Weekend Reading – Why investing is different

Weekend Reading – Why investing is different

Hey Everyone!

Welcome to a new Weekend Reading edition, why investing is different. 

A take on that soon with reference to a recent article on that subject but first up a few recent articles on my site just in case you missed them…

CNQ stock has been on a nice run in 2023, a stock I’ve owned for many years. Here’s a look – then and now.

I’ve done a few positive things over the years with my DIY portfolio. One of them is learning lessons from my investing past and increasing my stock diversification beyond Canada over time through a couple of low-cost ETFs.

Those same ETFs might help you too!

Lessons learned in diversification – reducing my Canadian home bias

I also recently shared this data should you want to spend about $75,000 per year in retirement.

Weekend Reading – Why investing is different

Thanks to a reader, I was directed to this post by wealth management company Steadyhand: 7 reasons why investing is different from everything else.

The theme of the article is that because investing is mostly counterintuitive to other facets in life, investing deserves some different attention. I thought I would offer up my reflections of Tom Bradley’s 7 reasons why investing is different from everything else in this Weekend Reading edition. 

1. Short-term feedback means little

“In real life, immediate feedback is everything. Your behaviour is impacted by praise or criticism from your boss, hints from your spouse and constant input via emails, texts and notifications.”

How true. 

I’ve learned as a DIY investor to largely treat my/our portfolio like a bar of soap. 

Like a bar of soap, the more I touch the portfolio the smaller it could get…

Weekend Reading - Why investing is different

Image Source: Pexels, Karolina Grabowska

2. There’s no app for that

“Market updates and stock quotes are about right now, not 10-plus years from now. They shorten your view when ideally you should be looking further ahead and giving your strategies time to play out.”

Yet there is an upside to the plethora of financial information that exists today: some of it is very good.

Information that helps shape or maintain your financial behaviour can be very valuable IMO. The challenge for any investor is the ability to tune out financial noise while keeping an ear to the ground for what’s valuable to them and their journey – personal finance is personal after all. 

3. The best action is no action

“Acting on news that’s urgent, but not important increases costs and distracts from your plan. Warren Buffett has said, “Wall Street makes its money on activity. You make your money on inactivity.”

I would agree with this – it aligns to my reply above. When in doubt, stay boring with your portfolio. The order of operations when I discuss investing with others is always:

  1. Pick a plan.
  2. Pick products / investments that align with your plan.
  3. Stick with your plan. 

Learn to keep investing simple.

Weekend Reading – Keeping Investing Simple

4. If everyone is doing it, don’t

“Investor sentiment is a useful tool, but like so many things in investing, it runs counter to human nature.”

I’m pretty sure Tom didn’t mean it in this context (given his wealth management firm’s objectives) but so many advisors tout the merits of index investing as THE only way to invest. I don’t believe that herd should be followed without any personal thought. There are just so many ways to invest – each investor much assess their own mix of stocks/individual stocks, bonds, cash, real estate and alternative forms of investments to craft a plan to help them realize their individual goals. Nothing less will do. 

5. More features, less return

“Generally, the more complex the product, the lower the return.”

Ya, I agree with Tom here. Otherwise, you’re paying for someone else’s yacht. Be mindful of the tyranny of compounding costs when other people manage your money and make investing decisions for you. 

Weekend Reading – The tyranny of compounding costs

6. Forest versus the trees

“Assessing a company to invest in, however, involves all the unknowns that go with looking into the future. Decisions must be made on incomplete information because if you try to unearth every little fact, you’re likely to miss the stock’s big move.”

Tom makes a great point in that with any individual company or stock, the long-term financial future is very uncertain. That said, I personally believe that if you are going to invest in some individual stocks, then owning a collection of established companies that have paid growing dividends thanks to rising cashflow is a good place to start. Otherwise, invest as you wish.

7. No price tags

“Investors don’t have the same transparency. If you look up the word “opaque,” you’ll see a picture of an investment adviser. The investment industry seems committed to making it difficult to determine what your total cost is.”

Another great point by Tom – part of the reason why I became a DIY investor. I was tired on not knowing how my portfolio was doing, why, and where to go for help. I needed to take financial decisions into my own hands and rely more on myself. I haven’t looked back since…

Based on the results from a past survey from the Ontario Securities Commission’s Investor Advisory Panel, I found these results paint a very poor picture about the advice some small- and medium-sized portfolio investors obtain from their financial advisor.

It’s actually downright terrible.

Based on the data I read:

  • 43% of investors did not believe they obtained any educational advice.
  • Almost one-third of respondents (31%) were unable to say whether their advisor had spoken to them about planning for retirement, education or buying a home. (That’s insane…)
  • Only one-fifth had received any advice about budgeting or debt management.

Some of those stats among others are in the images below:

DIY Key Findings

DIY Key Findings 2

So, there are investors seeking and actually paying for financial advice, said advisors are to advise investors on various financial matters, but investors feel they are not getting any value.

Choose very wisely is my suggestion. 

I continue run this site to help chronicle my own journey, learn from it as I go as My Own Advisor but also pay it forward to others seeking to learn too. Getting some saving and investing elements right and keeping them right can be very rewarding.

More Weekend Reading…

A good provocation from Rob Carrick in The Globe and Mail this week related to seeking financial advice (subscription) given the wide range of services now available:

“The question I throw out to this dad and his son is whether they want a planner who focuses on financial guidance, or someone who also sells and manages investments.”

Choose wisely. 

Jon Chevreau highlighted a few great ETFs and considerations for Canadians seeking retirement income from said ETFs.

(Jon was kind enough to ask yours truly to contribute to the article – and you might want to consider investing beyond just one asset allocation ETF for a few reasons. Read on, those low-volatility and other thoughts are woven into the article. Thanks for the contribution, Jon!)

Related to ETFs, here are a few ETFs to avoid from Cashflows & Portfolios.

Some DIY investors like owning dividend stocks. Nothing new. But I think what gets lost in the conservation is that such an approach can yield wonders, literally, by sticking to an investing approach you believe in. Many DIY investors own ETFs to supplement their individual stock holdings. Even some DIY investors own, gasp, bond ETFs. Good on them, whatever works for your plan friends…

Excellent case in point:

Dividend Daddy’s July 2023 update.

“My July 2023 dividend total is $8,656.12

This means that in July:

  • I earned $279.23 every day from dividends.
  • I earned $50.98 per hour from dividends (assuming a 9-5pm job).
  • I earned $11.51 every hour of every day of the month from dividends.”

Incredible….

via GIPHY

Hardbacon did a fine comparison between Costco vs. Walmart – prices across different categories, including groceries, electronics, apparel, and home & garden, credit cards and online shopping. For the sake of objectivity, they also compared prices for products sold online by each store in some categories to find which store provides better value.

From Ben Carlson’s site: how long should your stock market time horizon be?

My thesis on this has been very simple: any money needed in the coming 1-2 years, for spending, should not be invested in the stock market. At all. If you need that money, for certain, then consider cash in a higher interest savings account or better still now, some cash alternative investments. 

Consider this post:

How much cash should you keep?

Finally, related to the DIY theme this week and why investing is different, this is why retirees tend to own their personalized mix of cash, GICs and even some bonds. We have entered times like these… 

Why retirees own bonds, cash and GICs.

Save, Invest, Prosper!

If curious, check my Deals page – partnerships and discounts to help you make the most out of your money.

Check out my partnerships with:

  • Dividend Stocks Rock
  • 5i Research
  • StockTrades.ca
  • LegalWills
  • Borrowell 
  • and more!

As always, you can also consider hiring me for some low-cost financial projections services – anytime. Just reach out. This is a service founded by DIY investors for DIY investors without the conflict of any advice.

Have a great weekend!

Mark

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.

6 Responses to "Weekend Reading – Why investing is different"

    1. It’s my intention to start scaling back from full-time work over the coming year or so G.
      We’ll see and I will keep you and other readers posted! It’s not always as easy as just stopping all work, cold-turkey. 🙂

      Thoughts?
      Mark

      Reply
      1. For sure. Just thought I read you were doing that this year. I am in my later 50s now. I made the unfortunate mistake of marrying a younger woman who has to work at least a few years before she is pension eligible! Still working but using your information to help decide for how much longer.

        Reply
        1. Good to know, re: working longer. I think it really “depends” on what you intend to spend, and when, re: decision to retire. Some folks enjoy working/prolonged semi-retirement if you will. Not sure I will ever stop working entirely but slowing down from my full-time job in the coming year or so is definitely the plan. I was hoping to start the scaling-back process sometime in 2024 but that’s taking some workplace negotiation that is not always easy.

          Cheers.

          Reply
  1. My proponent of “sticking why a plan”. I started seriously investing just before the Great Recession, stuck to my guns, and came out better the other side. Decided to do the same when the pandemic decimated my portfolio, and despite a couple of dividend cuts, came out better.

    Good stuff!

    Reply

Post Comment