Personal Challenges & Habit Formation

This blog has always been finance and investment related, and I never shared much on the personal front. However, I figured I will share some of my personal goals that I have struggled with & achieved so far in 2018 — just because its something that I have been reading & thinking a lot about recently and find it interesting.

My major personal goal for 2018 was related to habits (and habit formation). Over the years, I had fallen into some bad habits while letting go of the good ones; so I am making a conscientious effort to change things one month at a time.

Lot of these challenges are focused on health. Something that I haven’t shared before on this blog is my interest in health. After finances, health is my biggest passion. As I get older (in late 30s now), I am reminded that I need to clean up my act and lead a healthier lifestyle if I want to enjoy the later years of my life.

I like to set myself monthly challenges because I figure whatever new things I want to try, I can work & struggle through them for one month. After the month is over, I can look back & re-evaluate on whether I want to keep the new habit going or discard it. This feedback step is crucial in habit formation. I used to follow this model years ago, but had stopped over the past 3-4 years. Continue reading

Baby R2R’s Portfolio Update – Q1 2018

This is the third update in a new series where I intend to share the progress of Baby R2R’s investment portfolio. I started documenting this in Q3 2017 and intend to provide quarterly updates.

Baby R2R was born in Spring 2016 and a few months later, I setup her education fund to which I contribute on a regular basis. We live in Canada, so we take advantage of the RESP program (Registered Education Savings Plan), an account type where we can save and invest for our child’s secondary education. In addition to tax advantages, we also receive an education grant, which matches upto 20% of the saved amount (upto a max of $500 per year). How can anyone say no to free money? 🙂

In addition to the education fund, we also decided to start a Nest Egg fund, where we save and invest for Baby R2R and let compounding do its job over the course next couple of decades. The two accounts take different approaches to investing strategy.

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Top Dividend Raises & Cuts for March 2018

Dividend growth investing is a popular model followed by the investing community to build assets. Companies which not only pay dividends, but raise them year after year have been shown to perform better overall for investor returns. On the flip side, it is also important to keep an eye on the dividend cuts, which could signal troubling times ahead for a company. This post captures the announcements of changes in dividend amount for the week – both increases and cuts.

Note that only $2B+ (Midcap+) companies are included in this list.

Continue Reading Here >

2018 Top Investment Picks – Q1 Update

At the beginning of the year, I put together a list of Top Investment Picks for 2018 from the investment community and track them on this website. This is just meant to be a fun exercise to see how the picks do. As part of the process, I intend do provide quarterly updates on the picks to see how they are doing. This is the update after Q1.

Note that you can track the progress anytime by going to the Stock Picks page.

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Quarterly Update – Q1 2018

Welcome to the quarterly update for Q1 2018. This is part of  a series where I track our financial progress on a quarterly basis. I present three parts in this series: (i) Investment & Portfolio Update, (ii) Passive Income Update, and (iii) Goals Update.

1. Investment & Portfolio Update

Q1 2018 saw a some decent activity in our portfolio.
We added to the following positions.

We continued adding to the following funds

  • BMO S&P/TSX Capped Composite Index ETF (ZCN.TO)
  • Vanguard All-World Ex-Canada Index ETF (VXC.TO)
  • BMO Aggregate Bond Index ETF (ZAG.TO)
  • BMO Emerging Bond Index ETF (ZEF.TO)
  • Vanguard Emerging Market Bond ETF (VWOB)
  • US Equity Index (Seg) Fund
  • Intl Equity Index (Seg) Fund
  • Scotia Monthly Income (Mutual) Fund

We reduced/closed the following position

Q1 saw 7 dividend increase announcements in our portfolios. The companies from our portfolios increasing their dividends and details of portfolio changes are summarized below.