Weekend Reading – Increasing dividends, maximizing retirement income 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.
“All change brings opportunity. Some change gives us the opportunity to pause and ask what we can do better.”
I put that quote up on my site a few weeks ago now. It’s a powerful quote that continues to hit home. This viral pandemic and stock market crisis has triggered some time to re-evaluate a few things including my portfolio and how I intend to work towards fulfilling my semi-retirement dreams in the coming years.
What I’ve learned about this crisis and myself more recently:
- I can be happy doing very little – simple pleasures like drinking a warm, delicious morning cup of coffee, taking long walks or hikes, reading a book are some examples of things that I enjoy that cost very little and more importantly bring me some comfort.
- The stock market will crash from time to time and I can stick to my guns – although we are by no means out of this viral pandemic and it’s associated stock market crisis I have avoided selling any stocks to date. This includes one company that cut their dividend by 72% (yikes but necessary). That cut reduced my Canadian dividend income by $200 per year. Still friends, thanks to many years of disciplined investing, the chart is coming along beyond my RRSP investments…
You can read about my latest dividend income update here.
- Having a cash buffer is forever smart – long before this crisis hit, I knew keeping some cash on hand was smart. Even if I had some debt. I believe dipping into a line of credit/more debt (unless you absolutely have to) in an emergency just makes any crisis much worse. I’m thinking about entering semi-retirement in the next five years. This crisis has cemented I need at least this much cash on hand to enter that phase.
Should this crisis continue for many more months, and it likely will, this is how I’m preparing…
Any financial lessons you’ve learned about yourself or your financial ways during COVID-19?
Do share in a comment below. I read every comment on this site and I try to respond to as many comments as I can…
Stay well, stay safe and enjoy your weekend.
Beyond sharing my latest dividend income update earning $2.33 per hour 24/7/365 from my portfolio…most of that tax-free…
…I shared this awesome financial independence update from Dividend Growth Investor:
Financial Independence fulfilled by Dividend Growth Investor
Reverse The Crush has sights set on living off dividends and blog income in the coming years.
Interesting post about how to identify great companies to invest in. I enjoyed the article and the conclusion:
“When I look at a company’s financial statements I am intuitively skeptical, because I know the numbers can be massaged. When I look at company management and the board I am intuitively cynical, because I know that many of the communications from companies are self-serving.”
PolliesDividend shared a handful of stocks that should be increasing their dividend in April. I happen to own a couple of those stocks. As predicted, I got my dividend increases this week. I appreciated those 6% + raises during this market crisis from those U.S. dividend aristocrats.
Eat, Sleep, Breathe FI mentioned she is shopping local to help small businesses stay afloat during the COVID-19 crisis. We’re doing the same. We visit the small zero-waste grocery store in our condo building every week and are happy to do so.
Great, older post by Ed Rempel who wrote about how to reliably maximize your retirement income. Here are some key points from the post.
“The history of investments shows the following:
- Equities are safer! The more conservatively you invest, the more likely you will run out of money…
- Fixed income is lower income.The more conservatively you invest, the lower your retirement income should be…
- The success of the “4% Rule” depends on how you invest:
- Equity investors (70+% equities) can safely withdraw 4%.
- Balanced investors (60/40 to 40/60) should reduce it to a “3.8% Rule”.
- Conservative investors (more than 60% bonds or GICs) should limit it to a “3% Rule”.
- Bond or GIC investors (no equities) should limit it to a “2.5% Rule.””
On my site, this is how you can achieve early retirement by ignoring the 4% withdrawal rule.
Take responsibility for your stock purchases.
“He who blames others has a long way to go on his journey. He who blames himself is halfway there. He who blames no one has arrived.” – Chinese proverb
Dividend Investor is taking ownership for his portfolio, income increases or cuts or otherwise.
Dividends in Hand made a number of select purchases over the last few months to grow his income stream.
StockTrades.ca continues to manage a list of Canadian stocks that have cut or suspended their dividends of late.
The Dividend Guy provided some reasons why these companies are cutting their dividends and what to watch out for.
Times are tough for many. Here are 37 ways to save more money on CreditCard Genius.
Should you want help with investing…
Check out my Deals page where I have partnerships with various financial firms to save you hundreds of dollars when opening your investment accounts; I can get you $50,000 managed FREE for a year; and there is FREE, unbiased research on stocks, ETFs and more.
Final reminder – book giveaway!
We’re in the final hours of this giveaway at the time of this post.
Check out this link and enter to win one of two (2) autographed copies of Larry’s book – targeted to help you remove financial stress and complexity from your life.
Reader question of the week (adapted for the site):
I recently stumbled upon your website and found it very helpful. Thanks for running it.
I’m in the process of opening a self-directed RRSP and TFSA and would like to know which trading platform is best? Is there a best brokerage to use and should I become a DIY investor?
Thanks so much!
Thanks for your question.
I have partnerships and deals where I can save you big bucks on opening your discount brokerage account but to be completely honest, you need to determine what is best for you.
Not all brokerages and platforms are created equal.
I think robo-advisors like Wealthsimple and ModernAdvisor can provide great merit to new investors.
MoneySense recently highlighted the best robo-advisors in Canada.
I profiled some details about hassle-free investing with ModernAdvisor here. I think one of the biggest benefits robo-advisors can offer is they can help younger or any investors train their investing brain.
Whether that training and discipline comes from Wealthsimple, ModernAdvisor or others – this is where younger investors in particular can hone their low-cost investing skills, contribute regularly to their investments, stay invested and much more. These are all major keys to wealth building.
I’ve decided to be a more hands-on DIY investor by owning a number of dividend paying stocks and low-cost ETFs. So, I use a big bank discount brokerage for my self-directed RRSP and TFSA and more.
This post will share some perspectives about whether DIY investing is right for you.
I’ll be posting more thoughts about DIY investing, how my portfolio is doing, why I invest the way I do and how I’m progressing to financial independence in the coming months so stay tuned to this channel!
Should you want to file your taxes this spring
Don’t forget – with our CRA tax filing deadline extended to June 1, 2020 due to the COVID-19 crisis I can get you 15% off TurboTax Canada software until April 30, 2020. (As always, never an obligation).
Thanks for reading and sharing.
Maria—we’re on the same page! I’m unlikely to ever hold more than 6 months of cash. But things are so unpredictable right now, it just feels better to have cash at the ready.
I have learned similar lessons to you Mark, it is the simple things that bring me joy and I’ve manage to keep quite busy with nothing really to do ha ha.
This volatile market has affirmed my asset allocation, I’m still totally comfortable with my 100% equities in the market. That being said, all my investments aren’t in the market as we do own some rental properties.
Like Chrissy I never kept much in cash but this pandemic has changed my thoughts on this. Not sure if I’m ready to have years of expenses in cash but we have definitely increased the size of our emergency fund recently; just in case.
Yes, nothing wrong with simple things can bring you joy. For sure.
I mean, I guess we all have our risk tolerance but I know I’ll feel better entering semi-retirement in my 50s with ~ 1-years’ worth in cash in the bank for any long-term major expenses or emergencies. Got > $10k now, hope to have ~ $15k by year-end and will continue to ramp it up in the coming 5 years or so.
I certainly feel the worse time to go into major debt is in an emergency.
Stay well Maria!
Thanks for the mention, Mark. I’ve always avoided holding much cash. But during this pandemic, I agree that a larger cash buffer is a good idea.
It’s important for trusted voices such as yours to continue being a voice of calm and reason through these turbulent times. Thank you for continuing to do that.
By no means perfect here Chrissy – just trying to pay forward what I can! Thanks for your support of this site as well and stay well with family.
Mark, you asked what financial lessons have we learned during the COVID-19 crisis. I’ve learned, and it took me a few days to work it into my spreadsheet that my asset allocation at retirement will be five years worth of fixed income and ‘whatever’ in equities i.e. my portfolio is now X/5 years. Another way of looking at it is that I have a five-year fixed income cash cushion trucked safely away, and the rest is 100% equity ETFs and stocks. As soon as I had settled on this plan it became sooooo easy to convert my “excess” cash and bonds to equities (at the currently discounted prices). Instead of focusing my efforts on keeping the allocation at, say, 70/30, I now just check if I have enough in fixed income to cover 5 years. If I do, then I just buy more equities; it’s very simple.
I arrived at this plan/model by asking myself “what is of most importance to me”. The conclusion was to be able to comfortably ride out a five-year global market depression. And that’s where I am today, and it feels good.
According to my spreadsheet, my overall asset allocation (across all of our plans) is 67.4/32.6, and all that REALLY matters to me is that 32.6 is 5 years worth of safe retirement income. If stocks rise on Monday, it will drop, perhaps to 30.1, but it still doesn’t change what it means to me.
That’s what I plan to do Bob. Basically, keep enough cash (at least 1-years’ worth for now to enter semi-retirement; will still work) and then when any excess cash occurs beyond that, that stays invested in equities/stocks/dividend paying stocks and low-cost ETFs.
Very simple that way. Nothing to overthink 🙂
Now, in full-on retirement I’m going to have to think deeper about how much FI to keep but by then I should have a pension and maybe some government benefits so maybe beyond > 1-year cash I don’t need more than say 2-years in cash. But this crisis definitely has me thinking!!
The ability to ride out 5-years of poor markets is incredible…and still meet your income needs.
Well played and a life of comfort it seems.
Further to what I said above, over the coming years, various sources of pension income will come online, and as each one starts to add to our monthly income, the 5 years worth of fixed income will be reduced accordingly, ultimately ending up at around 10 percent of our total portfolio.
Great stuff Bob. Continued success and keep me/us posted.
I can identify with being skeptical and cynical of a company’s latest quarter results and annual reports. I’ve worked in a large Canadian blue chip company, and as the end of the quarter or year approached, it seemed like more effort went into making those numbers look good than was going into long-term projects. The quarterly and annual bonuses of the VPs, directors and managers were directly tied to these numbers looking good. Now, I don’t think the company I was working for is particularly bad, I suspect most businesses become hyper focused when it’s time to report to the shareholders, but it taught me that I should expect a certain amount of distortion in the numbers and grandiose statements. For me, as an investor, this brought about the realization that I wasn’t being presented with the full picture and it helped me leave the stock picking behind (for the most part) and move to index investing.
Businesses have a bias, they all do. They want to make money for their shareholders and owners and I don’t blame them. Just continues to make me believe I need to keep my critical thinking cap on 🙂
From the short trips I’ve taken, it appears most people are taking the Covid-19 situation seriously. They are keeping their distance, don’t mind the long lines, waiting to get into stores, many wear gloves and masks and most are polite. Nice to see.
Very good to see indeed cannew. I hope you are doing well and I look forward to sharing your book on the site soon.