About Daren


Welcome and thank you for visiting my blog where I share my ideas on finance and investing!

I am a Canadian living in the vast and frigid northern Prairies. Although I don't work in finance or any related field, I am passionate about investing and financial freedom. I have been investing since I was 19 years old, starting with single stocks on the Canadian exchange and now using ETFs, options, and futures contracts in global markets.

I started this blog several years ago to help me develop my own ideas on investing. Writing thoughts down into a legible format and sharing with the public helps me clarify my ideas and subjects them to critique from readers. Blogging has made me a better investor and I hope there's something you can learn from my writing.

Beyond some early college courses I am not formally educated in business, mathematics, or finance. Instead, I strive to take a hardy "no bullshit" approach to money and investing. While the ideas I share may seem somewhat advanced, I can assure you if it's too fancy or too complex I wouldn't touch it.

Please feel welcome to contact me by email and share constructive comments on my blog posts!

Daren's Investment Portfolio(2)

My Investing Journey

I began investing in stocks when I was 19 years old with approximately $20,000 that I saved working for several years part-time and in the summer. Thinking at the time that I would follow a value-style approach, I purchased several cheap Canadian resource stocks near the end of 2008 as Warren Buffett was making his deals during the Financial Crisis. Some of the stocks I purchased fell much further and I sold for a significant loss, while others had essentially bottomed out and began to climb rapidly in early 2009.

In spring of 2011, I sold all my stocks and closed my investment accounts to buy a house. By this point I had nearly doubled my account with a lot of luck. I sold my investment in Potash Corp. in 2010 when BHP Billiton made a takeover offer, my oil and gas stocks were climbing rapidly, and I even made a nice profit from a small cap energy stock that I bought based on a discussion I had with a random guy on an airplane.

I was out of the markets for the next few years and focused on renovations and reducing my home mortgage. I continued to read books on investing and by 2014 I was ready to begin again with $20,000. This time I chose to get international exposure via ETFs and buy several Canadian large-cap stocks with an intent to buy and hold quality names. However, as my research shifted towards risk management and capital allocation principles, I realized I had the right circumstances to become much more aggressive in my investing style.

Capitalizing on my high savings rate, young age, and strong lifetime earnings potential, I invested heavily in leveraged ETFs with a focus on the U.S. markets. My account grew rapidly, and I sold my house in 2016 investing the proceeds in the same aggressive manner. By the end of 2017 my portfolio was getting quite large relative to my savings rate and I am slowly shifting from pursuing high gross returns towards capital preservation.

Since 2014, I have grown my portfolio from around $20,000 (plus home equity) to $750,000. I’ve also learned plenty of lessons along the way which I share on this blog with you. I am constantly learning and refining my investment approach so I can expand my wealth and manage my risk.

My Approach to Blogging

Investor Responsibility: I believe anyone can be successful managing their own money with a little perseverance, discipline, and big picture thinking. Although it's not for everyone, if you want to be a successful speculator you need to control your own money. You must feel the pain of being completely responsible for your decisions and experiencing losses. This is how you develop your own process and ultimately become knowledgeable and profitable.

Honest Writing: I promise that the information I write about will be my honest thoughts in every way. This means I will not intentionally mislead you. This blog is for me as much as it is for you. If I can't be honest to you, I will only be fooling myself. I believe that brutal honesty and accountability is the only way to be successful for the long-term.

Thinking Different: It is said that we hardy Canadian Prairie folk think different. That's probably true. We can't be emotional or careless when the weather swings from +20˚C to -30˚C in days; or we can go from calm to gale-force winds in mere hours. These ideas carry over to a sound, repeatable, but unique approach to investing in a turbulent market. We don't do what everyone else does because we know that doesn't work when it really hits the fan.

Why the Moose?

I named this blog after the moose—a common animal where the grasslands meet the forests. Moose are very unique creatures. Although they hail from the deer family, they are giant in size, have very individualistic temperaments, and are extremely hardy. Just like you won't often find moose in a herd, you won't find me talking about the same stuff that every other blogger discusses.