Weekend Reading – Anonymous blogging, building dividend portfolios, COVID-19 budget impacts, and more #moneystuff

Weekend Reading – Anonymous blogging, building dividend portfolios, COVID-19 budget impacts, and more #moneystuff

Hey Everyone,

Welcome to my latest Weekend Reading edition where I share some of my favourite articles from the week that was across the personal finance and investing blogosphere.

What. A. Weekend so far!

The weather has been absolutely spectacular in Ottawa hours to date – looking forward to a great day being outside for most of it.


Earlier this week I published this update about our financial independence journey:

Financial Independence Update – May 2020

Onwards and upwards as I always say!

Do you have any upcoming, major financial goals in mind?

Enjoy this Weekend Reading edition as you enjoy the rest of your weekend as well. I’ll be back with new content again very soon!


Weekend Reading

After a year of anonymous blogging, Chrissy from Eat Sleep Breathe FI offered a big reveal about who she really is. I can relate. When it comes to anonymous blogging I did that for almost five years running this site. I eventually came to the conclusion that while some details about personal finance will always remain private and personal, I enjoy running this site and blogging. So, at the end of the day, there is little point in hiding what you enjoy and who you are.

Credit Card Genius highlighted how to optimize your PC Optimum rewards.

Great stuff on MoneySense about the best all-in-one ETFs for 2020. 

I previously shared my best-of list of those funds here.  I’m a big fan of VEQT but XEQT (a new fund) looks outstanding as well. Here are the holdings for a skinny 0.20% MER:

XEQT MER 0.20%

Image courtesy of iShares. 

It was great to listen to Jessica (from The Fioneers) on the Explore FI Canada podcast. Jessica and her husband embrace the slower path to Financial Independence (FI) – a far more relatable and sensible path for most people.

Accidental FIRE wrote about the tradeoffs that come with part-time work. We’re not quite where we want to be (yet) with making the leap to part-time employment but after we reach a couple of our major financial goals I can see us working part-time (~in about five years).

This article highlighted just some of the consequences this COVID-19 event will have on our economy. When it comes to our personal finances:

  • Retirees may need to tighten their spending;
  • People just keeping their head above water should consider visiting a non-profit credit counselling agency for help with budgeting;
  • Folks who took advantage of any loan deferrals to date (on mortgages or debt payments) should strongly consider lowering their overall debt loan immediately;
  • Everyone should be thinking extra hard about their job security going forward;
  • Any near-term financial goals should always start with savings;
  • This should be a big wake-up that an emergency fund is not a callable loan like a HELOC is!

Other thoughts and perspectives???

Thanks to all entrants and dedicated readers who entered this recent giveaway on my site. Dale, congrats! I’ll be sending this book in the mail to you very soon!

Your TFSA Compounder – Work Your TFSA Harder So You Can Retire Sooner

Reader question of the week (adapted for the site):

Hi Mark,

I follow your financial independence journey with a passion. My pointed questions are:

1.How much dividend income do you think is enough for you to start retirement on?


2.What Canadian stocks do you own? Are you buying more during this crisis?

Thanks so much!

Thanks for your questions!

OK, let’s dive in.

  1. How much dividend income do you think is enough for you to start retirement on?

I figure beyond our RRSP assets, about $30,000 in dividend income earned from our taxable account and inside our Tax Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs). 

You can read about some of my reasoning for that amount on this detailed page here. 

Beyond this $30,000 per year, I figure another $30,000-$40,000 earned per year (after tax) from a combination of RRSP draw downs and part-time work in our 50s and 60s should cover other expenses. 

Our game plan in the coming decades?

  • We will start withdrawing at least $20,000 or more per year from our RRSPs starting in our 50s. That money will cover many basic expenses for a few decades;
  • We intend to work part-time in our 50s and potentially in our 60s to keep the body and mind active;
  • We will spend the dividends earned from our taxable account.

We figure the combination of “living off dividends” + part-time work in our 50s should provide about $70,000 per year (after-tax) to cover all needs and wants. That’s enough for us.

2.What Canadian stocks do you own? Are you buying more during this crisis?

I own a number of Canadian dividend paying stocks and have for many years.

I have essentially unbundled the top holdings in ETFs like XIU, VDY for growing income.

For example, in the popular dividend fund VDY, the top-10 holdings of this fund comprise consistently > 70% of the holdings. I figured out many years ago I can skip paying some money manager fees to own these stocks and just own them directly. I just happen to own all 10 below:

VDY ETF April 30, 2020

Image courtesy of Vanguard. 

Other Canadian stocks I buy and hold are listed here.

Am I buying more Canadian stocks during this crisis?

Nope. Although my DRIPs are buying more shares commission-free every month and quarter when dividends are paid.

My focus is on owning more U.S. stocks and ETFs over time until 2021 TFSA contribution room opens up. With our TFSAs maxed out, we’re putting our final contribution room deposits into our RRSP accounts this summer. Then, our RRSPs will be maxed out as well. That’s where I have been saving and investing of late.

Happy investing and keep those questions coming in!


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.

8 Responses to "Weekend Reading – Anonymous blogging, building dividend portfolios, COVID-19 budget impacts, and more #moneystuff"

  1. Giving out ones name over the internet is/has been tough. Of course at my age having someone acknowledge you, should be a compliment. But still it’s an odd feeling knowing the people actually know who you are over the internet. If one is willing to step out and write about a specific topic, one should be willing to let others know at least who they are.In your case I believe knowing who you are gives them more confidence in accepting your opinions.
    You notice I still use “cannew”, hard to break old habits.

    1. It is tough and challenging to put your name “out there” especially when it comes to money stuff but I figure at the end of the day you need to be true to who you are and what you enjoy doing. There is also a much higher level of trust and transparency that comes with a real face and name in anything you do.

      All the best cannew and yes, I do notice that!

      1. I applaud all the financial bloggers that use their real names and agree with the comment about trust and transparency. And I wish all the success and rewards for doing so.
        Personally, I’m paranoid about having too visible of presence on the Internet/social media and the possibility of being more at risk of scams. And while I suppose I wouldn’t have to get into specific numbers, I don’t like the idea of friends and family knowing my numbers and then potentially judging every financial decision I make, large or small. Personality-wise and mentally, I don’t have thick enough skin.

        1. That’s a good point Millhouse about scammers.

          Ya, I struggle with even what I disclose on this site since friends and family know I run it, as do a growing list of co-workers. I will never share all details but I think I share enough to show folks what I’m investing in, why, and how that income is growing to meet my goals.

          That’s decent transparency!

          All the best to you during this time.


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