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?

Retirement Spending

The F.I.R.E. Movement

I’ve been reading about the FIRE movement for years – FIRE meaning ‘Financially Independent, Retire Early’ So what exactly is it? Let me start by saying, I am NOT young and certainly not ready to retire but many devotees of this movement have managed to ditch their jobs, retire young and now travel the world or do whatever hell they want.


From some of the stories I’ve read, these FIRE followers lived below their means, sometimes saving as much as 50% of their income (or even more) and then invested any surplus in the stock market or real estate. The stock market has been on a huge bull run the past ten years, bloating many stock portfolios and allowing some of these young savers to even retire in their 30’s! I’m an older guy and I have to tell you, I do not have the money to retire, and it is impressive to hear how they have done it.

I think the run up in values of the stock and real estate markets has surely been a help. Tech stocks have gone up by at least a factor of ten or twenty – it doesn’t take much to retire if you invested wisely have have the benefit of this. I also noticed many of the FIRE disciples had high-paying tech or professional jobs. I wonder if it would be as easy to retire early if you didn’t have the benefit of an excellent education which many of these jobs require. Does it look like much fun living far below your means as many of these early-retirees did? I guess it depends on what kind of person who are and what you can tolerate – short term sacrifice for long term gain!


Well, I do feel a certain amount of envy …lol … but here are a few lessons that I will take away from the FIRE movement:

  1. Discipline – it’s still not too late to keep track of your finances and keep your expenses low – it’s never too late to live below your means and not ‘keep up with the Joneses’
  2. Retirement – I’ve learned that I will always have to be doing ‘something’. I will never fully retire because I would get bored … but, it is nice to have the bank account to have the freedom to tell people to get lost.
  3. Multiple streams – the stock market took a hit early in the pandemic. I think if someone was living off one source of income, it could be a cause for concern. Multiple streams are the way to go and anyone can start at any age.
  4. Real Estate – it’s never too late to buy a rental property (cash-flow positive) or do some kind of ‘house hacking’ or renting out a part of your home if you can.
  5. Comparison – it’s not always good to compare yourselves to others. Everyone’s journey is different and maybe don’t worry so much.

I have to admit, I was a late-bloomer with regards to my personal finances. When I was younger, no one really talked about money as much as they do today. I got my first internet connection in 1996 and at the time, personal finance blogs were not as prevalent as they are today. One of the first books on personal finance I read was “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” back in 1997 and that opened my eyes to the world of how money really works. Today, there are literally thousands of blogs and pieces of information on any topic you want. I think culturally, money is talked more openly now.

Anyways, onward I will continue … I think I will modify the term F.I.R.E. for myself – ‘Financially Independent, Retire Eventually.’