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St. John’s native Colin Greening is a former National Hockey League player and a Harvard University MBA graduate. He is a vice-president at Chenmark Capital, a financial holding company in Portland, Maine.

First Stock: Microsoft Corp.

When I started making money at the NHL level, around 2011, I felt like I could start investing. A lot of the inspiration for my investing strategy came from former NHL player- turned-financial-adviser Kent Manderville – even before he became my adviser, which he is now. He was big into value stocks and dividend growth because, as a professional athlete, you have a few big earning years and they’re early in your life, which is backwards to most people in more conventional jobs. So, for me, it was about building a portfolio of stocks that had a good dividend yield and compounded over several years. I also bought other blue-chip stocks at the time. I wasn’t looking for penny stocks.

I still own Microsoft stock, proudly.

How it felt after making that first purchase:

I had e-mail notifications and I would check my portfolio every day. As the years went on and I had different priorities I didn’t do that as much. I invested with the intention of it being a long-term play, but I think I was checking my portfolio a lot in the beginning to learn more about the ebbs and flows of the stock market. Still, I would say it’s not good for your psyche to check your stocks every day, especially if you’re trying to play the long game. In hockey we used to say “let the play unfold” – and so I eventually took that mentality with my portfolio: Just let it unfold as it is and then periodically check in and make adjustments as needed.

How that first stock shaped your investing style:

I still believe in my original thesis of finding value stocks for my portfolio. I do own growth stocks such as Facebook [now called Meta Platforms FB-Q], Amazon.com AMNZ-Q and [Google parent] Alphabet GOOGL-Q, but the real crux of my portfolio is still value and dividend-paying names. I’m comfortable with that, with reinvesting my dividends into my portfolio and I am aligned with the Warren Buffett mentality of compounded growth being the eighth wonder of the world.

While I am not a big risk-taker in the stock market – I don’t own crypto, for example – my wife and I have done some alternative investing in commercial real estate. It was an area we learned a lot about and felt it was more of the kind of risk we’d be willing to take. Thankfully, it has turned out all right.

I worked too hard and made a lot of sacrifices to put some money away for my family, and so I’m not risking that. My adviser Kent gets that. He played [pro hockey] too, and understands where I’m coming from.

Advice for others buying their first stock:

Understand your risk profile; understand that whatever you invest in you should be prepared to potentially lose, especially if in a risky sector. Also, understand what you’re investing in, the industry and the business. In my opinion, if you invest in something you understand – that’s tried and true – and let it grow, I think you’ll be happy down the road.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

Interested in discussing your first stock and how it shaped your investing style? Email us at: jcowan@globeandmail.com with “My First Stock” in the subject line.

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