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Investing as a retirement hobby (that pays the bills)

Hank Even, 73



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The portfolio

Equities (45 per cent) include shares in BCE Inc., TransCanada Corp., Power Financial Corp., Western Forest Products Inc. and most of the Canadian banks; fixed-income securities (55 per cent) include corporate bonds, preferred shares and guaranteed investment certificates (GICs).

Before retiring, Hank Even worked in the forestry industry for 47 years. He did well investing his savings in real estate, then moved into stocks and income securities. "The best part about investing in the capital markets: no heavy lifting," he says.

How he invests

When his portfolio was launched in the early 1990s, an adviser guided Mr. Even into mutual funds and GICs (the latter yielded 12 per cent at the time). In 2008, he took control and switched his equity holdings to mostly solid, dividend-paying companies. Investing is "one of my retirement hobbies," he says.

To add growth, a substantial amount of Western Forest Products stock was acquired after it "had shrunk to penny status during the market crash of 2008 and 2009." He knows this company well as a result of his many years working in the industry.

It has "tremendous forest reserves" on Vancouver Island and British Columbia's West Coast, an area facing none of the pine-beetle issues threatening forests elsewhere in the province. "Who knows," Mr. Even muses, "Western Forest may be the only forest company left standing in B.C." The stock closed Friday at $2.46.

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Like legendary investor Warren Buffett, he prefers to hold shares in good companies "forever." He also believes in diversification and has had to restrain himself "from overly investing" in sectors that are performing well, such as the Canadian banks.

Best move

Investing in Western Forest Products.

Worst move

In the 1990s, he bought shares of Woodward Stores, a B.C. department store no longer in existence. As his wife often reminds him, "Woodward is no more. Woodward is gone and so is our money."


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"Start out young. Invest in sound dividend-paying companies and reinvest your dividends. Like all endeavours in life, you learn by doing and will get better with experience."

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