (DIS) and Pepsi (PEP) and ADP are long term watchlist members and are not particularly at attractive valuations.

    Don't believe all the bubble reports you read! I would be willing to say the Toronto and Vancouver Condo markets are probably in bubble territory. As are the jobs, housing is somewhat reliant on oil prices here in the west. We purchased before the big drop in oil prices, but I deliberately kept the deal going when I could have let it die naturally several times. There is a touch of concern though.

    First, oil and housing cycles are not new to us here. We live with it. It will be fine in a few years. I'm looking at a 15-20 year time horizon. We bought our house (after 6 years of renting due to moves) in July 2008. I could sell it today for a profit and we have a beautiful amount of equity in it. Our timing may have sucked but we haven't regretted it for a minute. We also didn't experience a major housing crash, just a dip. We sold our previous home in 2002. When we were back and ready to purchase again in 2006 our previous home was for sale for 3x what we paid for it. We were afraid that we and our children would be priced out of the housing market forever. An inheritance allowed us to buy this home. Owning an extra property for each of our 2 children means that we have the ability to sell or borrow and provide a downpayment for them so that will never happen ever. We talked about buying rental property for years but were not willing to take the leap until our son left home and needed a place. So we bought a condo for him to rent, 2.5 years ago. It has appreciated modestly (about 10-12%) in those 2.5 years. Doesn't sound like a much of a bubble to me! He's since moved on and we're renting it. I have run the numbers on about 100 condos over the last 3 years and this one we just purchased is the 2nd best we've ever seen. (the best had an accepted offer on the day we put in ours :( but it needed cosmetic effort. This one cashflows a couple hundred a month (usually condo fees eat the up in condos) and at 3.19% interest rate locked in for 5 years, it will be fine. If rents drop we're still covered. Best of all the purchase is pretty low risk. It's seniors-oriented housing - 45+ in an quiet newer, nicer, well-maintained complex. It's actually in the complex we want to move into in about April, and though not the "ideal" unit, I'd be happy to live there. Hey, if I'm giving up my house and gardens, I'm going to be fussy and live in the same building as the pool so I don't have to go outside in the winter, (I'm a water person and will use it) and I want southern exposure for sun, even though this apartment's northern view is much nicer than the south ones! January is not the best time to find renters, but, if it isn't rented out within a month we might just move there, list our house and then we'll buy another and rent either one of them. It was a good price with a motivated seller, ready to rent as is, and set the precedent for bringing down the price of the unit we really want to live in, which is available now. We won't buy it until we have renters settled in this one though.

    We're not under any pressure to sell our house and move, though if housing is going to drop with oil this summer, I'd like to get out sooner than later. We have a very cute, modest and nicely renovated 1000sq ft 1950's bungalow in an attractively located mature neighbourhood and should have little trouble selling.

    Meanwhile vacancy rates are near all-time lows (under 2% last fall) so now's a good time to be a landlord. Of course this could change, but not likely in the next couple months. Our target tenants are unlikely to have direct oilfield jobs anyway.

    I actually do hope there is a bit of a real estate drop in the fall (after we've sold our house, of course) and condos will fall faster than houses. If that happens then I'll buy a couple more rental condos and pull back further from my job. I calculate that for every rental property we buy now in our mid-40's means 1.5 to 2 years that my husband can retire earlier. Not a bad trade off for yet another part time job - property management.

    I took a landlord course in the fall and have been studying the landlord/tenant act and various situations and resolutions. This has very much helped me feel more comfortable with the role and my ability to prevent issues before they start or become significant. We've had issues with a tenant and evicted her so have already learned some from experience. I have a helpful support team.

    Seem reasonable?
    Jan 7, 2015. 01:06 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • 2014 Year-End Portfolio Review [View article]
    Hi Fuzzy,
    I've been reading the Millionaire Next Door book and am not too far yet, but I have noticed a few things. Several times the millionaires are described as mostly men, long-time married, long time jobs. The wives are mentioned as being the organized, disciplined budgeters and savers. As the stay-at-home wife that, of course, stood out to me. I made a record income this year, so I might just be able to use the tuition credits that have carried forwards for 25+ years...maybe! hee hee, so that gives you an idea of income level. Honestly, it wasn't worth it to use my husband's spousal transfers and I won't do it again.
    It's a great read and so far I'm encouraged to continue be the supportive manager of my husband's income I have been. That's my real job. Enjoying the recommendation. It's a fun, easy read. Just what I need right now.
    Jan 6, 2015. 03:29 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Managing Risk To Help Achieve Long-Term Goals [View article]
    Chowder wrote: "this article won't resonate with most people. "

    Whew, good thing I'm not most people because this article resonated very strongly with me! We can get caught up in all sorts of debates but this cuts to the core - "stick with quality" and "understand and manage risk."

    We desperately need more clear, patient teachers who can skip the rhetoric and explain this stuff. I hope you continue to teach as I'll be here waiting to learn.
    Thank you,
    Jan 5, 2015. 11:51 PM | 8 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • 2014 Year-End Portfolio Review [View article]
    That IS funny Boom Boom. We have only a little overlap in a common holdings, barely 1/3. Our portfolios are really not that similar. How unusual! Great job, both in returns and for being way ahead of goals!
    Thank you for your encouragement,
    Jan 5, 2015. 11:31 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • 2014 Year-End Portfolio Review [View article]
    Hello Thesen2,
    I'm glad you enjoy my articles. My husband and I are 46, so we're similar in age to you. It's a great age to be investing as I read so many 55+ who quip they wish they started with DGI years before (like Boom Boom below). I can't imagine where our children will be with the vicarious education they are receiving. Both have portfolios. By mid-40's most people lives are (somewhat) settled, we usually know who we are and what we want out of life, but still have some time to make a difference before retirement. We are fortunate in that we had children young and the timing of children becoming independent and no longer eating us out of house and home (and music lessons and sports) neatly coincided with a substantial increase in salary and loss of our nest egg. A perfect storm. We've not only kept our expenses to the smaller income, we've managed to cut them to below the poverty level, to create the ability to save and give the other half of the income. It hasn't been a painful process, just a deliberate one. We were never wealthy or from wealthy homes, are not high energy with expensive hobbies, toys, and tastes, so didn't really give up anything. There is lots to learn here from many much more experienced authors and I hope you get half as much from Seeking Alpha as I have. It's quite the place! It's so nice to be allowed to come out and play with the big kids.
    Jan 5, 2015. 11:15 PM | 7 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • 2014 Year-End Portfolio Review [View article]
    Gary, you can make those percentages too...maybe not likely this year but who knows. I'm not special and I don't have special training. I think my 9% goal might be tough to meet this year actually. I remember hearing at the end of 2013 that a high return year is often followed by low double digits year (which did happen) and then a modest down year. 2015 would be the modest down year, if backward looking media statements are to be believed (that's almost a joke, btw. but I'm not completely throwing out the possibility).

    I like how Mike Nadel puts it: High Quality + Fair Value + Dividend Growth = Ahhhh.

    We could in for a few tough years. Though people have been saying it for years, this is the first time I've really thought it. I think energy is going to be much more painful before it gets better and longer than many think. I thought that long before today's drop. I think traders and speculators will feel a lot of pain as the markets begin to swing a lot more than over the past few years. I have no trades left, everything trade-related is already off the table. I have even considered selling Textainer and half of Ford as a 'risk-off' measure, but I haven't. I may be a smart trader - but only in steadily going up markets! hee hee!
    But those who hold the likes of JNJ and PG and other dividend aristocrats at reasonable prices and don't panic sell will still sleep well at night, especially over the long game, like I have before me. I try to buy into a company in several purchases when it seems priced right. Unless it's a very steadily appreciating company it can be worth it to wait. Sometimes I get really lucky. Somehow I timed my UTX purchases perfectly this year. Its possible I might get a 3rd opportunity there. Purchasing is the easiest part. I find there's always more companies to buy than money and my choices are not always ideal, which is where a diversified portfolio wins. I think we'll get some nice opportunities to buy if we're careful this year.

    I'm finding the size of the numbers I am now dealing with much more intimidating. The same dollar amount in MCD was 18% of the portfolio in Aug 2012...but that's only 5% now, from 1/5th to 1/20th and it's actually possible we could contribute another 75% this year alone. Unbelievable. This isn't play money anymore and the responsibility isn't as little as it used to be. But thankfully that's not today's problem.

    Good luck Gary, I hope you have your best investing year yet! I did this year.
    Jan 5, 2015. 03:21 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • 2014 Year-End Portfolio Review [View article]
    Thank you for the book recommendation fuzzy. If I did read it, it was more than 10 years ago and time to again. I used to keep an annotated booklist of everything I read (for a couple decades), but that has fallen by the wayside since I started this adventure.
    Jan 5, 2015. 02:31 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • 2014 Year-End Portfolio Review [View article]
    Thanks for the clarification Pete,
    Essentially VYM outperformed half of its individual holdings too. As I said, it's a good tool. But I'm working on my own personal ETF.
    Jan 4, 2015. 09:40 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • 2014 Year-End Portfolio Review [View article]
    Eddie wrote: "I personally like to think of those years when I exceed my goals as setting something aside for a rainy day, because over a 20 or 30 year period, there will be those times when you won't quite reach your goal for a given year. Those up years allow me to remain on track for the long term goal when the down years try to drag it down."

    We think alike, Eddie. I know there will be lean years coming, but being this far ahead at this early stage of the game makes an incredible, growing cushion that will help during those years.
    Jan 4, 2015. 09:25 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment