Wow, another year almost into the history books!
Where does the time go??
I don’t know about you, but both Joe and I are excited to see what 2024 brings…including market returns. 🙂
On that note, it seems hard to fathom how 2024 could be as good as 2023 has been to date.
At the time of writing this post just before the holidays, returns of key low-cost ETFs we follow, own and/or track with our members and readers:
- XIU – up over 10% YTD.
- XAW – up over 15% YTD.
- VTI – up over 20% YTD.
- QQQ – up over 50% YTD.
With 2024 just around the corner, we figured we’d share some of our favourite posts from 2023 that really resonated with our readers and members, posts that got some media attention, and/or posts that added value to new visitors to our site.
Welcome to our best posts of 2023.
We hope you enjoy our list for your holiday downtime!
Best Posts of 2023
We started 2023 off with a bang – highlighting everything you need to know about the 2023 RRSP deadline and contribution limit, while sharing lesser known facts to manage this account wisely. Take a moment to skim that post and we’ll update it in early 2024 to provide some tips from our members including how they’re managing their RRSP/RRSP assets as part of their asset decumulations plans.
In that post, we also highlighted the pros and cons of contributing to your TFSA over your RRSP. This is our ongoing thesis:
“The reality is, if your savings rate is modest to high, you can likely maximize contributions to your TFSA first and then contribute/maximize contributions to your RRSP with any funds leftover.”
Whether you use the tax-deferred power of the RRSP or the tax-free power of the TFSA, hit us up with a comment or a question about what you’re doing – how you’re using either account to accelerate some wealth-building.
In February, we took issue with various reports and some clickbait citing many Canadians feel they need $1.7 million to retire.
The facts are, depending on various other income sources in retirement along with your spending plans, you might need that much.
The other facts are, most Canadians will never have that much invested for retirement – and they might not need to.
We get into the math in that link above to provide context and comfort beyond the headline noise.
Certainly, with inflation fears running wild this past spring, some readers looked back at this post and wondered if it was time to consider an All-Weather Portfolio – an approach that would take advantage of different asset classes to weather any market calamity.
Well, you might recall we’re not against some of those all-weather arguments but instead, we prefer a bias to mostly stocks (via individual holdings and/or using low-cost ETFs to build wealth with), along with always keeping some cash handy for the aforementioned calamity to buy more stocks when they go on sale.
This is part of the reason why we updated this post about some of our favourite, low-cost ETFs to own as part of diversified portfolio. Read on and let us know your thoughts about those funds if you are designing your own portfolio from scratch.
With readers and members of our site both younger and older, and with so much focus on the TFSA contribution room growing as a wealth-building account year after year for all ages, we wondered could any younger generation consider retirement on just using their TFSA?
At Cashflows & Portfolios, both Joe and myself love investing in many Canadian (and some U.S. stocks) for rising cashflow / higher dividend income. So far, so good! We know many of our members and readers do the same.
The reality is, while this approach can and does work for many, the long-term approach to “live off dividends” leaves way too much money on the table.
We shared that sentiment in this post: is living off dividends a mistake?
As DIY investors ourselves, we all make money mistakes and look back at some opportunity costs. So does every investor.
Even the greatest investor of our time mentions he has made some big mistakes.
Back in 1993, we recall/read that Warren Buffett purchased Dexter Shoe Co for $433 million in Berkshire Hathaway stock. Buffett’s investment in Dexter Shoes turned into a disaster because he saw a durable competitive advantage in Dexter that quickly disappeared.
According to Buffett from what we read: “What I had assessed as a durable competitive advantage vanished within a few years.” So, in his 2007 letter to shareholders, Buffett said:
“To date, Dexter is the worst deal that I’ve made. But I’ll make more mistakes in the future – you can bet on that.”
Let us know your thoughts on that!
A few emails in our inbox in 2023 asked us about our top stocks and holdings.
We’ll continue to make this an annual update for you and we engage more on that subject with members/users of our services too. Stay tuned for more in 2024!
As previously mentioned, we get a range of readers, from the savvy and very sophiscated to new investors as well. We are happy to engage with anyone and everyone about personal finance and investing here…
For the experienced investors, let us know what we should add to that post for a future update!
To paraphrase author and speaker Morgan Housel:
While planning is important, every investor should know the most important part of every financial plan is to plan on the plan not going according to plan.
In that light, in September, we published this post:
Based on our research, even if/when another crisis hits, both Joe and myself are going to try and remain invested as much as humanly possible – although we know this is easier said than done.
A good reason to remain invested, as much as possible for as long as possible?
When dividends (yes, juicy dividends!) are factored in, the S&P 500 has risen 72% of the time year-over-year since 1926. So, the stock market goes up 70% of the time. This is why you invest and stay invested in stocks.
In semi-retirement or full-on retirement, we consistently see retirees’ error-proof their drawdown plan.
Here are a few smart ways to do that in our post: how to decumulate assets in retirement.
As members and our readers might know, there are many types of GICs, which can/could influence the exact interest rate offered to you as an owner of these products:
- Fixed-rate GICs – pay a predetermined interest premium each term.
- Variable-rate GICs – that link interest payments to a fluctuating benchmark, usually the institution’s prime rate.
- Equity-linked GICs – interest rates on these are not determined until maturity. If the market underperforms, you may see no return except for your original principal, which is guaranteed. (Not the best deal!)
- Escalating-rate GICs – such products increase the interest rate that you are paid overtime. Let’s say you buy one that matures in three years. That GIC product might pay you 1% in year 1, 1.25% in year 2, and then finally 1.5% in year 3. Like fixed-rate GICs, this type of product does not protect you against inflation.
These are just some of the products you can buy.
To learn more and understand what some of the best GICs are in Canada, at a point in time, we published this post recently and we’ll update it every few months too!
And, as a bonus article last month, we published this articles we’re not overly keen on most personal finance rules of thumb – they don’t add up for many of us when it comes to detailed retirement income planning.
Finally, this month…to close out 2023 thanks to reader suggestions and inputs we updated this post on our site to highlight the Best ETFs in Canada to Build Wealth With. We include funds we own and eat our own cooking!
Best Posts of 2023 Summary
Needless to say, posting both new and updated free content on the site, helping dozens and dozens of new members, helping returning members who we provided a massive discount to as loyalty Done-For-You members WHILE also launching our new DIY solution for tech-savvy, analytical members to do their own retirement income planning – needless to say it’s been one very busy year for us.
But we enjoyed it!
Cashflows & Portfolios remains a free site moving forward into 2024 that will continue to share free, unfiltered, DIY personal finance information and free financial case studies by DIY investors, for DIY investors.
With our free newsletter, we’re committed to sharing new and updated content every month that supports DIY investors at any age with cashflow concepts, determining the best products or investments to consider when it comes to building wealth and growing your cashflow, and sharing ideas about how to manage and navigate that cashflow and your portfolio in retirement. We simply enjoy producing the content.
We also enjoy helping others with their retirement income readiness…but in a low-cost way…
As passionate DIY investors ourselves, we’ve grown a bit tired of the high-fees charged by some professionals for some services and believe there is a much better way for many DIY investors to get answers to their questions, including bouncing ideas, concepts and perspectives off other like-minded savers and investors as part of a membership forum and community.
With our low-cost services, we offer a couple of high-value, low-cost financial projections solutions to help meet the needs of any DIY investor. We’ve offer these solutions to Canadians because we believe saving, investing, portfolio building and monitoring should be a process – one that needs a bit of maintaince and ongoing support – but any reporting support shouldn’t cost you thousands of dollars.
As founders, owners and content managers of this site, we simply offer up our time, expertise, services and solutions to other like-minded DIY investors – without any strings attached. We believe, full-stop, the cost for any retirement readiness solutions shouldn’t be for the wealthy so the pricing needs to reflect that. We also offer a money-back guarantee for all our solutions, services and time – try finding that somewhere else. 🙂
To all the new members and returning members for 2023, thanks very much for working with us, your engagement and also sharing your candid real-life experiences with us. We learn from you as well.
We hope 2024 will be a rewarding year for you financially and personally.
If you ever want to reach out about our services or just say hello, please contact us here to get started.
Don’t forget to mention that you want to lock in 2023 rates before it increases in 2024!
We enjoy the emails, the banter, and take all our feedback seriously for continuous improvement.
Best wishes to you and your family this season.
Onwards and upwards in 2024…
Mark and Joe.