Weekend Reading – Idiocracy, $1 million decisions, early retirement, road trips and more

Welcome to some fine Weekend Reading friends – some of the best personal finance and investing articles from the blogosphere.

On this site I shared an update of my 2016 financial predictions and I shared my boring (but successful journey to date) for passive dividend income.

We need some rain in Ottawa so hopefully the weekend will bring some.  Have a great weekend.


I’m trying very hard to avoid any political commentary on this site however as the American election evolves, the more this election reminds me of this movie.

Although the math isn’t spot on, that isn’t the point – I get Andrew Hallam’s take – buying a used car (instead of leasing) is usually a great way to save money over your lifetime.  It could be a $1 million decision.

Pete Adeney better known as Mr. Money Mustache shared his secret to early retirement – use money as something to invest rather than something to spend.

John Heinzl shared a few things he’s learned about investing.

Dividend Growth Investor says you shouldn’t immediately applaud this Vanguard move.

Here’s how one couple saved enough money to retire early.  Save 70% of your income for a decade or more.

Cait Flanders is on a road trip.

Dividend Earner reviewed TD Direct Investing’s WebBroker platform.

Michael James on Money said “selling low is dumb whether you have a smart-sound reason or not”.

Million Dollar Journey doesn’t use DRIPs (Dividend Reinvestment Plans) for investments inside his leveraged portfolio.

Larry MacDonald profiled this RN with a passion for dividend investing.

My name is Mark Seed - the founder, editor and owner of My Own Advisor. As my own DIY financial advisor, I'm looking to start semi-retirement soon, sooner than most. Find out how, what I did, and what you can learn to tailor your own financial independence path. Join the newsletter read by thousands each day, always FREE.

13 Responses to "Weekend Reading – Idiocracy, $1 million decisions, early retirement, road trips and more"

  1. Retiring early can mean a lot of different things to different people. After 35 years of shift work I knew I had enough. There is ample information out there that shift work can take years off of your life and I did not want to die in that harness. Furthermore, retiring from one’s occupation or career does not mean they have stopped working. I put in a lot more hours on the farm now that I am no longer gainfully employed.

  2. John Heinzl’s article is a great investment summary and it corresponds with what you’ve (Mark) have posted before.

    I’m 74 and looking back, I can’t imagine wanting to retire at 30, let alone 65. I enjoyed working, the lifestyle and the company of the people I worked and associated with. The thought of retiring early is fine but one will be looking at probably double the remaining time of one’s life to look forward to. Can one save & generate enough income to do all the things one might by retiring at 30?

    When one has larger somes of money to invest, DRIP’s the disadvantages may out weigh the advantages. But as I’ve mentioned many times I believe that for beginners or those with limited money to invest, DRIP’s are one of the best methods to generate a growing income from what they can afford.

  3. WebBroker: I use both TD and RY online brokerages. TD is pretty good; RY is pretty horrendous (they just “upgraded” half of their platform…Half? Really? With $90 bazillion in profits they couldn’t pull together a complete revamp?!)

    American Election: I understand why some Canadians are completely enthralled by the current circus — it’s hard to ignore your neighbour who blares their stereo on ’11’ all day long. I like to remind myself that it’s not my country so the craziness is mostly irrelevant, no matter how offensive or entertaining.

    Retiring early: I used to hold a fairly dim view on people whose biggest goal in life was to retire early, thinking that if they put as much effort into creating/pursuing a career they enjoyed as much as they did into retiring early, we’d have a much better society*. However, I’ve recently realized that people who want to stop working are producers; the people who don’t stop working are innovators. It’s the innovators who push the world forward, dragging the producers along behind them. So, yeah, if you’re a producer, go for it, do whatever you can to stop working, your slot will be filled. But if you are an innovator, please don’t retire, we need you.
    *(Perhaps an alternative to early retirement would be to find an innovator to support/work for.)

    Time to start the weekend with a donut ice cream sandwich:
    http://www.empiredonuts.ca/ + http://www.coldcomfort.ca/
    (shameless West Coast business plug!)

    1. They are two of the best brokerages I find, along with BMO.

      I never want to really “retire” but I do want to have more flexibility when it comes to my time – so if I can choose when and how I work sooner in life – I figure that’s a good thing.

      Would you call production or innovation independence?


      1. “Would you call production or innovation independence?”

        That depends on what kind of independence you mean.

        Personally, I think that word should ignored by most people (for reasons saved for a different conversation), but that’s a tall order (also a different conversation…maybe I think much…lol).

        A producer, even those classified as an entrepreneur, are very dependent. However, I would say the 9-5er is less dependent than the entrepreneur who is dependent on a lot of variables.

        An innovator does not need to innovate; they can be a producer just like the rest of us, and most likely they already are. Thus, I would give innovators a very high degree of independence.

        A great example would be the difference between two countries such as Canada and Singapore. Canada is almost exclusively a production economy; we have a lot of natural resources to exploit thus the need/desire for innovation is small. This results in a confined, and perhaps predictable, level of growth, etc. Singapore is just the opposite, it has no natural resources to exploit. The citizens are the product. This resulted in a natural need to innovate — from business to education to public policy — which has catapulted them to the top (or near) of many global categories.

        Comparing GDP/capita (1965-2015):
        Canada (Producer): $3,000 – $43,000
        Singapore (Innovator): $500 – $85,000

        The difference being that the producer adheres to its limitations whereas the innovator builds upon those limits.

        1. Oh I like the idea of being an innovator…I would just need some more time to be creative.

          Re: “Would you call production or innovation independence?”

          How best shall I phrase the journey I’m on? Saving and investing my way so I can choose when and how to work someday?

          1. “I like the idea of being an innovator…I would just need some more time to be creative.”

            Um…that’s not really how innovation works. Innovators are driven to innovate regardless of restraints on time, money, etc. The reason there are so few innovators is simply because they have a different mentality than the rest of us.

            If innovation was truly part of your DNA and a true passion, then you already have “some more time”: stop running this blog, stop playing golf, etc.

            Innovators will even make bad decisions over good ones just to see their ideas come to fruition, e.g. Henry Ford and the Dodge brothers.

            “Saving and investing my way so I can choose when and how to work someday?”

            This doesn’t make sense. All factors are already provided for you in your current job, all you have to do is show up. Starting anew out on your own terms and/or changing vocations would require a lot more time than you are spending at your current job (have you done any type of analysis?). Your new “when and how” work may be more enjoyable and satisfying, but if ‘more discretionary time’ is the ultimate goal for early retirement, it would probably be best to simply stop working all together.

            In any case, I’ve done a complete 180 on my valuation of the early retirement culture.

            I’ll also suggest that there are many unhappy producers within the government simply because the government is most likely the last adopter of innovation, and most certainly not an initiator. That’s a good thing, btw; a fast-evolving status quo would be chaos.

            1. Part of the ingredient for innovation – is time. Time to think. Time to reflect. Time to tinker. Time to test and re-test and more. I think what you’re taking about is the motivation and sheer drive to innovate – true innovators are akin to workaholics and have an obsession to innovate or create.

              “If innovation was truly part of your DNA and a true passion, then you already have “some more time”: stop running this blog, stop playing golf, etc.”

              This is true. This is my point 🙂

              Innovators fail far more often than they succeed, but it’s when they succeed – that can be magical.

              Well, I have to show up, I have to produce and I have to innovate to some degree to keep my job actually. It would take a great deal more time and energy to innovate to where I could earn the same salary as a producer. I’m actually very open to innovation and change which is quite different than most people who are resistant to change.


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