Canadians: Three Good Investment Books You’ve Probably Never Heard Of


In 1973, three years before Vanguard created its first index fund, Burton Malkiel wrote the classic book, A Random Walk Down Wall Street.

It ruffled plenty of Wall Street suits.

The Princeton economics professor argued that actively managed mutual funds were a waste of money. He said most of them perform poorly compared to their index benchmarks. So when Vanguard created the first index fund in 1976, Mr. Malkiel became one of the firm’s biggest cheerleaders.  

A Random Walk Down Wall Street is in its 10th edition. It has sold more than 1.5 million copies. It might be the world’s best book on index investing – for Americans. Three great guides on this side of the border are Chris Turnbull’s Your Portfolio is Broken: Who’s To Blame And How To Fix It; Keith Matthews’ The Empowered Investor; and Dan Bortolotti’s MoneySense Guide To the Perfect Portfolio.

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Read the rest at The Globe and Mail

Andrew Hallam

I’m a financial columnist for Canada’s national paper, The Globe and Mail, as well as for AssetBuilder, a financial service firm based in Texas. I’m also the author of Millionaire Teacher: The Nine Rules of Wealth You Should Have Learned in School and Millionaire Expat: How To Build Wealth Living Overseas. My mission is to educate, motivate and inspire people on basic retirement planning and best practices for investing, using evidence-based strategies. I'm happy to comment on your questions.

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17 Responses

  1. Adam says:

    Andrew thanks so muhc for the great site and this last piece on some new books to check out. I’m an avid fan of yours from the Globe and Mail.

    I wanted to ask you something – I noticed a slight discrepancy between your investment advice in the Globe & Mail investment strategy Lab vs. your other articles that I wanted to ask you about. In the strategy lab your index investing is far more diverse and even included some emerging markets.

    It caused me some slight confusion based on what I had read on your site and wondering if this simple portfolio below that I’m using based on your teaching is the ideal or if I should diversify more – thank you! FYI Have already pulled in 5% return in 3 months.

    FYI I am 31 years old and live in Canada:

    31% VAB (Vanguard Canadian Short Term Bond Fund)
    34.5% VUN: US Total Stock Market Index Fund (Basically VTI traded in Canadian dollars)

    Would love your input. Thanks for the great writing!

    • Hi Adam,

      With XWD, you are overlapping your U.S. market content…considering that it has a large U.S. market component. You may consider replacing XWD for VUN.

      If you’re a Canadian resident, you may want to add Canadian exposure as well. I’m not a Canadian resident, so keep in mind that my allocation (for my personal portfolio) may not suit you.

      As for emerging markets. Many people like to have this component, which is why I added it for the Globe and Mail sample. Your portfolio already has it embedded within XWD.


      • Adam says:

        Thank you Andrew! Thanks for pointing that out – I am looking into switching XWD for VDU.

        As I was researching into ishares XWD – I came across this suggestion from Rob Carrick of Globe & Mail – and wanted to ask your opinion:

        VAB-T Bonds 30%
        VCN-T Canadian stocks 30%
        XWD-T U.S. and intnl stocks 40%

        For one thing I don’t like that it doesn’t have the age-weighting for bond index that yours has. I also don’t like the prospect of 30% invested in Canadian stocks considering how they tend to perform… Interested to know your thoughts.

        Also, I hold investment masterminds with some friends and accountants where we discuss your strategies and others. Thanks for the great work. On that note, I’m really curious to know what your porfolio looks like now in terms of specific index funds and percentages – I understand you are not a Canadian resident, but am still interested. Really love your work, it is well thought out, rational and realistic and would potentially like to emulate with some variation.

        Thanks again,


  2. Dave says:

    I hold 3 Vanguard ETFs:

    1. VSB

    2. VDU

    3. VUN

    Do you think I need to add the total S&P 500 or iShares world market? I wonder if I have enough diversity in my portfolio.

  3. Krish says:

    Hello Andrew,
    Thank you for providing such an invaluable service to all of us…You are one of the main reasons I switched to all index funds (and diversified:) ) strategy for my kids RESP 2 years back!
    I have a question about the current oil prices – is there an ETF(or index fund) which will move with the international oil prices? Do you also think that in the longer horizon(3-5 years) oil prices will be back to normal(~$100/barrel range)? I want to use this opportunity to but something with my play money(again as per your advice but with only a fraction of my portfolio)…

    Thanks again…

  4. ros says:

    Hi Andrew,
    Just wondering why you made the move out f VTI?

  5. James says:

    Hello Andrew,

    Quick question, say you were a long term index fund Canadian investor, and had VDU (Vanguard FTSE Developed ex North America Index ETF) in your portfolio. Would you sell it and buy XEF (The iShares MSCI EAFE IMI Index ETF) instead so as to gain the small cap missing in VDU?



  6. James says:

    Thanks Andrew. I appreciate your response.

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