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  A liveable balance of risk and reward

Saturday, August 29, 2015

rcarrick@globeandmail.comDid your portfolio fail its stress test this week?One of the most volatile weeks in ages for stocks has reminded us to pay more attention to risk. Diversifying with stocks and bonds is the best risk-reduction strategy, but some investors are looking for more. They may find some answers in the Pay Attention to Risk strategy, an attempt to find a liveable balance of risk and reward.

Twitter and the stock market: a perfect match

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Inside the Market As the stock markets plunged early on Monday, someone wondered on Twitter whether this was the beginning of the end.In fact, it was. What's ending is our ability to undergo a stockmarket correction without the background noise of social media. Ever heard the phrase, Keep Calm and Carry On? On Twitter, they changed it to Keep Freaking Out. If you're not already torqued about stocks, Twitter can fix that.

Boomerang kids will come with a cost

Monday, August 24, 2015

carrick@globeandmail.comThe need for parents to provide ongoing financial support to adult kids is finally being acknowledged in the wider world.We're several weeks into a federal election campaign and no one is talking about the problems young adults are having in finding career-building jobs. But financial planners are starting to get it. Check out this quote from The Essential Retirement Guide, a book by Fred Vettese, chief actuary at Morneau Shepell: ''We will assume that the serious childraising expenses will have ended by the time the primary wageearner in the household is age 60, but that parents will continue to provide some modest ongoing financial support to grown-up children for a few years longer.''

Relax, the sky is not falling - it's a correction

Saturday, August 22, 2015

rcarrick@globeandmail.comAugust is the perfect month for a stock market correction.Blissed out on summer, we're in exactly the right frame of mind to deal with an event that seems a lot worse than it is. Since the 2008 stock market crash, share prices have been up in five of six years. We were due for a stock market pullback.

Seeking a consistent dividend? Here's your test

Friday, August 21, 2015

Inside the Market If your favourite market sectors for dividends are banks and energy, apply this test to the stocks you like.We'll call it the consistency test: Have shares produced dividend increases annually over the past 10 years and have the increases averaged 10 per cent or more? applied this screen to Canadian dividend payers and not one of the Big Six banks made the list.

Where there is Uber, there is a way

Friday, August 21, 2015

rcarrick@globeandmail.comMad at the banks and oil companies? Uberize them.Uber is the mobile phone ridesharing app that connects riders with drivers willing to take them to their destination. You can book an Uber ride on your phone and get an estimate of the cost of trip.

The smart way to invest in Canadian banks

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

rcarrick@globeandmail.comInside the MarketBanks, banks, banks: The obsession Canadians have with bank stocks is understandable, but is it smart investing?

Higher rents new twist in housing math

Monday, August 17, 2015

rcarrick@globeandmail.comThe question of whether it's better to buy a home or rent needs some fresh thinking.Rents have been rising and mortgage rates are so low they almost look fictional. Have the economics of housing turned against renting?

Good corporate citizen, better investment

Saturday, August 15, 2015

rcarrick@globeandmail.comSmart investing means containing risk, but how?Diversifying with stocks and bonds or guaranteed investment certificates is what protects you against the kind of stock market volatility we saw this week, but there's another aspect to risk. It relates to a company's behaviour in the community, the boardroom, the environment and in dealings with employees.

A Canadian equity ETF that's actually providing solid returns

Friday, August 14, 2015

rcarrick@globeandmail.comInside the MarketGlobal investing is all the rage right now, but there's another way to avoid the rotten performance of the Canadian stock market.The BMO Low Volatility Canadian Equity ETF (ZLB-T) is an example of how an investing product can be almost perfectly in tune with the markets at a particular moment in time. By virtue of its stock-selection methodology, it has managed to be light on the deadwood stock-market sectors of the day and heavy on the sectors that are strongest. A change in market leadership could easily end this fund's run, but, for now, it's a rare example of a Canadian equity fund that is making decent money for investors.

The Home Front

Thursday, August 13, 2015

rcarrick@globeandmail.comYou used to be able to afford both a house and a comfortable retirement in this country.It's getting a lot tougher to do this today, and the latest election promise from the federal Conservatives won't help. They plan to raise the tax-free amount you can withdraw from your registered retirement savings plan to buy a first home to $35,000 from $25,000. In other words, they'd offer more room to plunder your own retirement savings to get into the housing market.

How much domestic content do you need?

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

rcarrick@globeandmail.comInside the Market The saddest phrase in investing today is ''Canadian content.''With global demand for commodities slumping, our resourcedependent stock market fell 2.9 per cent in the 12 months to July 31. That's worse than both the SandP 500 and MSCI Europe Australasia Far East (EAFE) indexes.

Using an RESP this fall? School starts now

Friday, August 07, 2015

rcarrick@globeandmail.comIt's midsummer, but I'm already thinking about back-toschool expenses.Unfortunately, the days of DuoTangs and geometry sets are over. My wife and I will have two sons in university, one in residence and one living off-campus.

Seeking dividend-stock gems amid the market woes

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

rcarrick@globeandmail.comInside the MarketDividend growth is on sale this summer.Dividend stocks of all types - high-yielding companies and dividend-growth stars - have not avoided the market decline of the past few months. If you had any ideas that dividend stocks were safe, your reality check has arrived. In a recent column (, I talked about how to avoid the dividend stocks that don't seem to be attractive buys after the market sell-off. Now, let's look at how to potentially find the gems.

Avoiding the low-interest-rate choke

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

rcarrick@globeandmail.comA basic investing rule is being re-taught to people who bought a variety of investments in an attempt to work around low interest rates.The more you get in yield, the more risk you take on. There is no bonus yield out there. It always comes at a price.

Smart savers keep housing options open

Friday, July 31, 2015

rcarrick@globeandmail.comDaryl Marritt paid off a $47,000 student debt in one year while earning a salary of $45,000.The 30-year-old from Brampton, Ont., then turned his attention to saving. Using low-cost index funds, he maxxed out his tax-free savings account and put a whack of money in his registered retirement savings plan. ''In terms of financial responsibility, I don't know anybody who has been as diligent as myself,'' he says. ''I've pretty much become a money coach for a number of friends and family members, including my dad.''

Beware the pitfalls of yield traps

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

rcarrick@globeandmail.comInside the Market Avoid a yield trap when hunting for beaten-down dividend stocks.That's my advice to investors who want to capitalize on falling share prices to lock in high yields on dividend-paying common shares. Yields have indeed risen in this summer's stock market pullback. In fact, ETFs tracking the broad Canadian market had yields just a hair below 3 per cent as of late July.

Millennials' lack of debt a sign of trouble

Monday, July 27, 2015

rcarrick@globeandmail.comA long-quiet gauge of household financial stress is flashing a bizarre warning signal about millennials.Insolvency filings by consumers have started to edge higher after a long decline that began after the last recession. As has already been widely noted, the share of insolvencies accounted for by seniors is growing faster than any age group. What has not had much attention is the fact that the young-adult share is falling. Could this be a rare bit of good news for a cohort of the population that has been struggling financially?

Make a connection when choosing advisers

Saturday, July 25, 2015

rcarrick@globeandmail.comAfter 43 years in the brokerage business, Colin Monteith went looking for an adviser of his own. He found one after a few months, but what an epic search it was. The onetime adviser and manager of advisers saw 10 different people and conducted 13 interviews.

Dividend stocks are the new contrarian play for investors

Friday, July 24, 2015

Inside the Market Given all the love showered on them by investors, it seems laughable to call dividend stocks a contrarian play right now.But that's a fair description based on how dividend stocks have performed in 2015. While the SandP/TSX composite index was off 1.8 per cent for the year to July 21, the SandP/TSX Canadian Dividend Aristocrats Index was down 7.8 per cent. This underperformance has been a more longterm phenomenon than you might think - the cumulative three-year gain for the composite index is 23.7 per cent, compared with 15.3 per cent for the Dividend Aristocrats.

With a big bank? It's time to play the field

Friday, July 24, 2015

rcarrick@globeandmail.comThey say that breaking up with your bank is hard to do.They're wrong about that. One of the biggest reasons to remain a customer of a big bank was pretty well eliminated in a low-key news announcement earlier this month. No longer do you have to sacrifice the convenience of a huge ATM network if you deal with a credit union or smaller bank.

The Keg offers a taste of in-demand luxury products

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

rcarrick@globeandmail.comInside the MarketWith a 5-per-cent yield and resilience in tough economic conditions, you might call Keg Royalties Income Fund the fullmeal deal.Last week's rate cut by the Bank of Canada highlights persistent economic weakness in Canada, and some realities for investors to absorb. Higher bond yields and GIC yields aren't anywhere close, and the pressure's off for the time being on rate-sensitive sectors such as utilities, pipelines and REITs. But an analysis of Keg by highlights another aspect of today's economy that investors need to understand. High-end products and services are doing well, even if the economy has probably lapsed into a modest recession.

Long bonds are no longer the long shot they once were

Monday, July 20, 2015

rcarrick@globeandmail.comInside the MarketOver and over, investors have been warned not to get cute with bonds.Stay short term, the warnings go. Avoid those nasty long-term bonds. If interest rates rise, those long bonds will kill you. This is true, in the broad scheme of things. But not in today's investing world. As of mid-July, long bonds were one of the best performing slices of the bank market over the previous one-month, one-year, three-year and five-year periods.

To hedge or not to hedge foreign investments, that is the currency volatility question

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

rcarrick@globeandmail.comInside the MarketIt's time to have an adult conversation about unprotected investing.That's where you invest in U.S. and international markets without the protection of currency hedging. Hedged exchange-traded funds and mutual funds use derivatives to block out the static caused by currency fluctuations, which means you get the return of the stocks or bonds in the portfolio, minus fees.

Real estate markets reveal income inequity

Monday, July 13, 2015

rcarrick@globeandmail.comLiving in a city with a hot real estate market is great for your retirement.So, tough luck to the baby boomer residents of Fredericton, Lethbridge, Alta., and other smaller communities with quiet or weak real estate markets.

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