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

I’m Listening

Many clients have told me that it sometimes seems like I’m their priest or therapist as much as their Investment Advisor.  This makes me feel wonderful because it shows they trust me enough to share their most personal concerns.  Understanding clients’ priorities and values is so important as it helps me to offer the best financial advice. Knowing this, I decided that I should work on my soft skills of personal communication just as much as I do on the … Continued

When it comes to investing and financial planning, it’s helpful to be in touch with your feminine side.

Last year, I had conversations with two new clients. Both were young women early in their careers who had been saving diligently and had enough to buy a house and set aside savings for the long term. It was great to see young people doing all the right things and getting on track at an early age.  But what struck me most was that despite their youth and how new they were to money matters; they exhibited a wonderful mindset … Continued

Quick; What’s the first thing that comes to mind when I talk to you about “risk”?

One of the most important things an advisor must do is to assess the appropriate level of risk for clients’ investments.  There are many ways to do this.  It’s part science and part art. Time horizon is the key determinant.  Advisors will ask if you will need the money in the near term, such as if you plan to buy a car with the money within the next year.   In such a case, you wouldn’t want the money to be … Continued

What it means to be an independent advisor

In late 2019, after over 15 years with bank-owned investment dealers, I chose to serve my clients through iA Private Wealth, an independent dealer.  Here’s what that means and why I made the change. Employee vs Self-Employed At bank-owned dealers, advisors are employees and the people they serve are clients of the bank.  The compensation is variable, meaning the advisor’s pay is a function of how much revenue the clients they serve generate. The bank keeps about half and provides … Continued

Introducing Olive Tree Wealth Management

Just over a year ago, I changed investment dealers and began serving my clients through an “independent” firm; iA Private Wealth.  In the industry, it is referred to as an independent because advisors are not employees of the investment dealer but are rather, self-employed.  This change has afforded me and my clients a range of benefits, all of which I will lay out another time. However, among these benefits is the freedom to brand my practice.  Today, I’m proud to … Continued