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Navy officer charts 'moderately aggressive' course

Phillip Ramsey, 31

Occupation

Royal Canadian Navy officer

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Portfolio

Royal Bank of Canada, BCE, TransAlta, Husky Energy, Power Corp., Apple, iShares S&P/TSX 60 Index Fund, iShares Global Monthly Advantaged Dividend Index Fund and iShares 1-5 Year Laddered Corporate Bond Index Fund.

The investor

Prompted by the recession of 2008, Phillip Ramsey began reading as much as he could about personal finance topics. "The book that had the most influence on me was Alan Corey's A Million Bucks by 30," he confides.

It led to a keener interest in the markets. He also ditched his adviser and began managing his own portfolio. "I like the feeling of having control over my own money rather than entrusting it to some random face you meet once or twice a year."

How he invests

"My portfolio is moderately aggressive with a long-term goal of helping sustain me once I retire. I plan to build a large enough portfolio to help supplement my pension after I pull the plug on work."

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When deciding on investments, Mr. Ramsey is guided by Baron Rothschild's maxim that the best time to buy is "when there's blood in the streets." He bought BP stock in June, 2010, when everyone thought the firm could go under because of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. He sold it last spring for a 48-per-cent profit.

Two-thirds of his portfolio is allocated to mostly "good dividend-paying Canadian companies with a history of paying dividends to shareholders."  If dividend reinvestment plans are offered, he'll reinvest dividends through them. He avoids dividend-paying U.S. companies because "the IRS withholding tax on foreign residents applies." But he owns Apple. Its momentum was just too much to ignore.

The remaining third of his portfolio is held in exchange-traded funds. They provide a solid base to help his portfolio withstand "any dips or hiccups that may occur in the market."

Best move

"I bought Royal Bank of Canada in the spring of 2009, which I still hold."

Worst move

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WestJet Airlines Ltd. "It's not a bad company but there is just too much uncertainty surrounding airline stocks."

Advice

"Try and educate yourself by reading as much on personal investing as you can."

Special to The Globe and Mail.

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