One of my friends asked me the other day about investments. More specifically if I had a preference when it came to different banks and their mutual funds or if I liked picking my stocks.

I must say that after a year and a half of picking my own stocks I really do enjoy dabbling in the market and using my business knowledge to pick stocks. A lot of people say it is difficult to beat an index fund, or a well thought out mutual fund with stocks but I’d like to disagree… I think it is possible to pick some great stocks and earn a fantastic return.

I took the time to identify the book value of the investments I hold with TD, ING Direct and Questrade, and then I calculated my return.

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As you can clearly see my return on investment has been the greatest with Questrade. I have the most amount of money invested with ING but when I look at the returns the numbers don’t lie. I’ve done significantly better when I pick my own stocks

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I’d like to think I have a well diversified portfolio in all three of these investment brokerages. I’m doing something right as the market value of all of my investments well exceeds the book value! I hold different types of investments in different accounts with all three banks/brokerages: with TD I hold only index funds, ING Direct I hold an income mutual fund and a growth mutual fund, and with Questrade I’ve picked out a few stocks that I’d like to think have done well over the course of time I have held them.

While I think stock picking is the way to go be warned, choosing stocks takes effort, and lots of research. If you aren’t willing to take the time I wouldn’t recommend picking stocks as it can be extremely risky. That being said the pay off can be great as well.

What do you prefer? Picking your own stocks or leaving it to the experts?