Quick Q&A + Good Reads From The PF Community

Last week I was featured on three major news outlets – The Globe and Mail, MSN, and CNBS Grow. Many new readers stumbled onto this website as a result. If you’re a new reader, thank you for visiting! I hope you will find this blog inspire you starting your financial independence journey.

I always enjoyed getting emails from readers. Last week’s appearance meant I had an overwhelming amount of emails, so I thought it would be a good idea to do a quick Q&A post.

Tawcan Q&A

Question 1: How much is the value of your dividend portfolio to generate $2,500 of dividend income per month?

A: This is the most common question I get from readers. Since I do not blog anonymously, for privacy reasons, I don’t disclose the value of our dividend portfolio and how many shares we hold for each stock. I also don’t think there’s a need to boast how much money we have invested.

However, in a recent monthly dividend income update, I provided a range and said that our dividend portfolio value is somewhere between $675k to $1.1M. Given that we don’t hold many high yield dividend stocks, our portfolio value is more toward the higher end of the range.

Given our relatively young age, both Mrs. T and I feel very fortunate and blessed how well we’re doing financially. We definitely won’t be where we are without some of the privileges we have had throughout our lives.

Question 2: What trading platform do you use?

A: Mrs. T and I use TD Direct Investing and Questrade. For our kids’ portfolio, we use Wealthsimple Trade. We are very happy with all these brokers. Depending on your situation, you may want to consider between Questrade and Wealthsimple Trade.

Question 3: I love your writing. Have you considered creating a Youtube channel and starting a podcast?

A: Thank you very much, I really appreciate it! I really enjoy writing on this blog and using it as my creative outlet.

Some readers may not realize this, but blogging takes a lot of time. Recently Sam from Government Worker FI surveyed Plutus Award finalists and their blogging habits. From the survey, about 34% of the finalists spend four hours and almost 29% spend one to two hours to write a blog post. This may or may not include research time.

For me, it typically takes about two to four hours to write a blog post (this one took about one and half hours). Some posts that require more research will take longer. For example, Reader B’s $360k dividend Q&A series probably took me around 12 hours to put together. The Best Canadian Dividend Stocks from the DGI community took me probably around 14 hours.

I’m spending all that time because I really enjoy writing and sharing knowledge with other like-minded people. Making money is definitely not the purpose of why I started this blog.

I have considered starting a podcast and recording videos in the past, but when I considered the time these new projects would involve, I quickly gave up that idea. Given that I have a full time job, family duties, and volunteering as a leader for Beavers and Cubs, starting a Youtube channel and a podcast aren’t something for me right now. What I can promise is that I will try to appear on more podcasts and videos, supporting fellow creators. Check out my video and podcast appearances.

I spent a lot of time shoveling dirt for our backyard garden this year

Question 4: Why dividend investing?

A: Because I do monthly dividend income updates, some readers think we only invest in dividend paying stocks. But that’s not the case.

We are hybrid investors. Our core investment strategy evolves around dividend paying stocks and index ETFs. We hold individual dividend paying stocks because of the dependable income and because we don’t plan to touch the principal. We hold index ETFs for asset and geographical diversification purposes.

Less than 5% of our investment portfolio is in growth, higher risk stocks like Tesla, Google, and ARK funds. I simply don’t write much about this portion of the portfolio on here.

Question 5: How do I start investing?

That’s a very broad question and it really depends on your situation. If you’re starting out today and have nothing invested, I’d highly recommend investing in one of the all-in-one ETFs to give yourself instant geographical and asset diversification. If you’re young, you may want to consider one of the all equity ETFs.

There’s nothing wrong with holding 100% of your portfolio in these diversified ETFs and invest passively. If you want to start investing in individual dividend stocks and do a bit more DIY investing, consider holding around 30-50% of your portfolio in one of these ETFs and invest the rest of your portfolio in 15 – 20 dividend paying stocks.

To keep things simple, I think an equal-weighted approach for these dividend stocks is fine. If you want to put things on auto-pilot, Passiv is an excellent tool to use.

Good Reads From The PF Community

There are a lot of personal finance blogs on the internet and I try to read as many blogs as I can. Here are some articles I have come across that I really enjoyed reading.

It is human nature to compare ourselves with others. Michelle from Making Sense of Cents explained How to stop comparing yourself to others and love who you are – “When you start accepting who you are and start taking steps to avoid negative comparisons, you can spend your valuable time making actual improvements in your life and enjoying YOUR life.

Ken and Mary from The Humble Penny had a conversation on 5 sacrifices we made in our 20s to be financially independent in our 30s – “You can’t have everything you want in life, you know, there’s always a real trade off.”

What did you enjoy doing as a child? Fritz thinks The Pursuit of Childhood Joy is the secret you needed to make the most of your retirement – “Now that I have some time in retirement, I’ve found a new love for those things I enjoyed in childhood. Funny how that works. They’re different at this age, but they’re amazing nonetheless. While my experience wasn’t planned, is there the slightest chance that you could benefit from being intentional in your pursuit of childhood joy? What’s the harm in giving it a try?

Mrs. T and I enjoy making home-made sweets as kids

Living at FI stopped blogging in 2015 and wrote a MASSIVE post called The 2021 Early-Retirement Update on what he has been up to the last 6 years. Unfortunately, Lean FIRE didn’t work for LAF and his wife. They ended up in a divorce and he went back to work – “Happiness is not thinking too carefully about the finances. Happiness is spending as much time as I possibly can with my partner. Happiness is thinking about growth and joy and changes in the days to come. Happiness is a mix of thinking about now and ten or twenty years from now — pleasure in the moment, satisfaction through the week, and some sense that you have a lot to look forward to as the world continues to turn. There’s no point to Early Retirement if you haven’t properly positioned yourself toward the light of future happiness.”

Craig from Retire Before Dad explained why Perfect Grass is simply a matter of choices between want and need – “I want perfect grass, a $50,000 car, a $1,000,000 house, and a $250 cooler with seven-day ice retention. And I can afford those things. But I don’t need them.

Given the current low interest rates environment, does it make sense to invest in bonds? Mark from My Own Advisor asked Why would anyone own bonds now – “Some say how much you invest in stocks, bonds and/or cash might be the most important portfolio construction decision any investor ever makes. Quite possibly. Depending on your investment timeline, your need to take on investing risk for reward, and any need for near-term liquidity, you might not need any bonds in your portfolio now.

Chrissy interviewed another couple from Metro Vancouver about How much does it cost to live the FIRE life in North Vancouver. Less than $26,000 a year spending for a couple is quite impressive – “Many people say that Vancouver is an extremely expensive city to live in. And it is—if you live in a big house, drive expensive cars and shop in Whole Foods daily. However, if you can be mindful of your spending, focus your energy and money on things that make you happy as opposed to stuff that impresses your neighbours, you can thrive in this city. If you love the outdoors, it’s a perfect destination where you can have it all (ocean, mountains, snow, forest).

Do you ever ask yourself the what if? According to Dave at Accidental Fire, Some Things Just Weren’t Meant to Be and we all need to let go- “Some things are hard to let go. But counting your blessings and having gratitude for the good in your life now helps you accept that they weren’t meant to be. I suck at meditation, and I’m not a Buddhist.  But that doesn’t mean I can’t find value in the wisdom they preach.  There is no other time than now.  The past is gone, the future may or may not happen.  Living now means letting go.

It’s hard to imagine that Purple has already retired from her corporate work for one year. What’s crazy is that her net worth went from $572k to $704k without doing anything. She also has found that her life has become better – “I get to do whatever I want, nap when I want and learn whatever tickles my fancy. It’s the life I’ve always dreamed of and I almost can’t believe my brain was so clouded that I couldn’t imagine that before. There is so much to learn and explore in this world and even though I have (hopefully) 70 more years to do it, I know I still won’t have enough time to complete the task despite my infinite curiosity.

Piggy and Kitty at Bitches Get Riches wrote an awesome and hilarious post, You deserve cheap toilet paper, you beautiful moon goddess – “It is impossible for us to live our lives without disrupting the environment of the planet we live on. Simply the act of trying can be incredibly draining. But if there is an easy, painless decision we can make—as a people—that will lessen that impact without eroding our quality of life, it is indefensible to choose the more destructive option. Since luxury toilet paper is destroying the planet, maybe we should stop buying it?”

What’s coming on the blog?

Over the next two weeks, I have a couple of dividend investing-related articles scheduled, including our September dividend income update.

After the Early Withdrawal Strategies post with Reader M, we decided to do another interview on how to donate securities in Canada. Stay tuned for that very insightful post.

Have topics that you want me to write about? Feel free to contact me.

Have a great weekend everyone!

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10 thoughts on “Quick Q&A + Good Reads From The PF Community”

  1. Congrats on the recent press exposure Bob. Definitely well deserved. 🙂 I didn’t know you hold ARK funds. Those have a ton of potential for future growth. I’ve seen a couple of interviews with Cathie Wood, and she seems like a really smart CIO.

    It looks like the stock market didn’t do very well in September, but I’m sure your passive income still came in as scheduled. I look forward to reading your upcoming dividend update post.


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