I have always been a saver.  Perhaps this is a trait I inherited from my depression era parents.  I started working part-time at fourteen and saved a portion of my earnings, enough that I could pay for my post secondary education while incurring minimum debt.

Much to my parents’ disappointment, I only completed three years of university and never graduated.  I married early and my savings helped purchase our first house.  Even with Women’s Lib insisting all women be empowered and have a career, I was happy enough to be a stay at home Mom and raise my two sons.

Unfortunately, inflation reared its ugly head and I was forced to go out and start earning so we wouldn’t starve.  Our initial 5-year term mortgage of 10.5% matured and we renewed at 17%, considering ourselves lucky as our neighbours across the street were stuck with up to 22% mortgage terms.  The interest on GIC’s and Canada Savings Bonds were also at an all time high, but being a young family we had a lot more debt than savings.

I worked in a bank and, over the years, I learned quite a bit about finances and ultimately took the courses to become a Personal Financial Planner.  When the banks started selling mutual funds in the late 1980’s I enthusiastically worked out my asset allocation model, set up my monthly purchase plans and had accounts for myself and trust accounts for my children.

The stock market was in a boom then and stocks (and mutual funds) were soaring.  Interest rates fell and our customers were leaving GIC’s in droves and jumping on the mutual fund bandwagon.  Then came the “Asian flu” and the first bear market that the GIC refugees had experienced.  I was lucky enough to cash in some of my funds at a good profit to purchase a rental property that one of my sons also lived in while going to university.

Next came direct trading accounts and the tech stock boom in the late 1990’s.  People couldn’t open accounts fast enough and my bank could barely cope with the applications.  I did quite well on most of the stocks I purchased but, if I had been smarter, I would have sold all my tech stock at the peak instead of waiting as the market plummeted.  I would have made at least 3 times as much profit.

This period is when I made up my mind to purchase only dividend stocks.  I know I don’t have enough skill or interest to try to time the market. Dividends seemed to be more of a sure thing, especially those paid by blue chip stocks that increase their dividends annually.  So, this was the beginning of learning about my current investment strategy of retiring with financial security.


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