Archive for October, 2005

Ouch!

October 6, 2005

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As crude oil falls to a two month low of $61, the TSX composite is getting hammered. After closing at its highest level in five years on Monday at 11,081, the index slipped 120 points on Tuesday, 212 points yesterday and is down another 158 points today.

Energy stocks have been hit even harder. Encana (TSX: ECA) is down 15%, Petro-Canada (TSX: PCA) is down 11.3%, Suncor (TSX: SU) fell 14.2% and my portfolio holding in Canadian Natural Resources (TSX: CNQ) is down 12.6%.

The past few days once again illustrate the benefits of diversifying a portfolio. My energy exposure is only 6% of the portfolio, so the hit hasn’t been so bad.

Portfolio Update

October 4, 2005

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It occurred to me that though I track the performance of my portfolio, I never wrote about its actual composition. Currently, it is 94% equities, 4% cash and 2% other. I don’t have any exposure to bonds or REITs.

Top 5 holdings are:
Altria Group (NYSE: MO): 8.7%
TD Bank (TSX: TD): 7.5%
E*Trade (NYSE: ET): 6.4%
Canadian Natural Resources (TSX: CNQ): 6.3%
Anheuser-Busch (BUD): 6.3%

Carnival of Personal Finance # 16

October 2, 2005

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Welcome to the 16th edition of the Carnival of Personal Finance and also welcome to Canadian Capitalist. For readers new to the Carnival, it highlights blog entries that focus on personal finance topics. Last week’s edition was hosted by Free Money Finance and the baton will pass to Hello Dollar! next week.

Without further ado, here are the highlights:

Don’t be afraid to switch: Canadian Financial Stuff tells us about the first time he decided to change his bank, why he did it (and how happy he is that he did). Bottom line: If you are paying exorbitant amounts in banking fees, it is time to check out the alternatives and switch, if a better one exists.

Are you Wealthy? Free Money Finance details the formula from The Millionaire Next Door on how to determine if you are wealthy or not. Be sure to check out the lively comments that follow the post.

Teaching Kids Charity & Money: Chief Family Officer Cathy suggests going the extra step by teaching kids a lesson in money management in addition to compassion when it comes to Katrina donations.

A Good Buying Opportunity: The Dividend Guy provides an example a good buying opportunity in the stock market, even though nothing has changed with the company’s fundamentals.

Don’t Believe the Hybrid Hype! Blueprint for Financial Prosperity’s Jim disagrees with a recent CNN/Money story titled Hybrids: Don’t buy the hype. The story points out that buying some hybrid cars doesn’t make financial sense due to their higher total cost of ownership.

Watch Your Back on 529 Savings Plans: Tick Marks’ Dan Meyer discusses pitfalls of 529 savings plans and a few strategies to minimize dangers.

Flipping Websites: Entrepreneur’s Journey offers an interesting post on how to buy a website and flip it for profit.

The More I Save, I Less Aid I Get Myth: Financial Baby Steps shows that while it is true to some extent, it is largely a misconception that saving more for college will reduce the financial aid a child can qualify for.

On the Bleeding Edge: InsureBlog discusses two brand-new ideas in the consumer-centric health care universe.

Online Banking: The Capitalist Blogger discusses how online banking saves both time and money and says that you shouldn’t be afraid to start using it.

Saving on Winter Heating Costs: The upcoming winter season promises to hit the pocket book hard, especially for those of us living in harsh northern climes. Personal Finance Advice shows how we can reduce our heating bills by taking some simple steps that don’t cost a dime.

App-o-rama: Savvy Saver explains how applying for numerous credit cards and playing the 0% balance transfer game impacted her credit score.

Optimizing Credit Card Rebates: Optimized Living presents a table to track the best credit card rebates for various spending categories.

Cranking up Your Credit Score: Political Calculations explains not only how you can improve your credit score, but also what the credit bureaus are looking for in awarding points.

Budget Simplification Strategies: No Credit Needed offers the first post in a series on simplifying the budget-making process.

Borrowing for the American Dream: Frugal for Life comments on the phenomenon of payday loan stores popping up everywhere, even in upper class areas and wonders where that leaves us as we borrow from our future.

When to Sell? Fiscal Times provides a guide to deciding when to sell a stock.

Stealth “Cash Out” Loans: Searchlight Crusade presents the skinny on “cash out” refinancing.

Wedding Gifts: Financial Fruition discusses how much he usually spends on a wedding gift and asks readers if it seems right.

Frugalities and Potatoes: The Common Room offers creative recipes involving potatoes.

2 and 20: Financial Reference discusses the problems with hedge fund compensation structures and why hedge funds are not suitable for average investors.

Motivational Seminar Recap: Steve Pavlina offers a report from a seminar that features some business / investment speakers.

Talking about Estate Plans: The Happy Capitalist points out that according to a recent study, parents of baby boomers are much more willing to talk about their estate plans than their boomer children realise.

Service Car Soon? Maybe Not!: MightyBargainHunter did a few checks on his car and saved himself an expensive trip to the car mechanic when the “Service Engine Soon” light switched on.

Section 409A: Roth & Company explains that tax changes passed last year can contain nasty surprises if you have a non-qualified deferred compensation plan. Now the treasury extends some deadlines – but you still need to review your plans before year-end.

Reverse Valuations of Stocks and Bonds: The Real Returns inverts some familiar financial ratios to get a better handle on market conditions.

Is Your Car Spying on You? Smart Money Daily raises serious privacy concerns about late model cars that are fitted with “black boxes” and points out that not knowing about them when you rent or buy could cost you a lot of money.