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Kevin Kerr
Kevin Kerr

ME AND MY MONEY

Teacher is moving his money into dividend stocks Add to ...

Kevin Kerr, 36

Occupation

Teacher

The portfolio

Includes shares in Keg Royalties Income Fund, Chartwell Retirement Residences, Dividend 15 Split Corp. and Liquor Stores N.A. Ltd. – plus the following mutual funds: Investors Group Dividend, ING Streetwise Balanced Portfolio and TD Dividend Growth.

The investor

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Kevin Kerr is the head of the business department at a high school. One of his courses deals with finances and investing. Many students “want fast 20-per-cent returns” so the challenge is to get them thinking more about the long term.

Last summer, Mr. Kerr took a group of students to Africa. The trip left him with a greater realization that stressing over the ups and downs of a portfolio is “really a first-world problem.”

How he invests

“My previous approach was to buy whatever mutual fund my financial adviser suggested,” says Mr. Kerr. “Now, I’m taking more ownership and moving my money to dividend-paying stocks that have an easy-to-understand business model.”

Investing in stocks with good dividends gives him a comfortable cushion against market dips. “My goal is to have $500 extra per month from passive investments by the time I’m 40, while not having to lose sleep over the market struggling.”

There were previous attempts to time the market, but they were unsuccessful. Now he believes that it’s “beneficial to invest early and regularly” because good companies and funds tend to rebound from setbacks.

Most of his portfolio is held in his tax-free savings account and non-registered account. With his defined benefit pension plan at work, he doesn’t need to make big contributions to registered retirement savings plans.

Best move

“My best move was to start early and devote myself to regular investments.”

Worst move

“Despite visiting the Apple store in Buffalo many years ago and my gut telling me this was a fantastic opportunity, I bought Nortel at $6.30 instead of Apple at $19. I still have Nortel valued at 1 cent! I also have overdiversified both with funds and financial institutions.”

Advice

Focus on learning about investing and buying what you understand. “Also, in a time when we all want immediate high returns, we must remember that a strong, tax-efficient, portfolio can be built gradually.”

Want to share your strategies? E-mail mccolumn@yahoo.com

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