Latest articles

Leverage and the fascinating world of stock options

While the world of stock investing is misunderstood, options are truly the great unknown

While the world of stock investing is misunderstood, this pales in comparison to misunderstanding around leverage or options. Leverage is the use of borrowed money to accelerate the purchase of a larger asset than you could purchase with cash. It is often possible to purchase real estate with as little as 10 per cent of […] Read more

Why the odds are in favour of investing in stocks

Over the past century, the stock market has vastly outperformed “safer” forms of investing

Annual returns from the U.S. stock market have averaged 9.4 per cent since 1900. Over these 119 years, inflation has run 2.9 per cent, so long-term after inflation returns have been 6.4 per cent. Stocks exhibited significantly better real returns than bonds at 1.9 per cent, T-bills at 0.8 per cent and residential real estate […] Read more

Farming and investing in the stock market: there are many similarities

Both have randomness and volatility; plus, good management doesn’t always lead to good outcomes

Stock investing and farming entail variability and random chance. Both also create opportunities for profit when randomness and volatility are understood. I introduced the “bell curve” in my last column, demonstrating how portfolios have good and bad outliers, while most stocks clustered around the mean. Does this concept apply to farming? Say you farm 11 fields of canola […] Read more

Investing and the omnipresent impact of the bell curve

Outstanding performance of the titanium portfolio on its first anniversary

Last year I described my “Titanium Strength Model Portfolio,” based on buying and holding strong stocks. Now it’s time to take a look at my results. How did the portfolio perform? How did it compare to market indices? What other nuggets can we glean that might aid our understanding of portfolio management? What does a […] Read more

Stacks of Canadian Coins

Secrets to sanity and success in the investment world

Buying and holding is a more solid, and sane, strategy then portfolio turnover

This article marks my 24th for Grainews. My first article, in March of 2018, had a quote: “it’s all about buying common shares in solid companies, and holding them for a long time.” I hope you are now convinced of the validity of this approach. Why is this simple strategy shunned by most market participants? […] Read more

A background of hundred dollars scattered on the table.

Long-term U.S. successes, and blemishes

Adding U.S. stocks to your portfolio brings diversification and a chance to profit

Previously, I shared examples from my Canadian portfolio that contributed to long-term investment success. The Canadian market is just three per cent of the world market and isn’t very well diversified, with financial and resource companies dominating. This makes international diversification a key success component. My longest standing stock account is an RRSP. Many years […] Read more

Long-term investment successes… and a few blemishes

Herman VanGenderen reveals the ups (and a few downs) of his stock investing history

Success through simplicity entails buying the right companies and holding them a long time. This reduces stress and workload managing investments, and leads to better outcomes. But do I follow my own advice? My first decade of stock investing was unsuccessful so when I transferred my RRSP into a stock account in 1993, I began […] Read more

Evaluating your investment performance

Are you getting your money’s worth when it comes to mutual fund fee structures?

There has been a lot of negativity directed towards the mutual fund and financial advisory industries around performance and fees, partly because of the emergence of Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) with lower fees. Advisors, however, rely on mutual fund fees. My bias is towards taking control with direct stock ownership. This virtually eliminates fees and, […] Read more

The folly of market predictions

For the best long-term predictions, predict that most predictions will be wrong

In a previous column, I mentioned less than half of predictions are accurate. This phenomenon has been well documented, yet market predictions continue to abound. I began making market predictions in my January 2016 newsletter, mostly to poke fun at the whole prediction process, but also to test myself against the experts. How have I […] Read more

Aerial view of farm

Thoughts on investing in real estate

Most farmers have invested in a home and in farmland. These investments are not risk free

My January 8, 2019, column titled, “Re-think what you thought, Part 2” contained a statement that a common misperception is that a house is one’s most important investment. For farmers, a house often comes with the farm, which is clearly an investment. Does this apply to those who don’t farm? I wish to clarify that […] Read more