It’s now been almost a year since I launched Canadian Couch Potato. When I first mentioned that I was writing a blog about index investing, many people were surprised that such a thing was needed. “What is there to say?” they would ask. “You build a portfolio of index funds or ETFs and rebalance it once a year. How many times can you write that?”
More than a hundred blog posts later, I know that being a Couch Potato isn’t always that simple. I’ve heard from many readers who have struggled with this investing strategy. Some rushed into indexing expecting instant results, while others understood the strategy but had problems implementing it.
I’m currently working on a feature for MoneySense magazine that’s aimed at preparing new index investors for what they should expect when they take a seat on the couch. I’ll debunk some of the myths surrounding the strategy, and help inexperienced investors avoid common mistakes. And I’d like to ask for your help. I want to include stories from current index investors who are willing to share some of their early mistakes and misunderstandings, and to offer words of wisdom and encouragement.
Here are some of areas I’d like to explore, based on the many emails I’ve received since launching the blog:
- Have you found it hard to resist tinkering with your portfolio every time the market winds change direction?
- Did you consider abandoning the strategy when your Couch Potato portfolio lost money during 2008–09?
- Did you fire your advisor only to learn that DIY investing was harder than it sounds?
- Did you use ETFs to build a small portfolio only to discover that the brokerage costs were so high that you would have been better off using index mutual funds?
- Did you discover that annually rebalancing an ETF portfolio can be too expensive?
- Have you found it difficult to “settle” for market returns when everyone you talk to has beaten the market 14 years in a row?
If you’re interested in sharing your thoughts, please drop me a line at email@example.com. If I quote you in the magazine, I’ll send you a free copy of the MoneySense Guide to Retiring Wealthy.
Looking forward to hearing from you!