Mar 042019
 

Slowing Economy and Rising Insolvencies

It was a pretty good month for stocks. The Dow Jones actually gained 11% during the first 2 months of 2019, its best 2 months in a decade. 🙂

But not everything is looking positive. Bond yields have been falling since December, suggesting slower growth. And the number of Canadians who filed for insolvency rose dramatically last year due to higher interest rates and mounting household debt. 🙁 The Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz has stopped hiking rates since October of last year to give debtors some breathing space. But it may already be too late. According to the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy, 125,266 Canadians became legally insolvent in 2018, the second highest number since 2011. The Canadian Association of Insolvency and Restructuring Professionals (CAIRP), which represents 90% of Canada’s licensed insolvency trustees, said Canadian bankruptcies are set to spike in 2019. It appears that some people weren’t aware that there is always a lag between interest rate changes and the impact on household finances.

Overall February was a pretty good month for myself, with an above average net worth increase. This was mostly due to the strength in the financial markets. 🙂

Liquid’s Financial Update

*Side Incomes: = $3,200

  • Part time job =$1200
  • Freelance = $500
  • Dividends =$1000
  • Interest = $500

*Discretionary Spending: = $2,300

  • Food = $300
  • Miscellaneous = $600
  • Interest expense = $1400

*Net Worth: (ΔMoM)

  • Assets: = $1,331,900 total (+10,600)
  • Cash = $11,200 (-600)
  • Canadian stocks = $170,600 (+4400)
  • U.S. stocks = $120,600 (+3700)
  • U.K. stocks = $20,800 (+200)
  • Retirement = $127,800 (+2500)
  • Mortgage Funds = $34,700 (+100)
  • P2P Lending = $34,200 (+300)
  • Home = $367,000 (2019 assessed land value)
  • Farms = $445,000
  • Debts: = $411,900 total (-5600)
  • Mortgage = $189,100 (-400)
  • Farm Loans = $179,100 (-500)
  • Margin Loans = $43,700 (-4700)

*Total Net Worth = $920,000 (+$16,200 / +1.8%)
All numbers are in $CDN at 0.75/USD

The higher cost of debt has personally increased my monthly interest payments. 🙁 However, it has also increased my interest income from certain investments. Hurray for interest rate hedging. 🙂 For example, below is a part of an email I received last week from one of the private mortgage funds I’m invested in.

As interest rates increase and loan losses remain historically low our top-up dividend was growing close to 1%. We are expecting the rate of return to shareholders for the year ending June 30th 2019 to be higher than last year.” – Portfolio Manager of Antrim MIC

I made a lump sum payment towards my margin account to pay down some of my margin loan. I would like to get my total debt balance to below $400,000 by the summer. This is to prepare for future rate hikes that could be coming later this year.

 

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Random Useless Fact:

It looks like someone used a black marker to draw glasses on the left kid’s face.

Feb 062019
 

Markets make a big comeback in January

December 2018 was a terrible time to be long in the stock market. If it weren’t for the brief rally on the last week of the month, the S&P 500 and Dow Jones would have had their worst December since the Great Depression. But suddenly the bulls took over in the following month.

All in all, 2018 was the worst for stocks in 10 years.

Panicked selling at the end of December would have caused someone to miss out on the amazing gains in the first month of this year. It just goes to show that investors should make decisions based on long term planning, and not on emotions.

I didn’t make any big financial moves in January. I deposited $10,000 from my savings into my retirement account but haven’t bought anything with that money yet.

Liquid’s Financial Update

*Side Incomes: = $3,400

  • Part time job =$600
  • Freelance = $500
  • Dividends =$1000
  • Interest = $700

*Discretionary Spending: = $2,000

  • Food = $300
  • Miscellaneous = $900
  • Interest expense = $1400

*Net Worth: (ΔMoM)

  • Assets: = $1,321,300 total (+110,000)
  • Cash = $11,800 (-8600)
  • Canadian stocks = $166,200 (+10400)
  • U.S. stocks = $116,900 (+4200)
  • U.K. stocks = $20,600 (+1200)
  • Retirement = $125,300 (+10400)
  • Mortgage Funds = $34,600 (+100)
  • P2P Lending = $33,900 (+300)
  • Home = $367,000 (+92,000) (New 2019 assessed land value)
  • Farms = $445,000
  • Debts: = $417,500 total (-1300)
  • Mortgage = $189,500 (-400)
  • Farm Loans = $179,600 (-400)
  • Margin Loans = $48,400 (-500)

*Total Net Worth = $903,800 (+$111,300 / +14.0%)
All numbers are in $CDN at 0.74/USD

Real Estate Value Adjustment 

In my previous net worth update I received some feedback in the comments about how other people value their homes. I bought my apartment 10 years ago. My old method of purchase price + annual inflation doesn’t accurately depict the market value of my apartment anymore. So I’ve decided to use the government assessed land value of my property, which gets updated in January every year. Most recently for 2019 my home’s land value is $367,000 according to BC assessment. So that’s what I’ll do every year from now on. 🙂

After updating my property’s value to better reflect current market conditions, I’m quite pleased to find out that my net worth is now $903K. I’m looking forward to reaching 7 figures soon. 😀

Continue reading »

Jan 072019
 

 

Changes in the Financial Markets in 2018

  • Currencies:
  • Canadian dollar weaken from 0.80 to 0.73 USD.
    (Less purchasing power and more expensive imports, such as food from the U.S.)
  • U.S. dollar index up to 96 from 92.
    (Non Americans pay a higher premium to buy U.S. investments.)
  • Stock Markets:
  • Most markets around the world dropped in 2018, especially Emerging and Asian markets.
  • Canadian S&P/TSX stock index fell about 12%
  • U.S. stock market fell about 6%
  • Canadian Aggregate bond index ETF (ZAG) total return = 1.8%

It wasn’t a great way to end the year but on the whole I’m pretty happy with my situation. The last quarter has been the worst for my net worth performance so far. But the good news is I’ve still gained $96K overall in 2018 thanks to a great first half of the year. 🙂 Below is my net worth update for December.

Liquid’s Financial Update

*Side Incomes: = $3,400

  • Part time job =$1100
  • Freelance = $800
  • Dividends =$1000
  • Interest = $600

*Discretionary Spending: = $2,000

  • Food = $300
  • Miscellaneous = $800
  • Interest expense = $1300

*Net Worth: (ΔMoM)

  • Assets: = $1,211,300 total (-14,300)
  • Cash = $20,400 (+600)
  • Canadian stocks = $155,800 (-6800)
  • U.S. stocks = $112,700 (-4700)
  • U.K. stocks = $19,400 (-1000)
  • Retirement = $114,900 (-2500)
  • Mortgage Funds = $34,500 (-200)
  • P2P Lending = $33,600 (+300)
  • Home = $275,000
  • Farms = $445,000
  • Debts: = $418,800 total (-1400)
  • Mortgage = $189,900 (-400)
  • Farm Loans = $180,000 (-400)
  • Margin Loans = $48,900 (-600)

*Total Net Worth = $792,500 (-$12,900 / -1.6%)
All numbers are in $CDN at 0.74/USD

At the end of 2018 my net worth has grown to $792,500. This is a $95,900 increase from the previous year’s end when I had $696,600. It’s not a smooth progression, but I’m grateful to be going in the right direction overall. 🙂

2018 was a bit of a strange year. I lost my job, stocks entered into a bear market, and interest rates climbed 3 times. This series of events has never happened to me before so it’s been fun trying to navigate the new economic landscape.

In terms of what I want to do for 2019, I will be changing my financial strategy a bit. Here are some themes I plan to focus on.

  • Preparing for higher interest rates. Should the Bank of Canada continue to increase rates this year I will be drastically reducing my debt.
  • Buying more bonds. It wasn’t until the recent stock market correction that I truly realize how fixed income investments can keep volatility at bay. Investment grade bonds rated A and BBB currently pay over 4% coupon. It’s not a bad alternative to equities these days.
  • Reassess how I calculate the value of my primary residence. My initial method of using my purchase price + inflation isn’t keeping up with reality anymore. How do you guys value your real estate when calculating your net worth? Do you use the government assessed value, or get someone to come appraise the property?

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Random Useless Fact:

Dec 062018
 

A lot has happened globally in the last few weeks that makes me weary about the growth of the financial markets over the next 1 to 2 years. Inflation in France sparked violent protests. The U.S. federal budget deficit for fiscal year 2019 is projected to be nearly $1 trillion. It will be hard to find borrowers who are willing to buy all those treasury bonds. The 2 largest foreign holders of existing U.S. debt are China and Japan. And both have become net sellers. The economic tension between the U.S. and China is momentarily on hold, but 3 months from now the trade war could escalate.

So what I plan to do going into 2019 is to keep more cash on hand. This will allow me to maneuver more easily as cash is very liquid. If interest rates become too high I will use the cash to pay down my debt. If stocks in general fall into a bear market I will be buying up more shares. 🙂

Liquid’s Financial Update

*Side Incomes: = $3,400

  • Part time job = $900
  • Freelance = $1200
  • Dividends = $900
  • Interest = $600
*Discretionary Spending: = $2,000
  • Food = $300
  • Miscellaneous = $500
  • Interest expense = $1200

*Net Worth: (ΔMoM)

  • Assets: = $1,225,600 total (+1400)
  • Cash = $19,800 (+2300)
  • Canadian stocks = $162,600 (-4500)
  • U.S. stocks = $117,400 (+300)
  • U.K. stocks = $20,400 (-300)
  • Retirement = $117,400 (+2700)
  • Mortgage Funds = $34,700 (+500)
  • P2P Lending = $33,300 (+400)
  • Home = $275,000
  • Farms = $445,000
  • Debts: = $420,200 total (-800)
  • Mortgage = $190,300 (-400)
  • Farm Loans = $180,400 (-500)
  • Margin Loans = $49,500 (+100)

*Total Net Worth = $805,400 (+$2,200 / +0.3%)
All numbers are in $CDN. 

 

 

Financial markets are stretched thin. The S&P 500 is still trading relatively expensive at 22x earnings, even after the pullback that started in October. There isn’t much room for growth in equities. Real estate markets around the world are softening. U.S. home building company Toll Brothers warned that the housing market slowed further in November, particularly in California. Home prices and sale volume in Canada, particularly in Vancouver and Toronto are going down. Prices will likely fall further into the upcoming spring. But Canada’s continued trade deficit and high energy prices mean the cost of living will probably climb higher. The theme for 2019 could very well be higher inflation but lower investment returns. If that turns out to be true then I would prioritize paying down debt and acquiring hard assets.

 

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Random Useless Fact:

Nov 052018
 

It was bound to happen sooner or later. October was a bad month for the stock markets. Some of my highest growing stocks in the technology sector such as Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, and Google (Alphabet) or FANG stocks fell into bear market territory, which means they’ve fallen by more than 20% from the top. Here is a look at how much stock indexes lost in the month of October.

  • TSX Composite -7.5% (Canada)
  • Dow Jones -5.9% (USA)
  • S&P 500 -7.9% (USA)
  • NASDAQ -10.7% (USA)
  • ASX 200 -6.0% (Australia)
  • FTSE 100 -5.4% (UK)
  • SSE Composite -6.2% (China)
  • Nikkei 225 -12.4% (Japan)

My investments weren’t able to escape this global stock market correction, and my net worth fell a bit. I hope the next couple of months will make up for it.

 

Liquid’s Financial Update

*Side Incomes: = $7,300

  • Part time job = $600
  • Freelance = $500
  • Dividends = $900
  • Interest = $600
  • Farm rent = $4700
*Discretionary Spending: = $2,100
  • Food = $400
  • Miscellaneous = $500
  • Interest expense = $1200

*Net Worth: (ΔMoM)

  • Assets: = $1,224,200 total (-15,900)
  • Cash = $17,500 (+4700)
  • Canadian stocks = $167,100 (-9700)
  • U.S. stocks = $117,100 (-9,800)
  • U.K. stocks = $20,700 (-900)
  • Retirement = $114,700 (-600)
  • Mortgage Funds = $34,200 (+100)
  • P2P Lending = $32,900 (+300)
  • Home = $275,000
  • Farms = $445,000
  • Debts: = $421,000 total (-2,700)
  • Mortgage = $190,700 (-500)
  • Farm Loans = $180,900 (-600)
  • Margin Loans = $49,400 (-100)
  • CIBC Line of Credit = $0 (-1500)

*Total Net Worth = $803,200 (-$13,200 / -1.6%)
All numbers are in $CDN. 

 

This was the first down month I’ve had in over a year. A few things saved my net worth from dropping further: My farmland paid me some rent. My fixed income all ended the month with positive returns. And despite being invested in the stock market for the past 9 years, stocks only take up about 34% of my assets. This means any changes in the overall stock market will probably affect my net worth by only 1/3rd as much. 🙂

 

 

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Random Useless Fact:

Some people say Elon Musk reached puberty in his 30s