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  ETF Buyer's Guide Part 2 - U.S. equity funds
ROB CARRICK  

Saturday, February 28, 2015

rcarrick@globeandmail.comYears back, a guide to buying U.S. equity ETFs could have been written on the back of a postcard.You had a couple of SandP 500 ETFs, a Nasdaq fund and a few other options. Today, after a huge runup in U.S. stocks, there are more than 70 choices. In the second instalment of the updated Globe and Mail ETF Buyer's Guide, we focus on core U.S. equity funds with wide appeal to investors.
FULL STORY


WHY WE CAN'T AFFORD TO RAISE THE TFSA CONTRIBUTION LIMIT
ROB CARRICK  

Thursday, February 26, 2015

rcarrick@globeandmail.comHigher TFSA contribution limits could cost us all.Launched in 2009, tax-free savings accounts may be the most important development in Canadian personal finance since the introduction of the registered retirement savings plan back in the 1950s. TFSAs are Swiss army knives - a financial knife, corkscrew, screwdriver and more. But doubling the annual contribution limit of $5,500 is a bad idea.
FULL STORY


New ETF offers extra yield for a reasonable risk
ROB CARRICK  

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Some of the biggest risks being taken by investors these days are being made in an attempt to escape from absurdly low bond yields.Five-year Government of Canada bonds yielded about 0.8 per cent in mid-February, which is low enough to mandate a thorough search for alternatives.
FULL STORY


Uncertainty headlines Gen Y outlook
ROB CARRICK  

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

rcarrick@globeandmail.comThe question we have to ask about every good news personal-finance story is whether the young adults of Generation Y are part of it.In some cases, the answer is no.
FULL STORY


Annuities can gold-plate a silver pension
ROB CARRICK  

Saturday, February 21, 2015

rcarrick@globeandmail.comWe worship defined-benefit plans, but we disrespect annuities. This is illogical.DB pensions offer a set amount of monthly income for as long as you live, just as annuities do. This is why DB pensions are considered so desirable. If you're a member of one of these plans at a financially solid employer, you have zero worries about outliving your money.
FULL STORY


Debt vs. RRSPs: A new take on an old debate
ROB CARRICK  

Thursday, February 19, 2015

rcarrick@globeandmail.comSaving for retirement beats paying down your mortgage. There - a long-standing debate in Canadian personal finance is settled. To build wealth in today's low interest rate world, divert money you were going to use to pay down your mortgage balance to your registered retirement savings plan or tax-free savings account.
FULL STORY


Have I saved enough? Best to ask an expert
ROB CARRICK  

Saturday, February 14, 2015

rcarrick@globeandmail.comPart of being a good personal finance columnist is to know when the help of a specialist is required to answer questions about money.One of these situations came up in The Globe and Mail financial boot camp we've been running all week (catch up here: tgam.ca/financialbootcamp). A bunch of recruits asked questions about retirement that came down to this: ''Have I saved enough?'' It's gratifying that people trust a personal finance columnist enough to answer questions such as this, but I suggest they see a specialist.
FULL STORY


Twenty-five reasons to start saving
ROB CARRICK  

Thursday, February 12, 2015

rcarrick@globeandmail.comAt The Globe and Mail's financial boot camp, we deprogram people caught in the cult of overspending.Boot camp aims to turn people with all kinds of money challenges into personal finance warriors (check it out online at tgam.ca/ financialbootcamp). Here, we work on the discipline of saving to meet your goals and obligations rather than falling back on borrowing. Let's look at 25 reasons for people of all ages to save.
FULL STORY


Five balanced funds that are great for DIY investors
ROB CARRICK  

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

rcarrick@globeandmail.comA confession - I was too hard on balanced funds in my early days as a personal finance columnist.They struck me as the Kraft Dinner of investments. Convenient and filling, but bland and not especially good for you. I thought it far better to pick a good bunch of equity funds and then add a bond fund. More work, but more reward because you're cherry-picking the best funds for your portfolio, not buying pre-fab solutions from fund companies that have no hesitation in mixing their best and lamest products.
FULL STORY


'A black cloud hanging over us'
ROB CARRICK  

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

rcarrick@globeandmail.coListen to these voices if you think high personal-debt levels in Canada are nothing to bother about.''Our debt is a black cloud hanging over us,'' an applicant to our Globe and Mail financial boot camp wrote us (check it out at tgam.ca/financialbootcamp). Another wrote: ''We have had [debt] for so long, we have become numb to it.'' Other boot camp applicants said debt is preventing them from buying a house, helping their kids, saving for retirement and fulfilling ambitions such as travelling. ''Being in debt is holding me back from so many great opportunities,'' one young woman wrote.
FULL STORY


Value the dividend in your beaten-down preferred shares
ROB CARRICK  

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

rcarrick@globeandmail.comOne of the more shocking investing stories of this year has to be the carnage in the preferred share market.Some preferreds were hammered during that brief hiccup in the summer of 2013 when interest rates appeared to be set for a sustained rise, and others have been brutal in early 2015, as interest rates slide. Investors who own preferred shares have to be reeling at this point. Will these popular bond alternatives ever find favour again?
FULL STORY


Punished for saving? Keep at it, anyway
ROB CARRICK  

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

rcarrick@globeandmail.comCanada's savers need some saving.The latest decline in interest rates has drawn fresh attention to how sad returns are for people with money in savings accounts, guaranteed investment certificates and government bonds. But a close look at financial data for the past two decades shows things are worse than we thought. If you factor inflation into your returns, you're actually losing money as a saver.
FULL STORY


Advisers and women: Is anyone listening?
ROB CARRICK  

Saturday, January 31, 2015

rcarrick@globeandmail.comThe financial advice business doesn't get women.One survey found that 73 per cent of women were unhappy with the service they got from the financial industry. Among widows, 80 per cent switch advisers after the death of their husband.
FULL STORY


Time to invest in a Canadian road trip
ROB CARRICK  

Thursday, January 29, 2015

rcarrick@globeandmail.comThe smart money vacation choice of 2015 is a l-o-o-o-n-g driving trip in Canada.Visit St. John's and then drive to Gros Morne in Newfoundland this summer. Make the trek from Central Canada through the Prairies to the West Coast.
FULL STORY


How a little currency hedging could soothe investor jitters
ROB CARRICK  

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

You have to admire the optimism of some investors about the Canadian dollar these days.The dollar's falling fast toward the 80-cent (U.S.) level, which would put it more than 10-percent below where it was 12 months ago. Yet, investors I've heard from in the past few weeks are worried about what will happen to their U.S. holdings if the dollar rebounds.
FULL STORY


Banks fail ethics test with mortgages
ROB CARRICK  

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

rcarrick@globeandmail.comEven if there's a business case for the banks not lowering their prime rate, the decision is an ethical fail.Peter Noonan's story helps show us why. Mr. Noonan is a 56-year-old retired teacher in Toronto who always played it safe with his mortgages by going with five-year fixed rates. Last October, he went variable as he entered the home stretch in getting his mortgage paid off. For about six hours last week, he looked like a genius.
FULL STORY


Welcome to the ETF Buyer's Guide - 2015 edition
ROB CARRICK  

Saturday, January 24, 2015

rcarrick@globeandmail.comIt's welcome but slightly troublesome news that exchangetraded fund companies have been cutting fees. Welcome because low costs are a strong argument for building portfolios with ETFs, and fee cuts make them all the more attractive. Troublesome because some of the fee information in The Globe and Mail ETF Buyer's Guide published last year is outdated. We'll fix that in the second edition of the guide, which begins here and will continue over the months ahead. The schedule: Canadian equity ETFs first, then dividend ETFs, bond ETFs, U.S. equity ETFs and international equity ETFs.
FULL STORY


It's time to talk about the wealth gap and real problems
ROB CARRICK  

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

rcarrick@globeandmail.comThe rich are different from you and me - they're more fun to mock.A doctor-dentist couple we'll call Eric and Ilsa have learned this the hard way. They were featured in the weekend edition of The Globe and Mail's ever-popular Financial Facelift, where they opened their books to the world in exchange for some input from a financial planner. Now, the world can't stop mocking them.
FULL STORY


The lure of U.S.-dollar accounts
ROB CARRICK  

Saturday, January 17, 2015

rcarrick@globeandmail.comFour straight years of U.S. stocks outperforming the Canadian market have shown us just how important it is for online brokers to offer U.S.-dollar registered accounts.
FULL STORY


Budget for those inevitable renos
ROB CARRICK  

Thursday, January 15, 2015

rcarrick@globeandmail.comYou can't have a serious conversation about housing affordability without considering gazebos.Last year, 20 or so homeowners applied to the City of Ottawa for a permit to build a gazebo on their property. The cost of these projects cost ranged, for the most part, between $3,000 and $25,000. When considering whether you can afford to own a home, remember to leave room for gazebos and other renovations.
FULL STORY


For U.S. expats, home sales could trigger tax bill
ROB CARRICK  

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

rcarrick@globeandmail.comAmericans residing in Canada may not realize the extent to which the U.S. government's tax-filing rules for non-resident citizens hit home.There's been a lot of attention in recent years on how U.S. citizens in Canada are being targeted by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Lost in all the commotion is a little known, long-standing rule concerning houses: If Americans living in Canada sell a house for a gain of more than $250,000 (U.S.) per taxpayer, they must pay capital gains tax on it.
FULL STORY


Great returns come with mixed emotions
ROB CARRICK  

Saturday, January 10, 2015

rcarrick@globeandmail.comIt's with mixed emotions that I inform you the Two-Minute Portfolio had a tremendous year in 2014.The 2MP is an ongoing experiment in quick and dirty portfoliobuilding that requires you to do nothing more than invest equal amounts in the two largest dividend-paying stocks in each of the 10 sectors in the Canadian stock market. This strategy produced a return of 23.95 per cent this year, while the SandP/TSX composite index made 10.55 per cent.
FULL STORY


Economy's rebound is bad for borrowers
ROB CARRICK  

Thursday, January 08, 2015

rcarrick@globeandmail.comIndebted people aren't going to like the return to stronger economic growth.Rising interest rates will offset any benefits they get when the economy accelerates from the sluggish pace of recent years. If you owe a lot, plan now for higher rates to avoid nasty surprises ahead.
FULL STORY


Five ways to use your gas savings wisely
ROB CARRICK  

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

rcarrick@globeandmail.comFalling gasoline prices offer a chance for some personal finance redemption in 2015.As a country of confirmed borrowers, we need it. It's now obvious that as long as interest rates stay low, Canadians will continue to wallow in debt.
FULL STORY


Five ways to invest successfully in 2015
ROB CARRICK  

Saturday, January 03, 2015

rcarrick@globeandmail.comIf there was a maintenance schedule on your investment portfolio, it would call for an inspection at the end of every year.Nothing radical, just a check of all the major systems to ensure they're working well. Some basics to tick off include diversification and risk levels, value for the fees being paid and your recent and long-term returns. Are they sufficient to meet your financial goals, and how do they compare with the major stock and bond market benchmarks?
FULL STORY

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