Weekend Reading – Work in retirement, early retirement, financial plan on a page and more #moneystuff

Weekend Reading – Work in retirement, early retirement, financial plan on a page and more #moneystuff

Hi All,

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.

You can find my last edition here – key money moves to weather the pandemic this fall and winter.

Fall has hit Ottawa for sure, cooler nights and days are here but I’m still walking or biking daily to get some exercise in. I hope to continue that throughout the winter except on very cold days!


I hope things are well in your world – all things considered!

First up this weekend, my friend Tom Drake had my other friend Bob Lai on one of the most popular personal finance podcasts in Canada – The Maple Money Show of course – discussing if the FIRE movement is retired thanks to COVID-19. Good stuff guys.

My take on this is: most people in the FIRE movement have good paying jobs. This is not discussed nearly enough. To retire early or other, you need to have a high savings rate for investing purposes. So, while the FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early) movement is not strictly related to top income jobs, it certainly makes things FAR easier. On the flipside and sadly for others, many service-oriented jobs and frontline workers are having their financial lives turned upside down during this pandemic. Definitely something I think about… You?

Congratulations to A Purple Life who retired early this week and chronicled her last day of work here.

I enjoyed the Modernfimily interview about easing into retirement via part-time work. It’s absolutely something I’ve been thinking about during my entire 10-year blogging career myself. Once we reach a few of our major financial milestones, I figure we can entertain that idea.

You can see some of my thinking on our financial independence plan here.

Financial Independence Update – May 2020

The best part of the interview above, in my opinion, were the concepts of taking time to figure out what you truly value and avoiding the mad rush to financial independence (if you’re missing out on other things in life). Life is short, and precious, and you need to enjoy your journey….

Courtesy of Morgan Housel, here is a financial plan on a page:

1-page financial plan

Listen to 25 experts at this year’s Canadian Financial Summit!

As a passionate investor and reader of my site, I wanted to reach out today and tell you that I’ll be speaking at the upcoming Canadian Financial Summit taking place October 14-17, 2020.

The great thing about this Summit – it’s 100% FREE for that weekend.

Have internet and a phone or a tablet or a desktop computer and enjoy soon!

Here is what you can learn about during this year’s free Summit:

  • How to retire early and on your own terms
  • How to invest better, easier, and more efficiently
  • How to earn more money by creatively advertising innovative side gigs
  • How to see through financial jargon meant to confuse you
  • How to check your “retirement readiness
  • How to avoid crippling fees and terrible advice
  • How to legally avoid Canadian taxation when you move for work or retirement
  • How to use Financial Technology (FinTech) to save major cash
  • How to strategically pick the perfect wardrobe without breaking the bank
  • How to drawdown your nest egg in retirement & what a safe withdrawal rate is
  • How to minimize costs and save cash when doing home renovations

Here are just some of the big time pros speaking at the Summit!

  • Kevin McCarthy (yes, the creator of the TFSA!)
  • Rob Carrick (Columnist at The Globe and Mail and Host of the STRESS TEST Podcast)
  • Ellen Roseman (Former Toronto Star Columnist, Consumer Advocacy and Personal Finance Writer)
  • Kristy Shen & Bryce Leung (Founders of Millennial Revolution and authors of Quit Like a Millionaire)
  • John Kalos (Certified Financial Planner with Over 20 Years’ Experience. Industry Insider from Confessions of an Ex Banker Podcast)
  • Lana Sanichar (Editor-in-Chief of Canadian MoneySaver Magazine)
  • And many more! (see full list here).

I’m looking forward to your feedback on my talk – how I’m getting semi-retirement ready and sharing my portfolio draw down plans to sustain it!

The Summit will kick off with a live webinar on October 14th and again, is absolutely FREE to view for the weekend.

Should you want to check out all videos after the free weekend window has passed, that’s the only time you’ll need to pay – so sign-up for the anytime, anywhere All Access Pass.

Love this image….ha!

Just Realized How Much He's Paying Frodo

More reading…

Dale Roberts considers the BMO Monthly Income ETF (yields about 4.5%) as a great way to deliver retirement income. Interestingly, I also wrote about ZMI many years ago as a major alternative to some pricey income mutual funds.

Alternatives to some pricey monthly income funds

I read that Shell is cutting some 9,000 jobs to move to a lower-carbon footprint business.

While I believe we’ll still need some oil and gas companies, I don’t intend to own many in my portfolio. In fact, my overall portfolio weight in pipeline stocks (Enbridge and TC Energy combined) is only about 5%. Over time, I will reduce this. See my reader question of the week below!

Reader question of the week (adapted for the site):

Hi Mark,

Love the blog and your journey. OK, so my big questions are:

  1. What are your biggest stock or ETF holdings and more importantly – why?
  2. If you own pipeline stocks, with energy crashing, what’s your plan?


That’s at least a few blogposts worth of questions!

Kidding aside, thanks for your readership and here are my answers in brief.

  1. My biggest stocks and ETFs and why?

At the time of this post, they are:

  • TD Bank (TD)
  • Emera (EMA)
  • Vanguard High Dividend Yield ETF (VYM)
  • Royal Bank (RY)
  • Fortis (FTS).


I believe in the long-term dividend growth capability of some key Canadian banks. TD and RY are just two of them.

I like the major utilities in Canada (such as EMA and FTS) because last time I checked, people like electricity and use it often. Utilities are also a hedge for any upcoming inflationary risk – they can raise their prices and they likely will.

(REITs (Real Estate Investment Trusts) are also somewhat kind when it comes to inflation, since owners can increase their rents – but I think all bets are off as long as we are in a COVID-19 world on that.)

Lastly, when it comes to VYM, I have a plan to live off dividends (and distributions) in the coming years. Owning some low-cost U.S. ETFs that pay out decent distributions (so I don’t touch the capital in the early years of semi-retirement) is part of that plan. Those days are about 5 years away, plus or minus I think. Right now, conservatively based on VYM distributions and units held, that fund will pay us at least $1,200 in U.S. dollars per year. We also own some U.S. stocks for dividend income. You can see some holdings on this juicy Dividends page here!

You should also know even though these are my top-5 holdings by weight, only TD right now makes up more than 5% of my total portfolio (just over). I prefer to keep any one stock holding at no more than 5% of my portfolio.

That said, I would only more than happy to see low-cost ETFs rise to a higher portfolio weight over time. They probably will. I’m buying them. At the time of semi-retirement, I think it would be great to have a balanced mix of individual dividend paying stocks from Canada and the U.S., mixed in with some low-cost ETFs. The latter are bought and held for additional diversification, mostly covering the U.S. market, therefore mitigating some stock selection risk.

  1. If I own pipeline stocks, with energy crashing, what’s my plan?

 Stay invested. I have no intention of selling such stocks. Boring I know!

Thanks for your questions and keep them coming. I try and answer as many as I can on the site.

Happy investing and see you in the comments section!


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.

15 Responses to "Weekend Reading – Work in retirement, early retirement, financial plan on a page and more #moneystuff"

  1. Should a person in their 20s, who is purchasing a home with 20% down, a working partner with no children purchase mortgage insurance? I have heard mixed reviews. Currently, rrsp and tfsa maxed so in good financial shape.

  2. hello Mark

    VYM vs XUU as you have commented on very recently – correct me if I am wrong, although XUU has outpaced VYM during the past 1yr – XUU is much more volatile with US high tech stocks compared to the much more conservative VYM and higher dividend – past performance is no guarantee of future gains/loses – your thoughts further on these 2 etf’s – thankyou – john

    1. Thanks John. I use VYM for some yield and growth. Our plan is to live off dividends to a degree and not eat any capital in semi-retirement in the coming years, just make RRSP withdrawals using the dividends and distributions earned by our stocks and ETFs respectively.

      VYM consistently yields about 3% and I expect it will in the future.

      XUU might be more volatile of late but happy to own some in the CDN $$ side of my RRSP since I avoid any currency conversion headaches while owning a piece of the U.S. (volatile) market. It’s more of a total growth play than VYM.

      I also own a bit of QQQ for a tech boost that should continue to occur over the next 20-30 years while I remain in equities. That fund is also just over 1% of my portfolio however. We’ll see though John!


  3. Previously our company doesn’t have part-time jobs for my position, but looks like the policy is changing. I am not sure whether or not I want to take a part-time job though, maybe not the current kind of job, as I will be always thinking about work anyway. Maybe taking a different kind of job part-time.

    My first choice is still retiring completely after saved enough. At least for the first couple of years.

    Two years to go according to my plan.

    1. I suspect our organization will be forced to change their thinking as well. There is no way (financially) I can see our provinces and territories who fund many healthcare institutions (non-for-profit) keeping the status quo. They must look at ways to cut costs while at the same time, keep some staff who want to remain in the workforce to some degree employed…COVID-19 must challenge their thinking.

      We’ll see – but if I was the Finance Minister I would be thinking this way.

      Our first choice as soon as our debt is paid off is to work part-time for a few years. <5 years out and maybe 3-4 if savings and debt repayments go well. Have to max out TFSAs and RRSPs for the next few years to realize our plan.

      1. There seems so much yet to come from the Covid fallout and unknown vaccine availability timing, and much of it possibly hardship, before things dramatically improve. I hope I am wrong on that.

        Govt debts, personal debt, business survival/employment, programs and services, global and local economy, interest rates, inflation, taxes, stock markets to name some. Governments need much better long term plans than they currently have (virtually none), and come clean with citizens at some point with reality and tough choices.

        Best wishes on your plan. You’ve done so well with it and still have your focus and game face on. So good to see.

        Thanks Mark. Things are okay here. Although this pandemic has certainly affected our lifestyle of travelling and more social contact, and some on investment income and assets. Likely the same with many. We are relatively fortunate that it isn’t causing hardship.

        1. “Governments need much better long term plans than they currently have (virtually none), and come clean with citizens at some point with reality and tough choices.”

          Yes, I wish there was more transparency. I would vote for that. Frustrating. Maybe other people don’t care about the long-term affects very much? Just trying to get by day-to-day? Likely….

          Yup, game face remains on despite a trying year. We are blessed and very fortunate. Nearing the major milestones of portfolio value and zero debt. Hard to believe both are near….so many years in the making.

          Do stay well and flip me an email whenever of course.

    2. The last company I worked for had a policy of no part time in my role. Long story short a crack opened up temporarily and I was able to go PT in existing role for just over 2 years before fully retiring. (The crack closed right afterwards to strict no PT.)

      It was a great choice here. It helped that I managed to make the same earnings working 60%. My wife had been fully retired during this time so we transitioned to spending more time together, and it got me more prepared for full stop from working.

      Awesome on the 2 years to go. Best wishes.

      1. Thanks, RBull. So nice to hear from you. Didn’t see you for a while here in Mark’s blog and I am sure I am not the only one missing you. Hope all is well for you.

        1. Great to see you on here May and get your feedback. Yep things are well enough and I hope for you too.

          I miss this place with Marks great handiwork and so many good smart people looking to share stories and ideas. Gotta get back to it!!

  4. I’m working part time right now, it’s the best, but I think it will be even better when my kids are in full time school, haha…..

    Congrats on the Summit, hopefully I’ll be able to listen/ watch!

    1. Nice – I thought so re: part-time. That’s likely a nice balance for you and the young family!

      I hope you can tune in and watch. Let me know your thoughts GYM!


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