Weekend Reading – Moving fees, investing debates, spending on fun and more #money stuff

Weekend Reading

Welcome to my latest Weekend Reading edition where I share some of my favourite articles from the personal finance and investing blogosphere.

Big plans tonight?  I’ll be at the Ottawa REDBLACKS season opener!  Let’s hope for good weather and great game.  The view from my seats:


Earlier this week I wrote about how we’re going to deal with higher interest rates.  What’s your plan?

I also wrote about:

How to become a better investor (in 5 easy steps)

Enjoy your weekend plans and see you here again next week!


Krystal Yee talked about her moving fees in Vancouver.  Certainly the more you move the more costs you will incur.  Been there!  We hope not to move for another 4-5 years.

Interesting study from HSBC – the Future of Retirement: Shifting Sands, a new global retirement report that captures the views of 18,414 people across 16 countries and territories worldwide including 1,003 in Canada.  The complete Canada report is available here.

On Dan Bortolotti’s podcast it was refreshing to hear Tom Bradley talk about the active versus passive investing debate.   I’ve long been convinced that both strategies (active and passive) have flaws and ideally the best investing strategy is a) one that meets your goals, b) one you can stick with while c) one that keeps your costs low so d) you ultimately behave better over time to achieve a).

How much can you responsibly spend on fun?  We tend to spend as much as we want after the mortgage is paid, after pre-authorized savings go to our investments each month, and after our emergency fund is padded each year.  We tend to pay ourselves first and have fun with the rest.  I feel this is a better way to budget but your mileage may vary.

Canadian Budget Binder provided some tips on growing your veggie garden.  We’re enjoying our Square Foot Garden again this year using this simple recipe.  Invest in your health!

Mark Goodfield is giving away a few copies of his book this week – highlighting this interesting survey – one that serves to tally the costs associated with supporting their families’ financial needs.  I intend to take the survey this weekend to contribute our data.

This indexing legend is having some second thoughts on that strategy; now believing in low-cost, smart-beta strategies as well.   I learned more about smart beta funds myself thanks to this Q&A with David Barber, Vice President of National Accounts at First Asset Management.

This family racked up enough credit card points to travel around the world.  While interesting I’m not sure folks should glorify the use of credit cards – I suspect many Canadians are drowning in consumer debt.

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18 Responses to "Weekend Reading – Moving fees, investing debates, spending on fun and more #money stuff"

  1. Nice little garden! This is my second year really gardening. We didn’t really have the space before. Every year is a bit different, there’s a bit of a learning curve, but so far this year has been way more bountiful than in the past. Hopefully that’s because I’m getting better at gardening and not just the good weather.

  2. Here’s a nice article by John Heinzl: https://secure.globeadvisor.com/servlet/ArticleNews/story/gam/20170624/RBGIINVESTORCLINIC

    Create your own Perfect Dividend ETF:
    #1 – select 4 to 6 stocks suggested
    #2 – select 4 to 5 stocks suggested
    #3 – select 2 to 3 stocks suggested
    #4 – select 2 to 3 stocks suggested
    #5 – select 2 to 3 stocks suggested
    One would then hold between 14 to 20 good dividend growth stocks with no fees, no reason to sell or rebalance, and just keep adding to those, ignoring all others. Then sit back and watch your income grow over time.

    1. re: “Dear ETF Industry: First of all, I want to thank you for the eight billion or so exchange-traded funds that you’ve created over the past 10 years.”
      Yup. As I penned recently, there are now more ETFs and index funds than there are individual stock listings.
      Stock listings represent actual businesses; fund listings represent someone’s opinion.
      Noise upon noise.

    2. Largely what I have done 🙂 Not a huge fan of step #4 since Loblaw Cos. (L), Metro (MRU), Restaurant Brands International (QSR) and Dollarama (DOL) have low yields.

      Fully agree with 10% in railways (I need to own more) and infrastructure stocks.

      Big fan of John’s investing approach. Thanks for sharing.

  3. re: tips on growing your veggie garden.
    I’ve grown my own for the last five years. The ROI skyrockets year after year (and on many more levels than simple dollars). Seeds are Nature’s dividends. I’ve also applied for a newly introduced ‘urban garden vendor’ license (yes, a bureaucratic money grab) so I can start selling my hyper-local, hyper-organic (TM) produce from my property front (and of course take full advantage of the home business taxation benefits!).

    re: I’m not sure folks should glorify the use of credit cards
    True. The CC and bank marketing departments do enough damage hyping their consumer product without the public creating a warped (and naive) narrative of worship.

    re: I suspect many Canadians are drowning in consumer debt.
    According to the latest Equifax analysis, average non-mortgage debt is up 7% since last year (a truer level of inflation); average owing $22,000. Car loans and instalment loans (aka payday loans) are the fastest growing debt sectors. Over the last 50 years, both consumer debt and consumer spending have grown at ~3.5%/yr, looking as if one has powered the other (however, consumer debt-to-income has only grown ~3%/yr over the last 25 years). Not sure what those numbers mean in reality, but the stark fact is that consumerism is the main driver of the Canadian economy, sitting at ~60% GDP (not as scary as ~80% in the US). I doubt there will be any super-human effort by any department to quell the flow of debt in order to buoy the economy. Way of the future. Shoulda bought bitcoin.

    1. Nicely done on your garden; quite the entrepreneur!

      “Average owing $22,000”?? That seems rather high.

      Yes, consumerism is driving our economy…that’s not good long term but I’ve been saying that for many years now too! Thanks for sharing.

      1. re: “Average owing $22,000”?? That seems rather high.
        Not really, not when you tally car/student/personal/instalment/credit card/HELOC loans.
        It’s high compared to the 18-25 year-olds who owe an average of ~$8,000.
        It’s low when looking at Boomers who owe an average of ~$27,000.

        re: Yes, consumerism is driving our economy…that’s not good long term but I’ve been saying that for many years now too!
        That might not be great long-term, but I suspect that it’s just a natural point on the path of Capitalism: Agrarianism – Industrialism – Consumerism – ??? We grow stuff, we make stuff, we buy stuff…weirdly self-perpetuating.

        1. Isn’t it sad when Boomers owe more than kids trying to fund their education? I dunno. To your earlier points in previous posts/articles, unless your debt is going to drive some production it seems wasteful.

        2. Maybe. Well, we absolutely do need folks to be producers and consumers. If people didn’t buy goods, stuff, crap, our economy wouldn’t run very well. 😉

  4. Tried Mark Goodall survey but stopped survey when there was no option for Already Retired

    From Couch Potato” “Tom and I both understand that, whatever your specific strategy happens to be, the fundamental ingredients of a successful plan are low cost, broad diversification and a disciplined strategy you will adhere to over the long term. This message can get lost in the debate about indexing versus active strategies, and especially in the discussions about the relative merits of ETFs versus mutual funds.”

    Heres what HSBC says: “Consider an asset mix strategy
    Research has shown that asset mix is a key driver of a portfolio’s performance.Having the right balance between cash, fixed income, and equities to match both your personal tolerance for risk, your return expectations, and your life stage is very important. HSBC can help you plan for your retirement and discuss solutions that aim to meet your specific needs. Please contact your Relationship Manager for further information.
    Think global. As Canada makes up only about 3% of global stock market capitalization, global investments can play an important role in reducing risk and helping to increase return potential for your investment portfolio. A portfolio made up of several types of investments from different countries may be stronger over the long term – and may be less exposed to extreme market movements – than one that’s invested in a single country, asset class or type of investment. That’s why a sensible approach for most investors is a globally diversified portfolio that includes Canadian and international stocks, combined with fixed income investments.”
    Seems like Birds of a Feather:

    Heres HSBC’s RRIF Calculation with pretty much my status at 63
    Entered Age 63
    Retire at 65
    Saving Amt $800,000
    Annual Income $77,000
    Income Inc 4%
    Income Req 75%
    Years Retire 35
    System says I’ll need to save more money by 94
    If I set Inc Req to 90% which is my current spending I’m broke at 84. As I’m 75 what should I do? Oh, sell my DG stocks and invest in a “broad diversification” of Mutuals or ETF’s

    1. Think global – yes – but I also recall Canada has some diversification via banks and infrastructure companies like Brookfield.

      I would agree that a “a sensible approach” is owing companies from around the world who do business from around the world. I’m not quite convinced about fixed income but I do believe is a cash wedge and I hope to grow ours to $50K in the coming years before any pre-retirement plans.

  5. Have fun at the game tonight. It’s been nearly 4 decades since I’ve seen live football!!

    I saw the Dan Bortolotti podcast earlier and agree with your comments about no single best strategy and the list of common ingredients for improving success.

    I also had read and completed the Blunt Beancounter’s survey.

    I wasn’t surprised at anything in the HSBC survey.

    Smart beta- we’ll see. As you know we have a small position in one ETF ourselves.

    1. Yeah…but there are many indexing zealots out there who think anything but using low-cost ETFs are flat-out stupid. They are entitled to their opinion I guess. 🙂 I could see more fundamental indexing in the future personally, as long as this is low-cost, i.e., under 0.3 or 0.4% I don’t have a huge problem with it.

      1. LOL, it seems to me it’s a two way street. Both sides have their strong advocates and yes everyone is entitled to their opinion!

        I see benefits and drawbacks of both.


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