Oh hey, guys. You might have been wondering where I’ve been after these last few weeks of nothingness from the ol’ FU machine.
Surprisingly, I wasn’t slacking. I know, I’m shocked too.
After much thinking and 6,382 sleepless nights (no need to double check that, it’s right), I finally made the decision. It’s time to retire the Uproar. There are all sorts of reasons why I’ll no longer be updating the site, including a lack of passion for most personal finance topics (that, frankly, I mastered years ago), and the inevitable realization that dick jokes will never monetize worth anything. Which is too bad because dick jokes are great fun, guys.
The average personal finance blog really has three ways to monetize itself. It can:
- Sell ads
- Sell products
- Become a platform for the writer’s freelance career
I did well on point 3 (somehow), didn’t even try point 2, and failed miserably on point 1. Because, again, what kind of serious company wants to work with a blogger who mixes sexual inuendos with actual points about finance? I thought too much about the entertainment of my readers and not enough about the long-term viability of my business.
And to think, I analyzed businesses for a living for a while there. Nice going, Sparky.
So I’m shutting down the Uproar and moving onto something more serious. I hope you’ll join me there.
My new project is Canadian Dividend Investing, which seeks to be a one-stop shop for Canadians looking to increase their passive income. Much of the focus will be on dividend-paying stocks, obviously, but we’ll also cover all of the other ways to make passive income as well.
Now that our mortgage is fully paid off, I’m directing all our spare cash towards creating a portfolio that spins off massive amounts of passive income. As I research these stocks, two things stand out. Firstly, I have a vast knowledge of this part of the investing universe. And there are hardly any websites dedicated to being a resource for Canadian dividend investors who want to keep the majority of their money in Canada. That smells like opportunity to me.
The FU archives will continue to be up for a few more months until the hosting expires, so get your fix in now. And it’ll still be me over at CDI, just without the dick jokes. I’ll leave my Twitter feed active too, but I’ll probably change the name of it. The new site has its own Twitter and Facebook pages, too, if you’d like to check those out. I’ll monitor comments here for a few more days too, but I’m not going to spend much time here going forward. I’ve taken this as far as I can. It’s time to start something new.
Well, hey there, Financial Uproar. I haven’t seen you in a while. Hold on, let me clean up the dust. You’re looking worse than that time the media caught Hillary Clinton without her Spanx. OH, HE’S STILL GOT IT, BABY!
Should I do an update on my financial life? Or would you kids rather see me hit some dingers? I can totally hit dingers.
Let’s start the update.
As a reminder, the loan was originally $190,000 when we bought the place in July, 2016. We owed approximately $107,000 when I posted the last update, back in March.
We’ve still been aggressively shoveling wheelbarrows full of cash towards
buying loaves of bread in 1921 Germany our mortgage, getting the balance down to approximately $78,000. I don’t know what’s more exciting — knowing we’re easily on pace to erase the debt by the beginning of 2019 or a Weimar Germany hyperinflation joke finally appearing on Financial Uproar. Let’s go with the latter.
With markets bumping up against new highs seemingly daily, I think this continues to be a prudent use of my excess cash. There are some interesting stocks out there, but nothing that terribly excites me.
Remember when I posted that financial independence made me lose my ambition? Fortunately for me, those feelings quickly went away. Imagine doing the same thing for 20 years without ever getting promoted or doing anything more exciting. I can’t think of a worse version of hell. Okay, maybe I can. I’ve watched a cirque du soleil play, after all.
Anyhoo, I’ve made it clear to my company’s management that I’d like to get promoted. This would likely involve a move to a different store in a new community, which I’m quite okay with. I like small towns, but I’m kinda over the one I’m in.
We’d likely rent if my job took us anywhere else, for a few reasons. While the risk doesn’t really bother me, my wife doesn’t like the idea of being responsible for a new furnace or shingling a roof. Real estate prices are not as reasonable in other parts of the province, which makes the rent vs. buy debate lean towards renting. And the places where we’d like to go have a much greater supply of nice rentals than where we are currently. And hopefully a Wendy’s. God I love Wendy’s.
While I continue to hold and like most of my portfolio positions, I have sold a few things into strength.
In the latter part of 2015, the Canadian preferred share market got whacked. Taking advantage of the carnage, I picked up a medium-sized position in Shaw Communications’ preferred shares (among others), paying approximately $13 each. I exited last week at $17 per share. Including dividends, the total return was about 20% a year.
To minimize the tax impact of that sale, I finally punted Winnipeg Free Press from the portfolio and took the tax loss. Let that be a lesson to you kids. Never look at anything associated with Winnipeg in a positive light.
I also tendered my Dream Office REIT shares at $21 per share, netting a succulent return of 40% (plus dividends of approximately 12%) in just over 18 months. That position was in my TFSA, so there’s no tax implications there.
I invested some spare cash into an ETF, specifically the BMO Canadian Dividend ETF (TSX:ZDV). While the MER is a little high at 0.39%, I like the fact the ETF gives me access to an index of dividend payers that isn’t dominated by Canada’s five largest banks. I’d also be reluctant to buy an ETF that tracks the TSX Composite because of the large energy/materials weighting. And with a beta of 0.57 (according to Google Finance), I sort of view it as a way to participate in some of the market’s upside while minimizing the downside.
Will I invest more in ETFs in the future? I dunno, but I kinda like the hands-off approach ZDV offers, and the 4.4% yield ain’t bad either.
We’ll probably buy a second (used) car in the next few weeks, since sharing a vehicle has become hella annoying now that both of us have jobs. That’ll temporarily delay the ol’ mortgage payoff plan, but that’s okay. What’s the point of money if you can’t use it to make your life easier?
One of my Lending Loop loans is currently delinquent, and LL has employed a collection agency to help get the maximum amount of principal back. The rest of the portfolio is performing well, however. This is why something like peer-to-peer lending should only be a small portion of your portfolio, kids.
And that’s about it. Maybe I’ll write about actual stuff next time.
Those of you who show up here multiple times a day (God bless your pathetic hearts) have probably noticed that I didn’t post any content on both Tuesday and Wednesday. Well the joke’s on you, because I really did. I just posted it with invisible ink.
Back in August, I made the decision to update this here blogening every weekday, for a number of different reasons. The biggest was I wanted to turn Financial Uproar into part of your daily routine. The Canadian finance blog-o-net is really missing such a thing. It seems like everyone else has embraced the less is more business model.
The plan was to eventually up the traffic to the point where I could sell premium products. And for a while, it was working. Between August and February, traffic was up 125%. People actually started to comment and email and ask me questions on Twitter. It was a fun time, albeit a little exhausting.
Naturally, the time commitment went up too. I went from spending ~5 hours a week on this thing to 15-20 hours. Which was fine. I had the time, and it was mostly enjoyable. It still is, actually. Talking to you guys without a filter is fun. Damn ass hell bitch fun.
There was just one problem. The Uproar didn’t make any additional money.
I found myself in an interesting conundrum. I needed to hire somebody to write blog content so I’d have time to create premium stuff. Except the blog wasn’t making enough money to do that. Besides, I make my living writing stuff for other people. I’d be paying people to do my job.
I could hire people to try and really supercharge this thing and turn it into a business. Or I could step back and spend more time on the websites that did pay me. The choice was risk capital for a large potential reward or take the potentially smaller reward today. I chose the coward’s way out.
So what’s next?
I’m not going to abandon you kids. Financial Uproar will still be active. It just won’t be every day active. In fact, there won’t be any set schedule. I’ll just post whatever I want, whenever I want. There will be more of a focus on my own personal decisions rather than generic SEO-type stuff.
The plan is to spend the 10-15 hours a week in extra time I’ve created searching for new income streams, focusing on the kind of stuff that requires semi-active management. I figure this will make fun blog fodder and will be a good use of my time all the same.
In short, Financial Uproar will go from being a business to the place where I talk about my other business. I’ll do a write-up when I buy a new stock or buy a piece of real estate or whatever. I won’t keep up the weekly link dealies, but I’ll probably do one every few weeks rather than every week. It’s much easier that way.
And that’s about it. See you kids next week.
Hey, regular readers. Just wanted to remind everyone that I’ll be appearing live on Business News Network (BNN) today at 10:45 a.m Eastern Time (8:45 here in Alberta). If you’re reading this before I’m on, DROP EVERYTHING and tune in. I guarantee* it’ll be the handsomest TV you’ll see all year.
*Guarantee void in Tennessee, all other 49 states, 10 provinces, and two territories. Nunavut, we cool.
If this is your first time here, welcome to the greatest website in the history of the internet! There’s no way to dispute that, so you’re just going to have to believe me.
Financial Uproar is where Bay Street meets Main Street. It’s a blog for regular Canadian investors who are good at saving but struggle with where to put their money.
I firmly believe one thing. Regular folks are capable of managing their own investment portfolios. You can take a somewhat hands-off approach and put your money in ETFs or you can invest in one of the thousands of active investing ideas that are out there.
For me, there’s no contest. Passive investing is okay for people with no interest in finance, but that’s not you or me. I’ve never understood the logic of somebody who’s passionate about their money settling for a couple of index funds. There’s nothing wrong with index funds — in fact, there’s logic behind picking them instead of choosing individual stocks — but investing doesn’t stop with stocks and bonds. There are tons of opportunities out there.
Here are some of the best posts I’ve written about alternative investments, followed by some more general finance stuff.
The best of the best
Curious about the private mortgage business? In this article I take a long and detailed look at the business including how I got into it, the interest rates I charge, and what I look for when doing a deal. It also includes details of real mortgages I’ve done over the years.
Trailer parks get a bad rap, with too many people letting their personal biases get in the way of making money. They offer fantastic returns, multiple potential exit strategies, and the ability to hire a cheap property manager to make a passive investment even more hands-off. Here’s an article I wrote on investing in trailer parks.
We consider a stock trading at 12 or 15 times earnings cheap today. Small business valuations are far lower. Want to buy a restaurant, franchise, or some other business for less than five times earnings even after paying someone to run the place for you? You can do that.
Only have a few thousand bucks to invest and a little spare time on your hands? Then you should be looking at buying a website. Not only do many websites offer absolutely succulent returns (50% to 75% annual returns are common, and no, that’s not a typo), but a savvy operator can easily improve a dormant site, increasing both cash flow and the resale value. Just be careful; there’s a lot of crap out there.
I’m also a big fan of the storage business. It’s a largely passive business that offers some nice returns. And as one commenter put it, “stuff has no rights.” I took a look at a local storage business, but, alas, I haven’t quite pulled the trigger yet.
More good stuff
Let’s pivot away from the specific investment types and highlight some of the best general finance posts I’ve done.
This is one of my favorite posts of all time. Here’s how you can run a fake lottery scam with your co-workers and pocket at least $100 a week. Note: don’t actually do this. Please. I don’t want to get sued.
Want to amass $1 million in your TFSA? Don’t we all. Accomplishing such a thing is actually pretty simple of you’re persistent, save enough, and invest right.
We do a number of things to really supercharge our savings rate, which has allowed us to get rich even faster. Here’s how my wife and I bought our house for $30,000 under market value, and how we survive easily on one car.
Each year I run a stock picking contest. Here’s the link to this year’s contest, which has nearly 100 different picks from more than 20 top finance bloggers.
Worried about running out of money when you retire? Probably. Most people are concerned about that. But it’s probably not the biggest threat you’ll have to face, especially as you get older.
And finally, are you tired of paying 2.5% to exchange your money at your bank or using your online broker? Here’s a much cheaper way to do it — at least when converting Canadian Dollars to U.S. Dollars.
The best for last
I also recently completed a passive income guide which outlines 16 different investments that pay 9%. If you’re a little unhealthily addicted to getting paid while you sleep (like I am), this is for you. All I need is your email address and you’ll be reading the report in minutes. Did I mention it’s free?
What are you waiting for? Sign up using the form below!
So it turns out that my work day is almost over and I haven’t come up with any ideas for tomorrow’s post. I swear, I’m usually better prepared than this.
No you’re not.
Really, Italics Man? I though I killed you.
No, that was a random hooker. I knew her. Nice gal.
Anyhoo, I did one of these ask me anything posts back in March, and it was reasonably successful. People who weren’t my mom actually commented. More than once, too.
So go ahead, and ask me anything. Whether you want to know about your investments or personal finance or real estate or my book recommendations or a million other things. I’ll be hitting refresh more often than all those jerks who bought all the NES Classics.
Allow me to ask some questions to get y’all started:
- What’s my favorite food? Cheeseburgers with slices of pizza as buns
- Coffee or tea? Trick question the answer is literally any other liquid including urine
- Is my emergency fund too high? Yes
- But you don’t even know what my emergency fund is. Don’t care. Too high.
And so on. I’ll check back every hour or so and answer your questions.