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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...


No, investing is not “free”

The real cost of investing in mutual funds and ETFs The way the marketing hype has it these days, you’d think investment costs have dropped to zero. What with all the do-it-yourself platforms out there hawking their black boxes and promising, at least implicitly,...


Is it time to look for active bond management?

Bond ETFs retreat as rates edge up You might have noticed that the shorter-term returns of the broader index-tracking bond ETFs, such as the iShares Core Canadian Universe Bond Index ETF (TSX: XBB), have been sliding recently. Is it time to switch out of passive,...


Should novice investors use ‘smart beta’ ETFs?

The difference between passive and active ETF investing Novice investors just getting started with exchange-traded funds often ask whether they’d get more bang for their buck with a couple of “smart beta” funds added to the mix. But I generally advise thinking...


The cost of investing in funds

Why it pays to pay attention to MERs As new fee transparency rules for advisors and money managers start to kick in, more investors have been asking me about difference between the costs of various mutual funds and exchange-traded funds. It’s a valid question, and...


Should you get active with your bond funds?

The choice between bond ETFs and mutual funds Bond yields have dropped recently, and as a result, bond values have risen significantly. For example, the passive iShares Canadian Universe Bond Index ETF has risen 3.3% since the beginning of the year, and is up 4.9%...


The great ETF vs. mutual fund debate

Should you switch to ETFs for their lower MERs? The lower management costs of exchange-traded funds compared with mutual funds seem almost too good to be true. Many do-it-yourself investors are wondering whether they should switch completely to a portfolio of ETFs....


Demystifying investment fund fees

All about loads, fees, commissions, and MERs When it comes to investment funds, fees and costs can be both complicated and contentious. What’s the difference between an MER and a front-end load? Are fund commissions deductible? What are trailer fees? To help clear...


Is being a couch potato financially healthy?

Active versus passive investment styles A friend of mine says she invests in a “couch potato portfolio,” and her returns are higher than my portfolio of mutual funds, which the company says is actively managed! I’m not sure I understand what a “couch potato”...

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