How a Trip to the Dentist Got Me Thinking About Market Crashes

“Your molar is cracked. You need a root canal.” That’s what the dentist told me a few weeks ago. It didn’t sound like fun. But the truth is, it wasn’t bad at all. As I laid back and the drilling was in progress, I noticed I was a bit tense. I asked myself why.  It didn’t hurt. Everything was frozen. So why was I still, well, afraid? The only thing I could think of was that, although it didn’t hurt … Continued

Young people don’t need to fret about home affordability. Things will work out.

With housing prices skyrocketing, the media are featuring stories every day about affordability for first-time buyers and analysis of renting versus owning. Young people, we are told, feel despair at the prospect of ever being able to own a house. I don’t know if that will be true or not. As a financial planner though, I would say it doesn’t matter. They can still have a strong financial plan whether or not they own a home. This made me think … Continued

Money Can Buy Some Happiness

The Atlantic recently ran a series of articles on happiness by Arthur C Brooks.  That sort of thing always gets my attention.  After all, this is what it is really about.  Whether it’s the way we work, organize our homes, foster friendships or manage our wealth, the end game is to be happy. There is a school of thought that says that happiness is not created by our circumstances.  It’s not something we can achieve.  It’s something we choose.  In … Continued

How do I help clients? Let me count the ways

I reached out to a group of clients and asked for topics that they would like to know more about, so I could write blogs about them. One of my very first clients – someone who has known me and worked with me for over 16 years said this… “Could you explain what you do for people?”. It wasn’t the first time that a client or a non-client needed clarification on what I do besides invest people’s money. The range … Continued

Been There…

Someone who is trying to attract new clients will often highlight their expertise with a certain group with common attributes.  I have a lot of clients that are women on their own so I will often tell someone who has lost her spouse or who is transitioning from a relationship that I have helped many people in their circumstances. But I realized that my connection to a client becomes even more powerful when I’ve had the experience myself.  I thought … Continued

Avoid pain as a learning method

I listened to a podcast interview with one of my favourite people, Jerry Seinfeld.  It was unlike any other I had seen or heard.  He didn’t trace his history in show business or talk about how the idea for the most famous episodes came to life.  Instead, he talked about his personal habits, his routine, and the creative process that he goes through.  He said that he writes every day and maintains several other disciplines to support and nurture himself … Continued

The Great Wave of Seniors Downsizing Hasn’t Come to Pass; Yet

According to a recent survey, 91% of seniors said they would try to “live safely and independently in their own home as long as possible.”  This contrasts with the long-held view that as boomers age, a wave of selling and downsizing would come as they relocate to smaller homes, condos, and retirement communities. I for one, am not surprised by that this trend hasn’t emerged, as I haven’t seen this trend unfold within my own client base.  Nonetheless, clients are … Continued

How Mutual Fund Fees Work

Recently, a lot of attention has been given to investment management fees. This is thanks in part to regulatory changes that have forced more transparency, and rightly so.  But a series of television commercials that take stabs at mutual funds and advisors have also made this topic more front of mind for investors. I don’t actually mind the commercials or anything that gets people to ask questions and become more engaged. But if transparency is the aim, the commercials fall … Continued

Active and Passive Investing

Every day you can easily find out about how the stock index performed.  The news, newspapers, and various online resources all report on it, letting you know whether the TSX is up or down 100 points that day, for example. But what does that really mean and how much does it relate to your investments? Companies that gather and publish data about stock markets create indices to help investors understand how the overall market, or segments of it, are performing. … Continued

Something about age 80

Software used for constructing financial plans will often have a default approach where the income you are seeking in retirement remains constant throughout your life, albeit adjusted for inflation. So, if you and your advisor determine that, at retirement, you will require $5,000 per month after tax, the software will provide you with that amount of income every year until the end of the plan, with a little raise each year to take into account inflation. Over the years, I … Continued