Weekend Reading – The best decisions remain in hindsight

Weekend Reading – The best decisions remain in hindsight

Hey Everyone,

Welcome to a new Weekend Reading edition, answering a few reader questions, pointing to this theme: the best decisions remain in hindsight.

Before my take and replies, a few reminders of some popular posts on the site:

Due to the behavioural factors involved, investing remains very different from other things in our lives. That includes leaving things well alone for the most part…

“Like a bar of soap, the more I touch the portfolio the smaller it could get…”

Earlier this week, I shared some updates on our financial goals including how close we are to being mortgage-free…

2023 Financial Goals – September Update

Weekend Reading – The best decisions remain in hindsight

In recent weeks, I’ve received a few emails and comments on the site about the best ETFs to own, should investors consider owning this fund or that fund, and how might I be investing differently with higher interest rates now here, and so on. 

Let’s briefly unpack each.

What are the best ETFs to own?

Well, I certainly have a few favourites.

I’ve got an entire page dedicated to that so I won’t repeat it here. 


The “best” ETFs to own is subjective too. Again, emotions trump math. It also depends what your goals are. 

Advisors, gurus, tout diversification that I discussed at length here but the reality is, the “best” ETFs for the “best” returns are only visible in hindsight. That’s why they advocate for diversification in the first place. Own a bit of everything to a point just in case.

Could advisors, gurus or yourself have predicted the tech-focused Nasdaq-100 (QQQ) would clobber returns of low-cost, diversified U.S. ETFs (VTI, VOO) over the last decade+?

I didn’t see that coming…but it happened.

And it might continue.

Weekend Reading - The best decisions remain in hindsight

Source: Portfolio Visualizer

Should you pick this fund over that fund? Why?

I have a short checklist for my funds to pick, and why. 

1. Consider performance/past performance. Performance of an ETF means more than just how much money is gained or lost as the ETF’s underlying index rises and falls. It is refers to how closely the ETF matches the index performance. As a DIY investor you’ll want to determine if tracking errors are important to you.

2. Know thy ETFs. Years ago, more than a decade ago, ETFs seemed like a new wave of mutual funds to me. With a plethora of indexes in the investing universe, how do investors pick? Well, you’d be wise to evaluate an appropriate index and ensure your investment objectives align with the need of that ETF.


    • The need for any country-specific, regional, or global assets.
    • The need to own sectors that are areas of interest, such as technology or renewable energy.
    • The need to own any specific asset classes, which include equities, fixed income and real estate as examples. 

3. Understand the costs. Yes, performance matters. Yes, structure and asset allocation matters. And those factors are ahead of costs. Don’t let any tax-tail wave the investing dog. Generally speaking, the lower the costs, the better for you the investor. No need to pay for someone else’s yacht.

Weekend Reading - The tyranny of compounding costs

From my trip to Florida in 2022. This could be a money manager’s yacht. I don’t know. Choose wisely! 🙂

How might I be investing differently with higher interest rates now here?

I’m really not. 

The only thing I’ve been doing of late (over the last year) is buying more cash alternative ETFs because I’m earning more money on my investments than just idle cash sitting in my portfolio.

Hard to argue with low-risk 4.5%+ yield!

Weekend Reading – The best decisions remain in hindsight

I wish I could predict the future…go all-in on a few stocks or ETFs or concentrated bets.

I’ve lived long enough and invested long enough to know I don’t know what I don’t know.

I have no idea what the investing future holds tomorrow, next week, next month or next year.

Yes, I make some assumptions with our investment portfolio, but I live my life from there. 

The best financial decisions only exist in hindsight. 

I feel once you understand you’re not in charge of pretty much anything, life can get a bit easier. – My Own Advisor.

More Weekend Reading…

Thanks for the emails and comments on this post, folks, very kind. 🙂

“Mark, like a few of your readers and comments on the site, we are fortunate to have two small workplace pensions in our 60s and so we remain almost 100% invested in a mix of Canadian, international and global stocks using ETFs. Your post was an excellent reminder to keep some cash or fixed-income, just in case.

A bit shocking that a Canadian CFA believes millennials “will probably need $3-$5M” to retire. 

I’m sure the post was made with good intentions, but financial professionals making these claims without more context let alone any projections analysis is not very helpful. 

It’s a problem that Canadians feel they need $1.7 million to retire.

Most won’t ever have that.

The good news is, some might not need that much invested for retirement. “It depends”.

Ben Carlson suggests:

“Regularly investing your money during a down market does wonders for your future returns. Obviously, it’s easy to look back at these things after the market has come roaring back. But down markets are a wonderful time to get long-term bullish.”

Interesting link here – Canadians have a very low savings rate comparatively.

Humm, housing affordability an issue??

Canada’s savings rate is just 22.9% of GDP – ranked 66th worldwide

Save, Invest, Prosper!

If curious, check my Deals page – partnerships and discounts to help you make the most out of your money.

Check out my partnerships with:

  • Dividend Stocks Rock
  • 5i Research
  • StockTrades.ca
  • LegalWills
  • Borrowell 
  • and more!

As always, you can also consider hiring me for some low-cost financial projections services – anytime.

Just reach out. 

This is a service founded by DIY investors for DIY investors without the conflict of any advice.

Have a great weekend!


My name is Mark Seed - the founder, editor and owner of My Own Advisor. As my own DIY financial advisor, I'm looking to start semi-retirement soon, sooner than most. Find out how, what I did, and what you can learn to tailor your own financial independence path. Join the newsletter read by thousands each day, always FREE.

2 Responses to "Weekend Reading – The best decisions remain in hindsight"

  1. “From my trip to Florida in 2022. This could be a money manager’s yacht. ”
    I’m still thinking it’s some Canadian bloggers yacht. Seems to appear quite often. LOL



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