Your Complete Guide to Index Investing with Dan Bortolotti
Podcast2018-06-24T18:36:18-04:00

Podcast

Hosted by Dan Bortolotti, the Canadian Couch Potato Podcast features expert interviews, helpful tips for DIY investors, and answers to questions from listeners and blog readers.

Latest Episodes

Podcast 13: Here Come the Robots

In Episode 13 of the Canadian Couch Potato podcast, we turn our attention to one of the most significant trends in ETF investing: the rise of robo-advisors. As Rob Carrick recently wrote in the Globe and Mail, “It’s time to stop treating robo-advisers as a novelty and start considering them as a smart option for people seeking help in building an investment portfolio.” I haven’t written much about robo-advisors since they arrived in Canada back in 2014, because it’s been hard to get much deep insight into these firms. On one hand, the media love painting them as a massive disrupter in the financial services industry, but it’s not clear how popular they’ve been with Canadian investors. Most firms are silent about the number of clients they have attracted and the amount of assets they manage. To inject a little objectivity, I spoke to someone with expertise but no vested interest in the robo-advisor space. Pauline Shum-Nolan is a professor of Finance at the Schulich School of Business whose research has focused on ETFs. She is also president and co-founder of PW Portfolio Analytics, a firm that provides risk analysis and other research services for DIY investors, advisors and institutions. [...]

December 13th, 2017|Categories: Podcast|Tags: , |19 Comments

Podcast 12: Robert Shiller – CAPE Crusader

In the latest episode of the Canadian Couch Potato podcast, I speak with Robert J. Shiller, professor of economics and finance at Yale University, and winner of the 2013 Nobel Prize in Economics. Prof. Shiller was in Toronto recently for the launch of the BMO Shiller Select US Index ETF (ZEUS), a fund that selects US stocks using a methodology based on Shiller’s CAPE ratio. The acronym stands for cyclically adjusted price-to-earnings: unlike traditional P/E ratios, which usually use only the previous 12 months of earnings, CAPE uses the average of the previous 10 years. The idea is to smooth out any short-term aberrations and provide a more useful measure of a company’s value. The CAPE ratio is widely followed, not just for individual companies, but for the US market as a whole. During the interview I mention that a 2012 study by Vanguard found the CAPE ratio was the one of the most useful tools for estimating long-term stock returns—although even then, it explained less than half of subsequent performance. Prof. Shiller has also lent his name to the Case-Shiller Home Price Indexes, which track real estate prices in major US cities. During our interview we chat about whether [...]

November 10th, 2017|Categories: Podcast|Tags: , , |23 Comments
Advertisements

Podcast 11: Fighting Evil With Index Funds

The waiting is over: we’re back with another episode of the Canadian Couch Potato podcast: Our featured interview this time around is with Mike Foy, senior director of the Wealth Management Practice at J.D. Power, the well-known research firm. Mike was the lead author on the Canadian Self-Directed Investor Satisfaction Study, released in September. The survey included some 2,500 clients of the major online brokerages in Canada. The full J.D. Power survey is not available to the public. But if you’re interested in comparing online brokerages in Canada, MoneySense has been doing an annual survey since 2013, and I was closely involved in establishing the criteria and writing the articles during the first couple of years. The 2017 edition includes a handy comparison tool that lets you scan for the features that are most important to you. If you want to dig more deeply, you can visit the website for Surviscor, the research firm that provides the raw data for the MoneySense rankings. Rob Carrick and the Globe and Mail also do an annual review of online brokerages and robo-advisors. Indexing is the new Satan I’m having little trouble finding new media items to feature in the popular Bad Investment [...]

October 5th, 2017|Categories: Podcast|Tags: , |33 Comments

Podcast 10: MoneySense, We Hardly Knew Ye

If you’ve been a reader for a while, you know that I have a long association with MoneySense, a magazine I contributed to for some 15 years as a feature writer, columnist, and editor. MoneySense didn’t invent the Couch Potato strategy, but the magazine brought the idea to Canada around the turn of the millennium, when index funds were rare and ETFs were almost completely unknown to the public. But times are tough for print media, and at the beginning of this year MoneySense published its last magazine and made the transition to an all-digital format, including a lineup of free newsletters. In my latest podcast, I sit down with David Thomas, who was named editor-in-chief at the magazine in late 2015 and still oversees the MoneySense and Canadian Business brands at Rogers Media. We chat about the magazine and as well as the evolving role of the financial media. Worlds apart Do you still need international diversification in your portfolio? That’s the question I tackle in this episode’s edition of Bad Investment Advice. I’ve recently received questions from readers and listeners about whether investors really need international diversification in their portfolios. A couple pointed to a popular blog, though [...]

August 2nd, 2017|Categories: Podcast|Tags: , , , , |21 Comments

Podcast 9: Finding Common Ground

Does the whole “active versus passive” debate miss a key point about what leads to successful investing? Why do investors focus on “mutual funds versus ETFs” when neither structure is inherently superior? These are some of the topics I discuss with Tom Bradley in my latest podcast: Tom is the co-founder and president of Steadyhand Investment Funds, based in Vancouver. Steadyhand believes strongly in active management: they even call themselves “undex funds,” because their goal is to look like nothing like the benchmarks. But if you spend any time reading Tom’s articles in the Globe and Mail, MoneySense, and on the Steadyhand blog, you’ll notice there a surprising amount of overlap in our messages. I noted this some six years ago when Tom released the first edition of his book, It’s Not Rocket Science. Tom and I both understand that, whatever your specific strategy happens to be, the fundamental ingredients of a successful plan are low cost, broad diversification and a disciplined strategy you will adhere to over the long term. This message can get lost in the debate about indexing versus active strategies, and especially in the discussions about the relative merits of ETFs versus mutual funds. Later in [...]

June 17th, 2017|Categories: Podcast|Tags: , , |18 Comments
Advertisements

Podcast 8: Couch Potato With a Conscience

Are you interested in indexing but uneasy about the idea of investing in certain “sin stocks”? In my latest podcast, I look at whether you can be a Couch Potato investor and still stay true to your values. The episode features a detailed interview with Tim Nash, a financial planner, creator of the Sustainable Economist blog and a specialist in socially responsible investing (SRI), with a particular expertise in green ETFs. I first interviewed Tim here on the blog back in 2013, and since then he has been my go-to guy on sustainable investing. During the interview we discuss several ETFs. Here are links to the ones Tim mentions: iShares Jantzi Social Index ETF (XEN) offers exposure to 50 large-cap Canadian companies weighted according to environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria. iShares MSCI KLD 400 Social ETF (DSI) is one option for large-cap US stocks. According to Tim: “Really what they’re trying to do is to replicate the S&P 500, but getting rid of the worst of the worst companies.” The fund drops the lowest-ranking 20% of stocks based on their ESG scores. iShares MSCI USA ESG Select ETF (KLD) takes a different approach: rather than using what Tim calls a [...]

May 18th, 2017|Categories: Podcast|Tags: |35 Comments

Hosted by Dan Bortolotti, the Canadian Couch Potato Podcast features expert interviews, helpful tips for DIY investors, and answers to questions from listeners and blog readers.

Each episode includes interviews with experts, helpful tips for DIY investors, and answers to questions from listeners and blog readers.

Subscribe today using your favorite podcast software so you never miss an episode!

After each episode has been released, we’ll post a link to the relevant blog post, which includes a streaming feed so you can listen in you browser. The blog posts also include links related to the episode’s guest, the investing topics discussed, and other show notes.

Latest Episodes

Podcast 13: Here Come the Robots

In Episode 13 of the Canadian Couch Potato podcast, we turn our attention to one of the most significant trends in ETF investing: the rise of robo-advisors. As Rob Carrick recently wrote in the Globe and Mail, “It’s time to stop treating robo-advisers as a novelty and start considering them as a smart option for people seeking help in building an investment portfolio.” I haven’t written much about robo-advisors since they arrived in Canada back in 2014, because it’s been hard to get much deep insight into these firms. On one hand, the media love painting them as a massive disrupter in the financial services industry, but it’s not clear how popular they’ve been with Canadian investors. Most firms are silent about the number of clients they have attracted and the amount of assets they manage. To inject a little objectivity, I spoke to someone with expertise but no vested interest in the robo-advisor space. Pauline Shum-Nolan is a professor of Finance at the Schulich School of Business whose research has focused on ETFs. She is also president and co-founder of PW Portfolio Analytics, a firm that provides risk analysis and other research services for DIY investors, advisors and institutions. [...]

December 13th, 2017|Tags: , |19 Comments

Podcast 12: Robert Shiller – CAPE Crusader

In the latest episode of the Canadian Couch Potato podcast, I speak with Robert J. Shiller, professor of economics and finance at Yale University, and winner of the 2013 Nobel Prize in Economics. Prof. Shiller was in Toronto recently for the launch of the BMO Shiller Select US Index ETF (ZEUS), a fund that selects US stocks using a methodology based on Shiller’s CAPE ratio. The acronym stands for cyclically adjusted price-to-earnings: unlike traditional P/E ratios, which usually use only the previous 12 months of earnings, CAPE uses the average of the previous 10 years. The idea is to smooth out any short-term aberrations and provide a more useful measure of a company’s value. The CAPE ratio is widely followed, not just for individual companies, but for the US market as a whole. During the interview I mention that a 2012 study by Vanguard found the CAPE ratio was the one of the most useful tools for estimating long-term stock returns—although even then, it explained less than half of subsequent performance. Prof. Shiller has also lent his name to the Case-Shiller Home Price Indexes, which track real estate prices in major US cities. During our interview we chat about whether [...]

November 10th, 2017|Tags: , , |23 Comments
Advertisements

Podcast 11: Fighting Evil With Index Funds

The waiting is over: we’re back with another episode of the Canadian Couch Potato podcast: Our featured interview this time around is with Mike Foy, senior director of the Wealth Management Practice at J.D. Power, the well-known research firm. Mike was the lead author on the Canadian Self-Directed Investor Satisfaction Study, released in September. The survey included some 2,500 clients of the major online brokerages in Canada. The full J.D. Power survey is not available to the public. But if you’re interested in comparing online brokerages in Canada, MoneySense has been doing an annual survey since 2013, and I was closely involved in establishing the criteria and writing the articles during the first couple of years. The 2017 edition includes a handy comparison tool that lets you scan for the features that are most important to you. If you want to dig more deeply, you can visit the website for Surviscor, the research firm that provides the raw data for the MoneySense rankings. Rob Carrick and the Globe and Mail also do an annual review of online brokerages and robo-advisors. Indexing is the new Satan I’m having little trouble finding new media items to feature in the popular Bad Investment [...]

October 5th, 2017|Tags: , |33 Comments

Podcast 10: MoneySense, We Hardly Knew Ye

If you’ve been a reader for a while, you know that I have a long association with MoneySense, a magazine I contributed to for some 15 years as a feature writer, columnist, and editor. MoneySense didn’t invent the Couch Potato strategy, but the magazine brought the idea to Canada around the turn of the millennium, when index funds were rare and ETFs were almost completely unknown to the public. But times are tough for print media, and at the beginning of this year MoneySense published its last magazine and made the transition to an all-digital format, including a lineup of free newsletters. In my latest podcast, I sit down with David Thomas, who was named editor-in-chief at the magazine in late 2015 and still oversees the MoneySense and Canadian Business brands at Rogers Media. We chat about the magazine and as well as the evolving role of the financial media. Worlds apart Do you still need international diversification in your portfolio? That’s the question I tackle in this episode’s edition of Bad Investment Advice. I’ve recently received questions from readers and listeners about whether investors really need international diversification in their portfolios. A couple pointed to a popular blog, though [...]

Podcast 9: Finding Common Ground

Does the whole “active versus passive” debate miss a key point about what leads to successful investing? Why do investors focus on “mutual funds versus ETFs” when neither structure is inherently superior? These are some of the topics I discuss with Tom Bradley in my latest podcast: Tom is the co-founder and president of Steadyhand Investment Funds, based in Vancouver. Steadyhand believes strongly in active management: they even call themselves “undex funds,” because their goal is to look like nothing like the benchmarks. But if you spend any time reading Tom’s articles in the Globe and Mail, MoneySense, and on the Steadyhand blog, you’ll notice there a surprising amount of overlap in our messages. I noted this some six years ago when Tom released the first edition of his book, It’s Not Rocket Science. Tom and I both understand that, whatever your specific strategy happens to be, the fundamental ingredients of a successful plan are low cost, broad diversification and a disciplined strategy you will adhere to over the long term. This message can get lost in the debate about indexing versus active strategies, and especially in the discussions about the relative merits of ETFs versus mutual funds. Later in [...]

June 17th, 2017|Tags: , , |18 Comments
Advertisements

Podcast 8: Couch Potato With a Conscience

Are you interested in indexing but uneasy about the idea of investing in certain “sin stocks”? In my latest podcast, I look at whether you can be a Couch Potato investor and still stay true to your values. The episode features a detailed interview with Tim Nash, a financial planner, creator of the Sustainable Economist blog and a specialist in socially responsible investing (SRI), with a particular expertise in green ETFs. I first interviewed Tim here on the blog back in 2013, and since then he has been my go-to guy on sustainable investing. During the interview we discuss several ETFs. Here are links to the ones Tim mentions: iShares Jantzi Social Index ETF (XEN) offers exposure to 50 large-cap Canadian companies weighted according to environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria. iShares MSCI KLD 400 Social ETF (DSI) is one option for large-cap US stocks. According to Tim: “Really what they’re trying to do is to replicate the S&P 500, but getting rid of the worst of the worst companies.” The fund drops the lowest-ranking 20% of stocks based on their ESG scores. iShares MSCI USA ESG Select ETF (KLD) takes a different approach: rather than using what Tim calls a [...]