Tag Archives: Investment

Passive versus Active Investing: There are no Shortcuts

I had a friend who absolutely hated weeding his mother’s flower beds and herb garden.

Even as a teen I knew they were something amazing, literally dominating an acre, and his mother’s pride.  I don’t suppose I’m equipped even now to understand where gardening for pleasure becomes gardening to impress, but clearly Danny’s mom was gardening to impress.

Fed up, Danny decided one day to take a short cut and nipped out to Canadian Tire to buy some herbicide.  Three days later nothing was left but flower bed after flower bed of dead and dying plant material.  I didn’t see Danny for the rest of the summer.

Investing is much like that:  there are no shortcuts.

You can, like me, buy cut flowers which pleases Linda and is convenient to me.  Living in a condo doesn’t leave space in my life for growing things and frankly I don’t place much value on the process, only the result.  It’s a lot like the planters on King Street West that miraculously have gone from winter foliage to spring flowers overnight.

The other end of the spectrum are the gardeners in our condo complex.  Our flower gardens are beautiful, and a small group of volunteers spend countless hours of their retired time keeping them that way, developing through the spring with early blossoms to late fall ablaze.  I didn’t exactly endear myself to one of them last year when she was complaining about not getting any help to which I quipped maybe we just needed to pave them over.  I know myself and as much as I love the results I’m not prepared to spend the time getting them there.

The decision about whether to be a passive or active investor is a lot like that.

There are no short cuts to riches.

“Overnight” success in investing requires a lot of trial and error, and time committed to experimentation and failure, until you find a groove which works for you.  People like me can help with the process, providing advice, guidance and mentorship but ultimately you must take responsibility and work at it.

At the other end of the spectrum is the “buyer of cut flowers”.

Passive investing is a lot less labor intensive and if all you want is the benefit of the bloom, you need to school yourself in terms of expectations.  On occasion you might benefit from the blaze of color, but generally what you’re going to get is a well ordered manicured investment landscape.

I’ve toyed a lot with the concept of control when it comes to defining investment.  But I keep coming back to the same thing.

It’s about time commitment.

My profession is one of my passions, but I get that not everyone shares my interests.  The demarcation is your willingness to experiment, to take the time and effort to learn what you need to make an informed decision.

And if you think you found the magical answer to instant riches, remember Danny and his herbicide.

David Chellew and Linda Odnokon have been life partners and in business together for almost 19 years. During that time, they have mellowed into their respective roles and enjoy working with individual investment clients. Dave is a Portfolio Manager and Linda is an Investment Advisor with iAS and work out of the co-work space Brightlane on King West in downtown Toronto.

 Industrial Alliance Securities Inc. (iAS) is a member of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund and the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada. iA Securities is a trademark and business name under which Industrial Alliance Securities Inc. operates.

This information has been prepared by David Chellew, Portfolio Manager for Industrial Alliance Securities Inc. (iAS) and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of iAS. The opinions expressed are based on an analysis and interpretation dating from the type of publication and are subject to change. Furthermore, they do not constitute an offer or solicitation to buy or sell any the securities mentioned. For more information about iAS, please consult the official website at www.iasecurities.ca. David Chellew can open accounts only in the provinces where he is registered.

On Blowing Up Eggs and Campfires:  Finding a Way Out of Complacency

I can remember Shannon (my youngest daughter) when she was 9 or 10, asking me why I didn’t just make her omelet by putting a raw egg in the microwave.  I was grousing about having to clean out the mug I had just made her egg in and I answered her that I suspected that the egg would blow up.

She was no sooner out the door to go to school than I grabbed a raw egg and put it in the microwave.  There is a YouTube video that doesn’t do exploding eggs justice.  Delighted, I put another in and “boom”.  And another.  And another.  I kept at it until I had exploded a dozen eggs with childish delight.

I couldn’t clean the microwave and rather than going to work that morning I had to troop out and buy a replacement.  There are times that it just makes sense to give into the mischievous 8-year-old in yourself.

This past summer Linda and I had the opportunity to go visit a friend at her cottage in North Bay.  She was a little addled by her recent termination from a major financial institution but plans ultimately fell through.  Linda suggested we go camping instead and on a leap of faith we rented an SUV and dropped $2000 on the gear to make it happen.

We camped five times this past year, and from bone chilling cold in late August (we have toque stories) to mid-30 weather in late September, our central activity was the campfire.

Linda is a trooper and we discovered we camp exceedingly well together.  By the last trip we could set up our site in the dark with an economy of motion and absolutely no frayed tempers or impatience (well almost no frayed tempers).

And we mastered the art of the campfire.

From early boy scout skill, we evolved into two true 8-year-old experts in fire.  A dollar store pillar candle anchoring the first flame, we’d build either a log cabin or teepee (log cabin in our considered opinion is better) out of dry kindling from Canadian Tire around it.  In turn we’d place a circle of firewood with a piece at the top upon which Linda would stack pyramid-fashion 50 votive candles stripped of their tin.  Lastly, a liberal dosing of BBQ starter or lamp oil and we were ready.

In all we built ten or twelve this way, and once the satisfaction of seeing a blaze, we would settle into the night quiet around the fire.  We did have some detours like Jiffy Pop that sort of act like eggs in a microwave, marshmallows that set the Bailey’s on fire when quenched and hilarious racoon stories about how they would hold themselves just outside the circle of light thrown by the fire to try to raid our food.  The “who us” look on their faces when I turned a flashlight on them was hilarious.

A willingness to start down a new path almost always calls upon us to set aside our preconceptions and inertia.  It is often easier to risk losing out on future opportunities and stay in our complacency than it is to take that first step.

Linda and I firmly believe that the process of taking control of your financial future means taking that first step out of your comfort zone.  We can help you find a comfortable way to do that.

We are committed to helping people be better informed and better investors.  And there is every chance that you don’t need to change a thing.

November is Financial Literacy Month in Canada.  Why don’t you give me (437 266 1125) or Linda (437 266 1126) a call and arrange to sit down with us.

Who knows, maybe we’ll find some smiles along the way.

David Chellew and Linda Odnokon have been life partners and in business together for almost 19 years.  During that time, they have mellowed into their respective roles and enjoy working with individual investment clients.  Dave is a Portfolio Manager and Linda is an Investment Advisor with iAS and work out of the co-work space Brightlane on King West in downtown Toronto.

Industrial Alliance Securities Inc. (IAS) is a member of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF) and the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC). iA Securities is a trademark and business name under which Industrial Alliance Securities Inc. operates.

This information has been prepared by David Chellew, Portfolio Manager for Industrial Alliance Securities Inc. (IAS) and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of IAS. The opinions expressed are based on an analysis and interpretation dating from the type of publication and are subject to change. Furthermore, they do not constitute an offer or solicitation to buy or sell any the securities mentioned. For more information about IAS, please consult the official website at www.iasecurities.ca. David Chellew can open accounts only in the provinces where he is registered.