Friday, March 13, 2015

The Value of Taking a Break

     For once, I have an excellent excuse for a lack of recent updates - my wife, son and I just got back from a week away at the all-inclusive Riu Merengue hotel in Puerto Plata. I hesitate to call the week away a vacation, since travelling with an eight-month-old is still somewhat stressful, but we all thoroughly enjoyed the hot temperatures, beautiful beach, and ocean-view room. This is my third time doing an "all-inclusive" south trip, and as much as I liked the two previous journeys to Cuba, the Dominican Republic jaunt was my favorite destination.
     When we arrived at the lobby of the Riu Merengue, I couldn't help but notice all the tourists using their 90 minutes of free WIFI per day to check their phones/tablets/laptops. The next morning, as we walked through the lobby to our information session, my wife and I again noted a large group of tourists with their heads firmly planted in their personal devices. During the information session, the facilitator encouraged all the guests to take advantage of the beaches and tropical setting, instead of worrying about the WIFI. One of the nice things about travelling to Cuba, is that Internet was incredibly slow (so I was told) and expensive. Therefore, there was no temptation at all for me to log-on and check my stock portfolio. Sadly, I didn't quite make it through the entire week this time without checking into my investment portfolio, as I was on for about 5 minutes on our second last day at the resort, after I checked our flight information for the next day, and wrote my mother a quick email.
     Logging onto my investment account, I noticed the value of my holdings had fallen about 3%. That made me excited, as I thought there'd be some great buying opportunities for me when I arrived back home. After looking at the markets today, it seems Canadian banks, telecommunication companies, and energy companies are down a bit, but not enough to tempt me to part with my cash.
There was some further good news alerts about the last week, with Realty Income increasing their dividend again (albeit a very small increase), Omega Healthcare pre-announcing a dividend increase for next quarter (another penny a share is fine by me!), and Telus announcing more share buybacks.
      In summary, I don't feel I missed anything terribly important during my week in the south, but I benefited greatly by relaxing for a week. It's hard to tear yourself away from the 24/7 nature of the markets, with information constantly at your finger tips, but making the most of my time in the south re-energized me and made me focus on the big picture. Some years down the road, I'll hopefully be in a position where I can enjoy my free time, without having to worry about the ups and downs of the market. It was good to take a break from my busy lifestyle to re-connect with nature, my family, and my true values.

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