The truth is at heart, I am a sports junkie. I could never remember my ex-wife’s birthday (if I had to guess I would say November), yet on command I could recite the six quarterbacks drafted in the first round of the 1983 NFL draft, or name the starting lineup for any of the World Series Oakland A’s teams from the early 70’s. That’s just how I’m hard wired.
My ill-fated youth and early adulthood were spent playing sports. At 18 I was able to wrangle hockey scholarship offers from multiple Ivy League schools, including Princeton. They flew me down, wined and dined me, and I agreed to go. It was going to be great. Except for one thing – I backed out. In what some would call a lapse in judgment (my friends) and others would refer to as complete stupidity (my friends behind my back) at the last minute I changed my mind.
Instead, I decided to play in the Western Hockey League, traveling to such sought after holiday destinations as Prince Albert, Saskatchewan (what a lovely prison they have) and Billings, Montana (where the sheep were not the only ones who were nervous). To make the whole experience even more desirable, we traveled on something that I’m sure at one time resembled a bus, but which I am convinced would not have passed the vehicle emissions test in Delhi. Our safety was further ensured by our erstwhile driver who (and I’m not kidding) had only two fingers on his right hand. We naturally nicknamed him “Lefty” (political correctness had not yet intruded into our existence).
Sounds horrendous I know. And you know what? I loved every second of it! I had more fun, and made more friends, than I thought possible. I had visions of a stellar hall of fame NHL career, having only to worry about adjusting to the trappings of fame and the size of my posse (no that is not a phallic reference). Alas, the scouts saw it differently, and politely suggested that I should consider a different career, perhaps arc-welding. Crushed, I was forced to resort to an academic path. After much hard work (and ensuring I sat beside the keeners during exams) I got a Commerce degree, and took a job in Sales. That was fine for a few years, but I never bought into the “rah-ah” culture, and I decided to head to a Law school.
Big mistake. Law school was great. Being a lawyer, not so much. After all the years of hard work, it took me slightly less than a nanosecond to know I was going to hate it, and hate it I did. I started as a securities lawyer, and spent a half dozen years engaging in the associated fun and frivolity. Disillusioned and disgusted (that is me putting a positive spin on it) I left private practice to move in-house with a Canadian bank, overseeing their mutual fund and high net worth private client divisions.
I would rank that expereinces as being somewhere between putting your testicles in a vice and fasting for a colonoscopy. However, one benefit of my six years in Compliance was that it provided me with unfettered access to the financial services industry. I was able to gain insight into a financial system that purported to champion integrity and trust, but instead was driven almost exclusively by corporate profits and the company’s latest share price. It was good money-high stress, and by 2010 it had dawned on me that I would rather stick a hot needle in my eye than continue. So I left.
In 2010, I took a job in a quasi-public institution writing mind-numbingly dull appeal decisions, which is where remain. I had more time on my hands than I was used to, and I found myself scouring investment materials – blogs, books, articles, essentially whatever I could find. Just FYI – I actually had an earlier incarnation of this blog in 2012 and 2013, and I have no doubt my three loyal followers were devastated when I stopped blogging. I enjoyed it, but I had other things going on that I needed to focus on. With those now out of the way, I have decided to venture back in. I missed it, and I am committed to posting at least twice a week over the next year.
From an investing perspective, I transitioned to primarily dividend growth stocks in 2011, and that has worked well. I hold no bonds, largely because my job provides me with a relatively generous defined benefit pension plan. I have been fortunate to earn a nice income at times in my life, in particular over the last decade. I have also saved and invested a reasonable amount, and currently these investments generate about $25,000 per year in dividends
I anticipate packing in the day job in 4-5 years. My hope is that as I make the transition, I can use this blog to provide an irreverant perspective of some of what I have learned over the years. Experience has taught me that while investing is important, it not a sacred cow that has to be discussed with a furrowed brow and pensive thought. I am going to have fun with this blog. I hope you will too.