Swap Based ETFs Explained

swap

A reader question asking about Swap-Based ETFs and whether they are a smart move for Canadians. With a bit of searching around on the Internet, the simplest explanation for what they are and their advantages is here: Canadian Couch Potato- Understanding Swap-Based ETFs. They are basically a vehicle to reduce taxes within an investment portfolio. I myself do not hold any of them, but they seem like potentially a good idea and I plan to…

Continue reading

Andrew Hallam and Dividend Paying Stocks

dividend stock

I know that many people who read this blog also like Andrew Hallam who writes about expat personal finance and investing. The other day someone who had read, The Wealthy English Teacher: Teach, Travel, and Secure Your Financial Future and had checked out the Dividend Monk’s site wondered why Hallam only invests in index funds and not dividend paying stocks and Hallam was kind enough to message me with his answer: “Great topic for discussion.…

Continue reading

Money Diet Challenge

money diet challenge

I’ve been doing a money diet challenge for March in order to try to save lots of money in preparation for my return to the extremely expensive motherland that is Canada. Here is how I did in previous weeks: Week 1 Money Diet Update: $117 Week 2 Money Diet Update: $76 Week 3 came it at $163, with $57 of that being spent in a single night out with the girls and then I also…

Continue reading

ETFs and Dividend Paying Stocks in a Single Portfolio

etf stock

Another reader question today: “Do you combine the 70:30 approach with dividend stocks (I mention a 70-30 approach for investing in my book, The Wealthy English Teacher, where I refer to something like having 70% of your portfolio in stocks and 30% in bonds)? Is it sensible to have a portfolio like the following: 10% HXT Horisons S&P/TSX 60 index 25% Vanguard FTSE Developed Index ETF 30% S&P 500 index 30% Horison’s Canadian Select Bond…

Continue reading

Why doesn’t Andrew Hallam like Dividend Paying Stocks?

andrew hallam

A reader question: “After reading your book (The Wealthy English Teacher: Teach, Travel, and Secure Your Financial Future) and being on the Dividend Monk’s site I was excited to see what Hallam would say about quality dividend stocks (strong fundamentals, history of increasing dividends, etc) in The Global Expatriate’s Guide to Investing: From Millionaire Teacher to Millionaire Expat. However it seems like Hallam dismissed them quite quickly, saying that they didn’t earn as well as…

Continue reading

Giving Stuff Away for Free Makes Me Happy

giving stuff away

Over the decade of so I’ve been living in Korea, I’ve collected a lot of stuff and ever since I moved into a large apartment (about 700 square feet for just me!), it’s been extremely easy to keep getting more since storage really isn’t an issue. Except now that I’ve decided to move to Canada in a year, it’s time to unload. My Unloading Stuff Strategy 1. Sell the stuff that had some value. I…

Continue reading

Frugal Living: Buy in Bulk

bulk buy

Some of my friends like to make fun of me because when they come over to my house, they go into my bathroom and see 20 rolls of toilet paper, a 10-pack of bar soap, a huge jug of bleach, or a giant tub of laundry soap. In my kitchen, the same kind of thing can sometimes be found and I’ll have 5 or 6 bottles of wine in my cupboard, a vat of dish…

Continue reading

The Wealthy English Teacher

wealthy English teacher

The Wealthy English Teacher: Teach, Travel, and Secure Your Financial Future is available on Amazon in both digital and print formats. You DON’T need to have a Kindle to get the digital version, but you can get the app from Amazon and read it on any smartphone, tablet, Mac or PC. If you’re living abroad, teaching English as a Foreign language and want to learn how to pay off debt, get started with investing and…

Continue reading

Money Diet Challenge: Week 2 Update

money diet challenge

I’m doing a March Money Diet Challenge to kick-start my return to Canada savings. My goal is to spend less than $400 for the month on discretionary things. Week 1 was not fabulous at $117, but week 2 came in at a solid $76 with no unexpected expenses (last week I had a $40 bicycle repair). Here’s the week 2 money diet spending breakdown: Transportation: $9 Groceries: $4 Entertainment (coffee, eating out, drinking, karaoke): $63…

Continue reading

YOU are taking a vacation?

As I exercise, I listen to podcasts and once of my favorite financial ones is Suze Orman, author of The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous & Broke. She takes calls on her show from people who have serious financial problems, but are quite often in just as serious denial. Examples of the Financial Crazy 1. Someone has $60,000 in credit card debt, but they just leased a $20,000 car. 2. Another person is struggling…

Continue reading

Investing Books for Beginners: My Recommendations

If you’re new to the investing world, it can be a bit overwhelming to get started on the path towards financial freedom. There are plenty of helpful blogs out there, such as Mr. Money Mustache, Wise Bread, or The Simple Dollar but it can be difficult to get the “big picture” while you’re scrolling around from post to post at random. It’s perhaps a much better choice to read a book because you get the…

Continue reading

Personal Finance: 7 things you should have learned in High School (but didn’t)

Whenever I talk to my friends, I’m almost astounded when I hear stories of the mistakes that they made in their late teens or early twenties and I find it hard to believe that they graduated from high school without knowing this stuff (I would have been clueless too, but I freakishly was interested in financial stuff from an early age and used to read books about it in my teens). Maybe it’s the responsibility…

Continue reading

The Return to Canada: let’s talk Money

As I’ve mentioned before on this blog, I’m going to return to Canada next year after living in South Korea for almost 10 years and that in order to do so, I feel like I need to have a giant pool of money so I can sustain myself for at least a couple years while I go back to school and look for full-time work. Those expats who go home without this money pool often…

Continue reading

Expat Investing: Resources to Get You Started

Investing in the financial markets when you live abroad can be a bit complicated due to things like currency conversions, tax laws and just fewer options for things like brokerage accounts. But, it’s not impossible and with a bit of reading and research, almost anyone can do it. Here’s where to start: Expat Investing Resources 1. Andrew Hallam’s- The Global Expatriate’s Guide to Investing: From Millionaire Teacher to Millionaire Expat. One of the best (and…

Continue reading

“Investing” with No Research

Research Would Show: Mutual Funds are Terrible I was just talking to my Canadian friend this morning and she was telling me about her mom who has hundreds of thousands of dollars invested in mutual funds. With even a minimal amount of reading about investment options, you would know that mutual funds are basically a total rip-off, particularly if you’re from Canada since the fees there are the highest in the world and you’d be…

Continue reading

Expat Brokerage Options

A common question that I get from my friends who are teaching English abroad is what brokerage I use to invest in the stock market. It can be quite complicated and a brokerage in your home country might not necessarily be the best choice for tax-related reasons. Andrew Hallam and Expat Brokerage Options The best information out there on this topic is from Andrew Hallam, in The Global Expatriate’s Guide to Investing: From Millionaire Teacher…

Continue reading

Money Diet Challenge, Week 1 Update

The Total: $117 In order to save up for my return to Canada in one year from now, I’ve undertaken a Money Diet Challenge for March. For the first seven days of March, I spent a total of $117 and had three “zero days” during that time where I spent nothing. Week 1 Breakdown Entertainment/Eating Out/Drinking: $42 Transportation: $9 Groceries: $12 Miscellaneous: $54 (Bike repair-$40, Dentist-$14) Not Terrible, but Not Great I can’t exactly say…

Continue reading

Money Means Choices

Money Diet March has been in full force this past week and I’ve discovered that I am not actually the queen of frugal that I thought I was. Perhaps that ship has sailed and since I’ve paid off all my debt, have a fat stack of cash in various bank accounts around the world and significant investments, I’ve gotten out of the hard-core frugal lifestyle that I lived while I still had student loans. I’m…

Continue reading

Top 10 Life Lessons I’ve Learned while Living Abroad

I’m coming up on my 10th year anniversary of living in Korea and along the way, I’ve learned a lot about myself, life and finances. I’m sure I would have learned these things, eventually while living in my home country just as a result of getting older and wiser, but I think there’s something about leaving everything familiar that can speed this process up. Top 10 Life Lesson I’ve Learned while Living Abroad 1. People…

Continue reading

Frugal Living: Dental Care

A Confession I have a confession to make, but I feel pretty okay putting it out there into the blogosphere because i think it’s something that a lot of people also neglect. I loathe going to the dentist and at previous points in my life, sometimes years would slip by between appointments. Except that once I hit my thirties and started getting cavities and root canals, I knew that this strategy was clearly a bad…

Continue reading

What I’m Buying: VDY (Canadian High Dividend Yield ETF)

The problem that’s not really a problem I’ve talked a bit about how I’ve been sitting on almost $10,000 of cash, waiting for the market to crash so I can buy. I actually like to have all my cash invested, along with around $30,000 on the margin, so that was $40,000 I didn’t have put to good use. Now, I do realize that having too much cash isn’t really a real problem, but it was…

Continue reading

Frugal Living: Eat Vegan

I’m all about frugal living, which I’m sure you know if you’ve been reading this blog for the past year. And, now that I’ve decided to move back to the ridiculously expensive mother-land (Canada) in a year from now, I’ve jumped back on that bandwagon with even more motivation. One of the ways that I live frugally is by eating vegan, a lot-probably 80% of my meals contain no animal products whatsoever. I will eat…

Continue reading