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Mutual Fund News

ME AND MY MONEY

Special to The Globe and Mail

Raman Pall, 29

Occupation

Scientist

The portfolio

All exchange-traded funds including iShares S&P TSX Capped Composite Index, iShares DEX Short Term Bond Index, iShares S&P TSX Capped REIT Index, Vanguard Total Stock Market, Vanguard Value, Vanguard Small-Cap, and Vanguard MSCI Emerging Markets.

The investor

Raman Pall, who comes across a bit like British actor Hugh Grant, studied mathematics in university. After graduation, he bought a house and began a career as a scientist in the Department of National Defence.

He and his wife focused on paying down their mortgage - accomplishing it within five years. That's when he became interested in investing.

"Knowing that I'd soon suddenly have a lot of residual income remaining every month, I read as much as I could on investing before even considering the possibility of opening an investment account," Mr. Pall remarks. "Once comfortable in my knowledge, I started investing on my own through an online discount brokerage."

How he invests

Although Mr. Pall is civil and intelligent in manner, his portfolio is quite boring. And that's just the way it should be for strictly passive investors like him.

"I am a buy-and-hold investor who invests in low-cost, passively managed exchange-traded funds," he states. "I hold a globally diversified portfolio and do not attempt to time the market in any way. I try to ensure that my portfolio tracks my desired asset allocation by always adding any new funds to my lowest-performing asset [which also forces him to buy low]."

Best move

"The absolute best thing I did was read a lot of the financial literature before I invested a dime anywhere ... As such, I came to realize that the best thing I could do with my money was to invest passively, in a well-diversified low-cost portfolio, and not worry about any bumps along the way."

Worse move

"My wife and I bought a house straight out of university with a level of leverage that I wouldn't be comfortable with today. Fortunately, we were able to pay it off fairly quickly."

Advice

"Before listening to anyone's advice, mine included, spend some time reading... Akin to reading the manual to a new appliance, doing so will save you a substantial amount of time and money."

Want to share your strategies?

E-mail mccolumn@yahoo.com

© 2007 The Globe and Mail. All rights reserved.

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