One of the most common questions I get from people when it comes to investing is "Am I even doing it right?" It was also a question that my next guest Pauline Shum Nolan (Finance Professor) also gets, which is why she co-created Wealthscope, a website that helps investors understand their investments so they can feel more confident about what they're doing.
It’s not every day I get to chat with a professor of finance! But that’s exactly why I sometimes have to pinch myself because my job as a podcast host can sometimes be so unfairly fun.
For this episode of the Mo’ Money Podcast, I sit down with Pauline Shum Nolan, Professor of Finance at the Schulich School of Business at York University and the co-founder and CEO of Wealthscope.
Basically, when it comes to investing, she really is an expert. She not only teaches finance at York University, she also manages the school’s pension program. And if she wasn’t busy enough, she developed an website called Wealthscope to educate and empower investors.
We talk a lot about investing strategies in this episode, and big point we both keep bringing up is the lack of confidence so many people have when it comes to investing. That’s why so many of us just want to hand everything over to an advisor to deal with it, even if that might actually be the worst thing we could do with our finances.
You see, investing isn’t that complicated when you break it down. And once you truly understand the basics, it’s easy to slowly build up your investing knowledge to a point where you feel completely comfortable managing your own investment portfolio, buying and selling stocks, and knowing when to call out someone for spreading misinformation.
Here are a few key points we discussed in our interview together.
Stay Diversified & Ditch High Fees
Investing doesn’t just mean dumping your money in stocks and hoping for the best. It also shouldn’t mean handing over your money to an advisor and praying they manage your money properly. The best way to invest is to be an informed investor, staying diversified (investing in multiple investment products), and saying no to high fees.
Let’s first start with staying diversified. There’s nothing wrong with investing in individual stocks, real estate or cryptocurrency. But you would be making a mistake if that was the only thing you’re invested in. A better way to invest would be to invest in index funds or index-based ETFs, then some individual stocks and/or real estate. And if you really wanted to dabble in something highly speculative, throw some money at cryptocurrency. Basically, following the rule of thumb to not put all of your eggs in one basket is the best way to do it.
As for fees, the less fees you pay, the more money in your pocket. That’s why a lot of people are moving away from actively managed mutual funds in favour of low fee ETFs or index funds. You could be saving 1-2% in fees, which over a few decades could equal to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Keep It Simple When Rebalancing Your Portfolio
Now, if you’re on board with becoming a DIY investor (which I think is awesome!), this is actually one of the top questions I get asked after what ETFs should I invest in (which I usually suggest checking out the Canadian Couch Potato’s model portfolios for a start).
Rebalancing your portfolio isn’t something you should fret over. As mentioned countless times in Andrew Hallam’s amazing book Millionaire Teacher, you only need to rebalance your portfolio once per year, or when there is a big market correction.
All rebalancing means is either sell/buying some of your equities or fixed income so it goes back to your initial asset allocation goal (ie. 80% equities, 20% fixed income), or buying more equities or fixed income to balance things out.
To learn more about how to rebalance your portfolio, read this article from Investopedia.
For full episode show notes, visit https://jessicamoorhouse.com/164