Financial Insights

5 Ways to Be Smart When the Markets Drop

5 Ways to Be Smart When the Markets Drop

We all love market volatility - as long as it is on the upside!.  Unfortunately, history has shown us that every bull market is often followed by an aggressive bear market.   Sometimes the market falls hard and fast, but that doesn’t have to mean catastrophe. Being smart when times are tough can be just as lucrative as being smart when…
RRSP or TFSA?

RRSP or TFSA?

Life is too precious to fret over decisions that should be simple. The decision on whether to invest in your RRSP or TFSA is no exception. Let's bring some clarity! The Tax Free Savings Account (TFSA) or a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) debate affects most investors and often, the answer involves a combination of both RRSP and TFSA. If…
Pay Down Mortgage or Top Up TFSA?

Pay Down Mortgage or Top Up TFSA?

The problem with accumulating more wealth is in deciding what to do with your excess cash. The biggest question has always been: "contribute to investments or pay off the mortgage?" Opting for both, reducing debt and increasing savings, is the ideal. As for which is better, however, really depends on the you, your goals,  feelings and your unique financial situation.…
The Relationship Between Health and Wealth

The Relationship Between Health and Wealth

A man who has his health has a thousand dreams. The man who doesn't have his health has but one Author unknown As many of us know, financial stress can impact many areas of our lives. A study conducted by Fidelity in collaboration with Stanford University found that the worse financial shape we are in the more likely we are…
The Financial Procrastination Breakthrough

The Financial Procrastination Breakthrough

Everybody procrastinates about something You are not alone. We all think that others have it together, but the truth is that we are all financial procrastinators. From years of experience with clients, I know that reality and perception can be totally different. In varying degrees, we all have masks that hide the full truth of our personal lives. When we…
The 6D Tax Planning Approach

The 6D Tax Planning Approach

I am told that the full version of our Federal Income Tax Act is more than 3,000 pages. I don't believe it. If you've ever tried to look something up on the CRA website, you'll understand that it has almost infinite dimensions! This also does not account for the various provincial tax regimes. Although we have what is known as…
Will Someone Please Teach the Kids About Money?

Will Someone Please Teach the Kids About Money?

Over the years spent teaching financial planning courses, I could count on two common comments: I should have taken this course years ago. My children should take this course. Although we’re not currently offering our courses, we are reaching out through WealthSmarts to help people more effectively reach their goals through sound wealth management. Our reader feedback again returned to…
Dollar-Cost Averaging – the Right Thing to Do

Dollar-Cost Averaging – the Right Thing to Do

Dollar Cost Averaging (DCA) is a simple systematic approach to buying investments.  DCA tempers the volatility of your investment portfolio by breaking down large investments into smaller ones over time. Instead of buying a large single investment all at once, the intended purchase is parceled into smaller pieces and spread over a period of time. Let’s review what that entails.…
Put Your Eggs in All the Baskets

Put Your Eggs in All the Baskets

Part 4 of the series: Rethink the Way You Invest. There is little predictability in asset class performance from one year to the next. The moment anyone tells you differently, run quickly in the opposite direction! At the bottom of the market in March of 2009, I had opinions from all sides – clients, other advisors, analysts, and the numerous…
Failure of the Really Smart People

Failure of the Really Smart People

Part 3 of the series: Rethink the Way You Invest. The Roman philosopher and statesman Marcus Tullius Cicero once said: “time destroys the speculation of men, but it confirms nature.” Time has not eroded the relevance of these words, especially in regards to the financial markets. The longer the time frame, the more abysmal our track record in successfully picking…

The Transformational and Annoying Power of “Why”?

The Transformational and Annoying Power of “Why”?

Most of us have forgotten life’s shortest and most transformational question: “Why?” As children we’ve learned important life lessons by asking “why?” almost nonstop until we think we’re smart enough (usually when we become teenagers!). Then one day, we stop asking. Perhaps we have become so fatigued at hearing our younger siblings, children or grandchildren ask “why?” that we tend…
8 Ways to Screw Up Your Wealth

8 Ways to Screw Up Your Wealth

Part 9 of the series: Rethink the Way You Invest. We have access to investment technology today that Warren Buffett could only have dreamt of several decades ago! In today’s sophisticated marketplace, investors have all the information, advice, and tools they need to help them grow wealth effectively. With these resources at hand, it would seem natural that people could…

Don’t Tell Me to Calm Down!

Don’t Tell Me to Calm Down!

Part 8 of the series: Rethink the Way You Invest. Despite all our efforts to deal logically with our money, we all fail to some degree or another. Emotions can destroy your wealth. Behavioral finance examines the influence of social beliefs, psychology, and emotion on economic decision making. Research suggests that humans are not naturally wired for making good investment decisions,…

Don’t Confuse Entertainment with Advice

Don’t Confuse Entertainment with Advice

Part 7 of the series: Rethink the Way You Invest. I love the media! It entertains, informs and keeps people accountable. Freedom of the media is enshrined in most democratic constitutions. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states it well: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference, and…

Investment costs do matter!

Investment costs do matter!

Part 6 of the series: Rethink the Way You Invest. Sheep that we are, investors have been following the herd lately and buying stocks now that we’re feeling a bit better about the economy. Eight years ago, we began fleeing stocks as prices dropped throughout the great credit crisis. This is as illogical as stocking up on toilet paper at…

Smart Diversification

Smart Diversification

Part 5 of the series: Rethink the Way You Invest. I’m a very patriotic Canadian. Although I love to travel outside our borders, it’s always great returning to the true north, strong and free. During a trip to Europe five years ago, the Canadian flags on our backpacks attracted nothing but positive feedback about our great country. Having said that,…
No Free Lunch

No Free Lunch

Part 2 of the series: Rethink the Way You Invest. “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.” This phrase was misattributed to the economist Milton Friedman but its origin actually dates back to a 19th century practice in American bars of offering a free lunch to entice the more lucrative drinking customers. There was usually no real net bargain…

Shaken or Stirred?

Shaken or Stirred?

This line has belonged to Sean Connery since first spoken in Ian Fleming’s 1962 production, “Dr. No.” Since that time, many of us have only fantasized about his travels to exotic places, living life on the edge, playing with cool toys and, because I’m a happily married man, I’ll just stop there! In the twisted mind of the financial advisor…