Goals for 2006

This is the time of year when everyone is setting their goals for 2006, and I am no exception. 2006 will be a year with a lot of change for us, completing the switchover to a new bank, a switch to a new full-service broker, and our first year filling out our tax return as a married couple. It’s also a year where I expect the value of our RRSPs to grow 69% from contributions alone, to make a small dent in our line of credit while still saving up for the things we want, like vacations.

  • Investing:
    • Contribute to our maximum allowable RRSP room (18% of income in 2005) by the end of 2006.
    • Transfer my RRSP from TD Canada Trust to Clearsight in February.
    • Invest in value-oriented investments or ETFs at lowest cost wherever possible.
    • Be invested in 25% fixed income and 75% equities by the end of 2006.
  • Personal finance-related:
    • Switch all our automatic deposits and withdrawals to PC Financial from BMO.
    • Limit our daily expense for food, dining, gifts, gas, bus, entertainment, recreation, etc . . . to $300-400/week (this will be regulated by having a second chequing account linked to our bank cards which only contains that much per week).
    • Contribute the rest to ING Direct Savings accounts for vacations and other “wants.”
    • Try to get at least one salary raise this year.
  • Debt:
    • Get rid of AMEX Gold and carry only one credit card (BMO Mastercard). Don’t get any additional cards in 2006.
    • Eliminate all credit card spending except for online purchases (only when necessary and which will be paid off immediately) and dental appointments (which I get reimbursed for later).
    • Pay down federal student loan using our lower-rate student line of credit.
    • Pay at least $700/month to student line of credit.
    • Apply all of our tax refund to student line of credit.
  • Blogging:
    • Try to publish at least one post daily.

Some of these goals are things that we’ve just started doing in 2005, but would like to continue doing in 2006. I have no doubt that we will achieve all of these goals, which is why I’ve called them goals and not “resolutions.”

Cut and run: portfolio update

After reading this bearish post, “Sell some winners and most of your losers” I am thinking of increasing the cash-equivalents (bonds, money market, cash) portion of my portfolio.

I have an all-equity portfolio right now at TD, but I am just a few months away from transferring all my investments to Clearsight. Just waiting for the no-sell period to expire on some of my funds so I don’t get dinged with early redemption feeds. Once I switch to Clearsight I will assume a 25-75 bonds/equities ratio eventually. So I do not see this as a market timing strategy, but simply a re-allocation to where I will be in a few months/years from now anyways. This is my portfolio at TD as of now:

Fund % of holdings
TD CDN Equity 4.450%
TD CDN Money Mkt 7.680%
TD CDN Small-Cap Equity 4.460%
TD Emerging Mkt 1.770%
TD Global Select 13.320%
TD Science &Tech 3.480%
TD Energy 4.920%
TD US RSP Index-e 10.770%
TD Int’l Index-e 11.030%
TD CDN Blue Chip Equity 14.470%
TD Dividend Growth 14.230%
TD US Mid-Cap Growth 14.230%

The reason the money market fund is there is because that is the only thing I could put money into that doesn’t have a 90-day no-sell period. Before the monthly transfers from Clearsight were in effect I wanted to put my money somewhere (so I couldn’t spend it). Don’t ask me why I don’t have 25% bonds in my TD portfolio. I actually used to have at least that much but for some reason (can’t even remember), I sold them. That’s partly the reason I’m leaving TD. I want an advisor between me and my portfolio to stop myself from excessive trading and pointless fiddling. I think I’ll sell the Science & Tech fund. I’ve wanted to get rid of that for a long time. I have nothing good to say about tech funds or technology stocks in general. History has proved time and time again that they are nothing but trouble. I will probably also sell TD CDN Equity which has had a good run and did not perform as well in the previous bear market as did TD Dividend Growth or TD Blue-chip Equity.

I do not have access to the original article, but here is part of what The Big Picture quoted:

The disquieting overwhelming agreement among Street folk that we’re in a rally mode whose only real danger is that of missing out on the fun and profit that lie ahead is not the sole reason for our skepticism. The inevitable speculative excess that such an attitude begets is another tangible cause for unease. Speculation, of course, is always with us. And thank heavens it is, since it’s truly a vital investment ingredient, adding spice and whetting appetites. Heck, without speculation, Wall Street would be the epitome of dullness. But it’s the classic good thing that you can quickly and easily get too much of.

And whether you feel we’ve reached that state depends mostly, we reckon, on whether you own a stock that’s kicking up its speculative heels or not. What is clear, however, is that there’s no shortage of such stocks and their numbers do seem to be steadily rising. Here, we suspect the revived passion for momentum investing, the opportunistic approach of many hedge-fund managers, reminiscent of the day traders in the late ‘Nineties, to buy anything that moves, and the hyperventilating habitu├ęs of the online chat rooms are major stimulants

. . .

Stepping back a ways to get a little broader perspective, it seems to us that we are witnessing the beginnings of the end of the fabled era of easy money. And anyway you slice it, that shapes up as not exactly good news for a lot of businesses that battened rich in that extraordinary era

I do NOT listen to this kind of stuff. I do not buy in to any predictions about what the stock market is going to do next as it is completely unpredictable. I like to have a balanced asset allocation and rebalance from time to time. Predictions like these are not anything to be taken seriously or to lose sleep over; they are only a reminder that it is wise to not be 100% in equities.