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GiveLife.ca

    
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PRINT EDITION
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Globe Columnists
Friday, April 28




  Rob Carrick
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Personal Finance



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The risk of reaching for higher interest rates space
The story of Home Capital's decline should be a red flag for yield-hungry investors
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, April 28, 2017 – Page B9
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-- Canadians have had a great run of luck in getting better returns on their savings and investments by taking on more risk. The Home Capital story is a reminder that this risk is real, not just boilerplate that can safely be ignored.  FULL STORY arrow
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Household debt: And now the good news space
Canadians may have run up their debt to record levels, but the vast majority of people are acing their repayments
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By ROB CARRICK
Thursday, April 27, 2017 – Page B11
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-- Wow, are Canadians ever accomplished borrowers.We've run our debt levels up to record levels, but carry it well. Credit ratings vary on average from province to province, with Quebeckers at the top and Alberta at the bottom. But nationally, the vast majority of people are acing their debt repayments.  FULL STORY arrow
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To be truly diversified, don't count on preferred shares space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, April 26, 2017 – Page B15
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-- There's true portfolio diversification, and then there's fake diversification.In this era of low interest rates, be especially wary of the fake kind. That's where you swap out bonds in favour of income-producing investments, such as preferred shares or dividend-paying common shares. Substitutions such as this are rationalized on the basis that bonds pay only trace amounts of interest right now and are basically dead money.  FULL STORY arrow
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ETF Buyer's Guide: Global equity exposure space
Our focus this week is on proven, broadly diversified ways to internationalize your portfolio in a single fund
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, April 22, 2017 – Page B10
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-- No matter how you prefer to globalize your investment portfolio, ETFs have you covered.Want to pick Canadian and U.S. equity funds and then add some exposure to the rest of the world?  FULL STORY arrow
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Ontario's new housing plan: What buyers and sellers need to know space
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, April 21, 2017 – Page B1
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-- Home owners and buyers are going to need an attitude adjustment as rationality seeps back into the country's hottest real estate market.The Ontario government has introduced measures to restrain housing price surges that last month came in around 30 per cent in Toronto and nearby Hamilton. We could see prices stagnate or decline in the months ahead, but a crash is unlikely for now.  FULL STORY arrow
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Best to stay out, first-timers space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, April 19, 2017 – Page A9
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-- The Fear of Missing Out phenomenon in the housing market is leading to bad buying decisions.First-time buyers should be much more afraid of getting into a hot real estate market. The risk of taking on more financial weight than you can carry has never been higher.  FULL STORY arrow
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Do I buy a bank ETF or individual bank stocks? space
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By ROB CARRICK
Tuesday, April 18, 2017 – Page B13
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-- Bank stock quandary: Try to pick the best banks, or just buy them all?A reader asked this question recently. He wanted to know the pros and cons of buying individual bank stocks versus a Canadian bank ETF.  FULL STORY arrow
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In praise of the normal housing market space
As real estate prices continue to rise in Toronto and its surrounding area, let's celebrate cities that aren't suffering from bidding wars
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, April 14, 2017 – Page B8
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-- Life in a hot housing market can be such a grind.Baby boomers are afraid to sell their valuable homes because they're worried about how much it will cost to buy another place. Millennials are shut out of the market in some cases or they suffer from buyer's regret over their debt loads. And when you do find an ideal home, there's a good chance you'll find yourself in a financial cage match of overbidding.  FULL STORY arrow
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Expect big-bank 'deals' to be temporary space
Bank of Nova Scotia's Tangerine may have set a speed record in introducing a product - and then dialling back its features
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, April 12, 2017 – Page B9
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-- The big-bank tactic of upselling customers has a nasty twin you'll like even less.It's the downgrading of perks and features in products such as reward credit cards. A fresh example is the Tangerine MoneyBack Credit Card, which is not much more than a year old and already being changed for the worse.  FULL STORY arrow
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Dip in dividend growth: More pressure on the big banks? space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, April 12, 2017 – Page B10
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-- Recent dividend-growth patterns at the big banks offer some clues about why highpressure sales tactics at bank branches have been an issue lately.Some people are willing to forgive, or least indulge, the banks about their sales tactics because bank shares can be relied upon to pay a growing stream of cash via quarterly dividends.  FULL STORY arrow
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ETF Buyer's Guide, Part 3: U.S. equity funds space
The American market and its abundance of tech and health-care stocks complements Canadian equity holdings
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, April 8, 2017 – Page B10
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-- You can fix a lot of what's wrong with the Canadian stock market by getting some exposure to U.S. stocks.Canada is loaded with resource stocks and financials and has only token exposure to technology and health care.  FULL STORY arrow
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Six standout numbers in Toronto's wild housing market space
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, April 7, 2017 – Page B1
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-- From a personal finance point of view, Toronto real estate makes your head spin. Monthly price increases for resale houses in the city are amazing enough in their own right.  FULL STORY arrow
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Why this entrepreneur still lives at home space
For 26-year-old Sherpa.Tax founder, staying with his parents is a strategic business decision, not just a stopgap
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, April 5, 2017 – Page B9
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-- Omeed Asadi is a 26-year-old fintech entrepreneur who lives with his parents.''I would not be able to be an entrepreneur if I wasn't living at home,'' Mr. Asadi says. ''It would straight up never work.''  FULL STORY arrow
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This bond ETF is the master of disaster space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, April 5, 2017 – Page B10
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-- Bonds are insurance against disaster in either the economy or the stock market, and bond ETFs are a good way to get bonds into your portfolio.But in the eyes of one investing veteran, there's a particular bond ETF that stands out for providing disaster insurance. It's the iShares 20+Year Treasury Bond ETF, traded on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol TLT.  FULL STORY arrow
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Feeling pressure to buy investments? Try this space
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, March 31, 2017 – Page B8
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-- A strategy for investors who want advice without a sales pitch to buy products: Partner a fee-for-service financial planner with a robo-adviser.There are plenty of conventional investment advisers and financial planners who work on an advice-first basis, with product sales representing a secondary part of the relationship. But you have to work hard to find them.  FULL STORY arrow
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When water is your enemy space
In its many invasive forms it is probably the biggest threat to your home. Here's why it's time to check over your insurance coverage
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, March 31, 2017 – Page B8
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-- The insurance industry's response to the extreme weather of the past several years demands that you check the coverage for your home to see if it's water-tight.  FULL STORY arrow
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Protect against higher rates, pay down your mortgage space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, March 29, 2017 – Page B1
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-- Recent home buyers, your financial priority for the next few years is clear.Pay down your mortgage. Give the tax-free savings account and registered retirement-savings plan a brief rest and pay down your mortgage.  FULL STORY arrow
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ETF Buyer's Guide, Part 2: bond funds space
We look at exchange-traded funds that have tracked government and corporate debt for at least five years
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, March 25, 2017 – Page B12
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-- Bond ETFs are a real problemsolver for investors who prefer not to have 100 per cent of their portfolio in the stock market.Almost everyone needs bonds for those years when stocks get hammered, but buying them is complicated. You can buy individual bonds, but the commissions built into the price you pay are huge and you'll need to buy bunches of bonds for proper diversification. You can also use guaranteed investment certificates, but they can't easily be sold before maturity.  FULL STORY arrow
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Where high-living boomers are at risk space
Many are not saving enough to keep the same lifestyle after they retire, and seem uninterested in fixing this
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, March 24, 2017 – Page B10
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-- High-income baby boomers are heading toward a massive wall of disappointment in retirement, a prominent investment adviser says in an epic rant of frustration.Kurt Rosentreter's outburst is titled, ''Isn't Life Good? I Make $250,000/Year.''  FULL STORY arrow
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Have capital gains? Now's the time to strategize space
While the budget didn't boost the inclusion rate, it also wasn't clear on how to best plan for the future
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By ROB CARRICK
Thursday, March 23, 2017 – Page A8
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OTTAWA -- Canada Savings Bonds are dead, but the same cannot be said of speculation about an increase in capital gains taxes.The federal budget is putting CSBs, a once-proud franchise in sad decline, out of their misery.  FULL STORY arrow
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Ten ways the 2017 federal budget will affect your personal finances space
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By ROB CARRICK
Thursday, March 23, 2017 – Page A8
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OTTAWA -- 1. Canada Savings Bonds are toast: Around since 1946, CSBs have been crushed by competing savings products from banks, credit unions and trust companies that offer better rates, comparable safety and easier access to your money. CSB sales will be discontinued this year and all outstanding bonds will be honoured.  FULL STORY arrow
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Avoid financials overload: Watch how you pair up your ETFs space
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By ROB CARRICK
Tuesday, March 21, 2017 – Page B9
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-- The strength of financial stocks in the past year means it's time to look at whether you're overexposed to the sector.ETF investors, be on the lookout for pairings of funds that can give you an alarmingly high weighting to financials. Example: combining a broad Canadian equity ETF -say, iShares Core SandP/TSX Capped Composite Index ETF (XIC) - with a Canadian dividend fund.  FULL STORY arrow
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Rumours of capital-gains tax hike cause investor to cash out space
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By ROB CARRICK
Monday, March 20, 2017 – Page B1
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-- The man who borrowed $250,000 to invest in the depths of the financial crisis has sized up the current financial environment and decided it's time to sell.Investment adviser Andrew Guilfoyle recently exited the Canadian and global dividend funds he bought in December, 2008, for two main reasons. One, the stock markets have had a great run and his investment has done very well. Two, he's concerned that the federal government will raise the tax rate on capital gains in the budget to be delivered Wednesday.  FULL STORY arrow
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Banks trying to upsell you? Buy this, not that space
A customer's best defence against upselling is to know which sales pitches are worth listening to, and which to shut down
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, March 17, 2017 – Page B11
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-- The downside of bank upselling is that customers get talked into buying junk products they don't need.According to the bank tellers pouring their hearts out to CBC in a series of recent reports, upselling is rampant because of pressure to meet sales targets. A customer's best defence is to know which sales pitches are worth listening to, and which to shut down. To help promote more informed banking, the Personal Finance column presents this guide to bank products.  FULL STORY arrow
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Got a bank complaint? Join the queue space
Here's how customer grievances wend their way through the system
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, March 15, 2017 – Page B8
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-- A long with profits and dividends, customer complaints are rising in the world of big banks.In the past couple of years, complaints to third-party agencies that investigate disputes between banks and their clients have risen significantly. Customers are standing up for themselves, which is great to see.  FULL STORY arrow
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A foreign-buyers tax in Toronto? Bring it on - and fast space
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, March 11, 2017 – Page B14
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-- Bring on the foreign-buyers tax on Toronto housing.Do it fast. Monday is not too soon.The Toronto market must be tamed because it's turning into a laboratory experiment on how obsessional thinking about a particular kind of financial asset can warp the finances of individuals and governments. The more Toronto houses soar in value, the more vulnerable all these parties are to an ugly correction.  FULL STORY arrow
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Sifting through the ETF clutter space
We kick off The Globe's ETF Buyer's Guide with Canadian equity exchange-traded funds that have been around for at least five years
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, March 11, 2017 – Page B8
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-- The latest edition of The Globe and Mail ETF Buyer's Guide is leaner and meaner than in previous years.The universe of exchangetraded funds is expanding in a way that makes it ever harder for investors, particularly rookies, to build a portfolio. To combat the clutter, the ETF guide is taking a tougher approach to picking funds for inclusion. Instead of trying to offer a selection of everything available, the guide now uses a screening process to identify core funds for portfolio building.  FULL STORY arrow
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How to defend retirement savings against a market correction space
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, March 10, 2017 – Page B7
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-- A well-designed retirement portfolio has multiple layers of defence against a stock market correction.One is a cash holding to cover financial emergencies. Another is a mini-ladder of guaranteed investment certificates that mature in one and two years. Each GIC holds enough to cover one year's living expenses. If stocks tank, you have time to let things recover because your expenses are covered by safe investments.  FULL STORY arrow
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Yet another way diligent savers are getting hit on the chin space
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, March 10, 2017 – Page B1
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-- The latest mortgage rate trends remind us of how the virtues of prudent saving and spending are disrespected in today's world.Home buyers who put less than 20 per cent down are seen as risky enough to require that they pay the cost of default insurance for their lender. But the best mortgage rates are in some cases going to people with small down payments.  FULL STORY arrow
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Advisers call on clients to fight regulation space
If you would rather have the costs of advice and products muddled in your adviser's fees, there is a petition you can sign
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By ROB CARRICK
Monday, March 6, 2017 – Page B5
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-- If you're pleased with the status quo in the investment advice business, there's a petition you should sign.An organization of investment advisers called Advocis is behind the initiative. Advocis is fighting regulatory proposals that would dramatically change the way advisers are paid. On a website called Financial Advice For All, the group is trying to rally everyday people to its cause.  FULL STORY arrow
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Stymied by soaring rent? It's still cheaper than buying space
There are no easy answers for how to live in expensive markets in 2017 without blowing up your finances
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, March 3, 2017 – Page B8
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-- Buying a home is not the answer to insanely expensive rent.In Toronto, rents are in some cases heading into the same zone as the mortgage payment on a modest house or condo.  FULL STORY arrow
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Concerns over your retirement finances may be overblown, survey suggests space
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, March 3, 2017 – Page B8
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-- Here's a quick way to address your financial concerns about retirement.Just retire. A four-country survey has found that people who left the work force recently were notably more satisfied with their financial position than those who were looking just ahead to retirement. ''We ascribe at least part of this to the resolution of the psychological uncertainty that comes with navigating the transition to retirement,'' said the company behind the survey, U.S. investing giant Vanguard.  FULL STORY arrow
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Three common financial mistakes that too many people make space
From sharing a PIN to penalties involved in mortgages, beware these blunders
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By ROB CARRICK
Monday, February 27, 2017 – Page B6
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-- A federal government survey has uncovered three examples of toxic financial illiteracy.As a public service, let's set things right:1. You should never share your bank-card PIN with anyone, not even family members.  FULL STORY arrow
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Gen Y: Your guide to getting started saving for retirement space
It's hard to know where to start when it comes to investing. Rob Carrick lays out four simple ways to do it
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, February 25, 2017 – Page B10
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-- The earlier you start saving for retirement, the more painless it is.Manageable amounts invested automatically every payday over 35 to 40 years will produce a solid retirement fund if you keep ramping up the amount you put away as your salary rises. The hard part is getting started. There are thousands of mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) to choose from, and almost as many investment firms to consider.  FULL STORY arrow
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How to get the financial advice you really want space
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, February 24, 2017 – Page B7
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-- Canadians are increasingly becoming aware of how financial advice and the sale of investment products are intertwined, and they're rebelling.I see the rebellion in action in my e-mail inbox all the time from people asking me where to find a fee-for-service financial planner. That's someone who charges a flat or hourly fee for advice and doesn't sell products.  FULL STORY arrow
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Is it time for dividend investors to switch back to bonds? space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, February 22, 2017 – Page B13
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-- It's a sign of how depressingly low bond yields were that, even after a huge rise in the past year, we're still not even close to a decent return.  FULL STORY arrow
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Six questions to ask when mulling an annuity space
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By ROB CARRICK
Tuesday, February 21, 2017 – Page B12
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-- She's a single woman in her early 70s who is looking ahead to converting a sizable sixfigure RRSP into a RRIF. Her question: Should she convert half that registered money to an annuity?  FULL STORY arrow
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Get a mortgage that leaves room for retirement saving space
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By ROB CARRICK
Monday, February 20, 2017 – Page B5
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-- The cost of owning a house and starting a family just might be the lost opportunity to get a good head start on saving for retirement.With the March 1 deadline for contributions to registered retirement savings plans just ahead, it's a good time to look at how to balance life's biggest financial responsibilities. Home ownership, starting a family and retirement saving - can you do it all?  FULL STORY arrow
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Flying blind while shopping for insurance space
Transparency on fees is not up to the standards of the investment industry, and that allows for strikingly high commission levels
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, February 17, 2017 – Page B10
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-- They have to be quietly enjoying themselves in the insurance business this year.Over in the investment industry, they've been scrambling to implement new disclosure rules requiring firms to show the dollar amount of fees paid for advice, and personalized rates of return. Clients have been empowered with information that will shred some long-standing relationships with investment firms.  FULL STORY arrow
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A novel way to react to adviser-fee shock space
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By ROB CARRICK
Thursday, February 16, 2017 – Page B13
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-- Here's a novel solution to the fee shock some investors are feeling when they open their latest account statements: Ask for more advice from your adviser.New investment industry disclosure rules mean investors are for the first time being shown the dollar amount of fees they pay for advice and other services, as well as their personalized returns over at least the past year. Seeing fees in dollar terms is a revelation for many.  FULL STORY arrow
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Should you ditch all your mutual funds for ETFs? space
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By ROB CARRICK
Tuesday, February 14, 2017 – Page B9
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-- The past year on the stock market has left some people wondering if they need a new investment approach.The 21.1-per-cent surge by the Toronto Stock Exchange can be disorienting because a properly diversified portfolio would have made far less. In a recent column, I estimated 5.3 per cent, after fees, for 2016. One reader took a look at the return from his balanced fund last year and saw he made a fair bit less than that. He's wondering whether he should chuck that fund and replace it with a quartet of exchange-traded funds.  FULL STORY arrow
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Ottawa may eye tax measures that benefit higher earners space
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By ROB CARRICK
Monday, February 13, 2017 – Page B1
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-- The odds of a federal budget that targets investors with higher taxes on capital gains or even dividends are rising.Don't be too relieved if such measures aren't contained in the budget expected later this month because they could be revisited in a year or two. The government needs tax revenue to keep the deficit in check and has been studying all the various tax measures that cost it money. Two of the biggest are the 50-per-cent inclusion rate on capital gains and a preferential tax rate on dividends.  FULL STORY arrow
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Before you sign on the dotted line... space
How you name a beneficiary for your registered account can have significant implications for your estate - and loved ones
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, February 11, 2017 – Page B9
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-- Buried in the boilerplate of the application form for TFSAs, RRSPs and RRIFs is an opportunity to help ensure your loved ones are taken care of after you die.Don't blow it. In the rush to complete an account application form, it's easy to dash through the part about naming a beneficiary without considering the implications. This estate planning guide for registered accounts can help.  FULL STORY arrow
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Asking Canadians to delay their CPP benefits? Good luck space
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, February 10, 2017 – Page B1
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-- Delaying Canada Pension Plan retirement benefits past age 65 is the right thing to do for a lot of people.Cue the crickets.Almost everybody ignores this guidance, and that's a problem for the federal government. This week, an economic advisory panel urged the government to raise the age of eligibility for both the CPP and Old Age Security. Doing so would help our economy remain productive by keeping seniors working, and ease stresses on government finances.  FULL STORY arrow
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Retirement ready? A new, improved test space
Living-standard replacement ratio, a personalized way to estimate the cost of life after work, is emerging as the new norm
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By ROB CARRICK
Monday, February 6, 2017 – Page B5
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-- The standard measure of how well-prepared people are for retirement is very close to useless.This gauge is called the replacement ratio. You're supposed to save enough money to generate annual income of about 70 per cent of what you grossed in your peak working years.  FULL STORY arrow
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The surprising threat to investment innovation space
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, February 3, 2017 – Page B1
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-- Securities regulators are really stepping up to protect everyday investors, which sounds better than it actually is.The rise of online investing and the emergence of robo-advisers have prompted regulators to take a smothering, paternalistic approach to protecting clients.  FULL STORY arrow
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The financial advice industry's bad client problem space
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By ROB CARRICK
Monday, January 30, 2017 – Page B1
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-- Bad adviser behaviour is coming to light as a result of new investment industry disclosure requirements, but so is something we might call the bad client problem.Some people can't be satisfied.  FULL STORY arrow
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Multiple advisers? That's the wrong kind of diversification space
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By ROB CARRICK
Monday, January 30, 2017 – Page B4
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-- Areader recently asked for some feedback on his approach to diversification. I give it a thumbs-down as a classic case of ''diworsification.''It's not that this person owns too many funds or stocks, which is the classic investing definition of diworsification. Rather, the issue is that he has two investment advisers. Another person asked me this week whether multiple advisers makes sense, so I figure I should speak out.  FULL STORY arrow
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Turning savings into income: A practical guide to RRIFs space
As baby boomers shift away from accumulating retirement savings into drawing on the money, it's time to look at the mechanics
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, January 28, 2017 – Page B10
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-- The do-it-yourself investors of the baby boomer generation will retire in droves over the years ahead. A critical milestone in their journey will be the conversion of their registered retirement savings plans into registered retirement income funds.  FULL STORY arrow
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Calgary might be our capital of housing affordability space
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, January 27, 2017 – Page B1
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-- If only our incomes would keep up with the country's hot housing markets. The median family income in Toronto would have been a juicy $130,832 last year if paycheques grew at the same rate as house prices in the city.  FULL STORY arrow
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Optimism reigns. Time to diversify space
Signs abound that the Canadian market is pivoting from modest to great expectations
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By ROB CARRICK
Thursday, January 26, 2017 – Page B12
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-- The Canadian stock market's flirtation with all-time highs Wednesday is the most promising sign yet that we're finally - finally - starting to emerge from the financial stagnation of the past eight years.  FULL STORY arrow
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Market rarities: Two reasonably priced TSX blue-chip dividend stocks space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, January 25, 2017 – Page B14
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-- The rally of the past year or so in the Canadian stock market has greatly complicated the job of finding reasonably priced blue-chip dividend stocks.But let's give it a go, anyway.  FULL STORY arrow
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Your finances face dramatic Trump-led uncertainty space
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, January 20, 2017 – Page B1
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-- It's inauguration day for one of the biggest influencers in Canadian personal finance, U.S. president-elect Donald Trump.In 2017, your financial wellbeing will be driven to an unprecedented extent by factors outside Canada. Mr. Trump is the most notable, but also keep your eyes on Europe.  FULL STORY arrow
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Why we don't need to baby first-time home buyers space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, January 18, 2017 – Page B1
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-- We're starting to hear a lot about a new victim class in the Canadian economy - the first-time home buyer.Houses in some cities keep rising in price, while the federal government keeps making home buying either less accessible or more expensive. The latest example is the announcement on Tuesday by federal agency Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. that it will boost premiums on the mortgagedefault insurance home buyers must pay for if they have a down payment of less than 20 per cent.  FULL STORY arrow
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Why we can't stop borrowing: stagnant wages space
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By ROB CARRICK
Monday, January 16, 2017 – Page B1
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-- Canadians never look more financially irresponsible than they do in our most widely followed measure of national indebtedness.Through successive years of slow economic growth, the debtto-disposable-income ratio has been stuck at or near record levels. At end of the third quarter of 2016, every dollar of take-home pay was matched by $1.67 in debt.  FULL STORY arrow
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Two-Minute Portfolio still a long-term winner space
The 2MP lagged the S&P/TSX in 2016 as small-cap, energy and mining stocks stole the show
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, January 14, 2017 – Page B9
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-- The Two-Minute Portfolio got taken to school last year by the SandP/TSX composite index and even the average Canadian equity mutual fund.The sad results will be familiar to investors who put a big emphasis on quality blue-chip stocks. Focusing on quality, defined in large part by size, payment of dividends and low volatility, has for years been the key to investing success in the Canadian stock market. But things changed in 2016, a year during which speculative sectors such as energy and mining led the market and more conservative stocks lagged.  FULL STORY arrow
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Higher mortgage rates? Already here space
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, January 13, 2017 – Page B1
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-- We're starting to get a picture of what mortgage rate increases do to household budgets.If you're buying an averagepriced home in Vancouver, the increase in five-year fixed-rate mortgage costs over the past two months could add up to something like an extra $1,824 a year; in Toronto, you're looking at $1,584. In a small market such as Saint John, the extra cost would be close to $350.  FULL STORY arrow
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Bad bank behaviour? Try the competition space
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By ROB CARRICK
Monday, January 9, 2017 – Page B1
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-- Make it a goal in 2017 to try one new financial product from a company not associated with one of the big banks.Try an alternative bank offering comparatively high interest rates on savings, or a credit union. Try a robo-adviser, where your investment portfolio is managed for you online at low cost. Try an independent financial-advice firm, or one of the non-bank online brokerage firms that scored well in my recent broker ranking.  FULL STORY arrow
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Investor alert: Your statement is on its way space
If you see anything that troubles you, be sure to schedule a meeting with your adviser
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, January 7, 2017 – Page B9
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-- The most important investment statement you've ever received should be on its way to you now. Please open it and pay close attention to two new and vitally important pieces of information. One is an accounting in dollar terms of how much you're paying for investment advice and services, and the other is a personalized report on how your portfolio has performed. This data will give you more power than you've ever had to assess the job your adviser is doing for you.  FULL STORY arrow
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How to keep safe from online scammers space
Fraudsters are finding increasingly effective ways of duping unsuspecting victims. Know the tricks being used - and be vigilant
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, January 6, 2017 – Page B8
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-- E-mail fraud has reached new heights of deviousness.In the past few months, I've seen e-mails designed to look like they were from major banks and the Canada Revenue Agency. Each surprised me with their level of polish. No longer are these so-called phishing e-mails a laughable mix of broken English and lame graphics.  FULL STORY arrow
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How to avoid a rookie investing mistake space
Selecting an online broker shouldn't be a quick decision, so have a strategy if you want to avoid costly fees
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By ROB CARRICK
Tuesday, January 3, 2017 – Page B8
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-- Picking the wrong online broker is one of the more expensive mistakes rookie investors can make.Like virtually all investment firms, online brokers will apply a fee when clients move their accounts to other company. The charge is typically deducted from the cash in the account before money is moved to the new firm.  FULL STORY arrow
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How to reduce foreign-exchange charges when buying U.S.-listed stocks and ETFs space
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By ROB CARRICK
Thursday, December 29, 2016 – Page B6
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-- One of frustrations of being a well-diversified investor is the cost of changing Canadian dollars into U.S. currency.Foreign exchange is a profit centre for online brokers and one of the biggest complaints readers bring to me about their firms.  FULL STORY arrow
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Dividend faceoff: Shoot for sustainability or high yields? space
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, December 24, 2016 – Page B10
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-- Dividend investing has received so much attention in the past few years that it's hard to imagine there's anything new to learn about the topic.A new publication called Dividend Advisor is taking a stab at it, though. This monthly newsletter from TSI Wealth Network (they publish The Successful Investor) focuses on dividend sustainability, or the ability of a company to keep making its quarterly dividend payments without interruption. Dividend growth is a widely discussed strategy and lots of investors put a premium on stocks with high yields. But sustainability hasn't had as much attention, possibly because it's tough to assess.  FULL STORY arrow
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How inflation could hit your family budget in 2017 space
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, December 23, 2016 – Page B1
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-- Your personal inflation rate in 2017 could be a problem. The national rate of inflation has been running in the low-1per-cent-rate and in November came in at a meek 1.2 per cent on a year-over-year basis. Inflation is near inconsequential when you measure it using the collection of goods and services assembled by Statistics Canada. Prices in six of eight major components of the consumer price index were up, with shelter and transportation rising the most and food and clothing and footwear falling.  FULL STORY arrow
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What to tell your millennial kids about how to invest space
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By ROB CARRICK
Tuesday, December 20, 2016 – Page B10
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-- A proud father wrote me recently about his daughter, a 24-year-old who has a good job and has saved $17,000.What, he asked, should she be doing to get started properly as an investor?  FULL STORY arrow
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Seven pieces of advice for 2017 space
Do rebalance, and after such a good year, this could be painful. Don't remake your portfolio based on what Trump might do
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, December 17, 2016 – Page B12
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-- The stock market was unexpectedly excellent in 2016.Enjoy the buzz and then get to work preparing for the year ahead. Here are seven do's and don'ts to consider for your portfolio.  FULL STORY arrow
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Homes aren't a foolproof financial plan space
Tying your personal wealth to housing alone is as risky as relying on a single stock
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, December 16, 2016 – Page B7
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-- Would the people who believe a house is the best possible investment please stop for a moment to look at what stocks have done lately.One of the forces sustaining the real estate market is a belief that houses are a sure-thing investment. There are a couple of problems with this reasoning - people rarely factor the cost of home ownership into their calculations, and they act as if housing is immune from the cyclical downturns facing all financial assets.  FULL STORY arrow
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How to add some profitable zip to your investing diet space
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By ROB CARRICK
Thursday, December 15, 2016 – Page B10
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-- We are seeing stock market conditions these days that argue for the investing equivalent of having fries with your burger.The burger is the stock market as most investors know it - medium to large companies such as the 246 names that make up the SandP/TSX composite index. The fries are the small stocks that make up most of the rest of the stock market (there are also some speculative micro companies).  FULL STORY arrow
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Get set for higher payments: What the Fed's hike means in Canada space
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By ROB CARRICK
Thursday, December 15, 2016 – Page B1
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-- Rising interest rates have been a menace to your finances like the Toronto Maple Leafs have been a Stanley Cup threat.But the safely ignorable days are over for interest rates, and maybe my Leafs as well. No need to panic, homeowners and buyers. But recognize that there is now a crack in the foundation of the most important economic support for housing. Interest rates are rising in the United States and there will be a spillover here.  FULL STORY arrow
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Online broker survey: Seeking the 'wow' factor space
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By ROB CARRICK
Monday, December 12, 2016 – Page B4
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-- This latest edition of The Globe and Mail's annual broker survey will help you see how each firm stacks up in a vastly more competitive landscape. Which firms are falling behind?  FULL STORY arrow
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Dark side of the boom space
Rock-bottom interest rates have made big mortgages look less expensive, lighting a fire under house prices. But for many homeowners, when rates start rising, it won't end well. Rob Carrick reports
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, December 10, 2016 – Page B9
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-- Through years of weak economic growth, up-and-down stock markets and miserable returns on cash savings, the housing market has delivered for Canadians by making them wealthier.Housing prices used to more or less track the inflation rate, which was a feeble 1.5 per cent between 2008 and 2015 because of stunted economic growth. In cities across the country, however, prices have jumped 5 per cent to 7 per cent annually over that same period. Prices in greater Vancouver have doubled in just a decade, while prices in greater Toronto have doubled since 2004. House prices have also risen sharply in mid-size cities such as Yorkton, Sask., Brandon and Thunder Bay.  FULL STORY arrow
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The empty nester space
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, December 10, 2016 – Page B10
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-- Name and age Paule Balanaser, 63Location OttawaFamily description Husband, 62; daughter, 21, attending university out of town; two sons, 42 and 26, living on their own.Price paid for house $204,000, bought in 2009 after downsizing from a larger house in the Greater Toronto Area  FULL STORY arrow
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The cost of longevity space
By virtue of their longer lifespans, women incur greater costs as they age, making retirement planning all the more crucial
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, December 9, 2016 – Page B11
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-- The most ignored aspect of retirement planning just might be that women live longer than men.Among people aged 65, just over half are female. At 75 years of age, 57 per cent are female. At 85 years old, 68 per cent are women. These numbers were provided by Kristina Hidas of the Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP), which has just completed some research showing one way in which the longer lifespans of women matter hugely in retirement planning.  FULL STORY arrow
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Canadians investing in the U.S. market: To hedge or not to hedge? space
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, December 9, 2016 – Page B11
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-- The case for long-term investors ignoring currency risk in their portfolios has never been stronger.The return from the SandP 500 stock index, dividends included, was an annualized 7.47 per cent for the 20 years to Nov. 30. If you converted that return to Canadian dollars, you get 7.46 per cent. Virtually the same story is told by the 30-year numbers - the SandP 500 made 9.99 per cent in U.S. dollars and 9.88 per cent in Canadian dollars.  FULL STORY arrow
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Are you getting good value from your adviser fees? Here's how to tell space
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By ROB CARRICK
Monday, December 5, 2016 – Page B4
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-- A Globe reader and her husband are happy with their investment adviser, but there's a problem.They're not sure the fees they're paying are reasonable.This couple, at the ages of 65 and 61, have about $500,000  FULL STORY arrow
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Air Miles reversal is a hollow victory for consumers space
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, December 3, 2016 – Page B14
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-- The reversal by Air Miles of its points expiry policy is a bogus victory for all involved.From start to finish in this story, Air Miles has demonstrated some of the clumsiest brand management ever seen in this country. Even reversing its despised plan to have points older than five years start expiring at the end of 2016 is a mess. Customers will keep their points, but Air Miles parent LoyaltyOne has already signalled that it will be less generous with rewards in the future.  FULL STORY arrow
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Too many workers out to lunch on pensions space
Employees and employers seem to be unsure of what the other is doing to effectively manage defined-contribution plans
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, December 2, 2016 – Page B12
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-- It's hard to say whether employers or employees are the bigger problem with the country's fastest-growing type of pension plan.Too many employees are oblivious to their responsibilities to make their defined-contribution pension plans work, and a lot of employers seem to be clueless about the problem. In the ongoing discussion about how well prepared Canadians are for retirement, DC pensions are as much problem as solution.  FULL STORY arrow
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Low-volatility ETFs show their faults space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, November 30, 2016 – Page B11
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-- So much for the idea that you could get premium returns from stocks with reduced risk.Low-volatility exchange-traded funds had a great run of doing exactly this. The BMO Low Volatility Canadian Equity ETF (ZLB) had a cumulative return of 85.5 per cent for the five years to Nov.  FULL STORY arrow
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Toll roads: one more reason to ditch your car space
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By ROB CARRICK
Monday, November 28, 2016 – Page B1
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-- Toronto's plan to charge highway tolls drives home a point about personal finance for the decade to come: Cars are a financial liability that will only get worse.So many government priorities can be served by squeezing drivers - fight global warming, ease urban road congestion, find money for public transportation and other projects. Some households can't operate without a car, especially if they have kids or make long daily commutes from the boonies.  FULL STORY arrow
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Five insights into ETFs you need to know space
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By ROB CARRICK
Monday, November 28, 2016 – Page B13
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-- For all the attention ETFs get, you might be surprised to know that just 31 per cent of Canadian investors hold them in their portfolios.That's one of the findings of a new survey by of exchange-traded fund usage by BlackRock Canada, a big player in the ETF sector. Apparently, a lot of people are unfamiliar with ETFs and the way they're used. To remedy that, let's look at five things the BlackRock survey tells us about ETFs and their role in the investing universe:  FULL STORY arrow
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Dividend ETFs: Not the only game in town space
Do-it-yourself investors should at least consider D-series funds, which have much lower fees than traditional mutual funds
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, November 26, 2016 – Page B13
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-- Contempt for overpriced mutual funds may be keeping DIY investors from a surprisingly effective way to hold dividend stocks.Exchange-traded funds holding dividend stocks have been a hugely popular choice for people who prefer to buy a diversified portfolio rather than build one stock by stock. This is a great trend - ETFs are a cheap and efficient way to get into dividend stocks.  FULL STORY arrow
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Canada's renters don't deserve the bad rap space
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, November 25, 2016 – Page B1
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-- The last socially encouraged form of intolerance is directed at people who rent instead of owning a home.If house prices keep rising, we'll need to get over this narrowmindedness.  FULL STORY arrow
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Don't fret government bond decline space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, November 23, 2016 – Page B11
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-- Safe investments get pounded sometimes.That's a lesson to be drawn from the recent rout in bond markets. Government of Canada bonds have been trounced much harder than corporate bonds, which are flat out riskier. A government can always resort to tax increases to meet its debt obligations, while corporations are constrained by the need to price their goods and services competitively.  FULL STORY arrow
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Why debit may not be the smartest choice space
Credit card system is more efficient if you are a victim of fraud, says cybersecurity pro. But don't allow yourself to run up a balance
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By ROB CARRICK
Monday, November 21, 2016 – Page B6
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-- When cybersecurity expert Jennifer Fiddian-Green pays with plastic, it's always a credit card and never a debit card.Ms. Fiddian-Green is a forensic accountant at Grant Thornton LLP who investigates fraud.  FULL STORY arrow
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Renters, here's a way to cash in on those profiting off you space
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By ROB CARRICK
Monday, November 21, 2016 – Page B6
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-- There's an old piece of financial advice that says you should own the shares of companies that profit off you - banks, utilities and telecom and energy companies, for example.  FULL STORY arrow
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Explain to your kids how money works space
New survey shows children would prefer to get the financial facts of life from parents
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, November 18, 2016 – Page B14
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-- If you think talking with your teens about sex is awkward, try money.Seriously, try it. Your kids actually want to hear you tell them about how money works, a new survey shows. In fact, they'd prefer to get the facts of life from you as opposed to smartphone apps, online help or financial literacy curriculum at school.  FULL STORY arrow
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Do you have the right type of tax-free savings account? space
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, November 18, 2016 – Page B15
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-- TFSAs are a spectacularly useful financial tool, but you can buy the wrong kind.This point must be raised in light of a reader's recent note.This guy is in his mid-40s and recently woke to the benefits of the tax-free savings account. ''I can't believe I have been missing out on this tax-free growth opportunity,'' he said in an e-mail.  FULL STORY arrow
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A cautious wait-and-see approach might best help millennials to get into the market space
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, November 18, 2016 – Page B14
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-- Rob Carrick hosted a Facebook Live QandA session on Wednesday to answer millennials' questions about buying a home. Here are some edited excerpts of that discussion.How do first-time home buyers make sense of what is happening right now in the housing market?  FULL STORY arrow
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Tired of wild market swings? Try investing in farmland space
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By ROB CARRICK
Thursday, November 17, 2016 – Page B13
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-- With both bonds and stocks making wild swings recently, investing is getting more and more stressful.How to calm the anxious investor? Perhaps a more pastoral approach to portfolio-building.  FULL STORY arrow
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Housing worries grow with possible jump in mortgage rates space
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By ROB CARRICK
Tuesday, November 15, 2016 – Page B1
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-- You can stop waiting to see how the politics of Donald Trump will hit home here in Canada.Mr. Trump's plan is to stimulate the slow-growing U.S. economy by spending big on infrastructure, and that has financial markets worrying about inflation. As a result, investors are dumping bonds and causing certain interest rates to rise.  FULL STORY arrow
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Let's put an end to door-to-door selling space
Serious business can't possibly be conducted on a D2D basis, and reputable companies don't use this method of commerce
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By ROB CARRICK
Monday, November 14, 2016 – Page B8
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-- They say in the sales world that the pitch doesn't really begin until the customer says no.For door-to-door sales, that's wrong. Tell the person at your door that you're saying ''no thanks'' to his or her sales pitch and the whole concept of doorto-door sales. There's no coming back from that.  FULL STORY arrow
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U.S. stock market: the new haven? space
Contrarian argues Europe's troubles are set to unleash upheaval on the world
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, November 12, 2016 – Page B13
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-- Donald Trump's America suits Canadian portfolio manager Keith Dicker just fine.''We've been starting to add U.S. equities over the last few weeks and we'll be adding a little bit more over the next week or so,'' the president and chief investment officer of Halifax-based IceCap Asset Management Ltd. said after the U.S. election this week.  FULL STORY arrow
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Goodbye, calm: How Trump will affect personal finances space
From the Canadian dollar to rate hikes, surprise victory brings uncertainty
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By ROB CARRICK
Thursday, November 10, 2016 – Page B16
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-- Hello Donald Trump, goodbye financial calm.For better or for worse, a victory by Hillary Clinton in the U.S. presidential election would have meant more of the same in economy and financial markets.  FULL STORY arrow
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Here's a sensible portfolio option for those skittish about bonds space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, November 9, 2016 – Page B10
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-- I hate it when investing strategists trash bonds.It spooks investors who have made the rational and appropriate decision to diversify their portfolio with bonds. No matter how much bonds are badmouthed, there's no getting around the fact that the vast majority of investors should not have all their money in stocks.  FULL STORY arrow
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Have you saved enough for your health? space
Current and soon-to-be retirees need to digest the rising costs of health care - and it's never too early for millennials to do the same
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, November 4, 2016 – Page B12
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-- What we don't talk about when we talk about aging is the cost of health care.The annual health-related cost to various levels of government for a 45-year-old might average about $2,675, according to data obtained by the actuarial firm Eckler Ltd. from the non-profit Canadian Institute for Health Information. Make that $6,235 for a 65-year-old and $30,100 for a 90-year-old.  FULL STORY arrow
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How to build a portfolio from the ground up space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, November 2, 2016 – Page B10
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-- Struggling to figure out how to build a portfolio of quality dividend growth stocks?TULF it out. That's a mnemonic from dividend investing guru Tom Connolly, not a wisecrack.  FULL STORY arrow
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Credit unions want your banking business space
Firms such as Alterna Bank can offer high-interest savings accounts without pressure of shareholders demanding ever-rising profits
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By ROB CARRICK
Monday, October 31, 2016 – Page B3
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-- The online bank Tangerine is currently running a terrific TV commercial about how hard people work.Give it top marks for production values, emotional punch, gritty realism - and hypocrisy.''You work hard for your money,'' the spot concludes. ''Does your bank?'' If you judge by the tiny 0.8-per-cent return on its signature product, a savings account, Tangerine doesn't break a sweat.  FULL STORY arrow
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How temporary work is bad for personal, government finances space
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, October 28, 2016 – Page B1
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-- You make less money as a temporary worker, you may get smaller raises and you should expect to miss out on high-value extras such as pension contributions or health benefits.  FULL STORY arrow
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The case against dividend ETFs space
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, October 28, 2016 – Page B10
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-- Dividend ETFs have been slammed by one of the country's top experts on income investing.''I wouldn't even think of a dividend ETF,'' said Tom Connolly, publisher of the Connolly Report since 1981, in an interview. His objections: ''First of all, they have too many stocks. Second, they have the wrong kind of dividend stocks. They go for the high yield stuff.'' Mr. Connolly is a big believer in dividend growth - the Web address for his newsletter is DividendGrowth.ca. He finds the stocks that populate dividend ETFs to be excessively tilted toward delivering a high yield as opposed to dividend growth.  FULL STORY arrow
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Financial planners more useful than robos for big life changes space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, October 26, 2016 – Page B12
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-- ''Hi Rob,'' a 29-year-old's recent e-mail said. ''Long time reader of your column.''A 29-year-old who has been reading The Globe for a long time. Love it.  FULL STORY arrow
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