My wife and I are spending this August long weekend planning our dream trip to the U.K. next summer. So far we’ve booked flights to Edinburgh, Scotland and found an Airbnb for our two-week stay in Kilkenny, Ireland. We’re trying to fill in the rest of the details, including travelling to Inverness, flying to Dublin, and finding interesting attractions to see along the way. We hope to finalize our itinerary in the coming weeks.

It’s gratifying to see our dream vacation turn into reality. I first blogged or made reference to a 4-week trip to Ireland back in November, 2011 as part of an 11-part financial freedom series:

4-Week Vacation in Ireland

How accurate was this goal? Incredibly, the only thing that has changed is our desire to see Scotland in addition to Ireland on our month-long adventure.

We’ve been talking about this trip for more than 10 years, but seven years ago I wrote it down in this blog and we held ourselves accountable to making it a reality by 2019. Here we are, in 2018, making concrete plans for our dream trip to the U.K. in the summer of 2019. Just like we planned. It’s a beautiful thing.

This Week’s Recap:

I wrote one post this week on how I try to keep the needle moving forward on my financial freedom goals despite low (or no) wage growth.

Over on Rewards Cards Canada I explained how we redeemed Aeroplan miles for flights to the U.K., saving thousands on fees and taxes along the way.

Weekend Reading:

Horizons ETFs made headlines this week when it announced two new all-in-one balanced ETFs to take on Vanguard’s asset allocation ETFs. Not everyone was impressed with the announcement, however, as Horizons is claiming in its advertisements that these ETFs come with 0 percent management fees. The problem is, it’s not really true:

Purpose Financial CEO Som Seif points out correctly that while this new “fund of funds” may come with no additional management fee, the underlying funds (the seven ETFs held under the umbrella) do come with fees.

Does Canada really need an inheritance tax? Global’s Erica Alini tackles this complicated topic.

The stock market is half the size of its mid-1990s peak, and 25 percent smaller than it was in 1976. Here’s why that’s a problem for everyone.

Steadyhand’s Scott Ronalds lists twenty smart takeaways from 20 years in the investment industry. My favourite lesson:

“Ignore the phrase, “the market is at an all-time high.” It’s overused and is an inappropriate scare tactic that encourages market timing (which doesn’t work). If you refrained from investing in stocks when the market was at an all-time high five years ago, you’ve missed out on big gains.”

Morgan Housel on why you’re more likely to be right if you’re constantly trying to prove yourself wrong.

And again, here’s the brilliant Housel with the spectrum of financial dependence and independence. What level do you fall under? I feel stuck somewhere between level 7 and level 8.

A great read on why points obsessed travellers (Hi!) are terrified of losing their perks, referring to Starwood fans fearing what’ll happen to their beloved loyalty program when it merges with the giant Marriott rewards program later this month.

Michael James has been serving as executor of an estate, causing him to reflect on how to sort his own affairs to make it easier for his sons.

On the same topic, Rob Carrick asks solo seniors who will execute your will when you die?

Here are four lessons from Hetty Green, the richest woman in Wall Street history.

We always hear that long-term stock returns should average between 8-10 percent a year. But what are normal stock market returns? PWL Capital’s Ben Felix explains.

And here’s Ben Felix’s latest YouTube video where he explains why foreign withholding tax is a tricky little detail that can eat into your investment returns:

A Wealth of Common Sense blogger Ben Carlson explains the concept of ‘willing losers’ where people take actions that put them at a disadvantage, such as people who carry a credit card balance, or people who day-trade.

Tom Bradley says investors will look back and marvel at how good things were from 2014 to 2018. He says to expect lower returns over the next five years because the bull market is showing its age.

Here’s why Canadians are increasingly putting the ‘remote’ in working remotely:

“A growing number of Canadians are taking the term “working remotely” literally, leaving the hustle and bustle of city life behind to work from their cottage or winter home down south.”

Canadian Dividend Investing’s Nelson Smith shares an early retirement strategy – using your RRSP to save taxes.

Finally, a truly bizarre tale about how an ex-cop rigged McDonald’s Monopoly game and stole millions.

Have a great August long weekend, everyone!

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