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'The best thing I did was not have too much exposure to the stock market. The stock market has not been very rewarding over the past 10 years,' says Jim Yih, 40.


Occupation: Financial educator/speaker

Portfolio: Asset allocation is 50-per-cent real estate, 25-per-cent guaranteed investment certificates/savings accounts and 25-per-cent mutual funds/stocks (for example, shares in Royal Bank of Canada).

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The investor

When he was single, it was easy for Mr. Yih to pour "heart and soul" into his work. He ran a financial planning business, did speaking engagements, wrote syndicated columns and authored personal finance books.

But after his wife Liz gave birth to four boys in five years, his priorities changed: He sold his business in 2007 to have more time for family, speaking appearances and writing. "Now I work to live instead of living to work," he says.

Investment approach

He has gained a high profile in the financial industry and talks frequently about mutual funds and stocks, but his best investments have been in real estate. "Holding multiple properties during the Alberta property boom was very good to my financial health," he discloses.

As for his financial portfolio, he keeps it "pretty simple and conservative." He has a substantial holding of guaranteed investment certificates, sticks to a simple asset allocation, rebalances from time to time, and buys only "good quality holdings."

Mr. Yih does not adhere to the buy-and-hold philosophy. "I believe the only way to make money is to buy low and sell high," he explains. "Buy and hold clearly ignores one of the key components to making money - selling."

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But that doesn't mean he is an active trader or market timer. "After being in the industry for 20 years, I think it is a waste of time to try to predict the markets. I do not think the markets are efficient or rational."

Why he invested in Royal Bank:

"I like companies that make profits. The banking industry is a good example of consistent profits. Banks have lots of ways to extract profits from their customers. I'd rather be the shareholder!"

Best move

"The best thing I did was not have too much exposure to the stock market. The stock market has not been very rewarding over the past 10 years."

Investing Mistakes:

  • How to avoid investing mistakes
  • Three psychological quirks that are killing your trading
  • Three common mistakes investors make
  • Market problems? Blame investors
  • Bad habits sow bad investments
  • How mind games can destroy a portfolio

Worse move

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It was investing in some property in the United States a while back. "The currency has worked against me and so has the market."


Mr. Yih passes on a great deal of advice at his websites, particularly "Have a plan, do research, buy low - sell high, engage in your portfolio, get help if needed, watch fees."

Special to The Globe and Mail

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