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GiveLife.ca

    
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PRINT EDITION
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Globe Columnists
Tuesday, November 12




  Rob Carrick
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Personal Finance



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A surprising source of dividend yields near 3 per cent space
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By ROB CARRICK
Tuesday, November 12, 2019 – Page B8
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-- INSIDE THE MARKET A n often overlooked benefit of investing in the Canadian stock market with index-tracking exchange-traded funds is a pretty good dividend yield.Canadian stock-market indexes are dominated by dividendpaying blue chips. This explains why the indexes tracked by major Canadian equity ETFs offer dividend yields today that are very close to 3 per cent. Two quick examples: The iShares Core SandP/ TSX Capped Composite Index ETF (XIC) has a trailing 12-month yield of 2.9 per cent, while the Vanguard FTSE Canada All Cap Index ETF (VCN) has a 12-month trailing yield of 2.8 per cent.  FULL STORY arrow
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A DIY investor's guide to holding cash space
The investment industry has capitalized on demand for ways to keep money liquid, but how can investors tell which products each online brokerage offers?
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, November 9, 2019 – Page B11
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-- PORTFOLIO STRATEGY The hottest-selling ETF last month was - get this - a vehicle for parking money in savings accounts.So was the fourth bestselling exchangetraded fund of October.Both stocks and bonds are having a knockout year, but investors are pouring money into ETFs that combine safety with returns that at least keep them even with inflation.  FULL STORY arrow
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Buyers should keep cool as market heats up space
Lower interest rates and a revival of real estate demand can lead people into unnecessarily stressful debt situations
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, November 8, 2019 – Page B10
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-- The revival of the housing market is a sad moment in personal finance.There are many scattered signs of a calmer, cooler attitude toward spending and debt as we head into the final leg of 2019.  FULL STORY arrow
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How much time to spend on personal finances space
It doesn't take long to check in on your money, but it's more important than ever to do so on a consistent basis
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, November 6, 2019 – Page B10
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-- A mong the ways to shame people into paying more attention to their money is to question how much time they spend on matters of personal finance.This leads to comparisons of how much time people spend on their finances versus watching TV, for example. In a recent survey done for a U.S. website, people were found to spend more than 85 hours a month watching TV - almost 100 times as much as the time spent on household finances.  FULL STORY arrow
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The quick, easy way to get bonds into your portfolio space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, November 6, 2019 – Page B11
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-- INSIDE THE MARKET B ond ETFs are an example of how a simple, sensible investment can get complicated in a flash.A reader reminded me of this with a recent query.  FULL STORY arrow
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Be wary of relying on your credit card's travel medical insurance space
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, November 1, 2019 – Page B12
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-- Your most expensive vacation ever could be the one where you got sick while away and relied on your credit card's travel medical emergency insurance to pay the bill.  FULL STORY arrow
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The trials and tribulations of being a GIC investor space
Low interest rates are one problem, but now there is also the added challenge of picking the best term in a climate where savings accounts seem more appealing
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, November 1, 2019 – Page B13
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-- PERSONAL FINANCE COLUMNIST INSIDE THE MARKET L ow interest rates are problem enough for the conservative investors who prefer to keep their money safely stowed in guaranteed investment certificates.But there's another challenge for GIC investors right now in picking the best term. The best five-year GIC rates offer only a modest premium over the best one-year rates, which themselves offer little or no premium over high-rate savings accounts. Might a savings account be the better choice than GICs right now?  FULL STORY arrow
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RBC teaches young clients a lesson on what to expect from Canada's big banks space
Remember kids: Don't accept a financial institution's suggestions for products without doing your own research beforehand
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, October 30, 2019 – Page B8
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-- PERSONAL FINANCE COLUMNISTThe Leo's Young Savers Account from Royal Bank of Canada is a nice little intro to the banking world for kids aged 13 and under.What happens to Leo account holders when they turn 14 is another story. Let's call it an early education in dealing with banks as an adult.  FULL STORY arrow
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The answer to the No. 1 question I receive about balanced ETFs space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, October 30, 2019 – Page B7
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-- An entirely justified cynicism about the investment industry has prompted investors to question the fees charged on balanced ETFs.These exchange-traded funds, also called asset allocation funds, bundle a diversified mix of underlying ETFs into a single product.  FULL STORY arrow
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How to pick a fee-for-service financial planner space
It's becoming more common to get advice without having to buy a product or service, but vetting advisers is vital
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, October 26, 2019 – Page B11
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-- PORTFOLIO STRATEGY Financial planner Rona Birenbaum is so busy that she's been turning away an average of two clients a day over the past couple of weeks.''We are slammed right now,'' said Ms. Birenbaum, whose Toronto-based firm is called Caring for Clients. ''There are more people wanting our services than we have capacity. I have a waiting list of 20 fantastic people.''  FULL STORY arrow
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The give and take of reverse mortgages space
The loans can be a handy tool if you need cash, but they cost a lot and eat away at your home's equity
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, October 25, 2019 – Page B9
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-- T ake a well-discounted fiveyear fixed mortgage rate and double it. Now you have the cost of a reverse mortgage, the great problem-solver for seniors with money issues.  FULL STORY arrow
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What Liberal promises mean for a family's financial picture space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, October 23, 2019 – Page B1
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-- We will find out shortly whether government can fix what's wrong with your finances.The Liberals won the 2019 campaign with a platform focused on helping ease the financial strain of everyday life. We used to rely on economic growth for that, didn't we? Now, politicians of all parties compete to find ways to cut taxes and increase government benefits and services.  FULL STORY arrow
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Could an economic downturn lead to the next housing crash? space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, October 23, 2019 – Page B9
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-- INSIDE THE MARKETA major cause of the past two downturns in housing prices was an oversupply of properties for sale. Could it happen again?Veritas Investment Research set out to answer this question recently using an informal, quick and dirty survey of more than 200 real estate investors across the country on their intentions over the next 12 months. The goal: Gauge the level of risk that real estate investors will try to sell en masse, thereby saturating the market and putting downward pressure on prices.  FULL STORY arrow
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ETF and mutual-fund investors should consider adjusting their U.S. exposure space
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, October 18, 2019 – Page B12
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-- One of the smartest investing moves over the past decade was to forgo currency hedging in your U.S. stock market holdings.Now, it's time to look at the case for reversing that approach and using funds that use hedging to block out the effect of CanadaU.S. currency fluctuations on returns.  FULL STORY arrow
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Money for everyone: What the parties are pitching space
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By ROB CARRICK
Thursday, October 17, 2019 – Page B1
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-- Whether you're a first-time homebuyer, a parent, a working stiff or a senior, there's something for you in the election platforms of the federal political parties. Regardless of who wins on Oct. 21, there will be money. Let's track some highlights of who's offering what to whom: FOR HOMEBUYERS While the federal election campaign has been going on, the housing market has shown signs of a fresh rally in prices. There's a sense of urgency among young adults about getting into the housing market and the federal parties have paid attention.  FULL STORY arrow
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How advisers should prepare for seniors who can no longer manage finances space
In the face of an aging population, experts suggest making plans for what to do if clients show signs of diminished mental capacity
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By ROB CARRICK
Thursday, October 17, 2019 – Page B12
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-- The investment industry is starting to plan for a wave of aging clients who at some point may no longer be able to manage the investments they rely on for income.  FULL STORY arrow
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Avoid this trap when transferring TFSAs from one financial firm to another space
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By ROB CARRICK
Thursday, October 17, 2019 – Page B11
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-- Are you a TFSA accumulator?I kind of am. I have one tax-free savings account at a robo-adviser, one at an online brokerage and one at an online bank.  FULL STORY arrow
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Five costs that kill your investment returns space
You can't focus your search on affordable commissions alone
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, October 12, 2019 – Page B13
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-- A fee war is driving online brokerage commissions to zero in the United States, a spectacle that is going to divert investor attention from more pressing matters.Competition to lower fees is never a bad thing in the investing industry, but it sometimes amounts to a sideshow. Brokerage commissions are an example - even at the rates charged to Canadian investors (as much as $9.99 per buy or sell), they're not a top concern for people investing for the long term as opposed to short-term speculation.  FULL STORY arrow
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A perfect example of how U.S.-style competition on fees is alien to Canada space
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, October 11, 2019 – Page B7
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-- While U.S. online brokers slash stock-trading commissions to zero, a lone Canadian broker is adjusting its fees.U.S. commissions were already about half of what they are at the big Canadian online brokerage firms before recent cuts that took them to zero in some cases. The Canadian response so far has been silence, which is to be expected. Whether it's mutual fund fees, exchange-traded fund fees or brokerage commissions, Canadian firms typically charge more. They always say it's because our market is smaller than the United States, but the real reason is that they can get away with it.  FULL STORY arrow
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Tax discrimination against solo seniors must be addressed space
Retired couples can use pension income-splitting as a measure to save, but single people - mainly women - have no equivalent break
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By ROB CARRICK
Thursday, October 10, 2019 – Page B11
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-- One of our biggest personal finance injustices is getting the usual treatment during the federal election campaign, which is to say it's being ignored.In retirement, couples get to take advantage of a significant tax-saving measure called pension income-splitting. Solo seniors, be they lifetime singles or people whose spouse has died, have no equivalent tax break.  FULL STORY arrow
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Underwhelmed with TD's ETF offerings? Look to its mutual funds instead space
E-series funds might not be as cheap, but you can buy and sell them without costly brokerage commissions
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, October 9, 2019 – Page B11
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-- The polite spin on the exchange-traded funds offered by Toronto-Dominion Bank is that they have had an underwhelming impact on the marketplace so far.The cold, hard truth is that TD Asset Management's family of ETFs ranked 20th out of 35 firms as of the end of September, with $240-million in assets, which is puny for a bank with TD's big profile. This would be more of an issue if TD didn't have something better than ETFs for a lot of investors.  FULL STORY arrow
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Would Canadians rather have money in retirement funds, or their pockets? space
HOOPP hopes new survey will help generate discussion about where people's financial worries lie
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By ROB CARRICK
Tuesday, October 8, 2019 – Page B9
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-- The head of one of the country's largest pension plans is a skeptic on the matter of whether people will save enough for retirement all on their own.''My level of confidence is zero,'' said Jim Keohane, president and CEO of the Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan, or HOOPP.  FULL STORY arrow
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The growing movement to take financial control, and retire early space
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By ROB CARRICK
Monday, October 7, 2019 – Page B1
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WATERFORD, ONT. -- Neal Chambers is a 39-year-old electrical engineer with a problematic work-life balance.Basically, the balance is off: Work is winning, and Mr. Chambers wants to change that. For advice and moral support, he's attending a three-day gathering of people who are part of a movement known as F.I.R.E., for financial independence, retire early.  FULL STORY arrow
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Voters offer parties lesson in limited spending space
Political leaders would do well to emulate the restraint demonstrated by their constituents
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, October 2, 2019 – Page B10
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-- Conditions in the economy are as good as it gets for consumers right now, yet spending growth has been on the sluggish side.It's encouraging news from a personal-finance viewpoint because a lot of households have too much debt. If spending growth tapers, it suggests people are moving money over to debt repayment or saving. But while households are getting more careful with their finances, political parties can't stop talking about their plans to lavishly spread money around through spending and tax cuts.  FULL STORY arrow
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If you think stocks crush bonds, you'd better check the numbers space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, October 2, 2019 – Page B10
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-- INSIDE THE MARKETStocks are riskier than bonds, which is why the potential returns are much higher.But this foundational rule of investing seems to be unravelling a bit in the age of low and falling interest rates.  FULL STORY arrow
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Match ETFs to the right account to save on tax space
The Globe's ETF Tax Primer can help you avoid generating hidden costs that erode returns
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By ROB CARRICK
Saturday, September 28, 2019 – Page B11
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-- PORTFOLIO STRATEGYThe cost of owning exchange-traded funds is low, but maybe not as low as you think.Racking up a lot of brokerage commissions to buy and sell ETFs is one way to drive up your costs beyond the fees shown in the management expense ratio. Another is putting your ETF in a non-optimum type of account and paying too much tax.  FULL STORY arrow
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Survivor's benefit is the weakest part of the Canada Pension Plan space
If a CPP recipient dies, their spouse will likely be disappointed by the payout they receive
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, September 27, 2019 – Page B10
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-- With one exception, complaints about the Canada Pension Plan as a source of retirement income can be explained away fairly easily.The CPP is reliable, inflationprotected income paid as long as you live. It's not enough to retire on, but it can be considered as a major piece of anyone's retirement income flow. Where the CPP falls down hard is its survivor's pension.  FULL STORY arrow
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What would I lose if my broker goes bankrupt? space
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, September 27, 2019 – Page B10
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-- The downside of bankruptcy-proofing your investments is that it's kind of a pain.So there's quite possibly some aggravation ahead for a reader who wondered about the risk of loss in his investing account if his online broker goes under.  FULL STORY arrow
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When it comes to mutual funds, does the notion you 'get what you pay for' apply? space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, September 25, 2019 – Page B8
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-- INSIDE THE MARKETIf the return on your mutual funds is satisfactory, why care about the fees you pay?A reader posed this question recently in an e-mail in which he explained that he generally lives by the premise that you get what you pay for.  FULL STORY arrow
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Politicians should keep their hands off stress tests for first-time home buyers space
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By ROB CARRICK
Tuesday, September 24, 2019 – Page B10
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-- Go too far in helping people afford to buy a home and you put the whole economy at risk.The federal Conservatives are walking this fine line with election promises made Monday to help young home buyers.  FULL STORY arrow
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A new way to stash cash in an investment account and still make a decent return space
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By ROB CARRICK
Friday, September 20, 2019 – Page B10
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-- INSIDE THE MARKETHolding cash in your investment account is a way of reducing stress about a stock-market plunge, but it's not a worry-free strategy.You've got to find at least a semi-decent return on your cash, or your money is basically dead.  FULL STORY arrow
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The trouble with tackling the cost of living space
As soon as lawmakers propose a measure to address affordability, real life - such as gas and real estate prices - steps in to interfere
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By ROB CARRICK
Thursday, September 19, 2019 – Page B10
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-- The problem with attacking the rising cost of living is that it always fights back.It happened this week when the federal Conservatives made an election promise to trim the rate on the lowest tax bracket. The party said individual taxpayers would save as much as $440 a year in taxes, which is just about how much extra someone might end up paying if gas prices surged and stayed higher as a result of the drone attack on Saudi Arabia's oil fields.  FULL STORY arrow
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With deposit rates falling fast, this may be the last 3-per-cent GIC around space
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By ROB CARRICK
Wednesday, September 18, 2019 – Page B8
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-- INSIDE THE MARKETThree-per-cent returns for conservative investors have been all but wiped out by the plunge in interest rates over the past 12 months.A look through two interest rate websites, Cannex.com and HighInterestSavings.ca, shows just a single financial firm offering a guaranteed investment certificate at 3 per cent. A year ago, 3 per cent would have looked good, but not great.  FULL STORY arrow
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Build your credit score and you could get a better mortgage rate space
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By ROB CARRICK
Tuesday, September 17, 2019 – Page B8
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-- Too many people are skipping a simple first step in buying a home - checking their credit score.Credit scores are widely available at no cost these days. And when you do check yours, it's quite likely you'll have a good number that is satisfactory to your mortgage lender. Yet a recent survey by the credit-monitoring company Equifax found that 60 per cent of people did not take a look at their credit score before going to see a bank or mortgage broker about a home purchase.  FULL STORY arrow
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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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