I am a Professional Engineer (P. Eng.), who is passionate about investing. I have a B. Sc in Mechanical Engineering (Great Distinction) from the University of Saskatchewan. I am current completing my MBA degree.
I have been profiled on the Globe and Mail's "Me and My Money" column.
I have also been quoted in Canadian Business, 2012 Could Be When Canada Loses Its Shine.
Another quote in the Globe and Mail. When to rebalance, and when to avert your eyes.
My history goes as follows:
Back in late 1999 I learned a valuable lesson in investing that I will never forget. If you are like me you, you absolutely hate wasting and losing money. We'll I was fresh out of high school and received approximately $20k to be used for my education. I took half of that and paid my first year’s tuition and living expenses for the first year. Since I thought of myself as a smart guy I thought I would invest the other half, a little better than $10k in mutual funds.
We'll I started out doing all the necessary reading and looking at historical results. We'll the flavor of the day back then were technology stocks so that is natural where I looked to invest. The 3-5 year returns from the mutual funds were quite eye popping. Needless to say, I watched my $10k move from there quickly to $17k in just 4 months. Well that was March 2000 and it was a steep slope downward from there. I eventually liquidated everything for just over $2k, a loss of 80% of my initial investment. I should have bought a car; even the depreciation on it wouldn't have been that steep.
"The markets like the Lord help those who help themselves, the market unlike the Lord doesn't forgive those who know not what they do." -Warren Buffett
After receiving that kick in the pants, I figured that I better start my education in investing. As I searched for investing insights and knowledge, I quickly stumbled upon Warren Buffett. As it has been said before, it either clicks with you or it doesn't. I would go further and say that being a value guy is either in your nature or it isn't. In our culture it is quite easy to determine this by the amount of debt you have.
After reading Buffett you quickly learn who is mentor was, the late Ben Graham (no relation). So the next book I picked up was the Intelligent Investor by Graham and the rest is history. I have since read the book three times. I would be willing to bet that many so-called value investors haven't even read the book.
Since my background was in Oil and Gas, I started within my circle of competence and started reading. Have I mentioned that I love to read? Anyway, I stumbled upon a company that was growing fast but I couldn't put an accurate value on. The company always traded higher than the net present value of the reserves in the ground. Then one day they made an announcement to convert to an income trust (for tax reasons) and the stock tanked 25% overnight. It is at this point that I backed the truck up and purchased all I could and also borrowed on a personal line of credit. Needless to say the purchase was one of the best I could have made.
I have held the stock/income trust for approximately 8 years now and look forward to many more years. I don't keep up to the minute returns on my investments, but in late 2010 I did figure out that I averaged 21.8% over the last 8 years on this investment.
Before I get accused of not following Buffett's ideology by buying a commodity type business, I will defend myself. There is only one way to make money in a commodity type business. That business has to be the low cost producer. A great question to ask is if commodity prices fell to very low levels, which company would be the last one earning a profit? This is the only competitive advantage as commodity prices fall.