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GiveLife.ca

    
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PRINT EDITION
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Globe Columnists
Monday, September 16




  Rob Carrick
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Personal Finance



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Move over, S&P, there are some new indexes on the block space
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, September 14, 2019 – Page B11
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-- The uncontested benchmark for the Canadian stock market is the SandP/TSX Composite Index, but a growing number of exchange-traded funds and index funds are following a different path.  FULL STORY arrow
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Politicians must stop propping up idea of home ownership space
Peak housing affordability has come and gone - policies need to help renters
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, September 13, 2019 – Page B2
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-- The Liberal election announcement on housing on Thursday is a reminder of how we cling to the outdated idea of home ownership for all.House prices in some of our biggest cities are rising to levels that are unaffordable for a growing cohort of young people. Expect the Liberals to be joined in the days ahead by other parties offering to help these young buyers with measures that are destined to fail in one of two ways - by not making an appreciable difference in affordability, or by helping too well and stimulating demand to a point where it pushes prices higher.  FULL STORY arrow
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Yet another reason to get your will in order space
In the digital age, it's important to make sure you wind up your loyalty points and online presence
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, September 11, 2019 – Page B7
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-- PERSONAL FINANCEHaving an updated will could be the all-time most ignored piece of personalfinance advice.In the digital age, that's a bigger problem than it ever was in the past. Without a well-drafted will, your loved ones may never find some of your most important assets and possessions, and they may not be able to wind up your affairs the way you want.  FULL STORY arrow
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Not all rate-reset preferred shares get hammered by falling interest rates space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, September 11, 2019 – Page B7
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-- PERSONAL FINANCEThe most common type of preferred share is developing a reputation for being a liability when interest rates are falling.Don't entirely write off rate-reset preferreds in a falling rate world, though. A small slice of the rate-reset market offers a minimum dividend, a sweetener that helps these shares weather rate declines better than other rate-reset shares.  FULL STORY arrow
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Shielding your portfolio against shifts in currency space
Hedged ETFs can help provide diversification and limit worries related to fluctuations in value
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By ROB CARRICK
Tuesday, September 10, 2019 – Page B10
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-- Investing strictly in Canadian stocks wins you no points for diversification, but there are definite upsides.One is that the companies are familiar and easy to follow, while another is that you avoid the sometimes destructive, sometimes helpful effects of currency fluctuations on returns from U.S.  FULL STORY arrow
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Low interest rates: The new big threat to your finances space
For years, households were told to watch for a rising benchmark. Now, as rates fall, prepare for job and wage security to suffer
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By ROB CARRICK
Thursday, September 5, 2019 – Page B9
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-- A new worry has emerged for people who stress about debt.For years, this column and others have warned about the risks of rising interest rates. Now, get ready for the dangers of a lower-rate world. Borrowing would be cheap, but job and wage security suffers.  FULL STORY arrow
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REITs and utilities are the champion asset classes of the past 20 years space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, September 4, 2019 – Page B8
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-- INSIDE THE MARKETThrough all the stock market ups and downs of the past 20 years, the best-performing asset classes for Canadian investors have been real estate investment trusts and the utility sector.  FULL STORY arrow
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Take market plunges in stride with these sites space
With a likely recession on the horizon, things could get interesting, but there are resources to help you cope with any possible downturns
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, August 31, 2019 – Page B9
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-- PORTFOLIO STRATEGYNothing focuses investors on their portfolios like falling stock markets.Strong markets breed complacency - why fiddle with what's working? Falling stocks mean losses on paper and that makes people question their investments. Well-built portfolios anticipate setbacks every so often, so there may be no need to make changes. Still, people worry.  FULL STORY arrow
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One answer for Canada's treacherous preferred-share market is to buy American space
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By ROB CARRICK
Thursday, August 29, 2019 – Page B8
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-- INSIDE THE MARKETThe bulk of Canada's preferred-share market was built for a world that never materialized - one where interest rates returned to normal from their financial-crisis lows.  FULL STORY arrow
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How to figure out whether to sell space
With doom apparently on the horizon, it's tempting to cash out. But consider these factors before you do
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, August 28, 2019 – Page B7
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-- INSIDE THE MARKETShaky stock markets and growing concern about recession raise a question if you're an investor who remembers the carnage of 2008-09.Should you take profits on your stock-market holdings and hold cash, or ride out whatever's ahead? Here's one reader's take on this theme: A few years ago, she bought a U.S. equity fund that has increased in value by 22 per cent. ''How do I judge when to sell?'' she asked. ''I can't imagine it continuing to rise much further.  FULL STORY arrow
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A close-up look at preferred-share ETFs, the megahit turned surprise money-loser space
There's a temptation to blame investors when they buy things that turn on them, but let's go easy here
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, August 24, 2019 – Page B10
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-- PORTFOLIO STRATEGYCanadians love dividends, and preferred-share ETFs are dividend-paying machines. How this dream matchup went sour is a classic story of the right investing product appearing at the wrong time.  FULL STORY arrow
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A balanced ETF offers a low-fee, flexible approach to RESP portfolios space
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, August 23, 2019 – Page B6
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-- INSIDE THE MARKETParents, here's a task to add to your back to school to-do list: Check the registered education savings plan you set up for your children's college or university costs to see whether you have the right mix of investments.  FULL STORY arrow
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What investors can learn about ETF selection from this soon-to-be terminated fund space
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By ROB CARRICK
Thursday, August 22, 2019 – Page B7
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-- INSIDE THE MARKETTwo levels of flawed thinking are exposed when an exchange-traded fund is targeted for termination.One involves the ETF company's business case for launching the ETF in the first place, while the second concerns the investors who bought in. ETF companies know that not all funds will work, so terminations are not that big a deal for them. But for individual investors, holding a fund that is wound up suggests they've wasted their time and money.  FULL STORY arrow
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An investor-rights advocate's endless struggle space
Ken Kivenko has worked for years to reform regulators, but he says there isn't much meaningful change to point to
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, August 21, 2019 – Page B6
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-- PERSONAL FINANCERetired engineer Ken Kivenko has spent the past 15 years pushing securities regulators to do a better job of protecting investors from a profit-hungry financial industry.Mr. Kivenko might be Canada's most resolute investor advocate. He has facts and figures on every regulatory topic and he's a near automatic call for journalists covering regulatory matters affecting everyday investors. This summer has been a busy time in the regulatory world, with several files in play.  FULL STORY arrow
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Retirees should consider a low-volatility stock approach space
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, August 10, 2019 – Page B10
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-- INSIDE THE MARKETSome encouraging words for all the retirees who hold defensive stocks in sectors such as utilities, pipelines and consumer staples: You're doing the right thing.A report from the fund managers at Capital Group says that low-beta stocks - those that are less volatile than the benchmark stock index - are a good fit for investors with a shorter time horizon, including those nearing retirement. ''These [stocks] have a more conservative profile that reduces the risk of losses while at the same time keeping a healthy allocation to equities, which offer superior long-term returns compared to bonds,'' Sunder Ramkumar, senior vice-president of client analytics at Capital Group in Los Angeles, writes in the report.  FULL STORY arrow
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Bank swag doesn't come for free space
Some big lenders are trying to attract new clients with gifts such as iPads, cash or points, but there are caveats
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By ROB CARRICK
Thursday, August 8, 2019 – Page B6
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-- If you're up for a bribe, it's a great time to open a chequing account with one of the big banks.Royal Bank of Canada will give you an iPad that appears to have a retail value of more than $400 if you open one of two types of chequing accounts. Toronto-Dominion Bank and Bank of Montreal are offering $300 cash, while Bank of Nova Scotia is putting up 10,000 Scene points or Scotia Rewards points.  FULL STORY arrow
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A five-pack of dividend-growth stars that could be a bargain right now space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, August 7, 2019 – Page B6
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-- INSIDE THE MARKETStocks that are dividendgrowth champions typically have a fan base of investors that helps keep the share price on the rise.But there are exceptions from time to time that could present a buying opportunity.  FULL STORY arrow
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How to maximize TFSAs for retirement space
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, August 3, 2019 – Page B9
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-- Except for one serious problem, taxfree savings accounts are an excellent way to save for retirement.Your money compounds tax-free in a TFSA, and you can withdraw it tax-free in retirement or whenever. That's an advantage over registered retirement savings plans, where you get a tax break on contributions and then pay tax on withdrawal.  FULL STORY arrow
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Investors, prepare for portfolio gains to cool off space
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, August 3, 2019 – Page B9
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-- Add another voice to the chorus advising investors to cool it on their expectations for future gains.''Over the next decade, we believe that investors should prepare for lower annual portfolio returns,'' TD Economics said in a recent report. TD's view of the future sounds a lot like the one found in financial assumptions produced for Canadian financial planners to use in their projections for clients. The common thread is diminished expectations.  FULL STORY arrow
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A website to gossip about spending habits space
'Everyone's favourite voyeuristic hate-read,' Money Diaries, is set to launch in Canada. Will it boost financial anxiety?
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, August 2, 2019 – Page B6
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-- Money Diaries, an online feature in which people reveal their spending habits in minute and sometimes painful detail, launched in Canada on Tuesday.Can we handle it?In its U.S. version, Money Diaries has generated discussions so intense that a publicist seeking media attention for the Canadian launch called it ''everyone's favourite voyeuristic hate-read.''  FULL STORY arrow
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The U.S. Federal Reserve just saved Canadians who borrowed too much space
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By ROB CARRICK
Thursday, August 1, 2019 – Page B8
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-- The apocalypse for overextended borrowers was cancelled on Wednesday.Thank the U.S. Federal Reserve, which cut its trendsetting interest rate by one-quarter of a percentage point. In a stroke, the Fed killed the expectation that interest rates would rise back to historically normal levels and crush people with big debts.  FULL STORY arrow
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Why savings accounts are a great choice now space
With good returns and lots of competition, high-rate accounts are a safe vehicle to put away your money
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, July 27, 2019 – Page B9
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-- PORTFOLIO STRATEGYIf you look at both risk and reward, high-rate savings accounts might be a better place for your money than any alternative.Stocks are having a great year, but we saw late last year how quickly things can reverse. Bonds are performing nicely, but they keep doing the opposite of what people expect. Guaranteed investment certificates (GIC) don't pay enough to compensate for locking your money in and, at the end of the risk spectrum, bitcoin's a black box that no one really understands.  FULL STORY arrow
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Expect debt to be an election talking point space
Politicians will likely cast the middle class as victims, but money issues come down to personal responsibility
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By ROB CARRICK
Thursday, July 25, 2019 – Page B8
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-- Politicians standing up for the middle class might get some votes in the coming federal election, but they'll be doing more harm than good.We need a mature discussion about why so many people are worried about money and it has to involve debt. In the field of financial misery, debt is the killer app.  FULL STORY arrow
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An investor's take on a hot trend in account fees space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, July 24, 2019 – Page B9
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-- INSIDE THE MARKET If your investment adviser hasn't yet switched you over to a fee-based account, just wait. It's almost certainly going to happen.The latest PriceMetrix report on trends in investment advice fees shows that 52 per cent of adviser-client relationships included a fee-based account last year, up from 31 per cent in 2015.  FULL STORY arrow
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Is this high-net-worth investor paying a fair fee for investment advice? space
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By ROB CARRICK
Tuesday, July 23, 2019 – Page B8
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-- INSIDE THE MARKETThough they should be paying the lowest possible fees, high-networth investors have the same insecurity as everyone else about the cost of investment advice.As well they should. While the grids that investment firms use to set client fees apply lower charges for larger accounts, the overall level of transparency for all clients is generally weak. And so, a doctor with a seven-figure investment portfolio asked me not too long ago about whether he's paying a fair cost for the investment advice he's getting.  FULL STORY arrow
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DIY investors: Mutual funds can be your friend space
Online brokers are getting better at providing access to lower-fee Series D funds
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, July 20, 2019 – Page B8
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-- PORTFOLIO STRATEGYDIY investors, please check your snobbery about mutual funds for just one minute.After a push from regulators a year ago, online brokers are getting better at providing access to funds with lower fees than those sold by investment advisers. The prototypical DIY investor fled mutual funds to buy stocks and exchange-traded funds. But mutual funds offer the sort of diversification and professional management that might appeal to cautious DIYers.  FULL STORY arrow
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Canadians save more with TFSAs, but not always for retirement space
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, July 19, 2019 – Page B1
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-- Everyone loves tax-free savings accounts - this is not in dispute.But how good are TFSAs for the country? A study recently published in the Canadian Tax Journal raises some doubts.  FULL STORY arrow
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This growth-oriented RRSP portfolio is both simple and smart space
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, July 19, 2019 – Page B6
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-- INSIDE THE MARKETETFs holding a diversified blend of investments have been around for 18 months or so, but we're still learning about the many ways to put them to work.  FULL STORY arrow
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Coping with web password overload? Consider this one-stop approach space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, July 17, 2019 – Page B6
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-- Technology's most epic fail of the past two decades is arguably that passwords are still being used for internet security.Passwords were manageable 20 years ago, when we frequented a small number of websites at most and few or none of them involved money. Today, many of us have half our lives online.  FULL STORY arrow
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WHY A ONE-CENT DIVIDEND HIKE IS WORTH CHEERING FOR space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, July 17, 2019 – Page B5
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-- The food retailer Empire Co. Ltd.recently announced it would raise its quarterly dividend by a cent per share. Could there be a more yawn-inducing piece of financial news?  FULL STORY arrow
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Two vehicles can be too wasteful for retirees space
Seniors can do wonders for their financial health by having only one car in the driveway
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, July 12, 2019 – Page B6
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-- A s terrible as it for your finances, owning two cars is often unavoidable.Take two working parents, add kids and you have a strong convenience-based case for paying the many costs of owning and maintaining a pair of vehicles.  FULL STORY arrow
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Equal weight ETFs may sound competitive, but they're not worth your trouble space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, July 10, 2019 – Page B8
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-- INSIDE THE MARKETETF investing at its best - cheapest, in other words - means buying exchangetraded funds that track the biggest, most widely followed indexes.But how many different cheap funds tracking the likes of the SandP 500 and SandP/TSX Composite Index can Canada's ETF market support? Not that many, which is why companies in the ETF business are creating products that try to improve on the big indexes.  FULL STORY arrow
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Can a new player challenge online brokerages? space
Wealthsimple Trade may not be a big contender yet, but the company offers what other internet brokers do not: a clear interface and free transactions
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, July 6, 2019 – Page B8
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-- The cost of trading stocks online is less than $10 a transaction, but even that sounds expensive when compared with the deal offered by an aggressive new competitor.Wealthsimple Trade has been offering free stock trades since March. There are many catches - the firm offers only non-registered accounts right now, U.S.dollar accounts are unavailable and there are no tools for choosing stocks and monitoring your portfolio performance. But in an industry that hasn't seen any serious competition on commissions fees in years, free is big.  FULL STORY arrow
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Low-volatility approach is on a hot streak - but for how long? space
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, July 5, 2019 – Page B6
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-- Whether the stock markets go up or down, conservative stocks are king.One of the more surprising investing success stories of the past five years is how low-volatility stocks have consistently trounced the broader market.  FULL STORY arrow
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We need to come clean with millennials on big-city home ownership space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, July 3, 2019 – Page B6
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-- The good news on housing as we head into the second half of 2019 is that roughly three-quarters of Canadians live in communities where home ownership is affordable.But that other 25 per cent? In the words of the Royal Bank of Canada economists who produced their bank's most recent housing affordability study, the situation is ''dreadful.''  FULL STORY arrow
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Why you should avoid this alternative to bonds space
Preferred share ETFs won't limit damage in a market correction - and may add to the pain
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, July 3, 2019 – Page B7
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-- Low interest rates - and they could get lower - are a big problem in investing today.Investors are reluctant to put much of their portfolio in bonds or guaranteed investment certificates, and they're considering alternatives. The worst bond alternative by far is preferred shares.  FULL STORY arrow
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How ETF investors make extra work for themselves and hurt their returns space
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By ROB CARRICK
Tuesday, July 2, 2019 – Page B8
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-- INSIDE THE MARKETConcerned that the popular new class of balanced ETFs are too simple to be effective in your portfolio?If you answered yes, congratulations on your successful brainwashing by Bay Street. Simple is a virtue in investing, not a sign of weakness or laziness. The investing universe is well populated by people destroying value by overthinking things. And yet, suspicion of simplicity is common.  FULL STORY arrow
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Don't rely on denial to master your finances - just start saving space
An automated investing plan is likely to work much better than limiting one's spending
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, June 28, 2019 – Page B6
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-- PERSONAL FINANCEThe most intense debate in personal finance is no longer whether it's better to invest or pay down your mortgage.Today's guaranteed conversation starter is the question of whether you can find financial success by denying yourself small luxuries such as lattes or avocado toast and using the money instead to build wealth. Denial sells because it's easy to understand and theoretically practical. If you put $20 a week into investments earning 5 per cent on average each year, you end up with close to $71,000 in 30 years.  FULL STORY arrow
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This is the place to stash your investing cash space
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By ROB CARRICK
Thursday, June 27, 2019 – Page B10
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-- INSIDE THE MARKETOne of the toughest jobs in investing today is finding a productive place to park cash you want to deploy into the markets at a later date.  FULL STORY arrow
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If you're feeling bold, here's a chance to get into a top fund in a risky sector space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, June 26, 2019 – Page B9
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-- INSIDE THE MARKETAn opportunity has opened to get some of the smartest high-yield-bond fund managers in the country working on your portfolio.The PHandN High Yield Bond Fund reopens for new investors on Thursday after being capped for new clients back in April, 2016, because of concerns about a lack of good investment opportunities. The fund won't likely be open to new investors for long, and therein lies a dilemma: PHandN High Yield Bond Fund is one of the best names in its category, but now seems a less than ideal time to start shovelling money into high-yield bonds.  FULL STORY arrow
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Canadians losing big bucks on pensions space
Many do not contribute fully, or at all, to defined-contribution plans - and are passing on matching amounts from employers
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, June 26, 2019 – Page B9
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-- A surprisingly high number of people seem not to have read the memo about how precious a workplace pension plan is.These individuals are not contributing fully or at all to their company's defined-contribution (DC) pension, which means they're passing up matching contributions from their employer.  FULL STORY arrow
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The three ETF fees and how they work space
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, June 22, 2019 – Page B10
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-- INSIDE THE MARKETCan you tell the difference between the management fee for an exchange-traded fund and the management expense ratio?A Globe reader was stumped by these two terms and had the good sense to ask for help. ''Never before purchased ETFs,'' he wrote.  FULL STORY arrow
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Big bank serves up credit cards that save travellers money space
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, June 14, 2019 – Page B10
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-- A big bank has found it's good business to help customers avoid one of the sneakiest credit card fees of them all.Starting Aug. 1, Bank of Nova Scotia will offer a second credit card for retail clients that does not charge the usual 2.5-per-cent markup on purchases made in foreign currencies. The revamped Scotia Gold American Express card will join the popular Scotia Passport Visa Infinite card, which was launched in March, 2018.  FULL STORY arrow
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Investors who minimized bonds in their portfolio have outsmarted themselves space
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By ROB CARRICK
Tuesday, June 11, 2019 – Page B9
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-- INSIDE THE MARKETA year ago, bonds and bond funds were for losers.For the 12 months to May 31, 2018, the FTSE Canada Universe Bond Index was down 1 per cent on a total return basis (bond interest combined with changes in bond prices). Interest rates were rising at the time, and the outlook for bonds and bond funds was negative. And so you commonly heard investors talk about carving off some of their portfolio exposure to bonds and allocating it to stocks, cash or other things.  FULL STORY arrow
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Consistent management crushes inflation space
Continuous increases in payouts from dividend growth stocks are a sign a company has been well managed over a long period
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, June 8, 2019 – Page B9
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-- PORTFOLIO STRATEGYAn investor's best hedge against inflation is a dividend growth stock.But which stocks can you depend on to raise their dividend from year to year? A lot of Canadian companies, the big banks included, have either lost their dividend growth mojo temporarily or indefinitely in the past decade.  FULL STORY arrow
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As living costs rise, families may feel inflation's effects even more space
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, June 7, 2019 – Page B8
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-- A new study says the official inflation rate is underplaying the financial stress being felt by families with children.Statistics Canada's consumer price index is a carefully built gauge of the changing cost of a broad mix of goods and services for the whole population. It's natural for individuals to feel their own cost of living isn't fully reflected by the CPI, which has been tame for the better part of a decade.  FULL STORY arrow
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The hammer of high interest rates isn't dropping yet space
While borrowers may be safe from higher costs for now, they should use this breathing room to reduce risk exposure
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, June 5, 2019 – Page B10
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-- What was supposed to be a march back to normalcy for interest rates began just about two years ago.Rates did grind a fair bit higher in the ensuing months, but we're still nowhere near what would have been considered normal levels prior to the last recession.  FULL STORY arrow
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Looking for an investment adviser with happy clients? Give this website a spin space
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By ROB CARRICK
Tuesday, June 4, 2019 – Page B8
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-- INSIDE THE MARKETFinancial advisers have just been added to the list of professions where practitioners are rated online by their customers.Doctors are rated, and so are lawyers, professors and teachers.  FULL STORY arrow
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CRA's modernization effort appears to be paying off space
Agency statistics show Canadians are warming to new range of options aimed at simplifying the tax-filing process
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, May 31, 2019 – Page B9
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-- Filing your tax return is finally catching up to all the other financial transactions that have been made less tedious and troublesome by the internet.The Canada Revenue Agency has in the past four years introduced a range of electronic options to simplify and modernize the filing and monitoring of tax returns by individuals. CRA statistics supplied to The Globe and Mail show people picked right up on these new services in the 2019 tax season.  FULL STORY arrow
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How owning beats renting for the downsizing boomer space
Keeping the real estate will leave you richer in the end, according to one financial planner
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, May 29, 2019 – Page B8
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-- The rise of the housing market over the past 10 years has turned home ownership into a story told in financial more than lifestyle terms.So let's attack the question of how best for retiring baby boomers to downsize from the point of view of what makes the most financial sense.  FULL STORY arrow
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Is it better to sell or rent out a condo in Vancouver? space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, May 29, 2019 – Page B8
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-- One of the most striking changes in investing habits over the past five years is the increase in holding real estate as an investment.I see it often in notes from readers where they mention that their investments include properties such as houses, apartments or condos. Many rent these properties in order to generate income that will play a role in their retirement plan.  FULL STORY arrow
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Getting bad financial advice? Keep pressing space
John De Goey offers tips for investors trying to get the most out of misguided advisers
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, May 25, 2019 – Page B12
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-- If you want better investment advice, ask tougher questions of your adviser.That's the idea behind the latest book by John De Goey, an investment adviser who advocates for investors. Mr. De Goey believes most advisers are trying to do good work for clients, but they often fail because of misguided thinking. Selling high-cost investment products and chasing investments with great returns are all part of it.  FULL STORY arrow
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What is the best way to buy bonds as a retail investor? space
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, May 25, 2019 – Page B14
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-- The easiest way to add bonds to your portfolio is to buy a cheap, well-diversified exchange-traded fund designed to cover off the corporate and government bonds markets in a single purchase.  FULL STORY arrow
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Lenders are trying to keep Canadians hooked on borrowing space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, May 22, 2019 – Page B12
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-- Full credit to the banks for resourcefulness in selling Canadians on ways to rack up more debt.The latest debt numbers from the credit-monitoring firm TransUnion Canada suggest developments in real estate lending have slowed the market for home equity lines of credit, or HELOCs. The TransUnion numbers suggest banks have responded with a successful push on unsecured lines of credit, with much higher interest rates.  FULL STORY arrow
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What's better - bank shares or a bank stock ETF? space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, May 22, 2019 – Page B12
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-- INSIDE THE MARKETThe eruption of so many new ETFs in the Canadian market is putting more responsibility on investors to make sure they understand what they're buying.The need to spell this out was driven home in a recent e-mail from a reader who seems dissatisfied with the RBC Canadian Bank Yield Index ETF (RBNK-T).  FULL STORY arrow
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You can never be too old to invest in ETFs space
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, May 18, 2019 – Page B8
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-- Is it possible to oversell the benefits of one of the handiest investment products to come along in years?I wondered about this when a reader recently asked whether he was too old to invest in balanced exchange-traded funds. Balanced ETFs are fully diversified portfolios of bonds and Canadian, U.S.  FULL STORY arrow
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Balanced funds: A clear path to success space
We compare old-guard mutual funds with upstart ETFs so you can choose the one that's best for your portfolio
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, May 18, 2019 – Page B7
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-- PORTFOLIO STRATEGY A well-chosen balanced fund is the simplest path to investing success.Nothing else comes close because balanced funds are welldiversified portfolios you access through a single purchase. The only way to fail with a balance fund is to (a) not invest regularly or (b) make a bad choice of fund.  FULL STORY arrow
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Saving for retirement feels stifling to this millennial space
One reader says she would prefer a more flexible plan than her defined benefit pension
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, May 17, 2019 – Page B8
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-- A defined benefit pension is a rare and precious thing in today's work force.There's even a phrase, pension envy, to describe the muttering of pension-less people about those who will receive monthly retirement income for as long as they live, possibly with inflation protection. But contributing to a defined benefit pension can take a big slice of your paycheque.  FULL STORY arrow
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These numbers demand you diversify your investments globally space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, May 15, 2019 – Page B10
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-- INSIDE THE MARKETThe Canadian stock market is what it is - old-school sectors, such as financials and resources, rule, while new economy sectors, like health care and tech, are nearly insignificant.  FULL STORY arrow
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How a hot trend in electronic banking is making life easier for seniors space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, May 15, 2019 – Page B10
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-- Can we all agree that paying for stuff with a tap of your debit or credit card is perhaps the greatest innovation in banking since the ATM?There may not be a technology that is more friendly to all generations, from young people to seniors. This helps explain why tap, as accessed via Interac Flash and both Visa and Mastercard, is taking off like nobody's business in Canada.  FULL STORY arrow
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Helping young adults find their financial footing space
The Real Life Money Launcher tool assists in identifying savings goals and laying out strategies
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, May 10, 2019 – Page B8
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-- Personal finance was simpler back in the connect-thedots world where people commonly moved from graduation or college to starting a career to marriage to home ownership to raising a family to retirement.  FULL STORY arrow
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How much should conservative, balanced and aggressive investors expect to make annually? space
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, May 10, 2019 – Page B8
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-- INSIDE THE MARKETHeard the argument that the economy will grow more slowly than in the past because of our aging population?The same applies to your investment portfolio. The latest financial market return projections issued for financial planners to use in their work suggest investors of all types should rein in expectations on how their portfolios will perform over the long term (10 years and longer).  FULL STORY arrow
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A surprisingly upbeat outlook on cash, bonds space
FP Canada Standards Council projections on inflation, market returns offer optimistic view over long-term period
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By ROB CARRICK
Thursday, May 9, 2019 – Page B11
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-- INSIDE THE MARKETThere's some eye-opening optimism in the latest investment return projections produced for financial planners.Every year, the FP Canada Standards Council issues Project Assumption Guidelines to set out long-term projections for inflation and financial-market returns.  FULL STORY arrow
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Canadians are investing less, and that's a good thing space
Data suggest flows of money into investment products are falling because people are choosing to pay down debt instead
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, May 8, 2019 – Page B11
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-- An atrocious RRSP season for the investment industry may suggest Canadians are making some pretty smart personal-finance decisions right now.The theory goes like this: Flows of money into investment products of all types fell drastically late last year and in the first quarter of 2019 because people were paying down debt.  FULL STORY arrow
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Why this investor should sell mutual funds and buy GICs space
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, May 4, 2019 – Page B14
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-- Finally, a clear-cut case for an investor to start dumping high-fee mutual funds to buy something else.One of the more common inquiries I've had from readers in the past two years or so is what to do about mutual fund with high management-expense ratios. My usual answer is to investigate the funds in question to see how well they've performed. While high fees are a drag on returns, it's possible a fund can still deliver decent returns relative to the risks they take on. Advice provided by the adviser selling the funds may also be a mitigating factor.  FULL STORY arrow
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Goodbye, variable-rate mortgage - everyone is going for fixed rates space
Canada's slow-growth economy and its effect on interest is largely driving the shift
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, May 3, 2019 – Page B11
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-- Only the most dedicated variable-rate mortgage fans are staying loyal today.Everyone else is moving over to fixed-rate five-year mortgages.Mortgage agent David Larock says 95 per cent of clients are choosing a fixed rate, compared with a 50-50 split between fixed and variable last summer. Mortgage broker Sandra Epstein says she's doing almost exclusively fixed rate, while broker Mike Bricknell said fixed rate accounts for 90 per cent of his business right now.  FULL STORY arrow
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Interest-rate bonuses make banks appear more generous than they are space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, May 1, 2019 – Page B10
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-- A bank or credit union can play it three ways in offering savings accounts to customers.One: Offer a competitive interest rate to everyone, all the time.Two: Offer a junk rate and count on customers being oblivious.  FULL STORY arrow
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Here's where you can still find 3-per-cent GICs space
Opportunities are growing increasingly rare, but a few players still have them on offer
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, May 1, 2019 – Page B10
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-- PERSONAL FINANCEThe Bank of Canada's latest comments on interest rates offer no hope to conservative investors and savers about better returns in the near term.With the economy struggling to build momentum, the central bank essentially has stopped talking about getting rates back to more normal levels. If you were wondering whether the pullback in yields on bonds and guaranteed investment certificates since last fall will be reversed any time soon, you now have an answer.  FULL STORY arrow
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How to get a second opinion on your portfolio space
From robo-advisers to companies that offer a human touch, there are a number of options to get additional advice on your financial plans
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, April 27, 2019 – Page B11
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-- PORTFOLIO STRATEGYA client came to Money Coaches Canada recently for a second opinion on the investment portfolio her adviser designed for a $2-million inheritance.''She just wasn't sure he was doing the right thing for her, given that she knew that he made his money on the basis of investments,'' said Money Coaches chief executive and co-founder Karin Mizgala. ''She liked him, she kind of trusted him, but she felt kind of vulnerable.''  FULL STORY arrow
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Suburbs can save you money - just be wary space
Buying outside the city can reduce mortgage payments, but other costs can offset the savings
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, April 26, 2019 – Page B9
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-- There's a 25-per-cent-off sale going on in the housing market.Just buy a home in the suburbs instead of the city. A pricing comparison of housing in and outside Toronto shows a consistent suburban discount for detached and semi-detached houses, townhomes and condos.  FULL STORY arrow
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I'M A WEEK INTO OWNING A HOME - HOW MUCH SHOULD I BE INVESTING? space
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, April 26, 2019 – Page B9
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-- The definition of an affordable home is one that leaves you room to save and invest while paying your mortgage and other costs of ownership.But how, exactly, do you approach saving and investing when you're just taken on the biggest financial responsibility of your life? This is the question a reader asked recently, just a week after buying a home. ''As a homeowner (feels surreal saying it out loud), what's the right proportion or strategy of having cash in hand for emergencies versus investing in TFSA/RRSPs for retirement? Or, do I keep building cash to pay off my car loan or mortgage faster? Just looking to learn what is the right balance.''  FULL STORY arrow
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Did your adviser discuss last year's decline with you? space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, April 24, 2019 – Page B9
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-- INSIDE THE MARKET Last year was a test for investment advisers, and it's only partly because the markets were generally garbage.The real challenge for advisers: Did they reach out to clients to discuss what the sharp decline in stocks meant to their financial plan?  FULL STORY arrow
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A 'saver's credit' could encourage low-income people to use TFSAs space
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, April 20, 2019 – Page B10
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-- Ten years of tax-free savings accounts have shown us these hugely popular savings vehicles have a weak spot.No, it's not that TFSAs should have a higher annual contribution limit. The real problem is that they're not serving lower-income Canadians as well as they should.  FULL STORY arrow
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How $250 could protect against a $43,000 flood in your basement space
Water-related insurance claims are on the rise, but you can stem the flow with these simple preventive steps
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, April 19, 2019 – Page B7
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-- Amotto for the prepared home owner: Water is coming.Apologies for jumping aboard the Game of Thrones trend - ''Winter is coming'' is the motto of a dynastic family in the book and TV series. But there is no overdramatizing water's malevolent force when you own a house with a basement.  FULL STORY arrow
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Is this conservative investor paying too much in adviser fees? space
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, April 19, 2019 – Page B7
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-- The fee-based investment advice trend can be problematic for conservative investors with portfolios full of safe investments that require minimal advisory oversight.Fee-based advice means paying a percentage of the value of your account assets to your adviser and his or her firm. Figure on roughly 1 per cent or so for high-net-worth investors on an annualized basis and as much as 1.5 per cent or more for smaller accounts. For that, you get advice on portfolio building and other services, possibly financial planning, plus any trades required to maintain your investments.  FULL STORY arrow
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Balanced ETFs are a hit, and rightfully so space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, April 17, 2019 – Page B8
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-- The most influential ETF product of the past year or so has nothing to do with cannabis, artificial intelligence, liquid alts or any other trends of the day.Balanced ETFs - diversified portfolios packaged into a single fund - are much more of a foundation for the future success of the ETF business. The original products in this category, the Vanguard Conservative ETF Portfolio (VCNS), Balanced ETF Portfolio (VBAL) and Growth ETF Portfolio (VGRO), were listed for trading on the TSX in late January, 2018.  FULL STORY arrow
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How raising the age for CPP and OAS to 67 would benefit the whole country space
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By ROB CARRICK
Monday, April 15, 2019 – Page B7
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-- It's time to acknowledge that people are both working and living longer by increasing the standard age for starting retirement benefits to 67, Canada's actuaries say.Raising the retirement age for Canada and Quebec pension-plan benefits and Old Age Security from 65 would help make retirees and governments more financially secure and improve the performance of the economy, the Canadian Institute of Actuaries (CIA) says in a report to be issued Monday.  FULL STORY arrow
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ETF Buyer's Guide: Diversifying your portfolio with U.S. and global dividends space
These funds, with bigger holdings in sectors such as health care and technology, can help break the dominance of financial stocks
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, April 13, 2019 – Page B8
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-- The Canadian stock market's problem with diversification is a particular challenge for dividend investors.The SandP/TSX Composite Index is close to one-third weighted to financial stocks. Because so many financials are good dividend-payers, investors seeking dividend income can end up with much higher levels of exposure to banks, insurers and investment firms. In the most recent instalment of The Globe and Mail 2019 ETF Buyer's Guide, covering Canadian dividend ETFs, there were funds with as much as 65 per cent of their portfolios in financial stocks.  FULL STORY arrow
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Considering a downsize? Tread carefully space
Weaker housing markets make timing the sale of your home tricky, especially if you need the equity for retirement
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, April 12, 2019 – Page B8
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-- Boomers who own houses worth many times what they paid have a retirement planning advantage that may never be equalled by future generations.Weaker housing markets in many cities this year remind us that this boomer housing wealth isn't locked in. Make your downsizing decisions accordingly.  FULL STORY arrow
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Borrowing money to buy low after market crashes can pay off space
Investing during downturns can be a financial burden, but may prove to be one of the best strategies
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, April 12, 2019 – Page B9
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-- Anyone brave enough to shovel money into stocks late last year has been well rewarded in early 2019.Lesson to investors: Market declines are shocking and stressful, but they're also great buying opportunities. A thirtysomething reader seems to have absorbed that lesson well. He's looking for comment on a plan to borrow money when the next market downturn happens.  FULL STORY arrow
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How to invest $100,000 in the wake of a divorce space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, April 10, 2019 – Page B10
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-- Ask financial planners about life's top wealth destroyers and divorce is guaranteed to be mentioned.So when someone comes out of a divorce with a chunk of money to invest, the process has to be handled carefully. You'll see why in a question recently submitted by a reader: ''I am a recently divorced woman aged 57. Working part time. Have some money to invest (about $100,000). Looking for something secure for my retirement. Any advice?'' Here's some advice: See a financial planner. Find someone to talk to about where you are now, postdivorce, what your financial goals are and when you hope to reach them. This discussion will dictate what to do with the $100,000.  FULL STORY arrow
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No, it is not okay to be 'house poor' space
Giving a cute name to living outside your means doesn't justify this approach to home ownership
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, April 10, 2019 – Page B11
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-- There is one thing above all others that our society encourages you to overspend on - houses.We even have a cute phrase for buying more home than you can afford: ''house poor.'' And being house poor isn't bad, the conventional - and wrong - thinking goes. You're just paying your dues for the greater glory of owning a house.  FULL STORY arrow
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What's a good way to invest $5,000 to start an RESP for a toddler? space
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, April 5, 2019 – Page B10
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-- If you really want to squeeze the maximum juice from a registered education savings plan, start just after a child is born.Starting young helps ensure the RESP draws the maximum amount of grant money available to encourage contributions.  FULL STORY arrow
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Renting and raving in Toronto tenant hell space
Readers share their horror stories of trying to find digs in Canada's most populous city
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, April 5, 2019 – Page B10
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-- The Toronto rental market is one of the most depressing stories in personal finance.Millennials renting in Toronto were invited in my e-mail newsletter last week to write me about their experiences. Dozens of people, millennials and their parents as well, responded with stories about awful living conditions, bad landlords and high prices that make life unaffordable. What follows is a selection of responses divided into several different themes on living as a renter in Canada's most populous city.  FULL STORY arrow
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Should this investor give up her 'steady-Eddie' dividend portfolio? space
In a period of low interest rates, a bond weighting dilemma emerges
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, April 3, 2019 – Page B11
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-- INSIDE THE MARKETThe recent downturn in interest has reignited the debate about whether investors can substitute dividend stocks for bonds.A retired 58-year-old reader says she was recently told by a feefor-service financial planner (paid an hourly or flat rate, doesn't sell products) that her portfolio is overweight in stocks and needs more bonds. ''I'm struggling with giving up my steady-Eddie dividend portfolio,'' she wrote.  FULL STORY arrow
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New online bank aims to attract cost-conscious customers space
Like other virtual institutions, Motusbank offers savings where big lenders don't
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By ROB CARRICK
Tuesday, April 2, 2019 – Page B12
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-- The flat yield curve everyone in finance is talking about these days is a gift to Canada's newest online bank.Motusbank, brought to you by Ontario-based Meridian Credit Union, is a virtual bank that charges nothing for chequing accounts, pays a good rate on savings and has a unique offer on mortgages: All terms from one to five years have the same interest rate.  FULL STORY arrow
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Interest rate trends say now is the time to make a decision about annuities space
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, March 30, 2019 – Page B9
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-- Falling interest rates mean returns are slipping away from people who rely on conservative investments.Returns from guaranteed investment certificates have been edging lower and so have payouts from annuities. A 65-year-old man who 12 months ago put $250,000 into an annuity with payouts guaranteed for 10 years would have received $15,602 a year, says Rino Racanelli, an insurance adviser who specializes in annuities. Mr. Racanelli ran the same quote earlier this week and came up with a best payout of $14,893, which is $709 less a year.  FULL STORY arrow
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The ETF Buyer's Guide: Dividend, income funds space
Products on this list have a minimum five-year history and, save for one, show a decent following
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, March 30, 2019 – Page B10
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-- PORTFOLIO STRATEGYNothing makes a case for dividend ETFs like low interest rates.The yield on the five-year Government of Canada bond slipped below 1.5 per cent in late March, while rates on five-year guaranteed investment certificates ranged from 2.2 per cent to 3.2 per cent.  FULL STORY arrow
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A tempting but perilous way to earn credit-card rewards space
Paying rent or tuition with plastic may seem like an easy method of earning goodies, but fees and debt risk can negate gains
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, March 29, 2019 – Page B10
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-- PERSONAL FINANCEThe obsessive pursuit of credit card reward points has opened the door for people to put their rent on plastic, as well as their taxes, utility bills, tuition and more.  FULL STORY arrow
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My dad gets retirement income from an annuity - should I do the same? space
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By ROB CARRICK
Thursday, March 28, 2019 – Page B8
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-- If there's a single shining example of investors outsmarting themselves, it has to be annuities.  FULL STORY arrow
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Help for retirees living the RRSP 'tax nightmare' space
Saving gradually throughout the year can pay off come tax time, financial planner says
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, March 27, 2019 – Page B7
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-- One of the tests of a wellplanned retirement is how prepared you are to pay your taxes.Taxes are the enemy of serenity in retirement. ''Our RRSPs have become a tax nightmare,'' a Globe and Mail reader said in a recent e-mail that echoes dozens, maybe hundreds, of others I've received over the years.  FULL STORY arrow
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Four things ETF investors are doing right space
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, March 23, 2019 – Page B11
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-- PORTFOLIO STRATEGYCanada's ETF industry is a Krakatoa of new-product eruptions - 23 new exchange-traded funds in February alone and 813 in total.Kudos to investors for keeping their heads amid all this commotion.  FULL STORY arrow
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Beware the pitch for liquid alternatives space
Worried asset managers say stocks and bonds are no longer enough for your portfolio - but that's not really the case
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, March 20, 2019 – Page B11
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-- Here's a strong sign that the investment business is worried about a big market decline.There's growing talk from asset managers these days about the benefits of liquid alternatives as a complement to a basic portfolio of stocks and bonds. Liquid alts include commodities, real estate, infrastructure and derivatives. The pitch for adding them to a portfolio is to improve returns while managing risk.  FULL STORY arrow
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Why household overspending is worse than a federal deficit space
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By ROB CARRICK
Monday, March 18, 2019 – Page B1
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-- Just in time for the season of federal and provincial budgets comes a new line of thinking that deficits aren't so bad after all.Government deficits, that is.Households that spend more than they earn are headed for trouble. There are no new economic theories to explain this away.  FULL STORY arrow
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The ETF Buyer's Guide: The top global funds space
This edition focuses on core funds that have been around for at least three years and preferably five
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, March 16, 2019 – Page B14
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-- PORTFOLIO STRATEGY G lobal funds are where we find the ETF industry going to extremes to be all things to all investors.There isn't a permutation of investing outside Canada that you can't cover with exchangetraded funds. There are ETFs that give you the world outside Canada - and that exclude both Canada and the United States while giving you everything else.  FULL STORY arrow
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Risk lurks in the asterisks for online mortgage shoppers space
Here are four reasons why you might not qualify for those great lending terms you saw posted on the internet
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, March 15, 2019 – Page B8
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-- The internet isn't the friend it once was to people looking for the lowest mortgage rate.All the mortgage-rate comparisons you'll ever want to see are available online, but there's an increasingly problematic lack of context and explanation. If you spot a great rate online, look for asterisks and fine print that explain who qualifies.  FULL STORY arrow
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If you judge by ETF sales trends, pessimism about the loonie is rampant space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, March 13, 2019 – Page B6
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-- There are two big decisions to make when searching for an exchange-traded fund to track U.S. or international markets - which index do you choose, and should you go hedged or unhedged?  FULL STORY arrow
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It's time to change the RRSP conversation space
Baby boomers are avidly contributing to savings plans - but younger people, not so much
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, March 13, 2019 – Page B6
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-- RRSPs are going grey.Owing to expensive real estate and the advent of tax-free savings accounts (TFSAs), adults in their 20s through 40s have less of a presence among contributors to registered retirement savings plans than they did a decade and a half ago. Meanwhile, people aged 55 and up are starting to dominate.  FULL STORY arrow
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GDP JOBS WEALTH YOU space
If the economy is good, why are Canadians so worried about money?
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, March 9, 2019 – Page B1
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-- A lot has gone right for the economy in the past decade, yet evidence is mounting that Canadians are worried sick about money.People are losing sleep over their household finances and their physical and emotional health is suffering. ''I keep Kleenex in my office all the time,'' said Shannon Lee Simmons, a financial planner in Toronto whose clients typically come in to talk about things such as the soaring cost of housing, crippling debt levels and an inability to save for retirement. ''People cry often.''  FULL STORY arrow
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How to deal with rent from millennials living at home space
Besides returning the contributions later, parents can also invest in ETFs or mutual funds
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, March 8, 2019 – Page B11
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-- Parents today have financial issues that previous generations never had to grapple with.Example: How to invest the money they charge their adult children in rent.''We are collecting rent from our millennial and we want to keep it separate from our finances, but invested,'' a reader writes.  FULL STORY arrow
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