Jun 032019
 

There’s an old saying about sell in May and go away that highlights the historical underperformance of the stock market during the summer months compared to the generally better performance during the other half of the year. If investors use the sell and May and go away strategy, they would sell their stock portfolio in May, and reinvest everything again in the fall. Some people find this strategy more rewarding than staying in the market throughout the entire year.

This old adage does have some historical evidence backing it up. And it’s certainly relevant today if this year is any indication. Most stocks in my portfolio fell in May, as did other people. U.S. stocks were hit the hardest. It was the worst May since 2010. Even my European index fund dropped a few percentage points.

The beginning of a correction?

It’s hard to say if the stock market will continue to slide further going forward. But I don’t believe selling shares is a good strategy right now. Instead I continue to believe that a basket of medium term bonds can help provide stability in a portfolio when the stock market has no clear trend. The BMO bond fund I wrote about last month is one example of this simple approach. It climbed in value during May when most stock funds experienced a loss. If the equity market continues to fall throughout the summer, at least I’ll have some bonds to help counteract that negative impact. 🙂

Another winning asset class last month was cryptocurrency. 🙂 Bitcoin’s value jumped 50% to roughly $8,500 US per coin. I sold all of mine a couple of years ago but this is great news for anyone who still holds BTC or altcoins.

stock investors eyeing bitcoin and cryptocurrency jealous girlfriend meme

Although my investment portfolio took a net loss last month, I received a lot of extra income. I collected $5,300 in rent. I also received about $4,000 from the government. This is because last year I worked 5 different jobs. Each one had deducted too much payroll and income tax from my paycheques because they all assumed I was only working for them, and that I was going to be employed year round. Well I’m no longer working at 3 of those jobs anymore so that’s why I was owed some tax credits. 🙂

Overall my net worth remained pretty much unchanged from the previous month.

Liquid’s Financial Update

*Side Incomes: = $7,900

  • Part time job =$700
  • Freelance = $300
  • Dividends =$800
  • Interest = $800
  • Farm rent = $5300

*Discretionary Spending: = $2,400

  • Food = $400
  • Miscellaneous = $700
  • Interest expense = $1300

*Net Worth: (ΔMoM)

  • Total Assets: = $1,335,200 (-18,000)
  • Cash = $2,600 (-8800)
  • Canadian stocks = $171,100 (-3900)
  • U.S. stocks = $125,400 (-6400)
  • U.K. stocks = $21,800 (-700)
  • Retirement = $131,300 (+1000)
  • Mortgage Funds = $35,900 (+500)
  • P2P Lending = $35,100 (+300)
  • Home = $367,000 (assessed land value)
  • Farms = $445,000
  • Total Debts: = $392,400 (-17,900)
  • Mortgage = $188,000 (-400)
  • Farm Loans = $165,700 (-12500)
  • Margin Loans = $38,700 (-5000)

*Total Net Worth = $942,800 (-$100)
All numbers are in $CDN at 0.74/USD

 

I was able to renew my farm loan in May. But the interest rate went up and the best I could get was 5.04%, which is a bit higher than I expected. So I decided to make a lump sum payment of $12,000 towards the balance. I also paid down some margin debt in anticipation of a potential major stock market correction. Luckily I had enough savings in my bank account to pay down these debts thanks to the abundance of income that I received during the month.

If investments don’t go down once in awhile there wouldn’t be opportunities to buy on the dips. 🙂 But hopefully things will be better in June.

 

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Random Useless Fact:

According to HuffPost, men and women generally have different types of dreams.

Men’s dreams tend to consist of:
Strangers, success or failure
Sex with unknown partners
Physical aggression
Cars and roads
Violence
Shorter dreams
Less color
Competition

Women’s dreams tend to consist of:
Family members, relationships
Kissing, flirting with someone, or sex with someone known to the woman
Verbal aggression
Emotional expression
Loss of loved ones
Longer dreams
More color
Conversation

May 062019
 

Another Strong Month for Stocks

The age of monetary tightening is on pause, at least for now. Central banks have pumped the brakes on increasing interest rates. This has been great for the U.S. and Canadian stock markets, which have both hit new highs in April. But does that mean it’s time to sell and take profits?

Probably not. It’s really hard to predict market movements, and record high stock prices can continue to climb higher before starting to fall. So I’ve opted to go for another strategy; Park some savings in bonds and wait for a better opportunity to jump into stocks again. 🙂

So at the end of last month I used about $25K of my cash savings in my RRSP to purchase 1500 units of BMO Mid Corporate Bond Index ETF (ZCM.)

It has a 3.2% yield, so I shall be earning an additional $67/month of investment income going forward. Not a big change, but better than nothing. 😀 The cash in my RRSP to make this investment came from my old work pension. I transferred the money to my personal retirement account after I was let go.

Liquid’s Financial Update

*Side Incomes: = $2,800

  • Part time job =$700
  • Freelance = $500
  • Dividends =$800
  • Interest = $800

*Discretionary Spending: = $2,300

  • Food = $400
  • Miscellaneous = $500
  • Interest expense = $1400

*Net Worth: (ΔMoM)

  • Total Assets: = $1,353,200 (+13,100)
  • Cash = $11,400 (-800)
  • Canadian stocks = $175,000 (+3600)
  • U.S. stocks = $131,800 (+7200)
  • U.K. stocks = $22,500 (+800)
  • Retirement = $130,300 (+1500)
  • Mortgage Funds = $35,400 (+500)
  • P2P Lending = $34,800 (+300)
  • Home = $367,000 (assessed land value)
  • Farms = $445,000
  • Total Debts: = $410,300 (-700)
  • Mortgage = $188,400 (-400)
  • Farm Loans = $178,200 (-400)
  • Margin Loans = $43,700 (+100)

*Total Net Worth = $942,900 (+$13,800 / +1.5%)
All numbers are in $CDN at 0.75/USD

 

I’m not selling any stocks because despite the uncertain direction in the relatively volatile equity market I’m still earning nearly $1,000 in dividends every month, and I don’t want to sacrifice real dividend income for a hypothetical crash that may not happen in the near future. So it makes sense to buy some fixed income assets such as the corporate bond fund, ZCM. My intent is to hold ZCM for the 3.2% annual interest income. Then sell this fund, and replace it with stocks once the stock market goes into a correction. 🙂

Continue reading »

Apr 022019
 

Getting out of 21st Century Fox 

Five years ago I wrote about purchasing 26 FOXA shares for $34 USD each. At that time the stock was trading at 20 times earnings, so it wasn’t exactly cheap. However I saw great potential in this company because it had a lot of popular brands and intellectual properties. I had planned to hold this stock for decades. But I didn’t have to.

Fox shareholders approved the acquisition by Disney, and last month I was forced to sell all my FOXA stocks for $1,843 CAD. That’s a tidy 83% return on investment, before even adding on the dividend income I received over the years. 🙂 Plus, there’s no capital gains tax because it was held in my RRSP. Yay!

Overall March has been a really positive month for my finances. All my liquid assets went up in price.

Liquid’s Financial Update

*Side Incomes: = $3,300

  • Part time job =$700
  • Freelance = $600
  • Dividends =$1200
  • Interest = $800

*Discretionary Spending: = $2,400

  • Food = $300
  • Miscellaneous = $700
  • Interest expense = $1400

*Net Worth: (ΔMoM)

  • Total Assets: = $1,340,100 (+8,200)
  • Cash = $12,200 (+1000)
  • Canadian stocks = $171,400 (+800)
  • U.S. stocks = $124,600 (+4000)
  • U.K. stocks = $21,700 (+900)
  • Retirement = $128,800 (+1000)
  • Mortgage Funds = $34,900 (+200)
  • P2P Lending = $34,500 (+300)
  • Home = $367,000 (assessed land value)
  • Farms = $445,000
  • Total Debts: = $411,000 (-900)
  • Mortgage = $188,800 (-300)
  • Farm Loans = $178,600 (-500)
  • Margin Loans = $43,600 (-100)

*Total Net Worth = $929,100 (+$9,100 / +1.0%)
All numbers are in $CDN at 0.75/USD

 

Preparing for Interest Rates to Drop

It’s been several years since the Bank of Canada lowered interest rates. The last cut was in 2015. Central banks around the world dropped rates near zero as a reaction to the global finance crisis in 2008 and rates have been low since. Policy makers expected the economy and rates to rebound back to normal in short order. But they discovered an inconvenient truth to the markets; low interest rates are addictive. Once consumers get a taste of easy credit, it’s very difficult for them to pull back.

Continue reading »

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 »

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: