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  An intriguing bet for the brave
ROB CARRICK  

Saturday, February 13, 2016

PORTFOLIO STRATEGY rcarrick@globeandmail.comStocks in the SandP/TSX composite index are okay as a buy-low opportunity, but you can do way better.It's a sign of how bizarre things are in the world of finance that supposedly safer preferred shares are falling much harder than the broader stock market. Preferreds were once a low-drama alternative to bonds for generating reliable investment income. Now, they're a top name on any ranking of wealth-destroying investments.
FULL STORY


Critical-illness insurance can make sense
ROB CARRICK  

Friday, February 12, 2016

rcarrick@globeandmail.comCancer insurance, anyone?The proper name for this type of coverage is critical-illness insurance. But a fact sheet from one insurance company in this line of business shows that cancer accounts for 68 per cent of payouts for CI policies, followed by heart attacks at 13 per cent and unspecified other conditions at 8 per cent.
FULL STORY


It's time for dividend investors to face reality
ROB CARRICK  

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

rcarrick@globeandmail.comInside the MarketHere's a simple little challenge for dividend investors: Can you beat the returns of your bank's dividend equity fund?This question is posed in the context of how much tougher the environment for dividend investing has become in the past year or so. Dividend growth is slowing down, dividend cuts are becoming more common in the energy and materials sectors, and the price of many star dividend payers has been under pressure. In an investing environment as confusing as the one we live in today, dividend stocks represent a known and reliable quantity. But, as discussed in a recent column (tgam.ca/carrickdiv-Feb2), investors need to up their game when focusing on dividend stocks.
FULL STORY


How first-home 'affordability' can limit you
ROB CARRICK  

Monday, February 08, 2016

In the city of Toronto, a couple with combined gross income of $120,000 can afford a house worth $657,563.No, wait, it's actually $590,681.Or is it $736,450? The mortgage affordability calculators offered by banks - used in this example - differ somewhat in their methodology, but they have one important thing in common.
FULL STORY


TFSAs, and their fees, have come of age
ROB CARRICK  

Friday, February 05, 2016

rcarrick@globeandmail.comThe financial industry has officially stopped babying the tax-free savings account.On March 1, Toronto-Dominion Bank will become the last of the big banks to introduce a fee to transfer a TFSA held at one of its branches to another financial company. The price of freedom is $75 plus tax for clients with TD Canada Trust TFSAs.
FULL STORY


Why it's time to take a tougher stance on dividend investing
ROB CARRICK  

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

rcarrick@globeandmail.comInside the Market Investing success in a weak economy means being choosier about which dividend stocks you own.A couple of prominent dividend stocks, Rogers Communications and Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan, disappointed investors in January. A lesson here is to recognize that a past record of dividend growth is rapidly losing credibility as an indicator of future increases in dividends.
FULL STORY


Hoarding cash? There are good alternatives
ROB CARRICK  

Monday, February 01, 2016

rcarrick@globeandmail.comIf you're too scared to invest in the stock market, pay down your debt.Or, invest in your education or qualifications. Or, start a business. Canadians are clinging to cash these days, which means they're wasting opportunities to make better use of their money.
FULL STORY


The loonie will rise again. Start preparing
ROB CARRICK  

Saturday, January 30, 2016

rcarrick@globeandmail.comThe shrewdest investing move of the past few years was to avoid currency hedging in U.S. and international ETFs and mutual funds.Now, it's time to consider a partial reversal. Looking ahead for the next few years, a hedge could be an edge in managing the volatile dollar in your portfolio.
FULL STORY


Beware of tax hit on U.S.-dollar accounts
ROB CARRICK  

Friday, January 29, 2016

rcarrick@globeandmail.comThe known damage caused to our finances by the falling dollar includes more expensive costs for groceries and other goods, plus killer foreignexchange costs when visiting the United States.
FULL STORY


This type of ETF can play a role in all portfolios
ROB CARRICK  

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Inside the MarketThere's a kind of exchangetraded fund that belongs in almost every portfolio.This type of ETF is a no-brainer if you're a conservative investor with just a slice of your portfolio in stocks, or a risk-loving maniac with 100 per cent in stocks. It's smart investing if you're young or old, and it's worth considering whether you prefer stocks, mutual funds or whatever.
FULL STORY


Here's a cost-effective strategy for jumping into falling markets
ROB CARRICK  

Friday, January 22, 2016

Inside the Market The latest development in Canada's ETF price war suggests a strategy for investors who want to take advantage of falling stock markets, but don't know where to begin.
FULL STORY


Savings account pitch gets your attention
ROB CARRICK  

Friday, January 22, 2016

rcarrick@globeandmail.comCanada's newest bank could not have timed the introduction of its 3-per-cent savings account better.Stock markets are falling, the dollar's a dud and the hottest topic in the country is the soaring cost of groceries. The comfort of a decent rate of return on a stress-free savings account would be most welcome right now, and that's just what you get with the new EQ Bank Savings Plus Account.
FULL STORY


It's time to shift focus to the job market
ROB CARRICK  

Thursday, January 21, 2016

The personal finance number to watch now is the unemployment rate.Stocks, the dollar and oil prices are hard to look away from, but there's nothing new there. All are negative, as they have been since the year began. The jobless rate has been comparatively encouraging lately, but the Bank of Canada announcement on Wednesday gives us reason to wonder if that can last.
FULL STORY


These slumping dividend stars deserve attention
ROB CARRICK  

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

rcarrick@globeandmail.comInside the Market One of the good things about a stock market rout is that quality merchandise goes on sale.While dividend growth stocks are among the best performers of the past 12 months, there are also some dividend stars that have lagged the market lately. If you're building a list of stocks to start buying as prices fall, these companies are worth researching further.
FULL STORY


These defensive funds may weather the market's fall
ROB CARRICK  

Monday, January 18, 2016

Inside the MarketYou're supposed to be greedy when other investors are fearful - that's what Warren Buffett says, anyway.But what if you're just as fearful as everyone else, or worse? The answer may be an ETF or mutual fund that does a good job of playing defence when the stock markets are falling. To find some funds like this, I used the fund filter on Globeinvestor.com to line up the best-performing Canadian equity funds in 2015. This fact alone is far from enough to recommend a fund. But it does suggest a starting point for your research if you're worried about how the stock market has extended the losses of 2015 into the new year. Here are some top performers of 2015 to consider:
FULL STORY


Eight reasons a rate cut is a bad idea
ROB CARRICK  

Monday, January 18, 2016

For eight years, the Bank of Canada has been trying to encourage economic growth by lowering interest rates. It's so not working.In fact, lower rates are hurting a lot of people more than they're helping. We have to at least acknowledge this as speculation of yet another rate cut grows. It could come as soon as Wednesday, which is the date of the next rate announcement from the Bank of Canada.
FULL STORY


How to play a strong defensive game
ROB CARRICK  

Saturday, January 16, 2016

PERSONAL FINANCE rcarrick@globeandmail.comIs it a good year when the stock market falls and you break even?That's the question posed by the results from the Two-Minute Portfolio in 2015, a dismal period in which the SandP/TSX composite total-return index (dividends plus share price changes) fell 8.3 per cent. The 2MP eked out a total return of 0.3 per cent, which we could consider a break-even result if stock-trading commissions are considered.
FULL STORY


Consider total-return stocks for your TFSA shopping list
ROB CARRICK  

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Inside the StreetwiseMarket F eeding your TFSA? Try the shares of two grocery chains, Metro Inc. and Loblaw Cos.Telus Corp. is another possibility, as are rail giants Canadian National Railway and Canadian Pacific Railway. All of these stocks are total-return stars.
FULL STORY


How to minimize damage from falling dollar
ROB CARRICK  

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

A falling dollar is like a pay cut.Just what you need in the slow-to-no-growth economy, right? More chipping away at your financial stability at a time when the stock markets are awful, returns on savings are pitiful, oil prices keep falling and there's little good news in the job market.
FULL STORY


The family home is a capital consideration
ROB CARRICK  

Monday, January 11, 2016

rcarrick@globeandmail.comAbove all other financial considerations for baby boomers in 2016 is what to do with the family home.Downsize soon, decide to stick around for a few more years, or commit to staying until they carry you out. What you decide to do matters less than the fact that you spend some time thinking about how best to deploy the financial windfall of long-term home ownership over the past few decades.
FULL STORY


Leave DSCs to the dinosaurs
ROB CARRICK  

Saturday, January 09, 2016

rcarrick@globeandmail.comA mutual fund company wants to charge a guy we'll call Nick a fee of about $3,575 to get his own money back.The fund company calls it a deferred sales charge. Think of it as a vestige of a time when fund companies dominated the world of retail investing and could dictate the price of their products.
FULL STORY


'Hoping things will take care of themselves'
ROB CARRICK  

Friday, January 08, 2016

rcarrick@globeandmail.comThere is nothing easier than explaining to people how to be successful with money.Spend below your means, prepare for financial emergencies, invest regularly with a long-term perspective - that pretty much sums it up. Now for a much tougher assignment - figuring out why people don't listen to advice such as this.
FULL STORY


After years of stability, unsettling signs emerge in mortgage market
ROB CARRICK  

Thursday, January 07, 2016

There's just one reason for the strength of Canada's housing market - low, stable mortgage rates.Rates are still low, but the stable part is in question after Royal Bank of Canada announced a small but significant round of mortgage rate increases that will take effect Friday. Other banks will likely adjust rates as well, after a brief period of letting RBC draw fire as the first to move.
FULL STORY


Should you avoid preferred shares? Not necessarily
ROB CARRICK  

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

rcarrick@globeandmail.comInside the Market After two gory corrections in the past eight years, we can safely dispense with any ideas about how safe preferred shares are.While the dividends that preferreds pay have for the most part been quite secure, share prices have shown a periodic tendency to plunge dramatically. Prefs got slaughtered in the crash of 200809 on fears about the financial system imploding, and they were hammered last year because of interest-rate concerns. This is quite a lot of drama for a security that was once known as a widows-and-orphans vehicle for generating low-drama dividend income.
FULL STORY


Are you getting good value for the fees you pay your adviser?
ROB CARRICK  

Monday, January 04, 2016

rcarrick@globeandmail.comInside the Market Fixating on fees might just be your most rewarding investing move for 2016.The turn of the year is a natural time to take stock of a portfolio and see what can be done to better position it for success. One option is to look at adjustments in your holdings, while another is to do an audit of the fees you pay to see if they're bringing you value.
FULL STORY

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