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GiveLife.ca

    
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PRINT EDITION
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Globe Columnists
Sunday, July 23




  Rob Carrick
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Personal Finance



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Bond investors, hang tough space
As long as there's an expectation of rising interest rates, bonds will struggle. Here's a seven-point survival guide
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, July 22, 2017 – Page B10
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-- Doing the right thing as an investor can sometimes be costly and painful. Example: Holding bonds when interest rates are rising.Bonds are a non-negotiable part of a well-diversified portfolio, but they're struggling right now. Count on this continuing as long as there's an expectation of high rates in Canada.  FULL STORY arrow
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About those pension payments for life you were counting on ... space
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, July 21, 2017 – Page B1
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-- Apparently, Sears Canada can't interest you in kitchen appliances, golf pants, tube socks, luggage or any of the other miscellaneous items found in its stores.Now, what about defined-contribution pension plans? The struggling retailer, now under court protection from its creditors, has done a great job lately of selling people on the attributes of this second-best type of pension plan.  FULL STORY arrow
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Why GIC rates will stay stuck in the basement space
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By ROB CARRICK
Tuesday, July 18, 2017 – Page B1
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-- As a seller of GICs and mortgages, Brandon Brot is the first to hear about how the financial industry is reacting to the recent rise in interest rates.Every day, he receives bulletins about changes in rates for both GICs and mortgages. ''We're getting mortgage-rate increase, mortgage-rate increase, mortgage-rate increase these days,'' said Mr. Brot, a principal at GIC Wealth Management. ''But we don't see anything on the GIC side.'' The Bank of Canada's first increase in its benchmark lending rate in seven years has either directly or indirectly fed increases in borrowing costs for mortgages, lines of credit and loans in the past week or so.  FULL STORY arrow
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Your new retirement-income tool: TFSAs space
A breakthrough strategy using these versatile accounts to pay yourself in retirement offers simplicity - and new levels of tax freedom
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, July 15, 2017 – Page B10
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-- TFSAs are still new enough that using them for generating tax-free retirement income is a fresh concept.Just fill your tax-free savings account with dividend stocks, real estate investment trusts, preferred shares and such, and then pay yourself tax-free income using the combined income and share price appreciation. For simplicity and efficiency, it's a breakthrough strategy.  FULL STORY arrow
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The question we should be asking about our debt space
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, July 14, 2017 – Page B1
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-- Trivia question: What is the interest rate you're paying on your various debts?Interest rates seem vitally important in a week in which the Bank of Canada raised its benchmark lending rate for the first time in seven years, but they're not what you should be focusing on as you prepare for the possibility of borrowing costs ahead.  FULL STORY arrow
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A surprise ally for your portfolio against rising interest rates space
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, July 14, 2017 – Page B8
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-- Preferred shares as a hedge against rising interest rates?Believe it. The changing profile of the preferred share market in recent years has remade what was once a dismal place to be in a rising rate world.  FULL STORY arrow
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How the rate hike affects your mortgage space
When the Bank of Canada changes its benchmark rate, the move ripples through to other interest rates, including those of mortgages. With that in mind, Rob Carrick, Jeremy Agius and Matt Lundy provide a guide to how the rate hike will affect homeowners and prospective buyers
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By ROB CARRICK, JEREMY AGIUS, MATT LUNDY
Thursday, July 13, 2017 – Page A8
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-- HOMEOWNERS WITH FIXED-RATE MORTGAGESThere is no immediate impact on payments for existing mortgages. Only when the mortgage comes up for renewal would higher rates affect payments.The interest rate on fixed-rate mortgages is influenced by the interest rates on bonds issued by the federal government, not the Bank of Canada's overnight rate.  FULL STORY arrow
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Five harsh realities of rising rates for savers and borrowers space
No real winners with Bank of Canada rate hike
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By ROB CARRICK
Thursday, July 13, 2017 – Page A8
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-- Everyone has something to complain about as interest rates rise. There are no true winners - borrowers pay more, while returns for savers and cautious investors improve to pretty bad levels from the punitively awful. Here are five harsh realities of rising rates for both savers and borrowers:  FULL STORY arrow
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What to do with risky preferred shares? Don't own them at all space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, July 12, 2017 – Page B7
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-- A reader recently asked what to do about some preferred shares in his portfolio that he was quite correctly worried about.The investment he asked about was a preferred-share issue from Aimia Inc., parent company of the popular Aeroplan customerloyalty program. Aeroplan announced in May that its star attraction, Air Canada, will exit to start its own client-loyalty offering starting in 2020.  FULL STORY arrow
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Six ETFs that could get smacked by rising rates space
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By ROB CARRICK
Monday, July 10, 2017 – Page B5
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-- We've seen so little of rising interest rates in the past few years that it's worth a review of how they affect various types of investments. Here's a six-pack of exchange-traded funds that could come under pressure when rates rise: 6 BMO Equal Weight Utilities Index ETF (ZUT): The utilities sector is notoriously sensitive to rising interest rates. Remember, utilities are a defensive sector that flourishes in uncertain times. If rates are rising, that signifies an expanding economy.  FULL STORY arrow
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Make no mistake, borrowers will bear the brunt of rate increase space
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, July 7, 2017 – Page B1
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-- W hen the Bank of Canada cut interest rates in 2015, the big banks brazenly refused to fully pass along the full extent of lower borrowing costs to their clients.  FULL STORY arrow
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If your portfolio works, stop worrying about missing out space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, July 5, 2017 – Page B7
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-- A reader reports that she had a nice little portfolio of ETFs going, but then started putting money into something she thought was better - TD e-Series index mutual funds. Now, she has a question: Sell the ETFs and commit to e-Series funds, or find some better ETFs?  FULL STORY arrow
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TFSAs squeezing out RRSPs space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, July 5, 2017 – Page B1
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-- TFSAs are beating up on RRSPs.The tax-free savings account has only been around since 2009, while registered retirement savings plans were created in 1957. But age and experience count for little in today's savings world. Data from the Canada Revenue Agency show that TFSAs have been drawing in more money than RRSPs in recent years, and the growth rate in TFSA contributions makes RRSPs look kind of sad.  FULL STORY arrow
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Six reasons to be thankful on Canada 150 space
Amid the festivities, let's pause to salute a few personal-finance gems, from TFSAs to the humble loonie
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, June 30, 2017 – Page B8
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-- Not everything is about money.But Canada's 150th birthday is an ideal opportunity to consider our good fortune in living in this country. In the personal-finance realm, here are six things to be thankful for as Canadians.  FULL STORY arrow
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How to benefit from a rate hike space
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, June 30, 2017 – Page B9
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-- The positive spin on the interest rate increase that could come as soon as July 12 is deliverance from the hell of trying to earn a decent return on safe money.  FULL STORY arrow
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Six index busters to help diversify your portfolio space
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By ROB CARRICK
Thursday, June 29, 2017 – Page B8
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-- Good money has been made by investing in the main Canadian stock market index - close to 7.5 per cent annually on average for the past 30 years.But the SandP/TSX composite index is definitely flawed. It's our very own index and totally reflective of corporate Canada.  FULL STORY arrow
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Should you dip into your home's equity? space
It's time to take a fresh look at the reverse mortgage and get over the common view that it's a last resort or short-sighted measure
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, June 28, 2017 – Page B9
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-- There's still one notable example of the old Canadian conservatism with money.It's the reluctance of retired people to crack open the equity they have in their homes and spend the money. Strong growth in demand for reverse mortgages suggests this won't last.  FULL STORY arrow
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Seeking bond ETFs that can weather rising interest rates space
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By ROB CARRICK
Monday, June 26, 2017 – Page B5
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-- Worried about what rising interest rates will do to your bond holdings?Let's look at some bond ETFs that combine a low level of vulnerability to a rate increase with cheap fees.  FULL STORY arrow
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Home Capital GICs: A new layer of confidence space
With Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway offering financial support, the company may not need to offer premium rates for long
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, June 23, 2017 – Page B9
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-- If Warren Buffett likes Home Capital enough to invest in its shares, then there's less reason to hold back on the company's GICs.That 3.25-per-cent, five-year guaranteed investment certificate that Home Capital's selling under its Oaken Financial brand?  FULL STORY arrow
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How high debt loads are hurting our children space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, June 21, 2017 – Page B1
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-- The debt of parents will be visited upon their children.That's not a Bible quote. It's economics.Some parents owe so much they can't save adequately for their children to attend college or university, new research from the analysis firm Strategic Insight shows. The impact on kids could turn out to be a lifetime of indebtedness - from their student years into retirement.  FULL STORY arrow
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An ETF fee cut in the dividend aisle space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, June 21, 2017 – Page B12
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-- One by one, the higher-cost ETF categories are getting cheaper for investors.Bond funds, at one time overpriced by the standards of the exchange-traded fund business, have become cheaper to own in the past year or so. Now, fees for dividend ETFs are getting the chop.  FULL STORY arrow
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Are these preferreds a 5-per-cent solution? space
If you're after steady, bond-beating investment income, perpetual preferred shares are at least worth considering
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, June 17, 2017 – Page B10
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-- Five-per-cent dividend yields are plentiful today in a mostly overlooked corner of the preferred-share market.Perpetual preferred shares are a classic risk-reward case study for investors. The yields are juicy in today's low-rate world, and reliable where blue-chip companies are the issuer. The bulk of the preferred-share market today is made up of rate resets, which all have their own formulas for setting payouts in relation to fiveyear Government of Canada bond yields. With a perpetual, the yield is the yield.  FULL STORY arrow
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Food prices offer a taste of inflation to come space
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, June 16, 2017 – Page B1
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-- For a taste of good, old-fashioned inflation, check your grocery bill.Although Statistics Canada's consumer price index says food prices have fallen a bit in the past year, there are indications from another source that the cost of some grocery items has increased a lot.  FULL STORY arrow
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Six smart ways to get ready for rate hikes space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, June 14, 2017 – Page B1
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-- The Bank of Canada has begun the process of slapping Canadians back to reality on interest rates.Economic growth is picking up and the central bank made it clear earlier this week that it's looking at whether to raise rates. CIBC Economics sees the bank raising rates by a total 0.5 of a percentage point in the first six months of 2018, or a bit sooner.  FULL STORY arrow
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Small-cap stocks: Not what they're hyped up to be space
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By ROB CARRICK
Thursday, June 8, 2017 – Page B13
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-- The story on small-cap stocks is that they offer more risk with the potential for better returns than blue chips.The reality over the past 10 years for small-cap stocks, however, is more risk and worse returns. Investors did far better with blue chips than with smaller companies. Until global economic growth moves sustainably higher, this trend is likely to continue.  FULL STORY arrow
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Readvanceable mortgages: A trap for the debt-addicted space
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By ROB CARRICK
Thursday, June 8, 2017 – Page B1
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-- The newest product offering in convenient, low-cost borrowing has quite the hook.Readvanceable mortgages combine a mortgage and home-equity line of credit (HELOC). As you pay down your mortgage, you increase the amount you can bor.  FULL STORY arrow
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How to play Toronto's falling real estate prices space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, June 7, 2017 – Page B1
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-- In an expensive housing market, it only takes a small price drop to help buyers save big time.Someone who bought an average-priced home in Toronto in May instead of April would have saved $56,881. That's a substantial $234 a month for someone who made a 10-per-cent down payment on the average Toronto home in May and borrowed the rest at 2.5 per cent over a term of five years.  FULL STORY arrow
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For those thinking of investing in ETFs: Are you sure? space
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By ROB CARRICK
Monday, June 5, 2017 – Page B7
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-- They're in their 70s with a low six-figure portfolio invested in bank mutual funds. They would like to switch to ETFs.Welcome to my world. More and more, I'm hearing from readers who want in on the low cost of exchange-traded funds. My response: Are you sure?  FULL STORY arrow
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Why bond ETFs are proving more and more enticing space
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, June 3, 2017 – Page B9
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-- The fees on bond ETFs are finally falling into line with the low interest rate world we're stuck in.Exchange-traded funds holding bonds are less costly to own than bond mutual funds. But with bond yields as low as they've been in recent years, bond ETFs still seemed a bit pricey. Price competition in the ETF business is taking care of this, at least for core bond funds.  FULL STORY arrow
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For these boomers, GICs hold their appeal space
After downsizing to a condo, couple with zero tolerance for volatility have $300,000 to invest
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, June 3, 2017 – Page B9
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-- A couple we'll call Roger and Angela are living the ultimate baby boomer dream of home ownership.They just sold a house in the Greater Toronto Area for more than two-and-a-half times what they paid in 2006. The couple will downsize to a condo in Ottawa this summer and expect to have $300,000 left over to invest. Their question: Where should they invest their money?  FULL STORY arrow
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An outlier in the investment advice industry space
Alberta's ATB Investor Services positions itself as a trustworthy firm that puts service ahead of sales. Will others follow?
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, June 2, 2017 – Page B7
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-- The most glaringly vacant position in the traditional investment advice industry is that of champion for the everyday investor.Finally, there is an applicant.Rather than following the pack in highlighting blow-out returns, hotshot managers or exclusive strategies, Alberta's ATB Investor Services is positioning itself as a trustworthy firm that puts service ahead of sales.  FULL STORY arrow
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How to find the right travel reward plan space
Points programs such as Aeroplan and Air Miles evolve over the years - and you may want a change from your current card
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, May 31, 2017 – Page B13
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-- Never marry your travel reward program.There's no point in making that level of commitment. Travel reward programs change over the years and you may want a divorce. We've seen these changes most recently at Aeroplan, which will lose Air Canada as its star player in mid-2020.  FULL STORY arrow
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The case for not biting on Home Capital's 3.1% GIC space
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, May 26, 2017 – Page B1
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-- Life is stressful enough without worrying whether your investments are safe.So if you're a conservative GIC investor, take a pass on the excellent interest rates that Home Capital is using to attract money through its Home Trust, Home Bank and Oaken Financial operations. At midweek, Oaken offered 2.6 per cent on a one-year guaranteed investment certificate and 3.1 per cent on a five-year term. A five-year bond issued by the federal government yields about 1 per cent these days, while banks are posting five-year GICs in the area of 1.5 per cent.  FULL STORY arrow
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In defence of mutual-fund fees - sort of space
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, May 26, 2017 – Page B9
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-- Improved financial literacy is waking people up to the fact that mutual funds are a comparatively expensive way to invest.But anti-mutual fund sentiment is starting to go too far. On my Twitter feed last week, someone asked me why I am not ''screaming from the rooftops'' that mutual funds are a ''sucker bet.'' Many funds are just that. I can't argue. But there are too many good fund products out there to make such generalizations accurate. You can be a sensible, successful investor using mutual funds, just as you can be with exchange-traded funds and individual stocks.  FULL STORY arrow
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UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL WITH HOME CAPITAL GIC INVESTORS space
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, May 26, 2017 – Page B9
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-- You're not alone if you were scared senseless by the fact that your supposedly safe guaranteed investment certificates were issued by troubled Home Capital.My interactions with readers in recent weeks suggest some investors were so jolted they looked into selling GICs with a penalty charge, even though they're backed by Canada Deposit Insurance Corp. Here are a couple of examples:  FULL STORY arrow
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WHAT IS FREEDOM 0.12? space
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, May 26, 2017 – Page B9
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-- The supersimple Freedom 0.12 Portfolio is a friend to DIY and advised investors alike. Consider it a lesson about how cheap investing in ETFs is, more than a definitive blueprint.  FULL STORY arrow
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Stepping back from a financial abyss space
Many parents help their children buy their first home, but here's why this could be toxic to some millennials' finances
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, May 24, 2017 – Page B9
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-- Realtors, lenders and everyone else living off hot housing, thank a parent today for helping to keep prices on the rise in cities across the country.Manulife Bank issued survey results on Tuesday that suggest 45 per cent of millennial home buyers received a gift of money or a loan from family. That compares with 37 per cent for Gen Xers and 31 per cent of baby boomers. One-third of the people receiving financial help recently got more than $25,000.  FULL STORY arrow
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Dividends: The ETF Buyer's Guide goes global space
Foreign stocks can bulk up the investment income you generate from your portfolio and produce solid total returns
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, May 20, 2017 – Page B10
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-- We have a fine crop of Canadian dividend stocks, but you're missing out as an investor if you don't consider U.S. and international dividend payers as well.  FULL STORY arrow
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How dividends came to dominate our investment portfolios space
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, May 19, 2017 – Page B1
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-- After housing, the hottest thing in personal finance is dividend stocks.Even as interest rates remain stuck near historical lows, the amount of investment income received by Canadians has surged in recent years. You can thank dividends for that. More and more, they're the go-to vehicle for retirees and others who want investment income.  FULL STORY arrow
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Stocks, not ETFs, the best choice for rising payouts space
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By ROB CARRICK
Tuesday, May 16, 2017 – Page B13
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-- Need a way to generate a reliable flow of dividend income? Consider a dividendfocused exchange-traded fund or mutual fund.Want dividend growth? Forget the fund and look to individual stocks. ''If you think you can build income with mutual funds or ETFs, think again,'' dividend expert Tom Connolly writes in an edition of his Dividend Growth newsletter from last fall. ''Funds are not noted for providing growing income.''  FULL STORY arrow
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Better rates, higher risk: The lowdown space
Home Capital's woes offers a lesson, but perhaps also needless worry, for everyone who has put money in the big-bank alternatives
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, May 12, 2017 – Page B8
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-- The problem with people waking up to risks in the financial system is that they can swing in a heartbeat from obliviousness to unfounded suspicion.There are signs this is happening with customers of Home Trust, Home Bank and Oaken Financial, all part of alternative mortgage lender Home Capital Group Inc.'s corporate family.  FULL STORY arrow
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Prepare for an all-out war for your loyalty space
An industry official sees the future of businesses' rewards programs as a lasting battle for market share
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, May 12, 2017 – Page B6
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-- Fresh off the Air Miles debacle of last year comes a new shock to reward-program enthusiasts.Air Canada says it will start its own customer-loyalty program in 2020 rather than using Aeroplan. Many details about the new program and Aeroplan's future remains up in the air, so to speak. What we do know is that the golden era of loyalty programs is just about over.  FULL STORY arrow
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A closer look at cash-like exchange-traded funds space
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By ROB CARRICK
Thursday, May 11, 2017 – Page B11
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-- The ETF world has a few options for investors who are parking cash and want to squeeze at least a modest return out of this money.By now, most investors have discovered the benefits of investment savings accounts for holding their cash. These accounts are traded like mutual funds and offer interest rates around 0.75 per cent. Typically, they're quite safe because they're eligible for coverage by the Canada Deposit Insurance Corp.  FULL STORY arrow
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A gift from boomers to their adult children space
Let your offspring help you in retirement because they want to, not because you didn't save enough when you had the chance
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, May 10, 2017 – Page B8
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-- Boomers, there's a more important way to help your adult children financially than giving them money for a house down payment.Save enough money to look after yourself in retirement. Don't neglect your finances so your children have to help pay your way.  FULL STORY arrow
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ETF Buyer's Guide: Dividend funds space
We look at dividend-paying exchange-traded funds, a handy option for both income-seeking investors and blue-chip-stock seekers
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, May 6, 2017 – Page B12
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-- A dividend ETF is like a faucet that pours out cash every month.Exchange-traded funds holding dividend-paying stocks are a handy option for both incomeseeking investors and people who want a portfolio of mainly blue-chip stocks.  FULL STORY arrow
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Gen Y work woes: Going up a down escalator space
Globe online survey shows a significant number of millennials aren't prospering in today's economy, with job quality the No. 1 issue
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, May 5, 2017 – Page B8
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-- Starting a career as a young adult today is precarious work.Almost one-quarter of the generation of young adults born between 1981 and 2000 are working temporary or contract jobs, nearly double the rate for the entire job market. Almost onethird are not working in their field of education, 21 per cent are working more than one job and close to half are looking for a new job.  FULL STORY arrow
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SOME SAVINGS ALTERNATIVES TO HOME CAPITAL PRODUCTS space
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By ROB CARRICK
Thursday, May 4, 2017 – Page B12
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-- Home Capital's problems have resulted in money flying out of the high-rate savings accounts offered by subsidiaries Home Trust, Home Bank and Oaken Financial. But where is it going?  FULL STORY arrow
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How to protect your finances against real estate contagion space
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By ROB CARRICK
Thursday, May 4, 2017 – Page B1
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-- Too much exposure to real estate can be toxic to your financial health.So do a personal inventory right now to see how much of your net worth is tied to the housing market. It's not just your house. We've seen lately how your savings and investments can also be affected by what's happening in the housing market.  FULL STORY arrow
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Looking for new choices among blue-chip dividend growth stocks space
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By ROB CARRICK
Tuesday, May 2, 2017 – Page B10
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-- You tend to see a lot of the same names over and over when you look at lists of dividend growth stocks - Metro, Canadian National Railway, Alimentation Couche-Tard, Enbridge, Telus and more.  FULL STORY arrow
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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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