Weekend Reading – Money is not just math

Weekend Reading – Money is not just math

Hey Everyone,

Welcome to a new Weekend Reading post about money is not just math. 

A few thoughts on that subject soon but first some reminders about some recent content:

Recently, I shared our May 2023 dividend income update here. So far, so good as the income derived from part of our portfolio moves higher over time to help fund some desired life-work balance in semi-retirement. 

On that latter note, I wrote about our desires for life-work balance here.

I also put in my weekly newsletter some answers to some reader questions.

Weekend Reading – Money is not just math

Money is not just math

Image source: Pexels.


As I age, including my evolving thoughts about personal finance and investing, it becomes almost crystal clear to me at least that you don’t need to be striving for some perfect, rational financial decision at every corner. In fact, it’s probably helpful for your health and your relationships that you don’t. 

This is because we live life in the real-world, in the psychology department, with other people, not on a spreadsheet. 

I’ve found from time to time, money is a very emotionally charged subject. Personal finance debates abound:

  • Pay down the mortgage vs. invest.
  • Contribute to your RRSP over your TFSA.
  • Buy a home vs. rent.
  • Dividend growth investing over other forms of investing can help investors. 

…and the list goes on. 

I’ve come to the conclusion that instead of debating others on these subjects, after I got personally attacked online months ago, that’s it’s perfectly rational to be unrational when it comes to financial decisions as long as:

  1. you understand the pros and cons of your decision, and far more importantly,
  2. you genuinely feel you’re making the best decision for you.

Money is not just math

Source: Behavior Gap, Carl Richards

As I approach semi-retirement, these are some of the personal finance mantras I hold dear:

1. While I believe investing early and often in life, while paying down debt, should go hand-in-hand, if you really have to pay down debt because it’s crippling your lifestyle then do that first. With too much debt, you always owe other people money first. Simplify your life by having a plan to kill debt whenever possible to reduce financial stress.

The definitive answer to paying down your mortgage or investing

2. Although I’ve had a long-standing bias to investing inside my TFSA over the RRSP, first, every year since 2009 – I really don’t care which account you use first. I simply hope you just invest for your future self. 🙂

Managing the refund well is the linchpin in the RRSP vs. TFSA debate

3. Some financial planners (not friends of mine mind you!) believe this:

Dividend Investing is not a strategy

Well, a strategy is a way of doing something or accomplishing something. It can be considered a long-range path or a plan to achieve something or reach a goal. The word strategy can mean different things in different contexts. I’ve referenced a decent source but there are others of course.

Suffice to say I disagree mightly with this financial planner and it’s just another good reason not to trust just anyone with your money who might have credentials after their name. 

Our approach to investing has been working for almost 20 years now. I suspect it’s going to work for many more. Your mileage may vary of course…

Why my goal to live off dividends remains alive and well

Weekend Reading – Money is not just math

Like Morgan Housel so rightly and concisely referenced in his book The Psychology of Money:

You don’t have to be a perfect investor. Getting wealthy and staying wealthy is “about consistently not screwing up.”

So, it’s more than OK to take your personal path. It’s more than OK not to invest like everyone else. It’s definitely more than OK to spend money on things you love and enjoy.

As I close this theme, a reminder to all of us when money subjects come up that talking about money equals talking about feelings and values.

“…few things matter more with money than understanding your own time horizon and not being persuaded by the actions and behaviors of people playing different games than you are. The main thing I can recommend is going out of your way to identify what game you’re playing.” – The Psychology of Money.

More Weekend Reading…

Thanks to a reader prompt, here is that case study for singles when it comes to retirement income planning:

I’m single – is it possible to retire at age 55?

Scary stat. I would like to see a broader study. 

“44 per cent of non-retired Canadians aged 55 to 64 have less than $5,000 in savings.”


Nice list of top online brokers to use for 2023: 

Best online brokers in Canada for 2023

As the number one pick this year, interesting to find that Questrade scored significantly ahead of the other fourteen firms evaluated in the ranking. This company was named the leader in overall digital user experience. It was lauded for providing investors with a notable first impression through its account opening process, having leading customization features and intuitive designs, and excelling at service interaction methods that provide choices for investors.

All good things that should equate to solid customer experience. 

I enjoyed Dale Roberts Sunday Reads of late on bull markets.

Congrats to Matthew Freeman on some higher YoY dividend income. Awesome. His DIY portfolio is excellent IMO. From Matt:

“Can’t complain here, another solid month for new shares and income added to the portfolio. So far in 2023 through the drip I’ve added 59.354 new shares and my forward income has increased by $169.30.”

My friend DGI highlighted the illusion of choice in the consumer goods industry which operates like an oligopoly.

GenY Money highlighted this post from Sherry at Save Spend Splurge who has her theory why women with higher standards tend to be alone. Good quote:

“No one should lower their standards for someone else. Otherwise, what is the point? Just live by yourself, it is easier than having to take care of a man baby.”

Save, Invest, Prosper!

Save, invest, prosper and more with Deals on this standing page here.

Have a great weekend, no man babies allowed! 😉


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.

10 Responses to "Weekend Reading – Money is not just math"

  1. Mark have you ever done a piece on closed ends funds making up a portion of a retired person’s retirement nest egg. I’d be interested to hear your thought on something like eit.un n being used for higher monthly payout for a portion of a LIF or self made LIF account in a tfsa. Perhaps fodder for a future article

  2. Good content as always. Lots to think about. Appreciate the book rec – Psychology of Money. Wonder if it’s similar to Kessel’s It’s Not About the Money. Thanks Mark!

    1. …presently reading The Moneyless Manifesto by Mark Boyle. While this is not a lifestyle I can adopt, interesting ideas nonetheless.

  3. “No one should lower their standards for someone else. Otherwise, what is the point? Just live by yourself, it is easier than having to take care of a man baby.”
    Another quote comes to mind, sometimes you have to mix a little water with the wine.
    Being unrealistic in a real world can leave you alone for a long time. No one is perfect. If that is what you are looking for you may need to change optometrists. Humans are social animals. We are happier with friends in a bar rather than downing a bottle of wine at home by ourselves.

    “44 per cent of non-retired Canadians aged 55 to 64 have less than $5,000 in savings.”
    Don’t know if that is current but again lets get real. Just about anyone earning minimum wage does not have the where with all to put money aside unless your still with Mom & Dad. Looking back to when I first met with the CIBC financial guru he said something similar in that a lot of people were looking to retire with $50K (or less) in their RRSP as a sole means of income other than the usual govt plans. So probably the majority of people who read the financial blogs will have a better understanding of saving and investing for their future retirement. Those who visit the local bank advisor are probably stuck in bank mutual funds.
    That is what the blogs help out with. Opening the mind to other options other than uninformed swill.


    1. 100%

      “So probably the majority of people who read the financial blogs will have a better understanding of saving and investing for their future retirement. Those who visit the local bank advisor are probably stuck in bank mutual funds.”

      People have to want to or something needs to trigger folks to take their own initiative.

    2. I have been living alone for a very long time and don’t feel wanting. I have an active social life with my friends and family. I don’t feel the need to water down my wine. There are a lot of us who prefer to live alone. It is not for everyone, but please don’t discount those of us who choose to do so.

      Financial independence gives everyone the choice. 😉


Post Comment