Investing

Our journey to serious investing and saving started in June 2020, after the onset of COVID-19. We are fortunate enough that we didn’t lose our jobs, however we were terrified and knew it was always a possibility. Ryan works in the travel industry, and I work with retail and food service companies, all of which suffered greatly and are still in tough shape.

Compounded onto our job fears, we also had a wedding to plan. Weddings don’t come cheap in Toronto, and although we had to cut back on quite a lot due to government restrictions, we still ended up spending close to $40,000!

A third factor that led us to start investing was wanting to get out of our small downtown condo and move into a larger space. 2 people and a dog working from home in a 1 bedroom + den condo hasn’t been easy, especially given that we’re both on the phone for about 50% of the day. We find ourselves saying things like “sorry if there’s a lot of background noise” or “sorry about my dog barking, he just hears something in the hallway” during almost every phone call.

Prior to June, we were saving at least something every month, but it wasn’t consistent. If we noticed we had a little extra in our bank accounts here or there, we’d transfer it to a savings account but knew that to make a real impact we had to get serious about investing.

What we did next changed everything.

Oddly enough, Ryan’s massage therapist referred us to a financial planner. We met with him several times, and we were mind blown by his investing strategy. As you likely guessed, his strategy was dividend focused. He ran the numbers of how our investments could grow and the more he talked, the more interested we both were. So we did our homework.

First, we read Rich Dad, Poor Dad. If you haven’t read it yet, we strongly recommend it as the first thing you read on your financial freedom journey! Then, we turned to the internet. One of the first blogs we stumbled on, which is still our favourite to this day is Tawcan, a fellow Canadian, chronicling his investing journey, largely through dividends. We also discovered YouTuber, Graham Stephen, and shamelessly binge-watched all of his “What I Spend in a Day” commentary videos. Eventually we also stumbled upon FIRE Movement.

What is the FIRE Movement?

FIRE stands for “Financial Independence, Retire Early”. The premise is simple – live extremely frugally, save and invest aggressively (50% or more of your income), and retire early (your 30s-40s). Definitely easier said than done and although the movement is extreme, we plan to adopt some of its principals and learn to live way below our means.

The biggest impact of all this knowledge we digested was that it caused a shift in our thinking. It was insane to us that there were countless online and worldwide communities and forums of people talking about money and investing, and we had absolutely no idea. We both come from families who spend beyond their means and have friends who do the same – none of us were taught any better. Although we wish we started taking our investing seriously earlier than our late 20s, we’re thankful that we discovered this now, and not 20 years down the line.

Photo by Nataliya Vaitkevich on Pexels.com

Since June, we’ve starting funnelling as much money as we can into our Tax Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs) and Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs). We have a portion of each invested in Mutual Funds with our financial planner and the rest, we control using Questrade and Wealthsimple Trade. We’re still learning, but trying to be as intentional as we can about the stocks we buy. Follow along as we chronicle our portfolio changes and growth each month!

2021

Dividend IncomeTotal Portfolio Worth
January$490.97$201,298.56
February$466.60$204,131.38
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
November
December

2020

Dividend IncomeTotal Portfolio Worth
November$242.38$160,597.20
December$540.50$173,880.98

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