money kids

I’m excited. I can’t help it.

It’s not easy to admit out loud that you like money. But I do.

All that “Money is the root of all evil” and “Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s needs, but not every man’s greed” weighs on my sense of guilt.

But you know… I already feel guilty about everything I do, say, and eat in today’s world of rampant guilt-shaming.

I could be a Jewish mother… Oy vey iz mir.

So thank you, I know I’m not perfect. *shocked face*

If I was to make a resolution for 2020, it would be to repel the inner sense of guilt that pounds many of us, like a tsunami wave striking warm, sandy shores.

I’ve even come to admire and like mega-billionaires Bill Gates and Warren Buffett. They harbour a sh*tload of money, and yet, they have a heart and a desire to make the world a better place using their money as a resource for all people.

My heart wants money AND my heart desires to make the world a better place. Those two shouldn’t be mutually exclusive.

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Let’s get started, shall we?

If you don’t care about money and your financial future, well …. you might want to toddle off and get yourself a latte or green tea or something that is totally unrelated to numbers and money. This post perhaps isn’t for you today.

Right… now I know you haven’t left me, because, of course you DO care about your years ahead and want to know what you’ll do with those delicious mega-millions you’ve saved and invested. Am I right? I said, am I right?

This is my annual $$ letter describing my occasional successes… and oh-so-rare (ha!) failures where it comes to investing. Welcome!

Last year when I pulled this money blog post together, I used a lovely sweet term that I adore. FUCKedUPedNESS.

FUCKedUPEedNESS described my investment acumen over the 2018 year.

I sang a lot of “crying” songs in 2018… (I’ll Do My) Crying In The Rain, Grown Men Don’t Cry, Cry Me A River… you get the idea. Bottom line: I lost money on the markets.

No need to cry this past year, for 2019 was a year of financial sunshine, lollipops and rainbows cascading out my back-end and the word now reads: UPedNESS!

The year of all things screwy except investing.

Despite all the tariff battles and other nasty economic troubles, I found big profits in APPLE, MICROSOFT, ROYAL BANK, STARBUCKS and DISNEY.

Five years ago I was buying Apple at $99 per share, today it sits just above $300 a pop. Over that time, quarterly dividends have added a delicious shot of income along the way too.

Please go out and buy another iPhone and/or Apple Watch and make me a happy dude!

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This is the good news that made 2019 a banner year in the markets.

Of course, I made/make spectacular blunders too.

My purchases of PIZZA PIZZA and B&G FOODS (yup, the folks who bag up your Ho Ho Ho Jolly Green Giant veggies), GILEAD SCIENCES (Hepatitis C cure), L BRANDS (how could Victoria’s Secret lead my manly eyes astray?!), IBM (yes even venerable IBM has been a stinker!) have made me look like a novice figure skater who spends more time on his ass than upright.

I try to learn from my missteps and get back up and attempt another Triple Lutz.

Here are a few words I shared with my kids recently (I invest a few dollars on their behalf as well) in the “financial” letter I send to them each year:

This end-of-the-year letter is so much more enjoyable to write than last year’s. Hallelujah!

But why you ask?

Of course you know why… the financial returns in ALL of your accounts (and mine too!) are significantly improved over last year.

And while I’d like to accept accolades and praise for my investing prowess, as Warren Buffett said: “A rising tide raises all boats”. Despite uncertainty in all directions, markets as a whole have risen bigly in 2019.

The one thing I will accept credit for is keeping risk levels low in all of our accounts by only purchasing shares in well-run, low’ish debt, profit-making companies. And almost all pay a reasonable and rising dividend as a bonus. High flyers and hot tips are not in my playbook.

So… how did I fare this year? *drum roll*

The average return across my RRSP, TFSA and Locked-in RRSP was… +24.6%. This compares much more favourably to last year’s losing -1.8%.

Investing is a game that’s best viewed from 10,000 feet… no over-the-top glee when the short-term returns are positive and no deep-in-the-dumps despair when they turn downwards (as they always will).

So here’s the view of my investment returns from 10,000 feet.

  • 1 year              +24.6%
  • 3 year avg.     +10.3%
  • 5 year avg.     +10.2%
  • 10 year avg.   +14.6%
  • 12 year avg.   +15.4%
  • 18 year avg.   +14.6%

In the 18 years (I’ve been investing far longer than this) that I’ve maintained reasonably accurate records of my investing process and proceeds, I’ve sadly ended 3 of those years with a negative number looking back at me.

This keeps me humble. We should all stay humble. And kind.

Highest one year return +67.5% (2009)… Lowest one year return -37.1% (2008).

Going forward into 2020, I’m searching high and low for bargains in which to park some dollars. While I continue to hold the shares of my “winners” (above), the idea of purchasing more at these levels is just not very attractive.

On the other hand (there’s always another hand, just watch Fiddler On The Roof), a few quality companies that come close to making me pull the trigger are :

  • Canadian Tire (CTC) 
  • McKesson Corp (MCK)
  • Amazon (AMZN) 
  • FedEx (FDX)
  • ABBVIE (ABBV) 
  • Manulife Financial (MFC)
  • CVS Pharmacies (CVS)
  • Whirlpool Industries (WHR)

But for now… I’d rather hold some extra cash until markets subside a bit.

I’ve said here before that my long-term investing goal is to bring in a batting average of 15% returns. That number comes and goes of course, but over 10 to 18 years, I get around the bases in the manner that I’m aiming for.

I’ll never be Babe Ruth. I’ll never be Bill Gates or Warren Buffett.

But also, I’ll never stop dreaming in lots of directions, and looking for a fine balance between my world’s opposing cultures of self-interest and giving to others.

Remember that investing in life is about time, money and energy. Take a few deep breaths and choose your investments with intent in all regions of your life.

I wish you well in your drive for material comfort in 2020, and also… I hope you find a way or two of giving back in some material way to others. Yeah, this is just me being a sh*t disturber and perhaps… pushing you gently over the cliff-edge of guilt (along with me)…

Cheers to you for another year of stupendous UPedNESS!

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