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Mutual Fund News

ME AND MY MONEY

Special to The Globe and Mail

BRADEN MCLEAN, 34

Occupation

Realtor

The portfolio

Mainly income properties, plus fixed-income and equity mutual funds in a registered education savings plan and registered retirement savings plan.

The investor

Braden McLean is an Ottawa real estate agent. He's also a devoted hockey dad who spends many evenings and weekends cheering for his two kids at local arenas. On cold winter nights, he and his wife, Amy, can be found outdoors, maintaining the backyard rink.

How he invests

"I have focused on purchasing rental properties as I am a Realtor and can determine good investments for long-term growth," says Mr. McLean. "My strategy is to buy and hold: I rent the properties out and pay off the mortgages to eventually provide a long-term monthly income."

Before buying, he determines how much neighbouring properties are renting for, and how long it usually takes to find tenants. "Is the neighbourhood appealing? Is it close to shopping, schools and transit, for example?"

The neighbourhood should also have good prospects for longterm appreciation. "It should be in an area with a history of price increases and growth," Mr. McLean notes. "Is it gaining in popularity, is the city investing in new infrastructure, or are new businesses starting up?"

He always makes sure that he can meet the down payment requirement and monthly carrying costs - whether the rental is occupied or vacant. If the rent fails to cover expenses, the losses can be used to reduce taxes payable on employment income.

In addition to his rental properties, Mr. McLean has focused on paying down the mortgage on his principal residence. But he wants to diversify his savings and is now increasingly moving into financial assets held in tax sheltered plans, notably registered education savings plans and registered retirement savings plans.

Best move

"Purchasing rental properties and investing in RESPs."

Worst move

"Not investing enough over the years in an RRSP."

Advice

"Pay off your mortgage as soon as possible."

Want to share your strategies? E-mail mccolumn@yahoo.com

© 2007 The Globe and Mail. All rights reserved.

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