A Perfect Plan for the Holidays

In the spirit of holiday giving, Justin Bender, portfolio manager with PWL Capital in Toronto, has approached me with an offer for Canadian Couch Potato readers. As part of his firm’s charitable giving program, Justin is offering to help up to four DIY investors design and set up a passive ETF portfolio in exchange for [...]

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In the spirit of holiday giving, Justin Bender, portfolio manager with PWL Capital in Toronto, has approached me with an offer for Canadian Couch Potato readers. As part of his firm’s charitable giving program, Justin is offering to help up to four DIY investors design and set up a passive ETF portfolio in exchange for a donation to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH).

One of the reasons I wrote The MoneySense Guide to the Perfect Portfolio was to help the many would-be Couch Potatoes who are not sure how to get started with DIY index investing. Now here’s an opportunity to have a professional walk you through the process, and to support an organization that does incredibly important work.

Before you dismiss this as a thinly veiled attempt to snag new clients, let’s be clear that Justin is looking to work only with do-it-yourself investors on a one-time basis. His goal is to help you design a plan that you will execute on your own, not to manage your assets on an ongoing basis. There’s no ulterior motive here. PWL’s Toronto office has made a commitment to support CAMH because one of the firm’s staff members lost a close family member who struggled with addiction and mental illness.

How to get started

Here’s how it works. If you’re interested in participating, contact Justin at jbender@pwlcapital.com. He will discuss your investment goals and your financial situation to make sure it’s straightforward—and that it’s something you can handle on your own going forward. If you decide to work together, then you agree to make a donation to CAMH of $1,000 to $2,500, depending on the amount of work involved. Keep a copy of the receipt as proof. Of course, the donation will earn you a tax credit, so a $2,500 may end up costing just $1,500 in pre-tax dollars.

[Update on December 14: Justin received a number responses to this offer, netting almost $10,000 in donations for CAMH. He is able to take on just one more client for $2,500.]

The ideal candidate would be someone in the wealth accumulation phase of life—say, early 50s or younger—rather than someone who is drawing down their portfolio. (Retirees in that situation face complex tax issues and probably shouldn’t work on their own.)

Justin will put together an investment plan for you, including determining your target rate of return, an appropriate asset allocation, suggesting specific ETFs, and a rebalancing schedule. Then he’ll walk you through the process of placing the orders as you build your ETF portfolio. He can work with the brokerages of all Big Five banks, and he will help you open the appropriate types of accounts and transfer any securities from existing accounts, if necessary. Then you take over from there—no strings attached.

Ideally, you should be prepared to pay a visit to Justin at his Toronto office. However, he is licensed to work with investors in other provinces, so if you’re comfortable working by phone and email, he’s willing to do that as well.

If you’ve been planning to rebuild your portfolio but you’re nervous about pulling the trigger, this is an opportunity to get a helping hand from a professional—and to help a great cause. It would also make an excellent holiday gift from a parent to an adult child who is just getting started on the road to investing.

To make sure you’re comfortable managing your portfolio on your own, I will throw in copies of my book to any investor who participates.

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