Feb 012016
 

The Current State of Canada’s Economy

The economy isn’t so hot these days. Oil is down and so is the Loonie. The issue isn’t that we’re at a low point in the economic cycle. The problem is how quickly this happened and caught most people off guard. The price for a barrel of oil fell from $100 to $30 in just 18 months, which triggered big layoffs in our resource based economy, forcing many desperate folks to search for other means to make a living. Luckily my major oil holdings like Chevron is still doing okay.

16-02-current-state-canada-economy-moose

But it’s not just this country that’s struggling. The entire global economy is slowing down and there are problems in the jobs market across every continent. The Bank of Japan recently announced the use of negative interest rates. This is a pretty big deal. The 3 most used currencies in the world can be manipulated by the European Central Bank, the Bank of Japan, and the Federal Reserve. Both the ECB and BoJ have played the negative interest rate card to devalue their respective currencies. The only bank remaining is the U.S. Fed. Will the U.S. try to stimulate its economy by lower rates into the negative? I think there’s a good chance it will. But since I can’t predict monetary policy I’m just going to focus on my long-term financial plan and stick with what I know. 😀

Maintaining a Long-term Perspective in a Volatile Market

Since my investment portfolio is based on my risk tolerance, short-term events should have little effect on my long term retirement and savings goals. There are many Investment Personality Questionnaires (IPQs) which can be found for free on the internet. Their purpose is to help people determine their propensity to take on risk, which is a good place to start for any novice investor. 😉

Historically, there have been tons of major events that have had dramatic impacts, at least initially, on the markets. But looking back, these are now mere blips on the financial market radars. Those who stay invested and contribute regularly generally have the biggest gains in the long run. 😉

Net worth results from the first month of the year are usually pretty interesting. This year was no exception. Many equity investors experienced quite a roller coaster ride, lol. At one point in January my net worth was down ~ $20,000! That’s naturally what happens when I have over $200,000 invested in equities and North American stock markets drops 10%. Fortunately, by the end of the month they regained most of the loss. 🙂  Phew.

*Side Incomes:

  • Part-Time Work = $900
  • Freelance pay = $400
  • Dividends = $700
*Discretionary Spending:
  • Fun = $200
  • Debt Interest = $1400

*Net Worth: (MoM)16-02-net-worth-january-volatile

  • Assets: = $925,500 total (+3,100)
  • Cash = $5,500 (+2000)
  • Stocks CDN =$97,200 (-500)
  • Stocks US = $70,000 (-2700)
  • RRSP = $63,000 (+300)
  • MICs = $15,800
  • Home = $263,000 (+4000)
  • Farms = $411,000
  • Debts: = $498,400 total (-3500)
  • Mortgage = $190,500 (-400)
  • Farm Loans = $197,400 (-500)
  • Margin Loan CDN = $29,500 (-1000)
  • Margin Loan US = $31,000 (+200)
  • TD Line of Credit = $22,000  (-1000)
  • CIBC Line of Credit = $10,000
  • HELOC = $18,000 (-200)
  • RRSP Loans = $0 (-600)

*Total Net Worth = $427,100 (+$6,600 / +1.57%)
All numbers above are in $CDN. Conversion rate used: 1.00 CAD = 0.71 USD

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Feb 182013
 

When we entrust money to a professional portfolio manager with billions of dollars under management we might assume that these people are better investors than you or I (^_^)  After all they get paid huge salaries and oversee important private equity funds, mutual funds, or even pension funds like OMERS, CPP, California Public Employees, NY State Teachers, etc. Everyone’s future to some degree depends on how well these professionals manage our money. But I was watching a talk by Warren Buffett and I found it a bit disappointing when even large fund managers can fall pray to the herd mentality.

Pretty much for every consecutive decade in the last century our lives have been improving and we’ve been getting wealthier, as measured by GDP per capita. But investors tend to look only at the past performance of a chart rather than the future outlook of the underlying economy. When stocks are doing well they get very excited and think “well I made money last year, so this time I’ll make even more.” And when times are bad they think “Stock market sucks. I’m going to do something else with my money.”  Pension fund managers apparently also follow this thought process. This is why we have huge swings in the stock market even though the economy tends to improve more gradually over time.

stock market, professional fund managers, dow historyBuffett said he wrote an article for Forbes in 1979 about investor behavior. He wrote how come that pension funds in the early 70s allocated 100% of their net new money into the stock market because they were wild about equities. Then when stocks dropped and became a lot cheaper in 1978, pension funds put in a record low of just 9% of their new money into stocks. Does that make any logical sense to you? (O_o)

Back to the talk he said “People behave very peculiarly…because they’re human beings. They get excited when others get excited….They get fearful when others get fearful. And they’ll continue to do so…This makes for huge opportunities…. The country will do very well over time, but you will see these huge waves [in the stock market.] If you can stay objective throughout that. If you can detach yourself temperamentally from he crowd, you get very rich. You don’t even have to be very bright. It doesn’t take brains. It takes temperament. ”

So if we can remain objective with our investment strategies and look at underlying fundamentals of businesses and the economy instead of how stocks have moved in the past then we can probably outperform even pension fund managers (゜∀゜)

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Random Useless Fact:  Moose have no upper front teeth.

moose taking a photo, professional investors