Trips Down Memory Lane

Does anyone remember the first stock they ever purchased? I do! It was Sobeys (SBY). I went to university in Nova Scotia from 1996 to 2000. There was a Sobeys right across the street from my apartment building so that was where I did most of my grocery shopping.

Five years after graduating, I was back living in Ottawa and I had just opened my first investment account. I was reminiscing about my time out east, and I was feeling a little “homesick” for Halifax. So I decided to buy some Sobeys stock. In hindsight, it was a pretty good stock pick. It was a stable company that even paid a quarterly dividend. I was pretty paranoid about the stock market-everybody says it’s such a scary thing!-that I only bought about $200 worth of shares and paid a $30 commission fee in the process.

A year later, SBY was still the only stock I owned. I wanted to get rid of it but my average cost per share was pretty high because of that commission fee. And to sell it I would have to pay another $30! So I decided to put in some more money instead. I added a couple thousand, then added another thousand about a month later.

I started getting a little frustrated with the stock because it wasn’t going up enough that I could sell it and make a profit, and it wasn’t going down enough that I could justify buying more. I finally dumped it for around $30 a share and pretty much just broke even. The funny thing is that, a few months later, Sobeys announced that they were going private. The share price shot up to $58!

Finally…an Update!

Well, I finally have time for an update! I’ve been busy at work, doing a few hours of overtime this week as well as an extra shift today. I’ve also been helping Santa answer his mail! But now I have four days off so that gives me a little more time for blogging.

I sold all of my shares of KMP.UN and DRG.UN. I took a bit of a capital gain, and I used all of the money to buy additional shares of EMA and BMO. I cancelled the DRIPs on all of my REITs, but I guess I didn’t do it soon enough so I am now the proud owner of two whole shares of DRG.UN. My projected annual income has dropped a bit because of these sales/purchases but it’s still over $11,000 so I’m not bothered by it.

I’m making progress on setting up my TFSA. I applied online and I thought I had sent in all the required documentation but my account was still suspended. They finally sent me an email telling me exactly which form I was missing, and even attached it to the email. That was nice to see after getting 2-3 generic emails from them saying “your application is incomplete!” without giving me any clues as to what was missing. I’m a little disappointed with them, actually, because of the lack of communication. Anyhow, I’ll be sending the form off tomorrow and I should be all set after that.

My first financial goal for 2018 is to make an appointment to set up an iTrade account in my RRSP. I haven’t touched my RRSP in years, and my contribution limit is up to about $19,000. I’ll probably transfer in about $10,000 this year and top it up next year. I also plan to cash out the mutual funds that are in my RRSP (market value is about $37,000) and put that into stocks in the new iTrade account.

My Goals for 2018

Is it too early for New Year’s resolutions? Well, I’m going to tell you what mine are anyhow! I only recently came to the realization that early retirement was a real possibility for me. And I think that’s why I’m thinking about resolutions: because these resolutions will set me free even earlier!

My first resolution is to get my finances in order. I’m not talking about paying off debts: I don’t have any. I’m talking about being a little more organized when it comes to managing my money. I’ve always been good at saving money, but I’m also good at throwing money away by not strategizing.

About two years ago, I finally made the decision to move all of my money into dividend-paying stocks, and to DRIP everything. The problem is that I’ve always done all of my investing in a taxable account. A pretty bad decision, of course, because I’m losing money to taxes. I’ve just opened a Tax-Free Savings Account-better late than never! I still need to get some paperwork to the bank before the account is officially mine, but I’ll be taking care of that next week. Then I’ll move all of my REITs over.

I’m also going to start putting money into my RRSP again. It’s been years since I’ve touched my RRSP, but I’m going to have to put some money in this year in order to avoid getting hit on my taxes in April. My dividend income is up $6000 from last year, and I’ve taken about $7500 in capital gains. So I’m a little nervous about income tax time!

My second resolution is to continue downsizing and decluttering. My goal is not to be an extreme minimalist, although I do envy people who have so few possessions that they can fit them all into a couple of bags. But I want to get rid of things that I don’t need or don’t use. The hardest part will be getting rid of things that have sentimental value. The big challenge will be to part with my Cabbage Patch Kids. I got seven of them when I was a kid and they’ve always been the one thing I thought I’d always hang on to. But then I remember something that I’ve heard various people say at various times: we spend most of our lives accumulating stuff, and then we give it all away when we reach old age. Those dolls will all end up in someone else’s possession eventually, so it might as well happen now. And I have to remind myself that they really are nothing but cloth and stuffing!

My third resolution is to track my spending a little more, which I hope will help me decrease my spending. I used to track every penny I spent. It was especially good at helping me with my grocery budget. I quickly memorized all the regular prices for items, which meant that it was much easier to spot a deal. I go to grocery stores now and I have no idea if a store is overcharging or undercharging.

Tracking my spending will also show me how much I’m spending on unnecessary items. I went to the grocery store today and stayed out of the bakery, ice cream and junk food aisles. And I spent a few dollars less than I would normally spend. Imagine how much money I could save if I stayed out of those aisles every time I was in there. And how much that money would grow if I put it into dividend-paying stocks and let it compound!

So those are my three main goals for 2018: to track my spending, to organize my investments, and to get rid of things that I don’t need. The first two goals should help me bring my projected dividend income up to about $13,500 by the end of 2018. And the third goal should help me out mentally. Less physical clutter means less stress, which should mean less spending!