Andrew Whittaker, 48
Industrial refrigeration sales consultant
About 75 per cent in blue-chip companies such as Bank of Montreal, CIBC, Duke Energy Corp., Enbridge Inc., Fortis Inc., Telus Corp., TransCanada Corp. and Suncor Energy Inc.; remaining 25 per cent in variable-rate bonds.
When he was in his 20s, Mr. Whittaker was advised by his uncle to invest in dividend-paying companies that offered dividend reinvestment plans (DRIPs). "He said you won't be rich overnight but you'll be a millionaire eventually," he recounts. Mr. Whittaker has made good progress since then. His combined portfolio is currently valued at just under $300,000. Also, he and his wife, who are empty-nesters, have paid down the mortgage on their house.
He is a firm believer in the buy-and-hold investing approach, a big part of the attraction being the collecting and reinvesting of dividends through DRIPs. These plans also often allow purchases of additional shares at 3- to 5-per-cent discounts to market prices and don't charge commissions.
Mr. Whittaker looks to invest in "companies supplying products and services that people need, such as oil to feed our vehicles, gas to heat our homes, telecom for our phones and banking services." There will always be a demand for what they provide.
Thriftiness has also played a role. In recent years, Mr. Whittaker has saved 45 per cent of his annual income. "It's important for me to save," he says. "My wife can retire in February, 2018, and I hope to retire from full-time work around that time, as well."
"My best investment move would be purchasing my stocks when they were low and focusing on paying off the mortgage quickly."
"It would be investing in mutual funds in my 20s with high MERs [management expense ratios] and low returns."
Like his uncle, who is now 91 and "still enjoys talking about investing," Mr. Whittaker's advice is to buy shares in solid, blue-chip companies that have a history of dividend payments and increases.
"The key is not to be greedy. You're not going to be a millionaire overnight but you'll be able to sleep at night even when markets take a beating. The markets can be like flying in an airplane through turbulence and all you want to do is jump off - but the plane will land safely."
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