Top investment sites for 2021

Another year has come and gone – although this particular year feels like it’s dragged on for a decade. I think I speak for most of the world when I say I cannot wait for this dumpster fire of a year to be over. Although I don’t expect 2021 to be a complete return to the norm – I am hopeful we will start to see things slowly open back up, and there is definitely a lot of promising news on the vaccine front.

Two years ago I created a list of some of my favourite Canadian investment blogs, which a lot of people seemed to like. I didn’t do one last year, but decided I’d create a new list (with some familiar names, and a few new ones). This year has been so ridiculous that I haven’t put nearly as much time into updating this site, or reading other sites, but I still spend a lot of time on twitter which I believe is a great way to consume a lot of info a short period of time. On that note -I’ll include twitter accounts to follow that I highly recommend as well.

While this year will still be quite heavily focused on Canadian Investing websites(since the majority of my investing/research is focused on Canadian Equities) – I will be including a few friends from down south and overseas as well. Okay enough blabbering. Here is my list (in no particular order) of the top Investments sites & twitter personalities to follow in 2021!

Top Investing Websites for 2021


My Own Advisor:

Great for both beginners and advanced investors. The site is largely focused on building wealth over time, does in depth reviews of ETFs & Stocks and shares his portfolio/journey. Mark has been around for quite some time and was one of the first Canadian Investing Sites I started reading. He is also very active on twitter, and like me enjoys beer, whisky and hockey!
Website: https://www.myownadvisor.ca/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/myownadvisor

All About The Dividends

Matt from All About The Dividends is another Canadian investor about the same age as me. What I like most about Matt is his openness in sharing his portfolio and thoughts behind his investment decisions. Matt may also be the most positive and encouraging person you will ever find on twitter.
Website: https://allaboutthedividends.wordpress.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AllAboutTheDivi

Dividend Diplomats

Bert & Lanny are the two diplomats behind the site. They are the first non Canadian investors on my list, but they deserve to be mentioned. I enjoy reading their site for a few reason:
-to get some ideas on non Canadian dividend (USA) stocks
– to check up on their portfolios (which they share freely)
– to read my favorite posts each month- when they highlight other investors passive income journeys
They have also recently launched a youtube channel.
Website: https://www.dividenddiplomats.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/DvdndDiplomats


Fi Garage

The boys in the garage are great fun. They discuss everything from personal finance, investing, tax efficiencies and more. They do this on their website, twitter as well as their podcast (they had me on as a guest earlier this year). You can check out that episode HERE. Another reason I love listening to these guys, is they are very down to earth, and along with discussing finance on each podcast, they also have a beer (or bourbon) and discuss those as well.

Website: https://figarage.ca/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/FI_Garage

Cheesy Finance

Another non Canadian site to add to the list. Cheesy Finance chronicles the journey of a young dutch as they pursue F.I.R.E. The site has sections in both English & Dutch, and they are very active on twitter as well. Cheesy also enjoys beer – and likes to taunt us on twitter with his superior beer collection.
Website: https://cheesyfinance.nl/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/CheesyFinance


Stock Trades

If you are looking for info on some of the top Canadian Dividend stocks to invest in – look no further than StockTrades. Dan & Mat continually put out quality articles, Canadian stock picks and more. They are also both super active and helpful on twitter as well. Give the site a read – and give the boys a follow!
Website: https://www.stocktrades.ca/
Twitter(s): https://twitter.com/matlitalien & https://twitter.com/StockTrades_CA

Koneko Research

This is a site I was just recently introduced to, but I am glad I was. The in depth coverage on Canadian REITS is fantastic. They first got my attention when I read their pieces on Sandpiper/Artis Reit. They don’t post new updates as often as I’d like, but when they do they are very in depth. They are active on twitter as well.
Website: https://konekoresearch.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/KonekoResearch

The Stinky Stonk Market

Need a laugh? Look no further than the Stonk Market. Picture the onion if it only focused on investing and finance. Admittedly I don’t visit the website that often – but I laugh out loud to myself a few times a week just reading their tweets. So if you need a break from doing stock screeners, fundamental or technical analysis of stocks – then give them a read.

Website: https://thestonkmarket.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/thestinkmarket

GEN Y MONEY

Gen Y makes the list again for good reason. Her site focuses a lot more on the personal finance side of things (credit card rewards, budgeting, etc and is also a great resource for new investors starting out). We also own a lot of the same stocks and I like to have friendly competitions with her about who is earning more in dividend income. *Spoiler Alert* She is kicking my ass!
Website: https://www.genymoney.ca/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/genymoneyca

Cut The Crap Investing

Dale from Cut The Crap Investing is quickly becoming very well known in the Canadian personal finance space. He contributes to Moneysense, Million Dollar Journey and Seeking Alpha. He is a champion of low cost ETF’s (he probably cringes to know I pay 1.4% MER on a Canadian Mutual Fund) and is always willing to share his thoughts on stocks and suggestions on twitter.
Website: https://cutthecrapinvesting.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/67Dodge

Passive Canadian Income

Rob from Passive Canadian Income seems like one of the guys in the online personal finance community that I’d most likely wanna go grab a beer with. He is super down to earth, very open about his financial journey and has multiple streams of income including dividends, solar power & a private investment which pays him a nice sum each month. His taste in beer is definitely lacking – but I am sure he will grow up one day.

Website: https://www.passivecanadianincome.ca/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/PassiveCndIncom

Canadian Value Stocks

Tyler from Canadian Value stocks is one of the few sites who continually puts out quality, in depth article and deep dives on specific stocks. One thing I love about his site is how clean/to the point it is – it’s just straight down to business. Nothing fancy – just quality stock analysis. He focuses on Canadian stocks, and is very knowledgeable about the Canadian REIT sector.

Website: http://www.canadianvaluestocks.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/cdnvaluestocks

TAWCAN

Bob from TAWCAN (which is short for Taiwanese Canadian) is another Canadian finance site with topics ranging from dividend stocks, ETFS, F.I.R.E and more. His website is another great resource for people wanting to learn more about investing in Canada. He also shares his monthly dividend income – which is very impressive!

Website: https://www.tawcan.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Tawcan

Although I am not superstitious….I dont think I’ll leave the list at 13 – instead I’ll add a few more dividend investing & personal finance twitter accounts you should definitely follow!


Dividend Investor: https://twitter.com/DividInvestor
Million Dollar Journey: https://twitter.com/FrugalTrader
Dividend Growth Investor: https://twitter.com/DividendGrowth
The Dividend Guy: https://twitter.com/TheDividendGuy
Dividend Growth Investing & Retirement: https://twitter.com/DGIandR
A Lawyer Her Money: https://twitter.com/alawyerhermoney
Roadmap 2 Retire: https://twitter.com/Roadmap2Retire
Nelson/Canadian Dividend Investing: https://twitter.com/thenelsonsmith

I am always looking for new content to consume – so if you have any recommendations of investing blogs or twitter accounts that focus on Canadian Dividend Stocks, or Canadian Equities – please let me know in the comments.

Cheers!


5 Things I Hope We Learn From Covid 19

Covid 19: Pandemic Lessons To Learn

Well, it’s Thursday night, I’m sipping on some Wild Turkey 101, I Just polished off some mini eggs, and I got to thinking about the future – post Covid19 (assuming there is a future after this mess).
Come on now – let’s keep this positive!

I started thinking the other night – perhaps this pandemic will change the way we as humans think about life, how we live, how we treat each other, and what we value.  The pessimist in me – tells me nothing will change – but I hope I’m wrong!  With that said, here are my top 5 things I HOPE, we as a society decide to change when this is all over!

Corona Virus: Positive Changes Moving Forward

 Universal Basic Income

This is usually a hot topic whenever it is brought up.  Most conservatives, older folk, and even myself when I was younger would argue that a UBI will reduce productivity, create a generation of lazy video game playing bums, and cost WAY too much.  As I’ve gotten older my opinion on a Universal Basic Income has definitely shifted.  First of all – who cares if “productivity” takes a dip.  The human race is more productive than at any time in history, life is short – we should spend it doing what we enjoy, helping people, not trying to spend every possible minute earning and hoarding as much cash as possible.  So we may not produce as many useless items we no longer need – but perhaps we now spend time doing things that are truly beneficial to society.  I can only speak for myself, but if I had a “safety net” or UBI to fall back on, and no worry about making mortgage payments, I would 100% take a paycut to switch careers and do something that I truly feel good about.  Perhaps I’d be a financial planner (who doesn’t make money selling his clients high cost mutual funds), or work for a non profit, a homeless shelter, etc.

Will everyone become a lazy video game playing slob?  Obviously not.  Sure some people may take advantage of the system, but that happens now.  Who cares.  A universal basic income would also reduce stress levels across the board, saving our health care and police services a TON of money.  Poverty rates would plummet, crime would go down, and most importantly we’d get to spend the very limited amount of time we have on this planet doing something we are truly passionate about, without having to worry about a roof over our heads, or feeding our kids.

The cost would be high.  Yea…it would. Nobody is denying that.  It’s not about a lack of money though, it’s about priorities.  We could cut military costs (the USA especially), healthcare budgets could come way down, less poverty, less stress, less strain on the system.  Police budgets are already way too high – less poverty/crime would be an easy argument to reduce these.  With a UBI, you could scrap: EI, OAS, CPP, Welfare and a myriad of other programs, plus all the administration costs associated with these programs.  At the very least we need to test a UBI on a large enough sample, for a long enough period of time and measure the results. Come on!

Permanent Increase In Working From Home

Hopefully a lot of companies realise that employees are more than capable and mature enough to work from home.  Working from home has a ton of benefits for both employee and employer:

  • Less office space needed/lower costs for employer
  • Breaks can be used to get stuff done around the house, more free time in evenings to spend with friends and family
  • Less people commuting – better for the environment.  To me, this is by far the biggest benefit.  Imagine 20-30+% of the workforce all of a sudden starts working from home.  What would that look like in every major city in the world. 30% less cars on the road, twice a day, five days a week.
  • The crazy thing is, a LOT of companies could easily allow employees to work from home – with zero change in productivity (in fact, employees may be happier, work harder and have less turnover), yet for no reason other than tradition, they continue to force employees to drive into an office every day.
Universal Healthcare

I’m Canadian, most of my readers are as well…but if Covid 19 teaches the world ONE thing for the future, I hope it’s that illness, viruses, cancer, etc are NOT YOUR FAULT.  You should never have to stress about paying for something like this, and NOBODY should ever go broke for getting sick.  Covid 19 is showing the world just how ridiculous it is having health insurance tied to employment.

 

Online Voting

I saw some people posting about how senators may be able to vote on bills remotely due to Covid 19.  Here is an idea…how about give EVERYONE the option to vote online in elections.  Voter turnout in North America is pathetic (partly due to certain parties making it difficult for certain people to vote).  That said, it’s 2020, you can seriously do EVERYTHING online.  Just let us fuckin vote online*.
*Regular voting would still be open, for those without access to internet, computers, etc.

Wash Your Fuckin’ Hands

I cannot believe this made the list…but hopefully this whole washing your hands thing catches on. I cannot believe how many people didn’t do this before (people in the washroom at Jets games I’m looking at you).  Hopefully everyone now realizes that washing your hands is actually super easy, and kills those pesky germs!

 

Lastly, hopefully we learn electing a senile, narcissistic, petty reality TV star which controls the world’s largest economy, military, and has the biggest global influence is a terrible fuckin’ idea.  Unfortunately, based on the fact Joe Fuckin’ Biden is going to be the person running against Trump….i’d say we are fucked regardless.

 

On that positive note – I’m going to pour myself one more bourbon, jump in a vanilla scented bubble bath and get some sleep.

 

Cheers!

 

The Old Fashioned: Tinkering with a classic cocktail.

The Original Cocktail

The “old fashioned” is probably the most classic cocktail there is – and has always been one of my favourites.  There are a few reasons this drink has stood the test of time, and why I like it so much:

  • Easy to make
  • Easy (and fun) to tinker with
  • Stiff – but smooth (that’s what she said)!

So what exactly is an old fashioned?  Technically it’s any cocktail that mixes a base spirit (typically rye or bourbon), with bitters and a sweetener.  The most common recipe would be:

  • 2 oz Bourbon/Rye
  • 2-4 Dashes bitters
  • 0.25-0.5 oz Simple syrup (or a sugar cube)

Once the drink is mixed with ice, you give it a citrus twist(usually orange) for some extra flavour, and more importantly an unbelievable aromatic experience.  Some people also add a dash of water – or top it off with club soda, however I prefer it with neither.

When I am feeling fancy, I’ll mix the drink in a mixing glass, with ice, then strain it into a rocks glass over a large ice cube (like in the top image).  Other times (most often) I will just make the drink in a glass with ice cubes.  It’s not as pretty, and gets slightly more diluted, but tastes just as good, and is a lot quicker.

Rye, Bourbon or something else?

Now that you know how easy it is to make the Old Fashioned, the fun part is experimenting with different variations – depending on your preference.  Are you more of a Rum gal?  No problem.  Swap out the Whiskey for a nice dark rum. The base spirit isn’t the only thing you can toy with either.  When I make a Rum old Fashioned, I like to to swap the simple syrup for a demerra syrup.  You can also play around with the bitters and citrus too!

Here is a variation of a Rum Old Fashioned I made:

Old Fashioned Cocktail

Following the “classic” recipe from above (a base spirit, bitters and a sweetener) I made a few substitutions.  Here is what I used:

  • 2.5 Oz Diplomatico Exclusiva Rum*
  • 3 Dashes Abiding Citizen Manitoba Aromatic Bitters (local company)
  • 0.25 oz 100% Pure Canadian Maple Syrup

*If you like Rum, and haven’t tried the “Diplomatico Exclusiva” – I HIGHLY recommend it! It’s great in a spirit forward cocktail like an old fashioned, but also a great sipper.

Rye, Bourbon, Rum, Mezcal – Doesn’t matter – but use the good stuff!

In most cocktails, or if you are having a rum and coke, you won’t notice much of a difference between your “Top Shelf” stuff vs the cheap stuff.  This is not one of those.  Certain cocktails deserve the good stuff and the Old Fashioned is a prime example.  If you have a nice Rye/Bourbon or Rum, or whatever your favourite poison is – treat yourself!  The Old Fashioned is meant to showcase whatever base spirit you are using, so find one you enjoy sipping on its own, and see how the bitters and syrup can help make it pop.  I was lucky enough to score a few bottles of Weller Antique a few months ago, and although it is not the most expensive bourbon around (in fact it’s actually pretty cheap), it is rare/hard to find.  I was able to get my bottles for under $40 Canadian, however they resell for over $200 USD in a lot of places.  Weller Antique is a wheated bourbon, and higher proof (107), although when you sip it, it’s very smooth, you wouldn’t think it’s 53.5% ABV.  I had mostly been sipping my bottle neat, however I decided to finish off the bottle and treat myself.
Weller Antique Bourbon Old Fashioned

As usual, I mixed things up a little bit when I made this drink.  Here is what I used:

  • 2.5 oz Weller Antique Bourbon
  • 2 Dashes Angostura Aromatic Bitters
  • 2 Dashes Angostura Orange Bitters
  • 0.5 Oz Home Made Demerra Syrup (2 Parts Demerra to 1 part water)
  • Orange Zest & Peel in glass*

*When in season, I really like to use a grapefruit instead of an orange.

I made this one in the glass.  It doesn’t look as pretty without the big ice cube, but I assure you it tasted just as good!

Anyways, it’s the weekend!  Hopefully this inspires a few of you to try making your own at home.  Aside from a great tasting drink, and a bit of a buzz you are sure to get, if you can master the art of a good old fashioned, you can also save yourself some $$$ by not having to order them at the bar…this is a personal finance website after all 🙂

In the comments, let me know your favourite Old Fashioned recipe!

Cheers!

A problem with passive income investors: Priorities

Passive Income is great – but there is more to investing…

Passive Income, and dividend investing are amazing.  Who doesn’t love getting paid for doing nothing?  I am a huge proponent of building up a portfolio of stocks and funds, that pay out distributions – however there is more to investing than just maximising your monthly income.  In fact, a HUGE mistake I see a lot of people making with their investment plan is their sole focus is maximising their monthly income, with little regard, or even idea how their portfolio is performing.

While this may be a viable strategy for someone who has already retired, or hit financial independence, this article is for us younger investors with time on our side, and for new investors just getting started.  I constantly see people online asking for investing ideas, and one common theme is that they always seem to be looking for:

  • The Highest yielding stocks
  • How to get rich quick(gamblers – not investors)
  • Stocks that pay monthly dividends

I also noticed (and I am guilty of this too) that the majority of financial bloggers, post a monthly income update, however very few post their total returns.  In fact, after speaking with many – some don’t even know what their actual returns are.  Why is this important?  To answer that, let’s get a better understanding of how people typically build wealth and retire.

The phases of building wealth

Phase 1: Accumulation & Growth.  Patience, high risk – high reward.

When you are young, you have time on your side.  You can handle market fluctuations, and you should be more comfortable taking some risks with your investments.  By risks, I don’t mean throwing all your money into penny stocks.  When I say risk, I mean you should have a high % of your portfolio in equities, and be be comfortable owning more growth oriented stocks.  All investments should be reinvested/compounded and you should continue to put as much money away as you can (while living the life you enjoy).  At this stage in your life, you are working, and don’t need your investments to provide you with any additional income – yet we all seem to be focused so much on our dividend income at this stage.  Instead – focus on growing your portfolio as large as you can.  When the time comes, it’s easy to switch your investments to income producing ones.  To be clear, I am not advocating you don’t own any dividend paying stocks at this stage -In fact, a lot of dividend paying companies are great long term wealth building companies.  Just be weary of what you are looking for in a stock.  A company that pays a 3% dividend and grows it’s dividend each year by 10%, and also has stock appreciation each year, is much better than a 6% dividend with 0 dividend growth and 0 capital appreciation.  Typically higher yielding stocks also have a higher risk associated with the dividend being cut in the future as well (which typically is followed by a reduction in the share price).  Always take into account a stocks payout ratio, revenue growth, debt load and history of dividends(among other things).

Phase 2: Risk Reduction – Determining your retirement needs

As you get closer to retirement/living off your investments, you can begin shifting your higher risk growth stocks, into some more income producing assets.  This can be both fixed income assets, or dividend paying stocks/funds.  Keep in mind inflation will eat into those returns, so always look for companies with a history of increasing their payments and a strong outlook.  In this phase you should know how much income you need to spurn off from your investments to adequately cover your expenses/retirement.  Most people will include drawing down from their capital, while the VERY ambitious among us will try to live 100% off the income without ever drawing the capital down(thus leaving a large fortune to the estate).

Phase 3: Reducing Taxes, Retirement, Enjoying Life & Estate Planning

You are ready to retire/live off your investment income.  By now you should have met with a tax specialist to ensure you are minimising your tax burden, have a will completed to ensure your family is taken care of, and most importantly enjoying yourself.  You worked hard – now enjoy the fruits of that beautiful compounding snowball.  Spend your money on things you genuinely love, and spend as much time with friends and family as possible!

This is an over simplified look at building wealth, and there are other strategies that work- but my main point is that I think it’s really important for younger people not to get caught up in the monthly income competition (if it ends up hurting your total returns).

Historical data is hard to find, but while searching for some of the top high yield stocks in 2015, here is a list of some that came up in an article on Canadianbusiness.com listing some Top high yielding stocks:

Company Ticker Dividend
yield (%)
ARC Resources Ltd. ARX 4.8
BCE Inc. BCE 4.8
Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce CM 4.4
Cenovus Energy Inc. CVE 4.6
Crescent Point Energy Corp. CPG 8.8
Husky Energy Inc. HSE 4.5
Inter Pipeline Ltd. IPL 4.7
Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc. POT 4.8
Rogers Communications Inc. RCI.B 4.5
TransAlta Corp. TA 6

Let’s see how they performed over the last 4 years:

Company Ticker Dividend Return
yield (%)
ARC Resources Ltd. ARX 4.8 -73.39
BCE Inc. BCE 4.8 52.8
Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce CM 4.4 35.82
Cenovus Energy Inc. CVE 4.6 -51.37
Crescent Point Energy Corp. CPG 8.8 -77.6
Husky Energy Inc. HSE 4.5 -64.91
Inter Pipeline Ltd. IPL 4.7 -14.74
Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc. POT 4.8 -28.92
Rogers Communications Inc. RCI.B 4.5 44.44
TransAlta Corp. TA 6 -8.42

Had you invested  equally in these 10 high yielding stocks in 2015, no doubt your monthly income would have been pretty sweet that year. The problem? After a few years, aside from 3 of the stock picks, you would have lost money on the other 7.  And your total portfolio would be DOWN almost 20%.

Again, just to reiterate – I am not anti dividend paying stocks, or even high yielding stocks for that matter – I just want to emphasise there is a lot more to investing than just calculating your monthly income.  Perhaps we (as the financial community) need to do a better job of  reiterating this as well, because looking on Reddit, Facebook and Twitter, the majority of new investors seem to only care about boosting their monthly income by any means necessary – and in a lot of cases, the “means” is a reduction in total returns.

So why do total returns matter so much?

At the end of the day, we all want to live off an income stream from our investments.  When that time comes, whatever you have in your portfolio can be moved to different stocks/bonds, funds, etc.  If over the course of your investing career, you missed out on say 1-3% annual growth each year because you focused on monthly income instead of total returns, this could add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars over 20-30 years.  Imagine how much extra monthly income you could generate in retirement with that when you actually NEED the income!

Real World Example:

I was recently chatting with Matthew from AllAboutTheDividends about his portfolio and his monthly dividend income (which is VERY impressive by the way) and if you don’t already follow him – you should – he posts a lot of great content on Canadian stocks. Check him out on Twitter

I noticed he has been consistently earning more dividend income than me (even though my portfolio is almost twice the size).  I always knew my personal monthly yield was low (compared to most other bloggers), but this was really eye opening for me.  I decided to ask him how his returns have been since he started direct investing…

In his most recent monthly updated I commented the following:

*First off, I want to thank Matthew for allowing me to share some of our conversation back and forth*
All about the dividends

Matthew reached out via private message, and since I knew we both use the same investing platform, I showed him how he can track his overall returns within the platform.  After some back and forth, he shared a screenshot of his total returns:

Matthew All About The Dividends Returns

As you can see, Matt’s RRSP has done great since he started – beating his Benchmark by over 2%.  Looking at his portfolio, you can see his RRSP consists mostly of big bluechip companies, such as: RBC, Bell, Telus, Bank of Montreal, Power Corp, Fortis, Bank of America, Johnson & Johnson and others.  A well diversified, and really nice looking group of companies.  You can view his full portfolio HERE

Looking at his TFSA return, is another story.  Down almost 20% since inception.  I asked him how this could be, and his answer is one that honestly doesn’t surprise me, because I see and hear it all the time:

All about the dividends portfolio gamble

I’m sharing this to hopefully help out some new investors reading this.

The only surefire way to ensure long term wealth from investing, is to continue to buy assets that appreciate, reinvest the dividends,  and hold them for the long term. It’s boring, it’s simple, but it works. 

Luckily Matt learned his lesson at a young age (I did too, my first ever stock purchase was based on a “hot tip”,  and is now worth 0.00- as the company went bankrupt.  Luckily I only invested a few hundred dollars).  If you look at Matt’s TFSA now, it is full of some great names (Plaza, Canadian Utilities, Bank of Nova Scotia, Andrew Peller & CN Rail to name a few).  Matt is well known in the online finance community, has an awesome, well diversified portfolio valued well over $100k and even he didn’t know what his total return was.  Think about that for a second.  We all get so caught up worrying about our monthly income, we sometimes forget about the big picture – total returns.

For transparency sake, here is my 3 year return since I started Direct Investing with RBC in my TFSA:

MoneyMaaster TFSA Returns

One thing I’ve noticed- which I love – is that the online finance community – although competitive – is also extremely helpful and wishing everyone else nothing but success!  So in that spirit, I plan on including my portfolio returns each month, and I’d like to encourage everyone else to start doing the same.

 

Anyways, Cheers and good luck!