February 2018 Dividend Income Update

February 2018 Dividend Income Update

Welcome to my latest dividend income update for 2018.

For those of you new to these posts on my site, for the last few years, every month I discuss our approach to investing using Canadian dividend paying stocks in our non-registered and Tax Free Savings Accounts (TFSA) for income and long-term growth.  Canadian stocks are not all we own but it’s a healthy portion of our portfolio.

Recent raises

In my last post, I shared these dividend raises for early 2018:

Manulife Financial increased their dividend by 7%.

Brookfield Renewable Energy increased their dividend by 5%.

Suncor increased their dividend by 12.5%.

BCE increased their dividend by just over 5%.

Great West Life increased their dividend by 6%.

Brookfield Infrastructure Partners increased their dividend by 8%.

After those juicy raises, I got a few more!

CIBC increased their dividend by 2.3%.

Bank of Nova Scotia increased their dividend by 3.7%.

TD Bank increased their dividend by a healthy 11.7%.

These increases continue to occur at a time when our Canadian market has been largely flat for the last 10 years.  Yes, sadly, ten years.  Is this a lost decade?  Do you think we’re in for another one?  It’s entirely possible folks and you need to prepare for it.

Graph courtesy of TSX Money – graph as of 8 am March 12, 2018

More bad news maybe.  Our Canadian market is down about 3% as I write this post but on a more positive note – the income earned from my portfolio is up for 2018….WAY up.  I love it when a plan comes together!

Will it always be this way?  I have no idea.  But the benefits of buying and holding my 30+ Canadian dividend paying stocks remains the same:

  • I can control the portfolio turnover, or lack thereof, with a buy-and-hold approach for many our companies.  (Canadian companies that have paid dividends for decades are the same companies paying me as a shareholder today.)
  • I don’t pay anyone a money management fee for my Canadian stocks. I buy and hold and reinvest all dividends paid inside our TFSAs.  That’s it.  Boring – but when it comes to investing boring works very, very well. 
  • Dividend-growing companies tend to be solid performers over time. You can’t fake dividends for very long.  Either a company can afford to pay a dividend or they can’t.
  • Dividends help me stay invested. Better still, and I’ve told people for years about this, you should celebrate falling prices as a long-term dividend stock investor.  Consider your favourite food in your local grocery store now on sale!

Thanks to dividend increases over the last month and based on our maxed-out TFSAs to start out the 2018 calendar year, our dividend income expected from Canadian dividend paying stocks as part of these updates is approaching $16,100 per year.  That’s great.  Actually, it’s amazing (I’ll be honest) considering where we were 10 years ago.   While great progress has been made things might get even better…

I predict if we keep up our boring ways in another 8-10 years we’ll realize our HUGE goal of earning $30,000 per year from our non-registered investments and investments inside our tax-free accounts.  That will be extremely good since if we’re debt-fee by then we’ll surpass our crossover point based on other assets we currently own.  Income derived from our investment assets will be > our expenses.  We’ll be able to work on our own terms.  We will be able to leave any full-time work in the dust – for good.

We believe our lofty $30,000 per year income goal from a few financial accounts remains in reach – as long as:

  1. We don’t dare touch nor tinker with the portfolio,
  2. We keep maxing out our TFSAs every year going forward, and
  3. Just as importantly – we reinvest all dividends paid within our TFSAs so money can make more money commission-free. 

Dividends are never guaranteed.  There are risks with my approach.  This approach is not for everyone but I’m optimistic I can provide another increased portfolio update next month.  Stay tuned to find out and thanks for reading.

Mark Seed is the founder, editor and owner of My Own Advisor. As my own DIY financial advisor, I've grown our portfolio to over $500,000 - but there's more work to do! Our next big goal is to own a $1 million investment portfolio for an early retirement. Subscribe and join the journey!

143 Responses to "February 2018 Dividend Income Update"

  1. “Our Canadian market is down about 3% as I write this post but on a more positive note – the income earned from my portfolio is up for 2018….WAY up.”
    That’s the fun part of your DG Investing strategy, baring major div cuts, the Income will grow and even faster as it compounds, regardless what the market does.

    Good Work

  2. Congrats on a great month.

    My portfolio is still down YTD. But similar to your portfolio, the dividend income is up around 2% YTD by dividend raises and DRIP alone.

    1. Thanks May. And I know die-hard indexers don’t care about this but seeing income come into my account while my portfolio goes down does provide some comfort and helps me stick to my plan. I’m optimistic we can hit $16,500 or more by the end of this year thanks to dividend increases and reinvested dividends alone. That would be an increase of $400 more per year doing nothing.

      1. I am hoping for 6% yearly organic growth of forwarding dividend income which means no new money but just dividend increases and reinvesting dividends. It will require more than 3% for the rest of year. $400 increase with you current $16100 is less than 3%. Do you think I am too optimistic?

        1. 6% seems optimistic. I think if you can get 3-5% dividend growth increases across your portfolio you are doing well and that’s more realistic. That’s just me. I’m conservative when it comes to investing. 🙂

          1. I am reinvesting all dividends right now and currently the portfolio has a yield around 3.5%. So I am thinking by reinvesting all dividends, I got at least 3 increase already. Adding 3% dividend raises, it will be 6%.

          2. May: It really depends upon your holdings, don’t expect much of an increase from any etf’s. Our 13 are up 4.01% to date and I expect we’ll be close to 8% or 9% by the end of the year. No new money added, just reinvestments and increases. Let you know at yearend.

  3. That was a good February! Next week PWF will likely increase and then the week after that all those increases announced in February show up in the March payments.

    1. Well, that might be true if every Canadian invested every dollar of their portfolio on that particular day in only that index and every DRIPped payment never changed the ACB of the underlying stock. I’d not bet a lot of money on that.

        1. lol…I’m not arguing, I’m agreeing with you. I think it is highly unlikely those specific conditions are met in most cases but that *could* have happened to one or two people in Canada. (didn’t to me).

    2. It could be even worse if you invested in some specific stock. SU and MFC still does not get back to its high point ten years ago. Both of them are big blue stocks. 🙁

        1. Yupper! I started buying SU in 2012. I recall my ACB for SU is about $33. ACB for MFC is about $15. Buying and hoping SU gets back to $70 per share would really suck but at least some investors are getting paid to wait.

    1. Hi Pauline,

      I’m not an expert on these things but I would call your discount brokerage and request to enroll in the DRIP (dividend reinvestment plan) for that stock. In some cases, you can enroll the entire account with your brokerage so any investment inside that account can be DRIPped.

      There are many types of DRIPs. You can read more here:


  4. What would you do with the follow scenario? I have 150K and I want to buy Canadian dividend producing stocks with it in my non-reg account and possibly buy some VTI. My RRSP and TFSA rooms are already maxed out. We hear things in the news about interest rates going up and a market correction/crash possibly just around the corner. Stock prices are pretty high now although I did buy some stocks when the prices dropped a bit a few weeks ago (on the day Trump made some announcement about tariffs). I’m considering parking my 150K in a one year GIC (2%) and wait for the market correction/crash to happen and then buy a bunch of stocks at low prices. I really don’t want to buy stocks at these kind of peak prices. However, who knows when the market correction/crash will happen. What would you do?

    1. You’re not likely to get a definitive answer as there are too many unknowns. (age, income, MTR, etc etc) And any “suggestions” will be filtered through the lenses of our biases.

      Having said that, this market is getting a little long in the tooth and the variables/risks seem to be accumulating/growing too much for any additional investment. If it was me at my age and circumstances I’d park the cash in a 1 year escalating, cashable GIC (I have one in mind) and keep my powder dry. Tomorrow I might have a different opinion.

    2. Personally I think I am very bad at timing the market. So I had a lump sum cash last fall, I started to buy stocks when I think they are of fair value to get the money working for me as soon as possible. I do not know that is the right action or not though. In one hand, some stock I bought, like TD, now up 16%. In the other hand, the utilities/pipelines I bought are in deep water now. Overall, the portfolio is still down. I was prepared that I could have bought at market top, and I got comfort to see the forwarding dividend is still up every month and my investment frame is long term. Still, it’s not a very good feeling to watch your hard earned money losing it’s paper value.

      So really, there is no one answer fitting everybody. It really depends on your investment target, your tolerance to risk, etc. The most important thing, I think is no matter how you invest your money, make sure you do not lose sleep over it even when the market crushed.

  5. Would you be willing to say which one year escalating, cashable GIC you know of? If not, that’s okay. I am thinking Tangerine’s one year 2% GIC (I believe it is cashable anytime, you just pay a penalty for cashing it out early). Since interest rates are expected to rise I no longer want to park the money in a government bond.

  6. Thanks. I will look at the link. I have to see if it is insured (CIDC I think, can’t remember the acronym). Do you know if it is insured?

    I just checked Tangerine’s website, the GIC interest rates have increased since I last checked a few weeks ago. The GICs are non-redeemable actually. One year is 2.10% and five years is 3% now.

    1. With your moniker “ILoveDividends” I’m surprised you are asking the question of what to do if you had $150k to invest. Would have thought you already researched DG investing and had your strategy planned out.
      As May suggested trying to time the market is a fools game. Look at the stocks you are interested in and set some buy points. If any of the stocks reach the buy point, invest a portion of your funds. If you feel the market is on a down trend, re-set your buy points. I one of the stock hits the point buy some more and repeat process. I’d never park funds in a GIC, especially if you feel the market may go down.

  7. Mark,
    Your said:”we reinvest all dividends paid within our TFSAs so money can make more money commission-free”. Do you not reinvest dividends within your non-reg account too? I think I remember you writing that your turned your drip off in this account? If so, why?
    Also, I rely on BMO discount brokerage’s website to calculate my annual dividends for me (am I naive?) as well as my monthly statements. They seem accurate.
    Do you have a separate spreadsheet tool that you use (free or small fee?) to calculate your own annual divy’s? I’m pretty lazy with calculating numbers 🙁

  8. @cannew Wow. Very impressive. Unfortunately I don’t have the courage to hold only 13 stocks while I am really envy of the performance of your portfolio.

    Yes, I do not expect dividend increase from ETFs. That’s why I have sold out all my mutual funds and EFTs other than an international dividend ETF ZDI and some bonds.

    I have used 6% to predict when I could be financial independent. If I could get 6%, it will be another 5 years. The higher the sooner, the lower the later. Of course it also depends on our job status. Hopefully none of us will be out of job for next 5 years.

    1. Aren’t you they same guy who was inquiring about short term bonds recently (although you referenced an aggregate bond VAB). Looking at yields, durations and likely rate increases that will probably earn less than a good GIC ladder, and one may have to hold to avg duration period to see much.

      – nothing = zero. GICs currently pay 2-3+% depending on term
      – bonds are also taxed as income (in unregistered accts but most people aren’t going to hold them there)

  9. Hey ILoveDivys

    Everyone has their own style of investing. If it was me, I’d pick 5 or so dividend income/growth stocks and buy a 1/3 of a position in each (ie: ~$10k), wait a while, and then see about buying more. I always like buying in increments. My portfolio is pretty much set now but in the past, my buys have taken 3-6 stages and were spread out between 1 to 6 months.

    I hate holding extra cash (besides my “cash wedge”) and if you are doing so, then it is the perfect definition of trying to time the market. The sooner you buy, the sooner you start collecting dividends.

    Besides, people have been talking about a correction being imminent for a few years now. There’s been a few minor drops in dividend stocks over that period but they have always come back and I think they would again. If you’re buying for the long term, there’s a really good chance that they’ll be higher in 5-10 years no matter what price you buy at now.

    Do you own DD, but my current picks would be – AQN, BCE or T, BPY.UN, BIP.UN, PPL, and one of the big banks – TD RY, or BNS. I don’t know what you already hold so factor that in as well.

    Good luck with it all. Let us know what you end up doing.


  10. The GIC would just be a temporary place to park the money. Interest prices ate expected to go up, don’t want to park it in a government bond now. I don’t want to buy stocks and index funds at such peak prices now. I want to see if I can buy when the stock market crashes (makes a correction). When the market crashes I’m thinking we will enter a bear market for at least a few months to a year or more. Similiar to 2008/2009. It would be ideal if I can buy for low prices then. Scenario I want to avoid, buy at peak prices now, market correction and bear market follows. I lose 30-50% of my money and it’ll take many many years to go back up to my original amount. Know of a better place to park my money temporarily?

  11. Thanks Don G. Buying in increments is a good idea. I bought some VTI and Canadian stocks on the day when stock prices dropped a bit, when Trump made some tariff announcements. I’m still seeing a gain with those purchases. Maybe each time I hear some bad news I should log in and buy. Here’s to hoping that Trump will make some more announcements.

    1. It looks like your strategy is timing the markets … Following news and waiting for crashes is exactly that. If that’s your strategy, good, if not, you may want to rethink your concept.

      With my dividend growth strategy, I completely ignore the noise and buy, buy and buy during the accumulation years. There can be fluctuations in the first 6 months, but I just ignore it. 2 or 3 years later, strong companies are ahead of the pack.

  12. “Know of a better place to park my money temporarily?” Ya – why (tie up your money) and buy a GIC from a Bank or Credit Union – when you can own the bank? TD has increased their Divs over 10% every year over past 5 plus years. Last time i checked the GIC’s don’t do that.
    AND – to put GIC’s in a non-reg account (taxed as income) is even more stupid. Even – with a pull back – after you buy! Lets say TD stock pulls back 30% (always recovers in 18 months or less) – so what? The Divs go up almost every year (never cuts). IMO – GICers are looking for safety and basically giving the banks/issuers the money for free (taxed as income & inflation eats it = nothing left for you). If your interested – I will pay you more than what a GIC will pay you. I’ll give you 4% and a thank-you card. {then I will put it into ENB 6.2% and make more than a 2% spread (write off my interest costs (the 4% I pay you) and collect the gains it will throw off – when it bounces back). Let me know.

  13. Has anyone switched up their asset allocation recently to have more fixed income assets (e.g. 60/40 equities/fixedIncome) in preparation for a market correction that so many people are predicting will happen? If so, what kind of fixed incomes assets are you buying? e.g. bonds, GICs, etc. The asset allocation books I read says that the more fixed income assets you have before a market crash happens the faster your portfolio will recover to their original values (before the crash).

    1. I have reduced equity holdings, but not to time the market. I took 400K out of equities from two RRSPs last fall and am in the process of building GIC ladders with the intent to have approximately 20K being renewed every three months. The intention is that with this GIC base, combined with our DB pensions, there will be enough to sustain us for the rest of our lives regardless what the market may do in the future. We still have the majority of our investments in equities though.

  14. Hahaha…you’re joking right? For sure I can’t do that. I wouldn’t even lend that kind of money to friends/family I know. 🙂

    You have a point, just buy the stocks and start collecting the dividends.

    Even in a bear market they don’t take away the dividends? However, if the bear market continues for many years then companies will start to decrease or stop dividends? I am new to dividend investing. I have bought index funds mostly but trying to introduce Canadian dividend stocks to my portfolio now.

    1. Dividends can absolutely be taken away. Recall dividends are paid from cash flow; cash flow comes from retained earnings. So, in a long-term bear market if the retained earnings are lower or much lower, some companies therefore don’t make enough cash to pay their shareholders. It happens.

    2. If I may offer a piece of advice…do not accept investment advice from anyone who does not know your complete scenario. Anonymous forums are perhaps not the best place to get guidance especially when not one of us knows even your age never mind the dozens of other things that should be taken into consideration.

  15. ENB put up their Div 15% last year. But lets say they only put it up on average a little over 10% a year. If you buy today – you get 6% div.
    Year 1 = 6%
    Year 2 = 6.6%
    Year 3 = 7.26%
    Year 4 = 8%
    * on the $$ you have invested. Plus the stock is down at the present moment and should rebound – especially if Trump rips up the Iran agreement. (should happen soon)

    1. No problem. If I can offer one more tidbit….use the link below to look at what has happened in the past. Enter a stock and then run various scenarios by changing the “start date”. Go back 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 years and look at the graphs (both re-invested and not). Keep in mind this is not what could happen in the future but what actually happened in the past. Then think of some of the variables that are in play in our current situation and short term future.


  16. Lloyd, I’m thinking your GIC ladders are your cash wedge or emergency fund? Now that you are retired you are spending from DB pensions, CPP, OAS and dividends? It’s interesting to hear from someone who is Canadian, is retired and actually using their dividends for spending at this moment (if that’s what you are doing). This dividend income during retirement really works? You never have to sell your principal for income? If during a pro-longed bear market companies reduce or eliminate dividends then that’s where your GIC ladders will come in handy?

    I just finished reading a book by a Toronto couple called “Retired at 48” and if I understood their book correctly it sounds like they are living off of Canadian dividends (CPP and OAS in the future too). They don’t have DB company plans. They mentioned they only have one U.S. stock to earn them some U.S. dividend income for vacation purposes. It was a good read cause I’m thinking when I retire I want to do something similar (not having to sell my principal is very appealing). However, I also want to do some U.S. index investing too, hence, buying VTI. Most of my portfolio are in mutual funds set up through work (some are mutual fund U.S. and CAD index funds but the MERs are ridiculous). I want to start the process of moving all mutual funds to my own self managed brokerage account.

    1. GIC ladders are in our RRSPs and are a safety net. I have emergency funds elsewhere. I am not collecting CPP or OAS yet as I am too young. We currently have two DB pensions, small income from a farm and rental income. DW is getting a disability payment that will cease at age 65. DW is not remotely interested in finances and I am setting some stuff up so that no matter what happens to me, or the market, she will have the necessary assets to support her. I am not using the earnings from the RRSPs or TFSAs now although I do withdraw from my RRSP from time to time to take advantage of any earnings in the lower tax bracket. Current investment income is being re-invested and DRIPped within the accounts. I do not have any substantial holdings in a non-reg investment account.

    2. If you followed MOA long enough, quite a few followers here are already retired and living off dividends of their portfolio. They are my role models. People like cannew and Don G, dividends they collected actually exceed their living expenses.

      That’s also my plan for retirement. I am pretty sure it works, but you need to have a big portfolio and your kids will inherit big money from you. A big portfolio (I am aiming for $2M) is not easy to achieve. And for some, big inheritance for kids not desired.

      I don’t worry that much about bear market. My plan for bear market is riding it through. If a bear market will last longer than 18 months, then this world has bigger problems that is out of control of my hands.

      1. Just want to give a shout out to SST, Gary, Grant, Cannew, Mark and others – that also make comments here worth reading. (Keep challenging our beliefs!) No hearing crickets – with these guys!

      2. “If you followed MOA long enough, quite a few followers here are already retired and living off dividends of their portfolio. They are my role models. People like cannew and Don G, dividends they collected actually exceed their living expenses.”

        You bet 🙂

    3. @ILoveDividends

      IMO, move your mutual funds to your own brokerage account. BMO investorline did it for me and refunded me the service charges. I didn’t have to deal directly with my financial advisor who set up my mutual funds. He wasn’t happy, but who cares. Then, sell your mutual funds if they are mature, (if they are back-end load, you will pay to exit the fund as they usually have a declining schedule) Then buy whatever stocks, ETF’s you want. GIC’s are a waste of time.(unless you are very very skiddish and want 100% guaranteed 2% return) It can be nerve wrecking to get it all going, but once its done, you never look back. MOA and others on this blog have given me lots of knowledge and courage to jump into my own investing journey.
      Good luck

      1. What do you think if I was to sell my RRSPs and park it in an RRSP cash account. Then fill out the forms at Scotia iTrade to get them to transfer the RRSP in cash form to iTrade. Once it arrives at iTrade then I buy the ETFs and stocks I want?

  17. Hey Divys

    I’ve been retired for 5 years without any company pension. My wife and I live off dividend income, my CPP (she was stay at home so no CPP), and my OAS (I’m 65 and my wife is 61 so only one set for now). Our portfolio is actually increasing in size even after our withdrawals for living expenses, building a bigger cash wedge, and even handing out some early inheritance to the kids. So yes, living off dividend income can work.

    We don’t have any regular fixed income at all. Just 3% of the portfolio in High Yield Bonds.

    If you want more details on our portfolios, look at MOA’s/Marks’s Mar 6 posting.

    Like Lloyd says, everyone has to make their own decisions based upon their circumstances so good luck with it.


  18. Thanks Don G for your reply.

    I’m learning so much from Mark’s site and I’m trying to learn even more by asking questions on this site. Hope this is the appropriate place to ask questions (in the comments section of postings). If not, please tell me. I like the hybrid approach Mark is taking too. Exposure to the U.S. through indexing (VTI) in our RRSPs. Buy Canadian dividend stocks in my TFSAs and Non-Regs. Also, buy some VTI in Non-reg too. Possibly buy index VAB and VDU in my RRSPs next year when we have more room.

    I’ve noticed the following when reading blogs from dividend investors, they don’t seemed overly concerned about asset allocation. They basically are at or near 100% in equities. Why is this? What happens when we have a market correction and enter a pro-longed bear market? If dividends are reduced or cut then we rely on our cash wedge (CPP, OAS, DB)? When the market is on the recovery phase, the time it takes our portfolio to reach it’s pre-cash amount doesn’t matter as much so long as the dividends are restored?

    I understand that during a bear market if you still get dividends then the DRIPs will buy alot more shares at low prices. When the market starts to recover the increased number of shares bought from the DRIPs (at low prices) will help to bring back your portfolio to its original pre-crash amount. However, what happens if the dividends are stopped in a pro-longed bear market?

    1. Another good thing to consider is who has been through a market correction (92, 94, 01/02, the biggy 08, and the income trust blood bath) and how much did their portfolio go down during said corrections. I suspect a lot of people either did not go through one or they have forgotten the gut wrenching numbers that were posted. For sure we were all a lot young younger then and had time to recover. Of course all of us will sit here and point out that the markets came back and profess that they will come back every time so no worries but during those events, I suspect they were not quite so cavalier if they were in fact there.


      1. Lloyd – is this your way of convincing yourself – that buying 400K in GICs is a great thing to do? Your in your early 50s and have lots of time to wait out a market correction.

        1. Mike,

          Lloyd has explained his reasoning in other posts. From what I gather he doesn’t “need” or “want” the risks associated with an all equity portfolio. I can relate. He’s also not in his early 50’s and evidently has done extremely well for himself.

          GIC’s can be an appropriate fixed income alternative in todays rates environment vs. bonds. Particularly so when using multiple ladders to take advantage of renewals at higher future rates and easier access with shorter renewals.

          I’m always intrigued why some people can’t seem to understand or accept that some investors do not want an all equity portfolio when they can be comfortable meeting their needs with a different asset allocation that is “great” (appropriate) for them.

          Apologies to Lloyd if I’ve stepped in where I shouldn’t or said something wrong.

          1. No apology necessary, out of respect for Mark and his blog I have refrained from replying. It serves no purpose to engage with some folks.

          2. Mike, you’re funny. You’re are a classic example of a person unable to understand not everyone wants what you do and there’s not only one way to be successful. GIC ladders work fine when they meet a persons own goals- whatever that is. Buying a GIC doesn’t make a person “scared” and it doesn’t make them unseasoned investors. Indeed they may be much more seasoned than you but have good reasons to own some. Constantly slagging those people on this board isn’t helpful to this blog and contradicts your own claims that you accept others are different from you.

            As I wrote above aren’t you the same person that was recently asking about and considering buying bonds?

            Unlike you I really like GICs and mutual funds. Banks make lots of money from selling them and as an investor that’s a very good thing. I guess you never thought of that.

            My dad used to say: there are none so blind as those who will not see. Please think about that.

            Apologies to Mark. I tried. I’ll leave this alone now.

          3. I hear ya. Some comments online are sometimes tough to restrain from!

            FWIW Mike, Warren Buffett is sitting on billions of cash, idle, money not yet working for him at all. I’m not sure that makes his “scared” to invest. I strongly encourage you to avoid making judgments about people that a) you don’t know and b) that have different views about money that you.

          4. I’ll throw in a constructive suggestion for Mark. If it can be done, is there a way to attach a mini-bio to our names? I’m thinking age, employment status, marital status. Simple stuff so that at least the *accusations* of being certain ages can be prevented. It might help those understand positions better if they knew a little more than just a name. Maybe even a separate section?

        2. Mike, I think you need to appreciate people are different than you. There is nothing wrong with that. I would hope you see some merits in diversity, including how others invest. There would be no blogs to comment on if everything, everyone and every idea was…the same.

          1. I appreciate people are different than me. There is nothing wrong with that. But – I can disagree with people and people can disagree with me. (my wife disagrees with me all the time). But – Banks make money on GICers (huge money). Scared people buy GICs (and the banks love them) – not seasoned investors. Do u own GICs?

      2. Good reminder….I wonder if some energy stocks are headed that way now? ENB, ENF, KMI, TRP and others are doing down, down, down. I keep holding. I find it hard to believe pipelines are going to become extinct.

    2. I am at 100% equities ILove but have done so because we are very fortunate to have a pension plan at work – I have DB and my wife has DC – although neither plan is “gold plated” like the provincial or federal government. Combined though, both plans should deliver about $40k (added together) if we waited until age 65 to grab the income from them. That’s OK, not great, so we’re saving now as well.

      Once our debt is gone, I suspect the $1 M invested + pensions + OAS and CPP will be certainly “enough”. I am optimistic those days are about 5-10 years away depending upon debt paydown rates and market conditions.

      I think we might start finding out this year…. “…what happens if the dividends are stopped in a pro-longed bear market”. I don’t think dividends with stop, rather, they might not increase at the same rate as before or just stay flat for a few years. I believe those days are coming. This is where diversification is important – many companies and a number sectors. At least if dividends stay flat you get paid to wait. Prices will fall. If dividends don’t keep rising you can almost bet total returns are going lower.

  19. ILD: I have no DP, CPP, OAS, GIS, Bonds, GICs or RRSPS. What I have is maxed out TFSAs (with wife) and the bulk of my investments in Non-Reg accounts – collecting more than what we need in Divs to pay our bills, live, travel & charity. I hate GICS! They are old, out dated and should be obsolete! (so should Mutual Funds). ETFS are better for those that want to pay a fee for diversification. But, I hold individual stocks (Like Canew – I hold a dozen or so – that represent my core holdings). Some may think this is risky – but to me the risk to reward is/was well worth it! I don’t need more capital growth – but like the challenge of going after more – as well. Not in my plans – to having to sell stocks (in any market condition) just to pay bills or having to draw down 4% of my holdings – just to live. * Not giving financial advice – we all have different ways to reaching our goals – just saying what works for me. (I am in early 50’s – no debt)

    1. Hey Mike

      FANTASTIC!! That is one very impressive and solid plan and only in your early 50s to boot. Congratulations.

      Have fun with your “challenge of going after more”. 🙂


    2. Well done Mike….maxed out TFSAs. We’ve done the same in our portfolio. Both TFSAs (we hope) will each approach six figures in a few years.

      Go after “more” as much as you can risk/as your risk tolerance allows.

  20. Hey Divys

    As far as I’m concerned, MOA is the best blog site that I know of. Mark writes terrific articles on very interesting subjects, especially for dividend investors. One of the other great things about the site is the wonderful and insightful comments that people post. I’m grateful to all those people that have taken the time to share their experiences and their future plans. Part of my motivation for posting is to give back a little (like a “pay it forward”).

    When I retired in 2013, I had a really vague idea of what to do. Over time, this has evolved into our current plan. At first, I was really nervous about what to do and looked for some ideas and reassurance by reading lots of stuff. I now feel incredibly confident in our situation and our plan going forward. What happens day to day and even year to year doesn’t really matter as long as we don’t get too many dividend cuts. So far (besides a painful lesson in oil & gas producers), we have only had one dividend cut (D.UN) and it was only a partial cut (and we unloaded it after the price increased a bit). If you look at the blue chip dividend payers back in 2008-2009, I doubt you will see any cuts and you may even see some increases.

    We don’t mind leaving a sizeable inheritance to our kids so we are not trying to spend our money on stuff we don’t need. Besides, they’re great kids (and grand-kids) and give us a ton of joy.


    1. Geez….that’s very high praise 🙂 I run this site because I am grateful as well but I also continue to learn from others, stay open-minded.

      “We don’t mind leaving a sizeable inheritance to our kids so we are not trying to spend our money on stuff we don’t need. Besides, they’re great kids (and grand-kids) and give us a ton of joy.” Great stuff to read Don!

    2. I really like your comment about being confident.

      I believe that confidence is the key. Once you are confident, risk becomes a different world along with the need to diversify. When you are confident, you accept the potential fluctuation and avoid overprotection in the wrong asset out of fear.

      Once you reach the confidence stage, you can navigate portfolio management through accumulation and depletion through calculated risk.

  21. I have two young children in elementary school, I would love to leave them an inheritance. I’m in my mid 40s. I recently decided to retire so I can be a stay at home Mom. My husband wants to work another 10-15 years, he likes his job. He has a defined benefit plan so the longer he stays the more money he will get in his DB plan. I have been tasked now to manage our stock portfolio and personal real estate investments (well my husband does the real estate investment duties still so I shouldn’t take credit for it yet). 🙂

    I have been talking to my husband recently about leaving money to our kids when we are gone. Since you just mentioned inheritance, how do you go about doing this? A trust fund for the kids? Will the kids pay tax on their inheritance? We have a will but that was done a while back shortly after my first child was born. Nothing fancy, just paid a lawyer (who had a small office in a shopping mall) $1000 to write up our will. She just used a template she had and basically asked us standard questions and then she filled in the blanks on a form. We picked up the will on another day after she worked on it.

    1. Okay. Well that changes a few things in my mind and leads to more questions. Life and disability insurance moves to the top of the list that I would be concerned with. Debt is the next issue followed by RESPs and an update to the wills. Having a DB pension that is well funded as well as a relatively young age to allow for any market recovery opens up some flexibility as to the amount of risk one might be willing to take on.

      This could be a whole topic unto itself.

      1. Lloyd – I thought you said – “That you do not give out Advice”. Did you not say “Anonymous forums are perhaps not the best place to get guidance”???? Anyways – I disagree with your above comment.

    2. You are moving into estate planning and depending on the size of the estate and how you want to manage it, there are different approaches. It also very whether you have your real estate assets under a business or simply under your name.

      Based on your asset types, and the size of it, an estate planner could help you. As an example, my parents’ life insurance upon both of their deaths will pay the estate income taxes thus leaving more money for the children or grandchildren. In trust is a different approach but it also needs to be investigated by a tax accountant or an estate planner.

  22. Life and disability insurance bought through my husband’s work plan. We also bought extra life insurance outside of work too (have been doing this for years). My husband recently ask if we need this and I said yes, this extra is even more important now that I have retired. If something happens to you I can use this extra to raise the kids. RESP bought for both kids since they were born, we buy the maximum each year so that we will get the government match.

    In terms of debt, no debt on the house we live in. Two investment properties. One almost paid off. The other one will be when we are both retired. There is no rush to pay it off as you can claim investment mortgage interest payments in your tax forms. The idea is that the two investments will generate rental incomes for us during retirement and later on possible inheritance for the kids or a place for the kids to live when they are young adults (if we don’t need the money that is).

    The will, although it was done before the second child was born, anytime she referenced children in the will she phrased it as “current child and any subsequent children” (I can’t remember the exact wording). That’s why I’m wondering if I need to pay another $1000 to update it. Don’t really want to if I don’t have to ($1000 saved). 🙂

    1. You are doing great. I also have two kids in elementary school and I am also much older than you but I am still working. Financially not ready yet to retire. It’s good the kids have a stay home mom taking care of them. It’s good for you too as I know how exhausting it is being a working mom of two young kids.

      I came from a background where I was not taught with investment at all. When I was young, had decent jobs and live within our means, not feel the need either. I began to pay intention about ten years ago. But then I became a mom, working with a challenging job, two young kids, I stopped to pay attention to investment. Last year when we were forced to move to a bigger house, I sit down to look at our accounts, and found the few stocks I bought many years ago has different performance, a couple is very bad. But overall, it’s so much better than not to invest. I really regret I stopped investment for the past decade, and our hard earned money was losing value in Money market and savings account. You are really lucky to begin this journey at a younger age.

      Best luck.

    2. Wow, $1000 for a will? Way too expensive. As you already have the will, just retype it, change the sections needed to allow for the other dependents and decide how you want to allocate your assets. Then have your accountants witness it who would probably not even charge you.

      1. Don’t take shortcuts with the will – sorry but it is a legal and binding document and each province will have different rules. If you move provinces you should have it updated as the breakdown of assets, when not specified can vary.

        A quick note on the BC Wills and Estate Planning site.
        “Although you can use a kit to write your own will, it’s a good idea to get help from a lawyer or notary public to make sure your will is legal. If your will isn’t considered legal, it can create a lot of problems for your heirs.”

        1. A do it yourself “Will Kit” is fine. No need to pay a lawyer. Just make sure there are two witness signatures – so it is valid. Same as for a Codicil – make sure two signatures or its not valid.

    3. You should consider having a holding company, move the real estate in the company and as your children get older, you can have them become the owner and transition the company in said fashion. The money flow inside the company is taxed at a lower rate, if it’s more than you need, you can invest it within the company, again at a lower tax rate and so on …

      When you pay yourself dividends from your company, then it’s dividend taxed like the other dividends but the company is more effective with taxes. You also only take out what you need.

      The recent tax change on small business is towards eliminating abuse of dividend flow to spouses to avoid higher tax rates. In your case, as long as everyone works for the company with respect to the real estate business, there should be no problem.

      Again, you need to deal with a tax accountant to run the numbers. The biggest advice I can give is to find a good tax accountant to work on paying the least amount of taxes through an efficient setup of your assets with a consideration of inheritance down the road.

      1. Not as easy as you have said. But – a “holding company” does work in certain situations. There are many issues to consider. If you need a mortgage on the property and your “holding company” does not make income (currently) to qualify for a mortgage – then you must hold the mortgage personally – some banks will not allow the “holding company” to own the asset (property) if they lent you the $$ personally. Sometimes it doesn’t make sense to having (additional costs) to file corporation returns. (more time & money spent – just to hold one property).
        Canada does not have a death tax or an estate inheritance tax. In Canada, no inheritance tax is levied on the beneficiaries; the estate pays any tax that is owed to the government.
        Instead the CRA treats the estate as a sale, unless the estate is inherited by the surviving spouse or common-law partner, where certain exceptions are possible. This means that the estate pays the taxes owed to the government, rather than the beneficiaries paying. By the time the estate is settled, the beneficiary should not have to worry about taxes.
        So – yes if the property is in a “holding company” and your kids hold shares in the company – they could avoid having to sell the property – but if it was a principal residence – there is no tax anyways – however if it was a rental property – there would be taxes to pay – upon death. (unless in a holding company). If the rental property was in the holding company – no sale would be required and yes – no tax at time of death. There are other issues with a holding company for real estate – but if you were owing several rental properties – then the additional expenses of holding them inside a LTD is worth it. (another layer of protection).

  23. I do need help. Don’t know too much about dividend investing, index investing and setting up inheritances for the children. Learning so much now that I have retired and have time. Busy with work and kids and so wasn’t in the stock portfolio (no time) when I was working.

    Just blindly maxed out the RRSPs at work every year to get the company match (DC plan). In my early 20s I just blindy chose the pre-packaged “aggressive” plan checkbox on the benefits form and the mutual funds and asset allocation are set up for you. You buy a certain percentage and the company gives the appropriate match. The company placed everything into mutual funds with pricey MERs though. Didn’t know anything about the stock market in my 20s. Didn’t know my husband at the time so he couldn’t help me.

    1. ILoveDividends you have a great problem to have…. “Just blindly maxed out the RRSPs at work every year to get the company match (DC plan). In my early 20s I just blindy chose the pre-packaged “aggressive” plan checkbox….” By maxing out your RRSPs you have likely done better than most!

  24. Just a reminder. I have tried
    and found data there is not reliable. I put in MRU, and the total return for last ten years is less than double. This confused me and I went to morningstar, and the total return for last ten years is much higher. I figured canada stock channel did not include the 3:1 split happened at 2015.

    I guess in today’s environment, you have to check twice for any information available online.

    1. Yes, I’ve noticed that some calculators do not handle splits or some special dividends well, if at all. If something seems out of whack (like that drop in the ten year MRU graph) then one should consider “truthing” the data.

  25. Great job on your dividend income progress Mark.

    It’s also great to read numerous other success stories from others now retired or well on their way.

    We may not all choose the same road as there are often different routes to arrive at the desired destination.

  26. Mark,
    I think you missed my comments and questions so I’ll repost.

    Your said:”we reinvest all dividends paid within our TFSAs so money can make more money commission-free”. Do you not reinvest dividends within your non-reg account too? I think I remember you writing that your turned your drip off in this account? If so, why?
    Also, I rely on BMO discount brokerage’s website to calculate my annual dividends for me (am I naive?) as well as my monthly statements. They seem accurate.
    Do you have a separate spreadsheet tool that you use (free or small fee?) to calculate your own annual divy’s? I’m pretty lazy with calculating numbers 😐

    1. Sorry Bonnie….getting caught up on all these comments… 🙂

      Yes, I did turn off my DRIPs in my non-reg account. I did this because I’m on the hook to calculate my ACB for my stocks even though my brokerage also does the math for me. Also, I’m at the point where if I continue to DRIP my non-reg. stocks, that’s more dividend income (which is great) but it’s also more income I get taxed on since my TFSA and RRSP are full and out of contribution room. A great problem to have but I’d rather avoid more taxation if I can.

      Also, we have debt to pay down and this year is a big focus on that Bonnie. So, I’m using the dividend income earned in my non-reg. account (now that my TFSA and RRSP are full…) to pay down debt.

      Back to you, I think you could likely rely on BMO’s statements for your capital gains and ACB calculations.

      I use a few homegrown spreadsheets but there is also a free tool you can use to do your work to double-check!

      Again, I don’t see a massive risk in using your brokerages numbers but I would keep an eye on things now and then because banks do make mistakes!


      1. Hey Mark,

        Your said “I’m at the point where if I continue to DRIP my non-reg. stocks, that’s more dividend income (which is great) but it’s also more income I get taxed on”….. A great problem to have but I’d rather avoid more taxation if I can”

        Even if you leave the dividend income in your cash account in your non-reg account, you still get taxed on it (don’t you?).
        But I do understand that you want the cash to pay down debt instead of dripping within the non reg account.
        I don’t have debt, so I’m dripping everything.

        1. Yes, very true but the more my stocks DRIP the more income I potentially make – which is good – but I’m taxed on that income so I simply need to watch that I don’t get taxed too much while working a full-time job like I do.

          Nothing wrong with DRIPping everything. I might turn on my DRIPs again in my non-reg. account if there is a stock market tank.

  27. Well, I’ve had a couple of cups of coffee and I’m in the mood….

    Seems to be a bit of confusion and disagreement over how GICs/term deposits can be a useful tool for some. Now, similar to any tool, it behooves one to understand how it works before plugging it in (my experience with a welder comes to mind, not a pretty sight).

    First off, a cashable GIC is just that, cashable. It’s a place to park money (usually for a short period of time) that will earn more interest than a straight savings account and some are better than others. If one doesn’t understand how a cashable GIC referred to in any comment works, then one perhaps should learn about them first.

    Now, if we are speaking of longer terms, that is a different issue. Usually longer terms are not cashable and usually serve a different purpose. It may be to purchase a house in a couple years or so (or maybe dozens of other reasons) and one wants to be certain of having those funds available.

    Investing can be similar to walking a tight rope in that a lot of considerations should be taken into, well, consideration. If the rope is only a few feet off the ground and you’re young there is little risk to come from a fall. You get up and try again. As the rope rises in height, the risk for injury in the event of a fall becomes greater. Now one can compensate for that by ensuring they are properly trained and having good equipment. They can also use a safety net. Now if the rope is ten feet high with a two foot wide safety net, one might feel there is little risk to injury in the event of a fall so they feel confident. If the rope is fifty feet high, one might be concerned that a two foot wide safety net will mean they will probably miss it so it might be an idea to make it a larger safety net. Ya, you still might break a leg falling into that net but in all likelihood you’ll survive. Now, in the event you don’t even want to risk a broken leg, you might consider a more expensive big pile of nice soft foam blocks to be completely safe in the event of a fall. Some are willing to risk a broken leg, some might not (us older folks don’t always heal well).

    Now, to throw in a couple of variables….the weather is bad. Rain and wind are causing the risk of falling to be greater and the weather forecaster says there might even be a slight chance of freezing rain or snow. Do you go or do you put it off for a day or two with the hopes of having better weather (for those that don’t get it, that is an analogy to market timing). If you have a net or blocks of foam you might still give it a try knowing the worst case scenario. And lastly, now do this carrying a person that is depending on you, on your back. You might want to consider increasing the size of the net or pile of foam for their safety (or not).

    And with that, have a good day all.

    1. I should have also thrown in the other apparently contentious issue in this thread.

      Now a person slips us all a note and states they’d like to walk the tight rope but they are a little concerned about the weather. We all know the weather and the fact that the person asking does not “have” to walk the rope today but little else from the prospective rope walker. Some, without any thought to who asked or their situation, pipe up and say sure, no problem, go ahead. I did it last week so it will be fine. Some want some more information before offering any “advice”. Things like, how high is the rope, how old are you, do you have a net, do you need a net, are you carrying anyone on your back, are yo afraid of heights, do you know how to walk a tight rope.

          1. TMI !!!

            Isn’t everybody an MOA fan? We see tight rope walkers, net & faom block builders and no information needed types.

  28. Tight Ropes, Foam Blocks & Tomorrow’s Weather should be enough for all of us to run out today and buy GICs before we all get hurt! The above post proves my point – people buy GICs because they are scared of tomorrow. Plus – most cashable GICs still lock you in for the first 30 days (no control) pay very little in investment income and pay less – the shorter term you hold (cash out early). Never mind the time to set up and manage the ladders. But hey – have some more coffee and tell us another story – it makes me laugh 🙂

  29. Good job Mark. I have the same philosophy as you, buy and hold equities and eventually, live off the divvy. In fact, the plan is to start living this way in two weeks!

    1. I suppose there are always a few examples Mordko. That’s fine and I appreciate you pointing those out. Dividend investing has risks, with any stock selection.

      Maybe all of my 30+ stocks will “go under” at some point but I just don’t see it. At least not at the same time. If all banking, energy, utilities and infrastructure companies go under I suspect the world is in a dark and very bad place. If I’m wrong, I will definitely let folks know.

      1. Yes, diversification helps and 30+ stocks mitigates the risk of Enrons.

        And I do generally prefer stocks that pay some dividends to pure growth plays.

        The risk with focusing too much on high dividends when a lot of people are doing the same is underperformance.

        1. Thanks Mordko. Yes, if these companies go under we’re all doomed. I’m not saying I own the perfect dividend portfolio but overall, I think it’s good. I also own (and plan to) increase my holdings in VYM – so that’s ~395 dividend payers and 2.5% or more yield while I sit and wait as market goes through ups and downs. I intend to buy more VYM over time to eventually own about 1,000 or so shares.

          Long-term I’m not so worried about underperformance as I am with having a portfolio that provides income I can rely on – to meet my needs.

          How are your plans coming along? I recall you index invest mostly?

          1. Yep, couch potato investing… Also working and trying to set up a small business. So far so good; unexpectedly had some earnings in year one. Good luck with the house move, that should be exciting for your family!

          2. OK, no rush, no obligation. I just think you’ve done very well and like some other CMFers or Boomers that contribute to my site, folks can learn from you.


  30. Thank-you everyone for all your inputs. They were very helpful. I have a lot of work to do. 🙂

    Thank-you Mike and Lloyd for your comments. Sorry if my questions caused any friction between you guys. This is a great site for sharing our opinions. Looking forward to learning more from this site.

    1. ” I have a lot of work to do.”

      With a 700+ drop in the DJIA today it might be a good idea to keep your eye on the *weather forecast* too. 😉

  31. Wow You point out something very important about the last years of the TSX. I really never notice, Im so intune my Dividend payers. No lost time here. Great call doing dividends payers over the last 10 years!


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