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My Investment Strategy

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Investment StrategyI have been thinking a lot about my investment strategy lately and over the last 6 months I have changed my focus. I don’t get into my investing strategy because I feel that what works well for some won’t work for others but since Scott shared last week I felt like sharing as well.


I started investing in August 2011, a month before we got married. I had saved money before that but it was just in a savings account and it was likely going to be spent at some point in the future. As I shared before I was interested in opening up an RRSP (Registered Retirement Savings Plan) but an advisor talked me out of it. But in 2011 after we bought a house in April and were going to get married a month later I was more comfortable in investing. I was also making money in my adult job so I would benefit from the tax break.

I didn’t have a lot to invest at the time, maybe about $100/month. While my parents instilled the habit of saving it was not really clear what the next steps were. When they were in their late 20s, in the late 80s-early 90s a 5 year GIC had a return of 8-11%.  I was lucky to get 1 or 2% so I had to go with a more aggressive investment.

Starting with Mutual Funds

The only purchase of individual stocks that I had made was through work programs and I didn’t know I could invest myself. Like many Canadians I started with mutual funds. Remember this was 2011 and there weren’t many robo-advisors (Wealth Simple didn’t come out until 2014). Because you can buy a little at a time you can invest more regularly and take advantage of dollar-cost averaging. In Canada mutual funds have a very high fee which sucks but at the time they were the only good thing for investors starting out. I wouldn’t have gotten started in mutual funds at all with the products available on the market now.

The biggest problem I had with mutual funds (since I didn’t know how expensive they were at the time) was the amount of effort that I needed to put in to buy one. I could get something but either needed to go into the bank or needed to call someone on the phone to change the contribution or buy a new fund. I didn’t have time for that.

Going Out on My Own:

I discovered that I could open my own brokerage account through my bank. At the time that I opened it trades online cost $28.95! Luckily it is much lower now. But those fees really made you focused on what you want to buy and cut out unnecessary trades. I opened it in Jan 2013, however it took 6 months to get all of the paperwork sorted out so I wasn’t able to complete a trade until July 2013.

My first 4 purchases were following the couch potato investing strategy focusing on growth, 25% Canadian bonds, 25% TSX, 25% S&P and 25% International ETFs. After that I purchased a couple of individual stocks focusing on dividend paying stocks. The concept was great, I could get money for investing in a company. When the fees were high I also turned on the DRIP feature (Dividend Reinvestment Plan) on my account. Basically if I got dividends that were high enough to purchase a stock it would do that. No fee to buy and increasing the stocks that I wanted to have. It seemed like a win-win.

DIY Investing Only:

When we needed to stop contributing to RRSPs back in 2016 to prepare for Scott’s job loss I finally stopped contributing to my mutual funds. When we started contributing to RRSPs again I only went to my investment account.   Recently I made the call to move the money from my mutual funds to my investment account under the RRSP umbrella. I’m going to save a ton in fees and have fewer accounts to worry about.

Where am I now?

At this point I own 4 ETFs and 1 stock (APPL). I bought Apple right after it split and it has done well for me on a growth level. I started getting rid of some of my non-performing stocks. They weren’t growing and the dividends weren’t great. A couple of weeks ago I finally sold all of my remaining stocks (excluding Apple) and invested the money into my 4 ETFs. I try not to focus on what the market will do from one day to the next and focus on my 25 year plan instead.


I like index investing. I don’t really have time to be constantly looking at the stock market, picking out what I want to invest in and selling stocks. Also I don’t like wasting money buying something that I wwon’t keep very long. Sure I’m at home right now, but I don’t want to waste my time with that. The ETFs still pay me dividends and I still re-invest those dividends into the ETFs. I don’t pay any fees on the account right now and my investments are pretty locked and loaded at this point. I balance them every year and purchase more when I have enough money to do so to make the fee worthwhile.

The future:

At this point this is my strategy and I’m sticking to it. It gives me growth from the stock market across the world and the fees are 0.12% which is pretty good!

I would like to hear your investment strategy! Share in the comments.


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