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me and my money

Charles Fournier.

Charles Fournier



The portfolio

A diversified portfolio of stocks, including Brookfield Asset Management Inc., BCE Inc., Bank of Nova Scotia, Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Cisco Systems Inc., AT&T Inc., Colgate Palmolive Co., Exxon Mobil Corp., 3M Co. and Johnson & Johnson.

The investor

Charles Fournier retired just more than a year ago, in his mid-fifties. His wife retired the year before, in her early fifties. Early retirement was an easy decision – as Mr. Fournier notes on his blog Financial Freedom is a Journey, their "dividend and rental income generates six figures in passive income." After getting married, the couple started a family and set a goal to achieve early financial independence by saving "at least 20 to 25 per cent of net pay every year." Mr. Fournier's career was in the Canadian banking industry, where he led teams that provided cash-management services to corporations.

How he invests

For more than 30 years, monthly savings were poured into mostly blue-chip stocks. "I invest in companies where there is minimal likelihood of a permanent impairment to our capital," Mr. Fournier says.

Within this framework, the focus was on buying at reasonable prices into fundamentally strong and growing companies that consistently raise their dividends. Stocks with "abnormally high dividend yields" were avoided because "they are typically … too risky."

Mr. Fournier is quite bullish on Brookfield Asset Management Inc., a global asset manager whose clientele tend to be the "wealthy of the wealthy." This is one reason Mr. Fournier owns Brookfield's shares – he feels it's a good idea to "follow the serious money."

Through its subsidiaries, Brookfield invests in alternative assets such as ports, toll roads, hydro dams and pipelines. With institutional investors shifting more toward real assets, Brookfield is in line to benefit from this trend.

Mr. Fournier also believes Brookfield has "extremely bright people making investment decisions." And he likes that the executives have big equity stakes in the company.

Best move

With his long term, buy-and-hold approach, a number of portfolio holdings have "increased in value fourfold and fivefold," including Church & Dwight Co. and Visa Inc.

Worst move

It was a missed opportunity. He bought shares in FedEx Corp. in 1999 on the premise its business would grow as a result of rising shipments of items bought online. But he took a quick, small profit and missed out on the nearly tenfold gain since.


"Approach investing from a long-term perspective and don't chase dividend yield," Mr. Fournier recommends.

Want to be in Me and My Money? Contact Larry MacDonald at

Rob Carrick has a summer project for you saver's out there - challenge your reliance on big banks for the best interests rates and research some alternatives.

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