I want enough money to live decently, to spend time with the people I love and to do the things I care about : travel, sports, reading, writing and volunteering.
My strategy to become independent financially will consist in diversifying my assets while managing risk and security at the same time. It's the do-it-yourself easy peasy strategy.
Concretely it means :
- Keeping Cash flow. Why? To buy cheap stocks/ETF's when market dips. I will mostly buy stocks/ETF's I already own once there's a price fallout of at least 10% compare to their highest price of the year. Cash flow will represent at least 5% of my portfolio.
- Buying stocks from strong companies that dominate their sphere of activities and have a history of paying and raising their dividends. I will (try to!) pick no more than 25 of those and make sure they operate in at least 5 different sector of activities. As of now, my portfolio contains 22 individual stocks (14 Canadian and 8 US) and one International ETF. Seriously, aside from retired people and Wall Street aficionados, who has the time to closely follow more than 25 different companies ? (heck, I barely have time to watch the TV.)
- Buying Government Bonds Government can always raise taxes to pay their debts. So it's safe to say they are a reliable source to lend some money to. The Quebec Step-Up Bonds from Placement Québec (redeemable annually) offer a great security-wise yield. There are also ETF's bonds, such as the Vanguard Canadian Short-Term Bond (VSB). My % of bonds in my portfolio shouldn't be more than 10-15% Why? Because I'm young (sort of), I am bold and I have already a small pension (100% safe) from an old company I used to work for.
- Respecting my asset allocation: fix revenue /cash = 15-20% VS. stocks/ETF's = 80%. That pretty much sums it up. This is my ideal portfolio repartition. Once, twice or couple of times a year I will try to keep that exact balance between these two assets. If stocks price have soared, I will buy more bonds and vice-versa. So if stocks have declined, I can sell some bonds ans buy cheap stocks.
- Owning a property. Yes, there is a debate as to whether or not buying is better than renting. In my view, and according to my readings, you are better off renovating and paying for something that is yours. Besides, don't you feel great at home ? If you sell it, it's 100 % tax-free. Right now, I own one property. Doesn't mean it will stay like that forever.
- Staying out of debt. I know, debt is sometimes a good way to invest. But most of the time its not. I try to keep my margin to a minimum, and more importantly my credit card to a perfect 0.
- Being frugal. It doesn't mean being cheap. It's the difference between eating out a Beef Tartare with a glass of Cab every week as oppose to, say, every two weeks! It also means learning to do stuff yourself : cleaning, cooking, renovating, repairing your old motorbike, budgeting, watching over your finances, and so on.