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The Globe and Mail

Rob Carrick gives ‘unhealthy’ portfolios a second opinion

Stethoscope and a dollar sign

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"Sometimes...I just scare myself."
"Please, please, please help us - I need to sleep at night."
"It's disheartening to see my portfolio lose that much."

Welcome to our world after putting the word out several months back about a new Globe and Mail online show called Portfolio Checkup. To watch our first episode, entitled The Risk Monster, click here.

The concept is simple: Invite readers with questions about their portfolios to submit the particulars for review by me and a guest investment adviser. Responses immediately started rolling in, some from people on the right track and others from people who scare themselves, have trouble sleeping at night or are disheartened by their losses.

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I've been having a 14-year conversation with investors as Globe and Mail personal finance columnist, so I'm not surprised by the demand investors have for a second opinion on their portfolios. What did take me aback was the range of problems that cropped up in both do-it-yourself portfolios and those run by an adviser. Some quick examples: Lack of diversification, excessive levels of risk, stock-picking by guesswork and massive overkill on the number of mutual funds used.

We aim to provide a quick assessment on Portfolio Checkup that investors can use to re-think their approach or start a conversation with their adviser. Joining me in reviewing the portfolios are guest advisers and money managers like:

  • Rona Birenbaum of Queensbury Strategies
  • Andrew Pyle of ScotiaMcLeod
  • Larry Berman of ETF Capital Management
  • Lori Livingstone of ScotiaMcLeod

If you're interested in having your portfolio looked at, use this webpage:, or e-mail me at We won't use your name or hometown on air, but we will need your age, background and portfolio details.

Don't lie awake at night or live in fear about your investments. Get a portfolio checkup.

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