Potatoes Helping Potatoes

It’s now been almost a year since I launched Canadian Couch Potato. When I first mentioned that I was writing a blog about index investing, many people were surprised that such a thing was needed. “What is there to say?” they would ask. “You build a portfolio of index funds or ETFs and rebalance it […]

  15

by

Online only.

  15


It’s now been almost a year since I launched Canadian Couch Potato. When I first mentioned that I was writing a blog about index investing, many people were surprised that such a thing was needed. “What is there to say?” they would ask. “You build a portfolio of index funds or ETFs and rebalance it once a year. How many times can you write that?”

More than a hundred blog posts later, I know that being a Couch Potato isn’t always that simple. I’ve heard from many readers who have struggled with this investing strategy. Some rushed into indexing expecting instant results, while others understood the strategy but had problems implementing it.

I’m currently working on a feature for MoneySense magazine that’s aimed at preparing new index investors for what they should expect when they take a seat on the couch. I’ll debunk some of the myths surrounding the strategy, and help inexperienced investors avoid common mistakes. And I’d like to ask for your help. I want to include stories from current index investors who are willing to share some of their early mistakes and misunderstandings, and to offer words of wisdom and encouragement.

Here are some of areas I’d like to explore, based on the many emails I’ve received since launching the blog:

  • Did you fire your advisor only to learn that DIY investing was harder than it sounds?
  • Did you discover that annually rebalancing an ETF portfolio can be too expensive?
  • Have you found it difficult to “settle” for market returns when everyone you talk to has beaten the market 14 years in a row?

If you’re interested in sharing your thoughts, please drop me a line at mail@canadiancouchpotato.com. If I quote you in the magazine, I’ll send you a free copy of the MoneySense Guide to Retiring Wealthy.

Looking forward to hearing from you!

15 comments on “Potatoes Helping Potatoes

  1. I’ll gear this review to 2 types of people: current Zune owners who are considering an upgrade, and people trying to decide between a Zune and an iPod. (There are other players worth considering out there, like the Sony Walkman X, but I hope this gives you enough info to make an informed decision of the Zune vs players other than the iPod line as well.)

    Reply

  2. With the UK economy continuing to suffer, it seems some time until the Pound regains its strength.

    Reply

  3. Thank you for all your help, with me and my income complications this posting was handy !

    Reply

  4. The Zune concentrates on being a Portable Media Player. Not a web browser. Not a game machine. Maybe in the future it’ll do even better in those areas, but for now it’s a fantastic way to organize and listen to your music and videos, and is without peer in that regard. The iPod’s strengths are its web browsing and apps. If those sound more compelling, perhaps it is your best choice.

    Reply

  5. Zune and iPod: Most people compare the Zune to the Touch, but after seeing how slim and surprisingly small and light it is, I consider it to be a rather unique hybrid that combines qualities of both the Touch and the Nano. It’s very colorful and lovely OLED screen is slightly smaller than the touch screen, but the player itself feels quite a bit smaller and lighter. It weighs about 2/3 as much, and is noticeably smaller in width and height, while being just a hair thicker.

    Reply

  6. I am glad to be one of several visitors on this great web site (:, regards for posting . -Nona

    Reply

  7. Really good content. I just bookmark your webpage and also wants to be able to say that I have truly appreciated while reading through your content. Thank you for sharing the information with all.

    Reply

  8. Sweet post you got here. If you don’t mind, I’d like to share a little bit of my experience of investing to supplement this fantastic post! I’ve worked in many fields – sales and trading, private equity, investment banking to name a few. Now that I’ve got a wife and have retired, I’d like to say that at least a bit more knowledgeable than most. Standard investment advice is that you should invest in a diversified mix of stocks, bonds, and money market funds. If you are like most people you will invest part of your money aggressively in stocks, and part conservatively in money market funds and bond funds. However, some young people will go all stocks, and some very conservative people will go all money markets. Please read the award-winning NOVA article by Delos Chang: you will find a grove of great arguments in there. You want to buy a diversified portfolio of stocks as individual stocks are too risky. Highly knowledgeable people or informational investors can buy a properly balanced portfolio, but most folks have a difficult time balancing things on their own. They will misbalance their portfolio by buying all small stocks or all growth stocks, or some other misbalanced assortment of stocks. Back in 2000, Some people bought all Internet stocks; they got burnt when they all crashed together. In 2007/2008, as mentioned by Delos Chang, drug wars really wrecked some currencies. You have to diversify across industries. Unless you know what you are doing, it is best to buy mutual funds that will diversify for you. Buy no-load, low cost funds. Mutual funds should have expense ratios of less than 0.5%. If your company offers a 401K plan at work, try to invest the most you can. The money grows tax free, and some companies will match your contribution. Investing in a mutual fund IRA is also a good idea. I like index funds. Because of their broad diversification, you are less likely to have a dramatic drop in value. They also have the lowest expenses. For stock funds, I would suggest putting ~70-80% of your money in the Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund. and ~20-30% in a foreign stock index fund. The Vanguard Total Bond Market Index Fund is good for a bond fund. The Vanguard Target Retirement funds can be good all-in-one stock and bond funds for an IRA. However, there are many different opinions out there on what the best mutual funds are. Read the links below and form your own opinion. If you have high-interest debt, like credit cards, it is best to pay this off first before trying most of the investment ideas above. You should also have 3-6 months of salary saved up as an emergency fund in a bank or money market fund before trying more risky investments. I will warn you that there is a tremendous amount of stock investing books and websites that teach stock investing strategies that don’t work. Particularly bad are people that teach “technical analysis” systems that sound impressive, but don’t work.

    Reply

  9. Hi I’m a Dartmouth student with a entirely off-topic question. First I’d like to say, I like your amazing content so much so that I’ve really link this page to my site. Look at it if you like: http://deloschang.com/delos-chang-sites-love Yet here’s my actual comment: Wish you don’t mind. Wuld you thoughts letting me learn which webhost you are making use of? I’ve loaded your weblog in 3 completely diverse web browsers and I ought to say this blog loads a great deal quicker then most. My very own http://dartmouthmirror.tumblr.com loads so slowly. Can you suggest a great internet hosting provider with a reasonable cost? Kudos, I appreciate it!

    Reply

  10. Astonishingly beneficial post. Myself and my mother were planning to attempt a little research regarding that. We recieved a helpful book on that matter from our nearby library and almost all textbooks are not as descriptive as your information. Im quite happy to discover this kind of info which I was looking for a long time.

    Reply

  11. You can actually find doctors loans information from websites which provide financial buying and selling options for doctors. These are really great tools to make use of to provide you witha completely different perspective concerning your physicians mortgage shopping. This can greatly enable youwith your journey of obtaining a physician loan for your next home.

    Reply

  12. Appreciate yet another terrific article. I have a presentation next week, and I am on the look out for such information and facts.

    Reply

  13. After study a couple of of the weblog posts in your website now, and I actually like your means of blogging. I bookmarked it to my bookmark web site checklist and will be checking again soon. Pls check out my website online as nicely and let me know what you think.

    Reply

  14. The hand tools can be manually used employing force, or electrically powered, using electrical current.`~*

    Reply

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *