Switching my retirement savings to all-in-one ETFs

Covid-19 takes a bite out of retirement savings | Investment Executive

Disclaimer: I am not a Financial Planner or Advisor. I do not recommend any investment products. You need to do your own research and assessment for what’s best for you, financially.

I’ve been reviewing my retirement portfolio lately. After the initial Covid-19 shock, it has recovered nicely.

That being said, over the last year or so, it has felt more and more difficult to manage. Not surprising, given that my portfolio is made of 32 individual stocks and 8 ETFs!

It all began in 2014…

Back then, I was still heavily invested in high-mer mutual funds, with low returns and deferred-sales charges….yikes!

I finally saw the light, when I started educating myself about personal finances and investing. I liquidated all my mutual funds and decided to open a self-directed account at a brokerage firm.

I started buying individual stocks and some ETFs….and didn’t stop until very recently.

I wanted to really be in charge of my own money, and also conquer the bias I had about investing in the stock market myself.

Like a lot of people, I used to think buying stocks was for the rich; and that it was highly risky. It definitely can be, but it doesn’t have to be either when you do your due diligence and stick to your risk tolerance.

6 years later, it has become time-consuming

In 6 years, my portfolio grew nicely thanks to my regular contributions, but also to some good stock-picking.

That being said, I also picked-up a few losers, with their applicable losses.

Researching stocks is labor-intensive. I am also at a point where I am not sure what stocks to pick going forward.

It can also be expansive

Trading stocks has a cost. Brokerage firms charge variable commissions. Questrade, for example, charges around $ 5.00 per trade. It adds-up!

Modest returns

I have had years with stellar returns. Last year, my portfolio was almost at 20%. Some years, the return was really small. The return since inception – what you need to look at- is at 7%.

It doesn’t account for inflation and taxes. Not that bad, but it could be better.

Looking at all-in-one ETFs…kind of

I also need a simplified, more automatic management. ETFs provide just that.

Over the last 2 to 3 years, BlackRock, Vanguard and Horizon have pioneered all-in-one ETFS. These are funds that include both equity and fixed income. They’re broadly diversified and passively managed, resulting in low fees.

I looked at them, however I ultimately decided to switch to a 2-etf portfolio.

I am still not comfortable enough to put all my retirement money in a single product.

My updated portfolio will be made of VEQT and XGB.

Right now, I have individual stocks but also various ETFs for bonds and specific types of assets such as REITS. I need to consolidate all of it.

The 2 above-mentioned ETFs will do just that. I also liked their asset mix and geographical spread.

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