Last year, I started my first annual financial review and decided to keep it going.
In writing my 2019 financial review, I revisited last years post and realized that I did a lot of travelling overseas.
I went for a much-awaited vacation in and out of Canada. And don’t worry, I didn’t have to go into debt to fund my travels. I’m walking the talk.
2019 Financial Review
Although I spent a lot in travelling, I didn’t have to sell any investment which went down. So I had a taste of a slight recession of the market and side hustle. The good thing is it’s temporary.
1. I have a Group RRSP at work. Every month my employer would contribute an amount equivalent to 10% of my gross income to a Manulife US index fund which I chose. My RRSP on Questrade is dedicated to international index ETF like Horizons Marijuana Life Sciences Index ETF (HMMJ).
2. HMMJ keeps going down. In the last quarter of 2019, this weed ETF keeps going down but continues to pay dividends. I even bought more although the market value has gone down half. As for Organigram (OGI), a Canadian weed stock, there isn’t much progress (nor dividends) other than it slightly went down.
I’m keeping both because I didn’t buy those investments out of the blue. I did my research and chose them out of the many choices. In hindsight, I should have wrote a diary, a reasoning of what made me come to a conclusion.
3. My blog income went downhill. I was off to a great start in 2019 but then as summer gets closer and the nights get shorter, so is my earnings. On the bright side, the expenses is low.
Even traffics were reduced to half which is probably due to constant Google algorithm update. Such experience thought me not to focus on making Google search engine happy. I’m going back to the basic: writing with quality content to my heart’s desire. No holding back.
Related Post: Start a Blog. Make a Passive Income.
One of the post that I enjoy writing was about Modified Pag-IBIG II Program. I went through a lot of trouble in finding and doing different ways to fund my account. It was all worth it anyway.
4. I was qualified for a Tangerine Line of Credit. Personal finance did help me in having a nice credit history that I don’t have to reach out for an LOC. First Toronto Dominion (TD) sent me a pre-approved LOC then before the year ends, here comes Tangerine.
5. For the first time, I made my first foreign exchange transaction. To prepare for my trip in Cambodia, I bought US dollar in Calforex. The experience is as fast as withdrawing money from an ATM.
With my experience of the volatile market, I learned how much important it is to have cash. I used to pour in so much of my income to REIT and Canadian ETFs and save little cash, then I had to sell equities in times of necessity.
In 2020, I’ll allocate more cash than a usual saving rate into my emergency funds . . . without guilt.
I chose a memorable experience that immensely help me grow as a person. And that is travelling to Siem Reap, Cambodia.
First, it thought me that I can make my dream come true if only I set my mind on it and do whatever is necessary to make it a reality.
Second, I am grateful of the opportunity to travel with my siblings. We didn’t get to do this in the past without our parents. Also, we have different interest and simply broke as new college graduates moving from one job to another within a year.
Third, I am reminded again that I can be happy and content wherever I am. Cambodians show me that with their hospitality and resilience. They work hard with a smile on their face. It’s all right to trust strangers while not risking one’s safety.
Where are we heading next? How about Batanes. It’s serenity and landscape are breathtaking.
Apart from travelling, I get more into dental health, entertainment, and an inexpensive new hobby.
1. My dental care includes (in order) flossing, tooth brushing, and tongue scraping. I floss and scrape at night every day. After visiting my new dentist, I’ve been following this routine. Sometimes, I am lazy then I have to remind myself that it will only take a few minutes. Just do it.
It’s not just me. I’m encouraging my siblings to do the same even though dental visits are cheaper in the Philippines. None of us are wearing dentures. So far.
Related Post: My Dental Care Routine
2. I finished watching 3 seasons of Anne with an E. Why did I took so long to realize that it is worth watching although it’s not as famous as Game of Thrones (I haven’t watched).
If you are in Canada, you can watch Anne with an E on CBC for free. One more thing. I usually skip intros but I don’t dare with Ahead by a Centrury performed by The Tragically Hip. My goodness. The song and the series complement each other.
And for a dose of laughter, watch Baronness von Sketch. These ladies are seriously funny.
3. I switched to a DIY deodorant in November. And I’m not going back. This is the start of using zero waste products. Thanks to Jenny of The Simplicity Diaries, I don’t have to buy a commercial deodorant ever again.
I binged watch Nate O’Brien on YouTube. In the last quarter of 2019, I keep seeing his video about minimalism. So I unknowingly went down the rabbit hole. Do I really need an electric kettle? Or should I get a thermos? Hmmm.
After watching most of his video, I only select what to watch like what I do with other subscriptions.
Why? Because I have many blog posts to write and also, I need to read books again and not only newsletter on my emails.
4. I stopped wearing and owning jeans. When I had a vacation in the Philippines, I gave my last jeans to my sibling. Over the years, I realized that I seldom wear jeans although at one point I wonder if ripped jeans will suit me.
The amazement faded and so is the necessity. It isn’t appropriate to wear jeans in a place with rocky-mountain weather. It’s cold for half of the year and warm for three or less months. For the rest of the year, learn to play guessing game.
I own khaki, corduroy, and fleece pants which are enough to keep me warm while I’m out and about.
Who knows I might wear jeans someday. Or I’ll borrow from my sibling if we still have the same physique just like when we were teenagers.
5. Propagating succulent is my new hobby. I didn’t know how much patience it will require to grow a succulent. As hobbyists say, you’re in it for a long term. It’s similar to index investing. Let it grow. Let it grow. Do you want to build a snowman?
I like to grow plants that don’t require much water and attention. My list includes snake plant and aloe vera (good as facial moisturizer).
Out of the things I’ve done in the list, my favourite is doing DIY deodorant. Maybe, I should do more do-it-yourself project. What do you think?
I thought of ending my personal financial review with goals for next year instead of writing another post.
1. Focus on increasing blog income. With a full-time job I have to use my time wisely while not depriving myself of watching shows on Netflix.
2. Invest more in Canadian index fund. In the past, I invest more in REIT, MIC, and weed ETF which are riskier than an index fund. I’ll be more risk averse and invest in stable ETF.
3. Buy sustainable products. I’m replacing my stuff with zero-waste products so you can expect upcoming post about toiletries, clothing, and whatnot.
Don’t worry. I’m consuming whatever I have before replacing an item with a sustainable replacement without stretching my budget out of proportion. Affordability and sustainability can work together with a little creativity.
Related Post: CabinZero: a Minimalist Travel Backpack
4. Move to a new place (again) that is still close to work. Due to unexpected event, I have to move to a new apartment this year. This time packing is hassle free. Minimalism helps me to use and enjoy the things that I already own and let go of unused stuff.
I’m excited in living in a new apartment (2020). For the love of nature, let there be a garden.
5. Cross the border. Last year, I wasn’t able to go to any US state. I’m hoping it will happen this year but my priority is a trip to a South American country.
My activities in 2019 are well diversified. I wish I can say that about my investment portfolio. From now on I’ll be writing my financial review the entire year. I’ll take note of progress and changes.
Till the next financial review. Let’s press on towards financial independence.