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Mutual Fund News

ME AND MY MONEY

Special to The Globe and Mail

Jonathan Cook, 41

Occupation

Manufacturing operations manager

The portfolio

Holdings include Dundee International REIT, Penn West Petroleum, Firm Capital Mortgage Investment, Superior Plus, Agnico-Eagle Mines, Sun Life Financial, ARC Resources, Pengrowth Energy, General Electric, PepsiCo and most of the big Canadian banks.

The investor

Mr. Cook describes himself as a buy-and-hold investor who uses dividend reinvestment plans (DRIPs). DRIPs have any dividends paid automatically diverted to buy more shares of that company. Not only are these purchases commission-free, they can include fractions of shares.

Currently, he has DRIPs in place with about 38 Canadian and U.S. dividend-paying stocks. Mr. Cook tries to limit his exposure to any one industry to 25 per cent of his total investment portfolio.

His contrarian bias

Mr. Cook generally ignores market sentiment when adding new money to his various DRIPs, but he does lean toward not following the herd.

What he favours

His two favourite sectors are REITs and oil and gas. "REITs provide me with great exposure to commercial income properties without having to deal with the headaches that come with full outright ownership." As for oil and gas, he says, his mechanical engineering experiences have shown him that our dependency on petroleum products is much more far-reaching than just powering cars or heating homes.

Best move

"My best investment move by far was taking the time to investigate the lesser-known world of DRIPs after reading a book that mentioned it as a 'lazy' investment strategy."

Worst move

"Without a doubt it is investing into Nortel shortly after the collapse of the tech bubble. Although thinking of what I lost still haunts me, it's what kept me out of the stock market for a number of years until I discovered DRIP investing."

Advice

"Only invest in companies that you understand, and can easily explain to a 6-year-old. Following this alone will keep you out of a lot of trouble and heartache."

Want to share your strategies?

tony.martin@sympatico.ca

© 2007 The Globe and Mail. All rights reserved.

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