Your Complete Guide to Index Investing with Dan Bortolotti

Podcast 1: Are You Ready for DIY?

2018-05-29T21:33:48+00:00November 30th, 2016|Categories: Podcast|Tags: , |28 Comments

Welcome to the debut episode of the Canadian Couch Potato podcast.

Every two weeks I’ll be releasing a new episode of the podcast and announcing it here on the blog. You can stream the most recent episode using the player below, or you can subscribe via iTunes or Google Play, or using your favorite podcast software, such as Stitcher, Pocketcasts or Overcast.

This inaugural episode features my friend and colleague Justin Bender. In our interview we reflect on our experiences developing our unique DIY Investor Service, where we helped clients build ETF portfolios they could manage on their own. Here are some links related to that interview:

  • Renovate Your Portfolio appeared in MoneySense in 2012. Written before I joined PWL Capital, this article featured three of the original clients of the DIY service.
  • In his continuing efforts to support investors, Justin has just launched a YouTube channel called DIY Investing with Justin Bender. The first series of videos includes tutorials on how to place ETF trades at Canada’s largest online brokerages.

I’ve also created a regular segment called Bad Investment Advice, which features recent articles in the financial media. In this episode, I take issue with an article called One Place Where Passive Investing Doesn’t Rule: Bonds in The Wall Street Journal. Unfortunately, you need a subscription the WSJ to access this story online.

In the Ask the Spud segment that closes the show, I answer the following reader question:

“In your ETF model portfolios the equity component is split one-third Canadian, one-third US, and one-third international. Why is the Canadian component so high, when Canada makes up only 3% of the world market cap? And with poor sector diversification, at that.”

I’ve addressed home country bias in a past blog post and a MoneySense column. You may also be interested in Justin’s two-part discussion of the issue on his Canadian Portfolio Manager blog.

As always, if you have a suggestion for the Bad Investment Advice segment or if you’ve got an investing question you would like answered in a future podcast email me any time.



  1. Sean November 30, 2016 at 10:54 am

    For Overcast users on iOS, the podcast is not in the directory. You can, however, manually add it using the ‘Add URL’ method and entering:


  2. Jakob November 30, 2016 at 12:21 pm

    AntennaPod (open source Android podcast app) supports searching from iTunes, but also fyyd and Adding the feed to those directories should add to its visibility.

  3. corey_kaye November 30, 2016 at 4:58 pm

    Great job on the podcast. Love the into and the interview / feature / Q&A format. Looking forward to the next one!

  4. Andrew November 30, 2016 at 5:27 pm

    Thanks guys. I’m really thankful for websites like Canadian Couch Potato and Young and Thrifty. I find it’s tough to find good financial advice for Canadians, especially younger Canadians, so I really appreciate the energy and effort you guys are putting into this. Looking forward to learning more. Cheers.

  5. No Thanks November 30, 2016 at 7:01 pm

    Some information is better absorbed when it’s written down. Solutions to mathematical problems, computer code… and I’m going to kindly suggest.. investment strategy and related information.

    The information in your podcast simply isn’t *sticky”. Sorry! :(

    I do love the blog though!

  6. Suzanne November 30, 2016 at 7:10 pm

    I’ve been been following your blog for almost a year now and finally I feel I’ve gained the confidence to make the leap and transfer my investments to ETFs fund and become a DIY investor! I enjoyed your first podcast and look forward to others to come not to mention your soon to be available youtube videos. Thank you for this huge commitment to help people like myself make a DIY investment strategy a reality!

  7. alice November 30, 2016 at 8:36 pm

    Do I need to be Google play subscriber to access the podcast? CCP did not come up when I searched in podcasts…?

  8. Canadian Couch Potato November 30, 2016 at 8:39 pm

    @Suzanne, Andrew, corey_kaye and all: Thanks for the encouragement, and I hope you will enjoy future episodes of the podcast.

    For those who are having difficulty finding the podcast in your favourite app, please give it a couple of days. Once it is added to the iTunes directory it should become very easy to find.

  9. Min Min Tong December 1, 2016 at 11:16 am

    I am glad that you clarified which apps it’s available …. I have not seen many bloggers/podcasters do that! Patiently waiting for it to come through on PocketCasts. Can’t wait!

  10. Canadian Couch Potato December 1, 2016 at 11:24 am

    @Min Min: As soon as iTunes adds us to their list it should be available everywhere. Thanks for your patience!

  11. Chris December 1, 2016 at 1:10 pm

    Hi Dan – You podcast just got a mention over at the MMM forum – can’t wait to give it a listen on the drive to our current work in progress (aka the barnhouse) tonight.

  12. Su-Chong Lim December 1, 2016 at 5:02 pm

    And now for…”Baaaad Iiiiinvestment Aaaaaadviiiiiice!” LOL!

  13. Weekend Reading: CBC Marketplace Edition December 4, 2016 at 12:05 am

    […] Canadian Couch Potato has a podcast! The inaugural episode features Justin Bender and the two chat about their DIY investing service. […]

  14. Gerry P December 4, 2016 at 4:11 pm

    Excellent podcast, Dan– and Justin. Informative, and your reasons for moving away from your DIY service make sense. Like some of your previous clients, I too find Norbert’s gambit a bit too nervous-making and complex, and feel the pull of market timing and stock-picking. In your response to the question, your justification of 1/3 Canadian in the equity portion of the portfolio also makes a lot of sense. I ride buses a lot and your podcasts will be a great way to examine investing issues while passing the bus ride. I also like Justin’s Youtube videos, which will be a big help to DIYers. I’m looking forward to one on dealing with ACB on Canadian ETF’s with ROC calculations, etc, which I always find pretty complex, in spite of your very good paper on this.

  15. Su-Chong Lim December 4, 2016 at 11:28 pm

    Seriously, regarding “Bad Investment Advice” suggestions, it’s difficult to know where to start. A typical random opening of the business section of the Toronto Globe and Mail (a supposedly solid main stream source of investment advice) yields so many articles advising specific stock picks, advocating essentially market timing opinions, or warning for or against specific market sector positions, all of which are antithetical to a prudent, rational and long-term Couch Potato (diversified, agnostic, passive indexing) investing strategy.

    The underlying situation is that the principles of passive indexing investing can be summed up in just a few basic points, with a few more clarifying corollaries. Having stated these underlying principles, there is very little else to say without repeating yourself. Therefore the business news editors are hard pressed to find new useful information that still conforms to Couch Potato principles. Either that or they recognise that solid Couch Potato information is a hard sell to readers indoctrinated by years of “predict the future” type of investment advice, so instead they just resort to feeding them variations on the same old lies, i.e. “Baaaaad Iiiiiiinvestment Aaaaadviiiiiice”.

  16. Alan December 7, 2016 at 1:32 am

    This, like your blog, is excellent!

    As a new investor, and someone who waited until.his mid-40s to get started in investing (other than real estate), and now need to make up for lost time, this information is so helpful.

    Thank you!

    I am looking forward to hearing and reading more!

  17. James Allen December 9, 2016 at 12:19 pm

    Great job on the podcast. While i do agree that the written articles are best for study of more complex themes it is refreshing to have a new vehicle to deliver the messages. I for one need the constant reminders of why I am a couch potato investor and even enjoy laughing at myself when one of my deviations gets highlighted as a mistake!

  18. Scotty Mac December 9, 2016 at 4:46 pm

    Really enjoyed the podcast, although I only understood maybe 1/3 of the Canadian content. Just kidding. Feel free to explain more for investment noobs like me. Long live the Spud

  19. Jake December 10, 2016 at 11:09 am

    This year is another great example of not to chase past performance which CCP has advised a lot on here. The simple index balanced portfolio is performaing a lot better than top Mawer’s Balanced Fund YTD and past 1 yr. In fact the Mawer balanced fund is getting beaten by most funds in that catagory this year.

  20. Min Min Tong December 14, 2016 at 9:33 pm

    Great to see it’s up on Pocketcasts!

    As a newbie investor myself, I was really interested in this first episode. I found the pacing was done very well and the information was clear. You gave lots of justification for why you took the approach with your DIY program and explained your findings and conclusions very clearly. I agree that it’s important to find a balance between cost and accessibility. I’m okay with paying a bit more if it makes it easier to invest (hence, my first forays into a robo-advisor this year).

    (Can you tell I am a high school teacher? Ha!)

  21. […] Canadiana Couch Potato podcast – If you’re a personal finance blogger or you read MoneySense magazine, than you’ve likely heard of Dan Bortolotti, CFP, CIM and the term, “The Couch Potato Strategy”. Dan is most well-known for his blog on teaching Canadians about investing in index mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). His podcast was just released in November 2016 and new shows will be posted every two weeks. Check out his first episode! […]

  22. Dave December 16, 2016 at 12:45 pm

    I’m wondering if you could speak about short term investing in one of your podcasts. Specifically in wondering about saving for a home. I am at least a couple years out from saving a down payment and I’m wondering if their is a “safe” strategy for 2-4 year investment horizon. As of now the money just sits in a tangerine saving account but barely gets 1%. Love he site and the new podcast keep it up!

  23. Jakob December 16, 2016 at 2:13 pm

    @Dave: As someone who lost a bit of money trying to “invest” leading up to a home purchase, I feel that there’s a good case for plain saving.

    I’ve got a Tangerine account as well but their rates and time-limited promotions make it more suitable for saving up over several months, rather than several years.

    High-interest savings accounts is likely what you want to look into, they give you rates similar to longer-term GICs with short-term liquidity. Check the data, rate histories and forums on this site:

  24. Canadian Couch Potato December 16, 2016 at 2:24 pm

    @Dave: I’m going to echo Jakob on this one. With a time horizon of 2 to 4 years you just can’t afford to take any equity risk. Savings accounts and short-term GICs (cashable GICs if you think plans could change) are really the only viable option.

  25. […] to more financial podcasts (5/5): The month of December was finance month for me. Listened to both Canadian Couch Potato and Jessica Moorhouse. It was […]

  26. Peter February 16, 2017 at 1:34 am

    Hey its a been a while since I visited your site. congrats on getting a pod cast section. I look forward to hearing some of your thoughts

  27. Mark October 1, 2018 at 2:41 pm

    Hey Dan, I noticed that Podcast Episode 1 has recently been taken down from Spotify and Google Play. What gives?

  28. Canadian Couch Potato October 1, 2018 at 4:06 pm

    @Mark: Looking into this. It certainly wasn’t something we did intentionally.

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