FAQs

This blog is about saving and investing my way to a $1 million portfolio. And beyond! 

Over the years of running this blog, I have received hundreds of reader questions. I figured I would consolidate those top questions and my answers to them here – on this frequently asked questions page.

Read on, enjoy and let me know if you have more questions!

Mark

Frequently Asked Questions

Just curious how many different types of holdings you have – meaning, some of your ETFs, Canadian and U.S. stocks?

First, I don’t disclose my entire portfolio, values and assets for privacy and security reasons but I can say for a fact I own the following low-cost ETFs:

  • iShares Core S&P U.S. Total Market Index ETF (XUU) – a great way to invest in the U.S. market in Canadian dollars and obtain total U.S. market returns from thousands of U.S. stocks for MER = 0.07%.
  • Vanguard High Dividend Yield ETF (VYM) – I own it for ~ 3% yield and long-term growth since I intend to “spend the dividends and distributions” from my RRSP in semi-retirement in the coming years without selling shares or units of VYM. VYM MER = 0.06%.
  • Invesco QQQ (QQQ) – is a U.S. listed ETF based on the Nasdaq-100 index; holds the top 100 largest domestic and international non-financial companies (think mostly tech and communications) on that index. Top holdings include at the time of this post are Apple, Microsoft, Nvidia, Adobe and more.  Total expense ratio of 0.20%.

You can many of my stocks on this dedicated page below:

Dividends

What are your top stocks or ETFs?

As of fall 2020, here are my biggest stock and ETF holdings at the time of this post:

  • TD Bank (TD)
  • Emera (EMA)
  • Vanguard High Dividend Yield ETF (VYM)
  • Royal Bank (RY)
  • Fortis (FTS).

Only TD Bank is more than 5% of my overall portfolio – around 5.6%. I prefer to keep any one stock holding at no more than 5% of my portfolio.

I would have to say most of these stocks are also some of my favourite Canadian stocks to own.

That list includes TD, EMA, RY, FTS along with CAR.UN, CNR, AQN, ENB, BEPC and BIPC rounding out my top-10 here in Canada. OK, 11: I love Telus too!

Hi Mark!

I really enjoy your site and your personal journey. You write about dividend reinvestment plans often and my question is: will you ever stop running those DRIPs and take the cash instead? You could likely be more strategic with your purchases (as cash builds up) as you well know. I mean, how many DRIPs are enough anyhow?

Well, I’m likely going to stop some DRIPs in my taxable account rather soon (I did as of fall 2020) for the following key reasons:

  1. I’m actually getting tired of calculating my adjusted cost base for the Canadian dividend paying stocks that I own there – such that – I need to know what that is for calculating any future capital gains or losses when I sell any taxable assets. I want to simplify my life. I don’t however have any intention of selling anything right now.
  2. I would like to start moving more non-registered money to our TFSAs in the coming years to shelter more tax. I wrote about that process and the considerations here – moving stocks or ETFs from your non-registered account to your TFSA.

While I will shut off the DRIP taps in my taxable account (now done) I will however keep all dividends and distributions reinvested inside our TFSAs, RRSPs and my LIRA.

How many DRIPs are enough? That’s a “it depends” answer for me. There is no hard and fast rule. Many investors, including myself, love DRIPs for many reasons that you can read about here. 

I have about 30 Canadian and U.S. stocks and ETFs DRIPping in those TFSAs, RRSPs, and within my LIRA now – almost every stock on this page. 

I’ll keep that DRIPping process “on” inside those tax-free and tax-deferred accounts for the coming years until I really need or want to spend the cash in semi-retirement. 

 

 

More to come!