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Thrifty nurse gets start toward 'millionaire next door' status

Mark Wade, 34

Occupation

Registered nurse

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The portfolio

Nearly two dozen blue-chip, dividend-paying stocks including Johnson & Johnson General Electric Co. , Intel Corp. , Royal Bank of Canada Power Financial Corp. and BCE Inc.

The investor

Mark Wade graduated from nursing school in 2007 and now travels the country filling in for emergency room nurses who are on leave. This form of "locum" nursing is compensated very well and Mr. Wade "diligently saves" a high proportion of it thanks to the motivation provided by Thomas Stanley's book The Millionaire Next Door.

He got his start as an investor when a friend suggested trading penny stocks to make "quick easy cash." He quickly lost a few thousand dollars, instead. "This lesson led me to learn as much as I could about investing," Mr. Wade says.

Investing approach

His research led to solid, dividend-paying stocks with "a positive record of dividend increases." He began buying during the crash of 2008, deriving the courage to go against the crowd from reading "everything" written by Warren Buffett. "I saw the markets in 2008 as offering unjustifiably cheap, great companies trading at tremendous discounts," Mr. Wade declares.

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Thanks to his high savings rate, capital gains from 50 to 100 per cent, and reinvestment of dividends, Mr. Wade has, in short order, made a good start on becoming one of those "millionaires next door." His combined portfolio is currently valued at $250,000.

He plans to invest in bond exchange-traded funds when interest rates rise within the next few years. In the meantime, shares in 3M Co. , Colgate-Palmolive Co. , Coca-Cola Co. and McDonald's Corp. are on his shopping list.

Asset location is important. U.S. dividend stocks are held in his registered retirement savings plan because U.S. withholding tax is not deducted from the dividends (and they don't benefit from the dividend tax credit). Canadian stocks are kept in his cash and tax-free savings accounts.

Worst move

"Getting caught up in my early investing days with penny stocks, trying to make 'quick easy money' … I lost all my initial investment!"

Best move

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"When I was trading penny stocks, I bought Athabasca Potash for $1 and sold 2,000 shares above $8."

Advice

"Easy money really doesn't exist in the stock market."

"Read as much as you can." Among his reading recommendations are two bloggers, The Dividend Ninja and My Own Advisor, and anything by Warren Buffett.

Special to The Globe and Mail

Want to share your strategies?

E-mail mccolumn@yahoo.com

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