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John DeGoey is vice-president and associate portfolio manager at Burgeonvest Bick Securities. His focus is on personal finance and ETFs.

Top picks:

Vanguard MSCI Emerging Markets Index ETF
This EFT is absurdly diversified with nearly 900 underlying stocks. A fantastic way to get access to a criminally under-owned asset class.

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BMO Low Volatility Canadian Equity ETF
Designed to get access to the Canadian market, but with lower volatility, this is a good way to own Canada.

iShares MSCI All Country World Minimum Volatility Index Fund
This provides access to worldwide securities with lower volatility. For people who need equity, but have trouble sleeping much of the time.

Past Picks: Dec. 20, 2011

Vanguard MSCI US Broad Market Index ETF
Then: $24.83
Now: $28.21
Total return: +15.46 per cent

Vanguard MSCI EAFE Index ETF
Then: $24.50
Now: $26.98
Total return: +14.73 per cent

Vanguard MSCI Emerging Markets Index ETF
Then: $21.40
Now: $25.55
Total return: +8.78 per cent

Total return average: +12.99 per cent

Market outlook:

All those analysts and experts out there ensure that stock markets work really, really well. That makes it highly improbable that anyone could reliably profit by trying to exploit any security mispricing. Any mispricing that might appear would almost instantaneously be arbitraged out of existence. In short, because the stock market works very well, stock-picking and market-timing don't work very well at all.

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