May 28, 2018
Who is John Roberson?
Dr. Robertson is a scientist,
writer, investor, teacher, and an all-around nice guy. He
specializes in explaining complex topics – scientific or financial
– for regular people. He has a Ph.D. from the University of Western
Ontario in Medical Biophysics, and he writes about personal finance
in his blog Blessed by the
Personal finance and investing have
long been personal passions for John, and he has been an active
part of the Canadian personal finance community for nearly a
decade. In 2014 he published The Value of Simple to help investors move
away from relying on commissioned sales staff to planning and
investing on their own. The book focuses on helping people
implement simple investment plans and get over behavioral pitfalls
to success. He also has a course available to beginner do-it-yourself investors.
Highlights from the interview
- Alain found out about John after listening to him in another
Canadian Couch Potato #15.
- John started blogging about 20 years ago.
- Started to focus on personal finance after the 2008 financial
- When he was 18 years old, his dad helped him set up his first
- John mentioned TD e-series as one of the less expensive
Canadian Mutual Funds, but buyer be wear, if you contact a mutual
fund representative, they might want to suggest a more expensive
- The way to find out how expensive is your mutual fund is to
look at the MER (Management Expense Ratio). Managed Funds have an
expense ratio of 2% to 3%. You want to avoid. You want to get
mutual funds with expense ratios of less than 0.5%.
- Be careful buyers. This is not like a one time commission you
pay when buying an object. This 2%-3% is taken out of your account
- If you are expecting your mutual fund to have a return of
7%-8%, when you take out 2%-3%, that's almost 1/3 of your money
going to the bank.
- If your investment horizon is 30-35 years, you are losing half
of your investment value in fees.
- We spoke about diversifying investments out of Canada. Canada
is only 2% of the global economy. In order to avoid home base bias,
we should consider investing in the economies of other geographical
sectors such as the U.S., Europe, Asia, etc. We suggested an equal
split between Canada, U.S., and international index funds.
- We spoke about how to rebalance a portfolio.
- We spoke about stocks vs. bonds; how much to have of each.
- We spoke about setting up an account with Tangerine, with TD
e-series and robot advisers.
- What's the difference between an ETF and a mutual fund?
- I have some money to invest. should I pay my mortgage or should
I invest it in the market?
- Take away point: Fees matter but being invested and having a
plan that can be followed matters just as more.
John Robertson's recommendations
Book: Stop Over-Thinking Your Money! by Preet Banerjee
Blogs: Canadian Couch Pototato