Marie Engen, 56
Retired financial planner, working part time as a retail merchandiser
Mainly blue-chip dividend stocks such as Toronto-Dominion Bank, TransCanada Corp., Rogers Communications Inc., Fortis Inc., Saputo Inc. and Power Financial Corp., plus some income trusts and mutual funds.
Marie Engen began investing in the 1970s, buying Canada Savings Bonds when interest rates were well above 10 per cent. In 1978, she became a mutual fund representative at a bank and switched to a portfolio of mutual funds. In the mid-1990s, she started buying dividend stocks, which now make up the "backbone" of her investment portfolio.
"My core portfolio consists mainly of dividend-paying blue chip stocks that I am holding for the long term," Ms. Engen says. "I like familiar Canadian companies whose activities are easy to understand. Dividend growth is more important to me than price fluctuations, although I make additional purchases when the price is right."
"When I began working for TD Bank in 1978, I enrolled in their Employee Savings Plan. For every dollar I contributed, I received 50 cents worth of bank stock. I kept all the stock and now hold almost 800 shares. I have reinvested all the dividends into other stock."
"My biggest mistakes happened when I listened to other people's advice instead of checking things out for myself. I purchased a tech stock in the late 1990s on the advice of a stockbroker at about $25 per share. When the price rose to the $90 range I was advised not to sell - it would supposedly increase to at least $200. When the inevitable plunge came, I did end up selling at about $32, so I made a bit of a profit."
Although retired, Ms. Engen still provides comments and advice on financial matters in a financial blog at boomerandecho.com (Boomer and Echo). One of the most important things an investor can do is to make sure they know what they are investing in and "are comfortable with the risk involved," she says.
"It's easy to be excited about increases when the stock market is booming, but if you worry too much when it starts fluctuating or drops significantly, your emotions get the better of you and you can make mistakes such as selling at the wrong time."
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