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GiveLife.ca

    
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PRINT EDITION
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Globe Columnists
Thursday, January 17




  Rob Carrick
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Personal Finance



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So much for rising rates: GIC returns have taken a surprise turn space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, January 16, 2019 – Page B7
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-- The rising trend for rates on guaranteed investment certificates has abruptly fizzled.Some fairly good deals are still available, but rates on average have actually fallen latesly.Brandon Brot of GIC Wealth Management says his firm's best rates on one-year GICs were 0.11 percentage points lower in the second week of January than at the beginning of December, and two-year rates were an average of 0.16 points lower. Yields on terms of three-to-five years have also fallen, but to a lesser degree.  FULL STORY arrow
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For some Canadians, a HELOC is debt that may never be paid off space
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By ROB CARRICK
Tuesday, January 15, 2019 – Page B1
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-- We need warnings labels for home equity lines of credit.HELOCs are like drugs - helpful to many and dangerous or even addictive to a significant minority. A survey to be issued Tuesday by the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) highlights the dangers.  FULL STORY arrow
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2MP makes for a good friend in bearish times space
Data show that buying the two largest dividend-paying stocks in each of the TSX Composite's subindexes during market downturns can be effective
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, January 12, 2019 – Page B11
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-- PORTFOLIO STRATEGY A thought for investors who are unnerved by the Canadian stock market's terrible 2018: Play strong defence in your portfolio and let the offence take care of itself.  FULL STORY arrow
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Stop fussing about mutual fund fees - get some facts to judge your returns space
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, January 11, 2019 – Page B6
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-- One of the side effects of investors becoming more savvy about fees is a condition we'll call mutual fund angst.  FULL STORY arrow
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How a big ETF deal could mean better returns and lower fees for investors space
Partnership between BlackRock and RBC is a welcome development in encouraging more investors to use ETFs instead of alternatives
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By ROB CARRICK
Thursday, January 10, 2019 – Page B7
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-- Anything that puts more exchange-traded funds in the hands of investors instead of junk mutual funds and sketchy or poorly chosen stocks is a win.That's what the partnership announced earlier this week between ETF leader BlackRock Inc.  FULL STORY arrow
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Tips for managing anxiety about money in 2019 space
Finance experts and investment advisers share their best advice on reducing stress
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, January 9, 2019 – Page B9
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-- The year ahead does not look promising for those who feel financially stressed.Economic growth seems to be slowing, as are wage gains. The stock market is in a foul mood, and fast-rising house prices are no longer a given. We know from countless polls and surveys that people are feeling a lot of stress about money. For ideas on how to reduce anxiety levels, I consulted the financial planners, investment advisers and personal-finance experts in my LinkedIn network.  FULL STORY arrow
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Investing lessons for 2019 and beyond from the country's biggest pension fund space
The people who manage CPP don't sweat a bad year like 2018; instead, chief investment strategist Geoffrey Rubin says, the fund looks more closely at long-term returns
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, December 29, 2018 – Page B6
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-- PORTFOLIO STRATEGYThe people managing the country's largest pension fund oversee a portfolio far different than yours.But they're guided by a few core principles that are relevant to everyday investors who value a simple, low-drama approach to long-term wealth-building.  FULL STORY arrow
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Balanced ETFs give meaning to common portfolio-building terms space
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By ROB CARRICK
Thursday, December 27, 2018 – Page B10
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-- INSIDE THE MARKETThe three most meaningless words in portfolio-building are conservative, balanced and growth.These terms are commonly used to describe portfolios designed for risk-averse, middle-ofthe-road and risk-tolerant investors, but what exactly do they mean in terms of how portfolios are built and how they perform in up-and-down markets, similar to what we saw in 2018?  FULL STORY arrow
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Prepare for an uncertain 2019 with money tweaks that could help you save $2,400 space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, December 26, 2018 – Page B9
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-- PERSONAL FINANCEThe country's top personal finance priority for 2019: Save more.There's been reason for concern about the economy, jobs, investments and housing this year, yet the national savings rate fell to a 13-year low of 0.8 per cent in the third quarter. On both an emotional and financial level, you'll feel better in the year ahead if you park some cash in a savings account.  FULL STORY arrow
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Use these new benchmarks to gauge your DIY investing fees space
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By ROB CARRICK
Monday, December 24, 2018 – Page B9
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-- One of the best things about DIY investing is how intense the competition is to cut fees. Recent examples include a pair of fee reductions in late 2018, one by an online brokerage firm on its stock trading commissions and another by a robo-adviser on its portfolio management fee. Make it a priority in 2019 to compare these new deals against what you pay.  FULL STORY arrow
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Brookfield blue chips can be found in the preferred-share bargain bin space
Richardson GMP portfolio manager points to a couple of high-yielding stocks thanks to the sudden reversal of expectations for multiple rate hikes
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, December 19, 2018 – Page B9
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-- Rate-reset preferred shares were built for the kind of world we were living in until this fall.The sudden reversal of investor expectations for interest-rate increases has pushed rate-reset preferreds into a tailspin that is a bit reminiscent of the harrowing plunge of 2015. Rate-resets turned out to be a great buy back then. Can the same be true of the most recent setback?  FULL STORY arrow
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Young and riskless: Millennials opt for savings space
This cohort is going to need to put money in equities and let it ride for a few decades
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, December 19, 2018 – Page B8
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-- PERSONAL FINANCESomewhere down the line, the young adults known as millennials are going to have to get their act together as investors.Right now, the strong preference for saving money rather than investing makes good sense.  FULL STORY arrow
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How aggravated clients can reconnect with financial advisers space
Securities lawyer Ellen Bessner offers insight on how clients can improve communication with their advisers
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, December 15, 2018 – Page B13
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-- PORTFOLIO STRATEGYThe recent stock market uproar presents an ideal opportunity to fix a client-adviser relationship gone sour.Call your investment adviser to discuss why you're unhappy.Tell your adviser what's on your mind as a client and give them a chance to respond.  FULL STORY arrow
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Four proven dividend growth stocks now in the penalty box space
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, December 15, 2018 – Page B14
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-- One of the benefits of owning dividend growth stocks over the long term is that you often get strong share price gains as well.  FULL STORY arrow
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Key rate flashes warning about homebuying space
Falling government bond yields could mean lower fixed mortgage rates, but also signal economic concerns
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, December 14, 2018 – Page B9
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-- It is most assuredly not good news that an indicator of where mortgage rates are going has fallen quite a bit this fall.Real estate agents and mortgage lenders may disagree, but then they only get paid when houses are bought and sold. For everyone else, the falling interest rate on the five-year Government of Canada bond is a reason for caution in making big money decisions.  FULL STORY arrow
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What percentage fee should you pay an adviser? space
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By ROB CARRICK
Thursday, December 13, 2018 – Page B10
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-- PERSONAL FINANCEThe hardest-to-answer question I get from readers is whether they're being charged fairly by their investment adviser.The latest reader to ask about this says she has a portfolio that reflects the fact that she's not a big risk-taker for the most part. She wants to know what an acceptable percentage fee would be in her case.  FULL STORY arrow
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Experiences of retirees can tell you a lot about your future standard of living space
A new survey by the OSC suggests working longer isn't viable for many people
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, December 12, 2018 – Page B8
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-- Working past the age of 65 is one of the hottest retirement trends of the moment.It's a smart money move to stay in the work force, it's great for keeping your brain fit and it keeps you busy and engaged. In the most recent census, one in five people aged 65 and older were working and 30 per cent of those worked full time. But the results of a new investor survey by the Ontario Securities Commission suggest that working longer isn't viable for many people.  FULL STORY arrow
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Smart and not so smart things people do with their TFSAs space
Although the limit for 2019 is going up to $6,000, don't feel as if you need to max it out
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, December 8, 2018 – Page B12
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-- The long wait for a higher TFSA limit is finally over.You'll be able to contribute up to $6,000 to a tax-free savings account in 2019, up from $5,500 in five of the six past years. The limit was set at $10,000 in 2015, then dialled back for the next year.  FULL STORY arrow
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CPP improvements in 2019: How much more you'll pay, and how much more you'll get space
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By ROB CARRICK
Thursday, December 6, 2018 – Page B12
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-- PERSONAL FINANCEGet ready to start paying the bill for gradually increasing the amount of retirement income paid by the Canada Pension Plan in the next 41/2 decades.The process of improving the CPP's usefulness to retirees will mean seven years of incrementally higher contributions from workers and employers starting Jan. 1. Benefits will start rising immediately as a result of the enhancement, but only by token amounts in the next few years.  FULL STORY arrow
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The 93.4-per-cent yield and other tales from Canada's dividend investing king space
Writer of the Connolly Report newsletter sticks to domestic stocks as he benefits from tax credit for payouts from shares
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, December 1, 2018 – Page B11
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-- Canada is losing one of its most useful, modest and consistent investing voices.After close to 40 years, Tom Connolly is about to shut down his quarterly dividend investing newsletter, the Connolly Report.  FULL STORY arrow
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Index investing: Are you doing it wrong? space
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, November 30, 2018 – Page B9
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-- There is a right way to be an index investor, and a more expensive, wrong way.The right way is through exchange-traded funds, which have management-expense ratios as low as 0.06 per cent or so for funds that track the SandP/TSX Composite Index. That's darn close to zero.  FULL STORY arrow
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What if today's economy is as good as it gets for your personal finances? space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, November 28, 2018 – Page B10
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-- It's not too soon to start preparing for the next economic downturn.Shrink your debts, build savings and avoid new entanglements that will place additional strain on your finances. Plan for weak stock markets, squishy housing and stingy pay raises.  FULL STORY arrow
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Two alternative banks you should know if you're looking for top GIC rates space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, November 28, 2018 – Page B11
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-- One of the best deals in GICs today comes in a roundabout way from two big banks.Tangerine and Simplii Financial present themselves as customer-friendly alternative banks, but they're owned by Bank of Nova Scotia and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, respectively. On savings accounts, both Tangerine and Simplii offered a weak rate of 1.25 per cent as of Nov. 26.  FULL STORY arrow
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To the food industry, customers are fresh meat space
Producers, retailers have tapped into our need for convenience to get us to spend extra on prepared foods, restaurant meals
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, November 23, 2018 – Page B8
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-- The food industry is eating your lunch.By appealing to your need for convenience, food producers and retailers are getting you to spend extra on prepared foods and restaurant meals rather than cooking for yourself.  FULL STORY arrow
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Want a higher level of defence from bond ETFs? Consider these funds space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, November 21, 2018 – Page B12
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-- In hockey terms, bond ETFs have provided a porous defence for investors in 2018.All the gory details are available in a column I wrote last week, but here's a quick summary.  FULL STORY arrow
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A nasty surprise awaits some variable-rate mortgage holders on renewal space
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By ROB CARRICK
Tuesday, November 20, 2018 – Page B9
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-- What's worse than a variable-rate mortgage that keeps getting more expensive as interest rates rise?The answer is a variable-rate mortgage where payments stay the same instead of rising to reflect higher borrowing costs. Static payments mean your lender is using more of your payment to cover your rising interest costs and applying less against principal.  FULL STORY arrow
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Shopping for a robo-adviser? Start here space
Your route to personal wealth should be guided by the firms, their fees and their approaches to investments
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, November 17, 2018 – Page B12
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-- The Globe and Mail RoboAdviser Guide is designed to show what's available in the robo-world - the firms, the fees, the investment approaches and more.A robo-adviser is an online service that helps you develop a personalized portfolio mix of stocks and bonds, and then builds it for you with low-cost exchange-traded funds. Robos charge a fee to build and maintain your portfolio, but it's much less than you'd pay if you owned mutual funds or had a human adviser managing your portfolio.  FULL STORY arrow
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Do ETFs produce better returns than most mutual funds? space
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, November 16, 2018 – Page B9
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-- The impressive and deserved success of ETFs is based in large part on the idea that they're better than mutual funds.A reader recently asked for some validation of the claims made for exchange-traded funds.  FULL STORY arrow
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Let's see if buying a house can cure sky-high rents space
A one-bedroom rental in Toronto runs at about $2,200, but how does home ownership compare?
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By ROB CARRICK
Thursday, November 15, 2018 – Page B13
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-- High rents got you down?Maybe you should own a home instead. In Toronto and Vancouver, the median cost for a one-bedroom apartment is close to $2,200. Even with mortgage rates up a fair bit in the past year, surely home ownership can't be much more expensive that those incredibly high rents?  FULL STORY arrow
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Your bond fund returns are going to look bad for 2018 space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, November 14, 2018 – Page B10
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-- Brace yourself when you open your next account statement if you own bond funds of any type.The numbers will look bad.I use a Globeinvestor.com Watchlist to keep a list of the bond exchange-traded funds in the latest ETF Buyer's Guide.  FULL STORY arrow
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Options grow for socially responsible investing space
Look to these funds if you want to put money into companies that score well in environmental, social and governance matters
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, November 10, 2018 – Page B10
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-- No matter how you want to invest, there's a socially responsible way to do it.Exchange-traded funds (ETF) are your favourite investing tool?A new crop of ETFs offering different takes on socially responsible investing (SRI) have recently been introduced. You like ETFs but prefer to have a robo-adviser handle your investments? A few robos now offer SRI portfolios, and human advisers are likewise adding SRI investing to their repertoires.  FULL STORY arrow
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The blazingly simple portfolio that just keeps on winning space
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, November 9, 2018 – Page B13
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-- The Canadian Essentials Portfolio is an affront to the concept of diversification.Ten stocks in just four sectors - financial services, industrials, utilities and pipelines. Can you possibly achieve a decent return without exposure to sectors such as energy, materials, consumer staples, technology and health care? Looking over the past 18 years, the answer has been yes.  FULL STORY arrow
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Keep your focus on retirement savings even as you pay down debt space
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By ROB CARRICK
Thursday, November 8, 2018 – Page B12
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-- Decades from now, a lot of people are going to look back at the 2010s and realize high debt loads ate their retirement.It's so routine to carry nonmortgage debt these days that we're losing track of the cost in terms of what you can't do financially when swaths of your monthly cash flow must go toward payments on lines of credit, credit cards and loans. One of the biggest concerns has to be whether indebted people have enough money left over to save for retirement.  FULL STORY arrow
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How a 30-year mortgage can help limit stress on first-time home buyers space
Lengthy cycle of falling interest rates is over - this new environment requires fresh thinking
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, November 7, 2018 – Page B14
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-- The No. 1 question to ask about your next mortgage is not whether you got the lowest possible interest rate, or how fast you'll pay it off. Instead, ask yourself this: How much stress will your mortgage cause you in the years ahead? If the lowest rate mortgage fries your nerves, it's arguably not the best deal.  FULL STORY arrow
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New leaders emerge in passing rising rates along to savers and conservative investors space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, November 7, 2018 – Page B13
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-- There's a new standard for premium rates in savings accounts.EQ Bank was a leader for ages with its rate of 2.3 per cent on savings. But after the latest quarter-point rise in the Bank of Canada's overnight rate, a new competitive order has at least temporarily taken shape in savings accounts.  FULL STORY arrow
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A new investment advice model is rising, and some people hate it space
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By ROB CARRICK
Tuesday, November 6, 2018 – Page B13
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-- You know the subscription model that Netflix and Spotify are using with such great success? The investment advice biz has been using it for ages.It's called fee-based advice, and it's slowly taking over the industry. I just heard from a reader who is bugged by this trend.  FULL STORY arrow
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The central bank wants rates back to normal - here's what that means for mortgages space
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, November 2, 2018 – Page B8
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-- Today's interest rates are still at jaw-dropping, forehead-slapping, eye-popping lows if you judge by historical standards.So when the Bank of Canada talks about bringing rates back to more normal levels, you better listen up. Rates have already risen in the past 15 months and it now looks like there's a fair bit more to come. Brace yourself for numbers you've never seen if you got into the housing market after the 2008-09 global financial crisis sent rates plunging.  FULL STORY arrow
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Is it a good time to have a five-year GIC ladder? space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, October 31, 2018 – Page B10
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-- A 74-year-old reader with a chunk of GIC money coming due has a question that anybody investing in guaranteed investment certificates these days has to be asking.Go with a five-year GIC and get the highest rate possible, or use a five-year ladder that allows you to capitalize on higher rates in the next few years?  FULL STORY arrow
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What if there's a crash just as you retire? space
The current climate may have you worried, but there are ways to set up your portfolio so it can withstand a correction
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, October 31, 2018 – Page B10
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-- A stock market correction is the parting gift from hell if you're about to retire from your job.You put money away diligently for decades, only to have stocks plunge just as you're about to leave the work force and start drawing on your savings. After the rottenest month we've seen in ages for stocks, anyone with a retirement date in late 2018 or early 2019 has to be worried about what's to come.  FULL STORY arrow
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Four views on the right exposure to Canadian stocks space
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, October 26, 2018 – Page B12
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-- Pretty much everyone agrees on the importance of diversification in building portfolios, but the consensus falls apart after that.The truth of diversification is that there is zero standardization. To prove it, let's look at the question of how much Canadian stock market exposure to have in a portfolio. Next to the overall stocks/bonds breakdown, this is may be the most important matter of diversification for investors to answer. All stock markets have plunged lately, and the SandP/TSX Composite Index and Nasdaq Composite Index were in a full-on correction at one point this week. But if you look at the past several years, Canada has been a dismal performer. Without some exposure to stocks in the rest of the world, notably the U.S. market, you would have missed out.  FULL STORY arrow
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With rates likely to keep rising, don't delay in seeking help with debt space
Canadians are drowning in debt, but there are a variety of simplified options for planning your way out
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By ROB CARRICK
Thursday, October 25, 2018 – Page B11
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-- Our strange debt dichotomy: People are stressing like crazy about what they owe, but not seeking help.The pressure on households only gets worse in the near-term outlook. The latest Bank of Canada interest rate increase immediately affects variable-rate mortgages, lines of credit and floating-rate loans. We now have a cumulative increase in the central bank's benchmark overnight rate of 1.25 percentage points since the summer of 2017, which is a lot when you consider that we've gone to 1.75 per cent from a measly 0.5 per cent.  FULL STORY arrow
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Rate-reset preferred shares: A delicate proposition space
Ownership of such equity can hurt your portfolio whenever yields are adjusted lower
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By ROB CARRICK
Thursday, October 25, 2018 – Page B12
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-- INSIDE THE MARKETThere are no perfect solutions in investing. This includes rate-reset preferred shares, which you have to be loving if you're a yield-starved investor who bought these securities in the past year or two.  FULL STORY arrow
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Look to these forex dealers when buying U.S. dollars space
Avoid paying stiff markups charged by banks by using online foreign exchange options
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, October 24, 2018 – Page B12
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-- Snowbirds, consider this slight alteration to your fall travel routine.Skip the visit to your bank to buy U.S. dollars. If you use your bank's website for this purpose, the same rule applies. With the loonie trading in the range of 76 US cents these days, you don't want to compound the pain of foreign exchange by paying the stiff markups charged by banks.  FULL STORY arrow
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Canada's favourite dividend mutual fund and dividend ETF square off space
DIY investors should rethink whether ETFs' no-brainer reputation is rightly earned
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, October 20, 2018 – Page B10
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-- PORTFOLIO STRATEGYThe awesomeness of ETFs has its limits.Exchange-traded funds are a simple, low-cost, transparent way to build portfolios for all kinds of people and all kinds of investment goals. Justifiably, ETFs are steadily grinding away at the mutual fund industry's dominance in retail investing.  FULL STORY arrow
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Market timing: Should I make hay or buy low? space
Stocks are due for a correction, but there's seldom any indication on a right time to invest
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, October 19, 2018 – Page B8
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-- Your worst investing nightmare probably goes something like this: After investing a large chunk of money in stocks, the market tanks.Recent stock market turbulence reminds us that this is no abstract risk. Stocks have had a great run and will at some point correct. Wouldn't it make sense to stay in cash until that correction happens? A reader with $200,000 in a savings account recently asked this question. ''While realizing it's not the optimal solution, the market is at its highest in history and will go down, short-term or medium-term. Should I wait for the next downturn to invest or is such a strategy never viable?'' Never is a strong word. Some investors, either by skill or luck, may pick the ideal time to get in or out of the market. But the chances of success are slim.  FULL STORY arrow
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Don't combat rising rates with your mortgage space
Focusing on paying off credit-card and line-ofcredit debt will serve you better in the long run, expert says
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By ROB CARRICK
Thursday, October 18, 2018 – Page B8
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-- Mortgage debt is the best debt.Remember that if you're freaking out about having to renew a big mortgage at a time when interest rates are rising. The rate on a mortgage generally beats the cost of any other type of borrowing. So why be in a rush to pay down your mortgage, even if it's huge?  FULL STORY arrow
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Seniors the first to crack as rising rates crank up debt stress space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, October 17, 2018 – Page B12
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-- The storyline that debt levels in Canada are big but manageable is starting to unravel.Oddly, it's seniors who are showing the first signs of serious debt stress. In the second-quarter edition of its National Consumer Credit Trends Report, the credit-monitoring company Equifax reported yet another year-over-year decline in the percentage of people falling behind on their debts. The one group to buck the trend was seniors.  FULL STORY arrow
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Investors focus on low fees, product selection for bonds space
A rush of money into bond ETFs in August shows ultrashort-term funds are well suited to a rising rate world
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, October 17, 2018 – Page B13
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-- The mutual fund industry had a bad month recently, and mass selling of bond funds was a big part of the story.Where'd the money flying out of mutual funds in August go?  FULL STORY arrow
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The book to help teens get on the right financial track space
The Wealthy Barber is an unparalleled introduction to personal finance
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, October 12, 2018 – Page B9
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-- A grandparent asked recently for some advice on which financial book to buy a 15year-old for his birthday, and one book immediately came to mind.It's The Wealthy Barber, by David Chilton. First published in 1989, I'd argue that it's the most successful personal finance book ever written. Forget the two million copies sold in Canada. This book's real achievement was showing how personal finance could be made relevant and comprehensible to everyday people.  FULL STORY arrow
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Yes, you still have to save for retirement even if you have a workplace pension space
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, October 12, 2018 – Page B8
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-- A type of pension covering 1.1 million workers has been given a strikingly lukewarm endorsement by the people who actually run these company plans.Defined contribution plans are retirement savings in which workers make contributions and their employers provide matching funds.  FULL STORY arrow
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Money-related stress is only going to get worse as interest rates climb space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, October 10, 2018 – Page B1
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-- Two weeks ahead of what will likely be the next leg up for interest rates comes a warning of how much stress households already feel about money.Updating its Financial Health Index for 2018, a firm called Seymour Consulting concludes that moneyrelated stress is ''omnipresent and mainstream.'' In its just-issued 2018 Affordability Index, insolvency expert BDO Canada Ltd. found that 31 per cent of participants said they didn't have enough money to pay for their basic needs and 52 per cent had just enough to cover living costs.  FULL STORY arrow
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What should investors do with their U.S. dollars? space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, October 10, 2018 – Page B8
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-- A lot of Canadians appear to have a greenback problem - a stash of U.S. dollars sitting in a bank or investment account and earning nothing.Snowbirds have this problem, and so do investors who have accumulated U.S. dollars in their non-registered accounts as well as U.S.-dollar registered retirement savings plans and tax-free savings accounts. These cash holdings typically earn little or nothing in interest. Lately, I've heard from several readers in this situation asking what they can do to put this money to better use.  FULL STORY arrow
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Here's how women can fight for better investment advice space
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, October 6, 2018 – Page B11
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-- Too few men in the investment advice business know how to talk to female clients.''Women have more and more money, and they're looking for advisers that they connect with,'' said Judy Paradi of the financial services consulting firm StrategyMarketing.ca. ''And on the other hand, we talk to advisers all the time who simply do not know how to find female high-networth clients. They're used to prospecting for men, they're used to the golf course, they're used to Sales 101.''  FULL STORY arrow
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Brace yourself before reviewing your portfolio's 2018 results space
It could turn out to be a frustrating year for Canadians who mostly have domestic stocks, bonds in their holdings
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, October 5, 2018 – Page B11
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-- Your success as an investor in 2018 and beyond may depend entirely on how much global exposure you have in your portfolio.Through the first three quarters of the year, bonds have been money losers and the Canadian stock market has been weak. Only global markets have performed dynamically.  FULL STORY arrow
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Young adults need a credit card to attain financial adulthood space
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, October 5, 2018 – Page B10
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-- A new money rule for young adults: Get a credit card as soon as you start university or college and use it often.A personal finance writer is saying this - not a bank. Our financial system is evolving in a way that leaves people marginalized if they don't have a credit history. And the easiest way to generate a credit history is to use a credit card responsibly. In case you need a refresher, that means paying your balance in full each month without fail.  FULL STORY arrow
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ETF portfolios for investors fleeing mutual funds space
Investing author Larry Bates highlights options for four different demographics
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, October 3, 2018 – Page B11
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-- Larry Bates has three different escape paths for you if you're an investor who is sick of high-fee mutual funds sold by banks.Mr. Bates is the author of a new book called Beat The Bank: The Canadian Guide to Simply Successful Investing.  FULL STORY arrow
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Home buyers, owners are among new agreement's losers space
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By ROB CARRICK
Tuesday, October 2, 2018 – Page B6
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-- The better things get for the economy, the harder it will be to afford a house.So let's add home buyers and owners to the list of those who are worse off under an overhauled North American free-trade agreement. The proposed United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) removes the biggest concern of the moment about Canada's economic future.  FULL STORY arrow
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Having a big balance on lines of credit the new norm space
A new report suggests an increasing number of Canadians are resorting to HELOCs as a crutch
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, September 28, 2018 – Page B10
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-- If anything has rubbed the stink off carrying debt, it's the home equity line of credit.A new report on the use of home equity lines of credit, known as HELOCs, was published this week by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. The Crown corporation suggests that while the use of HELOCs (pronounced hee-locks) has not reached epidemic levels on a national basis, there are signs these borrowing tools have become a financial crutch for many people.  FULL STORY arrow
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Why some seniors should splash their retirement cash space
Retirees spending below their means may be passing up the best years they have left
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By ROB CARRICK
Thursday, September 27, 2018 – Page B10
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-- The last thing Canadians need to hear is advice to spend more money.But that's exactly what a select group of seniors should be doing.They're spending below their means and potentially not enjoying life to the fullest in the prime of their retirement.  FULL STORY arrow
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A dividend ETF built for rising interest rates space
New offering from Fidelity Investments Canada helps to limit risks in the current environment
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, September 26, 2018 – Page B10
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-- Rising interest rates and Canadian dividend ETFs don't mix well.Exchange-traded funds holding Canadian dividend stocks are good income-producers in any market environment, but their share price tends to underperform the SandP/TSX Composite Index at times when interest rates are in a rising trend. The reason is simple: Canadian dividend ETFs tend to have higher weightings in three rate-sensitive sectors - utilities, telecom and real estate - than the broader index.  FULL STORY arrow
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Canadian investors are too obsessed with U.S. stocks space
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By ROB CARRICK
Monday, September 24, 2018 – Page B9
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-- If past returns were a reliable indicator of future returns, the investor asset mixes I'm seeing these days would make great sense.One reader talked about having 70 per cent of a portfolio invested in Nasdaq 100 stocks. Another mentioned a portfolio of two mutual funds, a balanced fund with a one-third weighting and a U.S. index fund for the rest.  FULL STORY arrow
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Time to take Manulife's IncomePlus payout? space
The insurer is offering customers a bonus for moving their cash out of the oncesensational retirement fund
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, September 22, 2018 – Page B10
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-- If you're part of the crowd who put money in Manulife Financial Corp.'s IncomePlus guaranteed retirement income product after it debuted in 2006, watch your mail for a surprising offer.  FULL STORY arrow
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With student debt paid off, how should money be redirected for investing? space
Portfolio allocation options include starting down-payment fund
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By ROB CARRICK
Thursday, September 20, 2018 – Page B9
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-- If you're looking for money to start investing, try paying off a debt.A 34-year-old reader plans to pay off his student debt later this year and he's wondering how to get started as an investor. ''As I shift from debt repayments to investing, my question is what my portfolio allocation should be.''  FULL STORY arrow
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Report highlights seniors' rising debt levels space
TransUnion research shows alarming volume of new mortgages set up by people between the ages of 73 to 93
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, September 19, 2018 – Page B9
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-- Our willingness to keep running up debt is starting to fade, finally.The most recent evidence came last Wednesday in a report by the credit-monitoring firm TransUnion that shows the average non-mortgage debt level per consumer rose 3.9 per cent to $29,648 in the second quarter of this year compared with 4.1 per cent in the same period last year.  FULL STORY arrow
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Are your children away at school properly insured? space
Property, tenant and car insurance are all options worth investing in for students living at university or college
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By ROB CARRICK
Tuesday, September 18, 2018 – Page B10
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-- This is a delicate time to dump extra expenses on students living away from home and their parents, but $200 or so for tenant insurance could be a smart purchase.  FULL STORY arrow
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Utility stock challenge: Fortis vs. Emera space
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, September 15, 2018 – Page B15
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-- A rising-rate world is a desert for utility stocks, but let's say you take the long view and value their consistent dividend growth.Two stalwarts in the utility sector are Emera Inc. (EMA-T) and Fortis Corp. (FTS-T) - which one looks like the better investment right now?  FULL STORY arrow
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Dealing a one-two punch to consumer protection space
Pair of developments this week point to how governments are failing financial firms' clients
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, September 14, 2018 – Page B9
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-- How comforting it must be for Bay Street to see government standing up for the overdog in matters related to consumer protection.Two recent developments highlight the power banks, brokers and mutual fund companies have to shape the regulations that protect consumers from financial firms. One is the surprise announcement on Thursday that the Ontario government does not agree with modest changes to mutual fund commissions that were proposed by provincial securities regulators.  FULL STORY arrow
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Diversify into U.S. market with an S&P 500-linked ETF space
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By ROB CARRICK
Thursday, September 13, 2018 – Page B9
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-- After a spectacular nine-year run, it has never seemed easier to make money in U.S. stocks.So I was surprised to hear from a reader recently asking ''for an easy way to diversify into the U.S.  FULL STORY arrow
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Retirement-saving method now sees us work longer, run out of money sooner space
Recently updated Rule of $20 is more demanding as a result of today's smaller investment returns
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, September 12, 2018 – Page B9
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-- An epic decade of financial disruption has made it quantifiably harder to save enough for a secure retirement.Consider the Rule of $20, which says that every $20 you have in personal retirement savings will on average generate $1 of inflation-adjusted, pretax retirement income annually. Developed by global asset management firm Russell Investments a little more than nine years ago, it applied if you retired at the age of 60 and projected that your money would last about 30 years.  FULL STORY arrow
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Attention investors who want to avoid foreign exchange fees in their DIY accounts space
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, September 8, 2018 – Page B14
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-- One of Canada's better online brokers has filled a big hole in its product lineup.Scotia iTrade has finally introduced U.S.-dollar registered accounts, joining almost every other play in the online brokerage business. This means that investors who sell U.S.  FULL STORY arrow
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How to build a better ladder: Comparing GICs and corporate bonds space
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, September 8, 2018 – Page B14
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-- Rising interest rates have been great for the street cred of the humble GIC.Rising rates mean higher yields on guaranteed investment certificates - that's one factor.Another is the negative effect that rising rates have on bond prices. Fearing that the bonds in their portfolio will dramatically lose value as rates move higher, some investors have been using GICs as a replacement.  FULL STORY arrow
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Low-cost investing smackdown: Balanced ETFs vs. robo-advisers space
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, September 8, 2018 – Page B14
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-- A welcome new development in exchange-traded funds raises questions about the relevance of robo-advisers for people who want a simple, low-cost ETF portfolio.Balanced ETFs give you a fully diversified portfolio in a single purchase. Your investing future with one of these products is simply to keep buying more of the fund you've chosen because the fund managers handle diversification and rebalancing for you.  FULL STORY arrow
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Our most irrational financial habit? Cheaping out on retirement saving space
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, September 7, 2018 – Page B8
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-- Dan Ariely's job is to figure out why you won't pay attention to perfectly good financial advice such as spending less and saving more.Mr. Ariely is a professor of psychology and behavioural economics at Duke University in North Carolina and a co-founder of Toronto-based BEworks, a management consulting firm that uses behavioural science in its work. His mission: Find out why people make bad decisions about money and figure out ways to get a better outcome. I recently spoke to Mr. Ariely to find out why people keep making the same money mistakes, despite readily available advice from the media and financial-literacy initiatives.  FULL STORY arrow
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For a happier new you, pay down your debt space
A new survey suggests that despite a growing economy, Canadian families are struggling to address their debts
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, September 5, 2018 – Page B8
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-- Like an antibiotics-resistant germ, household debt is holding up alarmingly well as the economy improves.A new survey shows the economic growth of the past year has helped ease some of the financial challenges faced by Canadian households. Fewer people are spending their entire paycheques and fewer think they would financially implode if they faced an unexpected emergency expense.  FULL STORY arrow
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The best banks for millennials who are still in school, or recently graduated space
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, August 31, 2018 – Page B7
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-- For all the talk about their quirkiness, the young adults known as millennials make surprisingly conformist choices about where to bank.A survey of banking habits by Ratehub.ca suggests 45 per cent of millennials used recommendations from family and friends as the main input for deciding on where to bank. That's pretty much double the rate for Gen Xers, and vastly higher than the 8 per cent of baby boomers who said they chose a bank this way.  FULL STORY arrow
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Overprotective parenting can hurt an RESP space
You can target safe returns or higher returns - but not both. Here's why you should opt for the latter
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, August 31, 2018 – Page B7
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-- If you're the nervous type as a parent, take a look at how you're investing your child's registered education savings plan.Just as they nurture their children, there's an impulse among some parents to coddle their kids' RESPs by investing conservatively.  FULL STORY arrow
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ENSURING YOU GET A GOOD GIC RENEWAL RATE space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, August 29, 2018 – Page B7
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-- Convenience has its cost, GIC investors.If you deal with a big bank, you may get a renewal notice when your guaranteed investment certificates come due. It basically sets out the amount of principal you have, the maturity date of your existing GIC and the rate being offered on renewal, which can occur automatically.  FULL STORY arrow
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The future looks bright for GIC investors space
Small banks are already hiking rates for the certificate, and there's reason to be optimistic
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, August 29, 2018 – Page B7
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-- A small but encouraging rate war is being fought over five-year GICs.EQ Bank is offering 3.52 per cent on a guaranteed investment certificate with a five-year term, just surpassing the 3.5 per cent offered by Oaken Financial. Several other small independent banks are offering rates in the 3.1-percent to 3.3-per-cent range, while the big online bank Tangerine offers 3 per cent. Expect more battling over the months ahead on rates for both GICs and savings accounts.  FULL STORY arrow
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How ETF investors are playing defence amid a hostile time for bonds space
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By ROB CARRICK
Monday, August 27, 2018 – Page B5
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-- Interest rates and inflation have been rising, yet bond ETFs are crushing equity funds in attracting new investment.The exchange-traded fund format can be a smart way to add bonds to a portfolio, but what's up with the strong preference for bonds at a time when fixed income is under pressure? For answers, consider the bond ETFs that were most popular with investors in July.  FULL STORY arrow
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Money-saving deals can help millennials invest space
Starter accounts are alternatives for those who can't afford to pay expensive per-trade and maintenance fees
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, August 25, 2018 – Page B10
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-- One of the toughest jobs in investing is to start an account with little or no money and not get massacred by fees and commissions.If you're a millennial investor with just a couple of thousand dollars in your account at an online brokerage, paying $10 to trade a stock or an exchangetraded fund and $25 per quarter in account maintenance fees is prohibitive. Robo-advisers are rightly thought of as a good spot for young adult investors, but some are more welcoming than others to people starting with tiny amounts.  FULL STORY arrow
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Stop pushing seniors to sell their houses space
The vast majority want to stay in their current homes, yet many report pressure to downsize
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By ROB CARRICK
Thursday, August 23, 2018 – Page B7
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-- The seniors of the nation would like to thank you for your concern about their home-ownership burdens.Two related facts you may not know about seniors: The vast majority want to stay in their current homes, yet many report pressure from realtors and family to sell and then downsize. ''That's a very common situation,'' said Laura Tamblyn Watts, national director of law, policy and research at CARP, formerly the Canadian Association of Retired Persons. ''Just about every time I go to a community event and engage with older people, I hear versions of that complaint.''  FULL STORY arrow
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Air Canada lands Aeroplan with $450-million deal space
To win loyalty, Air Canada's points program needs a makeover. Members should hold out for better rewards
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, August 22, 2018 – Page B1
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-- You can stop plotting how to burn off your Aeroplan points.Air Canada will no longer be leaving Aeroplan to fend for itself like a shopping mall that's lost its anchor retailer. Instead, the airline and its financial partners have reached an agreement to buy Aeroplan.  FULL STORY arrow
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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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