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!

Be Selfish … Shop Local!

Do you know how to shop your local businesses online?

We’re close to Christmas, in the middle of the pandemic, & it’s Black Friday shopping season. I had already bought all I could think of buying at my local stores so now, it’s time for a little online shopping. Woohoo!

I can’t deny it, I’m a fan of the big e-commerce sites. And I’m sure I’ll do some shopping with them too. However, do you see newly shuttered shops & “For Lease” signs in the local malls these days? Some lights are out & might not be coming back on. Those are our neighbours.

We can shop local for totally selfish reasons too. We’ll all want more choices in the post-pandemic world. If we don’t keep them in business, those choices disappear. Small business people are paying taxes too. And they buy other products that eventually circle back around to keeping those of us still in a job, in a job! So go ahead … be selfish & shop local! 😜

These days, many small business owners are trying to build an online presence. I’ve seen some interviewed on TV & most were able to get up & running, pretty quickly, with Shopify’s platform. That helps them get cheap shipping rates too. All necessary in the modern competitive landscape.

I assumed part of the benefit of using the Shopify platform is the sheer scale & size of that company. As a consumer, I figured it would be an easy online search to find all the local shops who were using Shopify.
Not so. I couldn’t find Shopify businesses & I couldn’t even find out how to find local Shopify sites to buy from. I was mystified. Small business owners need the benefits of Shopify’s size & power of aggregation. But where was that advantage? Surely there was a way to find which local businesses were offering their products through Shopify?

I went directly to Shopify’s site looking for the answer, but it wasn’t jumping off the page there either. I clicked on a support chat button. I’m not sure it was a support button for this kind of question but I got help from a great support person. (Thanks, Alycia!)

Of course, privacy rights prevent them from sharing who is using their platform (duh!) but, as it turns out, there’s an app for that! πŸ€ͺ😁
I’m not kidding, there is an app called “Shop”, by Shopify, that does connect us to local businesses, & more. I downloaded it & had a quick look to see if it could hone in on local businesses & yes, it can.
You can even … wait for it … SHOP with it! πŸ˜‚

I haven’t done any shopping yet, so this isn’t a review of the functionality of the app. I’m just sharing it, in case you might want to try it out, & support your local businesses too.
Or does everyone already know about this? And it’s just me that was in the dark!?!

I’m not in any way connected with Shopify, by the way, just sharing what I found out.

And did you know there are selfish reasons to add food to the food bank boxes at the supermarket exits too? I put a couple of bucks worth of non-perishable food in there & I felt like a million bucks. Where else can you get that kind of return!?! 😜

Take care out there all.

Shopify & Shop are registered Trade Marks of Shopify Inc.

Wanted! Dead or Alive

The guilty band leader!

I watched this guy, with about 80 of his buddies, make repeated sorties to my neighbour’s cherry tree yesterday. They were so cheekily rambunctious that it was like being caught in that Hitchcock bird movie. Before this lot showed up, the tree was laden with delicious, yellow-red fruits, ready for the picking. And these little shaggers did the picking. As they flew off, each with a cherry jammed in the beak, they looked like a mocking flock of feathered lawn darts in flight. From where I sit this morning, enjoying another beautiful sunrise, I can’t see a single cherry remaining!

My cat was thoroughly entertained by this same flock yesterday. She spent much of the afternoon sitting in the window, tail swishing back & forth, in eager anticipation of being allowed to go out to play. I should have let her out!

In between visits to the cherry tree, you see, they were visiting my back yard. I’m not sure if it was chinch bugs or grasshoppers, but they were having a serious party out there. And if it was either, or both, of those lawn-destroying bugs, I was happy to have the birds do the extermination for me.

What I didn’t realise at the time was that, during their moments of respite on my deck, they found another snack!

Thieves taking a break!

My seedlings!

The little monsters treated my deck-rail planters like the peanut bowl at some avian nightclub. They’re destroyed. Done for. Devoid of plant life now.

I’m seriously re-evaluating my “don’t even hurt a fly” philosophy of life now! And while I do that, I’m online-shopping for some stainless steel mesh to protect my ripening blueberry crop!

By the way, anyone know what species of bird that is? Might as well pick up some new knowledge on the back of the whole affair!

Stay safe out there.

Ten Things I Discovered in Lockdown

1. It seems that it wasn’t that I didn’t have the time to do all those backburner projects … I just didn’t want to do them.

2. Might be the same situation when it comes to getting some exercise.

3. I’m pretty sure that those people who tell me they’re loving retirement are lying.

4. Who knew doorknobs could be this clean!?!

5. And that some politicians could be such doorknobs.

6. You can turn anything from the freezer into an edible meal with pan frying … by adding a can of curry sauce at the end.

7. The internet is even more important than I thought … I never knew you could do this much, right from the couch.

8. I didn’t hoard toilet paper & it still hasn’t run out. Am I not doing it the right way!?! 😜

9. Long charging cables, that reach the couch while in the supine position, are more prone to fail when you most need them.

10. Putting your stuff in the dishwasher still works … and it’s one of the best cures for social isolation!!!

11. My scale has artificial intelligence! The bloody thing knows when I eat chocolate chip banana bread.

12. You start forgetting little things … like how to count! πŸ€ͺ

How are you guys doing out there? What are you discovering during your shelter in place experience?

A big digital hug to everyone! πŸ€—

Stay safe & stay home, all y’all & tout le monde.

Meditation & Diet?

Ponder the Puffy Clouds!

Lying on a beach, under the shade of a palm tree, cold one within reach … now that’s calm-inducing, stress-alleviating & the best kind of meditation, & medication, I can think of. Can’t do that, in Canada, during the Canadian winter, without some serious risk of frostbite!

But there must be an app for that, right?

I tried a few meditation apps & they just didn’t work for me. Worse, I actually found them stressful to listen to. First one I tried starts out counting a breath in on one, out on two, in on three & then this soothing voice tells me to carry on doing that up to twenty. On my own! Is she kidding me or what? Am I going at the right pace? Maybe she counts more quickly than I do? Will I get all my breaths in before she’s back with the next activity? What if she’s slower? Do I have to hold my breath ’til she catches up? OMG, I’m hyperventilating, this is driving me nuts!

I was a trembling wreck by the time I got to twenty. Enough of that nonsense, let’s try another one.

This time it’s a guy. Great voice. Calm, soothing, very relaxed & reassuring. We’re going to do this body thing, a routine that goes from the head to the toes. With some pretty peculiar internal organ stops along the way, I might add! But this turns out to be even more excruciating. First, he tells me to get comfortable & relax. Next he’s telling me it’s okay to move uncomfortable body parts. Pick one for cryin’ out loud! I know it’s really not okay though, & I’m just screwing up, am I not? And he’s just saying all that to make me feel better about it. Right out of the gate, he knows that I’m no Zen master & that I’ll almost certainly have to move. Maybe even all the time. That’s exactly what I did, of course. I just kept squirming. And I hated every second of that little medication exercise. Next!

Then I tried this one with an irritating little bell chime thing. I’m sure if you had a real bell, while sitting cross-legged in the Himalayas, it would work far better. You know what I mean, you’d have the right atmosphere for meditation all the way up there. With the monks & robes & whatnot. But the mind-numbing consistency of a mathematically accurate & repeatable digital ding just did my head in.

I know, I know … I’m probably doing it incorrectly. I know I should probably chill out & just try it again. But my heart rate is up, I’m sure my blood pressure is too, so I’m going to resort to something I have more practice with. Something I know works.

A slice of deep dish cheesecake. With a big blob of whipped cream.

And afterwards, when I’m cheesecake-calm, maybe I’ll try that meditation thing with the sound of the waves lapping on the beach. 😜😁

PS … Happy International Women’s Day to all the ladies out there. And to the National ladies too! πŸ€ͺ😁