Weekend Reading – Happy Holidays edition, 2010-2019 in review, best ETFs for modern times and more #moneystuff

Weekend Reading – Happy Holidays edition, 2010-2019 in review, best ETFs for modern times and more #moneystuff

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.

Happy Holidays!!!

Earlier this week, I published my 2010-2019 financial decade in review. A decade where I feel very grateful and blessed.

Did you take any time to reflect on the decade that was? If so, how do you feel?

As 2019, and this decade for that matter comes to a close, I have a few things to reconcile like how we did in our 2019 financial goals and how accurate I was on these 2019 predictions. Posts are likely to come over the holidays…

Over the coming week or so, I might also put together some of my “best of” posts over the years but in case I don’t with so much family time ahead, here are some posts that were meaningful to me in 2019:

These continue to be some of the best all-in-one Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) for your portfolio. I wrote this post to help other investors (who didn’t necessarily want to own individual stocks like I do) take more control over their financial life via DIY investing.

Based on our financial goals, we know what we are saving money for – do you?  This post was geared to folks who should consider some inner soul-searching to figure out what and why money is really important to them.

Thankfully I followed some of my instincts and bought some of these REITs this year. I’m now earning more juicy passive income given those purchases.

I shared this case study that is relevant to many lower-income seniors – can this 60-year-old retire on a lower income?  Every month, I get many reader questions about “do I have enough money” and figured this case study would be a great benchmark for many people.

I provided insights for investors wanting to exchange Canadian dollars to U.S. dollars – for less.  I wrote this post to help investors convert their money in a more cost-efficient way.

After returning from the biggest U.S. financial conference for bloggers and media folks (FinCon) with some inspiration on my own financial freedom journey – confirming I want to work on my own terms in the coming years. This post was more self-help but I hope you learned something about your early retirement dreams too.

This was the definitive answer to the paying down your mortgage vs. investing debateMy logic should help anyone with their decision.

Another case study here to help readers benchmark their needs – could this couple retire on $1.2 million invested and no workplace pension?

Last but not least, a few articles were written below to help investors better understand any 4% safe withdrawal rate:

Here is a proven path to a wealthy retirement ignoring this 4% rule.

You could argue the 4% rule doesn’t make any sense any longer…

With readership on this site growing from around the globe, I have a lot to be thankful for as My Own Advisor.  I have appreciated every tweet, like, comment, and pageview to date in 2019 – all 850,000 pageviews!

Thanks to everyone who supported this site and inspired me to keep it very active in 2019. I look forward to 2020 and more interactions with you.

Have a safe and wonderful holiday.

I’ll be back in 2020 with new content – if not before that!

Enjoy your weekend,


Weekend Reads

I wrote this post to share some time-tested advice for your year-end financial housekeeping.  Stuff I worked on this week in fact!

A dedicated reader on my site shared this interesting post – the Canadian bank profit indicator.  Interesting number but I wonder if the data is skewed a bit since we are a wealthy nation.

Preet Banerjee encourages you to save more money this holiday season by deleting your delivery apps. I’m not going to do that just yet but I certainly see the benefit of having some financial discipline in your life!

Dale Roberts from Cut the Crap Investing suggested a new balanced portfolio for more modern times:

  • “25% US equities. XUU plus ZNQ
  • 15% Canadian equities. XIU and ZLB
  • 10% International equities. XEF and VEE
  • 20% Real estate. ZRE and ZGR
  • 25% Bonds. XBB and ZTM and ZEF
  • 5% Gold. HUG”

While that list is good, I’m inclined to go with something like this for my portfolio long-term:

    • Up to 50% U.S. equities via a mix of dividend paying stocks and low-cost ETFs like VYM for income.
    • Up to 50% CDN equities by unbundling ETFs like XIU and ZLB. You can find out how I’ve unbundled my ETF for cash flow here.  In doing so, I’m now earning close to $20,000 per year in just three accounts based on my approach thanks very much!
    • 10% International equities. XEF and VEE – that’s a great weighting but….since so many U.S. and Canadian blue-chip companies have overseas operations….I’m going to go with 0% for now. Heck, even the late-great Jack Bogle didn’t own a penny in international stocks even though his firm sold a bunch of those products!!  Watch the video below.
    • 20% Real estate. ZRE and ZGR (ya, I don’t mind that since I believe real estate should continue to increase with inflation, in general, over time).
    • 25% Bonds. XBB and ZTM and ZEF (I going to have a cash wedge instead – see below!)
    • 5% Gold. HUG” (nah, gold is not for me!)

This is my bucket approach to earning income in retirement.

Pharma giant Pfizer raised their dividend by 6% this week. Yummy!

Congrats to Robb Engen on reaching 2 million pageviews on his site in 2019. Killer stuff!

A big supporter of my site Gen Y Money shared her decade round-up

Ottawa REDBLACKS superfan and former podcaster Mike Smith shared this gem of an apartment to be rented in Ottawa for $600+. I had to laugh when he shared it with me because the apartment was actually a small shed. It was described on Kijiji by the owner as not fit enough for any pets (I.e., it was not “pet friendly”) but it was however deemed suitable for any “professional working male”. Crazy stuff on Kijiji for sure…


Fans of this site, MoneySense, released their list of 2020 stocks to watch or own. You can bet I already have a number of these stocks in my portfolio already!

Reader question of the week (adapted for site):

Hi Mark!

How to you monitor your portfolio and your dividends increases?

I have accounts with Scotia iTRADE and my wife has accounts with TD Direct Investing and I’m wondering if you know of any free tool to monitor a consolidated portfolio?

Mint is not good in my opinion, I do not want any external apps to store accounts and passwords. Ideally some form of offline app, where I can enter positions with online prices updates. I was using Excel and was happy until Google stopped online updates. Do you have a suggestion?

I do!

Have you tried Portfolio Visualizer?  It’s free and easy to use. There is also Personal Capital. I think Morningstar has one too. I personally use Excel to update my dividend income – I have my free spreadsheet to use for that on this page here – since I don’t really trust many companies to manage my information online without privacy breaches!

To all the other reader questions in my inbox, I didn’t forget about you. Your questions (and my answers to them) are in draft to reply in future Weekend Reading editions!

Happy 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.

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