client-confidential-Hoang-Dang

Occupation

Chief Engineer, K-Bro Linen Systems

City

Edmonton, Alta.

Age

58

I’ve been investing for:

more than 27 years

I plan to retire:

in 5 years

Investable assets:

about $1 million

How long I’ve had an advisor:

more than 20 years


On the last Sunday afternoon of each month, my Investors Group advisor knocks on my front door to review my investments, which are mostly mutual funds. A colleague recommended him, and I appreciate his knowledge and commitment to service. I rely on him to provide me with good investment options, because I’m too busy with work and kids to learn what’s happening in the markets. He offers fund suggestions and also explains the MERs.

A good start for the kids

I regret not knowing more about the markets. After leaving Vietnam and arriving in Canada at age 24, I studied at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology during the day and worked odd jobs at night. I had no time or extra money for investing.

Things will be different for my kids (16 and 12). I’ve invested in RESPs, so they can focus exclusively on university, and then find work and start saving early. I tell them starting early is the key to having the freedom to do whatever you want.

I’ve opened savings accounts for them, too, and I deposit monthly allowances for them. They’re free to make spending decisions, with a catch: only $20 can be withdrawn at a time. I want them to think seriously about what truly is a need versus a want. I check their monthly statements to make sure the account activity reflects my philosophy.

A helping hand

I was in my thirties when I started my current job. I knew I had to invest my money, but I didn’t know where to begin. One of my colleagues was financially savvy. When we talked during a break at work, he always seemed to know about the markets: what was hot, what wasn’t. He offered to invest my money for me and I gladly accepted, writing him a cheque and letting him take care of the rest. This went on for about five years. His stock picks on my behalf had great returns. I couldn’t even tell you what he invested in; I simply trusted him.

Then, my employer started an RRSP matching program with Investors Group. No longer did I need to wonder about the markets or what to do with my money. I took back the funds invested with my colleague and placed them with Investors Group. I’m comfortable with a 5% or 6% return over the long term. What matters is making regular RRSP contributions and knowing I have an advisor keeping an eye on my portfolio.

by Michelle Schriver, assistant editor of Advisor Group.

Originally published in Advisor's Edge

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