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me and my money

Barry Choi

Barry Choi, 32


Director at CityNews, Toronto

The portfolio

TD e-Series index funds: Canadian Bond, Canadian Equity, U.S. Equity and International Equity.

The investor

Barry Choi used to own mutual funds "until a random stranger on a message board" told him about deferred sales charges and management expense ratios. "On his advice I took the time to educate myself," discloses Mr. Choi. "I realized that my adviser … was not looking out for my best interests and was able to get out … with no fees."

One of Mr. Choi's favourite things is personal finance. He tweets on the subject at @barrychoi and has written some guest posts for personal-finance blogs at, and

How he invests

Since dropping his adviser, he has been a do-it-yourself investor who follows the Couch Potato Portfolio strategy.

The portfolio was set up with the TD e-Series family of index funds in his registered retirement savings plan and tax-free savings account. He intends to switch to exchange-traded funds in the future. High-interest savings accounts are used to hold short-term cash.

"Since I have a defined-benefit pension plan with my employer, I take slightly more risk in my RRSP. I use a split of 75-per-cent equity and 25-per-cent fixed-income – and will probably keep it that way my entire life."

"My wife and I budget everything so we're never in debt. We love to travel so having money set aside before we leave is a wonderful feeling. We've made it to Asia, South America, Egypt, Jordan and the U.S. West Coast. No interest. No guilt."

Best move

"Taking the time to educate myself … It only took 20 hours of reading for me to get a strong grasp about personal finances …. With the knowledge gained I was able to make an informed decision after I decided to drop my 'adviser' and become a do-it-yourself investor."

Worst move

Before converting to the Couch Potato Portfolio, Mr. Choi used to buy individual stocks. One of his picks, Yellow Media, still haunts him to this day.


Two books recommended are Millionaire Teacher: The Nine Rules of Wealth You Should Have Learned in School by Andrew Hallam, and Personal Finance for Canadians for Dummies by Eric Tyson and Tony Martin.


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