I discovered Monsieur Dividende’s blog a few months ago while looking for links to steal with which to populate my brand-new blogroll. At the time I was pretty excited (and surprised) to discover that there were other FI blogs from Québec (the province that I currently live in). Seeing as we’re both from the same place, I naturally had to leave a comment on one of his posts to see if he’d respond.

Monsieur Dividende, being the nice guy that he is, not only responded, but has since become a regular commenter here at GoGoAssets — even retweeting my messages on twitter with near perfect consistency.  I knew that I wanted to repay the favour; I just didn’t know how. So after much deep thinking (don’t worry, I’m OK) I decided to contact him to see if he’d like to have his blog featured here at GGA by doing an “interview” of sorts.

But before I let you read the interview, I wanted to mention that it is my hope to make this sort of post a regular feature here at GoGoAssets. So if you have a blog of your own (everyone with an FI blog is welcome!) and would like to participate, just contact me and we’ll arrange something. I’m doing this for fun (and to meet other FI bloggers), so I’m not expecting anything in return.

So without further ado…

Q: Hey thanks for sitting down with me to talk a little about yourself and your blog.

A: Hey, it’s great to be here and thanks for having me.

(Okay, so this part didn’t actually happen)

Q: So let’s start with an easy one: when did you start your blog?

A: I started my blog around 2012, but only really managed to work on it since 2013.

Q: That’s a long time ago, so what was your principle motivation for creating your blog?

A: At the time, I was already visiting and browsing through many blogs and financial websites. My main goals was to share my experience and document the steps I was taking to become financially independent. Obviously, if this could also mean I would earn a little bit of money, why not? (The last time I checked I had made 17$. So don’t get your hopes up!)

Q: Speaking of making money, what are your long term investment goals?

A: I am a buy and hold type of investor. Since I’m relatively young, I invest for the long term. I have a placement horizon of 40+ years. My goal is to create a passive income off of dividends that will enable me to sustain a way of live that is modest. I don’t need nor want fancy stuff. What I need is time, time to do things I love and are important for me: traveling, fly fishing, reading, writing, spending time with my family and friends.

Q: Care to share your worst and best investment decisions?

A: There are a few! But one that really stands out is Barrick Gold (ABX). I engulfed roughly 10K$ in that stock. I sold some of it over the past few months, since gold has been picking up a little. I still hold half of my initial stake. It’s worth about 2,8K$ at the moment. This is a classic example of contrarian investing gone wrong. I was trying to catch a falling knife. The more the stock was going down, the more I would buy. When I originally bought my first stake the stock price was around 52$. The stock went as low as under 10$. My cost-average is about 38$. You do the math! ABX is not a small player. It’s the biggest in its field. But gold price went down. I could have waited for the price to pick up before selling some of it. But I felt the fundamentals had changed and I didn’t like the heavy burden of their debt. The company is getting back on track now. Will see how it goes. But a few scars remain. It proved me something though: I had the nerves to be an investor. I never lost sleep on it. Otherwise, I would have sold it all and consider buying ETF’s.

Best move : buying Johnson and Johnson (JNJ) in 2011. Period.

Q: A lot of FI’ers have a favourite book or two about becoming FI. Do you have a favourite book on financial independence/investing?

A: It’s a classic: “Learn to Earn” from Peter Lynch. It’s literally a beginner’s guide to the basics of Investing and Business. You will find it all: a short history of capitalism, investing tools, personal experiences, stockpicking tips, guidelines on how to read a balance sheet, etc., all in all in a very laid-back and accessible style. Read this book and then move onto Benjamin Graham’s “Intelligent Investor“. And then to…, and so on. Reading books and learning is part of the process of getting wealthier.

Q: After having read all of these books, how would you describe your investing strategy in 50 words or less?

A: My personal financial motto would be pretty much: Work. Save. Invest. And start all over again!

As for my strategy, it is simple: I buy stocks and I hold on to them as long as they are doing well and their fundamentals remain the same. That’s it.

Therefore I mostly buy stocks from strong companies that dominate their sphere of activities and have a history of paying and raising their dividends. I want to hold roughly 20 companies that operate in at least 8 different sectors.

Q: Any ideas on what you plan on doing once you become FI?

A: I will do the fun stuff much more (traveling, sports, fly fishing) and the less fun stuff a little less!

I will still work as a freelance but on a part-time schedule, which means when I feel like it.

This is what becoming financially independent means to me: being free to do what I want to do when I want to. That sums it all.

Q: Do you have any advice for beginners trying to become FI?

A: Everyone has its own path. But I guess it all starts by setting up a goal, a strategy, then implementing the whole thing. Afterwards, it’s all the same for a while: work, save and invest. Although I would add read or educate yourself in the mix. So yeah: read, work, save, invest. And onwards!

Q: What’s the hardest/easiest/most fun part of working towards becoming FI for you?

A: Hardest : Like everything else in life, making the first steps is the hardest thing.

Easiest : seeing those dividends rolling in every months!

Q: Do you have any favourite blogs that are about investing and becoming FI?

A: Like I said, everyone has different objectives, different paths. So it makes each and every blogs out there interesting. I wish I could comment or read all of them. But life get’s in the way sometimes.

Q: Before we wrap things up here, what’s a funny anecdote/something interesting about you (doesn’t have to be FI related)?

A: The first stock purchase I made was 3 shares of Apple back in 2008-2009. I bought them roughly 100$ each. Sold them at 120$ the same year or so. I guess it could also be considered as one of my worst move, given the fact that the stock when as high as 600-700$, before the split and the company starting paying dividends…! Live and learn, right?

Q: Alright, well thanks for sitting down with me to chat today.

A: Monsieur Dividende: It was my pleasure!

(Okay, so this last bit didn’t happen either)

Be Sure to check out Monsieur Dividende’s Blog. If you’re interested in participating in a similar interview, all you need to do is contact me.

As always, thanks for reading.