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GiveLife.ca

    
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PRINT EDITION
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Globe Columnists
Sunday, August 19




  Rob Carrick
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Personal Finance



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How long to save before leaving the nest space
Owning a home can be as much of a financial sacrifice as stashing money away for a down payment
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By ROB CARRICK
Monday, August 13, 2018 – Page B5
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-- Living at home with her parents at the age of 28, Stephanie Clarke wants to get on with her life.But how? She has a multiyear plan for building up a down payment for a house while living with her folks and doubts she could keep that up if she moved out.  FULL STORY arrow
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How market-linked GICs exploit wary investors space
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, August 10, 2018 – Page B5
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-- Investment adviser Cliff Broetz had a recent conversation with a client who was ''ready to pounce'' on a market-linked GIC offered by a bank.So he researched the information provided to advisers for that particular guaranteed investment certificate. The results surprised him so much he wrote me to share his findings and conclusion. Basically, it's that marketlinked GICs are engineered to target people who are ''terrified of the stock market,'' as the Parksville, B.C.-based Mr. Broetz put it in an e-mail.  FULL STORY arrow
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Two trends driving bond ETF returns higher space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, August 8, 2018 – Page B7
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-- It's time to give bond ETFs a fresh look if you lost faith in them because of the threat of rising interest rates.Soaring bond yields in the spring triggered a flow of e-mails from readers who worried about falling bond ETF prices. You hold bond ETFs to add stability to a portfolio; to see these securities falling in value can be unnerving. Bond yields fell back in the early summer, then started edging higher again. Longer term, it's quite possible they will climb still higher and, in turn, push prices for bonds and bond ETFs lower. (Bond prices and yields move in opposite directions.)  FULL STORY arrow
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Low credit score? Smartly manage your profile to appease picky mortgage lenders space
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, August 4, 2018 – Page B10
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-- Between rising interest rates and tougher borrowing requirements, 2018 is the toughest year in ages for people seeking a mortgage.Here's a tip on how to improve your chances of getting the mortgage you want in this challenging environment for borrowers: Manage your credit profile intelligently. There's more to this than having a high credit score.  FULL STORY arrow
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Slimming rate gap in GICs makes them worth a look space
If you've been reluctant to consider guaranteed investment certificates, there has seldom been a better time to dive in
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, August 3, 2018 – Page B8
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-- An irritating little problem for online brokerage clients is how hard it is to get your hands on guaranteed investment certificates paying top-ofthe-market rates.There is always a gap between the best rates in the marketplace and the highest rates offered through online brokerage GIC inventories. But if you've been reluctant to consider GICs for your portfolio as a result of this rate gap, it's time for a second look.  FULL STORY arrow
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Has the chance to invest in real estate gone out the window for now? space
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By ROB CARRICK
Thursday, August 2, 2018 – Page B8
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-- There are times when being a smart investor means saying no to something that has made lots of money for others.Right now, this applies to real estate investments in cities where prices have already soared. Ever heard of the ''buy high'' school of investing? It's for people who jump late onto investing trends and end up exposing themselves to more downside risk than upside potential. Smart investors don't dismiss real estate investing. They just say they'd prefer to wait for more attractive prices.  FULL STORY arrow
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For solo seniors, who takes care of the will? space
Corporate executor may be a consideration when family dynamics or complex financial arrangements are factors
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, August 1, 2018 – Page B5
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-- One of life's most unappealling honours is to be selected by someone as executor for their will.Being an executor means walking a long and grinding road - emotion, money and bureaucracy joined together in a task for which you will never receive thanks from the person who asked you to do the job in the first place.  FULL STORY arrow
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Paying debts tops investing - but should it? space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, August 1, 2018 – Page B5
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-- It looks like Canadians have come to a consensus in answering the perennial personal-finance question of whether to pay down debt or invest.Debt wins, by a kilometre. A recent survey by Manulife Bank asked 2,003 people this question: ''If you were given an extra $1,000 a month, what would you be most likely to use it for?'' Fifty-two per cent of survey participants said paying off debt or a mortgage, while 30 per cent picked saving.  FULL STORY arrow
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Not all online brokers are cash friendly space
We can debate the merits of holding cash, but the reality is there's a lot of it out there
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, July 28, 2018 – Page B13
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-- How's the parking at your online brokerage firm?Online brokers are virtual - you can transact by phone, but they're at their best and cheapest when you research, buy and sell investments online.  FULL STORY arrow
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A tax-smart way to get the U.S. stock market into your TFSA space
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, July 27, 2018 – Page B5
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-- DIY investors, please stop stressing about holding U.S. ETFs paying dividends in a tax-free savings account.A 15-per-cent U.S. withholding tax is applied to dividends paid into TFSAs by U.S. companies and ETFs. In registered retirement savings plans, this tax does not apply. In non-registered accounts, you may be able to claim a foreign tax credit for the amount paid in withholding tax.  FULL STORY arrow
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Your money anxieties explained space
Pitiful income growth that fails to stay on top of inflation is partly to blame for Canadians' financial worries
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By ROB CARRICK
Thursday, July 26, 2018 – Page B8
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-- So much of the narrative of what's going wrong in household personal finances these days focuses on personal irresponsibility, but maybe that's off target.A look at income trends since 2005 suggests a good part of the problem at least is weak income growth, which is to say the economy.  FULL STORY arrow
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Earth to investment advisers: You're blowing it with millennials space
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, July 21, 2018 – Page B14
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-- The investment advice business has a millennial problem.As clients of advice firms, the young adults born between the early eighties and mid-nineties are close to statistically insignificant. A study by the PriceMetrix unit of consulting giant McKinsey and Co. shows this cohort accounted for just 2 per cent of assets at investment advisory firms in North America last year.  FULL STORY arrow
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Seniors may have a hard time with TD's security process for online banking space
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, July 20, 2018 – Page B10
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-- The cost of making online banking safer means losing a little of the ''anywhere, any time'' convenience that makes it so great.You can see this trade-off in the reaction to a security process called two-step authentication that Toronto-Dominion Bank has been rolling out for the past couple of months. This measure will make customers safer, but it's going to bug some seniors because it's a hassle to use unless you have a cellphone and are comfortable with texting.  FULL STORY arrow
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Bond ETFs' doom and gloom offers lesson in holding firm space
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By ROB CARRICK
Thursday, July 19, 2018 – Page B8
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-- So much for the hysteria over bond ETFs getting massacred.There was a point in mid-May when it looked as if bonds were going to be a big problem for investors in 2018. And then it passed. Let this be a lesson to all the investors who lost faith in bond exchange-traded funds - you never know what's ahead in today's ever-unpredictable financial markets. Stop trying to guess and just hold your bond ETFs, individual bonds, guaranteed investment certificates or whatever you use for exposure to fixed income.  FULL STORY arrow
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Use caution when advisers cut their fees space
PriceMetrix analysis implies such reductions are a defensive move by those who have trouble competing on service
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, July 14, 2018 – Page B11
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-- The problem with seeking the lowest-cost investment advice is that you may end up with the lowest-quality advice as well.Savvy investors generally work on the principle that paying less is unquestionably a good thing.  FULL STORY arrow
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Should we buy a rental property? space
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, July 14, 2018 – Page B13
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-- The smartest real estate investors are waiting for a big pullback in prices to start buying.The second-smartest are the people who are tempted to buy in now, but want to speak to someone to get some advice first. This group includes a reader who recently came into some extra cash and is considering a rental property. ''We are unsure who to consult with on whether this is a good decision for us versus our current investments,'' she wrote. ''Any ideas on how to make the comparison?  FULL STORY arrow
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A rising-rate guide to mortgages, HELOCs, GICs, savings and more space
With the BoC adjusting its overnight rate, adjust your finances to this new reality by taking these five steps
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By ROB CARRICK
Thursday, July 12, 2018 – Page B6
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-- The era of fantastically low interest rates ended Wednesday.The Bank of Canada increased its influential overnight rate by just 0.25 per cent, but the cumulative increase in the past 12 months is a full percentage point. Rates are still low, but they're no longer a gift to borrowers and a saver's nightmare. Adjust your finances to this new reality by taking these five steps.  FULL STORY arrow
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In cooling housing market, time to revisit active saving space
Rising home prices have long been a proxy for building a nest egg but the game plan may now have to change
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, July 11, 2018 – Page B7
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-- A hot housing market feels awesome if you own a home, but there are side effects.You spend more when your home is rising in value, and you put less money away as savings.  FULL STORY arrow
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How seniors get second-class treatment at some online brokers space
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, July 7, 2018 – Page B12
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-- What looks like a subtle form of ageism can be found in how some online brokers treat clients who are seniors.A strong majority of brokers have for years offered U.S.-dollar registered retirement savings plans, which are a must-have for investors who invest in stocks listed on U.S. exchanges. But a small subset of these brokerage firms haven't extended this feature to registered retirement income funds. RRSPs must be converted into RRIFs by the end of the year in which you turn 71.  FULL STORY arrow
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It's not your fault it's so hard to understand investing space
Introducing the missing link in financial literacy: the industry's inability to communicate in plain language
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, July 6, 2018 – Page B7
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-- If investment-industry websites were books, the reviews would be brutal.''The problem with the copy that we're reading and analyzing is that it is turgid, dense and complex,'' said Fergal McGovern, chief executive of VisibleThread, a company that offers tools to analyze how well corporate websites communicate.  FULL STORY arrow
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Mortgage renewals just got more complicated space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, July 4, 2018 – Page B1
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-- New accounting rules adopted by the banks mean they're paying closer attention than ever before to your financial situation and your home's value when you renew a mortgage.  FULL STORY arrow
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It's time to stop trash-talking RESPs space
Registered education savings plans have powerful benefits that are being overlooked
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, July 4, 2018 – Page B7
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-- The most underused saving vehicle in Canada is the registered education savings plan.I'm starting to wonder if one of the reasons is the disinformation being spread about RESPs. ''I keep reading that RESPs aren't all they are cracked up to be and we run the risk of losing this money if the kids don't go to college or university,'' a reader wrote recently. ''Are RESPs outdated? Is there a better way to save for them so the money will be available for [our grandchildren's] education?'' The answers to these questions, respectively, are no and no.  FULL STORY arrow
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Five tips for weathering a market correction space
Here's how to prepare your portfolio ahead of any turbulence
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, June 30, 2018 – Page B15
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-- The well-built investment portfolio is always prepared for a stock-market correction. That's the point of diversification and continuing portfolio maintenance. You don't have to make adjustments on the fly because you're set for all market conditions. If you're worried about a stock-market correction and are unsure about how ready you are, check out these five suggestions: 1. REBALANCE Rebalancing means buying and selling parts of your portfolio to get back to the mix of stocks and bonds you set initially to meet your investing goals. Benchmark returns over the past 36 months for major stock and bond indexes highlight the need to rebalance.  FULL STORY arrow
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New report makes case for delaying CPP till 75 space
C.D. Howe suggests extending deferral of pension plan addresses concerns over sluggish saving for retirement
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, June 29, 2018 – Page B6
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-- Canadian minds are never more closed than when asked to consider delaying the start of CPP retirement benefits.So a new paper from the C.D. Howe Institute about the benefits of extending maximum deferral of the Canada and Quebec pension plans to age 75 from 70 likely won't get the attention it deserves. Considered on merit, this paper's argument should grab the attention of the federal government and people planning their retirement.  FULL STORY arrow
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Did you get faked out by soaring bond yields? space
The lesson here is to accommodate rising rates in your portfolio, but in a measured way
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, June 29, 2018 – Page B7
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-- May 17 was a big day in investing for the year so far.That's when high-rate hysteria peaked. The five-year Government of Canada bond yield hit 2.33 per cent, compared with 0.91 per cent a year earlier. Bonds and bond funds were in full retreat at this point, and utility stocks, long an investor favourite, were being pushed steadily lower.  FULL STORY arrow
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Is it safe to have all your money at one bank? space
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By ROB CARRICK
Thursday, June 28, 2018 – Page B10
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-- One of the lingering effects of the global financial crisis is a wisp of worry about whether money sitting in bank and brokerage accounts is safe.I see it from time to time in reader questions such as this one: ''Is it safe to have all your monies in one financial institution if the funds are all covered by the Canada Deposit Insurance Corp.? I have close to seven figures invested with [one of the big banks] and its affiliates for simplicity. If I pass away, my widow will have less to deal with. All my eggs are in one CDIC-insured basket.''  FULL STORY arrow
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Put kids' education before home ownership space
Parents will be doing their children a great service by investing in an RESP for them
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, June 27, 2018 – Page B7
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-- The best financial support that parents can offer their children is a fully paid university or college education, not a house down payment.This needs to be said following the recent release of some research by Royal Bank of Canada on the cost of a postsecondary education. Some quick highlights: University tuition cost increases have outpaced inflation since 1982, and it now takes 505 hours of work at today's average minimum wage to pay the average university tuition, compared with 293 hours of minimum wage work back in 1990. Half of new undergraduates finish their schooling with some level of student debt, and more than 20 per cent of grads with a bachelor degree start out with $25,000 or more in debt.  FULL STORY arrow
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DIY investors: Swallow your pride and check out these mutual funds space
In a recent Top 100 analysis, Canadian dividend funds offered by the big banks stood out with strong results
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By ROB CARRICK
Tuesday, June 26, 2018 – Page B11
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-- The strong anti-mutual fund bias of the DIY investor sometimes goes too far.People often come to do-ityourself investing after a frustrating experience with mutual funds that they felt underperformed and overcharged in fees.  FULL STORY arrow
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Fix to mutual fund rules falls short of expectations space
Why the investment industry will never ensure that clients come first
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, June 22, 2018 – Page B1
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-- The dream of creating a standard of transparent, client-focused service in the investment industry died Thursday.Regulators bailed on two reforms that would have made a huge difference for both investors and an investment industry that refuses to change a business model in which too many bad actors are allowed to prosper.  FULL STORY arrow
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ETF firms take mutual funds to school on fee competition space
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By ROB CARRICK
Thursday, June 21, 2018 – Page B10
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-- The country's second-largest player in exchange-traded funds issued a news release recently to announce it was cutting the fee on one of its ETFs by 0.01 of a percentage point.  FULL STORY arrow
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How lenders encouraged Canadians to pay off debts space
As interest rates rise, data show flows into bank deposits were at more normal levels in March than first two months of 2018
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, June 20, 2018 – Page B8
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-- Oh, Canada. Can we talk about your debt load?The past several years have been a marathon of nagging you to get control of your debts for personal finance writers. Just in time, you are finally showing some progress. Keep it up, kid.  FULL STORY arrow
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How to bluntly break up with your adviser space
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By ROB CARRICK
Monday, June 18, 2018 – Page B8
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-- Toronto money-manageA ment firm has come up with a novel way to get some attention: Help investors identify and fire bad advisers.  FULL STORY arrow
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Analyzing Canada's largest mutual funds: 'Mediocre is kind in some cases' space
A look at the fees and returns of the 100 most popular funds
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, June 16, 2018 – Page B14
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-- Judge by hype alone and you might think that dividend stocks and exchange-traded funds are all Canadians invest in.But mutual funds are still the investment of the masses. The data analysis firm Strategic Insight says there was roughly $4.5-trillion in financial wealth in Canada at the end of 2017 - and almost 36 per cent of it was is in mutual funds, more than either bank deposits (including guaranteed investment certificates) or individual stocks and bonds.  FULL STORY arrow
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Making sense of a loved one's finances space
If you're worried that your financial life is too complex for others to have to unexpectedly untangle, take comfort: There's an app for you
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, June 15, 2018 – Page B9
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-- The savvier you are with money, the harder it will be for your family to make sense of your savings, investments, insurance and more if you get sick or die suddenly.  FULL STORY arrow
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TFSA growth seeming a little light? Here's why space
Less-than-optimum results should be a prompt to bring more investing discipline
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By ROB CARRICK
Thursday, June 14, 2018 – Page B13
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-- A recent column on benchmarking the growth in your tax-free savings account has generated some bragging and some frustration.An annualized return of 4 per cent was used for a balanced TFSA containing both stocks and bonds, with a tilt toward the stocks, while an 8-per-cent return was used for an all-stocks portfolio. Both figures are after fees. A few readers e-mailed to say they had been wondering how their TFSAs had done on a comparative basis and were pleased to see they had beaten the benchmark return. And then an investment adviser got in touch. She reported a couple of calls from clients who read the column and wondered why their accounts lagged.  FULL STORY arrow
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Haunted by housing: Millennials let rip about home-ownership woes space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, June 13, 2018 – Page B10
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-- Although house prices have soared in many places, we still to a large extent tell ourselves that home ownership is doable if you save hard and have a decent job.  FULL STORY arrow
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Let's snap out of our willingness to live in debt space
Ontario election's three major party platforms reflect a convergence of financial recklessness
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, June 9, 2018 – Page B4
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-- Low interest rates brought us a Doug Ford government in Ontario, and they would have been responsible for an NDP or Liberal win as well.One of many things that made the Ontario election so interesting was the way three such different major party platforms converged in financial recklessness.  FULL STORY arrow
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Tasty rates are now available for money you can afford to lock up for a year in a GIC space
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, June 8, 2018 – Page B9
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-- It's taken a while, but interest rates for conservative investors are starting to edge higher.The upward creep of rates can be seen clearly in what banks, trust companies and credit unions are offering people willing to lock in money for a year with guaranteed investment certificates. There are several options that will give you returns that meet two important requirements.  FULL STORY arrow
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Parents can financially suffocate their children by helping them buy houses space
It may seem benevolent, but it can also bring potentially debilitating financial obligations
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By ROB CARRICK
Thursday, June 7, 2018 – Page B12
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-- Today's big test of parental devotion is the gift of money for a house down payment.Talk to financial planners and advisers these days and you're almost certain to hear about their experiences with parents who want to help their adult children buy a home. The parents worry that, without this assistance, rising prices will keep their kids from ever owning, and so they're getting expert help to see how affordable it would be to carve off a slice of their savings to help out.  FULL STORY arrow
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It's not a waste to keep money parked safely space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, June 6, 2018 – Page B9
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-- You can tell we haven't had a serious stock-market correction for a long while by the way people chafe at the idea of keeping money safely parked in cash.  FULL STORY arrow
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As politicians promise to tax the rich, the wealthy need to plan ahead space
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By ROB CARRICK
Tuesday, June 5, 2018 – Page B1
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-- A winning strategy in politics these days is to promise to tax the rich.  FULL STORY arrow
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How big should your TFSA be? space
The answer depends on whether one is an aggressive investor or a passive saver
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, June 2, 2018 – Page B11
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-- TFSAs were launched in 2009, which means we're well into our 10th year of having them available to build tax-free wealth.Care to benchmark your TFSA to see how you've done over the first decade for this popular investing and savings vehicle?  FULL STORY arrow
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Investors are overdoing it with balanced funds space
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, June 1, 2018 – Page B8
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-- Stop two-timing your balanced fund.Chosen wisely, balanced funds are convenient blends of stocks and bonds can be your entire portfolio.If this convenience allows you to commit to a regular investing plan over the long term, then balanced funds can be a big win.  FULL STORY arrow
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Protecting yourself when your bank's online security fails space
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By ROB CARRICK
Thursday, May 31, 2018 – Page B8
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-- Lost money is the least of your problems if you're a victim in a data breach such as sthe one that has affected as many as 90,000 Bank of Montreal and Simplii Financial clients.  FULL STORY arrow
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The tough-love guide to having your adult children move back home space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, May 30, 2018 – Page B9
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-- Nowhere in the literature on parenting does it mention how to get your young adult children off the family payroll.So it's no wonder that lots of attention has been paid to the 30-year-old in upstate New York who was taken to court by his parents to get him to move out.  FULL STORY arrow
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Have Vanguard's new balanced ETFs made robo-advisers obsolete? space
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By ROB CARRICK
Tuesday, May 29, 2018 – Page B10
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-- The breakthrough of robo-advisers is to offer a way to instantly turn the cash you want to invest into a properly diversified, well-tended portfolio.The three new balanced exchange-traded funds from Vanguard do pretty much the same thing. So have robos been outflanked? The answer is no. Robos still rule for the investor with minimal financial savvy, other than an understanding of how important it is to take a sound, disciplined approach to investing. If you're comfortable investing with ETFs and want a simpler approach, definitely take a look at the Vanguard Conservative ETF Portfolio (VCNS-T), the Vanguard Balanced ETF Portfolio (VBAL-T) and the Vanguard Growth ETF Portfolio (VGRO-T).  FULL STORY arrow
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Is this bond mutual fund an ETF-beater? space
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, May 26, 2018 – Page B14
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-- The savvy investor's preference for ETFs over mutual funds can be a bit limiting at times.Certain mutual funds compare very well with exchange-traded funds and may actually be more suitable for do-ityourself investors. Example: the Phillips, Hager and North Bond Fund in its Series D option.  FULL STORY arrow
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A line has been crossed on taxing lofty home values space
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, May 25, 2018 – Page B9
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-- You had to figure that governments would eventually find a way to tax the wealth locked up in houses that have soared in value.Only a federal government with a death wish would touch the personal residence exemption, which lets you sell your principal residence without having to pay tax on your capital gain. That leaves property taxes, which typically treat all homeowners equally by applying the same tax rate against the assessed value of their home.  FULL STORY arrow
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These ETFs could shield your portfolio from rising rates space
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By ROB CARRICK
Thursday, May 24, 2018 – Page B10
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-- Preferred-share ETFs are showing signs of being a refuge for income-seeking investors worried about what rising rates will do to their portfolios.Preferreds as a group were at one time as vulnerable to rising rates as bonds and utility, pipeline, telecom and real estate stocks. But the preferred-share world is now mostly made up of rate-reset shares, which adjust their payouts every five years to keep up with interest rate ups and downs.  FULL STORY arrow
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Mortgage stress tests aren't killing the housing market space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, May 23, 2018 – Page B10
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-- When things go wrong in the housing market, people get angry.So expect to hear a lot of irate commentary on whose fault it is if house prices keep falling in Toronto and other places where people have been making lots of money off the housing boom.  FULL STORY arrow
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Women need to save more for retirement space
Earning less than their male counterparts, taking more time out of the workforce has women working harder for that cushy nest egg
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, May 19, 2018 – Page B13
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-- It's harder to save for retirement if you're a woman.Women earn less than men on average and more often take time out of the work force to raise children or look after elderly parents. ''If you're not working, then you're not paying into work pensions, you're not paying into CPP and you're not developing the same retirement income base,'' said Jane Bolstad, a certified financial planner (CFP) in Calgary.  FULL STORY arrow
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How not to get hammered by rising condo fees space
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, May 18, 2018 – Page B8
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-- When lawyer Denise Lash was recently looking for a condo to buy, she based her final decision more on numbers than on features.''I knew of a building that was about 10 years old and I knew the board,'' said the founder of legal firm Lash Condo Law. ''I liked the unit and I thought, you know what? If I buy in a building, I want it to be one where I know it's a good one. I judged it by the board, their reserve fund and how well maintained it was.''  FULL STORY arrow
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How to get ahead of the clouds forming over fixed-rate mortgages space
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, May 18, 2018 – Page B8
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-- If the mortgage-rate outlook was a weather forecast, you'd see gathering clouds and rain.For now, the sun is done. Borrowing costs on the hugely popular five-year fixedrate mortgage have been creeping higher since the year began, and pressure for more increases is building. You can see it happening in this chart showing the return, or yield, on the fiveyear bonds the Government of Canada issues to finance its operations.  FULL STORY arrow
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There's no such thing as a low-risk way to invest in stocks space
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, May 12, 2018 – Page B13
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-- Recent results from low-volatility exchange-traded funds are a reminder of an immutable investing rule that people keeping hoping to outsmart.You can't successfully invest stocks without risk. Low-volatility ETFs seemed to refute this for a while, but they're coming back down to earth. A recent note from investment dealer Richardson GMP explains why: Basically, it comes down to something called interest-rate sensitivity risk. As bond yields increase, the price of bonds and stocks in dividend-heavy sectors such as utilities, telecom, pipelines and real estate decline. These are exactly the sectors that dominate lowvol ETFs.  FULL STORY arrow
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How aggressive is your bank about jacking up interest rates? space
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, May 11, 2018 – Page B8
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-- It's a mistake to shrug off interest-rate increases because all banks are doing it.There's a lot of sameness to how banks treat their customers, but raising rates is an exception. We've recently seen varying levels of aggressiveness in raising mortgage rates. And in one case, we've seen an unusually shaky hand in ramming through a rate hike on lines of credit. If you're a borrower, keep an eye on how banks compare with each other to make sure you're not getting shafted.  FULL STORY arrow
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Pity the two-vehicle family with a mortgage up for renewal this spring space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, May 9, 2018 – Page B8
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-- We are starting to accumulate all the irritations you normally see when the economy's going great.Rising gasoline prices? Check.Rising borrowing costs? Yup.Rising inflation? You bet.Costs are rising on a wide front this spring, but they'll hit one demographic hardest. That's the family with two vehicles and a mortgage that must be renewed this spring. Between higher borrowing costs and surging gasoline prices, a typical family could easily expect to pay an extra $165 or more a month.  FULL STORY arrow
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Sometimes, it's worth paying for an adviser space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, May 9, 2018 – Page B9
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-- They're the kind of clients that advisers drool over - investible assets just into the seven-figure range and a desire to have someone handle their money for them.There's just one hitch: This couple, both in their 70s, are leery of advisers. ''We are feeling like we would like to have someone manage [our money] for us, but have had negative experiences with financial advisers,'' one of the spouses told me recently. ''We are wondering what options you would suggest and the positive and negative ramifications of each.''  FULL STORY arrow
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Why robo-advisers aren't the answer to all your needs space
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By ROB CARRICK
Tuesday, May 8, 2018 – Page B1
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-- Score one for the humans in the battle between robo- and traditional advisers.Robo-advisers are still a financial industry newcomer, but they've been around long enough to start losing clients who were unhappy with their experience. Financial planner Rona Birenbaum recently took on someone who moved some money from a full-service brokerage firm to a robo-firm, and then was disappointed not to get financial planning in addition to investment management. ''This person wanted a consolidated approach and to speak to real people,'' Ms. Birenbaum said.  FULL STORY arrow
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Inflation concerns have brought real-return bonds back from the dead space
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, May 4, 2018 – Page B7
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-- Renewed worries about inflation are reviving the fortunes of a onetime bond market darling that has faded into obscurity in recent years.While the broad bond market has been on the defensive this year, real-return bonds are looking strong. While there are good reasons not to add real-return bonds to a portfolio, there's no doubt that they're enticing right now.  FULL STORY arrow
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Bank of Canada may want to coddle borrowers, but bond market won't space
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, May 4, 2018 – Page B1
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-- he plan to baby the counT try's borrowers has a flaw.The Bank of Canada wants to be gentle in raising interest rates to minimize the jolt to heavily indebted households and the economy, but it doesn't directly control the full range of borrowing costs. Fixed rate mortgages, the kind most people have, take their cue from a bond market that cares nothing about the difficulties some families might have if rates climb.  FULL STORY arrow
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Bank of Canada may want to coddle borrowers, but bond market won't space
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By ROB CARRICK
Thursday, May 3, 2018 – Page B1
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-- he plan to baby the counT try's borrowers has a flaw.The Bank of Canada wants to be gentle in raising interest rates to minimize the jolt to heavily indebted households and the economy, but it doesn't directly control the full range of borrowing costs. Fixed rate mortgages, the kind most people have, take their cue from a bond market that cares nothing about the difficulties some families might have if rates climb.  FULL STORY arrow
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How to quit that line of credit cold turkey space
HELOCs are a great tool for savvy borrowers, but they can also delude people into living beyond their means
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, May 2, 2018 – Page B2
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-- The home-equity line of credit's (HELOC) great contribution to personal finance has been to disconnect us all from the reality of having to live within our means.If you can't afford what you need or want, a HELOC solves the problem by allowing you to borrow cheaply against your home equity. HELOCs are a savvy borrower's best friend, but they also delude people into thinking it's viable to spend more than they earn.  FULL STORY arrow
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How to undercut robo-advisers with a supercheap ETF portfolio space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, May 2, 2018 – Page B7
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-- Using a robo-adviser is a smart thing to do if you want help building and maintaining a soundly constructed portfolio of low-fee ETFs.But you can run your own ETF portfolio at half the cost or less. Let's roughly figure a robo-adviser would cost you a total fee of 0.75 per cent - 0.5 per cent to manage the portfolio and 0.25 per cent charged by the ETFs (that comes off the top of returns, which are reported on a net basis). A DIY investor using an online brokerage firm that charges no commissions to buy ETFs could get overall costs down to 0.35 per cent or less, including ETFs and commissions for selling ETFs to periodically rebalance the portfolio.  FULL STORY arrow
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Lingering economic woes sow seeds of millennial discontent space
Survey highlights sentiment that the country's current economic system benefits older generations over younger ones
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, April 27, 2018 – Page B10
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-- The young adults living with their parents or renting because buying a house is unaffordable are starting to get restless.In a new survey of 18- to 37-year-olds, 40 per cent of participants said their generation is mostly or much worse off, compared with their parents and 54 per cent said the economic system in Canada benefits other generations over theirs. Asked whether capitalism is the best model or if we'd be better off with a more socialist system, 54 per cent chose socialism.  FULL STORY arrow
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You may have to work until 70 to afford a house space
With prices, mortgage rates headed higher, first-time buyers looking to enter the market are left at a crossroads
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By ROB CARRICK
Thursday, April 26, 2018 – Page B12
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-- There's a common theme in all that's going on in the housing market today - none of it's good for the aspiring first-time buyer.Prices are rising smartly in affordable Montreal and Ottawa and in the astronomically expensive Vancouver and Victoria markets. Prices are flat or weaker in other cities, but there's little to no improvement in affordability, thanks to mortgage-rate increases like we're seeing this week. On top of all this is the tough stress test buyers must take to ensure they can afford a spike in borrowing costs.  FULL STORY arrow
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Seeking income? Consider this five-pack of 5% dividend stocks space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, April 25, 2018 – Page B11
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-- The sad year-to-date performance by the Canadian stock market has had some positive results for income-seeking investors.As of late April, it was possible to get a dividend yield of 5 per cent or more from a five-pack of stocks in the SandP/TSX 60 Index. A company doesn't get into the 5per-cent club without its share price coming under attack from unhappy investors. But a yield of 5 per cent from a blue-chip member of the 60 index (large, liquid stocks) is an attention-grabber.  FULL STORY arrow
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Understanding a crucial yet mysterious fee investors pay their advisers space
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By ROB CARRICK
Monday, April 23, 2018 – Page B9
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-- Look to the trailing commission you pay if you want to grade the value you're getting from an investment adviser who sells mutual funds.It's easier said than done, though. A reader was recently studying his annual investment fee disclosure statement and tripped over trailing commissions. ''I didn't actually pay those fees, yet they must have an adverse effect on my returns,'' he said.  FULL STORY arrow
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An international approach to dividend ETFs space
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, April 21, 2018 – Page B12
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-- How to take the sting out of slumping Canadian dividend stocks: Diversify globally.The sixth and final instalment of the 2018 Globe and Mail ETF Buyer's Guide covers U.S. and international dividend exchangetraded funds, which have been steady performers. As documented in the fifth Buyer's Guide instalment, Canadian dividend ETFs have been hit pretty badly.  FULL STORY arrow
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This might be the most useful savings account in Canada space
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, April 20, 2018 – Page B7
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-- A 131-year-old insurance company has out-innovated everyone in making savings accounts more useful for everyday banking.New and nimble financial technology companies - fintech - have brought some cool products to personal finance.  FULL STORY arrow
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Interest rate vise may be closing on home equity lines of credit space
Already, TD Bank advises some HELOC clients of rate hikes - and BoC has plenty of opportunity for more in 2018
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, April 18, 2018 – Page B2
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-- There are two separate interest rate threats facing the people who have collectively borrowed about $207-billion from the big banks using a home equity line of credit.The obvious risk is that the Bank of Canada will continue a process begun last summer of raising its benchmark overnight lending rate.  FULL STORY arrow
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Is this fund fee fracas a case of investor abuse or obtuse investors? space
Enough with the outrage over online brokerage firms selling mutual funds with embedded fees for investment advice
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, April 13, 2018 – Page B4
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-- If you can't research a simple mutual fund, you're not cut out to be a do-it-yourself investor.So enough with the outrage over online brokerage firms selling mutual funds with embedded fees for investment advice. In what may be a first, I'm not jumping to the defence of investors on this one.  FULL STORY arrow
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Don't get penalized for selling your home space
If you don't report the sale of a principal residence on your tax return, CRA could fine you up to $8,000
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, April 11, 2018 – Page B8
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-- Canada Revenue Agency is getting tough with people who fail to comply with new rules requiring the routine sale of a home to be reported, even when there's zero tax owing.  FULL STORY arrow
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Why dividend investors should think twice before ditching their mutual funds space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, April 11, 2018 – Page B8
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-- Your best chance of owning an ETF-beating mutual fund is in the Canadian dividend and income category.A scorecard comparing actively managed mutual funds against their benchmark stock indexes shows a marked pattern of underperformance for mutual funds, except among Canadian dividend funds. Almost 58 per cent of dividend and income equity funds beat the SandP/TSX Dividend Aristocrats Index in 2017, by far the best showing of any fund category.  FULL STORY arrow
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ETF Buyer's Guide: Canadian dividend ETFs space
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, April 7, 2018 – Page B12
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-- Canadian dividend ETFs have gone from darlings to dead weight in the past 12 months.The latest installment of the 2018 Globe and Mail ETF Buyer's Guide documents the bleak returns from exchange-traded funds holding dividend-paying stocks for the year to March 31.  FULL STORY arrow
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Forget falling stocks - there are other financial risks you should be worried about space
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By ROB CARRICK
Thursday, April 5, 2018 – Page B10
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-- You have more important financial risks to worry about than falling stock markets.It's easy to get torqued these days about stocks. North American indexes were well into the red as of early April and the losses on a few particular days have been bad enough to rate mention on radio and TV news. Veterans of the most recent market crash know stocks only make the general news when they're dropping dramatically.  FULL STORY arrow
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Website's method of offering second opinions may just pay off space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, April 4, 2018 – Page B8
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-- No one has yet been able to make a business out of offering investors second opinions on their portfolios.The latest attempt to provide second opinions may just be the greatest: a website called Wealthscope, where investors and advisers can put their existing portfolios through a brisk, thorough workout, or test their own ideas for portfolio building. A basicservice tier is currently available for free. More comprehensive services will soon be offered to advisers for a fee.  FULL STORY arrow
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The all-banks stock portfolio (probably) isn't for you space
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By ROB CARRICK
Tuesday, April 3, 2018 – Page B10
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-- Admit it, you've wondered whether you could own nothing but bank stocks and do great as an investor. The answer: Probably, but don't try it.Readers have asked this question many times over the years, most recently in the past week.  FULL STORY arrow
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Saving new home owners from sudden budget-busting expenses space
Title insurance can help de-stress your finances after buying into a market where both prices and interest rates are on a rising trend
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, March 30, 2018 – Page B8
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-- The harsh economics of home buying today demand that you protect yourself as much as possible from the surprise expenses ahead.Title insurance costs a few hundred dollars on average, but it can save you thousands if you find out years from now that a structure on your property is partly on your neighbour's property, if the previous owners failed to pay their property tax or water bills in full, if fraudsters gain title to your house and more. Most home buyers today get title insurance for themselves when purchasing a home, but there are still holdouts. There may also be owners who paid for this coverage, but forgot about it.  FULL STORY arrow
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How not to get ripped off on GIC rates at banks space
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, March 30, 2018 – Page B8
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-- It's a basic rule of investing that do-it-yourselfers get a better deal than people who buy through an adviser or sales person.Still, it's striking to see how people buying guaranteed investment certificates get abused when they do their transaction in a bank branch. Expect rates that are dramatically lower than the same bank is offering to clients who buy GICs through the inhouse online brokerage.  FULL STORY arrow
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Yes, variable-rate mortgages can still be cheaper space
The choice to lock down a rate for five years will depend on a number of factors, including your lifestyle and finances
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, March 28, 2018 – Page B10
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-- The safe and sound choice in today's mortgage market is to lock down a rate for five years and let borrowing costs do what they may.That's how you should proceed if you're a nervous firsttime home buyer or just holding things together financially as you renew. Everyone else, consider the variable-rate option. While they leave you exposed to rising interest rates ahead, variablerate mortgages can be cheaper in two important ways.  FULL STORY arrow
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These bonds can reward taking on extra risk space
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By ROB CARRICK
Tuesday, March 27, 2018 – Page B10
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-- Look to the corporate bond market if you're wondering about the rewards you get from taking on extra risk.A well-diversified short-term corporate bond ETF would get you a forward-looking yield of about 2.5 per cent these days. If you check out individual corporate bonds that just make the cut for being considered investmentgrade, you'll find yields from a variety of issuers of between 3.5 per cent and 3.9 per cent. Here are some examples found the week of March 19-23 at one particular online brokerage firm.  FULL STORY arrow
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Diversify globally to limit domestic risk space
Use the fourth instalment of the Globe ETF Buyers' Guide to spread your holdings across multiple international funds
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, March 24, 2018 – Page B12
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-- Stick to Canadian companies as an investor and you miss out on what's happening in 97 per cent of the global stock market.Adding U.S. stocks to your Canadian holdings brings you up to 55 per cent of the global market. To access opportunities in the rest of the world, try an exchange-traded fund covering international markets.  FULL STORY arrow
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Four ways to best use your tax refund space
Lots of people are getting money back - and the amount they're getting is large enough to do something meaningful
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, March 23, 2018 – Page B8
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-- The sooner you file your taxes, the faster you can put your refund to work in capitalizing on a number of opportunities offered up by financial market events in early 2018.  FULL STORY arrow
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The Big Six will fleece you - if you let them space
Consumers need to know their options for financial institutions to stop exploiting loyalty
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, March 21, 2018 – Page B2
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-- A federal agency has stripped away any remaining pretense that banks are trustworthy providers of advice, assistance, guidance, help or anything else along those lines.The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) said in a report issued Tuesday that the corporate culture at the Big Six banks is sharply focused on selling products and services, and that there are insufficient controls in place to protect clients from aggressive sales practices.  FULL STORY arrow
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Vanguard's new balanced ETFs show there's a market for sensible investing space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, March 21, 2018 – Page B9
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-- Some new exchange-traded funds that basically give you an entire diversified portfolio in a single purchase are showing you can be successful in the ETF business by selling nutrition as well as junk food.  FULL STORY arrow
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Mortgage renewals in 2018: Prepare for nasty rate surprises space
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, March 17, 2018 – Page B11
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-- The era of pleasant surprises for people renewing their mortgage is done.Years of falling interest rates in the aftermath of the 2008-09 financial crisis taught a generation of home buyers that renewing a mortgage is a chance to reduce your payments. Now, we're heading into the first wave of postcrisis renewals at higher mortgage rates.  FULL STORY arrow
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Mortgage plus daycare equals financial overload in Canada's big cities space
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, March 16, 2018 – Page B8
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-- The crushing costs of home ownership and raising a family could be driving the latest upswing in household debt.High debt levels reflect the damn-the-consequences style of consumption encouraged by low interest rates and the prompts to spend we get from immersion in the internet and social media.  FULL STORY arrow
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He's soon to retire - should he dump his blue-chip stocks and buy an ETF? space
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By ROB CARRICK
Thursday, March 15, 2018 – Page B11
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-- You'll have more time to work on your investment portfolio when you retire, but will you want to spend your leisure time that way?A reader who is three or four years from retirement has asked whether he should stay with a portfolio of individual blue-chip dividend stocks, or replace it with an exchange-traded fund holding blue-chip stocks. As an observer of people more than someone who writes about investing for a living, I tilt toward keeping the stocks.  FULL STORY arrow
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One bank dings clients who travel, while another lightens the load space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, March 14, 2018 – Page B7
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-- Some competitive jockeying by the big banks on creditand debit-card fees makes this an ideal time to reconsider how you pay for things while travelling.We have two contrasting approaches to fees for travelling customers from Bank of Nova Scotia and Toronto-Dominion Bank. Scotiabank introduced a strong new travel-reward credit card on Monday that doesn't charge the usual 2.5-per-cent fee on foreign-currency conversions.  FULL STORY arrow
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Don't forget about the market to the south space
ETF Buyer's Guide looks at TSX-listed funds that have exposure to the U.S. market
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, March 10, 2018 – Page B12
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-- PORTFOLIO STRATEGYThe Canadian investor's most glaring investor error of the past five years would arguably have been to underplay or ignore the U.S. stock market.Stock-wise, we got smoked by the U.S. market. With its heavy weighting in surging technology stocks, the SandP 500 index delivered an annualized five-year total return of 20.5 per cent in Canadian dollars to Dec. 31, while the SandP/TSX Composite Index made 8.6 per cent. The U.S. market looked shaky in early 2018, but it's a proven way to diversify a Canadian market dominated by banks, oil companies and miners.  FULL STORY arrow
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A GIC for those with stock-market fears space
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, March 9, 2018 – Page B12
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-- Safe alternatives to volatile stock markets are starting to look more palatable than they have in a while.You can now lock in a 3-percent return on five-year guaranteed investment certificates sold by online brokerage firms. Yields of 3 per cent have been available for a while now from alternative banks and credit unions, but these players tend not to show up in the lists of third-party GICs sold by online brokerage firms.  FULL STORY arrow
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Where did higher rates for savers go? Right to the banks' bottom line space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, March 7, 2018 – Page B1
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-- If there is any suspense about whether the Bank of Canada will raise interest rates on Wednesday, it's strictly from the borrower's point of view.Whether the central bank leaves rates untouched or raises them, it makes little difference to savers. Dynamite couldn't break the impasse in banks delivering meaningfully higher rates on savings accounts.  FULL STORY arrow
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These five Canadian dividend mutual funds are ETF-beaters space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, March 7, 2018 – Page B13
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-- Low-cost ETFs are a practical way to investing in almost all the major asset classes, but that doesn't mean you should automatically default to them over mutual funds.  FULL STORY arrow
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Our children have watched us as borrowers, and now they're loading up on debt space
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By ROB CARRICK
Thursday, March 1, 2018 – Page B9
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-- We have some early indicaW tions of how kids raised in an era of free and easy borrowing handle credit themselves.It's not going especially well.The credit-reporting firm TransUnion says the country's credit profile over all was in reasonably good shape in the fourth quarter of 2017, especially in light of recent interest-rate increases.  FULL STORY arrow
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Federal budget enhances personal security - for some space
Seniors, low-income workers will benefit from new budget measures
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, February 28, 2018 – Page B7
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-- Seniors worried about the security of their savings and pensions received some modest reassurance in the federal budget.There's zero in the way of dramatic strokes in this budget in a personal finance sense. It might be the blandest of the 25 or so budgets I have covered from the personal finance and business side. But the government has announced a couple of measures to help seniors worry a bit less about money, as well as a revamped tax break to help lowincome workers.  FULL STORY arrow
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Core bond ETFs to diversify your portfolio space
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, February 24, 2018 – Page B13
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-- GLOBE AND MAIL ETF BUYER'S GUIDEBond ETFs are not at their best in a rising interest rate world.And yet, the case for filling up the bond side of your portfolio using exchange-traded funds instead of bond mutual funds or individual bonds and guaranteed investment certificates remains strong. You get low-cost diversification in a liquid investment that you can trade any time, unlike GICs.  FULL STORY arrow
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Will these products finally get the mutual-fund industry to lower its fees? space
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, February 23, 2018 – Page B9
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-- Canada needs a bigger selection of mutual funds like it needs an extra month of winter.And yet, some good for investors may come from the four actively managed mutual funds that Vanguard, the U.S. investing giant, is preparing to launch in the Canadian market. Expect fees for these funds to be dramatically lower than what our domestic fund companies charge.  FULL STORY arrow
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'Bad news' buy signals from four dividend stocks space
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, February 23, 2018 – Page B9
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-- Investors seeking high-yielding I dividend income may want to defy the distress signal flashing on some blue-chip utility stocks. Rising interest rates have pushed down the price of electrical utility stocks in recent months, which has in turn sent their dividend yields higher.  FULL STORY arrow
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These bond ETFs are providing a leaky defence for investors space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, February 21, 2018 – Page B10
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-- So much for the go-to strategy for playing defence with your bonds in a rising-rate world.Short-term bonds are supposed to be preferable to longerterm bonds when interest rates are rising.  FULL STORY arrow
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Full CPP benefits are a tough goal to reach space
Only 6% of people received the highest possible amount in 2016, but that doesn't mean it isn't a good base for retirement
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By ROB CARRICK
Tuesday, February 20, 2018 – Page B9
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-- Monthly Canada Pension Plan retirement benefits will total a maximum $13,610.04 for 2018 - nothing flashy, but still significant.Unfortunately, few will get it.In 2016, roughly 6 per cent of CPP retirement-benefit recipients received the maximum, data from Employment and Social Development Canada shows.  FULL STORY arrow
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