Weekend Reading – Phases to financial independence, navigating ETFs, the death of a portfolio and more #moneystuff

Weekend Reading – Phases to financial independence, navigating ETFs, the death of a portfolio and more #moneystuff

Hey Everyone,

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.

This week, you’ll find information about phases to financial independence, navigating ETFs, the death of a portfolio and more.

Earlier this week, I published these articles:

I wrote about the definitive answer to paying down your mortgage, first, or investing.  I know some readers opted for the former, to kill their debt first and then invest, but I think there is a better solution.

I also wrote about the six phases to financial independence.  If you can move quickly, through phases 1-3 in your 20s or early 30s, I think you’ll be well on your way. 

Sad but true, fall is here in Ottawa.  I started to organize our terrace to put some items under wraps for winter.  But…just in case the weather is nice out later today, I left a couple of chairs out to enjoy a nice glass of scotch.


Have a great weekend and enjoy these articles.


Weekend Reads

Retire by 40 highlighted his own levels of early retirement.  I think most are good but I certainly don’t want to get to level 10 anytime soon.

Modest Millionaires suggested you know your optimal working conditions.

DIY investors are now spoiled for choice.  The challenge with that is, they must navigate the world of ETFs.  Thanks to Jon Chevreau for asking for my input into his Financial Post article on this subject.  From the article:

“The rise of specialized sector ETFs makes this more problematic, as they have higher costs than the first wave of low-cost broadly diversified ETFs epitomized by the late John Bogle’s Vanguard Group. Sector ETFs, and leveraged and reverse leverage funds that let investors bet on the rise or fall of certain sectors, are double-edged swords. The danger is such tools may mean the DIY acronym comes to mean Destroy It Yourself.”

Tom from Dividends Diversify shared his detailed approach to dividend investing and stock selection

My approach is a bit less taxing.  I tend to own what the big funds and ETFs own, for income, and then I index invest everything else for extra diversification. 

Check out what Canadian stocks I own and why here.

Check out what low-cost U.S. ETFs I own and why here.

Robb Engen is striving to become a financially independent entrepreneur.  I continue to watch his progress.

Gen Y Money struggles to buy nice things.  I believe she nailed it with this simple comment:  “Maybe nice clothes and accessories are an outer scorecard kind of thing.”  They are to me although I do like nice things too…

All About The Dividends tried to prepare himself for a work stoppage.  Building an emergency fund, paying off debt, and continually reducing monthly expenses are three great steps Matthew thought about.

A great and entertaining read by Ben Carlson about the death of the 60/40 portfolio.

Smart, sensible stuff from She Picks Up Pennies – if personal finance feels like punishment then you’re doing it all wrong.

Dale Roberts shared a weekend reading round up including some Canadian dividend aristocrats.

Last but not least, a great post from Bitches Get Riches about how she feels filthy @#%$ing rich.  To quote Piggy how she got there:  “You know what else is automated? My savings and investments.” 

Reader question of the week (adapted for site):

Hi Mark,

I really enjoy your site.  Congrats on your dividend income so far.  I read your dividend updates every month and I’m amazed you’ve been able to save that much. 

First question, for someone that is WAY behind you, should I have a certain amount saved up by a certain age?

Also, second question, can you tell me some of the best ETFs I should consider for my TFSA?  I’m already saving up for 2020 contribution room!

Thanks so much!

Love the emails and comments and questions folks.  Keep them coming.

OK, how much should you have in the bank?  I can’t tell you – sorry!  Actually, I would say you should throw any annual savings targets by a certain age out the window – I’ve posted and commented on such targets here.

Instead of worrying about what other people think you should save, consider jotting down a few notes in a journal about your own financial plan.  I wrote about some of the things you should consider for your financial plan here.

As for your second question, that’s easy to answer since I wrote a very detailed post about low-cost ETFs to think about for your Tax Free Savings Account (TFSA) right here

As always, 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.

4 Responses to "Weekend Reading – Phases to financial independence, navigating ETFs, the death of a portfolio and more #moneystuff"

    1. Well thanks 🙂 The view is very nice and we’re lucky. We’ll see if a condo goes up eventually across the street. Next time, I’ll post a skyline view for you.

      All the best,

  1. Hi Mark, Enjoy your site. Wanted to get your opion on Ben Carlson’s article about the death of 60/40 portfolio. Since there are so many EFTs &New 1 kind of EGG like VBAL. Not sure what to do anymore with all the information out there? I have couch potato portfolio 60/40.

    1. Roberta, I can appreciate the industry has sooo many choices. Don’t sweat it really. If you’re invested in a few of the low-cost ETFs on this page, you’re probably already ahead of 80% of the investors “out there”.

      What specific questions do you have? Happy to post an article about your questions where I can answer them.

      Nothing wrong with a 60/40 Couch Potato. In fact, that’s great. Ben’s post was tongue in cheek. I know he’s a fan of the 60/40 and 70/30 Couch Potato Portfolios. He’s an indexer at heart.

      All the best,


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