Weekend Reading – Asset Quilt 2023

Weekend Reading – Asset Quilt 2023

Hi Everyone,

Welcome to a new Weekend Reading edition, this one, on the asset quilt for 2023.

I hope you enjoyed your holidays and 2024 is off to a great start…

I remained busy on My Own Advisor over the last few weeks. Here are some posts that you might enjoy:

Thanks to reader inputs and based on my own observations related to the timing of RRSP/RRIF withdrawals, I shared this Weekend Reading update:

I posted this article about buying and holding low-cost ETF XAW over the years – something I was leaning towards buying more of for our TFSAs in 2024.

I published some of my favourite articles from 2024 here:

My Own Advisor Year in Review

I posted two (2) major financial goals for 2024. That’s it. Killing debt isn’t one of them either. Read why!

Weekend Reading – Asset Quilt 2023

Headlining Weekend Reading, is this asset quilt for various returns in 2023 thanks to @NovelInvestor.

Novel Investor Asset Class Returns QuiltSource: NovelInvestor.com

How did your portfolio perform in 2023?

Overall, if you were in low-cost, diversified ETFs, including some all-in-one ETFs it should have been a VERY good year for you!

To answer the question, our portfolio performed just fine – since I/we tend to focus on the meaningful income our portfolio generates to eventually cover expenses along with returns. Staying invested in a number of stocks and low-cost ETFs as we do are designed to generate market-like returns since we don’t trade nor tinker with the portfolio, and low-cost ETFs invested in stocks outside Canada offer growth.

Further Reading: Why I decided to unbundle my Canadian ETF for income.

If your bias was more simplicity than my approach and seeking total returns, then these ETFs including some great all-in-one ETFs might have done very well for you in 2023 after a terrible 2022:

VEQT (100% equity)16.95%-10.92%
XEQT (100% equity)17.05%-10.93%
ZEQT (100% equity)16.75%-5.25%
HEQT (100% equity22.64%-19.20%
XAW (100% equity ex-Canada)18.16%-11.77%

Beyond some of these great all-equity ETFs for your portfolio, consider these in this post that might hold a mix of stocks and bonds to match your risk tolerance and investing objectives:

The Best All-in-One Exchange Traded Funds

No financial advisor or money manager needed for these ETFs. The wise ones would tell you to index invest in some diversified ETFs anyhow. Just food for thought in 2024 if you haven’t considered DIY investing.

More Weekend Reading – Beyond Asset Quilt 2023…

This week, I also enjoyed this post from Tawcan, a few stocks he’s considering for his TFSA in 2024.

Jon Chevreau wrote about why Canadian investors should include U.S. stocks in their portfolios.

Here are some essential tax numbers for 2024.

Dale Roberts shared some year-end returns and other investing musings from the year that was…

My friend Dividend Growth Investor released a great list of U.S. Dividend Champions.

I thought this was a very worthy list of key Canadian vloggers and personal finance YouTubers – some I try and check out from time to time…

Here are some interesting, early YTD returns from the oil and gas sector. Gurgen is a must-follow IMO. 

What does 2024 have in store?

I have a few (fun) predictions that I will share soon but they are just that, some thoughts and this is a good reminder that experts know nothing about what the financial future might hold – but they have to put food on the table as well…

Vanguard still took a leap of faith though, will they be right in 2024?

Low-cost DIY and Done-For-You Projections

Have you Googled a financial question but can’t get an answer to your specific financial situation? Have you tried all the “free” financial calculators online, but just can’t seem to get the answers that you are looking for?

Have you looked into a getting some numbers and/or projections run but you are not willing to pay thousands of dollars? We get it and we don’t blame you. We wouldn’t either. 

As always, you can also consider reaching out here for some low-cost financial projections services – anytime.

Cashflows & Portfolios

I launched this service with my semi-retired, passionate DIY investor and good friend, Joe, the founder of Million Dollar Journey – a service founded by DIY investors for DIY investors – to deliver quality services without the conflict of any advice, without costly fees (like some folks charge), while offering money-back guarantees because we’d expect that as DIY folks ourselves…

Make sure you ask me about our “Holiday Discount” that continues…when you click to learn more….

Never an obligation. I started this service because simply, I like helping other DIY investors as much as possible. 🙂

Enjoy your weekend, I’ll be back next week with a new monthly dividend income update to wrap-up 2023!


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.

14 Responses to "Weekend Reading – Asset Quilt 2023"

    1. I personally like XIU for Canada. 🙂

      Lots of reasons including decent past returns, for sure, and potential future performance.

      Let me know your thoughts!

  1. Hi Mark,
    I’m not sure if this is the forum to ask this question, but it is something I have recently been wondering about and is a dividend investor related question. I wonder if you have a particular opinion on the topic. With dividend income getting grossed up 38%, it could contribute to an OAS claw back. With that in mind and considering stock prices theoretically decline by the amount of the dividend after ex-dividend date, would it be more tax efficient to sell the shares just before ex-dividend and then buy them back the next day? That could convert the dividend income to capital gains which would be treated more favourably from a tax perspective at relatively higher tax brackets and would be less impactful to a potential OAS claw back.

    I would be interested to get your thoughts on such a strategy.

    Thank you

    1. Ask any questions, anytime!

      Correct, taxable dividends could trigger OAS clawbacks, if substantial enough. That would be rare but of course it could happen…

      Your approach might work, but in reality, you are incurring transaction costs, selling stock temporarily only to buy them back isn’t going to alter your dividend income stream very much unless you are “out” of the market for an extended period of time, and, doing this just to avoid OAS clawbacks seems like a lot of time and wasted energy. Maybe I don’t understand the process you’re speaking of very well but I would say for 99.99% of Canadians, having OAS clawbacks is an income problem to have in retirement and everyone would be thrilled to have it. 🙂

      The better OAS clawback avoidance strategy is to avoid RRSP/RRIF withdrawals before taking OAS (all RRSP/RRIF assets are gone before OAS is taken?), focus only on capital gains inside a taxable account, and minimize CPP income as to keep your taxable income below the OAS clawback threshold.

      Happy to discuss 🙂

      1. Thank you for responding Mark and DivInvestor. There is no doubt that the OAS claw back is a nice problem to have; however, I do believe high income earners typically pay their fair share of taxes under our progressive tax structure, so I wouldn’t blame anyone for using any legitimate strategy to minimize the amount of taxes or claw backs they may be subjected to.

        I definitely agree that this strategy requires more effort and a bit more risk because stocks can move for reasons beyond going ex-dividend. However, if someone enjoys tinkering with their portfolio, this could be a profitable approach. For example, if we consider a scenario of owning 1000 BCE shares generating $3870 in dividends in the 43.41% tax bracket, the tax savings would be somewhere in the $700 range plus there is a potential additional $200 claw back savings after all commissions are considered (about $80).

        I realize this would not be for everyone given the level of effort required, but as a long time dividend investor nearing retirement where CPP and OAS will soon come into play, I do believe this could be a legitimate way to lower one’s tax burden as well as potentially reduce any OAS claw back.

        Always happy to discuss and discover ways to optimize net after tax income streams.


        1. Thanks, Henry.

          Have you thought about selling, slowly, now, your taxable investments and moving to a capital gains-only approach??

          (This would help vs. lots of dividend income in your taxable account. Unfortunately, if you are fortunate enough to have a wealthy/healthy RRSP/RRIF, there is no way to avoid the income to be reported when you make RRSP/RRIF withdrawals.)

          Solving for your taxable income is likely the answer. Even then, when taxable accounts become very high (i.e., > $1M) then very difficult to avoid OAS clawbacks. It’s just math then – but I hope you have this tax problem to navigate – I’m happy for you if you do!! 🙂


          1. Thanks Mark. I very much appreciate your input. I have considered a more capital growth approach; however, I must admit that I prefer the more stable and predictable nature of blue chip dividend stocks compared to more speculative growth stocks. I am just not a fan of the impact the gross up has on reported income that is not actual income. I know I am in a very fortuitous position. I just want to be as tax efficient as possible. All the best!

            1. I hear ya, Henry. I’ve invested that way (using CDN dividend paying stocks) in our taxable accounts for >10 years while we strive to max out our TFSAs (with stocks and ETFs) and RRSPs (with stocks and ETFs), first, in that order. The gross up, as you know, is really part of tax integration that can’t be avoided unless a host of other tax system changes occur.

              You are indeed, in a very good financial place if OAS clawbacks are starting to occur. 🙂 There are however some CDN stocks that pay dividends but are lower-yielding stocks so you can still get the best of both worlds = dividend growth + capital gains. Not advice of course, but certainly CNR, CP, ATD, EQB and WCN in particular come to mind for me.

              Anything you’re planning to buy in 2024? Does the taxable account(s) provide good income?
              I’ll be posted our December 2023 wrap-up post hopefully later today. 🙂



              1. Thanks again, Mark. Good point on the lower yielding stocks. Traditionally, I had focused on the key Canadian sectors that offered moderate yields (Telcos, Banks/Financials, Utilities, Energy, etc.) and have been DRIPing for decades. As a result, the taxable income is quite good, hence, the desire to lower the tax impact as I get closer to CPP and OAS age.

                Outside of the DRIP purchases, I have started dabbling in Index ETFs as a means to generate some capital growth (e.g. XIU, VOO, VEU, VTI and SPY). I plan to buy more of those going forward as the DRIP continue to build my core holdings.

                I only recently came across the concept of selling shares before the ex-dividend date to convert dividends to capital gains, so I am very curious about using this strategy in the future. I will have to do some back testing to validate the theory of it potentially working on a consistent basis. It’s funny because I considered it for my TD shares that went ex-dividend today and chickened out. It’s unfortunate because had I pulled the trigger, I would have done extremely well.

                I always love chatting about investment strategies. This will be my eventual retirement hobby.

                Have a great 2024!!

                1. Happy to chat and engage always, this site was designed for that! 🙂

                  I just released our 2023 final dividend income tally I report, every month – should be out in my newsletter tomorrow sometime but published on the site now.


    2. I was considering this strategy as well way back when building the portfolio. But it is very unreliable. Shares will go down after a dividend payment, and then keep going down, or up, after. This requires you to constantly monitor the market, it’s more like trying to time the market. I prefer getting the dividends. Then if you want to try timing, use dividends to buy more shares at the right time.
      As far as OAS claw back, I think we make way too much of it. This was designed as a social benefit for seniors that can not make ends meet. It was not meant for wealthy people that have to worry about the claw back. But I get it, our governments already take so much from us taxpayers.

      1. Sage input, Div, thanks very much.

        I continue to believe, right or wrong, OAS clawbacks are a “good problem” to have in retirement. It means you’ve saved enough and/or have plenty of cashflow. Nobody aged 65+ making >$90k per year needs “income security” IMO but that’s just me.

        I hope to have this problem in another 15 years! I will let you all know then if my thinking has changed. 🙂

  2. Thanks Mark!
    Very good resources for us DIYer’s. The stuff occupying my mind recently was:
    – what to buy in the the TFSA in 2024 and,
    – what are some of the strategies for withdrawing from the RRSP – as a contrast to what I’m doing.

    So definitely useful and timely.

    Best Regards,


    1. Well, if it helps Steve, a few DIYers I know who invest in individual stocks and ETFs are thinking the following for the TFSA in 2024:

      1. Low-cost ETFs like XAW, VFV, XIU.
      2. They are also considering some beaten-up sector stocks like utilties, telcos, banks.

      Never advice, just some ideas.

      Check out this post related to RRSP or TFSA withdrawals, for pretty much 99% of the successful retirees I talk to, the RRSP withdrawals happen before the TFSA for sure…


      Thoughts! Happy New Year.


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