The Weekend Edition #20 – Core, Explore and $1000!

Friday, 21 November 2014 | by | 2 Replies


While index funds are the right choice for most investors over the long term, I’m learning that indexing and stock picking don’t have to be mutually exclusive. That being said, it’s best to know how to compare the portfolio against the benchmarks to gauge performance.

Having the core of a portfolio invested in index funds while exploring with a small fixed percentage, can scratch the itch of investors wanting to pick stocks. Colour me interested, if not only for the learning experience. Michael James, sheds his wisdom on the core and explore approach.

Get this, former NFL player Jason Brown quit the league after he made $25 million of his $37.5 million contract. Guess what he did after he quit? He became a farmer to help feed the hungry after learning to grow crops off Youtube.

Jordann, at My Alternate Life, saved $27k in 2014.

Canadian Portfolio Manager Justin Bender shows you how to calculate your average annual rate of return.

Lastly, is having a $1000 Christmas giveaway! Join in the reindeer games! 

My First Time Redeeming Aeroplan Points

(Rookie Mistakes)

Wednesday, 19 November 2014 | by | 4 Replies


Hard to believe the year’s almost over. It seems like only a few months ago that we were making our travel plans for 2014. Emily made it to Vegas for a bachelorette, we experienced Brazil during the world cup on the (relatively) cheap and made good on our budding tradition to take some time off at a cottage. We were three for four, with Washington left to go.

Our original plan was to visit Washington on Aeroplan points. We signed up for a TD Aeroplan Infinite Visa card for the welcome bonus points with the intent of redeeming a 2 for 1 promotion on a short haul flight. This is how it went. Continue reading

How to Open a TD e-Series Account

(Let's start at the very beginning)

Monday, 17 November 2014 | by | Leave a reply

TD e-SeriesIn the second season of NBC’s TV show 30 Rock, Jack Donaghy awards Liz Lemon the “G.E.Followship Award” (given to the employee who best exemplifies a follower), a prize worth $10,000 in cash. Donaghy, her mentor, asks her, “So what are you gonna do with your money? Put it into a 401(k)?”

Liz gives a blank stare and responds, “Yeah, I gotta get one of those.”

“What? Where do you invest your money?”

“I’ve got like twelve grand in checking,” Liz responds

Jack gives her a bewildered look: “Are you an immigrant?”

I remember the scene not only because it was hilarious, but because it so accurately reflected my own situation from a few years ago. Apart from being an immigrant, I knew I was supposed to be investing but had no idea where, how or in what. I first read about the TD e-Series index funds in Andrew Hallam’s Millionaire Teacher. At the time, I thought that there was no way a comprehensive investing strategy could consist only of a few indexed funds. I soon came across the Canadian Couch Potato’s Model Portfolios and blog which reaffirmed what was laid out in the book. This passive indexing approach takes 15 minutes of work per year, will out perform the majority of financial professionals over time and could be managed by a 7 year old. I decided that this was the place to start.

Well, if you’re want in on the same and don’t know where to start, look no further. Here is step-by-step guide on how to open account to buy TD e-Series index funds. Continue reading

Weekend Reading


Friday, 14 November 2014 | by | 1 Reply


I’ve spent the last week in California putting in my hours on site. Everything’s working like it should be and I’m excited to be heading home soon. One perk about travelling for work is that  we get to buy things that are far cheaper here in the US than in Canada. I simply have them shipped to the hotel. It’ll be fun trying to squeeze everything back into my luggage. HA.

I can’t remember how I came across this in the past week but John C. Bogle’s piece in Financial Analyst Journal, The Arithmetic of “All-In” Investment Expenses, is an interesting read examining costs in addition to the expense ratios that affect actively managed funds.

Stephen at breaks down the Starbucks’ Reward program. I’ve honestly never looked at it and I bet I’ve been there enough for a Green Level reward. I sure could use some free refills!

Bridget, of Money After Graduation, earned 17% return on her investments over the past year without doing a single thing. That’s 2% higher than what the S&P 500 index returned for the same time period. Not bad!

How much do you think it would cost if you bought everything that was advertised during an NFL game? In a three hour broadcast that consists of a dozen minutes of actual gameplay, it costs: $785,216.96.


Let’s Catch Up

(It's been a while.)

Wednesday, 5 November 2014 | by | Leave a reply


Aaaand I’m back after having been MIA for a whole month! Where did all the time go?

It’s been one heck of a whirlwind summer: I haven’t been home for more than two weeks at a time since our trip to Brazil back in June. September was a welcome break from the work travel and we spent it offline on a digital detox. Volunteering for the mayoral campaign in Toronto’s municipal election started to kick into high gear as well, taking up remaining free time through to October 27. More on that later.

In the midst of all the chaos, we decided our kitchen is due for some updating, especially since we’re going to stay in our condo for the foreseeable future. Along with that comes some news that will be divulged in due course. With a work trip scheduled again next week and a weeklong trip to pass my birthday will take us through until Christmas and the end of yet another year.

One good thing that has come from all this time away: the abundance of great content from some of my favorite bloggers, obviously much better focused. Here are a few good reads I found as I connected back with the land of the living.

Michael James shines a light on his investing strategy and explains his asset allocation.

Steve the Kapitalust, in an incredible post, spills the beans on the investing styles of 36 popular personal finance bloggers.

We recently used some Aeroplan reward miles for the first time, and my, was it a frustrating experience. Mark, My Own Advisor, breaks down his experience with Aeroplan rewards.

Dan, from our Big Fat Wallet, explains how joint bank accounts can save money.

Stay tuned; I’ll be back before December. Promise.