Dear Market Gurus: How do I get 7% growth?

Ending my week’s vacation of  lazily rehashing rummaging through the archives, here is a post from 2007, that has some interesting beginnings for me, the self-loathing about my investing record started early in my blogging career.

Investment Strategy it’s Important

If you are expecting an answer to the Question in the Title (i.e. how do you get a 7% yearly growth) you are asking the wrong guy that question, I am not a financial investment guru, and any money I have made over the years has mostly been by accident, not by some grandiose investment strategy. When I was a younger man, I fooled myself into believing I knew what I was doing, but at the end of it, I didn’t (remember my comments about my tech investments here).

I would say that right now my investment strategy is to use index funds and slow growth bonds mostly, just because I am old enough now that I don’t think I can afford another massive hit like I did in 2000. Should you do this? Have you not been reading, I am saying, GO and find out what YOU should do, I am simply telling you what has worked for me.

Remember a few important points:

  • The more the risk, the more the potential gains, but I am here to tell you that RISK sometimes is a bad thing too (remember Slim Pickens riding that h-bomb).
  • If you are younger you can afford to take risks, because you have time on your side to recover, if you are older, you shouldn’t be risking money you can’t afford to lose.
  • If you use Index Funds and/or Mutual Funds, research them well, and try to buy ones with low management fees, and no entry or exit fees. Don’t buy Mutual Funds solely on the say so of a co-worker or friend, research them, at your library or on-line.
  • If you are going to buy stocks, be careful, because no matter what stock you buy, you are at Risk. I have shares in Financial Institutions because they are making so darn much money, but if the housing BOOM turns into a BUST, these stocks are going to take a hit.

You have time if you are young, create an investment strategy but don’t fool yourself into procrastinating, remember:

If it weren’t for the last-minute, I wouldn’t get anything done. ~Author Unknown

Is not the credo to live by in your financial planning and investing lives.

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What is in it for me?

One of the nice things about having written over 2000 posts and being on the job for over 8 years now, is the fact that you have a massive back-log of stuff that my current readers may not have read, so here I give you a post that didn’t really get much notice back 7 years ago, note the style of writing.

Dear Reader,

So as you can tell I am a mercenary blogger and will do many things to make an extra buck or two (witness the ads plastered all over this BLOG if you are unsure of this), so let’s ask ourselves how we can put a few extra bucks in our pockets (and review a few of my initial rants), What’s in it for us?

  1. Stop paying those ridiculously high banking charges (remember?)
  2. Use some coupons when you shop (hey a couple of extra bucks is nothing to sneeze at)
  3. Get a Credit Card that pays you to use it. PC Financial has a nice one (if you like shopping at Loblaws that is), and gives you cash. AMEX and Costco have one that pays cash as well. For heaven’s sake don’t pay to get money back or points (like that CIBC Aeroplan Gold, only if you are a traveling salesman would that work).
  4. Join Petropoints or whatever other “I give you points for shopping here” program you can find (as long as it is free). I also am a member of the CAA, so I get money back for buying gas at PetroCanada
  5. Stop buying those bloody “Lattes” will ya? What’s wrong with the free coffee at work!

OK, so that is the rant for the day, put your money in your pockets!

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Celebrate the Slow Thinkers

Many of my friends think of me as a fast thinker, in that many times I have very snappy answers to their quips or stories, but it took me a while to figure out that while I do have a quick mind, my initial ideas and response to most problems that I am confronted with is wrong!

That is correct I am a quick wrong thinker, but I am a much better slower thinker, if you give me enough time, I will eventually figure out the correct answer to a problem.

I used to think not getting the correct response right away was a sign of a weaker mind, but now I realize that some problems need time to view all the possible different angles, before they are acted upon. There are a few remarkably quick and smart minds out there, but there aren’t that many out there (trust me, I have met many folks who think they are quick thinkers, but they are usually as wrong as I am).

Countless times I have made “snap” decisions which at the time seemed great ideas, but in the end they were wrong (or effectively wrong) when I look back on them. There is no shame to ask for time to think about things, and if someone pressures you to make a snap decision follow the advice of a noted child psychologist, who says that when  your child confronts you with a snap decision simply answer:

If you need an  answer now, the answer is NO, if you want to wait a while, we’ll see what I decide.

This is the mature way to deal with any decision (now I am not saying get into over-think gridlock, however, under thinking a problem is just as bad).

The next time you think that someone is somehow inferior because they take longer to make decisions, ask yourself if they end up making good decisions or not, that is really the real barometer. As my wife points out to me many times, if, instead of listening or looking at a problem, you are attempting to formulate a quick “solution” you are in danger of choosing the wrong “solution” or worse the right “solution” for the wrong PROBLEM.

The Great Wall of China Did not Get Built Overnight, it took a while, just like a good decision!

This is a great picture my brother took when he visited China. Sometimes good things just take a while, so be patient, and don’t rush things too much, you might not like how the rushed version turns out.

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Two Step Financial Plans

In these days of folks who can barely read a single page and comprehend what it is about (yes, I count myself in that group), this article will outline the utter simplicity of making a financial plan and succeeding like a hero.

The inspiration for this financial plan is based on a really cool drawing you can see around the net if you google (in images) how to draw an owl. You’ll see some amazingly descriptive steps, but the one I am looking for is the simplest and most direct way.

I have included one of the many copies (if anyone can tell me who the original artist is, I will gladly link to them and give them full credit, since it is an amazing technique):

How to Draw an Owl

How to Draw An Owl (made easy)

 

Isn’t this easy? If all plans and descriptions could be this simple, we would all be much better off! For those who might not be able to read the methoodology on the diagram it is simple:

  1. Draw some circles
  2. Draw the rest of the bloody owl
This follows the same methodology I have heard some stone carvers use, break off all pieces of stone that aren’t part of the final statue (that seems even simpler, doesn’t it?).

With this in mind here is a simple plan on how to create a fool-proof financial plan that will most certainly help you become financially independent in a short period of time:

  1. Create a spread sheet with categories and dates
  2. Do the rest of the plan, implement it correctly, until you are out of debt

Simple eh? What you expected me to make it easy? If I knew how to do this, I wouldn’t be publishing here for free, I’d be charging you $100 a head and make you sit through a hellaciously long talk by me, and then make you subscribe (at a very high premium) to a newsletter and even then don’t divulge the full story (and also make sure my lawyers have had you sign something that completely let’s me off the hook if you follow the plan and fail).

Maybe that is the way to get rich? Don’t worry, if I figure out the fool-proof plan, I will publish it, but then again, you still might not believe it, given it is me giving it to you.

 

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Skittering Put to Rest For Now

My normal view on home repair is to hide in my bed and claim my knee is bothering me (you’d be surprised how many times that works). Unfortunately, some times you cannot ignore some problems, because you know they are going to turn into much bigger issues if you don’t deal with them (an example would be pride goeth before a plumber, where I was so sure I had fixed my plumbing, but not quite).

A problem such as this has arisen at the Cajun Homestead with skittering and scuttering noises in one of our walls.  We noticed that thanks to our awning cover being just under the eaves of our house, some larger creature used that leverage point and pushed up the soffit in the eaves and the following hole was created under there.

Hole in the Eaves with a Mesh DIY Temporary Fix

From what we can tell this hole was then pushed further open to allow all manner of critters into an attic on the side of our house (our house has divided roof decks, and naturally I can’t get into this attic area, to make a repair).

The noise of critters in this attic finally got to Mrs. C8j and she announced to me that she didn’t care how lazy (or injured) I was we had to do something about this before the winter comes and these beasts move in permanently (and then their babies arriving in the spring could create many more problems). I hesitantly agreed and off we went to Home Depot to kibitz about how to fix this hole.

We finally decided on a temporary fix that will cover the hole with a strong metal mesh  (stronger that chicken wire), held in place with metal tapping screws. You can see the fix over the hole in the picture supplied.  This seems to have stopped the critters from entering for now, and hopefully for the foreseeable future as well.

We will eventually have to deal with this and replace the eaves and possibly clear out whatever mess exists in the attic area (figuring out how to get in there is going to be interesting enough), but for now I think our house is a bit better secured (against squirrels at least).

I realize this temporary fix will have to be remedied for real if we ever want to sell the house, but sometimes a temporary measure is needed to get you through a short period.  This kind of short period fix may also be needed with your financial plans, given how screwed up the global economies appear to be, but remember you will eventually have to put in place a real long-term fix (didn’t think I could swing this over to personal finance, did you?).

Why am I writing about this? Pride? No, but it’s important not to procrastinate too much, or you might end up with much bigger problems faster than you think.

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