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?


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.


Seniors playing with fire when taking on a big debt

The use and abuse of mortgages in retirement

Are retirees playing with fire? They could be if they decide to use money borrowed through a mortgage to supplement their other sources of retirement income. The most common ways those at or close to retirement do this is to hold a mortgage through their Locked-in Retirement Account (LIRA) or to borrow money against their home through a so-called “reverse mortgage.” But retirees should think long and hard before entering into either of these arrangements. 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

Avoid Market Excitement Syndrome!

Stock markets are setting records daily. Ignore it!

“The market will fluctuate.” That old bit of market wisdom is ascribed to Gilded Age financier J.P. Morgan, and is as true today as it was a hundred years ago. The primal emotions of fear and greed are ultimately at the bottom of all market movement, and they take turns confounding market watchers, analysts, and investors. Trouble is, no one ever knows when there will be a market top (or bottom). READ MORE

How to assemble a financial advisory team

Professionals bring unique skills to the table

It seems like there are “financial advisors” around every corner. Trouble is, they all seem to offer different services and have different qualifications. And they all charge different fees. Do you really need a lawyer or an accountant to set up a portfolio? How do you know you’re getting the best bang for your buck? Here’s a guide to the various professionals who might offer financial advice, and how they can work for you. READ MORE

Avoid these three wealth destroyers in 2017

Common investment errors can hit your portfolio hard

Investors who sold out of equities after Brexit and again just after the Trump election victory quite possibly lost money last year, even though the big stock market indices turned in strong gains. Turns out they fell into one of the most common investment pitfalls. Here’s a quick guide to three of the most common investing mistakes and what you can do to avoid them in 2017. READ MORE

Is it time to play “defense” with your portfolio?


Trump’s victory has many concerned about market volatility

With the election of Donald Trump as U.S. president, many investors believe that a new era of political uncertainty is going to increase stock market volatility. And that leads to questions about whether it makes sense to rebalance portfolios, especially those that hold aggressive growth-oriented mutual funds and ETFs, to a more defensive tilt. Before hitting those sell buttons, stop for a moment, and think about what you actually mean by “defensive” and “aggressive,” and what making those changes would mean. READ MORE

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 looking at the management expense ratios (MER) of various funds, you can see the significant difference it can make to your investment returns. READ MORE

Should you buy “haven” assets ahead of the U.S. election?


The trouble with precious metals, gems, coins, and commodities

Getting worried about the outcome of the U.S. election? If so, join the growing club. Many pundits believe that whatever the outcome, the result could be negative for financial markets, particularly stock markets, as both presidential candidates have come down on the side of protectionism and tariffs. Consequently, many investors are wondering whether they should increase allocations to commodities, real property, precious metals, coins, and gems. But this could turn out to be a risky move for your portfolio. READ MORE