Meet Index Investor Andrew Hallam
Thursday, Nov. 14, 2013 7:47PM EST
Walter Mischel of Stanford University used a bunch of four-year-olds to change how we think about willpower. He placed the kids in a room without any distractions. He then stuck a marshmallow in front of each child.More »
Monday, Nov. 04, 2013 2:22PM EST
Strategy Lab experts started with a hypothetical $50,000 portfolio on Sept. 13, 2012. They can each hold five to 12 Canadian or U.S. securities and trade as often or as little as they wish. We’ll monitor their portfolios on a regular basis so you can see how they’re performing.
|Vanguard MSCI Canada||VCE-T||747||C$28.00||C$25.72||$20,916.00||8.88%||2.00%||A low cost way to invest in Canadian stocks|
|Vanguard Canadian Short-term Bond *||VSB-T||669||C$24.77||C$24.94||$16,571.13||-0.68%||2.77%||Short-term Canadian bonds: a useful buffer for your portfolio|
|Vanguard U.S. Total Stock Market *||VTI-N||107||$91.39||$75.10||$10,196.28||30.81%||1.59%||A cheap way to gain exposure to the broad range of U.S. stocks, from small capitalization firms to mega caps|
|Vanguard U.S. sale||30||$87.53||$75.10||$2,722.27|
|Vanguard MSCI EAFE *||VEA-N||117||$40.85||$34.59||$4,983.53||26.95%||1.59%||A well diversified portfolio needs exposure to Europe, Asia and Australia, which is what this fund delivers|
|Vanguard MSCI EAFE sale||30||$37.68||$34.59||$1,171.89|
|Vanguard MSCI Emerging Markets||VWO-N||102||$41.87||$41.40||$4,453.10||5.84%||1.25%||Emerging markets can be highly volatile but it's difficult to ignore the potential of these high growth areas|
* Also in personal portfolio
**As of close of Oct. 31, 2013 ***In Canadian dollars Dividends received since last update: none Gain/loss is calculated from Sept. 13, 2012
Wednesday, Oct. 09, 2013 7:39PM EDT
When newspapers sponsor public challenges for active investors to strut their stuff, the results are often embarrassing. In 2012, the British paper The Observer pit selected professional stock pickers against a group of children and a cat named Orlando. The feline purred to the top, gaining 10.8 per cent, compared to 3.5 per cent for the professionals and a 2.9 per cent loss for the kids. (Orlando made his picks by throwing a toy mouse at a grid of numbers allocated to different companies.) How did Vanguard’s British stock market index measure up? It gained 17.4 per cent.More »
Thursday, Sep. 12, 2013 7:49PM EDT
A portfolio of classic action heroes has helped The Expendables film series kick some box office butt. The Sylvester Stallone-led mercenaries, including Jet Li and Arnold Schwarzenegger, are now filming their third instalment.More »
Friday, Aug. 23, 2013 7:39PM EDT
Today I’m a full-fledged index investor, but there was a time when I owned some individual stocks. What was my favourite company back then? Berkshire Hathaway Inc.
I was a devoted fan. For more than a dozen years, whenever its share price dropped, I scurried to buy more. By 2011, my Berkshire holdings had grown to $370,000 (U.S.). Like most stock investors, I had my reasons for owning it, but one in particular might surprise you. To me, it was an index fund on speed.More »
Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2013 1:49PM EDT
Vanguard Canada is still a scrappy newcomer to the Canadian scene, where it has to face off against much bigger competitors in the battle for investors’ affection, but it’s growing quickly by offering exchange-traded funds (ETFs) designed to appeal to cost-conscious savers.
With the announcement of five new ETFs this week, the firm now features 16 low-cost index funds with an industry-low average management fee of just 0.21 per cent.More »
Friday, Aug. 09, 2013 7:30PM EDT
There are permanent portfolios and then there’s the Permanent Portfolio.
Devised decades ago by the late investing writer Harry Browne, it combines gold, stocks, long-term bonds and cash in equal proportions. The mix never varies and the investor’s only responsibility is to buy or sell once a year, as needed, to maintain the target allocation.More »
Friday, Jul. 19, 2013 1:53PM EDT
This might sound crazy, but I don’t want to see my indexes rise in value. My Vanguard U.S. stock market index has gained an irritating 22 per cent in Canadian dollars; Vanguard’s FTSE Developed Market ETF has also misbehaved, gaining 15 per cent.More »
Sunday, Jun. 16, 2013 5:37PM EDT
Many investors feel as if they’re walking in high heels on black ice. Based on the last dozen years, it’s easy to see why. Sure-footed gains have been followed by spectacular crashes.
U.S. stocks enjoyed history’s longest bull market through the 1990s then fell 34 per cent between July, 2001, and March, 2003. Canada’s stock market doubled after 2003 only to see most of those gains wiped out between June, 2008 and March, 2009.More »
Sunday, Apr. 21, 2013 8:43PM EDT
Is there a better way for investors to index their portfolios? A bitter fight is breaking out over just that question.
In one corner sits John Bogle, founder of the Vanguard Group. He believes that index funds should hold stocks in proportion to each stock’s market capitalization – the market value of all the company’s shares.More »
Tuesday, Apr. 09, 2013 3:22PM EDT
Playground battles cause more bloody noses than resolutions; arguments with your spouse bruise egos and rarely lead to happy marriages. But sometimes we need to take a stand on things that are important.More »
Wednesday, Mar. 20, 2013 7:00PM EDT
Most people are terrible investors. In the 20 years between 1990 and 2010, the average U.S. equity fund holder made just 3.8 per cent per year, less than half the S&P 500’s return, according to a study by Dalbar, a Boston-based consulting group.More »
Friday, Mar. 15, 2013 12:25PM EDT
With the U.S. market continuing to hit new highs, many investors are wondering whether it’s a case of too much too soon. During the past 10 months, the S&P 500 has risen nearly 24 per cent, including dividends. Vanguard’s MSCI Canadian stock ETF hasn’t kept pace, but it’s up 14 per cent since June.More »
Friday, Feb. 22, 2013 6:00AM EST
Those who created index funds with hedges against foreign currency swings were certainly well-meaning. But they remind me of the scientists in the short story, Flowers For Algernon. The story is about a mentally disabled man named Charlie who undergoes an operation to increase his intelligence. The operation will, in theory, benefit him. But, in practice, it tragically doesn’t.More »
Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013 11:55AM EST
In the Globe and Mail’s Strategy Lab investment competition, the indexed portfolio I created last September is in last place. My colleagues Norm Rothery, Chris Umiastowksi and John Heinzl are three hares that have left me – the indexed tortoise – far behind.More »
Tuesday, Dec. 25, 2012 7:59PM EST
In May of 2009, when I was 38 years old, I outran 13,000 competitors to win the JP Morgan Corporate Challenge, an annual 5.6-kilometre race in Singapore. As I broke the finish tape, I felt what many other runners would feel under the circumstances: short-term invincibility. I had no idea that I had bone cancer.More »
Sunday, Dec. 02, 2012 7:07PM EST
Want to know which way the market is going to jump next? Find a chatty toddler and ask her if she’s feeling bullish.
No, her predictions aren’t likely to be accurate. But she will probably do just as well as the highly paid forecasters you see on television.More »
Friday, Nov. 23, 2012 12:46PM EST
The only time I remotely resemble a fist-pumping Roger Federer is when stock markets fall dramatically. The first three weeks of November didn’t deliver a grand market slam, but I relished the market’s stumble.More »
Sunday, Nov. 04, 2012 4:41PM EST
Living in Southeast Asia gives me the chance to attend the Cambodian water festival. Locals and tourists pack the streets of the capital city Phnom Penh, laughing as they splatter each other with water to welcome in the new year – but the fun often comes at a cost. Pickpockets roam the crowd, lightening the wallets of the unsuspecting.More »
Sunday, Oct. 21, 2012 2:39PM EDT
Tyler Hamilton’s bestselling book, The Secret Race, is contributing to one of the biggest pileups the professional cycling world has ever seen. A teammate of Lance Armstrong’s on the former U.S. Postal Service squad, Mr. Hamilton claims his old team was a chemically enhanced marvel.
One of their alleged doping methods (which, it should be noted, the team and Mr. Armstrong deny) is eerily similar to value averaging, an investment strategy with a history of juicing profits. But there’s an important difference: Value averaging is legal, and it’s perfectly suited to index fund investors like myself.More »
Friday, Oct. 12, 2012 4:00PM EDT
Some people believe in the Loch Ness monster and Bigfoot, while others cling to the notion that they can beat the market if they find just the right system for buying stocks and bonds.
I’m not going to refute the existence of cryptids like Nessie or a giant walking carpet, but I would like to suggest that, over a lifetime, most do-it-yourself stock pickers will underperform their benchmark indexes.More »
Tuesday, Oct. 02, 2012 8:27PM EDT
Despite being an index investor, I have a soft spot for the value methods practised by my Strategy Lab colleague Norm Rothery.
I built a seven-figure personal portfolio by splitting my money in half: One part was always indexed, and the other part was composed of value-oriented stocks. I did well with those stocks, but notice that I’m bald. Value investing is stressful.More »
Friday, Sep. 28, 2012 2:33PM EDT
A portfolio of low-cost index funds is like a team of NHL superstars.
If history is any guide, every player on the indexing team is likely to perform better over the long term than 80 per cent of his professional peers: every goalie, every defender and every forward. Together, they make opposing teams shudder.More »
Welcome to Strategy Lab
Stock market ideas, investing insights (and competition): Watch and participate as four of Canada’s brightest investors go head to head in a battle for portfolio supremacy. Whether you’re a dividend collector, a value hunter, a growth junkie or an indexing enthusiast, you’ll find inspiration for your own investing.
About Andrew Hallam
Andrew Hallam is the author of the best-selling book Millionaire teacher: The nine rules of wealth you should have learned in school. Raised in British Columbia, he now teaches personal finance at Singapore American School -- and built a million-dollar investment portfolio on a teacher’s salary.