Start Here

Welcome to My Own Advisor and I look forward to engaging with you.

From this Start Here page I encourage you to check out the following other pages on my site to read hundreds of articles about personal finance and investing, and read thousands of reader comments and perspectives in the process.

Learn about my approach to dividend investing from this page.

On that page, you’ll learn about what stocks and ETFs I own, why, and in what accounts. You’ll also learn how I built my dividend portfolio over time to earn thousands of dollars in divdends per month for semi-retirement. 

Check out why I’m a fan and owner of low-cost ETFs from this page.

While dividends are great, low-cost ETFs are part of my set-and-forget path to investing. I can own thousands of stocks from around the world for a very small money management fee to complement my income investing approach. 

Read up about dozens of free retirement case studies here.

You’ll find stories, essays and tools to plan your retirement effectively and efficiently. You can also “hire me” to run any retirement projections reports at a very low cost when compared to some expensive financial planners that might also want to manage your money – don’t do that unless you need to!

Years of progress by following the basics

Over the years of running this blog I’ve written hundreds of posts about saving and investing. I’ve done this to chronicle our journey to financial independence. 

How did I/we get this far?

Well, I need to tell you I’m far from a perfect saver and investor. But you don’t have to be perfect. You just need the following behavioural ingredients:

  1. Save early
  2. Save often
  3. Keep your money management fees low (consider using low-cost ETFs)
  4. Diversify your investments
  5. Maximize contributions to your registered accounts first (i.e., max out TFSA, then RRSP, before taxable/non-registered investing)
  6. Stay the course.

Please take a few minutes to browse through some of my past work below and over here on the Archives page.

You can also type in “TFSA”, “RRSP”, “RRIF”, “retirement” and any other keywords into my search bar to find what you are looking for. 

If you don’t find what you are looking for then please Contact me. I might turn your question(s) into a blogpost.  

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Just Starting Out – How To Get Started With Investing

Just Starting Out – Saving and investing resources for newbies

How to Start Investing in Dividend Paying Stocks

Try This Average Retirement Plan To Wealth

Just Starting Out – Help Needed

Millennials Can Get Rich Slowly!  FREE ebook here!

Just Starting Out – A primer for opening your online brokerage account

Just Starting Out – Pay Yourself First

Millennials – Just Starting Out

Why I Own ETFs (and you should too!)

Dividend Stock Selection Made Easy


Start Here terms and definitions you might find helpful

Asset Classes

Asset classes are a grouping of securities that exhibit similar characteristics and usually behave the same way.  The three main asset classes are equities (stocks), fixed-income (bonds) and cash equivalents (money market instruments).


A bond is a form an IOU or loan.  The issuer of the bond owes the holder of the bond a payment, in the form of interest (also known as the coupon).

Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GICs)

GICs are a special kind of IOU. You agree to lend the bank or a financial institution money for a set term.  That could be 6 months, 1 year or many years. You don’t pay fees when you buy a GIC.  The longer the term the higher interest rate you will earn. You are guaranteed to get your deposit back. 


A security that signifies ownership in a corporation and represents part of the company’s assets and earnings.

There are two main types of stock: common and preferred. Common stock usually entitles the owner to vote at shareholders’ meetings and to receive dividends. Preferred stock generally does not have voting rights, but has a higher claim on assets and earnings than the common shares. For example, owners of preferred stock receive dividends before common shareholders and have priority in the event that a company goes bankrupt and is liquidated.


Diversification is a way to reduce risk by investing in many different asset classes.  Diversification relies on the lack of any strong relationship between asset classes.  Meaning, if stock prices rise, bond prices usually fall.

Within your investment portfolio you’ll want to diversify your equities as much as possible.  This means you’ll want to own equities from different industry sectors and different countries around the world.

Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs)

An Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) is a low-cost version of a mutual fund that trades like a stock.  To invest in ETFs you need a brokerage account.  Read about ETFs 101 here.

Mutual Fund

A professionally managed money product that pools money from many investors to purchase securities.

What is my “hybrid investing” approach?

My way of investing: a balanced blend of individual stocks and low-cost equity ETFs – for passive, growing income and diversified long-term growth.