Let’s start talking. Or let’s start ‘the week that was’ with some great podcast options. Grab your java and turn up the speakers, or plug in those Beats. Podcasts are a wonderful way to obtain more than useful personal finance and investment knowledge. At times, the spoken word has a way of resonating with more clarity and simplicity compared to the written word(s). When we speak, we often make an attempt to ‘speak clearly’ with respect to the information provided. When we write, we can at times trip over the words and sentences. When I taught writing and creative writing course at a couple of Ontario Colleges I would often suggest ‘write as you would speak’. Our brain works much differently when we assemble words to roll off the tongue compared to when we are trying to put one word after the other on the page.
What I also like about podcasts is that we can ‘meet’ the personality behind the message. This week it was a pleasure to meet Robb Engen, the personal finance blogger behind Boomer and Echo. Robb has been a very generous mentor and sounding board for me as I begin my new mission as a writer and ‘blogger’ with the goal to help Canadians live ‘Better Financial Lives’ as we used to say (earnestly) at Tangerine.
Robb has helped a lot of Canadians, and put me on that list.
This week Robb was the guest on The Rational Reminder with Benjamin Felix and Cameron Passmore. Have a listen to Simple vs Complex with Robb Engen.
Benjamin and Cameron have a wonderful breezy and friendly rapport. They ask the right questions but they are not afraid to challenge when the time is right. Robb offers many personal insights into his life and successful blogging career, as well as his personal approach to investing. It’s a ‘great listen’.
I also enjoyed a wonderful podcast from my friends at Mawer Investments. First off I learned that I pronounce Mawer incorrectly, now I know, ha. Here’s Playing the plan: Mawer’s Global Balanced Portfolio. You’ll find the podcast play button on that page. I am a big fan of these active managers who have a habit of beating the passive benchmarks. They say it’s boring work. Their mantra is Be Boring. Make Money. What a great tagline, what a great approach. It comes down to their consistent and simple approach that is offered in a sensible lower fee structure. Chief Investment Officer and co-portfolio manager Paul Moroz stated that they use the bond component to manage risks, they are not chasing yield. Sometimes it pays to pick a lane. I also appreciate his analogy that bonds are ‘fire extinguishers’. In my article Stocks are the Unruly Kids, Bonds are the Adult in the Room I refer to those bonds as ‘shock absorbers’.
To get those (at times) benchmark-beating returns the managers use that combination of a consistent approach and a concentrated portfolio. That fund holds only 68 companies in 18 countries. You have to do something different, you have to apply a unique approach. You have to be patient. You know, boring.
Patience was also a key theme this week at the 2018 Vanguard Investor Symposium. I had the pleasure of attending that interesting event on Tuesday. I had that added pleasure of sitting with Jonathan Chevreau, more than well-known for his writing and editor contributions to moneysense.ca and The Financial Post. Jonathan still contributes to many publications but he also operates The Hub, or make that findependencehub. You’ll find Jonathan’s review of that Vanguard event on The Hub.
Vanguard’s Investment Strategy Group’s Head of Multi-Asset Portfolios, Daniel W. Wallick led off with the provocative question …
‘How do you hide over $1 trillion?’
The answer: In Vanguard’s actively managed funds.
Yup, while Vanguard is ground zero for revolutionary passive index ETFs and mutual funds, and is mostly known for that passive approach, they are the 3rd largest active manager with more than $1.6 trillion in actively managed mutual funds. The record for the actively managed funds is more than impressive with a long history of consistently beating their peers. Not surprisingly, Vanguard is best of breed when it comes to active management. The core requirements for successful active investing are …
Low costs and Patience are universal for any approach. That Talent thing is tricky and most of us will have to admit that, try as we might. we are not going to produce talent. Most investors are better off in a low-cost ETF Portfolio or in a Managed Portfolio Solutions. But if you do like the idea of active management and that potential of market beating returns after fees, you might consider Vanguard or Mawer. You’ll also find active manager Steadyhand on my Managed Portfolio Solutions page.
On the Steadyhand landing page you’ll currently find one of my favourite investment quotes, or themes. That’s not surprising for a sensible and successful ‘active’ manager. Successful investing can come by way of active or passive investing. The key is lower fees and what is usually a simple and sensible approach to investing.
More digital or paper ink …
Here’s an interesting read from Rob Carrick at The Globe and Mail. It’s officially normal to have a big fat balance on your line of credit. I take interest in that as we are mortgage free but have not yet been tempted by that HELOC option. Stay tuned on that theme.
And also from Mr. Carrick, perhaps it’s time for many retirees to stop being so tight fisted with their spending. Live it up a little.
On Cut The Crap Investing I offered my first blog post that took a look at the ETF Model Portfolio page. Please have a read, offer your comments or suggestions.
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Happy investing. Have a great weekend.