If left to drift, your portfolio can morph into a different beast

How can you tell when your portfolio is morphing into a different beast? What do you do about it? Read Robyn Thompson’s advice on how to check your portfolio for suspicious changes in The Globe and Mail’s “Financial Compass” series by Kira Vermond. READ MORE

Time for your annual (portfolio) review

How to make sure your investments stay on track

An annual investment review not only tells you how your portfolio has performed against your benchmark, but whether it’s time to make changes to your holdings. This could happen, for example, if some investments in your portfolio have done exceptionally well and have consequently tilted your asset weighting in that sector beyond your target level. To conduct a portfolio review, at a minimum you need to look at four key areas. READ MORE

Looking for investment income with REITs

But beware! Real estate comes with real risks

With Canadian interest rates once again at rock bottom, income investors are hard-pressed to find any good income-producing assets without incurring a high degree of extra risk. Some advisors like to tout investment funds that hold real estate investment trusts (REITs) as a good choice for more conservative investors (say, retirees) looking for a steady stream of income, because they are diversified and have a better risk profile than, say, common shares of big blue-chip companies. But this may not paint the whole picture about REITs. READ MORE

Four key elements of a year-end portfolio review

Why they’re important to your financial health

Your investment portfolio isn’t carved in stone. These days it’s most likely saved in a digital file somewhere. Every month, you should be receiving an itemized statement of what’s in that digital file as of the close of business on the last day of the month, how it’s performed, what it has cost you, how much it’s worth, and how much it’s changed since the last statement and since the beginning of the year. What it won’t tell you is whether it’s time to make changes. And that’s something only you and your advisor can do, preferably close to year-end. Here’s how. READ MORE

Why you can’t invest like Warren Buffett

And why you should follow his advice anyway

Warren Buffett is the most famous investor in the world. Also one of the world’s richest men. There’s a direct line of causality between the two. So it’s not surprising that his annual letter to shareholders of his investment company, Berkshire Hathaway Inc., typically makes front-page news. Its folksy investment wisdom and amusing personal anecdotes make for better reading than most business news and commentary of the day. So why doesn’t everyone invest like Buffett? Simple: You can’t. But you can and should follow his advice for small investors. Here’s why. READ MORE

How to avoid selling at the wrong time

One of the biggest mistakes do-it-yourself investors make is to sell investments at precisely the wrong time. Mostly, this is because smaller investors who “play the market” tend to be “reactive” rather than “proactive.” And mostly, they react to the two primal investor emotions – fear and greed. READ MORE