SANDER STEER

Sander Steer

Occupation

Chief Operating Officer at Sponsor Energy Inc.

City

Calgary, Alberta

Age

44

I’ve been investing for:

30 years

I plan to retire in:

12 years, when my children have both graduated from high school

Investable assets:

Enough to retire in 12 years

How long I’ve had an advisor:

30 years


No pain, no gain

When I was a teen, my father held my investments in trust. I’ll never forget the time I was sleeping in, my feet hanging over the end of my childhood bed, and my father finally succeeds at waking me by tugging the little hairs on my big toe (I assume gentler attempts had failed). “I think we should get out of that mutual fund,” he says. “The markets are opening soon. What do you think?” I mumbled my agreement. I’ve since discerned my father’s wisdom: when it’s time to sell, get on with it. I’ve made the mistake of holding onto stock because I’m nostalgic for the good old days of a rising star (I’m looking at you, Nortel).

Playing the field

With nearly three decades of investing under my belt, I’ve been around the block a few times with all the big banks. At one bank, there was a revolving door of advisors—I had four in four years! A relationship can’t move forward with that kind of instability. As a client, you start to feel [like] just another schmuck to sell product to.

I was livid when I did attempt to buy product—a tech stock with great promise—using the bank’s online tool. The transaction wasn’t completed because it didn’t meet the risk-tolerance settings put in place with my first account when I was a teen. The stock went up and I lost out. I called my advisor and complained vehemently, explaining that I expected to self-direct my self-directed account. My advisor acknowledged the system’s failure [not updating risk tolerances for new accounts] and cut me a cheque for the lost earnings. He’s now my only advisor.

Balancing act

My family immigrated to Canada from the Netherlands, and adventure is in my blood. I allocate fun money (which my advisor knows about) for the thrill of playing the markets. For long-term investments, I appreciate my advisor doing the homework for me. The best advice I received was from one of my advisor’s predecessors, who in 2007 suggested I balance my portfolio with long-term income mutual funds. These, along with my stocks in Shaw Communications, TransCanada Corp. and AltaGas, showed resilience during the market collapse. I recovered by purchasing cheap shares through a DRIP (dividend reinvestment plan).

by Michelle Schriver, a Toronto-based editor and writer

Originally published in Advisor's Edge

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