My stocks took a bit of beating last week. The market was down, apparently because oil prices have yet to bottom out. Given Canada’s reliance on the oil economy, and natural resources in general, it’s not a surprise really that my portfolio lost a bit of steam. In fact last week nearly wiped out all of my gains since I started this blog. Last time I checked, however, I was still in the positive — just barely. Nope, scratch that, I’m in the red, lol!

It’s a weird feeling losing $500 (that I never had before) over a couple of days. Investing in securities is obviously not for the faint of heart, but I think one can get used to it. I’ve had a few stocks lose half their value over the years, if not worse. It happens. The difference this time is that I’m not really looking at short term gains. Stocks go up and down; that’s what they do. What I’m more interested in is dividends, and it honestly makes all of the difference this time around — at least in terms of managing stress. It let’s me keep things in perspective.

When I buy stocks today, I’m more inclined to look at what the stock will pay out over 10-20 years. Probably longer. Of course, a lot can happen during that time — so this is obviously impossible to do! But so long as my dividends keep going up — which is the metric I’m most concerned with — I’m happy. At this point it’s too soon to judge whether my picks have been fruitful on this front. That being said, I’ve seen some positive results already. Both Telus and Fortis have increased their dividends by 5% and 10% respectively. It feels good to see that happening.

So for the time being, I’ll sit through this little earthquake on the stock market. There’s really no point fretting since, again, a lot can happen over the long term. Even after crashes, markets tend to recover after a few years — as we saw in 2008/09. And if the market never recovers, and the economy falls apart — then there’s no amount of strategic investing that’ll save me. Not to mention that pretty much everyone would be in trouble – regardless of how they invested. So I’m not worried.

André