Weekend Reading – building million dollar portfolios, crazy HELOCs, blogs, taxes and more

Weekend Reading – building million dollar portfolios, crazy HELOCs, blogs, taxes and more

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.

This is what I got around to posting this week:

I shared a simple but not easy mind you, three-step recipe how to build a million dollar portfolio here.

I updated an older post about why I still intend to live off dividends and distributions and shared a profile about a successful investor who intends to do the same.

Enjoy these other articles and see you again next week!

This Globe and Mail article equates HELOCs (Home Equity Lines of Credit) to an automated teller machine.  “A HELOC makes it so that you can pretty much use your house as an ATM and use the equity you have for trips or clothes or other expenses that do not improve the value of your home.”

From the same article, profiling these homebuyers:  “The Baldwins entered the housing market in 2008 by buying a suburban condo and feel fortunate to have scooped up a run-down property in mid-2016 on Vancouver’s east side for $1.45-million – a bargain in a city where the price for detached houses sold last year averaged $2.64-million.”  Days after reading this article, I’m still wrapping my head around the concept of purchasing a run-down property…for $1.45-million.

Canadian Budget Binder highlighted some tips and changes for the upcoming income tax season.

Kerry Taylor took one for the team in this post – why she went to a real estate bitcoin wealth expo in Toronto (so you don’t have to.)  From her article:

“This is my first pair of ThunderStix. I’m hoping to use them for something constructive, like hitting myself repeatedly for attending this event.”  Funny stuff.

GenYmoney listed an ultimate list of Canadian dividend blogs – thanks for the mention!

These responsible savers, at and approaching their early 60s respectfully, have done VERY well for themselves and should have no worries in retirement with the following assets: RRSPs ~$1.3 million, TFSAs ~$44,000 and then they have $201,000 in a taxable account and a paid off home worth $725,000.  Hard to believe folks think they can’t retire on that in their 60s.

Stocks are more similar to bonds – than you think.

Here’s how to engineer your own luck.

My buddy Stephen Weyman highlighted some of the best no-fee cash back credit cards in Canada.

If you’ve been reading my Weekend Reading editions for the past few weeks, you’ll know my wife and I are starting some purging (as we start the process to downsize from our existing bungalow in the south end of Ottawa to a condo in the city).  As part of this purge-mode, I have dozens of personal finance and investing books I want to giveaway.  I have a giveaway still running for a few more hours here.

I will announce the winner of that giveaway in the coming week.

OK, here is the latest giveaway:

Enter to win my gently used edition of The Quest for Alpha by L. Swedroe.

The Quest for Alpha

You can find my review of this good book here.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Deals and reminders

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Save BIG bucks when opening your self-directed TFSA BMO account with my BMO promo code here.

Here is a free trial to unbiased stock and ETF suggestions in Canada.  This can help you set-up your new low-cost, self-directed portfolio!

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.

22 Responses to "Weekend Reading – building million dollar portfolios, crazy HELOCs, blogs, taxes and more"

  1. I’d love to win a copy of this book too!

    Good luck with the purge – when we moved from our first home to our current, we had 9 years of stuff to move. Boxes sat in our new basement unopened for 3 years – should have gone to the thrift shop so someone else could use the stuff. I’ve been in my current home now 11 years – I can’t imagine what I’d have to do to purge at this point!

  2. Once again, late to the game…(get used to it!)

    re: HELOC
    Yup, lots (not that many really, look up the data) of people use their HELOC to buy stuff which does not “improve the value” of the underlaying asset (the house). But what if you use the HELOC to improve the value of your financial asset portfolio (e.g. buying dividend growth stocks)? Besides that, it’s fairly obvious from the article itself, in this real estate environment, home improvements are the least powerful driver when it comes to improving the market price (I’ll assume the G&M author is confusing value with price).

    re: Engineering luck
    I think it was Buffett who said (at almost 90, he’s pretty much said most things) luck is merely the exposure to opportunity (as F35 & Seneca dually state). Hang out in your parent’s basement until your 38 and you’re never going to kiss a girl (#hip). If you were born a white male in North America any time during the last 100 years you were basically born with luck coming out your wahzoo — there was no opportunity from which you were excluded. So get out there and start kissing girls!

    re: the best no-fee cash back credit cards
    sigh… ‘Best’ and ‘Credit Card’ should never be used together in the same sentence.
    Perhaps we should start reviewing the “Best” loan shark…or the “Best” Ponzi scheme.

  3. Lloyd (57, retired (but farm a bit), married, rural MB) · Edit

    Reminds me of the old joke about how to make a million dollars in farming……..start with two million.


  4. I’ve never heard of this book and am always interested in learning about investing. If I win, when I’m done, I will pass it on as I’ve just moved and am trying to minimize my stuff. Thanks for giving. Besos Sarah.

  5. RBull (58, retired, hitched, rural coastal NS) · Edit

    Re the Globe Rolly/Dawn story it seems to me they’ve done well with their assets regardless of how they got there, but we don’t know how they’re invested now. The suggested plan, not tapping principle or home and with a large discretionary budget seems pretty conservative. Our travel spend since retirement is more and we’re really enjoying this so far but at some point (10-15? years) from now will probably slow down!)

    Interesting link on bonds. Hold approx 13% in bonds now (10% corp, 3% gvt).

    Got hit with the paywall on the Heloc story. I’m sure there are a lot of people out starting to drown that way. Have one here too that I used short term as a bridge when we owned 2 homes with one for sale. Don’t plan to ever use again.

    Ha Mark, not many of us that wouldn’t change some things investing/savings wise if we had it to do over. You’re indeed in great shape and have done many things right. Seems reading this blog there are lot of people that have done incredibly well and are fortunate too.

    1. Sorry about that. I should know by now not to link to Globe articles re: paywall. I do subscribe to the Globe but offset the costs for the small business/blog.

      Funny you talk about the bridge, we’ll likely have to do that with our house but I’m optimistic it will sell rather quickly next year if we continue to keep it in good shape.

      1. RBull (58, retired, hitched, rural coastal NS) · Edit

        No worries. Hit my Globe free limit on that one I guess. The Rolly one worked.

        Probably right on your house. We sold our last one privately in 35 days for 18K more than a RE agent told us to list at and at exactly the top number of the range by the appraiser I hired. We had an award winning mint home in a great area so wasn’t worried about selling. Different story where I am now and 2+ years is probably closer to the norm.

  6. Lloyd (57, retired (but farm a bit), married, rural MB) · Edit

    “Hard to believe folks think they can’t retire on that in their 60s.”

    I had to look to see why….40% of their monthly budget is for travel/entertainment. That would be discretionary so if they found they couldn’t retire on their earnings they have a heck of a cushion.

  7. Rolly 60 & Dawn 58 are definitely “Super Savers”. Saving of $1.6Mil probably all in GIC’s generating about 2% as there is no mention Mutuals. Fantastic!
    Too bad they did not start reading Mark’s blog along the way, or better yet, pay the $50/year for the Connolly Report. Today that $1.6Mil would be producing over $100k per year in dividends and continue to grow. We reached that millstone at about the same point.

    1. Ha, also, too bad Mark didn’t invest this way in his 20s. Ah well, live and learn. We’re doing OK and we’re very thankful for what we have in life. We are very fortunate.

      1. Mark, I take exception to you calling yourself fortunate. You and your wife worked hard and made other “sacrifices” along the way to get where you are. To me the only fortunate part was that you were smart enough to do it! My wife and I were called lucky when reviewing our financial situation with an advisor and I told him I did not agree. I explained that my wife had spent many evenings and weekends without me as I worked late or away. We did not buy our first toy(a quad) until I was 50. We smartened up and quit buying new vehicles. We saved… I could go on. Our 2 children didn’t do without and we vacationed but we did not give them everything they wanted. Did we make mistakes along the way? You bet. Did we have challenges you bet My wife went through 2 rounds of cancer. Is this luck or being fortunate? I don’t think so. I’ll get off my soapbox now and I hope you and all the others doing the right things keep being fortunate!

        1. I agree with you Duane. It’s “unfortunate” some people have to attribute another person’s blood, sweat and tear work to “luck”. Another term some people like to attribute to other’s success is “survivorship bias”. We all know the hard work involved in earning, saving and investing for our retirement. Have a happy weekend everyone. 🙂

        2. No problem with the comment Duane – re: fortunate. I guess you’re right..we have worked hard and I continue to push myself today.

          You raise a good point about luck. You can make your own to some degree – it’s called good choices and hard work.

          I too have made many mistake in my life but I continue to learn from them.

          I’m very sorry to hear about your wife’s cancer.

          The respectful soapbox is here for you, it’s a good reason to run the blog, I “vent” here too 🙂


  8. Thanks for the mention Mark 🙂 have fun cleaning stuff up, I really enjoy purge mode. Yes, hard to believe someone in Vancouver feels they got a steal of a deal for a 1.45 mill run down home. 🙁


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