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The Best of Million Dollar Journey: 2016 Edition!

It really feels as though each year goes by faster than the last and 2016 was no exception.  Perhaps it’s because I’m getting older, or maybe there is some truth in that time flies when you’re having fun.  To put that in context, if you’ve been following MDJ a while, you may remember my posts on having a newborn..  that newborn is now 8 years old!

On that same note, did you know that MillionDollarJourney.com started in December 2006? That makes this site 10 years old – an eternity in internet years!  I am humbled by your loyalty and interest in my financial journey after all these years.  While blog posting volume has decreased this past year, I’ve been taking reader advice and writing more of the content (less guest posts).  I’m putting an extra effort in posting quality material, and for brownie points, I have started adding pictures to my posts.

My financial journey has shifted from a lofty net worth goal to a slightly different mindset with a financial independence finish line.  This new journey has given me a much needed kick in the pants which resulted in a renewed focus on our family finances.  As I summarized in my year end financial freedom update, more focus on building dividend income resulted in strong passive income growth of 40% year over year.

In 2017, I hope to continue the trend of deploying capital, but I will admit that there are challenges as valuations are fairly lofty.  However, I am slowly learning to deploy capital not only when valuations are crazy cheap, but also when valuations of good companies are fair.  I’m realizing that the saying is true that time in the market is much more powerful than timing the market. More time in the market means more dividends collected, which really gets the compounding engine going.

This was quite a year for political and financial news. The biggest surprises to me were Brexit and the results of the US election. While I’m not big into politics, my interest is in the policies that impact the stock market and personal finance. When Brexit was confirmed, I was expecting the markets to swoon and perhaps even start a significant correction in the market. The stock market is known to react negatively to uncertainty – I admit that I was excited about adding to my dividend portfolio.  However, the bull market proved too strong and the recovery from Brexit was very quick (within the week).

The next surprise was Trump being elected. All the pundits showcased a doomsday scenario if Trump were elected, and all advised to sell equities and buy gold if such an unexpected event were to happen. When the election results were clear, overnight trading went into a frenzy with markets diving – the analysts appeared to be right for once. But not for long. The bulls came back strong, and the markets opened pretty much even – almost like nothing had happened. In fact, since Trump has been elected in early November, the S&P500 has gained over 7% and most other indices following suit.

Another big news item this year was the movement of oil.  Last year, I summarized:

In addition to the big changes to the TFSA limit, the other big news this year was the continual oversupply, thus decline, of oil. As of this post, oil is trading at just under $35/barrel (WTI crude oil). This has resulted in many lay offs in the oil sector, and the market sell off of primarily the smaller oil and gas service companies. The larger integrated companies have been surprisingly resilient in this bearish environment. In my view, unless OPEC decides to drastically cut supply, or other large geopolitical event, oil will continue to stay low. I suspect that there will be more mergers and acquisitions in the energy space in 2016.

I will admit that the outlook for oil was pretty bleak last year, but really turned the corner in 2016.  At the beginning of the year, oil made a big run from $35 to $53, but then volatility ensued bringing oil back down to the mid 40’s.  Then the unimaginable happened where OPEC and non-OPEC countries agreed to an oil output cut.  I certainly didn’t see that agreement happening and neither did the market.  The result was that oil jumped from the mid 40’s to the mid 50’s.   Any portfolio with energy exposure (ex. Canadian index exposure) has seen a boost in performance this year.  While oil is floating around the $53 mark, we could potentially see a higher average oil price in 2017.

Ok, back to the point of the post! With 2016 just about behind us, here are the most popular articles on MDJ for this past year. Feel free to sift through them and I hope that you enjoy. I’m going to take a break away from the blog for the rest of the year, so I’ll see you all in 2017.

The Best MDJ Blog Posts: 2016 Edition

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year from my family to yours!

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FT About the author: FT is the founder and editor of Million Dollar Journey (est. 2006). Through various financial strategies outlined on this site, he grew his net worth from $200,000 in 2006 to $1,000,000 by 2014. You can read more about him here.

{ 4 comments… add one }
  • My Own Advisor December 31, 2016, 11:35 am

    Congrats on the anniversary!

    You’ve inspired me since day one FT.

    I continue to be amazed with your blog popularity and dividend growth over the years, but I also admire your commitment to family and their well-being while running your enterprise. You maintain an impressive balancing act of work, family needs and play. That’s certainly something you should take pride in if you don’t already do!

    Thanks for your support of my own journey, moneywise and otherwise.

    Talk in 2017! Best wishes,
    Mark

  • Leo T. Ly @ isaved5k.com December 31, 2016, 11:47 pm

    Great job on improving your dividend income by 40% over the previous year FT. Also congrats on the 10 year anniversary of this site. Not many bloggers lasted that long. Kudos to your longevity.

    Enjoy the rest of the year. Looking forward to 2017 and more great post from you.

    Happy New Year.

  • Iain January 25, 2017, 5:13 am

    I like it all so far !

    One curiosity, was WTI crude trading at below $35 on Dec 30, 2016? thanks

  • Iain January 25, 2017, 5:17 am

    my bad, I got it, the reference is to Dec 2015 :(

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