Over the last couple of months, I’ve posted interviews I conducted with 11 of my favourite financial bloggers. Today I am going to give a quick summary of a few of the things I learned along the way.
You can find my interviews with all of them on my blogroll page
First of all, I’d like to thank each one of them one last time for participating, and to encourage everyone to check out their sites if you haven’t already.
Here is the full list:
Tom from Dividends Diversify
Rob from Passive Canadian Income
Cam from Millennial Dividends
Adam & Andrew from Wallet Squirrel
Sabeel from Roadmap2retire
Sarah from Smile & Conquer
Nelson from Canadian Dividend Investing
Matt from All About The Dividends
FINANCIAL BLOGGERS COME IN ALL SHAPES & SIZES
Now, obviously this is going to be skewed, and based on a handpicked sample of bloggers I personally read, but I still found some of it very interesting. I also rounded up/down some of the percentages to make it easier to read.
- Average age 34 years old
- Youngest: 27
- Oldest: 53
- 50% Canadian, 40% American 10% Overseas
- 20% female, 80% male (I clearly need to start reading more female blogs)
- 20% don’t drink, 80% do. 70% like beer!
- 20% have been arrested
The majority of bloggers I follow are very open about their personal lives, they share their real names, ages, portfolio holdings and even some personal family details. Personally I prefer blogs that do this, as it makes it easier to connect with, and understand some of the choices they make. I also completely understand why some others don’t, whether it be for privacy concerns, conflict of interest with other jobs, or personal preference.
FINANCIAL BLOGGERS UNDERSTAND THE IMPORTANCE OF STARTING EARLY
- Average age of first investment: 21
- Earliest to start investing 10 years old
- Latest to start investing 31 years old
Even though the majority started investing before their 21st birthday, 50% of these bloggers biggest financial regret was “Not starting earlier”. Think about that for a second, these are people who truly understand the power of compound interest, and having money work for them over time. Don’t make the same mistake, get started early & often and your future self will thank you! If you need more proof, read my last post about how compound interest can turn anyone into a millionaire over time HERE
FINANCIAL BLOGGERS INVEST IN BOTH STOCKS & FUNDS
- 60% invest in Stocks & Funds (ETF/Mutual Funds)
- 40% invest solely in stocks
This makes sense, these are people who are obviously very serious about their finances (they run financial blogs for fucks sake). Although individual stocks are great for more experienced investors, and can be extremely addicting & fun to own, I think it’s safe to say every single person I interviewed would agree that an investor just starting out can’t go wrong with a low cost ETF that matches their risk tolerance and long term goals.
WE ALL MAKE MISTAKES
Although the biggest mistake (by far) these bloggers made, was not starting earlier, there were many others along the way. Here are few:
- Chasing big yields or big gains on penny stocks
- Not setting a budget earlier in life
- Listened to the “experts” instead of doing own research
- Not being properly diversified
Another thing I continually see in different financial forums, Facebook groups and online, is the amount of people obsessed with chasing a high dividend yield. People get excited about a high yielding dividend stock, instead of worrying about the total long term gain. What inevitably happens, is these companies paying high unsustainable yields end up cutting the dividend, the stock price crashes and people get burned. I cannot stress this enough, always do your research, ensure dividends are covered by cash flow, look for a history of earnings growth, dividend growth, and profitability.
IS INVESTING STUPID? SHOULD WE SPEND EVERYTHING NOW?
I’ve long struggled with finding the right balance between saving for the future, and enjoying my life now. I think I do a pretty good job, however some days I think I should just say fuck it, not invest anything this year and take the family on a trip…other days I think we should downsize our house and invest the difference for the future.
One thing that really got me thinking about this, was reading everyone’s answers to the question:
“If you knew you had 1 year to live, how would you spend it?”
Basically every single person answered this question the EXACT same way. 10 out of the 11 people interviewed said they would travel the world with friends and family. I thought about it as well, and I think I would answer the same way too.
If almost everyone thinks the most important thing to do before they die is travelling the world, and everyone knows that life is finite, and could literally end at any second, why do we put this off? What if we get sick in retirement and can’t travel? What if we get into an accident the year before we retire and never get to experience the world? Even if travelling isn’t your thing, there must be some bucket list items you would want to do before you die.
There are also the extreme frugal bloggers (I don’t really follow any of them, because I can’t get into that lifestyle personally), but it seems to work for them. Some of them will retire at a much younger age than me, and Kudos to them.
Obviously there is no right or wrong answer, but I still find this struggle very interesting. The financial side of my brain is telling me keep saving so that you can retire earlier, and have more time to do all these things later in life, with a lot more money and freedom – while the “fuck it” side of my brain is saying, “let’s have a beer and go to New Orleans, let’s check out the Bourbon Trail, lets go NOW!”
I think I’ll keep doing what I’ve been doing, trying to maintain a good balance of enjoying every minute now, while paying myself first (for later). One of my very first blog posts was called “Saving money feels great – but lets be honest, so does spending it”. This post was about a bucket list item I was able to check off 4 years ago (Attending a World Cup with my Dad). I know I’d be further ahead financially had I invested that money instead…but I also know If I could go back in time, I wouldn’t change a damn thing.
I was hoping there would be some sort of lesson at the end of all this….unfortunately, I am still trying to figure our what it may be…
Does this internal debate creep into everyone else’s mind, or is it just me?
Have a great weekend.