July 2022 Financial Update

“Don’t tell me what you think, tell me what you have in your portfolio.”

― Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Skin in the Game: Hidden Asymmetries in Daily Life

My Investment Philosophy

  • Diversify – investments and taxes.
  • Do nothing – automate.
  • Develop margin of safety – allow assets to compound.

Portfolio

I treat all accounts as one portfolio.

  • VGRO – 86%
  • Cash – 294K
  • VAB – 6%
  • GIC – 3%
  • Asset Allocation – 69%
  • Portfolio Gain (Loss)
    • YTD – (692,465)
    • 2021 – 728,410
    • 2020 – 495,984
    • 2019 – 190,513

Mailbox Money

“Life is really simple, but men insist on making it complicated.” Confucius (BC 551-BC 479) Chinese philosopher.

I have zero alpha.

I want “know nothing, do nothing” mailbox money.

Mailbox Money

  • YTD – 57,012
  • 2021 – 136,578
  • 2020 – 130,610
  • 2019 – 110,068

July 2022

I am making more plans to simplify. I have a credit union account and Tangerine bank for my personal banking. I am planning on keeping just the credit union bank account. We recently had an issue logging into our online bank. We figure that as we get older, it might be better to be able to go to a physical bank branch if any issues arise.

Some folks spring clean their homes. I keep trying to clean up our finances.

My accountants no longer send back 20 questions when I do my taxes. I have not even heard from them for the past two years. I send them my info and nowadays they just file the taxes.

It used to be so much more difficult. But I simplified my tax preparation as well. I also don’t think there is much to do when one holds only one ETF.

I also changed my process for buying my VGRO shares. I had tried to keep 5% cash. Now I keep around 200K cash and invest the rest. My husband could even do this. It is this easy. No spreadsheet required.

I have stopped doing anything fancy with my finances. The current routine is that the day our pay gets deposited, I sign into the brokerage and buy the set amount of VGRO. It takes less than five minutes each month.

One of my brokerages has become more of a boutique firm. They are transitioning their clients into AUM type accounts. I have my accounts grandfathered at the current time. I wonder if we will be getting a letter that they want us to move our accounts.

I am noticing how none of this stuff matters. We missed the entire equity bull market and we still have enough. We are those people who save a lot. I guess I just have less wants since I have always felt as if we were living abundantly.

I am beginning to think that our decumulation will be no biggie either. There is no perfect plan. Think of all the moving parts. Good luck believing one can time all these things perfectly.

I prefer to DIY since I can keep things simpler. I do not want an advisor to increase complexity in my finances that would be difficult for me to unwind.

So there it is. Another month. I literally spend less than 5 minutes a month buying more VGRO.

Finances can be very easy if you allow it to be.

June 2022 Financial Update

“Don’t tell me what you think, tell me what you have in your portfolio.”

― Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Skin in the Game: Hidden Asymmetries in Daily Life

My Investment Philosophy

  • Diversify – investments and taxes.
  • Do nothing – automate.
  • Develop margin of safety – allow assets to compound.

Portfolio

I treat all accounts as one portfolio.

  • VGRO – 86%
  • Cash – 4%
  • VAB – 6%
  • GIC – 4%
  • Asset Allocation – 69%
  • Portfolio Gain (Loss)
    • YTD – (1,130,082)
    • 2021 – 728,410
    • 2020 – 495,984
    • 2019 – 190,513

Mailbox Money

“Life is really simple, but men insist on making it complicated.” Confucius (BC 551-BC 479) Chinese philosopher.

I have zero alpha.

I want “know nothing, do nothing” mailbox money.

Mailbox Money

  • YTD – 21,285
  • 2021 – 136,578
  • 2020 – 130,610
  • 2019 – 110,068

June 2022

The market is taking a beating. This was expected to say the least. While one is accumulating, you simply can not care about this. I will follow a reasonable investment process and leave it alone.

It took me a while to figure out an investment schedule. Bimonthly, monthly or quarterly? I have settled on a monthly regime and it is working well enough. The issue is that most of our investments are in taxable accounts and this raises some accounting issues. You have to track more if you buy more frequently. Thus I decided on the monthly schedule.

I also figured that I work better with a sweep account system. Our income is not regular and thus every other system requires too much mental bandwidth. Nowadays, I simply keep a set amount of cash in my main chequing accounts and sweep the rest to buy more VGRO.

This all may seem elementary to many folks who get paid a regular salary. However, self-employed people have to think about such things on a regular basis.

I have only been an employee for one year of my working life so this is something I am very accustomed to.

I recently had to have a discussion with my husband about our dividends. I prefer to think of total return. I am not a dividend investor. I use dividends as an automated way to cash out parts of our portfolio when we start to spend our portfolio. I have my spreadsheet to track that we are not spending beyond 3%.

I also have finished giving our children a pot of money to start their own financial independence journey. This was an important goal for me. I would rather give them a smaller sum earlier. This way, they get to learn how to invest and grow this into a larger pot of money.

I would not give them a fully formed portfolio. If they are good investors, they will be able to retire off this amount given a long enough runway. If they are not good investors, they would have spent it all but I would have given them less since I gifted this to them in their 20s.

Either way, this is what I chose to do as they will be able to learn whatever lessons they need much earlier in life.

I also sent them the Peter Buffett article about how much he would have had had he just left his inheritance money with Berkshire. I remind them we are NOT Warren Buffett.

Now that my investments are on a regular schedule, it is amazing how little time one needs to spend on this stuff.

I still can’t believe that it is this simple and easy…

Ode to VGRO

This is why I appreciate my lovely VGRO ETF. It just does its own dang thing and I literally have to do nothing.

In fact, I had recently gone camping with my husband. We barely had internet service and I don’t believe I missed much of anything. It was nice to unplug.

Even though my bond etf is taking a pounding, it is on a dividend reinvestment plan in our retirement account. It is buying more units at the reduced rate. That will give us more fire power when we plan to sell this later.

I also had another GIC strip mature this week. I do not plan on holding these any longer. I prefer to see less entities when I open my account statements. I love opening my statement and just seeing VGRO in there.

This type of investing works well for me. I like simplicity. I have no problem with complexity if it benefits me. However when it comes to investing, I have found keeping it brutally simple has been working.

But then again, I have had the benefit of making plenty of mistakes over the past 30 years of investing. I still wished these products were available in Canada when I started investing 30 years ago.

My portfolio is down over a million dollars right now. This was expected. Who believes in an upward trend the whole time.

And how do I feel? Nothing yet. Even though we are clearly in a bear market.

I do not have to re-balance with my asset allocation ETF. I simply buy more each month after we get paid. I have even started my son on the same routine.

I am seeing the benefits in real time of holding this self re-balancing ETF. I notice that I don’t much mind what happens.

But it is ticking off a lot of the boxes I care about. I went on vacation and didn’t/ couldn’t check my portfolio and it was fine.

My husband has stopped asking me what I am doing with our investments because he knows that VGRO re-balances itself. We are all alot calmer nowadays.

My children have almost the same investments so if something were to happen to me, they would know what to do. Newsflash, do nothing.

Is VGRO less tax efficient? Who cares? I pay more for Costco and Instacart for convenience. I do not care one wit for luxury but I will gladly pay for convenience and decreased hassle.

I don’t know why more women don’t invest this way. Finally after managing my household for decades, this ETF works without me doing anything! This is a wonder of the world.

Thankfully I like not doing stuff. I notice that I am in the minority as many others seem determined to debate one another on the most ridiculous minutiae. I barely understand the concepts that some of the financial forum members ruminate over. And I don’t care, yay!

You can be smart as a whip or know absolutely nothing. Either way, you buy the same ETF and both stand a chance to get a return. That is the truest form of democratization there ever is.

I keep pinching myself that my kids can hold the same investment. How awesome is this? This takes a huge amount of estate planning off my plate. I often worried that if I passed them a large real estate portfolio that they would be taken advantage of by a property manager. I don’t worry about that any longer with VGRO.

I listened to a podcast where an advisor stated that folks thought these asset allocation ETFs were too simple. They just thought it could not work if it was this simple. Folks seriously get in their own way.

VGRO has simplified this part of my life immensely. And I plan to enjoy this.

May 2022 Financial Update

“Don’t tell me what you think, tell me what you have in your portfolio.”

― Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Skin in the Game: Hidden Asymmetries in Daily Life

My Investment Philosophy

  • Diversify – investments and taxes.
  • Do nothing – automate.
  • Develop margin of safety – allow assets to compound.

Portfolio

I treat all accounts as one portfolio.

  • VGRO – 80%
  • Cash – 5%
  • Brk.B – 5%
  • VAB – 5%
  • GIC – 3%
  • Asset Allocation – 70%
  • Portfolio Gain (Loss)
    • YTD – (645,542)
    • 2021 – 728,410
    • 2020 – 495,984
    • 2019 – 190,513

Mailbox Money

“Life is really simple, but men insist on making it complicated.” Confucius (BC 551-BC 479) Chinese philosopher.

I have zero alpha.

I want “know nothing, do nothing” mailbox money.

Mailbox Money

  • YTD – 21,285
  • 2021 – 136,578
  • 2020 – 130,610
  • 2019 – 110,068

May 2022

I kind of get dividend investors. I know there are these research types who try to make investing academic. But uh no. Investing is about sentiment which involves humans. And humans are notoriously hard to predict.

So I understand when dividend investors simply say “show me the money“. They don’t really care what the value of their investments are as long as they get paid their dividends. I see the simplicity of that. Because I really like seeing my dividends quarterly. 

I also firmly believe that you have to love your investments. Not just tolerate them, but really love them. You have to be getting something from them.

What am I getting for mine?

I am getting to revel in my “know nothing, do nothing” approach. I do not have to ask anyone for expert opinions. I do not have to worry if I am being clever in my rebalancing. I get to be lazy. And I might even do better than all the “busy and amazing” people. Now that is loving my investment.

It ticks many of the boxes for what I’m trying to do in my life. I am not someone who holds my asset allocation ETF and just endures it. I freaking love it.

There are no guarantees with investing. Thus I will just stay with my simple, easy and enjoyable approach.

The Market

Look, investing is simple.

If you let it.

I buy VGRO regularly. Then ignore it.

I check every month and if I have more than 5% cash, I buy more VGRO.

When my GICs mature, I buy more VGRO.

I am still waiting for my bonds to recover and then I will buy more VGRO.

I am seeing a pattern here.

And once it is all in VGRO, I will barely even think about it.

I do not need a complicated financial plan.

If my husband and I can’t stand the government taxing us more – just work less. No need for more complexity with accountants, lawyers or insurance folks thinking up more and usually expensive strategies to avoid taxation. I just don’t care any longer.

I am starting to see that simplifying and knowing exactly what I want is more important than education and endless information.

The majority of strategies I would never bother with.

Even with the markets dropping, I just follow my plan. Eventually I will be around 75% AA and that works for me.

Because the ultimate plan is to live off the dividends from this growth portfolio. I will be a dividend investor with a growth ETF. That. will. be. awesome.

And unbelievably simple.

No fancy footwork. Just work and save. No one has a better strategy. It all works until it doesn’t. There is no easier plan for me than the one I have right now.

If I am going to be soaked by the government, the markets, legislation/ regulation changes…

Who cares? As long as I haven’t had to do anything extra for it.

And don’t forget. Payments are not only with money. It’s also the worrying and wasted mental and emotional bandwidth fretting about stuff. Fagettabouit. I am too disinterested in all this to bother.

After a while, everyone has enough money. If you don’t, it’s likely a psychological issue and no amount of money will fix that. Just sayin’.

No one can sell me anything any longer. Because I am not buying. This has made my life much simpler.

I am too lazy for side hustles. I have zero desire to deal with tenants or property managers for real estate investments.

Nowadays I can sustain the interest to buy VGRO once a month. And if I can do that, I’m happy.

I don’t bother to read forums anymore. It’s just filled with collective angst. I’m kind of beyond that too.

That’s why I use the same ETF in all my accounts. Tax diversification as I often say. I don’t think I’m clever enough to figure out which exact account will be the best. Life is too unpredictable. And anyone who thinks otherwise is fooling themselves. I’m not that naive anymore.

I may not have the best strategy. But since I spend minimal time on this, I also don’t mind.

This is the benefit of never thinking that I’m smarter than anyone else. There are no guarantees with any of the stuff. The only guarantee I want is to do as little as possible for it. And this is probably the only arena in life where the less you do, the better you’ll probably be. And for a lazy person like me I am all over that approach.

Whenever I read articles nowadays that don’t fit what I’m looking for, my brain doesn’t read the words anymore. All I hear is blah blah blah blah. It’s almost cartoonish.

So yeah, the markets have been taking a pound down. If you follow a simple strategy, it won’t matter much.

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