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%.”


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 – it got me thinking about a much larger issue.  Financial literacy/education seems to be incredibly low among the general population – which 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 – required 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 “set up” 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’s TFSA/RRSP are now over $20,500.  (They didn’t exist 6 months ago)


Passive Income Update For December 2017.


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



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!


2017 Goals Update.

One of my first blog posts was about setting goals for 2017.  I also noted that I typically do not set goals, so this would be something a little out of my element.  I am happy to report so far I think I’m doing okay (with most of them).

Below are the goals I set – and a quick note of where I am at.

Personal Goals

  1. Start setting goals! *NAILED IT*
    The big test will be to see if I can achieve any/all of them and more importantly come January 1st If I continue to set goals for next year.
  2. Sell our house & buy a new house: *NAILED IT*
    House sale has closed and we’ve been in our new place for about a month now!  Most of our new furniture has been delivered, and so far we love everything about the new place.  That said – we haven’t had to pay all the new bills yet.
  3. Start a website & keep it updated *GETTING THERE*
    Website is up and running.  Due to the house sale and moving – I wasn’t able to post as much as I would have liked for the last couple of months, but things are back on track now.  October has been my highest traffic month so far, and the month is only half done.
  4. Spend more time at home/with family *GETTING THERE*
    I’ve definitely been spending a lot more time at home – although I wish I could take more credit for this being a conscious decision.  In reality it is likely due to the fact the Jets season has just started, my soccer season hasn’t started yet, we just moved, and I am still getting things organised around the house.  The next couple of months will be the big challenge.
  5. Try 5 new restaurants (with Amber) *SLACKING*
    This is the one area I am going to need to step up my game.  Although we’ve gone out a few times,  I believe we’ve only been to 1 restaurant that Amber hadn’t been to. I still have a couple of months – so I’ll have to get moving on this one if I want to achieve this goal.


Financial Goals

  1. Get Amber “set up” Financially *NAILED IT*
     So far we have done the following:
    – Create a joint bank account
    – Set Amber up with Direct Investing & a TFSA
    – Start a Spousal RSP for Amber – and started bi-weekly contributions.
    – Bought 3 new stocks in Ambers TFSA (ATD.B, CHR, & ITP).
    The only area I still need to work on is getting her actually interested in some of this stuff….that will probably be the hardest part.
  2. Eliminate all debt (not including mortgage) *NAILED IT*
      I just got back from the bank – and they confirmed my line of credit has officially been paid off/closed.  My credit card is also completely paid off.  My car is paid off, and my cabin is paid off.  The only debt I currently have is my mortgage on my house (which I don’t really consider debt).
  3. Get total portfolio Value to $320,000 by December 31*WAY BEHIND*
    With only 2 months to go – my portfolio is sitting at $278,000.  I have pretty much come to terms with the fact I wont hit this target – however I think $300,000 might be doable.  There are 3 main reasons I wont hit this goal:1) I paid off my debt very aggressively(Took some profits from my TFSA)
    2) We spent a little bit more on the house than we thought
    3) We underestimated the cost of furnishing a much larger house

    All in all, I’m pretty satisfied with where I am at…just need to step it up and take the wife out a few more times and try and sock away a bit more $$$ before the end of the year!

Gettin’ back on track.

The last couple of months have been insane – but I can confidently say things are slowly getting back to normal and I hope to start posting again on a semi regular basis.  Our house has been sold, we’ve moved into our new home, and we are almost completely settled in.

In preparation for the house sale/purchase I made some changes to my TFSA portfolio (I liquidated some Marijuana stocks) as they were up quite a bit and I wanted to get some new furniture/things for the house without dipping into line of credit.  Once the house sale is processed I will have reached one of my goals for the year (paying off line of credit) as well!

I wasn’t able to post an August update – so here is a quick update for August & September combined:

Personal Highlights for August & September:

  • Moved out of old house and into our new “forever” home.
  • Spent the majority of my last 2 months packing, unpacking, updating addresses and cleaning.
  • Renewed Jets season tickets- went to 2 pre season games. Decided to sell about half the games this year since it will be tough to attend all 41 with 2 kids, playing hockey & soccer and trying to keep a wife..haha
  • Kids Update – Holland loves her new house – finally has room to run around and play and Isaac finally has his own room.


Financial Highlights:

  • Sold off my positions in Aurora Cannabis & Organigram. Took the profits and bought: dining room set, sectional for family room, couch & chaise for living room, new bedroom suite and mattress and a few other things for the house.  Still have some cash left over from the sale of these stocks and will look to redeploy in the coming months.
  • OneReit stock entered into an agreement to SmartReit which would result in shares being cashed out or turned into SmartReit shares. They share price shot up so I cashed out since I didn’t have enough shares to make much of conversion to SmartReit shares.
  • Line of credit will be completely paid off once house sale is processed (next week or two)
  • Although no stock purchases were made over the last 2 months – I’ve continued my regular bi-weekly fund purchases, spousal RSP purchases & and saw a few shares DRIP. With the L.O.C paid off – I am now in the position to start looking to make some more purchases in the coming months.Now on to the fun stuff.


Passive Income Update For August & September:


TFSA dividend income dropped a bit as I cashed out my shares of ONEREIT.

Diversified Royalty: $17.71 (Dripped 6 new shares)

Artis Reit: $97.29 (Dripped 6 new shares)

OneReit: $18.48

Lucara: $7.00

Plaza Reit: $48.45 (Dripped 10 new shares)

Canadian Western Bank: $0.24 (yes you read that right…I still have 1 share of this as I dripped a share after I sold off my
TFSA Total: $189.17 ($99.89 in August, $89.28 in September).


Canadian Equity Income Distribution: $204.16 (Aug) & $205.91 (Sept) for a Total of $410.07

Total Passive Income Aug/September Comibined:  $599.24

Portfolio Update:

My investment portfolio saw a pretty big drop in value as I cashed out about $20,000 from my TFSA.  That said my overall networth didn’t change as my cash on hand & real estate value increased, and my line of credit will soon be 0.

Although my investment portfolio did take a pretty big hit – once I’ve spent a couple months in the new house and determined what all  the bills will be/how much extra cash I’ll have per month I will start looking for opportunities to deploy some cash again.


Big changes on the horizon

Just wanted to pop in with a quick update.  I haven’t posted anything all month – and it’s definitely not due to a lack of financial or personal activity.  In fact quite the opposite.  In the last couple of weeks we were able to sell our house and buy our new home.  I’ve been trying to get everything sorted and ready for the move.

I get possession of this beauty on September 10th!Vanier FrontVanier EntranceVanier Kitchen 2Vanier Family RoomVanier BathroomVanier Yard

Needless to say we are extremely excited.  We are moving out of our 780 square foot house into a much more spacious home – where the kids will get their own rooms, have a nice backyard to play in, and in an area we both love.  We looked at probably 30-40 houses, and this was the first one that both the wife and I loved.  It was in an area we both wanted to live in & checked off multiple boxes (wet bar, master ensuite, close to family/schools/parks, big fenced back yard, move in ready, etc).

The downside obviously is that I will no longer be mortgage free before I’m 40 (barring any sort of miracles or lottery winnings) and our monthly expenses are going to increase quite a bit.

We’ve also decided to sell our cabin (probably this summer) and I’ve decided that once we are settled from the move I am going to change up my investment plan/style.  (More on that coming in next blog post).

Enjoy the rest of the summer!  I’ll be back in September.