Weekend Reading – Financial Independence Update edition

Weekend Reading – Financial Independence Update edition

Welcome to some new Weekend Reading: financial independence update edition.

You can check out some other recent Weekend Reading editions below:

The habits of successful investors can be found here. 

Is paying off your mortgage a mistake?

I have long believed cash flow is really king.

Financial Independence Update

Wow, what a week for bank dividends.

Remember this post: financial dividends are coming?

Weekend Reading – Financial dividends are coming

Well, they arrived, in style.

In case you missed bank earnings and raises this week, here is breakdown:

  • Tuesday: Bank of Nova Scotia reported some $2.56 billion in net income in the three months ending Oct. 31. They increased their dividend by 11%.
  • Wednesday: Royal Bank, Canada’s biggest lender, increased its quarterly dividend by 11% to C$1.20 a share. National Bank, increased its dividend by a whopping 23% to 87 Canadian cents.
  • Thursday: TD said it would increase its dividend by 12.7%, and buy back up to 2.7% of outstanding shares. CIBC raised its dividend by 10.2% to C$1.61 per share and will buy back up to 2.2% of stock.
  • Friday: BMO Financial Group raised its quarterly dividend 25 per cent and beat expectations as it reported a fourth-quarter profit of nearly $2.2 billion, up from nearly $1.6 billion in the same quarter last year. The bank says it will now pay a quarterly dividend of $1.33 per share, up from $1.06. It also plans to buy back up to 22.5 million of its shares.

 Just wow.

Those increases added well over $1,000 to our dividend income stream for our future semi-retirement. To put that payday into perspective, at current bank yields, that’s like writing us a cheque for tens of thousands of dollars. Incredible.

I have no idea what 2022 will bring for any dividend raises, but this was a stellar week to say the least for my portfolio.

In fact, if you add in other recent financial raises, it was a heckuva month:

Weekend Reading - Financial Independence

This week definitely accelerated our finanical independence path that I encourage you to read about and comment on!

A great quote from my one of my favourite blogs:

“What looks like success is often just patience.”

Enjoy the rest of these Weekend Reads and see you here next week – for some free tax tips as you plan for calendar year end!

Weekend Reading

Maybe not surprisingly, active money management in Canada is a laggard – in fact, they have been the worst.

“Among five developed markets examined, Australia’s mutual funds stacked up best against their benchmark, with less than half (44%) doing worse than the S&P/ASX 200 for the year ended on June 30, 2021. Meanwhile, Canada had the dubious distinction of having the greatest proportion of underperforming mutual funds, with 60% lagging the S&P/TSX Composite. The U.S. and Japan did only slightly better, as 58% of mutual funds in the two regions did worse than their respective benchmarks.”

Geez…

Dividend Strategy was not impressed when it comes to free financial seminars.

Frugal Trader updated his financial freedom journey – impressive as always really!

Congrats to Dividend Daddy – crushing it with his dividend income journey.

Robb Engen was channelling some Cashflows & Portfolios thinking this week – highlighting using an example why you should’t take CPP at age 65.

Cashflows & Portfolios would agree – in fact – the math says taking CPP at age 70 (if you can’t make 7-8% or more returns on any CPP income if you invested the money instead) is actually better.

I read a few articles this week related to how to invest when stock markets are at near highs. With too many articles to link to, here are some tips:

  • Forget FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) – invest when you have the money to do so.
  • For 2022, experts have no idea if markets will continue to climb or not. So, don’t be worried if the best gains may or may not be behind you. If your goal is to invest for the long-term, then think and act long-term.
  • If you don’t yet have a financial plan, next year might be best year to consider making a financial plan.
  • Should you speculate with your retirement portfolio? I wouldn’t speculate too much anyhow. While extreme risks can deliver extreme rewards, what can make you wealthy if you go big can also make you poor.

A Purple Life recaps how she went from $5K in savings to retirement in, get this: 9 years.

Always great to see what is or is not making sense in the markets this week, thanks Dale!

Who owns U.S. stocks? Dividend Growth Investor has some details.

Accidentally Retired reviewed The Psychology of Money. This seems to be a great book to be on my reading list as well. 

A big thanks to Tawcan for his thorough review of my financial projections service over at Cashflows & Portfolios.

More FREE content

How I invest in dividend paying stocks is always found here. I’ll have another juicy dividend income update very soon!

Looking for free calculators, tools, or even my support? Check out my Helpful Sites page here.

This is how you can invest in many low-cost ETFs here. Ditch your advisor – keep your money!

My Retirement page is filled with many successful retirement case studies – folks that have been there and done that! Learn from them for free.

Here is just one example from that page: 

Mike and Julie want to spend $50,000 per year in retirement starting in their 50s. How much do they need?

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

Hi Mark,

Congrats on all your efforts for moving towards FI. Love that you were also enlightened by The Wealthy Barber. And on behalf of many Canadians, thanks so much for writing & speaking about your journey – and educating and inspiring so many to consider our own finances and take action!

I’m in a curious position following a serious accident, need to ensure I have a solid financial plan & to implement it well (for current living and well into the future) and so would love to hear some of your thoughts, experiences, choices, best practices or lessons learned.

I have the ‘bare bones’ of a retirement and financial plan but there is a lot of grey area in terms of implementation and I have a lot to learn. 

I have a fairly large lump sum to invest, over $200,000. I want to be very careful with that. I am humming and hawing over a few things and thought to ask your thoughts and practices. 

  1. Thoughts on dollar-cost average? Buy in say 3 groups of equal sums, equal time apart. Maybe once each month or every two months, or every 3 months?
  2. Market timing: I have read and have practiced this before but not sure how much merit there is to this: Buy tomorrow, 2 days before Black Friday? and/or 2 days prior to Christmas? 

Thanks so very much!

Thanks for your readership and your kind words.

I’m sorry to hear about your serious accident and I wish you a strong recovery.

I really can’t offer specific advice….but I can provide some information and happy to offer a personal take!!

For one, that’s a lot of money. So, please take some time to choose wisely. What I mean is, identify your goals with money first. This includes any goals with a large sum of money. 

  • What is this money for?
  • What do you need it for?
  • When do you want to access this money?

Answers to these questions will help.

I’m a big believer that any money you need for near-term spending, say within 1-2 years, should likely be in cash; an interest savings account. The reason is: you don’t want to take big risks with any money needed near-term and incur a loss by investing that money in equities or stocks in the process. At least I don’t. 

I’m eventually planning to keep 1-years’ worth in cash myself as I consider semi-retirement in a few years.

Further Reading: how much cash should you keep?

If you decide you don’t need the money in the next 1-2 years, that’s OK, then you might want to figure out how to invest it – for some growth. If you need access to this money in the next 3-5 years, then potentially you don’t want to take major stock market risks. Instead, consider investing in a more conservative, low-cost, liquid Exchange Traded Fund (ETF).

Some examples of those funds can be found on my ETFs page but considerations for you could be:

  • VBAL
  • ZBAL or ZCON (to be more conservative)
  • XBAL

Check out this post as well for all-in-one funds that require really no effort on your part.

The Best all-in-one Exchange Traded Funds

If you decide you want to invest the money, some of the money, etc. for a period of longer than 5 years then you need to decide your tolerance for risk. Some of those funds above have far more risk associated with them, than others. 

  • Are you willing to see your money/assets drop by 10% in any given week?
  • What about a 25% decline – how long could you ride that out?

Markets can go down a long ways before any climb back up. That is why you need to stay invested. Investing is typically a long-term endeavour. Your behaviour should match.

Finally, a point about dollar-cost averaging. I believe that approach helps investors (including me!) psychologically – which is great. However as we have said, the market does gyrate up and down. The good news is, the markets tend to go up more over time than down. So, with a large sum of money and with markets just south of all-time highs, dollar-cost averaging may be for you if:

  • You want to minimize the downside risk of a huge investment,
  • You want to take advantage of the market’s natural volatility by lowering the average price you might pay – over a few quarters, and/or…..
  • You want to avoid any feelings of regret if the market takes a downturn after you invest.

I personally try and invest when I have the money to do so. So, I use lump-sum investing with amounts of around $1,000, $5,000 or even higher. But, I’m also not investing a large lum sum like you are. 

Certainly dear reader, none of this is any investing advice but I can say that I would probably tilt a bit myself towards some form of dollar-cost averaging in the coming months, to invest any money that size, just in case.

Best wishes, take care, and thanks for being a fan of the site.

Mark

Save, Invest, Prosper with BMO and other Deals!

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All my best.

My name is Mark Seed and I'm the founder, editor and owner of My Own Advisor. As my own DIY financial advisor, I've surpassed my goal and I'm now investing beyond the 7-figure portfolio to start semi-retirement with. Find out how, what I did, and what you can learn to tailor your own financial independence path. Subscribe and join the newsletter! Follow me on Twitter @myownadvisor.

20 Responses to "Weekend Reading – Financial Independence Update edition"

  1. Hi Mark,
    We retired at ages 55, 11 years ago. We have two pensions that pay about $5000 per month. We started with around $500,000 in investments. The investments have grown to $700,000, thanks to recent travel restrictions. In planning retirement I calculated that each $1000/month in pension payments was equal to $250,000 in investments. So that means we started with $1.75 million. And it seems to have worked for us.

    I’d be interested in knowing if anyone else has put an investment value on pension payments.

    Reply
    1. Thanks Randy. That’s very good on your part and congrats – age 55. That’s awesome.
      I’ve read on various other sites that seem to suggest a government DB pension is likely worth about $180,000 (or so) for every $1,000 per month payout. That seems a bit low to me personally. That works out to yield/return of about 6.7%.

      Given where bond yields are now, assuming a pension has ~30-40% bonds like a balanced fund I’m more inclined to think a DB pension is likely worth closer to $225,000 per every $1,000 per month payout. That’s a return of about 5.3% which seems more sustaintable as part of the pension pool.

      Having $1.75M to enter retirement with would be rather good, I would think you have some luxuries in life to enjoy! Very well done.
      Mark

      Reply
  2. Tracking income per month has been more fun than tracking the capital amount. Looking at our capital invested, that number worries me, it has moved too high too fast. Bubble? These recent dividend increases still don’t bring things to balance. 30K capital brings approx $1K of income. Are P/E ratios too high? Has QE on a global scale changed the rules?

    Years ago PIE had an article on dividend growth investing following the 10/10 rule. Something we’ve tried to follow since, and yes the dividends are growing, yet the numbers are completely out of whack. Thoughts from other readers?

    David.

    Reply
    1. I’ve always enjoyed tracking the income stream David, very motivating for me actually.

      Yes, conservatively, every 30K helps deliver a solid $1K of income.

      What are you investing in these days for income or growth or both?
      Mark

      Reply
      1. David & Deana Verkerk · Edit

        Standard stuff Mark, dividend paying Canadian companies and American. Last few weeks saw a $2.3K bump in dividends, still the capital amount has been galloping along at around $100K per quarter. Which is obscene. Yes I know, first world problem, and yet it is bigger than that. QE is a global phenomenon. NIRP is real. Speaking with my cousin in the Netherlands, he pays the bank to hold his money, then he pays the government for any savings over $50K. Kinda like the wealth tax a certain political party was trumpeting. Nothing new, just borrowing ideas from else where.

        The pandemic is a screen to structural problems, right now convenient to blame Covid.

        Energy drives the system, what are our main energy sources, what does there production look like, what is the forward outlook. Is ‘Limits to Growth’ correct and we are going to hit hard walls, with a slide down?

        Balance for us is key, most of the readers seem to be in the same frame of mind. Best we can do. Looking at the poor leadership decisions that have allowed the disaster unfolding in Abbotsford is a key reminder. Incompetence is the most likely reason things fail, no conspiracy required. Thankfully as much has humans are incompetent when pushed against a wall, we are quite innovative and rise to the occasion. BC is gonna have one big cleanup bill, could some of it been avoided?

        David

        Reply
        1. Great comment.

          Likely going more global myself in 2022. Potentially XAW for TFSA and QQQ or VTI inside RRSP. We’ll see. I have a few weeks to figure it out.

          “The pandemic is a screen to structural problems, right now convenient to blame Covid.”

          Yes, big problems right? Markets and housing up 20%+ and 10%+ in many major Canadian cities, in a pandemic no less. Makes me wonder when the axe is going to fall on some of this stuff. Something has to give in 2022 or 2023 to correct. I’ll be holding more cash just in case.

          “Balance for us is key, most of the readers seem to be in the same frame of mind. Best we can do.”

          Yes, very much so. We see incompetence playing out in real time with our government leadership or lack thereof. More BC disasters on the way. I would bank on it and we’re just seeing the tip of what the climate crisis will eventually do to our planet. Buckle up me thinks since humans are contributing to the mess.

          Stay well 🙂
          Mark

          Reply
  3. Our annual dividend income is up (on a go forward basis) $1,700. We participated in the BMO, BNS, CM, MFC & POW increases. We just crossed the $39k threshold with a few more dividends to come in before the end of the year. With DRIPS, increases and a couple of modest purchases, go forward dividend income is up about $3,500 this year! Things are moving happily along. Hopefully some of my micro/small cap growth stocks and get going in 2022!!

    Reply
  4. what a great week Mark ,
    I’ve got 6 raises this week 5 from Banks and 1 from work 🙂 I’m glad I added BMO couple of weeks ago to the rest because I wouldn’t wanna miss the 25% raise which is incredible, didn’t do the math on how much all these raises will increase our income but it’s an early Christmas present for sure.

    Reply
  5. Too bad the only big bank I don’t own any more is BMO. Surprised though BNS raised 11%.

    Bank raises also increased more than $1K dividends stream for our portfolio. I always planned to buy dividends stocks using the group RRSP money when I retire. With the snowball, there is a good chance now that we will have enough dividends even without the group rrsp money.

    Reply
    1. Great stuff May. It is my hope we can largely “live off dividends” from RRSP withdrawals and taxable income (with some part-time work) in the coming 3 years. End of 2024, that’s the goal anyhow 🙂

      Reply
      1. We might retire at end of 2024 too. Let’s see what would happen in three years.

        I just summarized our expense and investment income until end of November. This year so far our investment income exceeds our expenses. But of course, no travel, and less kids activities.

        Next year hopefully we could begin travelling. And I will see how we would do for covering expenses with investment income.

        Reply
        1. That’s incredible: “This year so far our investment income exceeds our expenses. But of course, no travel, and less kids activities.”

          Kudos! Let’s go for end of 2024 and see where we end up!?

          Reply
  6. For the reader’s question, Ben Carlson posted this a few years ago citing Vanguard research showing 60% of the time, it is better to lump-sum invest over DCA. This is how I tend to contribute. However, many find that hard to do so many have recommended a hybrid approach of breaking up lump sum amounts into large chunks (20%-25%) and mark on the calendar one or two month intervals where you will invest the 20%, regardless of market conditions (i.e. to avoid market timing). https://awealthofcommonsense.com/2018/05/the-lump-sum-vs-dollar-cost-averaging-decision/

    Reply
    1. Thanks Bart. That’s a good article and there are many others on this as well. Lump sum investing, for long-term growth and gains, historically speaking at least (!) does seem to be beat DCA.

      That said, there is absolutely a sleep-at-night factor when it comes to any investing decision and I follow my gut-check myself from time to time as well.

      Appreciated!
      Mark

      Reply
      1. Market highs make it very difficult to invest large amounts because there are always reasons we can imagine for why they will tank, but over the long run, market highs are followed by new market highs.

        One mental tip I share with older/established investors is that apart from very rare windfalls like inheritances, any new lump sum amount will likely be a small fraction of their total portfolios, making any market timing concerns pretty small in the grand scheme of things.

        Reply
        1. That’s true when it comes to an inheritance. Interesting how the mind plays tricks on you sometimes. If handed $50,000 and you only had $50,000 – it might be hard to know when to invest; it’s all-in if you will. If handed $50,000 and the portfolio is $1 M (lucky person!) then 5% is not that much in the grand scheme of things and you’re likely to do a lump sum investment.

          Reply
  7. We’re thrilled with the bank dividend increases. I own Bmo in my TFSA, my husband owns Royal Bank in his TFSA and we jointly own TD in our taxable account. Like you, these increases will make a large difference in our dividend income.

    Reply

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