Random Personal Finance Thoughts


Greetings from the land of the Vikings!

Mrs. T, Baby T, and I have been spending our time in the land of the Vikings for the last two weeks, visiting Mrs. T's family and friends. It has been great seeing old friends, having meals with them, and discussing the family life as many of them have children as well. Our conversations were definitely much different three or four years ago. Funny how life changes! Last week we spent the entire week in a summer vacation home, completely cut off from phones, computers, and internet. It was great spending time walking around on the beach and playing on the sand with Baby T. I really enjoyed the long summer daylight as we were able to have hygge outside, socialize, and play board games until past 11 PM without a light. We are spending another couple of weeks here and I'm personally looking forward to more relaxation and reading.

Best thing about vacation from a dividend investor's point of view? Knowing that we are getting paid through our dividend portfolio while we play and relax. Nice!

Here are some random thoughts from the land of the Vikings

Golden Personal Finance Rule
I was having a conversation about the economy, money, and personal finance with Mrs. T's grandpa and he said the following simple yet powerful statement.

If you have $100 and you spend less than that, you're OK.
If you have $100 and you spend more than that, you're in deep sh$t.

Gotta love the good old fashion wisdom! Personal finance is so simple when you break it down to the basics. Spend less than what you have and prosper. Spend more than what you have, sorry bye bye! This is perhaps why so many people get into credit card debt. Just because your credit cards give you a grand total of $50,000 credit limit, it doesn't mean you should spend it all.

North American Car Culture
Our car back at home is turning 9 years old this summer. I purchased the car brand new and it was one of the few big purchases I've done in my life. I still think the car is relatively new, considering it's only 9 years old. However when talking to some of my co-workers, they'd typically state that they are looking to replace their 5, or 6 year old cars because the cars are getting "old."

Here in the land of the Vikings, cars cost about double the the price compared to Canada. A basic Honda Civic cost over $40K Canadian loons, according to the local Viking newspaper ads I've been flipping through. So it didn't surprise me when Mrs. T told me that her parents have always owned 2nd hand cars, and their "newest" car is 7 years old.

At over $2 a litre (that about $8 a gallon), it's expense to drive around. Most of the cars we see on the road are micro cars, usually packed to the max. I've yet to see any Vikings driving around in a huge Ram 2500. As Mrs. T's grandpa would say - "That is just stupid."

No wonder bicycle is the most popular mean of transportation to get around town and public transportation is utilized so much. We have much to learn in North America.

Recent Buy - Inter Pipeline (IPL.TO)
Although on vacation, we're still busy with dividend investing. We recently purchased 74 shares of Inter Pipeline. The stock markets have been very volatile lately, mostly due to the turmoil in Greece. To be honest, I'm haven't been paying any attention to the topic.What I do know is that our society will continue needing oil and gas and there has to be a way to transport all the oil and gas from one region to another region. This is where Inter Pipeline comes in place. Inter Pipeline is engaged in petroleum transportation, storage and natural gas liquids extraction business. IPL owns and operates a combination of energy infrastructure assets in western Canada and northern Europe. The stock is a monthly dividend paying company and has raised dividends for 6 straight years. It currently has a dividend yield of around 5% and has a 5 year annualized dividend growth rate of 9.3%.

This purchase will add $108.78 into our annual dividend.

Being Frugal while on vacation
Just because we're on vacation, it doesn't mean that we are splurging and blowing all of our money. We still practice our frugal lifestyle on a daily basis. We do treat ourselves to an ice cream here and there though. 🙂 The other day we shared 3 scoops ice cream in a waffle cone. The ice cream was served with whipped cream and jam on top. I was so fully after! The whole thing cost about $5 Canadian and we thought we got a lot of values out of that ice cream. Totally worth it.

Then the other day we stopped at a gas station and I saw ice cream in the gas station convenience store. The store was selling a single Magnum ice cream for $6 Canadian. It was really hot outside, we've been sitting in the car for over 3 hours, and I was very tempted just ask the cashier to take my money.

But I thought the price was ridiculous and avoided the temptation.

Later that day we went to a local grocery store and bought a box of Magnum ice cream on special for $4 Canadian. There were 4 Magnum ice cream inside. Win for my wallet, and win for my taste buds.

Now it's time for more hygge. 🙂

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  • Reply
    Adam @ AdamChudy.coma
    June 29, 2015 at 2:38 pm

    Sounds like a great trip. It's always nice to catch up with family.

    My car is 2008 and I'm hoping to get another 150,000 miles out of it.

    • Reply
      June 30, 2015 at 10:14 am

      Hi Adam,

      I'm planning to keep driving my car for a while. No need to change the car for the sake of changing.

  • Reply
    June 29, 2015 at 2:39 pm

    Good to hear from you, Tawcan. Sounds like you are having a good vacation. The long summer days are probably a lot of fun for the folks in the nordik.

    Great purchase with IPL....Ive been watching it too and want to add to my position. The stock looks attractively valued right now. Thanks for sharing and have a great rest of the vacation.


    • Reply
      June 30, 2015 at 10:14 am

      Hi R2R,

      I was debating between IPL and ENB and ended up going with IPL. We might add more to both of them in the future.

  • Reply
    Income Surfer
    June 29, 2015 at 7:31 pm

    Sounds like a great vacation Tawcan, of course I'd expect nothing less from you and Mrs. T! Be sure to share some photos so those of us with the travel bug can live vicariously for a few 🙂

    Completely agreed with your comment on dividend investing. There is nothing better than knowing your money is working for you.....even while you're on vacation!

    • Reply
      June 30, 2015 at 10:13 am

      Hi Bryan,

      I'll see what I can do when it comes to sharing some pictures.

  • Reply
    Dividend Hustler
    June 29, 2015 at 9:25 pm

    Great to see that you're having a great time Tawcan. I'm happy for you and it sounds like such a relax and soul lifting time. Awesome. Thanks for sharing. Awesome purchase with IPL. I've been leaning more towards pipelines because they less volatile. BTW, nice discipline at the gas station. High five... convenient but rip off! 🙂 Take care and have fun bud.

    • Reply
      June 30, 2015 at 10:12 am

      Hi Dividend Hustler,

      Much needed relaxing time, it's great. I personally like pipelines too, looking to get more later.

  • Reply
    My Road to Wealth and Freedom
    June 30, 2015 at 5:50 am

    Sounds like a fun vacation Tawcan. I've always wanted to visit Scandinavia. I like the piece of advice from your wife's grandfather. The fundamentals of personal finance are really so simple. It's too bad some people really struggle with them.

    Take care and have a great week!

    • Reply
      June 30, 2015 at 10:12 am

      Hi My Road to Wealth and Freedom,

      Scandinavia is a cool place to visit, especially summer time. Mrs. T's grandfather is one cool dude.

  • Reply
    June 30, 2015 at 8:19 am

    Do you have your helmet on over there TC? Like Hagar?

    I just put in a buy order on IPL as well. Have owned them since 2003 ($6.90) and must admit I am happy with the purchase back them. I also added some at $14.75 after that. Slipped from it's highs but I believe they will rise from the asses once again. Is that not a Viling myth?

    As to cars, I drive a VW TDI 2005 with just over 500K on it. Still works well and starts well in the winter. Getting in to higher ticket repairs now because of the mileage but what the hell, it is a company car. I DO recommend that you drive company cars as 1) you do not have to purchase them 2) fuel, maintenance, licensing are "free" except for a slight tax charge on personnal milage 3) you do not have to buy a personal vehicle.
    Having said that I did go out and buy an SUV over a year ago as I was supposed to be retired by now. Best laid plans of mice and men some times go awary. Bought it used so go about 50% off and I have managed to put on around 5K in 16 months. WOW! Needless to say my operating costs are minimal

    • Reply
      June 30, 2015 at 10:11 am

      Hi Ricardo,

      I wish I have a Viking helmet, that'd be cool. You have made a great investment in IPL by entering so early, hopefully the price will continue go up. 🙂

  • Reply
    Eric @ Retire29
    June 30, 2015 at 8:44 am

    With car costs being so high, why don't Canadians just come across the border to buy their cars? There's probably a good reason why, but just wondering. I'm sure a lot of Americans head up to Canada for their meds.


    • Reply
      June 30, 2015 at 10:10 am

      Hi Eric,

      I'm not familiar with purchasing a car in the states but my understanding is it is not cheaper due to the currency exchange and there's probably importing duties.

    • Reply
      June 30, 2015 at 5:39 pm

      @ Eric;
      Actually Eric it is probably much more econimical for US citizens to purchase their cars in Canada what with the exchange rate as it is.
      I had a customer in Alberta who used to buy a pickup and then sell it to someone south of the border within a few months a few years ago when our loonie was devalued similar to now


  • Reply
    Jayson @ Monster Piggy Banks
    July 1, 2015 at 2:21 am

    I have been to the land of the vikings twice, Taw. Good to know that you had fun in your trip. I felt you there that topics we talk about with friends kinda change over the years. We're getting older and our priority changes, which might be the reasons of this.

    • Reply
      July 4, 2015 at 11:42 am

      Hi Jayson,

      It's good that conversation topics change as we grow older. Talk about the same stuff gets old. 🙂

  • Reply
    Dividend Wisp
    July 1, 2015 at 9:04 pm

    I think you might be able to translate Hygge into, 'enjoyment' or 'enjoying the moment', or at least that's as much as I got from your Christmas post on it 🙂

    Glad you've been having fun abroad and keeping with your frugal tendencies, its so easy to just spend when you are away. Although I think it is important to embrace hygge and enjoy the new/different country. Especially periodically sampling the food!


    • Reply
      July 4, 2015 at 11:42 am

      Hi Dividend Wisp,

      Mrs. T translates into coziness but your trnaslation makes sense too.

  • Reply
    Dividend Gremlin
    July 2, 2015 at 9:40 am

    Very true what your Grandfather-in-Law says. No reason to go crazy on stuff like that, and no reason to just trade in cars because they feel old. I have a new Civic myself, just traded in my 13 year old Accord because the engine had limited life left - cylinder was going. I got a great deal on the Civic at $19k US, but I expect to drive it for a long long time. I only wish my Accord was still kicking... But the new guy gives me longer tank life despite having 4 fewer gallons.

    Enjoy the sunlight and the Vikings!
    - Gremlin

    • Reply
      July 4, 2015 at 11:43 am

      Hi Gremlin,

      Makes sense to replace your Accord and getting a Civic instead, especially when it's more fuel efficient.

  • Reply
    Jason @ Islands of Investing
    July 4, 2015 at 2:41 am

    Spending a week cut off from technology sounds wonderful. I'm trying to avoid looking at my phone during the day at the moment, and it's damn hard! Great to year you're enjoying yourself!

    • Reply
      July 4, 2015 at 11:43 am

      Hi Jason,

      Have to be honest, took me a little bit of time to adjust that, makes more reasons why I should do it more often. I'm too connected to technologies.

  • Reply
    Dividend Dreams
    July 4, 2015 at 10:37 am

    Have fun in viking country. I really need to go as my family is originally from this area. Thanks for sharing your vacation with us.

  • Reply
    Special Agent Dividend
    July 5, 2015 at 7:18 am

    Love the quote from Mrs. T's grandfather, a wise man that's for sure. Thanks for sharing your purchase, as that's a nice addition to your dividend income in one purchase. Enjoy the remainder of your time on vacation!! P.s. I'm still driving my car I bought new in 2003!

  • Reply
    Red to Riches
    July 6, 2015 at 4:23 pm

    I love the simplicity of the golden finance rule you mentioned. It's great you're not only able to stay frugal on your vacation, but also able to continue to invest!

    Have a fun rest of your trip!

  • Reply
    July 9, 2015 at 7:20 am

    Hey Tawcan! Loved hearing about Vikingland. I was just in CPH myself a couple months ago. The pop up sauna was great.
    I was under the impression hygge was an adjective (cozy), so you'd need to enjoy "being hygge" or doing something hygge (like sitting in their warm coffee shops). Does MrsT translate differently?

    Your coworkers get paid too much if they're talking new cars. They're such a waste of money. I just sold my car in Aus after 6 years, for a difference of $500. Try doing that with a new car! (If you're curious it was a 1992 Camry)

    Keep up the good life. I read most of your stuff even if I don't comment!

    • Reply
      July 9, 2015 at 7:28 am

      Hi Mike,

      Appreciate the comment. Hygge is like cozy/coziness but it's a tough word to translate. It's really a lifestyle. 🙂

  • Reply
    July 17, 2015 at 2:36 pm

    Looks like a lot of bloggers are spending some good quality time unplugged this summer. I must say, it's hard to find time for the internet sometimes when life outside is so rich and full.

    Sounds like you're having a great time over there - that elusive poker game will get organized some day soon and you will have to join!

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