When it comes to RRSPs, pay yourself first!

Q – I am a procrastinator when it comes to contributing to my RRSPs. Every year, I make my contribution on the very last day. Do you have any tips so that I don’t find myself doing this again next year? – Lillian G., Winnipeg, Manitoba

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Are REITs right for you?

Q – I am looking for yield and have heard about REITs. How risky is this asset class? – Eileen T., Waterdown, Ontario

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Why index funds underperform their index

Q – Is it true that an index mutual fund offers no chance of beating the market? Isn’t the point of such funds, including exchange-traded funds, to track the market? – Dylan S., Simcoe, Ontario

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Resolve to plan now for 2012

Q – At the end of each year, I look back at my investment statements and regret that I did not start my financial planning at the start of the year. Do you have any tips on how to start the year off right? – Don D., Lakefield, Ontario

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Insurance bundles could cut costs

Q – I am married, with two children, and both my husband I work full time. We have small life insurance policies through our employers, but we are looking to increase our coverage and add critical illness protection. We have looked at critical illness polices in the past, but they are so expensive. Is there any way to get critical illness insurance at lower premiums? – Anna S., Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

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Real estate investments

Q – I am 32 and own my home. I have just started to look at building an investment strategy, and I am looking into asset classes. I know the general theory of splitting assets broadly between fixed income and equity. My question is about real estate as an investment class. I pride myself on being a homeowner and consider my home an asset class of its own. Do you recommend holding real estate investment trusts (REITs) in addition to owning a home. Wouldn’t this be overweighting real estate, as my major asset is my home? – Sarita R., Winnipeg, Manitoba

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Don’t let illness devastate your finances too

Q – I am a single working mother and would like to put an investment plan or saving plan in place for emergencies. My friend’s daughter was just diagnosed with cancer, and they are now near financial ruin trying to cover the unexpected time off work and travel expenses to see specialists. I want to avoid this type of situation. What is the best way to save for something like this? – Jennifer B., Grimsby, Ontario

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When to rebalance portfolios

Q –  My mutual fund portfolio is fairly balanced. I trade off and on but stick to a buy-and-hold strategy for the most part. How often do you recommend rebalancing my portfolio? Sharon T., Toronto, Ontario

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Saying good-bye to an advisor

Q – My financial advisor and I don’t see eye to eye on a number of key strategies. I’ve decided that I want to transfer my investments to another account, but I am not sure how to go about it. Do you have any advice on how to fire my advisor? – Bob L., Guelph, Ontario

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Five rules for setting up an investment plan

Q – I am a self-directed investor and mainly trade stocks through an online brokerage service. Do you have any tips for a novice on how to set up a plan to become a successful investor? – Terri W., Fort Erie, Ontario

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