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Concern for the environment guides business analyst’s picks

Simon Boyce, 37

Occupation

Senior business analyst

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The portfolio

Includes shares in Ecology and Environment Inc., Rogers Communications, Intel, Manitoba Telecom Services and exchange-traded funds iShares S&P/TSX 60 Index Fund and Vanguard Total International Stock ETF.

The investor

Like most people, Simon Boyce and his wife want to accumulate enough wealth to enjoy a comfortable retirement. But having made a commitment to a "sustainable lifestyle," they need to invest in a way that does not harm others or contribute to a degradation of the environment.

Managing personal finances while trying to be socially responsible "takes a lot of compromise, detailed discussions, and careful evaluation," Mr. Boyce says. The couple's blog at sustainablepersonalfinance.com offers some ideas.

How he invests

"Slow and steady," is how Mr. Boyce describes his investing approach. "My primary focus is on dividend-paying companies and a diversified set of ETFs."

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He screens for dividend stocks by looking for yields greater than 2 per cent, good dividend growth over the previous five years, and low price-to-earnings ratios.

However, since Mr. Boyce is a socially responsible investor, he rules out companies with questionable practices. Companies not on his buy list include those that create weapons, encourage gambling, treat employees unfairly, or distribute harmful substances such as tobacco.

On the other hand, companies with solid fundamentals in the field of environmental protection and restoration are particularly welcomed. A case in point is Ecology and Environment Inc., a U.S.-based environmental consulting firm. Its projects promote the sustainability of ecosystems around the world.

The ETFs in Mr. Boyce's portfolio help plug gaps in industry coverage and improve diversification.

Worst move

It was letting an adviser at his bank put him into mutual funds when he first began investing.

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Best move

"Deciding to educate myself and take control of our investments."

Advice

"For anyone invested in mutual funds, learn about ETFs. … Sign up with a discount online brokerage and take control of your investments."

Special to The Globe and Mail

Want to share your strategies?

E-mail mccolumn@yahoo.com

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