Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

A strong moral compass hasn’t hurt this investor’s returns

Mary Dixon, 76

Occupation

Retired author and publisher

Story continues below advertisement

The portfolio

Canadian Pacific Railway, Toromont Industries, Tim Hortons, Home Capital Group, Bank of Nova Scotia, Research In Motion and about 20 more stocks in various accounts.

The investor

Many seniors do crossword puzzles to keep their minds active. Mary Dixon, an avid traveller and gardener, finds that following the stock market also provides mental stimulation.

Ms. Dixon began investing some 20 years ago with an adviser but later decided to invest on her own through an online account with Credential Direct. Over the past three years, her registered retirement income fund has "grown 11.6 per cent, even after taking out the required withdrawals."

How she invests

"My investment approach is idiosyncratic," Ms. Dixon discloses. "I feel fortunate to have some extra funds that can be [allocated] both to work for me and to do some small good for the companies I help capitalize."

Story continues below advertisement

Some companies she doesn't want to "help capitalize," notably those profiting from gambling, tobacco, "dirty oil" or the "exploitation of foreign resources – human or otherwise." Also, all her stocks are Canadian because she feels that – unlike the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and other large investors – foreign companies shouldn't be aided "while Canadian industries go begging for capital."

Ms. Dixon once subscribed to several investment newsletters but found they needlessly complicated investing. Like Warren Buffett, she tries to keep things simple with a buy-and-hold approach.

She still subscribes, though, to Pat McKeough's Stock Pickers Digest. One recommendation that she bought several years ago was Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc., an expanding chain of convenience stores whose stock price has more than doubled during the past two years.

Bonds are not in her portfolio because of their low yields. However, her portfolio derives some stability from a concentration of holdings in the stable, consumer products industries. And most of her stocks pay good dividends.

Best move

Several holdings have more than doubled in value in recent years, including Paladin Labs Inc., North West Co., Pason Systems Inc., and WestJet Airlines Ltd.

Story continues below advertisement

Worst move

"Sino-Forest!" she exclaims. Such things happen – "it's just hard to get one's head around it."

Advice

"Be aware of what's going on. Hold on to good stocks. If you can, be generous to family and to good causes."

Special to The Globe and Mail

Want to share your strategies?

E-mail mccolumn@yahoo.com

Report an error
Comments

The Globe invites you to share your views. Please stay on topic and be respectful to everyone. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

We’ve made some technical updates to our commenting software. If you are experiencing any issues posting comments, simply log out and log back in.

Discussion loading… ✨

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Thank you!

You are now subscribed to the newsletter at

You can unsubscribe from this newsletter or Globe promotions at any time by clicking the link at the bottom of the newsletter, or by emailing us at privacy@globeandmail.com.