Amy Grant, like so many married women, let her husband manage their investments. 

But in 2010, the Singapore-based Canadian couple split up.   It left Amy in a lurch.  “We used to invest with a financial advisor, but he bought actively managed funds.  I’ve learned that those are a losing proposition, compared to low cost index funds.  So I didn’t want to go back to that guy.”

To her husband’s credit, he had taught Amy that active management is a poor strategy.  And after the couple split, he left her with $185,000 in a Citibank brokerage account, based in Singapore.

“I had no idea what to do with the money,” she said. 

She started off by reading my book, Millionaire Teacher.  Next, she figured out how to diversify her assets in the lowest cost fashion, utilizing the Citibank brokerage.

“As a Canadian, I knew that I needed some Canadian exposure,” explained Amy. “But Citibank doesn’t allow access to the Toronto Stock Exchange.  I had to make do with products trading on the New York exchange.”

This doesn’t mean that she wasn’t able to build a globally diversified portfolio.   Virtually any exchange traded index fund can be purchased off the U.S. stock market.  She split her $185,000 into roughly four equal parts:

Each exchange traded index fund has a ticker symbol.  Because Amy wanted a quarter of her money invested in international bonds, she needed to figure out how much the units would cost, and how many units she could buy with her $46,200.

This is what she did:

  1. She went to and clicked finance
  2. Then she entered the quoted ticker symbol for the iShares S&P/Citi International Treasury bond exchange traded index fund.  The symbol is ISHG.  After doing so, she found that it cost $92.42 per share.  See image below:


She then determined how many units of her other exchange traded funds she could buy with $42,500 and she wrote them down.

Here’s what she did next:

  1. She logged into her Citibank brokerage account
  2. She clicked “Brokerage/Fixed Income”
  3. She clicked “View your brokerage portfolio”
  4. She clicked  “Trade now”

When making the first purchase, her Citibank screen shot looked something like this:


Where it asks for the stock symbol, Amy put ISHG.  She clicked “Buy” for her action.  She then entered “500” for the quantity of shares she wanted to buy.  And she entered the current market price (which was actually $93.36 when she shared this screen shot with me).

Amy repeated this process with each of her exchange-traded funds, until she had roughly $46,200 invested in each.

When she gets paid, this is what Amy does:

 She looks at her four exchange-traded funds and determines which one is valued less than the rest.  For instance, let’s assume that, after the first purchases cleared, her portfolio looked like this:

One month later, after receiving her paycheck, she has $6000 to invest.  She opens her account and notices that her portfolio is now allocated something like this:

Clearly, the under-weighted exchange traded fund is the Canadian stock index, based on the hypothetical example above.  Because each transaction costs her roughly $30, she makes just one purchase (the Canadian stock index) putting her portfolio closer to its original alignment.

This process is counter-intuitive, but it’s important.  Most people chase “winners” and their investments do poorly as a result.  Amy knows better.  She’ll remain disciplined, “rebalance” her portfolio by perpetually buying the lagging index, and reap the long-term rewards.

It’s great to see women empowering themselves financially. 

After all, women tend to make better investors than men.