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(Pawel Dwulit)
(Pawel Dwulit)

Me & My Money

Investing on the cheap Add to ...

Kerry K. Taylor, 37

Occupation

Freelance writer and blogger

The portfolio

TD e-Series Index Funds (20 per cent in each of TD Canadian Index, TD U.S. Index and TD International Index, and 40 per cent in TD Canadian Bond Index).

The investor

Kerry K. Taylor walks and talks the frugal life. She paid off $17,000 in student loans within six months, saved up "six-figures" by her mid-thirties, and now writes Squawkfox.com - a blog about living the thrifty life with a sense of humour and style.

More from our me and my money series

How she invests

It's perhaps not surprising Ms. Taylor is drawn to the do-it-yourself, passive school of investing, where the emphasis is on keeping investment costs down. But she also doesn't "believe in market timing, beating the market, or being sold financial products one does not fully understand."

The bulk of her portfolio is in the TD e-Series of funds, "the lowest-fee index funds in Canada." The annual expense for her portfolio is 0.42 per cent. There are no commissions charged to buy or sell.

Next year, she'll be switching to exchange-traded funds to hammer costs down even more. There will be commissions to pay, but her savings have reached a size large enough to permit greater savings through the lower annual fees charged by ETFs.

She keeps "a good chunk of cash" in a ladder of guaranteed investment certificates. "Skip the big banks' GICs," she advises. "Online banks and provincial credit unions often offer more competitive interest rates."

Her investments require just a few transactions a year. In the first week of January, she'll max out her registered plans, making contributions to index funds and guaranteed investment certificates. In July, she'll rebalance her portfolio by adding more money.

Best move

"Living without debt and saving a solid chunk of my earnings."

Worst move

"It was getting handcuffed to high-fee mutual funds with back-end loads in my twenties. I learned my lesson young, thankfully."

Advice

"As the author of 397 Ways to Save Money and a personal finance blogger, my best investing advice is to pay off your darn debt already - the interest savings alone will probably beat the market."

Other suggestions from Ms. Taylor:

1. No one cares as much about your money as you do.

2. You don't need flashy investments to be a successful investor.

3. You can save money, you just have to want to do it.

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Special to The Globe and Mail

Want to share your strategies?

E-mail mccolumn@yahoo.com

 
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