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GiveLife.ca

    
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Globe Columnists
Wednesday, July 17




  Rob Carrick
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Personal Finance



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Two vehicles can be too wasteful for retirees space
Seniors can do wonders for their financial health by having only one car in the driveway
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, July 12, 2019 – Page B6
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-- A s terrible as it for your finances, owning two cars is often unavoidable.Take two working parents, add kids and you have a strong convenience-based case for paying the many costs of owning and maintaining a pair of vehicles.  FULL STORY arrow
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Equal weight ETFs may sound competitive, but they're not worth your trouble space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, July 10, 2019 – Page B8
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-- INSIDE THE MARKETETF investing at its best - cheapest, in other words - means buying exchangetraded funds that track the biggest, most widely followed indexes.But how many different cheap funds tracking the likes of the SandP 500 and SandP/TSX Composite Index can Canada's ETF market support? Not that many, which is why companies in the ETF business are creating products that try to improve on the big indexes.  FULL STORY arrow
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Can a new player challenge online brokerages? space
Wealthsimple Trade may not be a big contender yet, but the company offers what other internet brokers do not: a clear interface and free transactions
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, July 6, 2019 – Page B8
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-- The cost of trading stocks online is less than $10 a transaction, but even that sounds expensive when compared with the deal offered by an aggressive new competitor.Wealthsimple Trade has been offering free stock trades since March. There are many catches - the firm offers only non-registered accounts right now, U.S.dollar accounts are unavailable and there are no tools for choosing stocks and monitoring your portfolio performance. But in an industry that hasn't seen any serious competition on commissions fees in years, free is big.  FULL STORY arrow
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Low-volatility approach is on a hot streak - but for how long? space
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, July 5, 2019 – Page B6
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-- Whether the stock markets go up or down, conservative stocks are king.One of the more surprising investing success stories of the past five years is how low-volatility stocks have consistently trounced the broader market.  FULL STORY arrow
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We need to come clean with millennials on big-city home ownership space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, July 3, 2019 – Page B6
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-- The good news on housing as we head into the second half of 2019 is that roughly three-quarters of Canadians live in communities where home ownership is affordable.But that other 25 per cent? In the words of the Royal Bank of Canada economists who produced their bank's most recent housing affordability study, the situation is ''dreadful.''  FULL STORY arrow
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Why you should avoid this alternative to bonds space
Preferred share ETFs won't limit damage in a market correction - and may add to the pain
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, July 3, 2019 – Page B7
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-- Low interest rates - and they could get lower - are a big problem in investing today.Investors are reluctant to put much of their portfolio in bonds or guaranteed investment certificates, and they're considering alternatives. The worst bond alternative by far is preferred shares.  FULL STORY arrow
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How ETF investors make extra work for themselves and hurt their returns space
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By ROB CARRICK
Tuesday, July 2, 2019 – Page B8
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-- INSIDE THE MARKETConcerned that the popular new class of balanced ETFs are too simple to be effective in your portfolio?If you answered yes, congratulations on your successful brainwashing by Bay Street. Simple is a virtue in investing, not a sign of weakness or laziness. The investing universe is well populated by people destroying value by overthinking things. And yet, suspicion of simplicity is common.  FULL STORY arrow
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Don't rely on denial to master your finances - just start saving space
An automated investing plan is likely to work much better than limiting one's spending
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, June 28, 2019 – Page B6
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-- PERSONAL FINANCEThe most intense debate in personal finance is no longer whether it's better to invest or pay down your mortgage.Today's guaranteed conversation starter is the question of whether you can find financial success by denying yourself small luxuries such as lattes or avocado toast and using the money instead to build wealth. Denial sells because it's easy to understand and theoretically practical. If you put $20 a week into investments earning 5 per cent on average each year, you end up with close to $71,000 in 30 years.  FULL STORY arrow
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This is the place to stash your investing cash space
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By ROB CARRICK
Thursday, June 27, 2019 – Page B10
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-- INSIDE THE MARKETOne of the toughest jobs in investing today is finding a productive place to park cash you want to deploy into the markets at a later date.  FULL STORY arrow
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If you're feeling bold, here's a chance to get into a top fund in a risky sector space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, June 26, 2019 – Page B9
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-- INSIDE THE MARKETAn opportunity has opened to get some of the smartest high-yield-bond fund managers in the country working on your portfolio.The PHandN High Yield Bond Fund reopens for new investors on Thursday after being capped for new clients back in April, 2016, because of concerns about a lack of good investment opportunities. The fund won't likely be open to new investors for long, and therein lies a dilemma: PHandN High Yield Bond Fund is one of the best names in its category, but now seems a less than ideal time to start shovelling money into high-yield bonds.  FULL STORY arrow
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Canadians losing big bucks on pensions space
Many do not contribute fully, or at all, to defined-contribution plans - and are passing on matching amounts from employers
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, June 26, 2019 – Page B9
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-- A surprisingly high number of people seem not to have read the memo about how precious a workplace pension plan is.These individuals are not contributing fully or at all to their company's defined-contribution (DC) pension, which means they're passing up matching contributions from their employer.  FULL STORY arrow
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The three ETF fees and how they work space
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, June 22, 2019 – Page B10
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-- INSIDE THE MARKETCan you tell the difference between the management fee for an exchange-traded fund and the management expense ratio?A Globe reader was stumped by these two terms and had the good sense to ask for help. ''Never before purchased ETFs,'' he wrote.  FULL STORY arrow
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Big bank serves up credit cards that save travellers money space
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, June 14, 2019 – Page B10
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-- A big bank has found it's good business to help customers avoid one of the sneakiest credit card fees of them all.Starting Aug. 1, Bank of Nova Scotia will offer a second credit card for retail clients that does not charge the usual 2.5-per-cent markup on purchases made in foreign currencies. The revamped Scotia Gold American Express card will join the popular Scotia Passport Visa Infinite card, which was launched in March, 2018.  FULL STORY arrow
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Investors who minimized bonds in their portfolio have outsmarted themselves space
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By ROB CARRICK
Tuesday, June 11, 2019 – Page B9
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-- INSIDE THE MARKETA year ago, bonds and bond funds were for losers.For the 12 months to May 31, 2018, the FTSE Canada Universe Bond Index was down 1 per cent on a total return basis (bond interest combined with changes in bond prices). Interest rates were rising at the time, and the outlook for bonds and bond funds was negative. And so you commonly heard investors talk about carving off some of their portfolio exposure to bonds and allocating it to stocks, cash or other things.  FULL STORY arrow
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Consistent management crushes inflation space
Continuous increases in payouts from dividend growth stocks are a sign a company has been well managed over a long period
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, June 8, 2019 – Page B9
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-- PORTFOLIO STRATEGYAn investor's best hedge against inflation is a dividend growth stock.But which stocks can you depend on to raise their dividend from year to year? A lot of Canadian companies, the big banks included, have either lost their dividend growth mojo temporarily or indefinitely in the past decade.  FULL STORY arrow
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As living costs rise, families may feel inflation's effects even more space
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, June 7, 2019 – Page B8
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-- A new study says the official inflation rate is underplaying the financial stress being felt by families with children.Statistics Canada's consumer price index is a carefully built gauge of the changing cost of a broad mix of goods and services for the whole population. It's natural for individuals to feel their own cost of living isn't fully reflected by the CPI, which has been tame for the better part of a decade.  FULL STORY arrow
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The hammer of high interest rates isn't dropping yet space
While borrowers may be safe from higher costs for now, they should use this breathing room to reduce risk exposure
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, June 5, 2019 – Page B10
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-- What was supposed to be a march back to normalcy for interest rates began just about two years ago.Rates did grind a fair bit higher in the ensuing months, but we're still nowhere near what would have been considered normal levels prior to the last recession.  FULL STORY arrow
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Looking for an investment adviser with happy clients? Give this website a spin space
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By ROB CARRICK
Tuesday, June 4, 2019 – Page B8
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-- INSIDE THE MARKETFinancial advisers have just been added to the list of professions where practitioners are rated online by their customers.Doctors are rated, and so are lawyers, professors and teachers.  FULL STORY arrow
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CRA's modernization effort appears to be paying off space
Agency statistics show Canadians are warming to new range of options aimed at simplifying the tax-filing process
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, May 31, 2019 – Page B9
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-- Filing your tax return is finally catching up to all the other financial transactions that have been made less tedious and troublesome by the internet.The Canada Revenue Agency has in the past four years introduced a range of electronic options to simplify and modernize the filing and monitoring of tax returns by individuals. CRA statistics supplied to The Globe and Mail show people picked right up on these new services in the 2019 tax season.  FULL STORY arrow
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How owning beats renting for the downsizing boomer space
Keeping the real estate will leave you richer in the end, according to one financial planner
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, May 29, 2019 – Page B8
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-- The rise of the housing market over the past 10 years has turned home ownership into a story told in financial more than lifestyle terms.So let's attack the question of how best for retiring baby boomers to downsize from the point of view of what makes the most financial sense.  FULL STORY arrow
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Is it better to sell or rent out a condo in Vancouver? space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, May 29, 2019 – Page B8
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-- One of the most striking changes in investing habits over the past five years is the increase in holding real estate as an investment.I see it often in notes from readers where they mention that their investments include properties such as houses, apartments or condos. Many rent these properties in order to generate income that will play a role in their retirement plan.  FULL STORY arrow
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Getting bad financial advice? Keep pressing space
John De Goey offers tips for investors trying to get the most out of misguided advisers
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, May 25, 2019 – Page B12
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-- If you want better investment advice, ask tougher questions of your adviser.That's the idea behind the latest book by John De Goey, an investment adviser who advocates for investors. Mr. De Goey believes most advisers are trying to do good work for clients, but they often fail because of misguided thinking. Selling high-cost investment products and chasing investments with great returns are all part of it.  FULL STORY arrow
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What is the best way to buy bonds as a retail investor? space
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, May 25, 2019 – Page B14
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-- The easiest way to add bonds to your portfolio is to buy a cheap, well-diversified exchange-traded fund designed to cover off the corporate and government bonds markets in a single purchase.  FULL STORY arrow
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Lenders are trying to keep Canadians hooked on borrowing space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, May 22, 2019 – Page B12
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-- Full credit to the banks for resourcefulness in selling Canadians on ways to rack up more debt.The latest debt numbers from the credit-monitoring firm TransUnion Canada suggest developments in real estate lending have slowed the market for home equity lines of credit, or HELOCs. The TransUnion numbers suggest banks have responded with a successful push on unsecured lines of credit, with much higher interest rates.  FULL STORY arrow
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What's better - bank shares or a bank stock ETF? space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, May 22, 2019 – Page B12
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-- INSIDE THE MARKETThe eruption of so many new ETFs in the Canadian market is putting more responsibility on investors to make sure they understand what they're buying.The need to spell this out was driven home in a recent e-mail from a reader who seems dissatisfied with the RBC Canadian Bank Yield Index ETF (RBNK-T).  FULL STORY arrow
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You can never be too old to invest in ETFs space
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, May 18, 2019 – Page B8
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-- Is it possible to oversell the benefits of one of the handiest investment products to come along in years?I wondered about this when a reader recently asked whether he was too old to invest in balanced exchange-traded funds. Balanced ETFs are fully diversified portfolios of bonds and Canadian, U.S.  FULL STORY arrow
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Balanced funds: A clear path to success space
We compare old-guard mutual funds with upstart ETFs so you can choose the one that's best for your portfolio
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, May 18, 2019 – Page B7
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-- PORTFOLIO STRATEGY A well-chosen balanced fund is the simplest path to investing success.Nothing else comes close because balanced funds are welldiversified portfolios you access through a single purchase. The only way to fail with a balance fund is to (a) not invest regularly or (b) make a bad choice of fund.  FULL STORY arrow
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Saving for retirement feels stifling to this millennial space
One reader says she would prefer a more flexible plan than her defined benefit pension
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, May 17, 2019 – Page B8
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-- A defined benefit pension is a rare and precious thing in today's work force.There's even a phrase, pension envy, to describe the muttering of pension-less people about those who will receive monthly retirement income for as long as they live, possibly with inflation protection. But contributing to a defined benefit pension can take a big slice of your paycheque.  FULL STORY arrow
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These numbers demand you diversify your investments globally space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, May 15, 2019 – Page B10
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-- INSIDE THE MARKETThe Canadian stock market is what it is - old-school sectors, such as financials and resources, rule, while new economy sectors, like health care and tech, are nearly insignificant.  FULL STORY arrow
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How a hot trend in electronic banking is making life easier for seniors space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, May 15, 2019 – Page B10
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-- Can we all agree that paying for stuff with a tap of your debit or credit card is perhaps the greatest innovation in banking since the ATM?There may not be a technology that is more friendly to all generations, from young people to seniors. This helps explain why tap, as accessed via Interac Flash and both Visa and Mastercard, is taking off like nobody's business in Canada.  FULL STORY arrow
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Helping young adults find their financial footing space
The Real Life Money Launcher tool assists in identifying savings goals and laying out strategies
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, May 10, 2019 – Page B8
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-- Personal finance was simpler back in the connect-thedots world where people commonly moved from graduation or college to starting a career to marriage to home ownership to raising a family to retirement.  FULL STORY arrow
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How much should conservative, balanced and aggressive investors expect to make annually? space
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, May 10, 2019 – Page B8
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-- INSIDE THE MARKETHeard the argument that the economy will grow more slowly than in the past because of our aging population?The same applies to your investment portfolio. The latest financial market return projections issued for financial planners to use in their work suggest investors of all types should rein in expectations on how their portfolios will perform over the long term (10 years and longer).  FULL STORY arrow
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A surprisingly upbeat outlook on cash, bonds space
FP Canada Standards Council projections on inflation, market returns offer optimistic view over long-term period
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By ROB CARRICK
Thursday, May 9, 2019 – Page B11
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-- INSIDE THE MARKETThere's some eye-opening optimism in the latest investment return projections produced for financial planners.Every year, the FP Canada Standards Council issues Project Assumption Guidelines to set out long-term projections for inflation and financial-market returns.  FULL STORY arrow
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Canadians are investing less, and that's a good thing space
Data suggest flows of money into investment products are falling because people are choosing to pay down debt instead
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, May 8, 2019 – Page B11
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-- An atrocious RRSP season for the investment industry may suggest Canadians are making some pretty smart personal-finance decisions right now.The theory goes like this: Flows of money into investment products of all types fell drastically late last year and in the first quarter of 2019 because people were paying down debt.  FULL STORY arrow
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Why this investor should sell mutual funds and buy GICs space
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, May 4, 2019 – Page B14
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-- Finally, a clear-cut case for an investor to start dumping high-fee mutual funds to buy something else.One of the more common inquiries I've had from readers in the past two years or so is what to do about mutual fund with high management-expense ratios. My usual answer is to investigate the funds in question to see how well they've performed. While high fees are a drag on returns, it's possible a fund can still deliver decent returns relative to the risks they take on. Advice provided by the adviser selling the funds may also be a mitigating factor.  FULL STORY arrow
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Goodbye, variable-rate mortgage - everyone is going for fixed rates space
Canada's slow-growth economy and its effect on interest is largely driving the shift
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, May 3, 2019 – Page B11
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-- Only the most dedicated variable-rate mortgage fans are staying loyal today.Everyone else is moving over to fixed-rate five-year mortgages.Mortgage agent David Larock says 95 per cent of clients are choosing a fixed rate, compared with a 50-50 split between fixed and variable last summer. Mortgage broker Sandra Epstein says she's doing almost exclusively fixed rate, while broker Mike Bricknell said fixed rate accounts for 90 per cent of his business right now.  FULL STORY arrow
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Interest-rate bonuses make banks appear more generous than they are space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, May 1, 2019 – Page B10
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-- A bank or credit union can play it three ways in offering savings accounts to customers.One: Offer a competitive interest rate to everyone, all the time.Two: Offer a junk rate and count on customers being oblivious.  FULL STORY arrow
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Here's where you can still find 3-per-cent GICs space
Opportunities are growing increasingly rare, but a few players still have them on offer
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, May 1, 2019 – Page B10
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-- PERSONAL FINANCEThe Bank of Canada's latest comments on interest rates offer no hope to conservative investors and savers about better returns in the near term.With the economy struggling to build momentum, the central bank essentially has stopped talking about getting rates back to more normal levels. If you were wondering whether the pullback in yields on bonds and guaranteed investment certificates since last fall will be reversed any time soon, you now have an answer.  FULL STORY arrow
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How to get a second opinion on your portfolio space
From robo-advisers to companies that offer a human touch, there are a number of options to get additional advice on your financial plans
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, April 27, 2019 – Page B11
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-- PORTFOLIO STRATEGYA client came to Money Coaches Canada recently for a second opinion on the investment portfolio her adviser designed for a $2-million inheritance.''She just wasn't sure he was doing the right thing for her, given that she knew that he made his money on the basis of investments,'' said Money Coaches chief executive and co-founder Karin Mizgala. ''She liked him, she kind of trusted him, but she felt kind of vulnerable.''  FULL STORY arrow
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Suburbs can save you money - just be wary space
Buying outside the city can reduce mortgage payments, but other costs can offset the savings
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, April 26, 2019 – Page B9
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-- There's a 25-per-cent-off sale going on in the housing market.Just buy a home in the suburbs instead of the city. A pricing comparison of housing in and outside Toronto shows a consistent suburban discount for detached and semi-detached houses, townhomes and condos.  FULL STORY arrow
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I'M A WEEK INTO OWNING A HOME - HOW MUCH SHOULD I BE INVESTING? space
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, April 26, 2019 – Page B9
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-- The definition of an affordable home is one that leaves you room to save and invest while paying your mortgage and other costs of ownership.But how, exactly, do you approach saving and investing when you're just taken on the biggest financial responsibility of your life? This is the question a reader asked recently, just a week after buying a home. ''As a homeowner (feels surreal saying it out loud), what's the right proportion or strategy of having cash in hand for emergencies versus investing in TFSA/RRSPs for retirement? Or, do I keep building cash to pay off my car loan or mortgage faster? Just looking to learn what is the right balance.''  FULL STORY arrow
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Did your adviser discuss last year's decline with you? space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, April 24, 2019 – Page B9
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-- INSIDE THE MARKET Last year was a test for investment advisers, and it's only partly because the markets were generally garbage.The real challenge for advisers: Did they reach out to clients to discuss what the sharp decline in stocks meant to their financial plan?  FULL STORY arrow
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A 'saver's credit' could encourage low-income people to use TFSAs space
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, April 20, 2019 – Page B10
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-- Ten years of tax-free savings accounts have shown us these hugely popular savings vehicles have a weak spot.No, it's not that TFSAs should have a higher annual contribution limit. The real problem is that they're not serving lower-income Canadians as well as they should.  FULL STORY arrow
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How $250 could protect against a $43,000 flood in your basement space
Water-related insurance claims are on the rise, but you can stem the flow with these simple preventive steps
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, April 19, 2019 – Page B7
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-- Amotto for the prepared home owner: Water is coming.Apologies for jumping aboard the Game of Thrones trend - ''Winter is coming'' is the motto of a dynastic family in the book and TV series. But there is no overdramatizing water's malevolent force when you own a house with a basement.  FULL STORY arrow
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Is this conservative investor paying too much in adviser fees? space
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, April 19, 2019 – Page B7
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-- The fee-based investment advice trend can be problematic for conservative investors with portfolios full of safe investments that require minimal advisory oversight.Fee-based advice means paying a percentage of the value of your account assets to your adviser and his or her firm. Figure on roughly 1 per cent or so for high-net-worth investors on an annualized basis and as much as 1.5 per cent or more for smaller accounts. For that, you get advice on portfolio building and other services, possibly financial planning, plus any trades required to maintain your investments.  FULL STORY arrow
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Balanced ETFs are a hit, and rightfully so space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, April 17, 2019 – Page B8
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-- The most influential ETF product of the past year or so has nothing to do with cannabis, artificial intelligence, liquid alts or any other trends of the day.Balanced ETFs - diversified portfolios packaged into a single fund - are much more of a foundation for the future success of the ETF business. The original products in this category, the Vanguard Conservative ETF Portfolio (VCNS), Balanced ETF Portfolio (VBAL) and Growth ETF Portfolio (VGRO), were listed for trading on the TSX in late January, 2018.  FULL STORY arrow
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How raising the age for CPP and OAS to 67 would benefit the whole country space
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By ROB CARRICK
Monday, April 15, 2019 – Page B7
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-- It's time to acknowledge that people are both working and living longer by increasing the standard age for starting retirement benefits to 67, Canada's actuaries say.Raising the retirement age for Canada and Quebec pension-plan benefits and Old Age Security from 65 would help make retirees and governments more financially secure and improve the performance of the economy, the Canadian Institute of Actuaries (CIA) says in a report to be issued Monday.  FULL STORY arrow
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ETF Buyer's Guide: Diversifying your portfolio with U.S. and global dividends space
These funds, with bigger holdings in sectors such as health care and technology, can help break the dominance of financial stocks
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, April 13, 2019 – Page B8
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-- The Canadian stock market's problem with diversification is a particular challenge for dividend investors.The SandP/TSX Composite Index is close to one-third weighted to financial stocks. Because so many financials are good dividend-payers, investors seeking dividend income can end up with much higher levels of exposure to banks, insurers and investment firms. In the most recent instalment of The Globe and Mail 2019 ETF Buyer's Guide, covering Canadian dividend ETFs, there were funds with as much as 65 per cent of their portfolios in financial stocks.  FULL STORY arrow
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Considering a downsize? Tread carefully space
Weaker housing markets make timing the sale of your home tricky, especially if you need the equity for retirement
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, April 12, 2019 – Page B8
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-- Boomers who own houses worth many times what they paid have a retirement planning advantage that may never be equalled by future generations.Weaker housing markets in many cities this year remind us that this boomer housing wealth isn't locked in. Make your downsizing decisions accordingly.  FULL STORY arrow
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Borrowing money to buy low after market crashes can pay off space
Investing during downturns can be a financial burden, but may prove to be one of the best strategies
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, April 12, 2019 – Page B9
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-- Anyone brave enough to shovel money into stocks late last year has been well rewarded in early 2019.Lesson to investors: Market declines are shocking and stressful, but they're also great buying opportunities. A thirtysomething reader seems to have absorbed that lesson well. He's looking for comment on a plan to borrow money when the next market downturn happens.  FULL STORY arrow
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How to invest $100,000 in the wake of a divorce space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, April 10, 2019 – Page B10
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-- Ask financial planners about life's top wealth destroyers and divorce is guaranteed to be mentioned.So when someone comes out of a divorce with a chunk of money to invest, the process has to be handled carefully. You'll see why in a question recently submitted by a reader: ''I am a recently divorced woman aged 57. Working part time. Have some money to invest (about $100,000). Looking for something secure for my retirement. Any advice?'' Here's some advice: See a financial planner. Find someone to talk to about where you are now, postdivorce, what your financial goals are and when you hope to reach them. This discussion will dictate what to do with the $100,000.  FULL STORY arrow
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No, it is not okay to be 'house poor' space
Giving a cute name to living outside your means doesn't justify this approach to home ownership
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, April 10, 2019 – Page B11
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-- There is one thing above all others that our society encourages you to overspend on - houses.We even have a cute phrase for buying more home than you can afford: ''house poor.'' And being house poor isn't bad, the conventional - and wrong - thinking goes. You're just paying your dues for the greater glory of owning a house.  FULL STORY arrow
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What's a good way to invest $5,000 to start an RESP for a toddler? space
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, April 5, 2019 – Page B10
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-- If you really want to squeeze the maximum juice from a registered education savings plan, start just after a child is born.Starting young helps ensure the RESP draws the maximum amount of grant money available to encourage contributions.  FULL STORY arrow
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Renting and raving in Toronto tenant hell space
Readers share their horror stories of trying to find digs in Canada's most populous city
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, April 5, 2019 – Page B10
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-- The Toronto rental market is one of the most depressing stories in personal finance.Millennials renting in Toronto were invited in my e-mail newsletter last week to write me about their experiences. Dozens of people, millennials and their parents as well, responded with stories about awful living conditions, bad landlords and high prices that make life unaffordable. What follows is a selection of responses divided into several different themes on living as a renter in Canada's most populous city.  FULL STORY arrow
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Should this investor give up her 'steady-Eddie' dividend portfolio? space
In a period of low interest rates, a bond weighting dilemma emerges
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, April 3, 2019 – Page B11
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-- INSIDE THE MARKETThe recent downturn in interest has reignited the debate about whether investors can substitute dividend stocks for bonds.A retired 58-year-old reader says she was recently told by a feefor-service financial planner (paid an hourly or flat rate, doesn't sell products) that her portfolio is overweight in stocks and needs more bonds. ''I'm struggling with giving up my steady-Eddie dividend portfolio,'' she wrote.  FULL STORY arrow
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New online bank aims to attract cost-conscious customers space
Like other virtual institutions, Motusbank offers savings where big lenders don't
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By ROB CARRICK
Tuesday, April 2, 2019 – Page B12
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-- The flat yield curve everyone in finance is talking about these days is a gift to Canada's newest online bank.Motusbank, brought to you by Ontario-based Meridian Credit Union, is a virtual bank that charges nothing for chequing accounts, pays a good rate on savings and has a unique offer on mortgages: All terms from one to five years have the same interest rate.  FULL STORY arrow
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Interest rate trends say now is the time to make a decision about annuities space
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, March 30, 2019 – Page B9
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-- Falling interest rates mean returns are slipping away from people who rely on conservative investments.Returns from guaranteed investment certificates have been edging lower and so have payouts from annuities. A 65-year-old man who 12 months ago put $250,000 into an annuity with payouts guaranteed for 10 years would have received $15,602 a year, says Rino Racanelli, an insurance adviser who specializes in annuities. Mr. Racanelli ran the same quote earlier this week and came up with a best payout of $14,893, which is $709 less a year.  FULL STORY arrow
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The ETF Buyer's Guide: Dividend, income funds space
Products on this list have a minimum five-year history and, save for one, show a decent following
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, March 30, 2019 – Page B10
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-- PORTFOLIO STRATEGYNothing makes a case for dividend ETFs like low interest rates.The yield on the five-year Government of Canada bond slipped below 1.5 per cent in late March, while rates on five-year guaranteed investment certificates ranged from 2.2 per cent to 3.2 per cent.  FULL STORY arrow
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A tempting but perilous way to earn credit-card rewards space
Paying rent or tuition with plastic may seem like an easy method of earning goodies, but fees and debt risk can negate gains
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, March 29, 2019 – Page B10
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-- PERSONAL FINANCEThe obsessive pursuit of credit card reward points has opened the door for people to put their rent on plastic, as well as their taxes, utility bills, tuition and more.  FULL STORY arrow
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My dad gets retirement income from an annuity - should I do the same? space
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By ROB CARRICK
Thursday, March 28, 2019 – Page B8
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-- If there's a single shining example of investors outsmarting themselves, it has to be annuities.  FULL STORY arrow
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Help for retirees living the RRSP 'tax nightmare' space
Saving gradually throughout the year can pay off come tax time, financial planner says
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, March 27, 2019 – Page B7
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-- One of the tests of a wellplanned retirement is how prepared you are to pay your taxes.Taxes are the enemy of serenity in retirement. ''Our RRSPs have become a tax nightmare,'' a Globe and Mail reader said in a recent e-mail that echoes dozens, maybe hundreds, of others I've received over the years.  FULL STORY arrow
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Four things ETF investors are doing right space
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, March 23, 2019 – Page B11
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-- PORTFOLIO STRATEGYCanada's ETF industry is a Krakatoa of new-product eruptions - 23 new exchange-traded funds in February alone and 813 in total.Kudos to investors for keeping their heads amid all this commotion.  FULL STORY arrow
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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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