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2021 - Year in Review

Personal and Blog Recap

2021 - what a year! I can’t believe the pandemic still runs rampant after dominating 2020 but I’m sure you’re all sick of hearing about that, so let’s focus on the more positive side of things.

Personally, 2021 marked the year where we finally pulled the trigger on a home and decided to move back to where my journey in Canada started: PEI. I love the little island and especially compared to the last couple of years in Toronto, I’m looking forward to enjoying the Maritimes from here on out. It seems like clocks just run slower here and for me, PEI has become a place where I can find peace and relaxation after a busy day as well as a place to grow our family.

We are very grateful to have many hands helping us on this journey, from our eyes and ears when shopping for a home remotely, boots on the ground during the move, and the help we needed to carry out a two-week self-isolation following our move in May.

You might have noticed that the blog, as well as the social accounts, have been rather quiet throughout 2021 with our focus being on solving the first couple of challenges that owning a home brings. Most of the responsibilities and decisions that needed to be made were very new to us.

I want to take a moment to shout out to all of you avid readers. Despite being very light on the content side, I have not lost all traction when it comes to growing the audience of the blog. Thank you for every interaction, whether it’s here or on Facebook or Twitter. I love the personal finance community and there is so much to learn from every single one of you.

I’m planning to put more focus back on the blog in 2022, starting with picking up my old schedule of at least one post per week, but if you want to dive a little deeper into specifically what 2022 will have in stock for Just-Dividends, you can check out the ‘Looking ahead to 2022’ section of this post.

Financial Recap

Overall 2021, went pretty well for me financially with my dividend income being up roughly 4% year over year. At the first glance, that number does not sound too enticing, but earlier in the year I terminated a lot of my high-yielding positions to put towards the down payment on our home.

I will go over the transactions in more detail but my overall goal was to terminate positions where it made the most sense and lock in gains of positions I opened over the past three years. The timing for a lot of these positions seemed right as I was able to reap the rewards of holding them through previous dividend payments but there was not a lot of anticipated dividend growth in the foreseeable future so this also provided an opportunity to reevaluate my portfolio to fit my strategy. Locking in capital gains also made me feel okay about my overall experience with the positions and I know that I am carrying forward some capital losses that I can use against the gains come tax time for any positions I was selling in my non-registered account.

I am very excited about going into 2022 as I suspect my total dividends and distributions to grow by about 20%. Additionally, a lot of the funding for my new home came out of my tax-advantaged accounts so I can make sure to use my 2022 contribution room as well as recoup room for my redemptions last year in my TFSA.

Want to learn more about the tax advantage account types available in Canada? Check out the summary of the most used Canadian Account Types.

Historical Dividends and Distributions

Portfolio Transactions

Over the next two sections, I would like to give you an insight into how my portfolio changed over the past year. I made some key decisions and closed a lot of non-dividend growth positions for a substantial down payment on my new permanent home.

Buy Orders

In 2021, I stuck to my current strategy of deploying capital in the market twice a month with every paycheck. This strategy has helped me stay on the ball when building my portfolio and offers the advantage that I can consistently reinvest dividends. My current broker does not offer fractional shares, so there is a steady flow of capital generated by the 62 positions in my Dividend Growth Portfolio to top up.

This came with the exception of the months January to March as we were looking for properties and wanted to save additional capital for the down payment.

Additionally, I received a windfall in the month of June that I distributed to add to several positions that I already owned to increase their allocation and bring them closer to my allocation targets.

So without further ado, here are the buy orders I placed for each month in 2021:

Month Buy Order
January - May Amgen (NASDAQ: AMGN, one transaction in April)

Granite REIT (TSE: GRT.UN)
Canadian Apartment REIT (TSE: CAR.UN)
Brookfield Renewable (TSE: BEP.UN)
Danaher Corp (NYSE: DHR)
Unilever Plc (NYSE: UL)
Realty Income Corp (NYSE: O)
McCormick & Co (NYSE: MKC)
Royal Bank of Canada (TSE: RY)
Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ)

July Procter & Gamble (NYSE: PG)
Fortis Inc (TSE: FTS)
August Canadian National Railway (TSE: CNR)
Linde plc (NYSE: LIN)
September BCE Inc (TSE: BCE)
Lockheed Martin Corp (NYSE: LMT)
October Air Products and Chemicals (NYSE: APD)
Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE: BMY)
November Restaurant Brands International (TSE: QSR)
December STORE Capital Corporation (NYSE: STOR, two transactions)

Sell Orders

Throughout 2021, I terminated several positions between February and April 2021 to fuel the down payment for my home. Below is an overview of the positions I sold and the reasons beyond my decision.

The following positions were terminated as they don’t offer dividend growth, a key factor of my strategy. I entered most of the positions when getting started with investing and the high yield has been a great addition to the portfolio up until the selling point:

MCAN Mortgage Corporation (TSE: MKP)
Shaw Communications Inc (TSE: SJR.B)
AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T)
Choice Properties REIT (TSE: CHP.UN)
Dream Industrial REIT (TSE: DIR.UN)

I also sold the following positions to consolidate my portfolio further. Most of those positions were either received through corporate actions or I initiated the position and upon further review, I chose to terminate the position due to the future outlook.

Sysco Corp (NYSE: SYY)
Pfizer (NYSE: PFE)
George Weston Ltd (TSE: WN)
Interrent REIT (TSE: IIP.UN)
Saputo (TSE: SAP)

The third bucket of stocks I sold contained positions that were duplicative and close competitors to stocks I already have in my portfolio, providing just a little more diversification that I could live without. When pulling capital out of the portfolio for the down payment, I tried to keep the risk to a minimum by not moving completely out of various sectors. The most prominent example of that was terminating positions in three out of the five Canadian Banks.

Bank of Montreal (TSE: BMO)
Bank of Nova Scotia (TSE: BNS)
Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (TSE: CM)
Coca Cola (NYSE: KO)

Looking ahead to 2022

I am very excited to share my plan for the blog for 2022. My content and improvement plan consists of three different goals I want Just-Dividends to reach.

Firstly, I am committed to sharing a weekly post featuring news around my holdings, buy and sell orders as well as articles and videos from other creators. I want to increase the amount of information shared with you while giving you regular updates on the portfolio after discontinuing the monthly posts over the last year.

Secondly, I plan to create a whole new ‘Tools’ section for the blog. From small handy tools like a percentage increase/decrease calculator to more complex tools like mortgage, loan or investment calculators.

Lastly, I have created a content plan and drafted a series of stock analyses focusing on a specific sector/industry that has gained a lot of traction over the last decade. The series will include a stock analysis each week over the next 2 months. Stay tuned for the kickoff of this series next week.

Closing Words

I hope you enjoyed reading through some of these insights into my personal life, portfolio, and performance. Now, let me ask my readers - what were the major milestones you accomplished this year? I would love to learn more about you!

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