Top Canadian Investing Blogs for 2019

Top Canadian Investing Blogs for 2019

I’ve seen a lot of these lists – and for the most part they are the same 5-10 “popular” blogs that have been around forever, and been featured in the Globe & Mail or Money Sense.  The majority of these are from “professional bloggers”.  I may be in the minority here – but I prefer the smaller, independent blogs – the personal blogs – and more specifically the ones that aren’t constantly pushing referral codes, credit card reviews, or trying to get you to sign up for something.  Don’t get me wrong – if you want to – and are able to make money from your blog -by all means do it and good for you.

My list however, is for the blogs I prefer- where you feel like you know the reader, and you can follow them on their journey.  These blogs are also all written by Canadians and focus on investing/personal finance.

Without further ado – my top Canadian Investing Blogs to check out this year.

Passive Canadian Income – Rob is the same age as me, has 2 kids, and lives one province over.  He has multiple streams of passive income (dividend stocks, private investment solar panels & more)!

GenYMoney Although she posts “anonymously” she is very open with her portfolio, net worth, expenses, etc.  We own a few of the same stocks, and have a very similar dividend income. GenY lives in BC.

Smile & Conquer Sarah is from Edmonton & a big time hockey fan.  This is probably the only blog I regularly read that doesn’t focus primarily on stocks & investing.  Sarah still writes about personal finance – but her posts cover a bit of everything as well.

Roadmap 2 Retire I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – this is the first investing blog I ever followed.  Sabeel does a great job of analysing stocks, discussing economic trends, and also has an interest in precious metals & crypto-assets.

My Own Advisor  Okay….I had to include 1 “professional” blogger on this list – but only because I truly enjoy his site and have for years.  Mark is from Ontario, and has been running his site for what seems like forever.  He is a big time proponent of low cost ETF’s, and his site is a great resource for everyone – from beginners to experienced investors.  He also likes hockey & beer 🙂

All About The Dividends Matt is also from Ontario, and posts about his stock purchases, monthly updates, and plans to quit the rat race as soon as possible.  Matt owns a few of the same stocks as me – and has recently started investing more in US stocks.

Dividend Income Stocks German is from Quebec, and has 2 kids.  His portfolio is a bit newer than most on this list, but it is amazing how fast he has been growing it, and his yield is remarkable.  He does a great job analysing Canadian stocks, and his portfolio just hit a new milestone!

Financial Uproar Nelson is from Alberta -and his site is a bit of a mixed bag (in a good way).  When he wants to – Nelson can (and does) a great job of fundamental stock breakdowns, and just as often, he is writing comedic gold (a lot of dick and fart jokes) sometimes both in the same post.  Check him out.  *Warning* May Contain Explicit Language *Warning*

FI Garage  This is a new blog I recently started following.  It is written by 3 different people (an economist, a  mechanic & an accountant)- so you get 3 unique perspectives.  Even better, they enjoy beer, and even have a podcast where they try new beers and discuss personal finance)!

Cheers!

Stock Talk: ETF’s, Algonquin, Power Corp, Artis & Interrent Reit

Stock & ETF Analysis

I decided it would be a fun exercise to go through my portfolio, and look at some of the stocks & funds I currently own.  The goal is to give a quick analysis on how it’s performed so far, take a look at how it is positioned for the future, and determine if I should continue to hold, add to my position or get rid of it.

Let’s start with a couple of funds I own, and then dig into a few individual stocks.

  1. XAW:

What it is: A low cost(0.22% MER), diversified (over 8000 companies) equity ETF that owns stocks from all around the world EXCEPT Canada.

Why I bought it: I owned a lot of Canadian funds/stocks. I was looking for an easy way to diversify.  I don’t have the time to analyse thousands of US & Global stocks, so I wanted an easy to manage solution.

Snapshot:

FUND/STOCK XAW
Average Purchase Price $25.07
Current Price $25.75
% Gain or (Loss) 2.68%
# of shares originally purchased 2438
Total Shares Dripped 54
2018 Dividends/Distribution Received $1,329.88
Buy, Sell, Hold? Hold

Final Thoughts: I’ve only owned this for about a year.  The funds were originally invested in a high cost global mutual fund with mediocre returns.  I was impressed with the low MER, and past performance of XAW so I transferred the funds over.  So far I’ve been pretty happy with the move.  I am not currently adding any cash to this as it is in my RRSP, and I am currently in the process of reducing my RRSP contributions.

I will continue to hold & DRIP shares of this – most likely until retirement barring any major changes.  In 2018, XAW distributed $1329.88 to me which resulted in 54 new shares.

I’ve recommended this fund to a few friends and coworkers, who were sick of paying high fees, in different funds their banks had recommended.  Just remember, there is no Canadian exposure – so if you don’t already have Canadian Equity exposure, this may not be for you.

2. RBC CANADIAN EQUITY INCOME FUND

What it is:  This is your every day mutual fund.  It holds Canadian stocks, and pays a monthly distribution.  I own the “D” series of this stock, meaning I purchased it myself directly, so the management fee is slightly lower.  The current Series D MER on this fund is 1.04%.  Typically I wouldn’t be happy paying a fee this high, however I love this fund, even after the 1.04% fee, it has returned great results.  I’ve owned this fund for close to 10 years, however the results below will only show the last year (since I moved it to my direct investing).  The funds to year return (after fees) is 15.12%!

Why I bought it: If I am being honest, I don’t remember exactly why I chose this fund. I was in my early 20’s,  but I started contributing to it when I was young, and continued for the last 9 years.  I’ve since stopped adding to my position, however I still DRIP quite a few shares each month.

Snapshot:

FUND/STOCK RBC CA EQUITY
Average Purchase Price $28.61
Current Price $29.53
% Gain or (Loss) 3.21%*
# of shares originally purchased 2141
Total Shares Dripped 114
2018 Dividends/Distribution Received $3236.96
Buy, Sell, Hold? Hold/Buy

*My returns are actually closer to 13%.  About a year ago, I switched it from the Series A (higher fee) fund to the direct investing option, so my returns below will only show the last 14 months after I transferred my shares.

Final Thoughts: I can’t say enough good things about this fund.  I’ve owned it for a decade, and even though I’ve paid a lot in fees to own it – the returns have been spectacular.  I’ve yet to find a similar Canadian fund with better returns over a large enough sample size.  Although I am not contributing any new money to this currently, I am adding over 100 shares each year via DRIP.  This fund provides a nice monthly payout and has continually provided capital appreciation as well.

3. ALGONQUIN POWER & UTILITIES

Algonquin Power

What it is: Algonquin Power & Utilities Corp. is a renewable energy and utility conglomerate with assets across North America. Algonquin actively invests in hydroelectric, wind and solar power facilities, and utility businesses.

Why I bought it: I had heard a lot of people discussing this stock a few years ago, so I checked it out.  At the time it was trading around $9.00.  I had recently sold off all my oil stocks, and wanted to get into a “cleaner” energy stock.  Algonquin had (and still has) a history of raising their dividend, and growing their revenues via acquisitions.  The dividend is paid in $USD which is nice too!  I actually purchased this on 2 separate occasions.  My first purchase was around $9.95, and my most recent was around $12.00.

Snapshot:

FUND/STOCK AQN
Average Purchase Price $11.87
Current Price $14.96
% Gain or (Loss) 26.01%
# of shares originally purchased 858
# of shares DRIPPED 53
2018 Dividends/Distribution Received $531.30
Buy, Sell, Hold? Hold/Buy

Final Thoughts: I’ve done really well on this stock.  I don’t have any plans to add to it right now, as it is currently trading near it’s 52 week high.  I am however continuing to DRIP shares of this each quarter, and should be over 1000 shares in no time.  I expect another dividend raise this year as well.  Although the price is not as attractive as it once was, I expect the P/E to come down significantly as they continue to add revenue/customers via acquisition.  If I didn’t already own a decent chunk of this one, I’d rate it a buy.

4. POWER CORPORATION OF CANADA

Power Corp of Canada Stock

What it is: Power Corporation of Canada is a Canadian multinational diversified management and holding company. Power Corp is the holding company of: Power Financial, Great West Life, London Life, and much more. Although POWER CORP owns a lot of wealth management/investment companies, and Insurance – they also recently invested in the robo-advisor WealthSimple which I think is a great long term move.

Why I bought it: I had flipped some penny/weed stocks into some real earnings, and decided I wanted to get out of the day trading/speculating and into owning some real blue chip, dividend payers.  When you think of blue chip Canadian Stocks, POWER CORP is right up there with the banks and telcos.  Power Corp has raised their dividend every year for the last 5 years, and has a payout ratio of around 50%.  I’ve already received a dividend raise since I originally purchased this stock, and I expect another one this year.

Snapshot:

FUND/STOCK POW
Average Purchase Price $31.61
Current Price $29.78
% Gain or (Loss) -5.81%
# of shares originally purchased 200
# of Shares DRIPPED 9
2018 Dividends/Distribution Received $305.48
Buy, Sell, Hold? Hold/Buy

Final Thoughts: While the stock itself hasn’t done much over the last few years, the company boasts an impressive balance sheet, growing revenue, a very sustainable payout ratio and a growing dividend.  If you are looking for massive capital growth – this probably isn’t for you.  If you want a safe, growing dividend – I’d definitely recommend it.  Power Corp recently also just announced a MASSIVE share buyback program of 1.5 BILLION dollars.  Yes you read that right.  Clearly they believe the shares are under valued as well.  I treat this stock more like a bond – I don’t expect much capital growth, but it pays a juicy (5.16%) & safe (and growing) dividend, so I’m okay with that.

 

5. Artis Reit

Artis Reit

What it is: A REIT that owns Office, Retail & Industrial buildings all across North America.  The head office is located in my home town of Winnipeg.

Why I bought it:  One of the first stocks I ever bought, I was attracted to the yield, as well as the fact it is a local company.  In fact, I can see their head office from my office window.  I like the fact they have diversified their portfolio away from Alberta, and have grown their presence in the U.S.A.

Snapshot:

FUND/STOCK AX.UN
Average Purchase Price $12.85
Current Price $10.96
% Gain or (Loss) -14.75%
# of shares originally purchased 500
# of Shares DRIPPED 98
2018 Dividends/Distribution Received $590.49
Buy, Sell, Hold? Buy

Final Thoughts:  I am torn on this one.  It hasn’t worked out great for me so far – however I believe they are on the right track to turning things around.  At the end of 2018 Artis slashed the dividend in half.  This resulted in a big drop in share price.  When they slashed the dividend, they announced plans to sell a few non core assets, and start buying back a huge amount of shares.  In the last 3 months, they’ve already cancelled around 8 million shares.  The payout ratio is now sitting at a very reasonable 45% and they continue to buy back/cancel shares almost every day.  The NAV (Net Asset Value) is currently around $15.00, and it still pays a respectable 4.93% dividend.  The most important thing about the dividend, is that it is now extremely safe. I will continue to hold, and if it drops below 10.00 again I may add to it.

 

6. Interrent Reit

Interrent Reit Stock

What it is: A residential REIT that owns buildings in Ontario & Quebec.

Why I bought it:  At the time I purchased this, I already owned REIT’s in the Office, Industrial and Commercial spaces.  I was looking for a residential REIT to add to my portfolio, so I did some research on a few, ran a few stock screens, and this one came out on top.

Snapshot:

FUND/STOCK IIP.UN
Average Purchase Price $9.77
Current Price $13.91
% Gain or (Loss) 42.28%
# of shares originally purchased 103
# of Shares DRIPPED 0
2018 Dividends/Distribution Received $21.05
Buy, Sell, Hold? Buy

Final Thoughts:  This stock has been absolutely wonderful so far.  I’m up over 40%, and they’ve already raised their dividend.  I expect multiple dividend raises over the coming years, as they continue to have a conservative payout ratio compared to other REIT’s, and they have grown their funds from operations (FFO) per unit on average by over 27% per year since 2010!  My only regret was not having more cash at the time to buy more.  I keep waiting for a dip in price to add some more – but until then I will hold.  According to their most recent report, 12 of the 13 analysts covering IIP, currently rate it a BUY and/or OUTPERFORM.

That’s all for today kids!  Next time I will dig into a few other holdings: Transcontinental, Chorus Aviation, Intertape Polymer and Plaza Reit.

Cheers!

Hi. My name is Jordan & I have an RRSP Problem.

RRSP, TFSA & MORTGAGE QUESTIONS

I have a bit of an RRSP problem.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good problem to have- but a problem nonetheless.

The problem is twofold.

1- Assuming I keep doing what I’m doing – I’m at the point, where I’ll over contribute to my RRSP next year – so I need to reduce my contributions.

2- I am starting to realize my RRSP may be getting too large – meaning I may in line to pay some hefty taxes in retirement (poor me I know).

I fully understand you may (rightly) be thinking *Shut the fuck up Jordan – you should be happy*  but this is a finance blog so I will continue…

Just over a year ago, I realised this may occur, and I reduced what I was putting into my own RRSP, and opened a spousal RRSP.  I figured it made a lot more sense to have 2 medium sized accounts in retirement (paying lower taxes on each) than one large one (paying higher taxes).  For those not aware, RRSP’s are allowed to grow sheltered from taxes, but once they are withdrawn, you must pay taxes on them.

As of my last monthly update my RRSP balance sits at $261,728.32.

Last year I put just over $18,000/year into RRSP’s.  This was split about 8k into the spousal account and 10k into my own account.

I am currently 35 years old, which means most likely, I wont need this money for 15-25 years.  I decided to run a couple scenarios to see what I could be looking at in (early) retirement.

RRSP Scenarios:

 

Continue to Contribute 10,000/Year
Age 7% return 5% return
45  $      662,695.21  $      558,395.73
50  $      990,997.23  $      770,689.30
55  $  1,451,457.78  $  1,041,635.67
60  $  2,097,277.53  $  1,387,439.53
Stop Contributing Completely
Age 7% return 5% return
45 $514,859.22 $426,327.85
50 $722,116.69 $544,114.38
55 $1,012,806.01 $694,443.15
60 $1,420,512.83 $886,304.99

As you can see, all the scenarios look pretty good – even the paltry 5% return, assuming I never put another cent into my  RRSP account would grow to over a million by age 65.  That said, I always planned on retiring early and have fully expected to start withdrawing from the RRSP before age 60.  This also doesn’t take into account my wife’s RRSP (albeit currently a small amount) or either of our TFSA’s.

RRSP is Full

A few other notes about my situation:

  • Assuming no changes, my mortgage will be paid off when I am 55 years old
  • At age 60 I can start receiving CPP (Canada Pension Plan)
  • At age 65 I can receive the OAS (Old Age Security)
  • I still have unused TFSA contribution room (as does my wife)

I expect I will need to work until my mortgage is paid off.  Once the house is paid off, my monthly expenses will go WAY down.  Aside from the mortgage expense being eliminated, I will also no longer be investing or paying for daycare.  To give you an idea how much those 3 things will reduce my expenses by:

Current Mortgage/Investments/Daycare cost per month: $4300

Those 3 expenses account for around 65% of all my current expenses. (Over 75% once I give up my Winnipeg Jets season tickets after this season).

So the question is – what exactly SHOULD I do going forward.  The way I see it, I have a few options.

  1. Put the full $18,000/year into the spousal RRSP (continue to get a decent tax refund which can be used to put into TFSA or down on mortgage).
  2. Continue to put $8-10k into the spousal and the rest into TFSA until it is maxed
  3. Pay down the mortgage faster

Mortgage Paydown VS More Investments

This is one of those topics that has been discussed to death, so I’m not going to go into major detail on it.  Usually the argument boils down to:

Assuming interest rates stay low-  over time you will have a better return investing vs paying off your mortgage. 

That said, my goal is now to reduce taxes in retirement, not to build the largest nest egg possible.  There is also something to be said for piece of mind.  I’ve never been mortgage free on a primary residence – but I can only imagine it feels fuckin’ fantastic.  On the other hand, if your investments can churn out enough cash (tax free or otherwise) to pay all your expenses – it’s basically the same thing).

It seems like reducing/eliminating RRSP contributions and a mix of increased TFSA contributions & a quicker mortgage pay down is the best option for me.  If the ultimate goal is not needing to work, having no mortgage is probably the most sure fire way to get there as quickly as possible.

So there…it’s settled.  I’ll stop putting money into RRSP’s, and start paying down the mortgage/maxing out the TFSA…..

An argument for continuing to dump more into RRSPs…

Awww shit, just when I thought I had it figured out.

Doh Investing is hard

Alas, there are still a couple reasons it may make sense for me to contribute to an RRSP.

  1. I am still in a higher tax bracket, so getting the tax savings now and using that juicy refund to pay down the mortgage is an option (If I do this – it would be into the spousal RRSP).
  2. RRSP contributions bring down your total taxable/net income.  The government of Canada currently gives parents a cheque each month (tax free) based on their kids ages and taxable income.  This means while my kids are still young, it makes sense to get my taxable income as low as possible, to get as much tax free $$$ from the government as possible.

I apologise if this post is coming across like a conversation with myself – but that is exactly what it is.  I’ve been trying to convince myself exactly what I should do, and ensure I make the right decision.  I haven’t made a decision yet, but I am currently leaning towards:

  • Stop all RRSP contributions in my own account
  • Increase spousal contributions to around $12,000 and put the rest into TFSA
  • Use tax refund to make lump sum payment on mortgage
  • Continue to do this until children are no longer eligible for Child Benefit and/or spousal RRSP starts getting large enough that I feel comfortable reducing the contributions
  • Once spousal contributions are reduced, max out TFSA’s each year and put all extra onto mortgage

 

What do you think?  Does this make sense? Would you do something similar or am I way off here?  Does anyone else have similar concerns, or has anyone gone through this exercise already?  Let me know in the comments!

Lastly, I’d like to give a shout out to Mark from Myownadvisor who wrote an excellent post about this a year or two ago as well which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Cheers!

February Dividend Update: Record Breaking Month!

Monthly Dividend Update

Let’s get right to it.  I’m a little late with this post, our entire house (except for the wife) has been sick for the last week.

Personal Highlights for February:

  • Attended a fine and rare bourbon tasting, and also a bourbon lottery this month.  I was able to snag a bottle of Weller C.Y.P.B.  This was one of my favourites that I had tried at the tasting.
  • Aside from being sick – the kids have been doing great.  Isaac is saying a lot more words (when Holland lets him speak).
  • Attended a couple of Jets games with some friends I hadn’t seen in quite some time.
  • Finally got all my receipts so I can do my taxes this week.
  • Took the wife to see Justin Timberlake when he was in town.  She loved it.
  • Amber and I finished watching the Wire – and now I have her watching DeadWood.  (2 of my all time favorite shows).  I figure it’s time she watched them.

Financial Highlights for February:

  • Continued bi weekly payments into spousal RRSP  (30 units of US Equity Index Fund)
  • I was paid by 5 companies and 1 funds.  I Dripped 19 new shares/units.
  • Portfolio hit an all time high
  • Opened a position in Transcontinental (which has since increased their dividend)
  • Increased position in Western Forest

Passive Income Update For February 2019.

TFSA’S:

Diversified Royalty: $9.68 (dripped 3 shares)

Artis Reit: $28.62 (dripped 2 shares)

Interrent Reit: $2.49

Plaza Reit: $27.46 (dripped 6 shares)

Chorus Aviation: $11.36 (dripped 1 share)

TFSA’s Total: $79.61

RRSP:

Canadian Equity Income Distribution: $228.17 (dripped 7.76 new units)

Total Passive Income Feb 2019:  $307.78

Portfolio Update:

This month had some good news and some bad news.

The bad news:  My dividend income was the lowest amount since November 2017.  Dividends actually decreased by $4.66 compared to last February. This is the first time I’ve seen a dip in dividends year over year.  This is due to Artis slashing their dividend in half.

The good news: My portfolio hit an all time high.  After recovering by 6.58% in January, my portfolio jumped up another 5.17% in February which pushed it to a new record high of: $324,377.53

Next months income should be a lot better, as Power Corp, Intertape Polymer & Western Forest all pay their dividends in March – along with all the regular monthly payers.

Thanks for reading, Cheers!