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The Best of Million Dollar Journey: 2017 Edition!

Wait! What? Where did 2017 go? It must be an age thing, but it feels like as I get older, time goes by faster. I started this blog in December 2006 as a 26-year-old youngster. At the time, just married with no kids and a newish mortgage. Blink and now it’s December 2017, MDJ is 11 years old, and I’m 38 with no particular increase in maturity level. The two kids are growing up fast with the oldest already 9 years old. In that short period of time, we went from a net worth of around $200k to creating a $1M+ Portfolio that generates $30k+ in dividends per year.

Writing it down, it looks like a bigger deal than it is. The reality is that reaching each financial milestone was the next logical step. Some of the key factors that work for us are: setting goals; creating the habit of saving and finding value; investing; and being open to new opportunities for growth.

The next financial step or journey for us is to work towards financial independence. To measure this, we took our average expenses over the past number of years and set that as our target for passive income (plus buffer). The number we came up with is $60,000. We ended 2016 with around $24k in dividend income, and just recently reported that we hit $34k in 2017. Hopefully, we can hit the $45k mark in 2018.

With a strong bull market since 2009, many “experts” were expecting some kind of correction in 2017. It just so happens that the exact opposite happened, the bull market forged ahead in essentially all major global indexes. In fact, a globally indexed portfolio should have returned around 9%+ in 2017. Our globally indexed family RESP returned around 9.5%, and my spouse’s indexed RRSP returned 10.5%.

The biggest surprise for me was the performance of my “play” trading account. I use this account for fun trading using technical analysis and momentum strategies. The biggest news in trading this year was Bitcoin and cannabis stocks. Unfortunately, I don’t own any Bitcoin (BTC) directly. At the beginning of the year, one BTC was valued at under $1kUSD reaching a high of $19kUSD in December 2017. I do, however, own cannabis stocks, and have for a while. This sector is being hyped due to the pending legalization legislation this summer. Combined with some momentum based technology stocks in the US, has resulted in my account outperforming this year.

So what’s going to happen in 2018? Who knows! My plan is to stay invested, but always have some dry powder available when “sales” come up. I will admit that buying good companies “on sale” is becoming more and more challenging, but I’m always shopping for a deal.

Back to the point of the post!

Here are some of the top articles from Million Dollar Journey in 2017

  • 6 ways to index your portfolio – A pillar article on the ways to index your portfolio. This is a must read if you are a relative newbie in the investing world.
  • How to build a dividend growth portfolio – Ever wonder how I go about building my dividend portfolios? Here are some of my guidelines.
  • 5 useful retirement calculators – how much do you need to retire?  – As I mentioned above, first determine what expenses you will need covered during retirement, then try some of these calculators to figure out how big of a portfolio you need.
  • Asset allocation explained – This is a detailed article about the basics of asset allocation and how to use it with your portfolio.
  • How to deal with bank sales tactics –  Some key questions to ask your bank “financial advisor” the next time he/she tries to push high MER mutual funds.
  • Compensation for being bumped from a flight  – Have you ever been bumped from a flight? Apparently, it’s common practice with some airlines. The next time an airline asks for a volunteer to be bumped, the compensation may be worth it!
  • 8 key sources of retirement income – People can get stressed about retirement income sources, but many don’t realize that you may have more options than you think!
  • Big tax changes to private corporations in Canada – Here are some of the new federal government tax rules for business owners. I will be following up on this with a new article in 2018.
  • Why we took the commuted value of our defined benefit pension – Yes we did the unthinkable and took the lump sum out of our government defined benefit plan. Find out why!
  • How big pensions invest  – Ever wonder how big pension funds manage their portfolios?  It shows the importance of asset allocation.
  • How Bitcoin works and how to trade it  – Confused about what bitcoin is and how it works? This article breaks it down to the basics.

There you have it, my final post for 2017.  Here’s to Health, Wealth, and Happiness in 2018.

Happy New Year!

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The Best of Million Dollar Journey: 2017 Edition!

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