On September 15, 2014, when the Espace MicroCaps blog was launched, I set a challenge for myself: to compound the savings in my TFSA at a rate of return of approximately 25.5% per year (including the maximum contributions allowed each year) to reach a total of $1,000,000 in tax-free savings by 2023.
So… the question that is on everyone’s lips…
Did I reach my goal? Or at least, am I on track to reach it with only two years to go in the Challenge?
Readers, please calm down. There’s more to life than just money.
Before answering, I would like to take the opportunity to share with you what the TFSA Challenge and the Espace MicroCaps community have taught me over the years.
I won’t hide it from you; the Challenge was initially intended to improve my resume to increase my chances of landing a job as an analyst at a smallcap-focused investment fund.
I was well aware that I didn’t have enough capital to become a full-time investor with only $100,000 in the bank and a few hidden assets, including my talent around the poker table.
What Did All Of This Teach Me?
1. I am a social investor
In March 2016, I decided to stop updating the Challenge on the blog and, subsequently, on the forum. The passion was no longer there, writing had become an obligation, and I no longer found any interest in it.
In fact, I realized that I didn’t particularly appreciate writing long essays and, most importantly, didn’t want to build a blog around myself or my performance.
I consider my time to be best spent researching new ideas, especially when interacting with other investors, whether on the forum, by email, on the phone, or at conferences.
I am a social investor, and this is where I find my motivation: by helping emerging investors (as others did for me when I started) and by sharing my views on the market and my opinions as candidly as possible about the stocks I follow.
That’s my style, and there are a lot of other ways to go about investing. Find out what investing can provide for you beyond the returns, and you’ll be surprised how naturally the returns will follow afterward.
2. I am not a full-time investor
After several years of solid returns, it’s tempting to quit your job and devote yourself full time to this. It is a recurring topic of discussion on the microcaps forums if you follow more than one like me.
- How much capital is needed to start?
- What are the success factors to avoid returning to the job market?
- Is this for me?
I share with you my personal experience: my answer is no. And the answer to all of these questions depends on your unique situation.
My only real experience as a full-time investor was when Mathieu and I took on a consulting mandate with the Rivemont Microcap Fund. After two and a half years, in February 2020, I decided to quit.
I realized that the time freed up to invest full time as a consultant at Rivemont was not necessarily reallocated to investing activities.
My curiosity and motivation have always led me towards entrepreneurship: building the blog and the Espace MicroCaps community, participating in the launch of a specialized microcap investment fund, launching my start-up, etc.
In other words, I have different needs besides generating returns. When I listen to my needs, this is when my portfolio performs best.
When it comes to investing, all I need is the freedom to enjoy my hobby.
I will never take a job or mandate with a comfortable salary if it means limiting my ability to invest my money personally. Consider the restrictive compliance policies of many employers and the lengthy and tedious transaction disclosure processes.
In fact, I try to avoid earning a salary as much as possible unless I created the revenue stream and pay myself as an entrepreneur. This is what I am currently working on full time at my start-up, which offers lifestyle and wellness services for employees.
Create your own job if you can, or at least make sure your job doesn’t limit your passions.
3. It’s essential to keep a curious, open, and non-judgmental mind
Only you can set limits on yourself. Break down barriers and don’t hesitate to step outside your comfort zone.
My curiosity led me to microcaps in 2013 because I took the time to listen to a passionate colleague instead of judging his investing ideas as unworthy “penny stocks.”
In 2015, the roles were reversed and Mathieu made the leap into investing after many discussions with me. Together, we built Espace MicroCaps.
In 2018, investors trusted Rivemont and its two junior consultants, some former poker players, for the risky portion of their portfolio. Risky or not, this was, in many cases, their savings for retirement, their financial cushion.
These investors dared to accept our non-traditional backgrounds and our atypical strategy. They have been rewarded since the inception of the Fund until August 31, 2020, with a compound annual return of 15% despite two major corrections in just two and a half years.
In short, a curious, open, non-judgmental mind can take you a long way in life. With a little bit of initiative, of course!
So What About This TFSA Challenge?
The Challenge is secondary, to be honest with you. Above all, I keep these crucial learnings.
Instead of sharing a % progress on my TFSA Challenge or starting monthly updates again, I have an offer for you:
Monthly webinars with Mathieu and I to answer your questions and help you progress in your microcap investor journey. How does that sound? (Important: Please note these webinars will be in French)
Our first webinar will take place on Wednesday, October 14, at 4:15 pm on Zoom.
And if you dare to ask me where I am with my TFSA Challenge in a webinar or privately, I might provide the answer. Who knows…
Either with questionable puns or with too much detail because let’s admit it, between you and me, I can’t help it in a bull market!
In fact, there is a good chance that I can’t help it.
I estimate it precisely at 91%.
Talk to you all soon,