Archive for February, 2007

No Post Today…

February 28, 2007


We are travelling on personal business and I won’t be posting today and possibly tomorrow.

Investing in Emerging Markets

February 27, 2007


David Swensen classified emerging markets equity as one of the core asset classes in his book, Unconventional Success. It is easy to see why: emerging markets have low correlation with other asset classes and provide valuable diversification benefits while lowering the overall volatility of the portfolio.

If you are interested in adding emerging markets to your portfolio, you have the following ETF options:

  • iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index Fund (EEM) has been around for a few years and provides broad exposure to South Korea, Taiwan, Mexico, South Africa and the BRIC economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China. The MER at 0.75% is steep by ETF standards.
  • Vanguard Emerging Markets ETF (VWO) tracks the MSCI Emerging Markets Select Index and is a recent competitor to EEM. The composition is similar but not the same as EEM but the fund is far cheaper with a MER of 0.30%.
  • BLDRS Emerging Market 50 ADR Index Fund (ADRE) tracks the performance of a capitalization-weighted index of 50 emerging market based Depository Receipts. MER is 0.30%.

In my opinion, VWO is the better option because it is at least equally diversified and cheaper than the rest.

Money Tip: Write a Complaint Letter

February 26, 2007


Every so often a business will fail to live up to your expectations for customer service. When that happens to you, you may want to write a complaint letter pointing out why you think you’ve been unfairly treated. A good business will take action to correct any problem and may even offer you a coupon or a voucher as a gesture of goodwill.

Last fall, Air Canada misplaced our checked-in baggage that contained some sentimental items on a flight from Toronto to Ottawa. The airline claimed that it was still searching for the baggage four days after the bags went missing and finally, I decided to drive to the airport and search for the baggage myself. Thankfully, the baggage was stuck at the Ottawa airport with all the tags intact, though Air Canada kept claiming that they are “actively searching” for the bags. I shot off a complaint letter (Air Canada actually asked me to call their local delivery company and ask them why my bags are still missing) and forgot all about it but a few months later, I received an apology letter in the mail and a $300 voucher for any flight on Air Canada, valid for one year.

Related: Don’t get mad, write a complaint letter