Oct 172016
 

So Long, Air Canada Bonds

Earlier this year I purchased some Air Canada bonds for $5,305, with an attractive coupon of 7.625% annual interest rate. Very nice! They weren’t suppose to mature until 2019. However Air Canada decided to be a jerk and redeem them early at the beginning of this month. So all the bonds were bought back, including mine.

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As we can see, I lost $305 on my principal amount. However I’ve collected more money back from interest payments. So overall I still came out with a small profit. This concludes my first junk bond investment. I wasn’t able to earn the attractive return all the way to the end as I hoped, but at least I didn’t lose any money. 😀

Anyway, redeeming the bonds means Air Canada returned the $5,000 cash back into my RRSP account. 🙂 So I used the money to purchase 2 relatively defensive stocks, Boardwalk REIT and Enbridge Inc. The stock market reached a new high this year and it’s been over 8 years since a major correction so I believe we are overdue for a pull back any day now. Both Boardwalk REIT and Enbridge generate stable cash flow so they are more resistant to market corrections than most other stocks.

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Boardwalk REIT – New Addition to my Retirement Portfolio

I purchased 60 units of Boardwalk REIT (BEI.UN) at $50.56 each. The total came to $3,043.59 including commissions.

I like REITs because they own and operate properties, and pass on the profits to their unit holders. This means investors can make money in the growing real estate industry without all the hassle of dealing with tenants. 🙂 Boardwalk specializes in multi-family residential properties.

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Normally we determine the value of a stock based on its earnings, but in the real estate business we use funds from operations (or FFO) instead to measure a company’s performance. According to Boardwalk’s forward guidance the company expects its annual FFO to be in the $3.20 per unit range. This gives BEI.UN an equivalent earnings yield of about 6.4%. Which translates to a P/E ratio of about 16x. To me 6.4% isn’t a bad return in today’s market. 🙂

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Boardwalk owns property across the country, but about half of its portfolio sits in Alberta, including some in Fort McMurray. Alberta is struggling due to the unfortunate wildfires this year and the continuous low price of oil. Calgary’s unemployment rate last month was 9.5%. Ouch! 🙁 As a result BEI.UN is down 10% compared to a year ago. However, I believe this is a good opportunity to get in before the REIT recovers. Oil has already bounced off the bottom. And forest fire season is over. A lot of people are pessimistic about Alberta’s economy. But I think their concerns are overblown.

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Nov 232015
 

Discounted Reinvest Plan ?

Normally when we buy a stock we can expect to pay the market price for it. But there’s a guaranteed way to purchase certain stocks at a discount to the market every time. 🙂

This unfair advantage has saved me hundreds of dollars so far!

Stocks that pay dividends often offer a Dividend Re-Investment Plan (DRIP) for its shareholders. I’ve written about how that works in previous posts. It basically means instead of receiving cash distributions, investors can choose to reinvest the dividends by automatically buying more shares or units of the same stock.

Today I will demonstrate this example with one of my holdings, Smart REIT, which I blogged about a couple months ago. Currently Smart REIT (SRU.UN) pays a distribution of $0.1375 per unit every month.

The distribution date for this month was on November 16th. The average TSX market price of SRU.UN over the 10 business days prior to this date was used to determine the DRIP price for existing investors who wish to reinvest their distributions.

The average price of SRU.UN over the 10 trading days preceding the monthly distribution date was about $31.32. This is the market price that most investors would have to pay. However, when my Smart REIT distributions re-invested, I was able to purchase a new unit this month via DRIP for only $30.44, as shown in my portfolio activity below.

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$30.44 is 97% of the average price on the market over the 10 business days. 😀 This 3% discount in this cased saved me 88 cents! Wow! ?

DRIP Purchase Discounts

DRIP discounts are very effective at retaining investor loyalty. 🙂

Unitholders who elect to participate (in the DRIP program) will see their monthly cash distributions automatically reinvested in units of SmartREIT at a price equal to 97% of the average TSX market price over the 10 business days preceding the monthly distribution date.” ~Smart REIT’s website.

While everyone else pays the market price to acquire SRU.UN, existing investors who DRIP can pick it up for cheaper. Other companies like Enbridge and Sun Life Financial offer DRIP discounts too. Some REITs such as Allied Properties even offer discounts up to 5% to its investors! Imagine purchasing new shares and units of our favorite companies that we already own, and paying less than market price for it every time with no commissions or fees. 🙂 Great Scott! Over time this should give us a significant leading edge over other investors who don’t DRIP and only purchase stocks at market price.

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Sep 242015
 

A Smart REIT for Retirement

To be successful at investing we have to think like burglars and always be on the lookout for windows of opportunity. One such opportunity comes in the form of buying real estate. Owning a rental property is a great way to earn some extra income. But a more stable and passive way to invest in property is to own REITs, which are companies that hold many different properties and typically pay monthly distributions to their unit holders. One of these companies is called Smart REIT. And last week I contributed $3,000 to my RRSP and purchased 111 units of SmartREIT at $29 each + $9.99 for commission. 😀 It currently pays a fetching 5.5% annual dividend, and I plan to hold this name indefinitely for my retirement income needs.

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SmartREIT (SRU.UN) used to be called Calloway REIT, but earlier this year it acquired SmartCentres in a $1.16 billion deal and changed its name. The take-over was to acquire 24 shopping centres, mainly in Ontario and Quebec, making the new company one of the largest REITs in the country with 149 properties under management and $8.3 billion of total assets.

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A large part of a successful real estate business is finding high quality tenants. A quick look at the top 10 tenants for this company, based on gross rental revenues, shows that Smart REIT is working with some excellent renters with very traditional business models and high profitability.

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Feb 212015
 

Last month I blogged about investing in German real estate through a Canadian REIT called Dream Global. I chose this investment for its strong foothold in the European economy and for the consistent high yield. Normally dividends from foreign investments are taxed. However because I’ve bought DRG.UN in my Tax Free Savings Account it wasn’t really clear what would happen. Well yesterday I received new confirmation in my brokerage account so I thought I’d post an update. Thanks for the reminder, Bricks. 🙂

Each Dream Global unit currently pays out $0.066667 per month. Since I purchased 180 shares in January I received $12 in distributions this month. As it turns out there doesn’t seem to be any withholding tax on these payments. 🙂 Below is a history of my TFSA transactions for 2015 so far. As we can see near the end of January I initiated a buy order for Dream Global REIT. And then on Feb 13th, when the company paid its investors, I received $12.00 in my account. 😀

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If there had been any foreign with-holding tax it would have been deducted from my account on the same day as I received the DRG.UN distribution. For those who are curious, The abbreviation “TXPDDV” is simply TD’s transaction code used to describe money earned from a combination of different sources including dividend, interest, foreign dividend, capital gains, or return of capital. This is an administrative code used for tax purposes on a T3. In an unregistered account this “TXPDDV” designation means that tax factors have not yet been applied and is frequently misinterpreted as an indication that tax has already been paid. However in a registered account, such as a TFSA or RRSP, there are no T3 tax slips associated with these types of distributions. I called TD Direct Investing earlier today to confirm and that’s what one of their associates told me. So yay. 🙂 I should have invested in this company sooner. 8.7% annual yield on DRG.UN and no tax!

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Jan 292015
 

Investing in DRG.UN

A couple of months ago my investment in Tim Hortons came to an end as the company was purchased by Burger King and I realized a profit of over 100% in less than 2 years. In the end I was given some shares of the new holding company, and a handsome payout of $1,700 in cash. If you also bought some Tim Hortons after reading my previous post about why I decided to invest in the world of coffee then congrats on your gains! 😀

So I’ve been itching to invest the new $1,700 in my TFSA. But the problem was TINA. The stock market in general is grossly overvalued relative to historical price to earning ratios. The Canadian real estate market doesn’t look any cheaper, and the capitalization rates (expected return on rent) in most cities here are embarrassingly low at the moment. Furthermore, Canada’s economy just suffered a net loss of 11,300 jobs last month, which pushed up our unemployment rate to 6.7%. 🙁  All major banks in this country have lowered their Prime lending rates to 2.85% in an attempt to encourage more economic growth. In times like these it may be prudent to hold off on investing in Canada.

So does that mean there’s nothing worth investing in right now?

Nein! 😀 By thinking outside the box I have found a solution to still put my extra cash to good use.

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Dream Global REIT (TSX: DRG.UN), formerly Dundee International Real Estate Investment Trust, is an investment trust that basically buys office and retail buildings in Germany, and then rents them out to make money. Its portfolio consisted of 279 properties, comprising approximately 15.8 million square feet. Dream Global enables investors like us to diversify our holdings, as major pension plans and other large institutional investors have done, by incorporating international commercial real estate into our portfolios. 🙂

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