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Best of Million Dollar Journey: 2008 Edition

2008 was a whirl wind year with commendable growth for Million Dollar Journey.  Posting 5 days a week (or more) can be quite demanding, especially when I also have a full time job . Despite time constraints, my enthusiasm for blogging is still strong and I hope to continue for the long term.

There were quite a few popular articles posted on Million Dollar Journey during the year, some written by me, others written by financial pros.  The list is quite extensive, so now may be a good time to get comfortable.

Here are my favorite posts of 2008:

Introduction to Tax Free Savings Accounts (TFSA) – The TFSA is probably one of the best financial tools introduced to Canadians since the RRSP.  What I like most about the TFSA is that investment income within the TFSA can be withdrawn tax free.  There are more TFSA strategies listed within the article.

TFSA vs RRSP – This is another TFSA article that was written by Ed Rempel and received quite a bit of attention.  This article points out one big advantage the TFSA has over the RRSP, that is, withdrawals from the TFSA does not affect income based benefits like OAS and GIS.

Capitalizing the Interest and Smith Manoeuvre Diagram – A common question I get is “how do I capitalize the interest with an investment line of credit?”  This article uses a diagram to explain the concept of capitalizing the interest and an illustrated view of how the Smith Manoeuvre works.

New Car every 10 Years or Used Car Every 5? – This post was based on a reader question and peaked my curiosity.  Would it be better to drive a new car until the wheels fall off?  Or purchase a good used car more frequently?  Based on my assumptions, it seems that buying a used car every 5 years has a slight financial advantage.  However, buying a new car every 10 years has it’s own advantages of warranty and selection.

The High Cost of the Manulife One Mortgage – The Manulife One mortgage is surrounded by quite a bit of controversy.  On one hand, you have die hard followers that swear by the product.  On the other, you have people who believe that it’s too expensive relative to regular mortgages.  This article points out how much extra the typical borrower would pay using the M1 mortgage.

The RESP Strategy – This is my first foray into purely index investing mixed with some portfolio theory.  The weapon of choice?  The TD e-Series index funds as they are cheap and efficient.  The strategy is high in equities initially, gradually increasing bond exposure over time, and eventually have a large cash portion ready for withdrawal when tuition is needed.

Hybrid vs Gasoline Vehicles/Cars – At the time of the article, gas prices were reaching all time highs and alternative energy vehicles were becoming increasingly popular.  It’s apparent that hybrids become more economically attractive as gas prices rise, but is the extra upfront cost of a Hybrid worth it?

Best Free Rewards Credit Cards in Canada – As you may know already, I’m a big believer in using credit cards as a financial tool.  Being the comparison shopper that I am, I’ve compared what I think are the top “no fee” or “free” rewards credit cards in Canada.  I did a similar comparison in 2007 of Top Free Cash Back Credit Cards in Canada.

The Downside of Index Investing – I must admit, as PF bloggers are gung ho about index investing, I wrote this post to stir the pot a little.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m also a big believer in low cost index investing as it’s a great solution for most investors.  However, with every strategy, there are some downsides, and this article points out a few of them.

Cash Back Mortgages are a Bad Idea – This is another analytical post that looks at the pros and cons of cash back mortgages.  Ok, more bad than good.  The high rates associated with the cash back make this product a financial rip off.

How to Buy and Sell on the Stock Market – This is a descriptive beginners article that explains how to buy and sell shares on the stock market.  The article explains the step by step process of using an online discount brokerage from reading the quotes to hitting the “trade” button.

The Long Term Cost of High MERs – Think that a 3% MER on your mutual fund isn’t a big deal?  Compared with a low cost ETF portfolio, over the long term, it can add up to greater than 50% difference in portfolio size.

How to Get Out of Debt – This is our story of how we eliminated $50k+ worth of debt in a very short period of time.  If you are holding any “bad debt”, this article may help kick start a debt free life.

Real Estate Crash in Canada? – This article summarizes an article by Merrill Lynch regarding a pending real estate crash in Canada.  We have seen significant corrections thus far (which are normal), but will we see a crash?  Personally, I doubt it.

Doctor Salaries – After reading an article about physician salaries, I decided to write my own post about it as I was surprised by my findings.  Did you know that physicians who have their own clinics can pay up to 40% in overhead which is then subject to income tax?

How I Lost $200k Without Losing Any Sleep – This was a guest post by our favorite young millionaire, QCash, about what the bear market has done to his portfolio.  Here I am complaining about losing $20k…

Learn How to Value Investing Works – For those of you who like to pick your own stocks, then value investing might be a strategy that worth while to look into.  This strategy is based on Benjamin Graham stock screening criteria.  Who is Ben Graham?  He was, none other than, the mentor of Warren Buffett!

The Cash Flow Dam or Cash Damming – Do you own a personal small business that has significant expenses along with a primary residence with a mortgage?  If so, read on as this strategy shows you how to convert your mortgage into a tax deductible business line of credit.

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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.

{ 3 comments… add one }
  • Monty Loree January 2, 2009, 9:10 am

    Hey FT,
    Good to see you back at ‘er in 2009

    It’s going to be another year of great blogging

    Happy New Years!

  • Rocket Spanish January 3, 2009, 3:14 pm

    That’s quite a number of quality posts FT, hope for even better this 2009

  • jeflin January 4, 2009, 4:26 am

    Wow, you have some great posts in that collection and I like the fact that they are easy to understand.

    Will be coming to your blog more often.

    Cheers!

    Jeflin

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