Portfolio Deep Dive – My Top 30 Stocks

Last updated on March 10th, 2023 at 10:43 am

It’s been a while since I did a portfolio deep dive (read my last one, here), and this quarter I was inspired to do something a little different.

It all started with my wife asking if she could buy some shares of Apple. I explained we owned a bunch of Apple stock already through the various ETFs we owned. But when she asked “how much,” I honestly had no idea.

Coming up with an answer was not very easy. Since we own such a jumbled mess of ETFs, it’s pretty hard to calculate exactly how much Apple—or any other specific stock—we own.

So, here we are. One hour of downloading ETF data from Vanguard and Blackrock and many more hours plugging numbers into an excel sheet, I have an answer.

Breaking Down our Holdings

To start, here’s a quick breakdown of our holdings.

  • $20,109 iShares Core Equity (XEQT)
  • $39,952 iShares Core MSCI AC World ex Canada (XAW)
  • $12,110 iShares Core MSCI Canadian Quality Dividend (XDIV)
  • $24,729 iShares Core MSCI Global Quality Dividend (XDG)
  • $103,247 Vanguard All-Equity ETF Portfolio (VEQT)
  • $29,755 Vanguard FTSE Canada All Cap (VCN)
  • $27,637 Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets All Cap (VEE)
  • $40,009 Vanguard FTSE Developed All Cap ex N America (VIU)
  • $75,406 Vanguard US Total Market (VUN)

Note that 100% of our VEQT here comes from my leveraged investing strategy.

Now I know what you’re thinking: this is the most beautiful portfolio you’ve ever seen, with absolutely no duplication or excess complexity…

To that, I say thanks. But I do agree it’s needlessly complex. Especially as we’ve experienced some wild swings in the market this year, it has become more difficult to keep things in balance. I am considering pivoting in the future to something like Robb Engen’s all VEQT portfolio to make things easier and less messy.

Okay, so with that all out of the way, you can see that we hold $377,754 in ETFs across all of our accounts. By using these numbers, we can figure out exactly how much Apple we own.

Top 10 Underlying Holdings

To calculate these numbers I looked up the top 50 or so holdings of each of these ETFs. I then multiplied the percentage of the ETF allocated to each of those stocks and multiplied that by how much of that ETF we owned.

Doing this across all 9 ETFs was a pain, but in the end I got some interesting (at least, to me) results!

Top 10 underlying holdings
Top 10 underlying holdings

And ta-da, to my wife’s surprise, our largest holding already is Apple with over $9k invested. Rounding out the top 10 also includes other tech giants like Microsoft, Google, and Amazon.

Having about 22% of our money invested in Canadian stocks puts some of Canada’s “Big Five” among our top holdings, along with Enbridge and Canadian National Railway.

Top 20 Underlying Holdings

Our next 10 largest holdings include some more Canadian staples like Manulife Financial, Bank of Montreal, and Sunlife Financial. It also has some international giants like Procter & Gable and Nestle. And a famous name in Berkshire Hathaway.

Top 20 underlying holdings

The biggest surprise for me is to see Tesla that high in my portfolio. It’s our 12th largest investment in an individual stock. I guess that’s one downside of index ETF investing: you can’t pick and choose what stocks you’d like to exclude from your portfolio.

Top 30 Underlying Holdings

Rounding out our top 30 includes Suncore, Brookfield, BCE, Nutrien, and Fortis—all Canadian names I’d be happy to own much more of. BCE, in fact, is #2 in my list of Best Canadian Dividend stocks.

Top 30 underlying holdings
Top 30 underlying holdings

We also have a sizable position in Exxon Mobile, which pays a healthy 3.5% dividend, and pharmaceutical giants like Pfizer, AbbVie and Merk.

Reflecting on our Underlying Holdings

So what did we learn from this exercise?

The first thing I learned is just how diversified we really are. Let me explain:

In total, these top 30 holdings represent $82,800. That sounds like a lot, but it’s really just 22% of our total portfolio.

That means the remaining 78% of our portfolio is distributed across thousands of stocks not listed here. Diverse investments like $255 in Intel, $110 in Saudi Arabian Oil Co, $70 in the National Bank of Kuwait.. and so many other businesses I have neither the time nor energy to research.

I am also relieved to learn just how many great businesses we have among our top 30 holdings. Companies like Apple, Berkshire Hathaway, Royal Bank, and others, all make me feel like our portfolio has a stable foundation.

Learning about what we own has also made my wife feel much more enthusiastic about investing even more. “Hey only $170,000 more VUN to go before we hit $20k in Apple—wohoo!”… She’s was not happy to hear that.

Thanks for Reading

I recently wrote a few articles that you may be interested in. This includes my post on the best preferred share ETF in Canada and my how-to article on the TFSA contribution limit for 2023! Consider giving those a read if you think they’ll help you on your financial journey!

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    1. Hey Moe! That’s a really good question. The main reason is I like how VEQT pays a dividend only once per year. It makes doing my taxes and keeping track of adjusted cost basis slightly easier.

      My wife prefers XEQT because it pays quarterly. And since it’s in her RRSP, she doesn’t need to worry about taxes or anything on that investment.

      Hopefully that answers your question!

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