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Peter Lang, 67

Occupation

Retired teacher, paralegal and businessman

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The portfolio

Core holdings include shares in Great-West Lifeco, Crescent Point Energy, Bell Aliant, Thomson Reuters and Keyera Corp.

The investor

"For 25 years I saved well enough with mutual funds, but gave the profits away in fees," Peter Lang says. "Fortunately, prior to 2008, I had my adviser transfer my holdings into a single bond fund – which actually made money when most mutual funds crashed."

He then decided to open his own online brokerage account. After reading a review by Rob Carrick, he opted for BMO InvestorLine, a choice that has served him well, he reports.

How he invests

"I invest long term, almost exclusively in equities and mostly in dividend aristocrats [companies that have regularly raised dividends over a long period of time]," Mr. Lang discloses. He is a big fan of dividend reinvestment plans (DRIPs). They allow him to reinvest dividends without commissions, and to buy new shares at 2- to 5-per-cent discounts to the market.

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"However, I've been influenced by the value investors and contrarians to 'own' companies whose prospects I deem to be healthy," he adds. This leads him to small- and mid-capitalization companies, and lets him put cash to work whenever his "dividend aristocrats" are overpriced.

Mr. Lang's experience of sitting on the board of a credit union also helps him to better understand financial reports.

Best move

It was finding an investment club in his community, the Thunder Bay Share Club.

Worst move

'When the market was rising in 2009, as a newbie I bought and sold some very good stocks for premature capital gains."

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Advice

Mr. Lang recommends maintaining a watch list of good companies and waiting patiently for a reasonable price to buy. He also has written a guide to do-it-yourself investing, which is posted as a "work-in-progress" at tbayseniors.com.

Special to The Globe and Mail

Want to share your strategies?

E-mail mccolumn@yahoo.com

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