FIRE Investing Retirement

How Much To Diversify?

As per a previous post, I only own 7 investments in my retirement portfolio.

Not exactly diversified, I guess.

I think the general consensus is you should own a broad spectrum of stocks or some kind of market or index fund to really maximize your diversification in the long run.

But, how many stocks do you really need?


I recently read this article that states you should own about 30 stocks to be diversified, but it also suggested that owning 12 to 18 stocks would give you 90% of the benefits of diversification.

For me, 30 stocks is a lot. I would have trouble tracking that many investments and would most likely loose interest. 12 to 18 is more reasonable, and as it turns out, you would still get some decent diversification.


There are two types of risk – ‘market risk‘ and ‘firm-specific risk‘.

Market risk refers to the general movements or trends of the markets and you can’t do much about it expect be patient.

Firm-specific risk refers to ‘uncertainty of a specific area of the market or even a specific stock.’ – it is the inherent risk in one individual company because of the business it is in.

Diversification can help reduce firm-specific risk – by owning multiple different companies, the hope is that the ‘ups and downs’ of each company will offset each other over the long term.

Diversifying can also make up for a lack of knowledge in any specific business sector. You can buy multiple different sectors and hopefully, losses in one sector will be offset by gains in another.

But, I think if you end up owning more stocks that you need, you may as well just own a mutual fund or ETF, unless you enjoy researching lots of investments.


At the age of 40, I made a startling realization – I was far behind in my retirement goals.

Throughout my 20’s I had made some financial mistakes and in my 30’s I took mini-retirements or sabbaticals (I’ll make a future post on this) and found that my retirement portfolio was not what it should be.

I realized that I did not have time on my side. It dawned on me that I would not be able to take advantage of diversification as I would had I been in my 20’s. My time horizon just wasn’t that long.

So, I made a decision to increase my risk profile substantially, and I decided to focus (mostly) on technology. I also own a banking ETF and a utility. That’s it.

Oh, and I also really like dividends.

I think it’s also important to enjoy what you do. I really enjoy reading about technology. I don’t think I could invest in something that did not interest me.


It’s actually worked out quite well for me.

Sadly, I don’t own AMAZON, but I’ve done well on Applied Materials (AMAT) – it supplies equipment that makes semi-conductors plus it pays a dividend. I really enjoy reading about this company.

While I still cannot retire, it has turned into a decent nest egg.

Managing the portfolio is also not a chore since I have so few stocks and I enjoy researching them.


Warren Buffet said, ‘diversification is protection against ignorance. It makes little sense if you know what you are doing.’

Do I know what I am doing?

At the start of my investing journey, I would say ‘probably not’ but now that I am older and wiser, I think I am better equipped than if I stayed with mutual or index funds.

The best hedge against ignorance is to educate yourself and just take action.

If you’re younger, I would say, just buy index funds … but if you’re older like me, and you’re willing to educate yourself, you may want to take a few extra risks.

As it turns out, you actually don’t need to have a mass of stocks in your portfolio.

Investing Retirement

Stocks I Own In My Retirement Fund

I’ve been investing on my own for many years now. When I was younger, I bought index funds and simply held those but I realized I was not exactly where I wanted to be so I decided to go self-directed back in 2010.


I own 7 stocks and here they are:

  1. Apple (APPL) – Technology.
  2. Applied Materials (AMAT) – Supplies equipment for the manufacture of semi-conductors.
  3. Facebook (FB) – Social media.
  4. Fortis (FTS) – Canadian utility.
  5. Microsoft (MSFT) – Technology.
  6. Tesla (TSLA) – Technology /auto.
  7. XFN – Canadian bank exchange-traded fund.

I only own a small number of stocks to keep things simple. I feel that if you own more than 10 or 20 stocks, you may as well just own a mutual fund or exchange-traded fund.


As you can see, this is usually what I look for in stocks:

  • Dividends
  • Technology
  • Canadian banks

I also buy on dips – if there is a large drop in value due to ‘bad news’ or some other economic event I will buy. I also plan on holding all my purchases for at least 10 years.


Is this diversified? Probably not so much for the long term. I’m a late bloomer and I realized about 10 years ago that my retirement goals were behind. I made the decision to take on more ‘risk’ and focus on technology.


It’s done not too badly. I’ve been very lucky and caught a bit of the technology wave. I also managed to buy Applied Materials (AMAT) when it was in the dumps and no one wanted it. I’ve held XFN for a number of years and plan on keeping it as it pays a nice monthly dividend.

Fortis was a bit of a safety purchase and hasn’t done as well as the tech stocks but it has been respectable and pays a decent dividend.

I don’t own much Tesla. I bought a share a while ago because I was curios about it.


Sadly, though, the value of my portfolio is no where near where it needs to be and I cannot retire right now or in the foreseeable future. As I mentioned, I was late to the game and made financial mistakes in my 20’s and 30’s.

That’s it for now! Thank you for reading.

What do you have in your portfolio?

Investing Real Estate Retirement Spending

July 2021 Net Worth Update

I’ve been kind of hesitant to do a post like this but going forward, I will be doing ‘general’ net worth updates. I will not be disclosing my exact Net Worth, but I will tell you, it is considerably less than $1M CAD.

No, I can’t retire yet!

July 2021 Net Worth Update

  • Previous year – compared to July 2020 – I am up 24%.
  • Previous month – compared to June 2021 – I am up 1%

What My Net Worth is Comprised Of

Of my net worth, approximately half is my condo and the other half is my retirement fund and a small amount of cash. I do not keep a lot of cash around.

I keep most cash invested and use a line of credit, if needed.

Reason for Increase

While I’d like to take credit for the increase, I believe it is one thing – money printing and with that, inflation.

Since the last financial crisis, money printing, quantitative easing or whatever you want to call it, has bloated the worth of stocks and real estate. When you factor in the pandemic and the huge amount of subsidies released, this has not helped.

Real estate, especially within cities, has done extremely well over the past 10 years. There is a flight to the urban centers going on (even with the pandemic), which has bolstered market values.

This is a fairly simplistic analysis and I won’t go into further detail but I believe some kind of crash is inevitable.

What do you think?

Budgeting Spending

My Car is 11 Years Old

I drive a 2010 Hyundai Tucson. Black. It is eleven years old now and shows no signs of stopping.


I have to confess, I originally bought the car used and financed it over 5 years. My payment was $455/per month and I hardly put anything down. I had a great job at the time and didn’t worry about the payment. I thought, heck, I can afford it. And I could.

My position paid very well and I succumbed to lifestyle inflation. I bought the SUV and as well as nice clothing and other crap in the ensuing years.

I finally paid it off by 2015 and since then I have not had any car payment.


Now that it is 2021, my Tucson is getting old but I have to say the mileage on it is very low – 90K. You see, I don’t drive much, maybe 5K to 10K km’s each year. I am fairly lucky. I know that many people have to commute every day.


You’re probably wondering – why even have a car? I supposed I don’t really need it. I could sell it, pocket the money and ride transit. Another option – the multiple of car-share companies available here in Vancouver. We now finally have UBER and LYFT.

But I enjoy the convenience of getting out and going wherever and whenever I want. I also need it to take my mom shopping. She is getting older now and struggles to go out on her own.

It’s already paid off, and I as long as there are no maintenance issues, my main costs are only gas and insurance.


Now, that I’ve had my car for 11 years here is what I’ve learned:

  1. No more car payments again. Ever. I will never finance a car again. What a waste of money (if you don’t need to commute a long distance)
  2. Maintenance is key – I do at least once or two oil changes a year. My steering once started to leak and it turned out to be a known issue – a related part needed to be replaced eventually but I decided to bite the bullet and I repaired it on the spot at a cost of $1,000. It’s never bothered me since.
  3. The dealer is a rip-off. Go find a good mechanic somewhere else.
  4. I don’t care what people think. It seems that everyone looks at your car these days and judges you based on what you have.


I don’t understand this culture of upgrading our vehicles and a $500/month car payment is acceptable. When you add insurance and maintenance costs, total spending each month can easily approach $1,000.

I don’t care what I drive. I don’t need a fancy vehicle to show off my status.

I have decided I will drove my TUCSON into the ground.

Personal Development

I’ve been Meditating for 30 days.

For the past year, I’ve been meditating off and on. I hadn’t been too serious about it until one day recently, I realized my energy was low and I felt I wasn’t recovering quickly enough from my workouts. I thought, maybe now it’s time … so, for the past 30 days, I’ve been meditating every day.


We live in a stressful world. From social media to our jobs, there is so much competing for our time and attention. We are one of the wealthiest societies in history, yet stress and anxiety are on on the rise – something clearly isn’t working. The pandemic has been the final straw for countless of us and we’ve realized we may need some kind of relief or something might need to be changed.

Maybe meditation could help out in some way? But will it do anything?

Meditation has many reported benefits, some of which are the following:

  1. Reducing Stress
  2. Promote emotional health /reduce anxiety
  3. Improve sleep
  4. Be more present / mindful


For the longest time, I had always heard about meditation but never really thought too much about it. At the beginning of the pandemic, like everyone else, I was also looking for things to do. So, I went on to YouTube and started searching for videos.

I found hundreds with titles like ‘Guided Sleep Meditation’, ‘Guided Meditation for Anxiety’ or ‘Meditation for Deep Relaxation’ – the list was massive.

I arbitrarily tried one video, ‘Guide Meditation for Relaxation’ It was one person speaking in a very relaxing voice with music in the background, guiding you through a one-hour relaxation session with an emphasis on breathing and affirmations.

After that first experience, I felt very calm and relaxed and I believe it soothed my mind but I didn’t continue consistently until this past month.

You can meditate anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours. For me, I like to lay in my bed with a pair of headphones for about an hour in the afternoon, or I’ll do a sleep meditation in the evening for about half an hour. If I find I don’t have time, even a quick 10-minute one can fit the bill.


After 30 days, this is what I’ve noticed:

  1. I feel more relaxed. Essentially, your brain gets a bit of a break during the meditation.
  2. I think I am more present and I’m not thinking too much about the past or future. Meditation can help with those restless thoughts because you’re focusing on your breathing in the moment.
  3. I don’t feel as physically tired – essentially, the longer sessions are like naps, so yes, it kind of makes sense.
  4. I think I feel less stress. I don’t worry as much (See #2 – being more present or mindful can help with worrying)

Anyways, I plan on continuing meditating and I think it will be an important part of my daily routine going forward.

Maybe next time, instead of watching a video for entertainment, why not check out a quick video on meditation?

As always, Health before Wealth!