Dividends are like Financial Vitamins for my Portfolio!

Financial Vitamins

None of this is investing advice. In fact, I might be the worst investor you’ll ever meet. Back in the late 90s, I got caught up in the dot-com fever & became an “investor”. Along with my collection of hot stocks, my advisor at the time talked me into a few sedentary holdings. One of them was BCE Inc. (BCE). My favourite growth stock at the time was Nortel, an iconic Canadian tech company that was at the heart of the internet revolution. When the bubble burst, I sold off BCE & kept Nortel. Nortel went to zero. Had I held on to my boring telco shares, from January 1st, 2000, a 10k investment in BCE would be worth over 70k today. With the dividends reinvested. That’s an annualised return of about 9.3%. And it handsomely beats a low-cost S&P 500 index tracking fund (worth almost 47k today), over that same timeframe, by about 2% a year. That comparison includes reinvesting the fund’s (lower) dividends too.

Ignoring those dividends, just looking at the share price growth, BCE is only worth a little over half the index fund after the 21 years. Reinvesting the dividends added more than 50k to the total return. That’s quite the vitamin pill!

Fast forward 20 years & I’m working from home. During a pandemic. I surface from my basement office at lunchtime & I turn on BNN Bloomberg. The parent company of BNN Bloomberg is BCE, go figure. πŸ˜‚

Anyway, I get hooked. And this becomes part of my new routine. This time, however, I manage to resist the lure of the hot stock brigade. Okay, I admit that I made a few bucks on a brief dalliance with a bitcoin ETF! I know, I know … I would have done really well if I’d stuck with it. But instead, I start looking at big, boring, dividend-paying & dividend-growing companies. I’m too old to be sweating the gyrations of the growth sector every day.

Ironically, I’m a BCE shareholder again! πŸ€ͺ

I wonder if I can stay the course during the next market crash? Will I have the bottle to battle the next bear? I have no idea how this will look 20 years from now. But if it works out, & if I don’t spend it all along the way, I’m sure our kids (or maybe my favourite charity! 😜) will be grateful.

Remembering all those who served & those who continue to serve, especially in our family, on this Remembrance Day.

Dishwasher Art

Thermaquaformed Cellar of Salt!

Many of us are getting better at the whole work-from-home thing these days. Some of us are picking up new hobbies along the way too. I’m struggling along trying to add a few words of French to my very limited vocabulaire, for example. I’ve also become a part-time DIY investor. There seems to be some sort of correlation between my portfolio & when the market is going up. I might be on to something here (😜)!!! And while my diligence with my writing is nothing short of horrendous, I have had an occasional artistic success.

In case you’re in search of a new hobby, I’d like to share one of those successes with you …

Dishwasher Art!

I know, I know, it sounds a bit silly, doesn’t it? But have you seen the money some of our art galleries have paid for a few big stripes of leftover paint on a sheet of drywall? What about your man that used to dance all over the canvas on the floor like a mad thing, while splashing paint all over the place. What was his name again? It escapes me for the moment, but if I ever get to have a pint with the guy in the hereafter, I know I’ll be ROTFLing with him. He’s probably got abs from laughing so hard at the money people were willing to pay him for using up the dregs in the leftover paint cans in the basement.

Well … Dishwasher Art is even better than this. You don’t need an art studio. There is no mess & no cleanup. In fact, you can do it while the dishwasher does the dishes. Anyone can take on this new artform, but only a few will rise to the top of what might become a new art niche. If it works out for you, remember who told you about it first!

A little while back, I bought this big tub of pink Himalayan salt. I got it because I thought the pink salt looked kinda cool. It was all odd-sized granules, more natural & elemental, very artisanal in fact. But some of the grains were too big & they blocked the holes in every salt cellar I owned. My salt cellars were all made of glass, or ceramic, or of some bloody material that I couldn’t easily run a drill bit through. To enlarge the holes, you see. I thought of going into the forest to hew down an oaken limb, so that I might sculpt an artistic salt cellar, for my artisanal salt. No, I shaggin’ didn’t, are you out of your mind? That’s way too much work! LOL

I went hunting in the press (cupboard!) for a nearly-empty bottle & I found one with a few whole peppercorns, balling about the bottom of it. Dumped those into the pepper mill & then, I had me a salt shaker in the making! Whacked a hole through the center of the plastic screw-on cap & tossed the nearly-finished ensemble into the dishwasher to excoriate the piquancy of the perrercorns’ piperine. I like pepper but I didn’t want the peppers’ pungency contaminating the olfactorius magnificence of the Himalayas on me. πŸ€ͺ

While lesser mortals were decrying my daring, insisting that my simple cellar should not see the light of day in the company of visitors, I forged ahead regardless. Creating the masterpiece in the pic above.

Dishwasher Art! 😜😁

PS … There’s no truth to the rumour that pink Himalayan salt is a miracle weight-loss cure! πŸ€ͺ

Investing … Vegas Style!

Roll the Dice … Invest!

Las Vegas recently blew off all pandemic restrictions. If I was vaccinated, I’d love to go & join in the fun. But that’s not happening yet. Here, we just got partly released from our tight community lockdown. πŸ™„

As I was dreaming of a Vegas vacation, I got a message from my kid. He remembered that I’d sent him stuff on investing, but he couldn’t remember where to start. Fantastic, I had finally gotten through to him.

Next message read … “What do you think of Bitcoin, Dad?”

Okay … maybe not! πŸ˜†

Hey, I have nothing against buying crypto (especially when you can’t go to Vegas! 😜), but that wasn’t the message I was going for when I was trying to encourage them to save & invest.

I’m no expert, so I played it safe. I went with what Jack Bogle & Warren Buffet have been telling us amateurs to do for years … suggested they look at buying a low-cost index fund. Through a low-fee or no-fee transaction brokerage. And hold it for a long, long, long time. Had I done that myself back at their age, I’d be spending a lot more time in Vegas now! The big advantage kids have is time. Time allows the magic of compound growth to do its thing. A very special thing.

But I’ll have to save that for the next post or they won’t take the time to read this one. They wanted me to send them something in under 280 characters. What’s that about!?! Maybe if I can keep these posts down to a two-minute read, there’s a chance they’ll read them! πŸ€žπŸ»πŸ˜‰

Warning & Disclaimer … I’m a Dad, not a financial advisor or a financial planner. I am not a tax advisor or a lawyer. These posts are for entertainment only & are not investing advice. Do your own due diligence & seek professional advice before making any decisions on saving & investing. This content relates to Canada but, wherever you are, check the rules with your own advisors before making any financial decisions.

Work From Home Investing

Stocks only go UP! Right!?!

This is a different topic for The Wry Eye, but I thought I’d share one of the silly things I’m playing with during my work from home experience: investing! Investing & weigh-loss have a lot in common. Both require dedication, patience, & a proven methodology. I can only hope I’ll do better with investing than with my recent weight-loss efforts, or I’ll be in real trouble! 😜
If you do some investing, let me know. Maybe we’ll swap more stories on this subject.

During the early stage of the pandemic restrictions, I moved a small, professionally managed portfolio into a self-directed account. I meant to do it years ago, but I never got around to it. The market slump in March woke me up. Unfortunately, it took weeks to get my money moved across, so I missed buying the lows. By the time I got to trade, things were on the way back up & I was too scared to invest it all at once! I worked it back into the market over the next several months.

My returns over the over past six months beat the advisor’s by a chunk. That sounds great, but it wasn’t very much money to begin with, so we’re not talking early retirement here. To be fair, the advisor had been working within my very conservative guidelines. And I got what you might expect from that guidance: very conservative returns. I have no idea why my guidelines were so conservative. And that’s the story of my investing history; half the time, I have no idea what I’m doing, nor why I’m doing it that way! My recent success was even more surprising because I was not buying the high-flying, stay-at-home, rampant tech stocks. I made most of my returns with pretty conservative stocks & boring ETFs. And now, it was all with lower fees.

I got so cocky about it all that I used a tiny portion to bet on small oil stocks, precious metals ETFs, & Bitcoin! Believe it or not, I made money on most of those too. Yes, I had a few losses, but mostly I was winning. I wondered what would happen if I did this with my real savings? Would I crush it? Maybe early retirement really was in the cards!?!
And right there, I knew it was time to stop! I sold off the stuff I didn’t understand & put the proceeds into a boring ETF.

Now that I’m an expert investor (πŸ™„πŸ˜œπŸ˜), I’ve started “educating” my kids!

It’s funny how some things are falling into different perspectives during the pandemic. I am fortunate to still have a job, but none of us knows what happens next. I’m building a list of those things I’ve left long undone. This could be a great opportunity to get some of those tasks ticked off the list.

TGIF!
Have a great weekend & PM me with your hot stock tips! LOL

PS … I am not suggesting that you go into the stock market, none of this is investing advice, this post is purely for entertainment. I’m having fun with it, but I also have some investing experience to lean on. Always seek professional advice before making your investing decisions!