Thanks for stopping by! I’m Robb Engen, the founder and head writer behind the award-winning Boomer & Echo personal finance blog. A little about me: I’m a 40-year-old married father of two young girls. I was born and raised in Calgary, AB and currently reside with my family in Lethbridge, AB.
I work as a fundraiser at a University by day, and, in addition to keeping up with a busy family schedule, I also manage to find time during the evenings and weekends to run my online side business.
I started this website back in 2010 to share my financial journey and some of the lessons I’ve learned along the path towards financial freedom.
By reading this website you’re joining more than 225,000 people who stop by here every month to get tips on how to save money, invest well, and retire comfortably. And if you choose to subscribe and receive new posts by email, you’ll join a growing list of more than 10,000 email subscribers who are the first to get these tips sent straight to their inbox.
I’m a self-taught money expert and hope to become financially independent by age 45. I write a monthly column in the Toronto Star’s Smart Money section. I’m a fee-only advisor, helping Canadians at different ages and stages get their finances on track and prepare for retirement. “Fee-only” means that I work with you to build an actionable financial plan at an agreed-upon fee, but I don’t actually manage your money.
Read more about Robb Engen here.
I’m also regularly quoted or featured in financial media such as the Globe & Mail, MoneySense, the Financial Post, CBC, and Global News.
I’m a die-hard advocate for investors and consumers, and so a lot of my writing will focus on some of the traps that everyday people fall into when dealing with a bank, financial advisor, insurance broker, or retailer. Check out my appearance on CBC Marketplace where I help Air Miles customers fight back against the company’s outrageous expiry policy.
I’ve been interested in personal finance and investing for as long as I can remember. I started investing in mutual funds at age 19, before exchange-traded funds were all the rage and the TFSA had been invented. Several years later I opened an online brokerage account and followed a dividend growth investing strategy, selecting Canadian blue-chip stocks with a long history of paying and growing their dividends.
I tracked my returns diligently for six years and my investments performed really well – reaching $100,000 by the time I turned 35. But later that year I had an epiphany. I was finding it harder and harder to pick the right stocks, and some of my selections were flat-out terrible. When oil prices tanked my energy stocks suffered as well. I found myself spending more and more time checking the news and watching my portfolio. Surely there had to be a better way.
Enter the two-ETF index fund solution. I knew the research on passive investing was compelling. A low cost, broadly diversified portfolio of index mutual funds or ETFs that passively track broad-based market indexes would outperform any actively managed investment strategies over the long-term. I didn’t truly believe this applied to me and my “expert” stock-picking, but over time I began to realize that I, too, could benefit from an indexing investment approach.
So I sold off my portfolio of dividend stocks – all 24 of them worth $100,000 – and bought two ETFs: Vanguard’s VCN (Canadian equities) and VXC (the rest of the world). It’s such a simple strategy. I call it the four-minute portfolio because of the small amount of time I spend adding new money and monitoring the funds each year.
Simple, yet effective. The annualized return from January 2015 to September 2019 is 8.52 percent. Not too bad.
Take Control of Your Money
As I mentioned, I’m on track for freedom 45 and this blog serves as my guidepost to hold me accountable to my goals. While you read about my journey you’ll also learn how to take control of your own finances.
I guarantee there will be something here for you; from debt reduction strategies, budgeting basics, short-term savings goals, how to start investing, how to stay invested, preparing for retirement, and life in retirement, you’ll find something useful on the subject. In fact, you’ll find nearly 1,500 articles in the archives!
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