All about me....
Updated: Sep 30, 2021
Hi everyone. I thought I’d try my first post as an introduction and share some things about myself. As of this first post, I’m 58 years old and recently retired in June 2019. I’ve been married to the most amazing and supportive gal ever for 30+ years, and have 3 inspiring, caring, beautiful, adult daughters that take after their momma. I am not a financial advisor, nor have I had any formal training in the area. I am self-taught, quite strategic and analytical by nature, and find the learning in money-management never ends when you decide to take it over yourself. After some early wins and losses in the stock market to wet my whistle, I have adopted a “keep-it-simple investing approach” and it has worked well for me.
Before retiring and right before the historic 2020 pandemic and stock market crash, I was working in the Oil and Gas Industry. It was my 2nd longest job, and where I found I would learn and grow the most. Of course, we all start somewhere, and I began in an entry level job as a labourer at the start of the 80's. I have been fortunate not to have any significant absences from a steady source of employment income or benefits, and my wife had worked and contributed off and on to our income throughout our life together as well. I’ve had my share of pitfalls, including being let go from jobs, and made mistakes along the way. But saving early, taking advantage of Canada’s tax-sheltering programs, and teaching myself about money-management and basic investing was not one of them. Albeit in hindsight, I’d wish I’d of taught myself more about DIY investing much sooner to capture the opportunity quicker!
I opened a non-registered investment savings account with my bank in the last decade and started to dabble in energy stocks and self-directed investing. After some early success (and failure) with this, and growing disappointment with our other investments, I later opened personal RRSP brokerage accounts and stopped giving our Advisor our annual RRSP money. I had been watching our investments with him sputter up and down in a +/-5% window for 10+ years and decided enough was enough. When I demanded numbers from my Advisor and sat down to do the math I discovered they were taking ~80% of my investment distributions in management fees! I was so disappointed with the transparency in their financial reports and our conversations. I further went on to open our own TFSAs and direct our annual contributions there. I also opened a LIRA in preparation for my next move.
Over many lunch and water cooler chats I was inspired by a young lady engineer at work, who was very knowlegeable and candid with her views and experience in a self-directed approach to index investing. She gave me much more confidence I could do this myself. With more math, deep thought, encouragement from her and my wife, I moved ~80% of our brokerage portfolio into a simple CAD Couch-Potato portfolio of 5 index ETFs across all my registered brokerage accounts in a balance that mirrored my previous investment portfolio, and continued to watch them perform. The distributions poured in at ~3% average monthly and quarterly, and I kept reinvesting them and adding my contributions annually to the limits allowed by the CRA (Canadian Revenue Agency). By now, circa Aug 2016, I had transferred all our assets to our bank’s brokerage platform and quietly and decidely fired our Investment Advisor. It was a relatively simple process where I met with our bank rep, told them to go get the money, and signed some forms. It was refreshing to see your investment transactions at face value in a brokerage platform, and not hidden in the old reports’ confusing jargon, graphs and charts without proper context, and complex layouts.
Over a relatively short period of time by investment terms, I would grow our wealth in a meaningful way by a combination of aggressive saving and passive investing. Today, in retirement, I’ve further re-simplified to only 2 Vanguard ETFs, and now have RIFs and LIFs ready to provide steady income streams. Needless to say, saving, investing, and retirement planning and execution have become somewhat of a passion of mine.
Now the new fun starts. I started this BLOG for a couple of reasons. A) because I wanted to learn something new, B) because I have always enjoyed writing and sharing knowledge, and C) because I have come to realize in the last year of planning, that there are minimal one-stop-shops on the internet for new retirees continuing to self-manage their income into retirement. I want to share what I have learned and continue to learn, my experiences and perspectives, network with others, and perhaps inspire and help others navigate the quagmire of retiring in Canada. You can find lots of this information if you hunt around for it on the internet, and lots of the top Canadian investing BLOGs touch on the various aspects of life and money management after retirement. Though,.. many of these BLOGs focus primarily on the accumulation phase of life, and many if-not-all of these bloggers are not retired yet. I found there is no single place to go that focuses on the decumulation stage of your life. Those few years before and the many years after and into retirement.
I’m hoping to create that site for Canadian retirees or very soon-to-retirees to make it easier. If this interests you, please sign up to the regular postings for my perspectives and regular updates. I likely will throw a few rants in here, so I apologize now… haha!
**PS - blogging and websites are new to me, so it may take a while for me to get on a roll.**
When I retired, I told a good friend I was coming over with beers and some logs, and to get a good fire pit started. I would burn 16 years of work logs (journals). My friend also surprised me with a retirement party attended by my family, hockey team, and close friends and co-workers.