The Year of Living Dangerously is sort-of over and a new calendar Year of Future Hopefulness is upon us…

HALLELUJAH!

It’s important that we all don’t think only of COVID… life has to manage through the struggles and go on, whether through personal challenges, world wars, pandemics, racial divides, or weather-related tragedies.

So, in that light… if you know me at all, you know that one of my passions is investing, more specifically, stock market investing; it’s welded to me like my underwear and socks when taken from the dryer without Cling-Free (or for my lab friends: like a colony of E. coli on room-temperature beef.)

Investing well births money.

Money in itself is not evil despite the aphorisms suggesting otherwise; money is like shaving cream on my face. I can shave without it and manage to get by, but using it saves me from a lot of nasty nicks and bloody cuts throughout my life from Day One to Day Gone.

Money is my shaving cream.

Every one of us needs a source of money to feed and house ourselves and our kids, to pay for education and transportation, to find our way upwards from the base levels of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

Money, I love ya, but I’m not part of the elite 1% group. *sad face*

Working for the dollars is admirable and good. But I like it even more when my money returns the favour and works for me.

I really appreciate that money can work the graveyard shift sans complaint and reward me when I awake in the morning with a dividend cheque without me tying my tie or shining my shoes.

Research and sweat-thought in investing has assisted me and my wife in procuring a less hectic lifestyle than might otherwise be the case, and also to pursue other interests and passions without a huge concern for financial stability.

Of course I worry about a possible lack of funds, especially as my REAL senior years approach, but I don’t lie awake at night in worry and fret … I save “frets” for my guitar playing fun!

OK, it’s MEA CULPA time.

For a number of years now, I’ve shared my annual investment “disclosure” with you. My yearly Walk of Shame… or Fame!

Two years ago, I brought up the term FUCKedUPedNESS to describe my less-than-stellar year (-1.8%) in investing; then last year, with arms raised high, I told you of an annum of much improved UPedNESS(+24.6). A tale of 2 years, one down, one up; a rollercoaster ride over 2 years. This year compressed the bilious ride into only 12 months. (NOTE: FUCKedUPedNESS describes U.S. politics today much better than my investing!)

This past year of COVID was an investment period of intense rollercoaster riding, with a huge shutdown/downhill run in March and April followed by the steady climb up the other side.

End result? My final year-end increase sidled in at +5.0% for my combined RRSP, TFSA and Locked-in Retirement accounts. This compares with a U.S. Dow Jones Index increase of +7.2% and the Toronto Exchange increase of +2.2%.

On a bright note, the increase inside just my RRSP account was +33.2% largely due to fairly substantial investments in APPLE and AMAZON… the world of our technology-bound future.

Here’s my basic financial return facts:

  • 1 year              +5.0%
  • 3 year avg.     +9.3%
  • 5 year avg.     +9.6%
  • 10 year avg.   +14.2%
  • 12 year avg. +18.9%
  • 15 year avg.   +13.3%
  • 18 year avg.   +14.2%

These numbers are just OK in my books. I accept that I’m not Warren Buffett or Bill Gates (two fellas I admire for their intelligence and philanthropic bents), but I’d really like to be a point or two higher in my results.

My long-term goal is an annual return of 15%. I’m skating around that number in the 10 and greater years, but showing signs of lagging in the shorter time-frame.

Looking forward and trying to see through the haze of my crystal ball, here are some solid stock picks I’m watching for future possible investment. Aside from the ARK ETF’s (High Technology fund), these choices all pay a healthy and safe dividend every 3 months :

  • Bristol-Myers (BMY)
  • ARK ETF’s
  • AT&T (T)
  • Enbridge (ENB)
  • Abbvie (ABBV)

One thing I’m ever so slowly coming to realize (about 25 years late *head slap*) is that in investment terms, the world is being pushed by this monstrous boulder called TECHNOLOGY

… the companies that participate in its rapid development, or at the very least, embrace its use in a big way, will most likely be the business survivors in today and tomorrow’s Darwinian struggle.

A good part of my job now in researching future investments is to ensure that technology is in the forefront of corporate management thinking, for anything less a company will join the faded dinosaurs and buggy-whip makers in a museum display case.

And so finally my good friends, to plagiarize my words from last year:

… 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.