Gold: safe haven or dead weight?

The lure of gold in troubled times

Gold has in recent weeks become more interesting to investors. After a lengthy period during which an ounce of gold traded around US$1,500 per ounce, it notched up slightly after the March stock market meltdown, to around US$1,700. Since the beginning of June, though, it has been climbing steadily, edging toward a historic high of US$2,000 per ounce in the final days of July.

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The hard lessons of market risk

Get a fix on your true level of risk tolerance

Until very recently, things had been looking up in the U.S. The Labor Department reported that the U.S. unemployment rate dropped to 11.1% in June, as millions of Americans began returning to work. That helped lift investor sentiment on hopes that the economy would start to recover. But a resurgence in COVID-19 cases in the U.S. over the past couple of weeks could derail that. This past week, over 77,000 new COVID-19 cases were reported in the U.S. in a single day.

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Post-pandemic portfolio planning

Rebalancing for recovery

The March market meltdown, bond market gyrations, repricing of assets, and the flight to safety over the past couple of months has thrown many portfolios into disarray, particularly those of the do-it-yourself variety. The turmoil is likely to be reflected in increased values for fixed-income and cash holdings in your portfolio. Likewise, your equity values will have declined significantly.

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Retirement planning during the pandemic

Robyn Thompson is featured in BNN’s “The Open” with host John Erlichman, discussing how retirement planning is affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and what retirees (and those ready to retire) can do to protect their nest-egg and secure their income streams into the future.

Safety last

Why the urgent need for “safety” can lead investors astray

These days, we’re reading a lot about the “flight to safety” in markets and investments. It’s understandable, of course, as the COVID-19 virus pandemic spreads fear and panic through global financial markets as a nasty side effect. But is that flight to safety the right thing to do right now?

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Outsmarting the COVID-19 financial panic

Robyn Thompson is featured in CTV’s “Your Morning” with Anne-Marie Mediwake, discussing how to handle your investments and personal finances in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic scare.
With stock markets now into bear market territory, a global recession looming, and mob-mentality behavior prevailing in both supermarkets and stock markets, Robyn has some timely advice for investors on how to stay calm, weather the market turmoil, and even profit from new opportunities.
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How to overcome the market fear factor

Stock market rout not the time for wholesale portfolio changes

The rapid spread of the Covid-19 virus (also known as the coronavirus), has hit global markets hard over the past few weeks as investors worry about the impact of the spreading contagion on global trade and corporate earnings. Stock market indexes have plunged well into correction territory (down more than 10% from recent highs), crude oil has dropped to levels last seen in 2017, global growth appears to be slowing, and with a possible recession looming, central banks are cutting interest rate cuts.

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Should you buy hard assets now?

Precious metals, gems a risky way to hedge risk

The headlines are hard to miss. There’s the seemingly endless tariff war between China and the U.S. Then there’s the truly endless sabre rattling in the Middle East, most recently between Turkey and the Kurds in Northern Syria. How about the tit-for-tat oil tanker attacks and hijackings between Saudi Arabia and Iran? Brexit anyone? Efforts by Democrats to impeach U.S. President Donald Trump. Mass rioting in Hong Kong, Chile, Bolivia. Separatist sentiments rising in Canada following the election of a weak minority Liberal government. For some investors, it’s all a bit much, and many are asking if market risk has cranked up to new highs. Is now the time to switch at least some of your funds to so-called portable hard assets, like gold and gemstones, which tend to keep their value in times of turmoil? READ MORE

Dealing with market scares

Resist the urge to “do something”

Unless you’ve been away on vacation in a secluded place, you’ll know that stock markets sank alarmingly earlier this month as the U.S. Treasury bond yield curve “inverted” – that is, the yield on short-term bonds climbed above the yield on long-term bonds, albeit only very briefly. Fearing that an inverted yield curve signals a recession (as it often has historically), traders went into full-on panic mode, dumping stocks and moving to “safe haven” investments, like gold and, yes, bonds. The big North American stock market indices consequently lost ground, some sinking by triple-digit amounts in a span of two days. So is it really time to panic, sell all your stocks, and hunker down with your piles of cash? READ MORE

The role of a financial advisor

Differentiating from robots and algorithms

In this era of robo-advisors and artificial intelligence, it’s easy to believe that the expert, professional flesh-and-blood financial advisor has gone the way of the horse and buggy. It’s even easier to believe if you buy into the aggressive marketing by online portfolio management services that implies a human financial advisor basically sits back, collects fees, and buys a new luxury car every year. Of course, this grossly misrepresents what real advisors (as opposed to algorithms) actually do for their clients. So here’s a quick refresher on what to expect from a “real” financial advisor. READ MORE

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