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Financial Education in the Workplace

Financial Education in the Workplace

Financial education in the workplace is more important than you may think. The most valuable resource most companies have is their employees. If financial stress reduces productivity, doesn't it make sense to do something about that? “According to the 2014 Financial Planning Standards Council survey, we know that worries about personal finances are at the top of the list when…
Financial literacy, the answer to your problems?

Financial literacy, the answer to your problems?

Financial problems are the leading cause of personal stress. This affects our physical and mental health, our family relationships and our productivity at work. I could complicate this, but we all intuitively know it’s true, because of our own experience. Our government has an excellent resource in response to the National Strategy for Financial Literacy report with a vision to…
Get Paid to Stay in Shape!

Get Paid to Stay in Shape!

Over 30 years ago, insurance companies came to the blinding realization that non-smokers live longer than smokers. Non-smokers welcomed this revelation, especially when they found they could save piles of money in insurance costs. A few decades later, we experienced further improvements through “Preferred Class Underwriting.” We started asking questions like “If I exercise regularly, don’t drink too much alcohol, have never smoked in…

Negotiate Your Term Insurance Renewal

Negotiate Your Term Insurance Renewal

Many of us have gone through this drill! We buy a term insurance policy and it tells us that in 5 , 10 or 20 years, the premium will increase to a certain rate. In our optimism, we ignore the impact of those increasing premiums. However, those years tend to pass by very quickly and all of a sudden we…

Death and Taxes

Death and Taxes

Part 4 of 10 – Insurance Planning Secrets. There is a theory out there called the theory of diminishing needs for insurance. It is based on the premise that, if we plan properly, we eventually become self-insured through the elimination of debts, the accumulation of investment assets and the reduction of expenses. I used to believe it but the past…

Are You Still Breathing?

Are You Still Breathing?

Part 3 of 10 – Insurance Planning Secrets. Think back over the past year. How many people in your circle of relatives, friends or acquaintances have died? Not too many I bet. How many have had a heart attack, stroke, cancer or other critical illness and lived? How many people do you know that have had to take valuable time…

Will a broken smartphone destroy your future?

Will a broken smartphone destroy your future?

Part 2 of 10 – Insurance Planning Secrets. The last time you bought a car, home appliance or electronic item, what add-on does the salesperson usually ask you to buy? Of course – the extended warranty. Most salespeople seem puzzled whenever I steadfastly refuse to buy the extended warranty. My answer is quite simple: “I only insure against catastrophic losses.” If my smartphone breaks…

About Those Power Tools!

About Those Power Tools!

Part 1 of 10 – Insurance Planning Secrets Having grown up in an age of real fireplaces and having done some old-school camping, I also helped gather firewood, watching my dad quickly buck it into lengths using his chainsaw. Until I learned how to use it, it scared me! A chainsaw is a powerful, useful tool but dangerous in careless,…

How Long Will This Take?

Part 10 of the series: Rethink the Way You Invest. Few of us remember being toddlers, but many of us sure remember raising them! “Johnny, put that down! Mary, stay inside the yard and Tommy, stop chasing Mary! For goodness sake kids, could you all please settle down!” Sorry parents, they will never settle down but will instead become more “grown…

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

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,…

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…

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…

Keep Calm and Let the Markets Work

Keep Calm and Let the Markets Work

Part 1 of the Series: Rethink the Way You Invest You’ve no doubt seen more than your fair share of the “Keep Calm” slogans on the internet. What you may not know is that the original slogan “Keep Calm and Carry On” poster was printed by the British Government in 1939 in preparation for WW II and the widely predicted…

Rethink the way you invest

Rethink the way you invest

Most people never achieve their financial dreams. Why? In many cases, it’s because they never understand how long-term wealth is created. They assume that investment success depends on picking a hot stock, finding an all-star investment manager, or avoiding market downturns. What we’ve found though is that the harder we try to beat the markets, the more we fail. This…

Lemmings & Wall Street

Lemmings & Wall Street

The lemming gets a bad rap! Common error says that these arctic rodents mindlessly jump off cliffs to drown in the ocean below. We further insult them by labeling people who blindly follow the crowd as “lemmings.” The truth is that lemmings instinctively know when their population is getting too dense and will form large groups to migrate to a…