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GiveLife.ca

    
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PRINT EDITION
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Globe Columnists
Friday, March 22




  Rob Carrick
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Personal Finance



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Beware the pitch for liquid alternatives space
Worried asset managers say stocks and bonds are no longer enough for your portfolio - but that's not really the case
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, March 20, 2019 – Page B11
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-- Here's a strong sign that the investment business is worried about a big market decline.There's growing talk from asset managers these days about the benefits of liquid alternatives as a complement to a basic portfolio of stocks and bonds. Liquid alts include commodities, real estate, infrastructure and derivatives. The pitch for adding them to a portfolio is to improve returns while managing risk.  FULL STORY arrow
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Why household overspending is worse than a federal deficit space
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By ROB CARRICK
Monday, March 18, 2019 – Page B1
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-- Just in time for the season of federal and provincial budgets comes a new line of thinking that deficits aren't so bad after all.Government deficits, that is.Households that spend more than they earn are headed for trouble. There are no new economic theories to explain this away.  FULL STORY arrow
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The ETF Buyer's Guide: The top global funds space
This edition focuses on core funds that have been around for at least three years and preferably five
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, March 16, 2019 – Page B14
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-- PORTFOLIO STRATEGY G lobal funds are where we find the ETF industry going to extremes to be all things to all investors.There isn't a permutation of investing outside Canada that you can't cover with exchangetraded funds. There are ETFs that give you the world outside Canada - and that exclude both Canada and the United States while giving you everything else.  FULL STORY arrow
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Risk lurks in the asterisks for online mortgage shoppers space
Here are four reasons why you might not qualify for those great lending terms you saw posted on the internet
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, March 15, 2019 – Page B8
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-- The internet isn't the friend it once was to people looking for the lowest mortgage rate.All the mortgage-rate comparisons you'll ever want to see are available online, but there's an increasingly problematic lack of context and explanation. If you spot a great rate online, look for asterisks and fine print that explain who qualifies.  FULL STORY arrow
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If you judge by ETF sales trends, pessimism about the loonie is rampant space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, March 13, 2019 – Page B6
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-- There are two big decisions to make when searching for an exchange-traded fund to track U.S. or international markets - which index do you choose, and should you go hedged or unhedged?  FULL STORY arrow
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It's time to change the RRSP conversation space
Baby boomers are avidly contributing to savings plans - but younger people, not so much
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, March 13, 2019 – Page B6
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-- RRSPs are going grey.Owing to expensive real estate and the advent of tax-free savings accounts (TFSAs), adults in their 20s through 40s have less of a presence among contributors to registered retirement savings plans than they did a decade and a half ago. Meanwhile, people aged 55 and up are starting to dominate.  FULL STORY arrow
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GDP JOBS WEALTH YOU space
If the economy is good, why are Canadians so worried about money?
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, March 9, 2019 – Page B1
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-- A lot has gone right for the economy in the past decade, yet evidence is mounting that Canadians are worried sick about money.People are losing sleep over their household finances and their physical and emotional health is suffering. ''I keep Kleenex in my office all the time,'' said Shannon Lee Simmons, a financial planner in Toronto whose clients typically come in to talk about things such as the soaring cost of housing, crippling debt levels and an inability to save for retirement. ''People cry often.''  FULL STORY arrow
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How to deal with rent from millennials living at home space
Besides returning the contributions later, parents can also invest in ETFs or mutual funds
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, March 8, 2019 – Page B11
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-- Parents today have financial issues that previous generations never had to grapple with.Example: How to invest the money they charge their adult children in rent.''We are collecting rent from our millennial and we want to keep it separate from our finances, but invested,'' a reader writes.  FULL STORY arrow
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We need to talk about seniors getting into trouble with HELOCs space
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By ROB CARRICK
Thursday, March 7, 2019 – Page B9
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-- The most interesting debt story in this country right now just might be seniors getting themselves into trouble with home equity lines of credit.Pay attention if you plan to tap into your home equity in retirement. HELOCs are an easy way to do it, but things can apparently go wrong.  FULL STORY arrow
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If a recession is coming, should I own some GICs? space
Investor wonders whether they should avoid risk by preparing their assets for an economic downturn
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, March 6, 2019 – Page B9
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-- There are solid reasons to avoid the risk of investing in stocks and instead hold guaranteed investment certificates. Deking around the next recession is not one of them.A sixtysomething reader recently raised the idea of GICs as a recession refuge.  FULL STORY arrow
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Seeking a core ETF for the U.S. market space
The Globe buyer's guide to exchange-traded funds targets stocks on Wall Street
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, March 2, 2019 – Page B12
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-- The U.S. stock market had a bad year in 2018. Or did it?Your actual experience as an investor holding a U.S. equity exchange-traded fund last year depended to a large extent on which one you owned. With an SandP 500 index fund using currency hedging to smooth out the impact of fluctuations in the value of our dollar, you lost money in 2018. Without hedging, that SandP 500 fund produced a reasonable gain. Low-volatility funds without hedging did even better.  FULL STORY arrow
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Beware of relying solely on a defined benefit pension space
Retirement approach comes with a few snags, so give yourself some breathing room by way of personal savings
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, March 1, 2019 – Page B9
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-- Defined benefit pension plans offer a huge retirement saving advantage to a fortunate 25 per cent of the work force. But let's not overstate the wonders of DB pensions. You still need to save on your own.  FULL STORY arrow
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Why are parents having to support their thirtysomethings? space
New survey finds more than half of adult children today still receive financial help - and no, entitlement isn't the problem
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By ROB CARRICK
Thursday, February 28, 2019 – Page B10
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-- We're in a new age of parenting where it's common to support your children financially until well into their 30s.A survey to be released on Thursday commissioned by Royal Bank of Canada found that 96 per cent of parents were subsidizing children aged 18 to 35 and 48 per cent were still helping kids age 30 to 35. RBC raises the question of whether parents are helping their kids with money that should be going into their retirement saving, which is valid.  FULL STORY arrow
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Are ETF investors smarter? Maybe not space
Beyond the product you invest in, you must have a plan for mixing assets - and stick to it
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, February 27, 2019 – Page B8
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-- If you own overpriced, do-nothing mutual funds, then ETFs are definitely a smarter way to invest.But the product you invest in is just half the battle in achieving good results for your portfolio.  FULL STORY arrow
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Saving money without pain or effort? Yes, it's possible space
Electronic resources have made it easier than ever to store and grow your funds as we move toward a cashless society
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By ROB CARRICK
Monday, February 25, 2019 – Page B5
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-- PERSONAL FINANCEThe march toward a cashless society presents a challenge for old-school savers.If you're not paying for things with cash, you're not getting coins back as change. And so you're not able to drop your nickels, dimes, quarters, loonies and toonies in a change jar and watch them accumulate over time.  FULL STORY arrow
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His international investments did terribly. Should this Canadian investor try again? space
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, February 23, 2019 – Page B12
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-- PORTFOLIO STRATEGYThe basic principles of diversification say your stock market exposure should be divided between Canada, the United States and the rest of the world.But that international component can be a portfolio killer. ''I invested internationally for a while (at least 10 years) and did terribly,'' a reader told me recently.  FULL STORY arrow
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The new CPP has its critics - here's why they're wrong space
Those attacking the pension plan say it offers only 'meagre' returns, and doubt the truth about why the changes were made: we're not saving enough
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, February 20, 2019 – Page B8
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-- PERSONAL FINANCEThe Canada Pension Plan is a model of how to get people to save for retirement - require them to do it and get their employers to pay as well.  FULL STORY arrow
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How realistic is a low-fee RRSP with returns of 5% to 7%? space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, February 20, 2019 – Page B8
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-- Even the most reasonable investment return expectations have to be realitychecked these days.''I'm a 60-year-old retiree and would like to invest my RRSP with low-fees and a yearly return of 5 to 7 per cent - what would you recommend?'' a reader recently asked.  FULL STORY arrow
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2019 ETF Buyer's Guide: The best bonds for trying times space
These exchange-traded funds have become a cost-efficient method for avoiding stock market stress
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, February 16, 2019 – Page B12
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-- It's rare that we get a chance to see an investment product stress-tested like bond ETFs were in the past year or so.Between wild swings in the interest rate outlook and a stockmarket correction, exchangetrade funds that hold bonds have been tested in good and bad conditions. Use the second installment of the 2019 Globe and Mail ETF Buyer's Guide to see how well these key portfolio building blocks held up. Look not only at how individual funds did, but also at the differences in how the various categories of bond ETFs performed.  FULL STORY arrow
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A preferred share option that could help income-hungry investors space
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, February 15, 2019 – Page B7
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-- Falling interest rates in the early part of 2019 mean investors are going to have to work harder to meet their needs for income.Suggestion: Take a look at perpetual preferred shares. Perpetuals pay a set dividend and that's about it.  FULL STORY arrow
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The brief, shining moment of rising rates for savers is over space
Competition is alive and well among high-rate savings accounts, but drama will reign if economy doesn't pick up
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, February 15, 2019 – Page B7
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-- Will nothing save Canada's savers from low-interest-rate purgatory?Just six months ago, returns on guaranteed investment certificates and high-rate savings accounts were edging higher and there was a sense of more to come. Then came the Big Fizzle.  FULL STORY arrow
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A stock market turnaround for disappointed investors space
The one-month rebound in the TSX contains a valuable lesson for investors
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, February 13, 2019 – Page B10
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-- The Canadian stock market's strong start to 2019 is a reminder that it's never a good idea to blow up a portfolio after a particularly good or bad year.  FULL STORY arrow
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The retirement issue no one talks about: long-term care space
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By ROB CARRICK
Tuesday, February 12, 2019 – Page B10
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-- It's time for us to grow up in our thinking about what retirement is like. It's not a long vacation.Depictions of retirement in financial-industry marketing and the media almost always focus on the early, active years and ignore the later years when people are dealing with illness or disabilities.  FULL STORY arrow
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Bank stocks rock for yield-hungry investors space
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, February 9, 2019 – Page B11
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-- The trauma of 2008-09 forgotten, investors are once again acting like bank stocks can do no wrong.A reader of retirement age with a good pension told me recently he has 95 per cent of his investments in stocks, much of that in banks providing him with a yield of about 5 per cent.  FULL STORY arrow
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The 20th annual Globe and Mail online brokerage ranking space
Winners exemplify how far brokers have come over the past two decades
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, February 9, 2019 – Page B11
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-- The annual Globe and Mail ranking of online brokers has seen some battles over its 20 years, but never anything as tense as today.A big divide has opened up between the middling to weak players and the elite. The top firms have cut fees in a few cases while adding new features to help clients build and manage portfolios.  FULL STORY arrow
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A housing policy with millennials in mind space
Bringing back 30-year amortization periods for buyers with small down payments will help this cohort enter the market
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, February 8, 2019 – Page B11
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-- Politically, the federal government has to do something to make home buying more affordable.The polling firm Abacus Data says millennials will make up the largest group of eligible voters in the election coming this fall, and housing affordability is their top priority.  FULL STORY arrow
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How to tell if you should abandon your struggling preferred shares space
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By ROB CARRICK
Thursday, February 7, 2019 – Page B9
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-- If I were to pick one asset class that appears to have disappointed Globe readers the most in recent years, it would be preferred shares.Sample complaint: ''I hope you will soon write an article about preferred shares, why they are doing so badly, what hope there is they will recover and possibly when or whether it's time to abandon them and suck up the loss to put the money to better use.''  FULL STORY arrow
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Dwindling use of cash forces bank branches to improve space
With people visiting branches less, client advisers are taking on a variety of new roles
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By ROB CARRICK
Monday, February 4, 2019 – Page B9
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-- The declining use of cash in our society could be the best thing to happen to branch banking.The old-style bank branch sent a subtle message to customers: You need us more than we need you. Lineups were slow, the spaces were cramped and the service was minimal at best. The declining use of cash has broken this power dynamic.  FULL STORY arrow
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2019 ETF Buyer's Guide: Best Canadian equity funds space
This is the first of six instalments of the Buyer's Guide, which will appear on alternating weekends through February and March
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, February 2, 2019 – Page B12
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-- PORTFOLIO STRATEGYLast year's big decline in the Canadian stock market offers a lesson for ETF investors on the importance of digging deep into a fund before buying.The SandP/TSX Composite Index lost 8.9 per cent on a total return basis in 2018 (dividends plus share price changes), while the Canadian equity funds in the 2019 edition of The Globe and Mail ETF Buyer's Guide lost as little as 2.8 per cent and as much as 10.1 per cent.  FULL STORY arrow
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'We are disappointed': Investors react to 2018 account statements space
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, February 1, 2019 – Page B6
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-- Annual investing account statements for 2018 can be such a downer.The Canadian, U.S. and international stock markets were down, and the bond market delivered only a modest gain. Wrap them all together in a diversified portfolio and you end up with the kind of loss that prompts people to ask if something's wrong with their investments.  FULL STORY arrow
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A strategy that blends the strengths of ETFs and low-cost index funds space
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By ROB CARRICK
Thursday, January 31, 2019 – Page B8
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-- INSIDE THE MARKETETFs or low-cost index funds for the frugal investor?Here's an argument for both.Last week, I looked at how the TD e-series of index mutual funds would be cheaper than exchange-traded funds for an investor who wants to make monthly contributions and has a portfolio of $50,000 or less. While the e-series index fund has a higher management expense ratio than a comparable ETF, money can be invested in the index fund at no cost. Commissions for buying ETFs can be as high as a little less than $10 for each purchase or sale, which can work out to $120 a year if you are making monthly contributions. On a $30,000 account, that would be the equivalent to a hefty fee of 0.4 per cent.  FULL STORY arrow
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A 'how do I compare' guide for millennials on all things finance space
It's difficult for young adults these days to know what the metrics are for mortgages, debt loads and savings
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By ROB CARRICK
Tuesday, January 29, 2019 – Page B10
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-- Millennials entered adulthood at a time of historically low interest rates, soaring house prices, stiff tuition cost increases and a job market where temporary work without benefits or pensions is common.  FULL STORY arrow
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How a frugal investor could pay less for a mutual fund than an exchange-traded fund space
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By ROB CARRICK
Thursday, January 24, 2019 – Page B10
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-- INSIDE THE MARKET Are ETFs getting a free ride in cost comparisons with mutual funds?A reader believes this to be the case. ''I think the [cost] comparison is not fair if annual trade fees for ETFs are not included in the equation,'' he wrote in a recent e-mail.  FULL STORY arrow
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How some U.S. equity ETF investors got clipped last year space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, January 23, 2019 – Page B11
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-- The book on protecting your U.S.stock returns against currency fluctuations is that a hands-off approach is best if you plan to stay invested for 10 or more years.  FULL STORY arrow
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Don't rush, first-time home buyers space
Looking to purchase your first house in one of Canada's more expensive markets this year? Current trends suggest it's wise to take a slower approach
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, January 23, 2019 – Page B11
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-- The weakening trend in house prices has done next to nothing to help affordability in the country's most expensive markets.A 2019 home ownership strategy for those who want to buy in these cities, but can't afford it: Keep building your down payment to reduce the amount you borrow. Current trends in both prices and mortgage rates suggest there's no need to rush into the market.  FULL STORY arrow
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Credit cards get a lot of hate, but lines of credit are the real crushing debt space
Financial planner Shannon Lee Simmons's new book is a no-shame guide to a heavy personal finance topic
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, January 18, 2019 – Page B6
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-- Debt has to be the most talked about personal finance topic of the past decade.Somehow, financial planner Shannon Lee Simmons has found something fresh and useful to say about it. In her brand new book, Living Debt-Free: The No-Shame, No-Blame Guide to Getting Rid of Your Debt, she draws upon her personal experience (yes, she once had a big credit-card debt) and that of her clients to present the most humane guide you're likely to find on debt reduction.  FULL STORY arrow
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Always strive for low fees and simplicity when adding ETFs to your portfolio space
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, January 18, 2019 – Page B6
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-- There are two outstanding benefits on which the success of exchange-traded funds have been built - low fees and simplicity.A recent e-mail from a retired reader highlights how the benefit of simplicity is eluding some people. This reader previously used a conservative investing approach based on guaranteed investment certificates and a savings account.  FULL STORY arrow
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So much for rising rates: GIC returns have taken a surprise turn space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, January 16, 2019 – Page B7
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-- The rising trend for rates on guaranteed investment certificates has abruptly fizzled.Some fairly good deals are still available, but rates on average have actually fallen latesly.Brandon Brot of GIC Wealth Management says his firm's best rates on one-year GICs were 0.11 percentage points lower in the second week of January than at the beginning of December, and two-year rates were an average of 0.16 points lower. Yields on terms of three-to-five years have also fallen, but to a lesser degree.  FULL STORY arrow
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For some Canadians, a HELOC is debt that may never be paid off space
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By ROB CARRICK
Tuesday, January 15, 2019 – Page B1
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-- We need warnings labels for home equity lines of credit.HELOCs are like drugs - helpful to many and dangerous or even addictive to a significant minority. A survey to be issued Tuesday by the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) highlights the dangers.  FULL STORY arrow
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2MP makes for a good friend in bearish times space
Data show that buying the two largest dividend-paying stocks in each of the TSX Composite's subindexes during market downturns can be effective
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, January 12, 2019 – Page B11
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-- PORTFOLIO STRATEGY A thought for investors who are unnerved by the Canadian stock market's terrible 2018: Play strong defence in your portfolio and let the offence take care of itself.  FULL STORY arrow
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Stop fussing about mutual fund fees - get some facts to judge your returns space
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, January 11, 2019 – Page B6
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-- One of the side effects of investors becoming more savvy about fees is a condition we'll call mutual fund angst.  FULL STORY arrow
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How a big ETF deal could mean better returns and lower fees for investors space
Partnership between BlackRock and RBC is a welcome development in encouraging more investors to use ETFs instead of alternatives
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By ROB CARRICK
Thursday, January 10, 2019 – Page B7
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-- Anything that puts more exchange-traded funds in the hands of investors instead of junk mutual funds and sketchy or poorly chosen stocks is a win.That's what the partnership announced earlier this week between ETF leader BlackRock Inc.  FULL STORY arrow
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Tips for managing anxiety about money in 2019 space
Finance experts and investment advisers share their best advice on reducing stress
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, January 9, 2019 – Page B9
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-- The year ahead does not look promising for those who feel financially stressed.Economic growth seems to be slowing, as are wage gains. The stock market is in a foul mood, and fast-rising house prices are no longer a given. We know from countless polls and surveys that people are feeling a lot of stress about money. For ideas on how to reduce anxiety levels, I consulted the financial planners, investment advisers and personal-finance experts in my LinkedIn network.  FULL STORY arrow
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Investing lessons for 2019 and beyond from the country's biggest pension fund space
The people who manage CPP don't sweat a bad year like 2018; instead, chief investment strategist Geoffrey Rubin says, the fund looks more closely at long-term returns
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, December 29, 2018 – Page B6
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-- PORTFOLIO STRATEGYThe people managing the country's largest pension fund oversee a portfolio far different than yours.But they're guided by a few core principles that are relevant to everyday investors who value a simple, low-drama approach to long-term wealth-building.  FULL STORY arrow
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Balanced ETFs give meaning to common portfolio-building terms space
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By ROB CARRICK
Thursday, December 27, 2018 – Page B10
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-- INSIDE THE MARKETThe three most meaningless words in portfolio-building are conservative, balanced and growth.These terms are commonly used to describe portfolios designed for risk-averse, middle-ofthe-road and risk-tolerant investors, but what exactly do they mean in terms of how portfolios are built and how they perform in up-and-down markets, similar to what we saw in 2018?  FULL STORY arrow
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Prepare for an uncertain 2019 with money tweaks that could help you save $2,400 space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, December 26, 2018 – Page B9
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-- PERSONAL FINANCEThe country's top personal finance priority for 2019: Save more.There's been reason for concern about the economy, jobs, investments and housing this year, yet the national savings rate fell to a 13-year low of 0.8 per cent in the third quarter. On both an emotional and financial level, you'll feel better in the year ahead if you park some cash in a savings account.  FULL STORY arrow
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Use these new benchmarks to gauge your DIY investing fees space
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By ROB CARRICK
Monday, December 24, 2018 – Page B9
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-- One of the best things about DIY investing is how intense the competition is to cut fees. Recent examples include a pair of fee reductions in late 2018, one by an online brokerage firm on its stock trading commissions and another by a robo-adviser on its portfolio management fee. Make it a priority in 2019 to compare these new deals against what you pay.  FULL STORY arrow
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Brookfield blue chips can be found in the preferred-share bargain bin space
Richardson GMP portfolio manager points to a couple of high-yielding stocks thanks to the sudden reversal of expectations for multiple rate hikes
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, December 19, 2018 – Page B9
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-- Rate-reset preferred shares were built for the kind of world we were living in until this fall.The sudden reversal of investor expectations for interest-rate increases has pushed rate-reset preferreds into a tailspin that is a bit reminiscent of the harrowing plunge of 2015. Rate-resets turned out to be a great buy back then. Can the same be true of the most recent setback?  FULL STORY arrow
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Young and riskless: Millennials opt for savings space
This cohort is going to need to put money in equities and let it ride for a few decades
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, December 19, 2018 – Page B8
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-- PERSONAL FINANCESomewhere down the line, the young adults known as millennials are going to have to get their act together as investors.Right now, the strong preference for saving money rather than investing makes good sense.  FULL STORY arrow
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How aggravated clients can reconnect with financial advisers space
Securities lawyer Ellen Bessner offers insight on how clients can improve communication with their advisers
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, December 15, 2018 – Page B13
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-- PORTFOLIO STRATEGYThe recent stock market uproar presents an ideal opportunity to fix a client-adviser relationship gone sour.Call your investment adviser to discuss why you're unhappy.Tell your adviser what's on your mind as a client and give them a chance to respond.  FULL STORY arrow
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Four proven dividend growth stocks now in the penalty box space
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, December 15, 2018 – Page B14
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-- One of the benefits of owning dividend growth stocks over the long term is that you often get strong share price gains as well.  FULL STORY arrow
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Key rate flashes warning about homebuying space
Falling government bond yields could mean lower fixed mortgage rates, but also signal economic concerns
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, December 14, 2018 – Page B9
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-- It is most assuredly not good news that an indicator of where mortgage rates are going has fallen quite a bit this fall.Real estate agents and mortgage lenders may disagree, but then they only get paid when houses are bought and sold. For everyone else, the falling interest rate on the five-year Government of Canada bond is a reason for caution in making big money decisions.  FULL STORY arrow
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What percentage fee should you pay an adviser? space
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By ROB CARRICK
Thursday, December 13, 2018 – Page B10
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-- PERSONAL FINANCEThe hardest-to-answer question I get from readers is whether they're being charged fairly by their investment adviser.The latest reader to ask about this says she has a portfolio that reflects the fact that she's not a big risk-taker for the most part. She wants to know what an acceptable percentage fee would be in her case.  FULL STORY arrow
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Experiences of retirees can tell you a lot about your future standard of living space
A new survey by the OSC suggests working longer isn't viable for many people
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, December 12, 2018 – Page B8
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-- Working past the age of 65 is one of the hottest retirement trends of the moment.It's a smart money move to stay in the work force, it's great for keeping your brain fit and it keeps you busy and engaged. In the most recent census, one in five people aged 65 and older were working and 30 per cent of those worked full time. But the results of a new investor survey by the Ontario Securities Commission suggest that working longer isn't viable for many people.  FULL STORY arrow
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Smart and not so smart things people do with their TFSAs space
Although the limit for 2019 is going up to $6,000, don't feel as if you need to max it out
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, December 8, 2018 – Page B12
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-- The long wait for a higher TFSA limit is finally over.You'll be able to contribute up to $6,000 to a tax-free savings account in 2019, up from $5,500 in five of the six past years. The limit was set at $10,000 in 2015, then dialled back for the next year.  FULL STORY arrow
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CPP improvements in 2019: How much more you'll pay, and how much more you'll get space
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By ROB CARRICK
Thursday, December 6, 2018 – Page B12
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-- PERSONAL FINANCEGet ready to start paying the bill for gradually increasing the amount of retirement income paid by the Canada Pension Plan in the next 41/2 decades.The process of improving the CPP's usefulness to retirees will mean seven years of incrementally higher contributions from workers and employers starting Jan. 1. Benefits will start rising immediately as a result of the enhancement, but only by token amounts in the next few years.  FULL STORY arrow
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The 93.4-per-cent yield and other tales from Canada's dividend investing king space
Writer of the Connolly Report newsletter sticks to domestic stocks as he benefits from tax credit for payouts from shares
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, December 1, 2018 – Page B11
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-- Canada is losing one of its most useful, modest and consistent investing voices.After close to 40 years, Tom Connolly is about to shut down his quarterly dividend investing newsletter, the Connolly Report.  FULL STORY arrow
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Index investing: Are you doing it wrong? space
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, November 30, 2018 – Page B9
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-- There is a right way to be an index investor, and a more expensive, wrong way.The right way is through exchange-traded funds, which have management-expense ratios as low as 0.06 per cent or so for funds that track the SandP/TSX Composite Index. That's darn close to zero.  FULL STORY arrow
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What if today's economy is as good as it gets for your personal finances? space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, November 28, 2018 – Page B10
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-- It's not too soon to start preparing for the next economic downturn.Shrink your debts, build savings and avoid new entanglements that will place additional strain on your finances. Plan for weak stock markets, squishy housing and stingy pay raises.  FULL STORY arrow
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Two alternative banks you should know if you're looking for top GIC rates space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, November 28, 2018 – Page B11
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-- One of the best deals in GICs today comes in a roundabout way from two big banks.Tangerine and Simplii Financial present themselves as customer-friendly alternative banks, but they're owned by Bank of Nova Scotia and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, respectively. On savings accounts, both Tangerine and Simplii offered a weak rate of 1.25 per cent as of Nov. 26.  FULL STORY arrow
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To the food industry, customers are fresh meat space
Producers, retailers have tapped into our need for convenience to get us to spend extra on prepared foods, restaurant meals
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, November 23, 2018 – Page B8
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-- The food industry is eating your lunch.By appealing to your need for convenience, food producers and retailers are getting you to spend extra on prepared foods and restaurant meals rather than cooking for yourself.  FULL STORY arrow
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Want a higher level of defence from bond ETFs? Consider these funds space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, November 21, 2018 – Page B12
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-- In hockey terms, bond ETFs have provided a porous defence for investors in 2018.All the gory details are available in a column I wrote last week, but here's a quick summary.  FULL STORY arrow
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A nasty surprise awaits some variable-rate mortgage holders on renewal space
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By ROB CARRICK
Tuesday, November 20, 2018 – Page B9
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-- What's worse than a variable-rate mortgage that keeps getting more expensive as interest rates rise?The answer is a variable-rate mortgage where payments stay the same instead of rising to reflect higher borrowing costs. Static payments mean your lender is using more of your payment to cover your rising interest costs and applying less against principal.  FULL STORY arrow
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Shopping for a robo-adviser? Start here space
Your route to personal wealth should be guided by the firms, their fees and their approaches to investments
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, November 17, 2018 – Page B12
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-- The Globe and Mail RoboAdviser Guide is designed to show what's available in the robo-world - the firms, the fees, the investment approaches and more.A robo-adviser is an online service that helps you develop a personalized portfolio mix of stocks and bonds, and then builds it for you with low-cost exchange-traded funds. Robos charge a fee to build and maintain your portfolio, but it's much less than you'd pay if you owned mutual funds or had a human adviser managing your portfolio.  FULL STORY arrow
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Do ETFs produce better returns than most mutual funds? space
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, November 16, 2018 – Page B9
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-- The impressive and deserved success of ETFs is based in large part on the idea that they're better than mutual funds.A reader recently asked for some validation of the claims made for exchange-traded funds.  FULL STORY arrow
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Let's see if buying a house can cure sky-high rents space
A one-bedroom rental in Toronto runs at about $2,200, but how does home ownership compare?
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By ROB CARRICK
Thursday, November 15, 2018 – Page B13
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-- High rents got you down?Maybe you should own a home instead. In Toronto and Vancouver, the median cost for a one-bedroom apartment is close to $2,200. Even with mortgage rates up a fair bit in the past year, surely home ownership can't be much more expensive that those incredibly high rents?  FULL STORY arrow
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Your bond fund returns are going to look bad for 2018 space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, November 14, 2018 – Page B10
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-- Brace yourself when you open your next account statement if you own bond funds of any type.The numbers will look bad.I use a Globeinvestor.com Watchlist to keep a list of the bond exchange-traded funds in the latest ETF Buyer's Guide.  FULL STORY arrow
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Options grow for socially responsible investing space
Look to these funds if you want to put money into companies that score well in environmental, social and governance matters
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, November 10, 2018 – Page B10
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-- No matter how you want to invest, there's a socially responsible way to do it.Exchange-traded funds (ETF) are your favourite investing tool?A new crop of ETFs offering different takes on socially responsible investing (SRI) have recently been introduced. You like ETFs but prefer to have a robo-adviser handle your investments? A few robos now offer SRI portfolios, and human advisers are likewise adding SRI investing to their repertoires.  FULL STORY arrow
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The blazingly simple portfolio that just keeps on winning space
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, November 9, 2018 – Page B13
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-- The Canadian Essentials Portfolio is an affront to the concept of diversification.Ten stocks in just four sectors - financial services, industrials, utilities and pipelines. Can you possibly achieve a decent return without exposure to sectors such as energy, materials, consumer staples, technology and health care? Looking over the past 18 years, the answer has been yes.  FULL STORY arrow
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Keep your focus on retirement savings even as you pay down debt space
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By ROB CARRICK
Thursday, November 8, 2018 – Page B12
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-- Decades from now, a lot of people are going to look back at the 2010s and realize high debt loads ate their retirement.It's so routine to carry nonmortgage debt these days that we're losing track of the cost in terms of what you can't do financially when swaths of your monthly cash flow must go toward payments on lines of credit, credit cards and loans. One of the biggest concerns has to be whether indebted people have enough money left over to save for retirement.  FULL STORY arrow
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How a 30-year mortgage can help limit stress on first-time home buyers space
Lengthy cycle of falling interest rates is over - this new environment requires fresh thinking
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, November 7, 2018 – Page B14
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-- The No. 1 question to ask about your next mortgage is not whether you got the lowest possible interest rate, or how fast you'll pay it off. Instead, ask yourself this: How much stress will your mortgage cause you in the years ahead? If the lowest rate mortgage fries your nerves, it's arguably not the best deal.  FULL STORY arrow
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New leaders emerge in passing rising rates along to savers and conservative investors space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, November 7, 2018 – Page B13
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-- There's a new standard for premium rates in savings accounts.EQ Bank was a leader for ages with its rate of 2.3 per cent on savings. But after the latest quarter-point rise in the Bank of Canada's overnight rate, a new competitive order has at least temporarily taken shape in savings accounts.  FULL STORY arrow
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A new investment advice model is rising, and some people hate it space
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By ROB CARRICK
Tuesday, November 6, 2018 – Page B13
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-- You know the subscription model that Netflix and Spotify are using with such great success? The investment advice biz has been using it for ages.It's called fee-based advice, and it's slowly taking over the industry. I just heard from a reader who is bugged by this trend.  FULL STORY arrow
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The central bank wants rates back to normal - here's what that means for mortgages space
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, November 2, 2018 – Page B8
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-- Today's interest rates are still at jaw-dropping, forehead-slapping, eye-popping lows if you judge by historical standards.So when the Bank of Canada talks about bringing rates back to more normal levels, you better listen up. Rates have already risen in the past 15 months and it now looks like there's a fair bit more to come. Brace yourself for numbers you've never seen if you got into the housing market after the 2008-09 global financial crisis sent rates plunging.  FULL STORY arrow
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Is it a good time to have a five-year GIC ladder? space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, October 31, 2018 – Page B10
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-- A 74-year-old reader with a chunk of GIC money coming due has a question that anybody investing in guaranteed investment certificates these days has to be asking.Go with a five-year GIC and get the highest rate possible, or use a five-year ladder that allows you to capitalize on higher rates in the next few years?  FULL STORY arrow
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What if there's a crash just as you retire? space
The current climate may have you worried, but there are ways to set up your portfolio so it can withstand a correction
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, October 31, 2018 – Page B10
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-- A stock market correction is the parting gift from hell if you're about to retire from your job.You put money away diligently for decades, only to have stocks plunge just as you're about to leave the work force and start drawing on your savings. After the rottenest month we've seen in ages for stocks, anyone with a retirement date in late 2018 or early 2019 has to be worried about what's to come.  FULL STORY arrow
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Four views on the right exposure to Canadian stocks space
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, October 26, 2018 – Page B12
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-- Pretty much everyone agrees on the importance of diversification in building portfolios, but the consensus falls apart after that.The truth of diversification is that there is zero standardization. To prove it, let's look at the question of how much Canadian stock market exposure to have in a portfolio. Next to the overall stocks/bonds breakdown, this is may be the most important matter of diversification for investors to answer. All stock markets have plunged lately, and the SandP/TSX Composite Index and Nasdaq Composite Index were in a full-on correction at one point this week. But if you look at the past several years, Canada has been a dismal performer. Without some exposure to stocks in the rest of the world, notably the U.S. market, you would have missed out.  FULL STORY arrow
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With rates likely to keep rising, don't delay in seeking help with debt space
Canadians are drowning in debt, but there are a variety of simplified options for planning your way out
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By ROB CARRICK
Thursday, October 25, 2018 – Page B11
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-- Our strange debt dichotomy: People are stressing like crazy about what they owe, but not seeking help.The pressure on households only gets worse in the near-term outlook. The latest Bank of Canada interest rate increase immediately affects variable-rate mortgages, lines of credit and floating-rate loans. We now have a cumulative increase in the central bank's benchmark overnight rate of 1.25 percentage points since the summer of 2017, which is a lot when you consider that we've gone to 1.75 per cent from a measly 0.5 per cent.  FULL STORY arrow
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Rate-reset preferred shares: A delicate proposition space
Ownership of such equity can hurt your portfolio whenever yields are adjusted lower
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By ROB CARRICK
Thursday, October 25, 2018 – Page B12
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-- INSIDE THE MARKETThere are no perfect solutions in investing. This includes rate-reset preferred shares, which you have to be loving if you're a yield-starved investor who bought these securities in the past year or two.  FULL STORY arrow
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Look to these forex dealers when buying U.S. dollars space
Avoid paying stiff markups charged by banks by using online foreign exchange options
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, October 24, 2018 – Page B12
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-- Snowbirds, consider this slight alteration to your fall travel routine.Skip the visit to your bank to buy U.S. dollars. If you use your bank's website for this purpose, the same rule applies. With the loonie trading in the range of 76 US cents these days, you don't want to compound the pain of foreign exchange by paying the stiff markups charged by banks.  FULL STORY arrow
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Canada's favourite dividend mutual fund and dividend ETF square off space
DIY investors should rethink whether ETFs' no-brainer reputation is rightly earned
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, October 20, 2018 – Page B10
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-- PORTFOLIO STRATEGYThe awesomeness of ETFs has its limits.Exchange-traded funds are a simple, low-cost, transparent way to build portfolios for all kinds of people and all kinds of investment goals. Justifiably, ETFs are steadily grinding away at the mutual fund industry's dominance in retail investing.  FULL STORY arrow
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Market timing: Should I make hay or buy low? space
Stocks are due for a correction, but there's seldom any indication on a right time to invest
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, October 19, 2018 – Page B8
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-- Your worst investing nightmare probably goes something like this: After investing a large chunk of money in stocks, the market tanks.Recent stock market turbulence reminds us that this is no abstract risk. Stocks have had a great run and will at some point correct. Wouldn't it make sense to stay in cash until that correction happens? A reader with $200,000 in a savings account recently asked this question. ''While realizing it's not the optimal solution, the market is at its highest in history and will go down, short-term or medium-term. Should I wait for the next downturn to invest or is such a strategy never viable?'' Never is a strong word. Some investors, either by skill or luck, may pick the ideal time to get in or out of the market. But the chances of success are slim.  FULL STORY arrow
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Don't combat rising rates with your mortgage space
Focusing on paying off credit-card and line-ofcredit debt will serve you better in the long run, expert says
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By ROB CARRICK
Thursday, October 18, 2018 – Page B8
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-- Mortgage debt is the best debt.Remember that if you're freaking out about having to renew a big mortgage at a time when interest rates are rising. The rate on a mortgage generally beats the cost of any other type of borrowing. So why be in a rush to pay down your mortgage, even if it's huge?  FULL STORY arrow
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Seniors the first to crack as rising rates crank up debt stress space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, October 17, 2018 – Page B12
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-- The storyline that debt levels in Canada are big but manageable is starting to unravel.Oddly, it's seniors who are showing the first signs of serious debt stress. In the second-quarter edition of its National Consumer Credit Trends Report, the credit-monitoring company Equifax reported yet another year-over-year decline in the percentage of people falling behind on their debts. The one group to buck the trend was seniors.  FULL STORY arrow
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Investors focus on low fees, product selection for bonds space
A rush of money into bond ETFs in August shows ultrashort-term funds are well suited to a rising rate world
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, October 17, 2018 – Page B13
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-- The mutual fund industry had a bad month recently, and mass selling of bond funds was a big part of the story.Where'd the money flying out of mutual funds in August go?  FULL STORY arrow
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The book to help teens get on the right financial track space
The Wealthy Barber is an unparalleled introduction to personal finance
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, October 12, 2018 – Page B9
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-- A grandparent asked recently for some advice on which financial book to buy a 15year-old for his birthday, and one book immediately came to mind.It's The Wealthy Barber, by David Chilton. First published in 1989, I'd argue that it's the most successful personal finance book ever written. Forget the two million copies sold in Canada. This book's real achievement was showing how personal finance could be made relevant and comprehensible to everyday people.  FULL STORY arrow
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Yes, you still have to save for retirement even if you have a workplace pension space
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, October 12, 2018 – Page B8
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-- A type of pension covering 1.1 million workers has been given a strikingly lukewarm endorsement by the people who actually run these company plans.Defined contribution plans are retirement savings in which workers make contributions and their employers provide matching funds.  FULL STORY arrow
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Money-related stress is only going to get worse as interest rates climb space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, October 10, 2018 – Page B1
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-- Two weeks ahead of what will likely be the next leg up for interest rates comes a warning of how much stress households already feel about money.Updating its Financial Health Index for 2018, a firm called Seymour Consulting concludes that moneyrelated stress is ''omnipresent and mainstream.'' In its just-issued 2018 Affordability Index, insolvency expert BDO Canada Ltd. found that 31 per cent of participants said they didn't have enough money to pay for their basic needs and 52 per cent had just enough to cover living costs.  FULL STORY arrow
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What should investors do with their U.S. dollars? space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, October 10, 2018 – Page B8
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-- A lot of Canadians appear to have a greenback problem - a stash of U.S. dollars sitting in a bank or investment account and earning nothing.Snowbirds have this problem, and so do investors who have accumulated U.S. dollars in their non-registered accounts as well as U.S.-dollar registered retirement savings plans and tax-free savings accounts. These cash holdings typically earn little or nothing in interest. Lately, I've heard from several readers in this situation asking what they can do to put this money to better use.  FULL STORY arrow
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Here's how women can fight for better investment advice space
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, October 6, 2018 – Page B11
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-- Too few men in the investment advice business know how to talk to female clients.''Women have more and more money, and they're looking for advisers that they connect with,'' said Judy Paradi of the financial services consulting firm StrategyMarketing.ca. ''And on the other hand, we talk to advisers all the time who simply do not know how to find female high-networth clients. They're used to prospecting for men, they're used to the golf course, they're used to Sales 101.''  FULL STORY arrow
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Brace yourself before reviewing your portfolio's 2018 results space
It could turn out to be a frustrating year for Canadians who mostly have domestic stocks, bonds in their holdings
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, October 5, 2018 – Page B11
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-- Your success as an investor in 2018 and beyond may depend entirely on how much global exposure you have in your portfolio.Through the first three quarters of the year, bonds have been money losers and the Canadian stock market has been weak. Only global markets have performed dynamically.  FULL STORY arrow
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Young adults need a credit card to attain financial adulthood space
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, October 5, 2018 – Page B10
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-- A new money rule for young adults: Get a credit card as soon as you start university or college and use it often.A personal finance writer is saying this - not a bank. Our financial system is evolving in a way that leaves people marginalized if they don't have a credit history. And the easiest way to generate a credit history is to use a credit card responsibly. In case you need a refresher, that means paying your balance in full each month without fail.  FULL STORY arrow
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ETF portfolios for investors fleeing mutual funds space
Investing author Larry Bates highlights options for four different demographics
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, October 3, 2018 – Page B11
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-- Larry Bates has three different escape paths for you if you're an investor who is sick of high-fee mutual funds sold by banks.Mr. Bates is the author of a new book called Beat The Bank: The Canadian Guide to Simply Successful Investing.  FULL STORY arrow
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Home buyers, owners are among new agreement's losers space
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By ROB CARRICK
Tuesday, October 2, 2018 – Page B6
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-- The better things get for the economy, the harder it will be to afford a house.So let's add home buyers and owners to the list of those who are worse off under an overhauled North American free-trade agreement. The proposed United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) removes the biggest concern of the moment about Canada's economic future.  FULL STORY arrow
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Having a big balance on lines of credit the new norm space
A new report suggests an increasing number of Canadians are resorting to HELOCs as a crutch
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, September 28, 2018 – Page B10
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-- If anything has rubbed the stink off carrying debt, it's the home equity line of credit.A new report on the use of home equity lines of credit, known as HELOCs, was published this week by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. The Crown corporation suggests that while the use of HELOCs (pronounced hee-locks) has not reached epidemic levels on a national basis, there are signs these borrowing tools have become a financial crutch for many people.  FULL STORY arrow
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Why some seniors should splash their retirement cash space
Retirees spending below their means may be passing up the best years they have left
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By ROB CARRICK
Thursday, September 27, 2018 – Page B10
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-- The last thing Canadians need to hear is advice to spend more money.But that's exactly what a select group of seniors should be doing.They're spending below their means and potentially not enjoying life to the fullest in the prime of their retirement.  FULL STORY arrow
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A dividend ETF built for rising interest rates space
New offering from Fidelity Investments Canada helps to limit risks in the current environment
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, September 26, 2018 – Page B10
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-- Rising interest rates and Canadian dividend ETFs don't mix well.Exchange-traded funds holding Canadian dividend stocks are good income-producers in any market environment, but their share price tends to underperform the SandP/TSX Composite Index at times when interest rates are in a rising trend. The reason is simple: Canadian dividend ETFs tend to have higher weightings in three rate-sensitive sectors - utilities, telecom and real estate - than the broader index.  FULL STORY arrow
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Canadian investors are too obsessed with U.S. stocks space
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By ROB CARRICK
Monday, September 24, 2018 – Page B9
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-- If past returns were a reliable indicator of future returns, the investor asset mixes I'm seeing these days would make great sense.One reader talked about having 70 per cent of a portfolio invested in Nasdaq 100 stocks. Another mentioned a portfolio of two mutual funds, a balanced fund with a one-third weighting and a U.S. index fund for the rest.  FULL STORY arrow
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Time to take Manulife's IncomePlus payout? space
The insurer is offering customers a bonus for moving their cash out of the oncesensational retirement fund
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, September 22, 2018 – Page B10
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-- If you're part of the crowd who put money in Manulife Financial Corp.'s IncomePlus guaranteed retirement income product after it debuted in 2006, watch your mail for a surprising offer.  FULL STORY arrow
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With student debt paid off, how should money be redirected for investing? space
Portfolio allocation options include starting down-payment fund
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By ROB CARRICK
Thursday, September 20, 2018 – Page B9
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-- If you're looking for money to start investing, try paying off a debt.A 34-year-old reader plans to pay off his student debt later this year and he's wondering how to get started as an investor. ''As I shift from debt repayments to investing, my question is what my portfolio allocation should be.''  FULL STORY arrow
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