*Off Topic* My Bar

You may have noticed a new heading on this site this week titled “My Bar”.

I’ve decided to add a new section to the site chronicling my journey into learning more about spirits, liqueurs and cocktails.¬† As with the rest of the site- this section is basically for me to use as a reference, and a diary – however if anyone else is able to enjoy it all the better ūüôā

I plan to use this new space to include recipes, reviews of different spirits, and to show some of the recent concoctions I’ve tried to create.¬† I’ve already thrown up a few of my my favorites and will be adding more as I create them at home.

Today’s newest addition: Manhattan

Manhattan

I decided to use Knob Creek 100% rye for this variation, as I haven’t had it in a while and wanted to see how it would blend in a Manhattan.¬† I also used Cinzano instead of the normal go to Martini branded Vermouth as I already had an open bottle.¬† Truth be told I recently bought a bottle of Dillons Sweet Vermouth which I have been really wanting to try – but decided against opening it until my current bottle of Cinzano was empty.

Ingredients:

2 oz Rye Whiskey (I used Knob Creek 100% rye small batch pictured above)

.75 oz Sweet Vermouth (I used Cinzano)

2 Dashes Angostura Bitters

Garnish with 2 Cherries

Directions: 

Add all ingredients to mixing glass filled with Ice, stir for 10-15 seconds.  Strain into martini/cocktail glass & garnish with a cherry or two.

Overall it was pretty tasty – and very boozy.¬† You will feel a buzz after a sip or two.¬† I’m not a huge fan of Cinzano- so I’d like to try this again once I replace my vermouth with Dillons or Martini again.

You can follow my cocktail journey with this recipe and more HERE

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Flipped 3 Penny stocks for long term holds.

In November I decided to put just over $2,000 into 2 different Marijuana stocks, knowing full well this was a short term play/gamble.

I purchased 7100 shares of LGC Capital ($LG) for .14
I purchased 4000 shares of National Access Cannabis ($NAC) for .20
I had also previously purchased 2500 shares of Nutritional High ($EAT) for .25

Total cost of purchasing all 3 including commission: $2448.85

This week I liquidated all 3 holdings for a total of $7816.41 after commission.

Total Gain after 2 months of holding: $5367.56

Although these are obviously great gains especially in such a short period of time РI actually got a bit greedy and should have sold earlier Рas I could have made an extra $3000 if I had sold LG a few days prior.  I was originally very interested in holding LGC Capital for the long haul, but after reading a bit more about their chairman, as well as seeing his antics on twitter, I ultimately decided against it as he seemed to be more worried about the stock price, and less worried about the future of the company.

Now I have almost 8k I can put towards some long term holdings, specifically ones that will add to my yearly dividend income.¬† Over the past few weeks I’ve been doing some research on a few different stocks, and narrowed it down to the following 5:

Northview Apartment Reit ($NVU.UN)

I have had my eye on this stock for about 3 years.¬† I first started looking at this stock when it was trading around $14-15 dollars and thought it was attractively valued.¬† It is now trading over $24 and I still think it is cheap.¬† With a P/E of 7.4 and a payout ratio of under 50% I feel both the stock price and the dividend still have room to grow.¬† The other REIT’s in my portfolio are commercial/industrial so I’ve been looking to add a residential REIT as well.¬† The stock currently yields 6.58%.

Interrent Real Estate Investment Trust ($IIP.UN)

This is one of the cheapest residential REIT’s I have been able to find.¬† With a stock price under $10, this is currently trading with a P/E of 4.4.¬† The yield is very low for a REIT (2.84%) and has a very low payout ratio as well which makes me think we will see some dividend increases over the next couple of years.¬† One concern I have with this stock is the lack of diversification (all properties are in Ontario).¬† Due to its extremely low valuation – this stock seems like a prime candidate for a buyout by one of the larger REIT’s.

Cascades ($CAS)

This company reminds me of one of my recent purchases (Intertape Polymer).  It is a boring, reliable company that continues to show strong profits, but has recently been beaten down by the market for no real reason.  The yield on this one is extremely low(1.17%), as is the valuation.  The 52 week high is $18.20 and it is currently trading just under $14.00.

Western Forest ($WEF)

The lowest priced stock on my list (trading at $2.68) this is a B.C wood producer that has shown consistent profits and has increased revenue over the previous 3 years.¬† The dividend hasn’t grown in 5 years which is a slight concern, although with a payout ratio under 40% there seems to be some room to grow it in the future as long as revenues keep increasing and they can control their costs.

Power Corp ($POW)

This is another one of those buy and hold forever type of stocks, and also another I’ve had on my watch list for some time.¬† Currently trading at a P/E under 10, while also paying a generous 4.45% yield makes this especially attractive right now.¬† Power corp is the holding company of Great West Life (one of the largest insurance companies in Canada and I believe the largest employer in my hometown of Winnipeg).¬† Power Corp has also maintained a dividend for 20 years, and has increased it’s dividend for 3 consecutive years.

When purchasing stocks for the long haul,  I like always ensure that I DRIP any dividends and like to have enough shares so that I can at least DRIP a full share each dividend payout.  To ensure I could reinvest 1 full share at the current prices, I would need to invest the following into each of the stocks above:

NVU.UN = $4583

IIP.UN = $4181

CAS = $4685

WEF = $356

POW = $2877

So What did I buy? 

In the end I decided I liked the idea of set it and forget it.¬† I purchased 200 shares of Power Corp which should give me enough to drip at least 2 shares every quarter.¬† With the remaining cash I only had enough to ensure I could reinvest in full shares of Western Forest so I purchased 522 shares of Western Forest which should allow me to repurchase 3-4 shares each quarter.¬† Another reason I leaned towards these 2, is that I already have about 10% of my TFSA invested in REIT’s, and I recently purchased a similar packaging company to cascades (Intertape Polymer).¬† I feel like all of these would have been good buys, but these 2 specifically help with diversification.

These purchases will add $328.56 to my yearly dividend income (purchased in my Tax Free Account).

I am still very interested in adding the other 3 stocks on my list to my portfolio, but unfortunately it will have to wait until I can inject some more cash into my TFSA.

Curious what the rest of you think with these choices Рdo you think I made the right choice?  Would you have purchased one of the others on my list instead (or some different stocks altogether)?

The “Not So Wealthy Barber” & Some Thoughts On Financial Education.

Yesterday as I was getting my haircut by a nice lady who has cut my hair once or twice before.¬† She is probably in her late 50’s/early 60’s, and after exchanging the usual pleasantries the conversation took an unexpected turn.¬† She asked what I did for a living, so I mentioned I work in marketing for a finance company.¬† She quickly interrupted:

“Like a financial advisor? I am in need of some advice”

I let her know that I am NOT a financial advisor, however I do enjoy discussing investing and have a blog about personal finance.

What she said next – I couldn’t believe.

“My car dealer is offering me a new car for 5.5%, it would be for 7 years do you think I should do it?”

Before I could even mention that 7 years is a long time to finance a car – or that she may be able to get a lower interest rate through a different lender – or ask about her overall financial situation, or determine if she even NEED’S a new car- she continued:

“They said I could trade in my current car for this newer one, and the payments would only be a little bit more since my current car loan is 16%.”

Me:

After explaining that a 16% car loan is INSANE & basically like buying a car on a credit card – I offered some advice about refinancing, home equity loans, debt consolidation and more.

Although I am not sure if she will take any of my advice Рit got me thinking about a much larger issue.  Financial literacy/education seems to be incredibly low among the general population Рwhich is crazy considering we are living in a time where there is so much information available to us.

When I was in high school there were 3 types of math you could take.

  1. Pre Calculus
  2. Applied Mathematics
  3. Consumer Mathematics

If you asked anyone in the school (students or teachers) what they thought about each course – this is overwhelmingly how they would respond:

  1. Pre-Cal is a must take – it is required for most university courses – focuses on “algebra and number, measurement, permutations,¬†combinations and binomial theorem, relations and functions, and trigonometry
  2. Applied Math Рrequired for post secondary programs that do not require the study of theoretical calculus.  Topics include: Geometry, Measurement, number relations & functions and more.
  3. Consumer Math (now known as “Essentials Mathematics”.¬† I kid you not, people used to call this “retard” math. First of all – I hate using that word – but I just wanted to stress how backwards our curriculum and general thinking on what is important/essential.¬† According to the government of Manitoba website this course is best if you do not require further studies in advanced mathematics. This course focused on: Interest rates, amortization, budgeting, taxes, compounding & more.

Now don’t get me wrong – I am not saying that Calculus isn’t important, or that there aren’t certain careers that will require you to learn these things -but¬† every single person – in every possible career choice at some point in their life would benefit from taking Consumer math.¬† The problem is – the majority of students don’t – and are in fact encouraged to take one of the other 2.¬† When I was in high school I ended up taking Applied Math & Consumer math – and although I think the consumer course was probably too easy it should be a required course for all students (perhaps while also making it more challenging).

I can only hope that things have changed since I was in high school – but looking at the government of Manitoba’s website – it doesn’t appear so.¬† I am not sure what the solution is, and I am not even sure if this is problem all across Canada or just in Manitoba but I am pretty confident – without a shift in the way we educate children/teenagers on finances, budgets, economics and critical thinking – we will continue to have situations where our hairdressers are telling customers about their 16% interest car loan – and that is quite frankly depressing.

Just curious if anyone has any feedback on the high school’s they went to – or are currently going to.¬† Have things changed?

Goodbye 2017. Final 2017 Update, Milestones & 2018 Goals…

2017 is over, and although it seems like it went by extremely fast, I am excited by what was accomplished, and what 2018 has in store for us.

In 2017 the following 3 things happened which shaped the way the year went for me:

  1. My son Isaac was born
  2. Bought our “forever” home
  3. Started this blog to help track my goals, progress and keep me sane

One of my first blog posts I wrote was my goals for 2017, and although I didn’t accomplish all of them, considering I only had 6 months since writing them down I think I did okay.¬† Here is a quick reminder of what they were – and how I did:

Personal Goals (Completed 4/5)

  1. Start setting goals! PASS
  2. Sell our house & buy a new house PASS
  3. Start a website & keep it updated PASS
  4. Spend more time at home/with family PASS
  5. Try 5 new restaurants (with Amber) FAIL

Oddly enough, the only goal I wasn’t able to accomplish was what would SEEM like one of the easiest.¬† That said there were multiple times that I did try to get out to new places, a lot of the time she was just too tired, we couldn’t get a sitter, etc.¬† I guess in 2018 I’ll need to try a bit harder.

Financial Goals (Completed 2/3)

  1. Get Amber ‚Äúset up‚ÄĚ financially¬†PASS
  2. Eliminate all debt (not including mortgage) PASS
  3. Get total portfolio Value to $320,000 by December 31 FAIL

2018 was a pretty good year for the portfolio, and I believe I would have hit all three targets if we hadn’t spent a bit more on the house than we had originally planned.¬† That said, we love the house and I have no regrets.

Even though my portfolio fell short of the aggressive $320,000 goal I had set, I did hit a new milestone in 2017 as my portfolio finished the year at $301,375.67 which was the first time it broke $300,000!  My portfolio started the year @ $251,880.81 which means I was about 500 dollars away from a yearly increase of $50,000!

My goals for 2018 are going to be short and sweet:

2018 Personal Goals:

  1. Increase the amount of blog posts – and the range of content on this site
  2. Get life insurance &  a will in order
  3. Take the wife to 5 new restaurants (Going to try this again)

2018 Financial Goals:

  1. Sell off my Mutual funds through my bank and replace them with low cost ETF’s and individual stocks
  2. Receive $10,000 in passive dividend income
  3. Increase overall portfolio to $350,000.00

Now onto the fun stuff….December Update:

 

Personal Highlights for December:

  • Celebrated our first Christmas with Isaac
  • Hosted our first ever Christmas Family dinners (40+ people on xmas eve and 30 on Boxing Day).
  • The kids got RIDICULOUSLY spoiled, our house is filled with toys, books, clothes, and more.¬† We plan on going through a bunch of their old toys, clothes, and donating this month.
  • Isaac¬†has started pulling himself up on the table, and got his first 2 teeth

Financial Highlights:

  • Total investment portfolio broke the $300,000.00 milestone
  • Amber’s TFSA recieved over $100 in dividends for the first time and also recieved more than my TFSA for the first time.
  • Continued bi weekly payments into RRSPs & Spousal RSP.
  • Amber‚Äôs TFSA/RRSP are now over $20,500.¬† (They didn‚Äôt exist 6 months ago)

 

Passive Income Update For December 2017.

J’s TFSA:

Diversified Royalty: $9.03 (Dripped 2 new shares)

Lucara Diamond: $7.00 (have since closed this position)

Artis Reit: $49.59 (Dripped 3 new shares)

Plaza Reit: $24.62 (Dripped 6 new shares)

Ambers TFSA:

Chorus Aviation: $10.76 (Dripped 1 share)

Intertape Polymer: $49.49

Alimentation Couche Tard: $11.25

TOTAL TFSA’S:¬† ¬† ¬† $202.59

 

RRSP:

Canadian Equity Income Distribution: $213.01

Global Dividend Fund Distribution: $422.33

Total Passive Income July 2017:  $837.93

Portfolio Update:

With the contributions to Amber’s TFSA, my continued bi weekly contributions and this seemingly never-ending bull market our portfolio hit an all time high: $301,375.67!  Looking forward to see what 2018 brings!

 

November 2017 Update. Sit down with me, let’s have a drink.

Happy December!  Here is a quick update for November.  Had a pretty busy month!

Personal Highlights for November:

  • Our daughter turned 2 – and we had our first (of many) parties in the new house.
  • Got the Christmas tree set up and decorated.¬† Had my first couple rum & eggnogs:)
  • I’ve always been big into cocktails, and trying new concoctions, and lately I’ve been taking it to the next level, trying to learn a little more about the history of certain drinks, experimenting with different flavors, techniques, etc.¬† I’ve started posting some of my favorites to my Instagram.¬† I think eventually I’ll add a section to this blog as well where I will post some new recipes, rate some different spirits, etc.¬† Pictured below: Americano & Classic Negroni!
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Financial Highlights:

  • Due to the stability concerns in Zimbabwe I sold my shares of Caledonia Mining.¬† This is still one of my favorite stocks, but until things play out I thought I’d get out and watch from the sidelines.¬† I also decided to close my position with Lucara as the stock has been pretty disappointing.¬† I decided to use the proceeds to get back in the Marijuana industry as I had previously liquidated my shares of Organigram & Aurora.¬† I purchased 7071 shares of LGC Capital (LG) for $0.21 and 4000 shares of National Access Cannabis (NAC) for $0.20.
  • Redeemed my credit card reward points for $650 which I put into my RSP.
  • Continued bi weekly payments into RRSPs & Spousal RSP.
  • Amber‚Äôs TFSA/RRSP are now over $20,000.¬† (They didn‚Äôt exist 6 months ago)
  • Amber’s TFSA recieved it’s first dividend from Chorus Aviation (which dripped an extra share).

Now on to the fun stuff.

Passive Income Update For July 2017.

TFSA’S:

Chorus Aviation: $10.72 (dripped 1 share)

Diversified Royalty: $8.99 (Dripped 2 new shares)

Artis Reit: $49.32 (Dripped 3 new shares)

Plaza Reit: $24.50 (Dripped 5 new shares)

TFSA’s Total: $93.53¬†¬†

RRSP:

Canadian Equity Income Distribution: $209.32

Total Passive Income July 2017:  $302.85

Portfolio Update:

My portfolio grew by 3.38% month over month and once again hit an all time!¬† Total investment portfolio now sits at $297,039.95.¬† Assuming there isn’t a market crash I should break the $300k mark by the end of the year!

The sell off of Caledonia & Lucara will see my yearly dividends reduced (for now) but I am hopeful the growth in NAC & LG will more than make up for it in the long run.  I still want to get back into Caledonia Mining eventually as I believe it is hugely undervalued.  I also still have my eye on Andrew Peller.

Hope everyone else had a productive month as well!