Tag Archives: #RealEstate

Goal Setting is About the Journey, Not Necessarily the Destination

Standing around waiting for direction from my youngest daughter Shannon as we were painting their new home, I was struck by a sense of déjà vu.  This time, however, the voice wasn’t mine but hers.  And I did exactly what I was told.

Shannon and Emi have accomplished the impossible.  Staging their home for sale in Mississauga in August, they managed to get their selling price after the traffic of multiple showings, shopped for and found their new home in Burlington with a close more than two weeks before they had to be out of their existing home, gutted the basement and rewired the new house from aluminum to copper, pulled all the trim, fixed the wear and tear, hung new trim, painted the two boys’ rooms and moved a household of four, packing and loading at the same time.

Linda and I, like many others, have pitched in.  But the pressure, the responsibility of making a new home fall squarely on them.  Both have a view of excellence that verges on perfectionism, and Linda and I could see frustration and discouragement written all over their exhausted faces.

Events can conspire to get in the way of things – after all 3 ½ year old Alessio and 1 ½ year old Adriano need attention and as much as they love their extended family, they want mommy and daddy.  When they had their home inspection there was no way they could have known that the previous owners had improperly cut into the floor joists to install a basement window.  With an eye to restoring their bungalow that has exceptionally good bones, I’m sure all the non-code “improvements” that must be undone weighs.

I know where Shannon gets her impossible reach and her ability to mostly accomplish what she sets out to do.  Emi, her spouse, is an equal in terms of both expectations and work ethic.  But if I feel guilty about anything, it’s that when I was younger, the parent of a blended family of four, that I didn’t have the grace to say we did well, or we’ve accomplished a lot.  I suppose too much time spent in the unfinished 5% robbed me and my children of the joy of the 95%.  I know that’s rubbed off on Shannon.

As a single parent before Linda and I came together, I did everything I could to raise my children differently than my parents did.  I’m grateful for Shannon and Emi’s child-centric household and reasonable expectations.  And I am amazed that Shannon and Emi have taken the best from their respective parents but have moved the bar so much further – they have become the parents I wish I could have been.  Perhaps they can take what they learned from me about planning and executing projects and improve on it too.

Goal setting is a perplexing process.  Deciding where you want to go is a function of time, resources and route.  The speed at which you get there is not only a function of the limits of the chosen method, but subject to unexpected detours and pee breaks.  From time to time you must school yourself to look back and see how far you’ve come.  And lastly, the destination that you arrive at is the one that is important to you, not the one you started towards.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 5 days we’ve given the “kids”.  There is something therapeutic about working with your hands, especially when you can immediately see the results of your work rather than sitting at a desk in front of a computer all day.  And for all the groans and all the aches and pains the exercise has been great. I’m honored that they trust us enough to invite us to be part of their “next steps”, and gratified that they trust us enough to tell us what they want and how we’re going to get them there.

But mostly I’m proud of my youngest daughter Shannon and her spouse Emiliano.  Despite all their challenges, despite the intermittent anxiety, despite their exhaustion and discouragement, I can say this much for sure: they’re made of good stuff, have already accomplished the impossible and despite their respective crankiness, you can see their deep caring for each other and their little ones.

I hope they take a step back and look at the 95%.  They’ve done good.

David Chellew and Linda Odnokon have been life partners and in business together for almost 19 years. During that time, they have mellowed into their respective roles and enjoy working with individual investment clients. Dave is a Portfolio Manager and Linda is an Investment Advisor with iAS and work out of the co-work space, Centre for Social Innovation at Queen and Spadina downtown Toronto.

Industrial Alliance Securities Inc. (IAS) is a member of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF) and the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC). iA Securities is a trademark and business name under which Industrial Alliance Securities Inc. operates.

This information has been prepared by David Chellew, Portfolio Manager for Industrial Alliance Securities Inc. (IAS) and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of IAS. The opinions expressed are based on an analysis and interpretation dating from the type of publication and are subject to change. Furthermore, they do not constitute an offer or solicitation to buy or sell any the securities mentioned. For more information about IAS, please consult the official website at www.iasecurities.ca. David Chellew can open accounts only in the provinces where he is registered.

 

Value #2- Business and Digital Disruption: Communication, Much Like Investing, Should Be Direct

I had a peer in the early part of the last decade whose idea of selling life insurance was to hold a Bic lighter up, sparking it, and then looking at the flame say, “this is your life.”  Promptly extinguishing it he would add “and then you die.”  As blunt as that little ‘show and tell’ was, I was never sure what point he was trying to make.

I’m sure you’ve had experiences of what I have always called ‘smoke and mirrors’, where frustratingly you’ve been brought through a process, all the while waiting for the sales pitch and a presumptive close.  I’m not talking about sitting through a couple of hours trapped in a time share seminar, desperate to leave only to be confronted by the toughs guarding the door.  As often as not, those ‘toughs’ are our own value system and respect for the time and effort of the person pitching us.

I don’t know how many times I’ve walked into the tiny offices of the back of a bank branch, to sit down with the manager, only to have him or her ‘hmm’ing and um’ing” staring at their computer screens, clicking the keys, repeating the same sub-verbal noises.  Don’t you just want to reach over and rip the screens around so you can see what personal financial pornographic images he or she are staring at?

Instead, I sit there growing increasingly irritated to the point where their behavior has so masked communication I don’t hear much.

I suppose that given my years of experience in my industry coupled with snow white beard and head of hair in a ponytail I have a little more leeway than younger professionals.   You can ask my peers, who seemingly wait during and after a corporate presentation for me to say something blunt or outrageous.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m always prepared and pursue a genuine line of questioning because I’m interested.  At the same time, if I remain silent it sends a stronger message to those that know me.

If you look at what appeared to be a frothy real estate market in Toronto earlier this year, or the trials and tribulations of Home Capital Group (HCG), Warren Buffet’s rescue of HCG, or the recent run up in block chain currencies, I am blunt if I’m asked.  But I don’t elaborate my response because I am a fundamental investor and every one of those is at best highly speculative.  I’ve worked through the Asian Currency Crisis of ’98, the dot com bubble burst of ’00, corporate malfeasance of ’03 and the biggest of all, the financial crisis of ’08, and been burned on the more speculative aspects of the market.  That is not the market I choose to be in.

Blunt talk means nothing.  Direct communication on the other hand is formulated around issues of audience interest and suitability.  I don’t like communication that panders to the seven deadly sins.  And I don’t like communication where a seller is trying to hide their motive behind ritual and stealth.

The digital marketplace is fascinating in that rather than dealing with people in close geographic proximity the whole of the market is open.  And as focused as I want to be, I can let my message narrowcast into a market that is sufficiently large, albeit specialized, that I can make a good living in it.

And I can be direct and honest in my writing.

If ideas are my currency, plain and direct communication is my mode.

Industrial Alliance Securities Inc. (IAS) is a member of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF) and the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC). iA Securities is a trademark and business name under which Industrial Alliance Securities Inc. operates.

This information has been prepared by David Chellew, Portfolio Manager for Industrial Alliance Securities Inc. (IAS) and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of IAS. The opinions expressed are based on an analysis and interpretation dating from the type of publication and are subject to change. Furthermore, they do not constitute an offer or solicitation to buy or sell any the securities mentioned. For more information about IAS, please consult the official website at www.iasecurities.ca. David Chellew can open accounts only in the provinces where he is registered.

 

On Change, Golf and Millennials

I was drifting as I often do Monday morning when I decided to check out the distress debt listings from our bond desk.  I saw Golf Town Canada/Golfsmith debentures and wondered what the golf press looks like.

Before going any further, while I own a decent set of clubs, I am undoubtedly one of the worst golfers around.  It’s not that I lack athleticism or the wherewithal to be a decent golfer, it’s that I am loath to invest the time and effort to be so.

One Google search later and the first article that caught my eye was from Business Insider – “Millennials are Hurting the Golf Industry”.  There are times I think that the press throws around the “Millennial” tag like some specter representing some malevolent force of unreasonableness that disrupts the status quo.

The many reasons for the long decline in popularity that I came across were all anecdotal.  From where I sit, it is no wonder that many golf courses are being turned into subdivisions.  After all, the ultimate economic driver for any business is “next best use”, and if the acreage of a golf course is worth more as undeveloped land than as a going concern, it will fast become a subdivision.  I guess I’ve always seen golf courses as suburban parking lots – a source of revenue until something better comes along.

Business conditions, like the evolution of society because of demographics, change.  My neighborhood local, my rock bar, closed because the landlord decided that it made more sense for him to have different uses for the space he owned.

Casting my eye up and down Queen Street between Spadina and Dufferin shows that many businesses, former stalwarts on their respective blocks, have closed and given way to the mind-numbing sameness of chain retailers, trying to reinvent their big-box-retailer-bound former selves into something more relevant.  What is more significant, I suspect, is that the “next best use” that has driven rents ever-so-higher for commercial tenants ultimately will be a landscape populated with condos, flanked and faced by historical facades, catering to a population that is more into convenience and shopping online that doing the retail dash.

The closest I come to Millennial is having four as kids.  If they are however drivers of the trends I take advantage of, bless them.  Friday night I did the grocery shopping (Costco and Walmart), laundry and bought some Bluetooth headphones for my iPhone.  All online.

I can no more roll back the present to the past than you can.  As inconvenient or unpleasant as some of the things that happen today can be, it is what it is.  And besides, my rock bar reopens four blocks north.  And I’m never going to be a good golfer.

Industrial Alliance Securities Inc. (IAS) is a member of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF) and the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC). iA Securities is a trademark and business name under which Industrial Alliance Securities Inc. operates.

This information has been prepared by David Chellew, Portfolio Manager for Industrial Alliance Securities Inc. (IAS) and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of IAS. The opinions expressed are based on an analysis and interpretation dating from the type of publication and are subject to change. Furthermore, they do not constitute an offer or solicitation to buy or sell any the securities mentioned. For more information about IAS, please consult the official website at www.iasecurities.ca. David Chellew can open accounts only in the provinces where he is registered.