Design a site like this with WordPress.com
Get started

July 2021 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

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

Networth%

  1. Equities – 41%
  2. Bonds – 16%
  3. Cash – 6%
  4. Real Estate – 36%
    1. Home – 24%
    2. Extra Unit – 7%
    3. Office Unit – 5%
  5. Other – 0.5%
  6. Networth Gain (Loss)
    1. YTD – 762,377
    2. 2020 – 923,032
    3. 2019 – 733,269

Portfolio

I treat all accounts as one portfolio.

  1. Portfolio
    1. VGRO – 75%
    2. Cash – 10%
    3. VAB – 6%
    4. Brk.B – 4.6%
    5. GIC – 4%
  2. Asset Allocation – 64.9%
  3. Portfolio Gain (Loss)
    1. YTD – 393,141
    2. 2020 – 495,984
    3. 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.

  1. July 2021
    1. VGRO – 24,900
    2. Interest – 2,573
    3. VAB – 981
    4. Total – 28,454
  2. 12 Month Trailing – 124,480
  3. Mailbox Money
    1. YTD – 85,975
    2. 2020 – 125,388
    3. 2019 – 107,264

July 2021

My investment plan is starting to materialize. The plan is to do almost nothing.

I know why I do not visit financial forums. There is too much noise. There is too much fear. I don’t think anyone knows anything. So what’s the point?

I just keep track of my portfolio by showing up here each month. I like regularity.

I am reminded that one can do almost nothing and that’s fine. I enjoy how simple things are nowadays. I believe folks who require a lot of guarantees should have gotten jobs with defined benefit plans.

There is no true guarantee with a volatile portfolio. That’s the nature of equity markets. Anyone who tries to tell you otherwise is selling something.

But there are various ways to secure retirement income. Folks just have to use what they have on hand.

I like how Gasem uses his social security. Now there is a smart guy with an interest in investing. And he still relies on his guaranteed government payments for his retirement. He is quite wise indeed.

I don’t make any money off this blog and have zero plan to.

This is just a portfolio diary. Period.

I don’t even think most folks know what is an adequate asset allocation. Everyone says 60/40. But that 60% equities has a lot of volatility.

I figure that once I invest with equities that there will be limited control. That’s why it is even more important to set up the controllable factors.

Live modestly.

Use a low spending ratio.

I would rather go to work than worry about equities.

I will likely be a quasi dividend investor. My ETF dividends will be enough to live on. I just have to make sure that it is less than 3% of the portfolio.

I am moving closer to holding only VGRO and 5-10% cash. This will be the easiest portfolio to maintain over the long term.

For now, it is to carry on and wait for GICs to mature. I have been enjoying the Olympics a lot. This is what you get to do when your investments take zero effort, you get to live your life.

Visit friends and family. Enjoy the outdoors more. Exercise and read. You get the idea.

Advertisement

June 2021 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

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

Networth%

  1. Equities – 40%
  2. Bonds – 16%
  3. Cash – 8%
  4. Real Estate – 36%
    1. Home – 24%
    2. Extra Unit – 7%
    3. Office Unit – 5%
  5. Other – 0.5%
  6. Networth Gain (Loss)
    1. YTD – 690,628
    2. 2020 – 923,032
    3. 2019 – 733,269

Portfolio

I treat all accounts as one portfolio.

  1. Portfolio
    1. VGRO – 72%
    2. Cash – 13%
    3. VAB – 6%
    4. Brk.B – 4.6%
    5. GIC – 4.4%
  2. Asset Allocation – 62.4%
  3. Portfolio Gain (Loss)
    1. YTD – 345,887
    2. 2020 – 495,984
    3. 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.

  1. June 2021
    1. Interest – 1,460
    2. VAB – 823
    3. Total – 2,283
  2. 12 Month Trailing – 118,573
  3. Mailbox Money
    1. YTD – 57,519
    2. 2020 – 125,388
    3. 2019 – 107,264

June 2021

The final plan is to hold VGRO and cash. But there are a few steps along the way.

  1. Wait for my GICs to mature. Last ones are due in 2024.
  2. Sell VAB, the intermediate bond ETF, and buy VGRO in the RRSP.
  3. Sell Berkshire when we work part time. This is because of the small business deduction limit.
  4. Sell our office when we retire.

When we fully retire, we will spend mainly mailbox money. I will make sure that it is less than 3% of our total portfolio.

So that is the plan. Not amazing. Not optimized. But very simple for everyone including me.

I continue to minimize our financial accounts. I started the year with four credit cards and now only carry two. One for personal use and one for corporate use.

I am helping my children to avoid financial junk drawers and to keep things simple. It takes a lot of time and effort to unwind past mistakes.

I searched for this type of investing when I was in my twenties. I even called Vanguard. But alas it did not arrive in Canada until 2011.

I did not fully adopt it until 2018 when the asset allocation ETFs started.

So yeah kids, you guys can keep it simple and easy.

May 2021 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

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

Networth%

  1. Equities – 38%
  2. Bonds – 16%
  3. Cash – 10%
  4. Real Estate – 36%
    1. Home – 24%
    2. Extra Unit – 7%
    3. Office Unit – 5%
  5. Other – 0.5%
  6. Networth Gain (Loss)
    1. YTD – 537,267
    2. 2020 – 923,032
    3. 2019 – 733,269

Portfolio

I treat all accounts as one portfolio.

  1. Portfolio
    1. VGRO (80/20 Asset Allocation ETF) – 69%
    2. Cash – 15%
    3. VAB (Intermediate Bond ETF) – 6%
    4. Brk.B (Berkshire Hathaway) – 4.7%
    5. GIC – 4.7%
  2. Asset Allocation – 60.3%
  3. Portfolio Gain (Loss)
    1. YTD – 230,238
    2. 2020 – 495,984
    3. 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.

  1. May 2021
    1. Interest – 1,952
    2. VAB – 874
    3. Total – 2,826
  2. 12 Month Trailing – 118,663
  3. Mailbox Money
    1. YTD – 55,236
    2. 2020 – 125,388
    3. 2019 – 107,264

May 2021

As you can tell from the brevity of the figures tracked, I have continued to simplify. I only care about my networth, asset allocation, portfolio and mailbox money.

I plan to hold mainly VGRO and cash in due time. It will take another couple of years for my GICs to mature. I can not sell Berkshire until my husband is working part time. Otherwise it would overwhelm our small business deduction for the year.

I do not bother with asset location. The government can change your taxes and plans dramatically. I just put assets everywhere and hopefully I will have flexibility when the government changes the rules again.

Plus I don’t even care about paying taxes. I just don’t want to overpay.

I can control spending. Many of the other factors such as the stock market, interest rates, housing market, your health, your loved ones’ health are beyond your control.

Come to think of it, you likely can’t even control spending. If a true spending shock occurs, you will pay. Period.

I keep things simple and hopefully I will at least be able to see trouble earlier.

I am very grateful when things are going well. I do not need or demand home runs. I am more than happy with a quiet life with a minimum of hassle and busyness.

I am grateful that I worked hard early on in my career. That has allowed me to glide for the past 16 years.

In terms of my investments, I plan to keep whittling away at the components. This tax year has been utterly simple. My accountant has zero idea what to think of all this. But it is becoming harder for them to say that my taxes are complicated. They are finally simple. Amen to that.

I am able to see how everyone wants to complicate things so that they can charge fees to unwind it. I see this for financial advisors, accountants and lawyers. Everyone seems to have their hand out perpetually.

I always knew that working a lot for money was never worth it for me. I was willing to work enough. And honestly I prefer to spend less than go out of my way to earn a lot more.

To say that I can be truly lazy when it comes to money is an understatement. But it works well since I am also someone who enjoys good enough. I never need to have the best of anything.

April 2021 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

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

Networth% April 2021

Equities (80%VGRO, Brk.B)

37%

Fixed Income (20%VGRO, VAB, Cash)

25%

Personal Residence

24%

Extra Unit

7%

Commercial Unit

5%

Other

0.5%

Our Portfolio

I treat all accounts as one portfolio.

Portfolio Accounts% April 2021

Account

Ticker

Asset

Portfolio %

Corporate

BRK.B

Berkshire Hathaway

4.7

Corporate

VGRO

80/20 Asset Allocation ETF

62

RRSP1

VAB

Aggregate Bond

2.3

RRSP1

VGRO

80/20 Asset Allocation ETF

1.6

RRSP2

VAB

Aggregate Bond

3.8

TFSA1

VGRO

80/20 Asset Allocation ETF

1.4

TFSA2

VGRO

80/20 Asset Allocation ETF

1.4

Taxable

VGRO

80/20 Asset Allocation ETF

2.2

GIC

4.8

Cash

16

Portfolio Holdings% April 2021

VGRO

80/20 Asset Allocation ETF

69%

Cash + GIC

Fixed Income

21%

VAB

Aggregate Bond

6%

Brk.B

Berkshire Hathaway

4.7%

Asset Allocation

59.5%

Portfolio Gain (Loss) YTD

176,123

Portfolio Gain (Loss) 2020

495,984

Portfolio Gain (Loss) 2019

190,513

Mailbox Money – April 2021

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

My investment philosophy is simple.

I have zero alpha.

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

Mailbox Money

VGRO

18,528

Interest

8,314

VAB

967

April 2021 Total

27,810

12 Month Trailing

120,799

2021 YTD

52,410

2020

125,388

2019

107,264

April 2021

I started blogging in 2018. I did it to make myself accountable. I also tend to think better when I write things out. My finances were a jumble mainly from neglect. I updated totals for years but never spent time reviewing what the totals were composed of. I admit that I owned many individual stocks bought during the dotcom crisis and simply never looked at them until 2017.

I didn’t even know how dividends were paid. I did not know that it was based on the number of shares that I owned. Duh!

The biggest reason I never looked was because we had so many companies. I do not do well with complexity.

I am not kidding when I say that I need things to be simple. My default for too much complexity is to ignore things.

But since I started the blog it has forced me to review all of it. And when I did, I started cutting things out ruthlessly.

It was great timing since this was around the time Vanguard started their asset allocation ETFs in Canada.

I think I bought it during the first week after the launch of VGRO.

Nowadays I hold 1 stock, 2 ETFs, cash and some real estate.

I do not bother with asset location. I do not try to lower fees by buying the individual ETF components. I do not tax loss sell. I do not engage in currency conversion with Norbert’s gambit.

I literally buy VGRO wherever I can and then hold it. I don’t even have to rebalance.

I have no idea what is the best way to invest. I am certain that my way is not the optimal way.

However I know that this is the simplest way. I know that if I can stay with this strategy, I can hope to attain market returns. That is good enough for me.

I want my investments to be automated and passive.

To mitigate equity volatility, I will hold more cash and spend less when needed.

I will not be adding alternative investments. It has taken me long enough to make things simple.

Plus I am starting to see that I just don’t care about money enough to bother trying anything else. That is the most honest answer.

The whole point of writing monthly updates is to keep myself on track. My biggest problem has been that I stop watching things after a while. This is why asset allocation ETFs like VGRO are wonderful. I can literally set it and forget it eventually.

I finally got our portfolio to 60/40 asset allocation. My bank terms were coming due so it was time to get it all invested. I am starting to not even want to manage the cash in my bank accounts.

I love my portfolio. It is simple and it feels great to just buy more VGRO. Once it’s bought, I do not need to deal with it except collect dividends quarterly.

That is my idea of “do nothing”.

Online shopping has become my default now. I love Costco Instacart. I have not gone shopping physically except for a couple of times to Costco with my hubby. I recently gave my membership to hubby since I don’t plan to shop in the warehouse anymore. My lifestyle is changing.

Life is becoming more routine. I love routines. I eat the same breakfast and lunch daily. It’s oatmeal for breakfast and I have an apple and nuts for lunch.

I have finally lost weight. I haven’t been able to lose weight for the past few decades. There must be a correlation between living a more aligned life and my losing weight. I am in my fifties and I am the same weight I was during high school. That sounds great but I was overweight for the past 28 years. Life is all about how you look at things.

The weight loss could be from the 15K steps I have been able to log daily. My iphone step counter has been keeping track. My life is certainly getting simpler.

There will be no more updates of my kids’ investment accounts. They both want to manage their own investments. I have managed my own stuff since I was 17 years old. They are both old enough now.

I plan on giving a modest sum to my kids early. Enough that if they leave it alone for 20-30 years, they could have a simple retirement on this alone. Why not? I would never hand them a fully formed portfolio. But I can hand them the original seed capital. It would be up to them to nurture it and grow it.

If they can’t handle the funds, then I am glad that we did not give more. It is training them to handle larger amounts of money.

Plus I hope they learn to keep things simple.

I spent decades reacting to my finances. I spent decades detesting tax season.

I thought how could anyone else in my family look after our finances like this. I can’t figure some of it out and I was the one who bought the asset.

That is why I don’t bother with alternative investments. I just want my finances simple enough so that my family can manage it and so that I actually want to look at it.

At this point there is no discernible way that I can make our finances better. But there are plenty of ways to mess things up.

The only thing left to do is to keep up to date with any big changes that could impact our finances. Just make sure that we’re on the right track so that we can continue to do nothing.

I look forward to that.

March 2021 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.

Networth% – March 2021

Equities (80%VGRO, Brk.B)

36%

Fixed Income (20%VGRO, VAB, Cash)

27%

Personal Residence

25%

Extra Unit

7%

Commercial Unit

6%

Other

0.6%

Our Portfolio

I treat all accounts as one portfolio.

Portfolio Accounts% – March 2021

Account

Ticker

Asset

Portfolio %

Corporate

BRK.B

Berkshire Hathaway

4.5

Corporate

VGRO

80/20 Asset Allocation ETF

59

RRSP1

VAB

Aggregate Bond

2.3

RRSP1

VGRO

80/20 Asset Allocation ETF

1.6

RRSP2

VAB

Aggregate Bond

3.9

TFSA1

VGRO

80/20 Asset Allocation ETF

1.5

TFSA2

VGRO

80/20 Asset Allocation ETF

1.4

Taxable

VGRO

80/20 Asset Allocation ETF

2.2

GIC

5

Cash

19

Portfolio Holdings% – March 2021

VGRO

80/20 Asset Allocation ETF

66%

Cash + GIC

Fixed Income

24%

VAB

Aggregate Bond

6%

Brk.B

Berkshire Hathaway

4%

Asset Allocation

57.0%

Mailbox Money- March 2021

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

My investment philosophy is simple.

I have zero alpha.

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

Mailbox Money

March 2021

Asset

Ticker

$$$

% Total

Aggregate Bond

VAB

748

79%

Interest

199

21%

March 2021 Total

947

Mailbox Money

$$$

2021 YTD

24,600

12 Month Trailing

105,585

2020

125,388

Kids’ Portfolios – March 2021

4% SWR / year

Son, VEQT + VGRO

9,653

Daughter, VEQT

1,089

VEQT = Vanguard All-Equity ETF Portfolio

March 2021

It takes more discipline to maintain simplicity. There is so much noise out there. There are many ways to invest. Thankfully I am disciplined by nature. I care about keeping things streamlined much more than I care about getting outsized returns.

I want a simple process that is timeless. And it is not about sticking ones’ head in the sand. I am well aware of the other investing options. But I also know what it is that I am seeking.

The hardest thing to do in life is to do nothing.

Interesting isn’t it? Everyone has been taught that one needs to be hardcore, busy and productive. Bah! Not true.

The best results I have ever had was when I did nothing. Or the bare minimum.

I quit Twitter this month. I realized that I am not really social enough for social media. Plus I thought it would encourage me to write daily. It didn’t. I think I can maintain monthly updates. Otherwise there isn’t much else to say.

I am mildly obsessed with making our financial life as simple as possible. I am convinced further complexity will not garner better results.

There is not much new in personal finance. Live below your means, save the extra and keep doing this over and over. I would say invest but admittedly we barely invested and we still reached financial independence.

The best parts of my life reside outside the financial system. Good health, good relationships, hobbies like reading and walking.

My son made a change in his taxable account recently. He switched from VEQT to VGRO. He did not want to deal with rebalancing so he chose to maintain his taxable account with VGRO. He could likely keep this holding his entire investing life. How cool is that?

It is tiring to read about people who question why others would leave their careers even after reaching FI.

Hey, if you love your job so much, stay then. Everyone has different issues so it is very hard to get solid advice. And stop casting around the internet looking for validation!

Reaching FI does not mean one has to change anything if they don’t want to. Plus careers can be fluid. It’s just work. You can always change things up. Folks get so caught up with the perfect decision. There likely isn’t one.

People are often seeking validation for whatever they do. I make my changes privately and tell no one.

I recently had a discussion with a financial advisor. He kept trying to state that one must never DIY a corporate portfolio. Why not? I just own VGRO. I didn’t bother telling him that. No wonder most folks don’t want to manage their own finances. So much fear mongering.

But it’s the usual recommendations. You need to buy more whole life insurance. But maybe we can just work less! I am tired of financial helpers who keep trying to increase complexity. We are not that wealthy and I am okay with paying some taxes.

So for now. I will leave everything as is.