Monday, September 28, 2009

dividends, a love story

They're a bird in the hand, and they're worth fussing over. Although they don't require getting your hands dirty.

They're a friend when you're in trouble, and they'll give you a raise.

Why not get paid while you're sleeping?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

are you overweight real estate?

Thicken My Wallet posted an interesting piece today on asset allocation. I contributed to his article and he used my concept of tracking the ratio house value / total assets.

You can find the article here.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

the herd is never right

Why is it that the contrarian point of view seems to always be the correct one when it comes to the stock market?

For almost a solid 6 months everyone and his dog has expected the stock market rally to falter, and falter hard. Supposed pundits from every echelon of the financial system, including analysts, money managers, reporters, bloggers, and individual investors have all sung the same tune for the better part of 2009. The conventional wisdom was that the rally was weakly based and we should all get ready for another dip. I don't know if it was because people had just seen one of the largest collapses in confidence and the markets ever, and people tend to get cautious after an event like this, or just downright pessimism. We all should have known that whenever this many people agree that they can foresee a drop in the markets, the indices are headed higher.

The rally party pooper who sold in April of 2006 after the rally accelerated has missed a nice 26% charge in the S&P 500 since then.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

net worth update, Sept 09

It's time to report my bimonthly net worth. I report my net worth on the moneygardener or around the 15th of May, July, September, November, January, and March.

Net worth results for the 2 Months Ended September 13, 2009:
  • Debt/Asset ratio dropped to 0.48 from 0.50 (record low)
  • Net Worth gained a huge 9.3% (record high)
  • Total Assets rose 4.2% (record high)
  • Total Liabilities shrunk by 1.0%
  • House Value/Total Assets fell to 63.4% (record low)
  • Non-Registered Portfolio grew 11.4% (record high)
  • Net Worth Calendar Year to Date Gain/Loss: +23%

As I type this update I am extremely pleased with our financial progress, as we look forward to March when our second child arrives. Everything is moving in the right direction and the moves are substantial. Our non-registered portfolio grew by a very strong 11.4% over two months and our net worth is up a staggering 23% since January 15. Our house value is now making up only 63% of our total assets, meaning that we are riding the roller coaster of the equity markets to a greater degree. Running against the wind was difficult over the past year, however the wind has been at our back lately. Home improvements are on the horizon and will eat into our potential savings as we move toward another maternity leave period.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

lowered my cost of borrowing

As I've previously mentioned, last year I began borrowing money inside a line of credit and investing the funds in dividend paying stocks as the market took a nosedive. I deployed the majority of the money between October 6, 2008 and February 26, 2009. I should have instead invested all of the money in early March, 2009, but I'm just not that good...

The only piece of this strategy that continued to bother me was the fact that I was paying an interest rate of prime + 3% on an unsecured line of credit from a major bank. Even though I am able to claim this interest on my taxes, I was still unhappy with this rate. After attempting to negotiate a lower rate with a few banks on an unsecured line of credit, I decided to go instead with a home equity line of credit secured against our home.

I've just completed the process of opening a home equity line of credit with President's Choice Financial (CIBC Bank). The process was fairly easy and I was quite pleased with PC's price of $150 to open this loan. This option compared very favourably to the fees asked for by two other banks. On the eventual occasion that I close out this loan with PC I will be required to pay a $225 closing fee. The rate on this loan is prime + 1%, currently 3.25%.

Overall this dramatically decreases my cost of borrowing and I will make up the total fees of $375 in mere months. Writing off this interest at 3.25% makes this pretty close to free money.