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  Smart savers keep housing options open
ROB CARRICK  

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.''
FULL STORY


Beware the pitfalls of yield traps
ROB CARRICK  

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.
FULL STORY


Millennials' lack of debt a sign of trouble
ROB CARRICK  

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?
FULL STORY


Make a connection when choosing advisers
ROB CARRICK  

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.
FULL STORY


Dividend stocks are the new contrarian play for investors
ROB CARRICK  

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.
FULL STORY


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

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.
FULL STORY


The Keg offers a taste of in-demand luxury products
ROB CARRICK  

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 IncomeResearch.ca 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.
FULL STORY


Long bonds are no longer the long shot they once were
ROB CARRICK  

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.
FULL STORY


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

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.
FULL STORY


Real estate markets reveal income inequity
ROB CARRICK  

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.
FULL STORY


Get real, people - it's not a good time to buy a house
ROB CARRICK  

Thursday, July 09, 2015

The average price of detached homes in Toronto and Vancouver has topped $1-million, and that should make you wonder.Detached from what, exactly?I'd say reality. From Canada to China and Greece, the financial and economic news this summer is worrying. Only if you have gold-plated financial security in your life should you jump into an entanglement like buying a house in a hot market.
FULL STORY


Contrarian investors: Don't forget Canada
ROB CARRICK  

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

rcarrick@globeandmail.comInside the Market There's an exchange-traded fund that is kind of like a proxy for what foreign and institutional investors think of Canada.The ETF is called the iShares SandP/TSX 60 Index ETF (XIU) and, in the first half of 2015, it saw the largest outflows of any fund in the Canadian market at $1.6-billion. Analysts at National Bank Financial interpreted the money flows for Canada's largest and most liquid ETF as a sign of big investors potentially seeking ''to distance themselves from Canada's commodity-driven markets.''
FULL STORY


Tactical bond ETFs not for couch-potato purists
ROB CARRICK  

Saturday, July 04, 2015

rcarrick@globeandmail.comThe toughest bond market conditions in decades have prompted ETF companies to get creative in developing new products for investors.The twin terrors of bond investing today are low yields and the threat of a return to more normal interest rates. The answer several exchange-traded fund companies have come up with is the tactical bond ETF, a product that is designed to navigate these complexities.
FULL STORY


Banks offer bait to boost saving behaviour
ROB CARRICK  

Friday, July 03, 2015

rcarrick@globeandmail.comIt's going to look bad on the banks if this borrowing binge we've been on for a few years goes south.Maybe that's why a couple of them are trying to encourage people to save money as well as borrow it. The sum of original thinking from big banks on savings accounts in the past 10 years could be written on a napkin, with lots of room left to wipe French fry grease off your hands. Now, things are changing.
FULL STORY


Bear market for bonds? Just remember why you own them in the first place
ROB CARRICK  

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Inside the StreetwiseMarket I saw red the last time I looked at my wife's RRSP account online.There it was when I checked the individual bonds that make up a five-year ladder in the account. Two of them had fallen in price lately and the brokerage firm showed the loss in red ink. My reaction? I just shrugged, clicked out of the account and checked the score of the Blue Jays game. I suggest you do likewise if the bonds, preferred shares, real estate investment trusts or dividend-paying common shares you own have fallen in price.
FULL STORY


A housing market heritage moment
ROB CARRICK  

Monday, June 29, 2015

rcarrick@globeandmail.comIf George Orwell had written a dystopian novel about Canada's housing market, it might have been called 1981.That was the year mortgage rates reached levels that now seem like a plot of some oppressive force designed to terrify the population into submission. For several months, both one- and five-year fixed-rate mortgages were in the high teens and even, for a while, above 20 per cent.
FULL STORY


Economic recovery: the miserable truth
ROB CARRICK  

Friday, June 26, 2015

A lot of people are going to hate the economic recovery.Where we are now is the economic sweet spot - low interest rates to support our consumption of houses, cars and such, plus reasonably solid underlying fundamentals. A gauge of economic stress called the misery index now sits at its lowest point in 35 years for Canada.
FULL STORY


FINANCIAL LITERACY: THE CHALLENGES AHEAD
ROB CARRICK  

Monday, June 22, 2015

rcarrick@globeandmail.comNo wonder it's such a struggle to raise the level of financial literacy. Current efforts to teach people about money are boring and a turn-off to kids, says Moshe Milevsky, a finance professor at York University's Schulich School of Business and author of a new book called King William's Tontine: Why the Retirement Annuity of the Future Should Resemble Its Past. In a QandA we did to coincide with the recent introduction of the federal government's financial literacy strategy, Prof. Milevsky offered some blunt talk about the challenges of making Canadians smarter about money. Here's an edited transcript of our conversation:
FULL STORY


The information gap in fee-based accounts
ROB CARRICK  

Saturday, June 20, 2015

rcarrick@globeandmail.comOnly on Bay Street would they push something called feebased investment advice and then treat actual fees like classified information.In fee-based accounts, investors pay a percentage of the value of their account to cover the cost of advice. Sit down with a fee-based adviser and you will certainly be told what fees you'll pay. But finding out what other firms charge so you can assess the competitiveness of your own fees is pretty much impossible. You'll sooner crack the Caramilk secret, or turn the Toronto Maple Leafs around.
FULL STORY


THE FINANCIAL FITNESS TEST FOR PARENTS
Rob Carrick  

Saturday, June 20, 2015

1. The most important rule of personal finance is: A) avoid debt B) invest early and often C) live below your means D) never carry credit card debtAnswer: C Living below your means means spending less than you make and having money left over to save. All good things in personal finance flow from this.
FULL STORY


Take advantage of early mortgage renewal
ROB CARRICK  

Friday, June 19, 2015

rcarrick@globeandmail.comThe call display on your phone says it's your bank calling.If you have a mortgage coming due in the next six months, pick up. Banks can be intrusive with their client calls and telemarketing, but talking to them about an early renewal of your mortgage can save you a lot of money.
FULL STORY


Should retirees stay put or sell their home and rent?
ROB CARRICK  

Monday, June 15, 2015

rcarrick@globeandmail.comSeniors across the country should be asking the question that David Renegar tossed my way recently.Mr. Renegar and his wife, Helena, are in their 70s and they wonder if it's time to sell the Toronto house they've owned for 32 years and rent. They like their home a lot - it's a Victorian-style house with great transportation links, a lively urban scene and a backyard and nearby park for their dog, a 70-pound Berger Picard named Harley, to run around in.
FULL STORY


An investment pro's take on housing market
ROB CARRICK  

Friday, June 12, 2015

rcarrick@globeandmail.comThe people I listen to most on the state of the housing market are in the investment industry.Not in the housing sector.Investing people have a better understanding of a few basic facts about houses. One, they're financial assets like any other, and that means there are cycles of both rising and falling prices. Two, today's prices are high in some cities after a long run-up. Investment people believe the housing market is vulnerable to a pullback, and you should consider their arguments.
FULL STORY


The spectator's guide to bond market mayhem
Rob Carrick  

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The investing world is having one of its periodic freak-outs about the bond market.Bond prices have been falling on anticipation that signs of strength in the global economy signal the beginning of the long journey back to interest rates that approximate the levels prior to the financial crisis of 2008-09. We've had scares like this before and they've melted away amid continued economic sluggishness. This may be the real thing right now, or not. Either way, Rob Carrick says, everyday investors should mind these four lessons about living through bad times for bonds.
FULL STORY


Financial literacy is a ticking time bomb
ROB CARRICK  

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Jane Rooney should be driving up to the release of Canada's national financial literacy strategy on Tuesday in the Batmobile.That's the level of urgency that will be in play as the country's financial literacy leader heads to a Toronto YMCA to explain her plan to help people make better financial decisions. Ms. Rooney and her federal government contact, Minister of State for Finance Kevin Sorenson, have the benefit of working on a file that is practically ticking, time-bomb style.
FULL STORY

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