Oct 132016
 

Slow and Steady

A reader recently asked for a farmland update. So here’s the latest. I’m collecting $8,500 a year from my tenant who is growing canola on my 310 acres of farmland. He pays me twice a year, half the total amount in the spring and the other half in the fall. Here’s the latest cheque that I deposited into my bank account last week. This amount includes 5% GST.

16-10-farm-rent-final-2016

My farmland loan outstanding is about $193,000. The interest rate is 3.4%. Property tax was about $1,500 this year. No insurance or other cost is necessary for owning farmland. So my total expenses came to $8,100. I’m rounding these numbers to the nearest $100.

Thus I’m able to make a $400 profit on my farmland in 2016. Slowly but surely, the financials are improving each year. 🙂

16-10-farm-update-financials

I think farmland returns are starting to dry up in North America. Commodity prices still haven’t recovered. So unless crop receipts increase by a substantial amount it’s hard to see any reason for the underlying land to become more valuable. Maybe farmland will continue to keep pace with inflation for the foreseeable future so it’s still a good store of wealth, but I don’t see much more appreciation from here.

It’s too bad the Canadian prairies is so cold. Many plants like hemp can’t grow out there. Since marijuana will soon be legalized there will probably be a lot of new cannabis growers by this time next year. Not to be blunt, 😄 but this obviously creates opportunity for investors too. For example, last year I blogged about buying some shares in Canopy Growth Corp, a supplier of medicinal marijuana. So far the stock has doubled in price! Not bad. 😀

Free eBook Download

Maybe I just got lucky with that marijuana stock. You shouldn’t get your investment advice from an amateur finance blog anyway. 😉 But my acquaintance David Chilton, who runs his own financial planning business is more than qualified to offer quality advice. I use the term “acquaintance” loosely because we’ve only corresponded by email a couple of times. 😛 Anyway, he’s teamed up with Tangerine bank to give away the eBook edition of his latest work, The Wealthy Barber Returns. 

16-10-wealthy-barber-returns

If you’re interested, just go to this Tangerine page and use one of the download links on the right. I’ve read the paperback before and recommend it for anyone who likes personal finance. The book covers a lot of core investing topics like index funds and the stock market. You can download it to your computer, or mobile device. It also supports the Kindle App. Enjoy! 😀

Continue reading »

Mar 202016
 

Interviews with Canada’s Top Investors

Market Masters by Robin R. Speziale is a great resource for any investor looking to gain an advantage in the financial markets. The book features a series of interviews with some of the top investors in the country, and talks about their various investing styles and outcomes. There are 27 Canadian investors who are interviewed in the book, as well as Bill Ackman, an American hedge-fund manager, because he is known to be very active investing in Canadian companies.

16-03-market-masters-book

Each featured Market Master in the book has a different perspective on how to tackle the financial market. They share their investment experiences and explain how their approach has worked for them. One interview I particularly enjoyed in the book is with Ross Grant. His strategy is to create a portfolio called Beat the TSX or (BTSX) whereby an investor holds the top 10 highest dividend paying stocks in the TSX/60 index. A BTSX strategy would have outperformed 19 out of 20 mutual funds in 5 year returns. At the end of each chapter, the author provides a Master Keys section to review and highlight some of the important points from each interview. The back of the book contains some useful resources such as explanations of important financial ratios, as well as a glossary.

Although the book is somewhat long at 601 pages, it is quite easy to read. Market Masters provides simple and easy to understand strategies from the top investors in Canada and I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who is interested in investing, particularly in the Canadian stock market. You can find more information about Robin Speziale and his book on the author’s website. 

Market Masters Book Giveaway

Robin has kindly provided me with 2 copies of Market Masters so I am giving away one copy to a lucky reader. Simply write a comment below. As long as you’ve entered a working email address when you fill out the comment form then you will be automatically entered to win. The giveaway ends on April 15th. A random commentator will be selected and I will contact him or her.

 

Dec 272014
 

Steve Zussino, the author of Travel Hacking for Canadians, kindly gave me a copy of the book so I could review it. Along with his book, Steve also launched a website to help Canadian travelers save money on the road, called Canadian Travel Hacking. Steve also happens to be the founder of Grocery Alerts Canada, which is a website that posts the latest deals and coupons.

The book is broken down into easy to understand categories like air travel, accommodation, land transportation, and cruises. There are a lot of helpful pictures and graphs to help illustrate how various programs work, such as the Aeroplan program. A ton of information is provided about the Canadian Frequent Flyer Programs and which credit cards should be used to achieve the most points.

I like how at the end of each chapter there is a “Tools” section with references and websites that are relevant and might be useful to the reader. 🙂

14-12-travel-hacking-book

My favorite section in the book is about price matching for hotels. For example, Steve explains how to use an aggregator site like kayak.com to check if the current Expedia hotel booking you have is the lowest price. Of course the book also suggests alternative accommodations like AirBnB and hostels.

Some of the money saving strategies in the book like using Priceline and Hotwire may not be helpful to everyone, such as myself since I don’t really use those companies to travel. But I’m sure those tips will be useful to others who are already using those services.

The book goes into which credit cards allow one to accumulate miles the quickest, and provide the most value. It also suggests ways to reduce or even completely waive the annual fee on credit cards. Steve also mentions the spending traps that so many travelers get lured into like casinos, spas, and alcoholic beverages on cruise ships. By avoiding these traps travelers can still enjoy the fundamental experience of a cruise, without spending money on overpriced luxuries. For those who like to rent vehicles there’s a section about avoiding unnecessary upsells at the rental counter.

There’s something in this book for every traveler. I learned a few things from it that I wasn’t previously aware of, which I’m sure will be of use in my future travels. If you’re interested to purchase this book you can find more information about it here. The digital version is $10, and the paperback version is $20.  If this book can save people hundreds of dollars on their next vacation then that sounds like a pretty good value.

Dec 232014
 

In January of this year I wrote down 3 goals for myself to accomplish this year. Here’s a recap of those 2014 financial goals.

14-12-2014-financial-goal-results

1) Increase net worth by $55,000
Pass!
From the end of December 2013 to now my net worth has increased by more than $110,000. I never expected to exceed my target by twice as much, so that’s a pleasant surprise. Here’s a rough breakdown of the $110,000 gain.

  • About $50K is from property appreciation. Hurray for Vancouver real estate and Saskatchewan farmland! 🙂
  • Another $15K is simply due to debt reduction. Every time I make a mortgage payment, for example, my total debt amount shrinks and my wealth increases! Hurray for easy forced savings.
  • Another $30K comes from stock portfolio appreciation, dividends, interest, and rent. The U.S. stock markets are up double-digits year to date. Hurray for loose monetary policy! My $50K+ margin loan at 4.25% interest rate is kind of a drag though. Oh well, gotta spend money to make money right? 😉
  • And the remaining amount of my net worth increase this year comes from good old fashioned savings.

Continue reading »

Jan 132014
 

With a new year comes new challenges. I thought I’d write down a few 2014 goals for myself.

If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things.
~ Albert Einstein

1) Increase net worth by $55,000
Last year I aimed for $50,000 and passed. This year I’m upping the figure by 10% to give myself more of a challenge 🙂

2) Read At Least 3 Books related to money
Started one so far called Currency Wars, by James Rickards. Others I have lined up are “Think and Grow Rich” and “Secrets of the Millionaire Mind”

3) Make $6,000 in gross dividend income
Last year I made about $4,500 so I plan to buy more dividend paying stocks this year.

Stretch Goal: Start an emergency fund and put at least $100 into it. (This one is gonna be tough 😕 )

Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.
~ Pablo Picasso

 

———————————————————–
Random Useless Fact: There are over 2.5 billion people in the world today who still live under a dictatorship.

14-01-dictator