"I have been investing for close to 20 years. In my younger days, I went with the hot tip of the month from friends, and I did a bit of day trading. But five years ago, I realized how few success stories I'd had. Chasing hot tips is just gambling—you might as well go to a casino.
"So, I sought out a professional money manager. He charges 1.25% to generate consistent returns—and doesn't go crazy trying to beat the market by 20%. I get enough of a white-knuckle ride running my business, so I have a ‘sleep well at night' investment strategy. I won't risk losing a major portion of my money, and I'll be really happy to get a 7% return on the whole enchilada—which is tough these days.
"My money manager has 75% of my portfolio in exchange-traded funds, which are highly diversified and have very low management fees. I have ETFs in a cross-section of sectors, such as precious metals, real estate, financial stocks and U.S. equities.
"For the other 25%, I have a portion in cash, in order to be really safe should anything happen. And I balance out my portfolio with some selected equities that are a bit more aggressive.
"I don't avoid any particular category of investment vehicles. But now, if I hear a hot tip, I ask my advisor what he thinks. With the Facebook IPO, I got caught up in the hype and called my advisor to say, 'Hey, why don't we grab some of this stuff?' But he said his researchers were warning that investors should stay away. That was one crisis averted."
Photograph by Reynard Li