Too Many Investment Choices Limit Our Wealth


We often think that investment options are a good thing. 

But studies may prove otherwise.

Image courtesy of Pixabay

Check out my article at



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.

You may also like...

11 Responses

  1. Patrick says:

    Hi Andrew,

    I posted in another thread but it was quite old so I figured I would post in a more recent one. I am a 29 year old teacher currently working at at international school in Malaysia. I just started reading your books and although I have started investing already, I am hoping to switch to low index funds asap as they do seem to make more sense.

    Here is my question: I am currently on a 3-year leave from a Canadian school board. However, I am planning on staying abroad for longer. Because I am on leave, I have the option of buying back my BC teacher’s pension. Even though it is quite expensive to do so, I am saving enough money in Malaysia to cover that cost (and possibly more). I am wondering if I should buy back my pension through the BC Teacher’s Pension Plan for those 3 years or if it would be best to take my savings and put them in a low index investment portfolio. I already contributed to a teacher’s pension plan for 6 years in Canada so buying back 3 more year would give me a total of 9 years in a vested Canadian pension plan. Do you think buying back those 3 years would be worth it?

    Thanks so much in advance for your insight.


    • Hi Patrick,

      If you are only going to be away for 3 years, then I suggest you buy back your pension. That pension is a sweet one.


      • Patrick says:

        Hi Andrew,

        Thanks for your response.

        Where would you suggest I invest if I will possibly be returning to Canada for a few years after my leave, and then back abroad again? If my money is in Singapore or invested with TD Direct Investing International, they cannot keep my account open once I reside in Canada again (I asked), meaning I would have to close my trading account. Do you know if TD Waterhouse and TD International are able to switch funds back and forth once I become an expat or Canadian resident again? Basically, where should I invest as a part-time expat?!

        Also, would you suggest I go with Vanguard and split my money into VCE = Canadian index, VTI = U.S. Index, VEA = International Index, and VSB = Canadian bond index? Or should I look at other products?

        Thanks again for your help, I really do appreciate it!


  2. Christopher Yi says:

    Hey Andrew, just curious, but how did you end up deciding on a 50/50 split between U.S./International? I notice a lot of people recommend (including Vanguard) recommend a 70/30 split. How did you get to your numbers? Thanks man!

  3. Jason says:

    I was also wonder why the 50/50 with US/International instead of the recommend 70/30 split. I’m totally on board with Vanguard Short-Term Treasury = my age, and splitting the rest between US/International, but should I maintain 50/50 or 70/30?

    • Jason and Christopher, I built my portfolio based on global capitalization. The U.S. makes up slightly less than 50% of global capitalization, so I don’t want more than 50% of my equity exposure to be in U.S. stocks. Also, keep in mind that I am not American. Americans like to overweight their own stock market. There’s nothing wrong with doing so. But few non-Americans would want to do that with a foreign market. And to us, the U.S. is the foreign market.


  4. Mac says:

    Hi Andrew,

    Agreed too many options makes it difficult. I have embedded myself in VSB,XIN,XIU,XSP (Canada) based on your first book and updated articles. But now after reading the second book and other articles there are so many index fund options I question if I am in the right place or would a different mix yield better results. I have no way of tracking this since it seems like a heck of a task and needs more expertise than I have at the moment. Are ther programs out there that you know pf that allow one to track a mix of funds and see how they are doing as a group versus another group? Once you are in deep do you switch based on new offerings?

    Thanks again for all of your advice and great articles.


    • Hi Mac,

      Finding such a program would give you only irrelevant data. As I mention in the second book, nobody knows which index method will outperform in the future. The worst thing you could do (as I mentioned in the book) is look at what has done best in the recent past and change strategies to suit that. It sounds like this is exactly what you are seeking. Stick to what you currently have. Through thick and thin. You already have a solid portfolio. The only replacement you may want to make is trading XIN for Vanguard’s VDU: The expense ratio for the Vanguard ETF is much lower than with XIN.


  5. Mac says:

    Thanks Andrew,

    Yes I did read this in the book but the bombardment of info from many sources does throw off new investors like myself and one keeps questioning them self. I really appreciate you keeping us on track with solid info!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.