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Investor Donna-Lea Bowman believes in the 'pay yourself' rule, and has money automatically transferred from her bank account to her investing account.

Donna-Lea Bowman, 50


Manager, business development

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The portfolio

Stocks include BCE Inc. PetroBakken Energy Ltd., Toronto-Dominion Bank, Enbridge Inc., TransCanada Corp., and MedMira Inc.

The investor

Donna-Lea Bowman was a long-time employee of Nortel Networks Corp. until she got laid off. At one time, her Nortel shares were worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. As they lost value, her broker kept saying to hold on. When they became worthless, he dropped her as a client. Apparently, her account balance had fallen below his minimum.

Mrs. Bowman is now a manager of business development for an MBA program at an Ontario university. She has another broker but no longer accepts his recommendations unquestioningly, and will initiate some purchases of her own.

How she invests

Mrs. Bowman believes in the power of compound returns and started investing as soon as she began working full time. She also believes in the "pay yourself" rule, and has money automatically transferred from her bank account to her investing account.

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She is comfortable with owning shares in solid companies that provide "things people use, examples being TD Bank and Enbridge." There will always be a need for their goods and services.

She also likes stocks that pay dividends. The dividends are usually channelled into different companies to increase diversification.

She gets stock ideas from many places including her financial adviser, financial reports and business magazines. Also, she sometimes gets them from the people she works with, as her job involves meeting with many entrepreneurial and knowledgeable business people.

That is how she ended up in MedMira. Someone at the university knew the health care sector well and was keen on the company.

She generally avoids "the long shot" but recently made an exception for MedMira, taking a small, speculative stake. It's a startup involved in the development of diagnostics that help prevent and control the spread of infectious diseases such as HIV and hepatitis.

Best move

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BCE shares over the past two years.

Worst move

Nortel Networks.


"No matter how young or old you are or how little you can afford to save, start now. The compounding effect is an important aspect of having enough for retirement. Also, have the money taken directly out of your account on a monthly basis. After a while, it won't even be noticeable. Make sure you have a balanced portfolio."

Special to The Globe and Mail

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