A Totally New Way to Benchmark our Wealth

Research has produced something known as the Happiness Curve which measures our level of contentment at different ages. Based on my age, I should be at the lowest point of my life. Yikes! Happiness is relatively high from our twenties through our forties, but bottoms around age 55. It begins to increase again in one’s 60 and 70’s. That is certainly cause for reflection. The thing I find most interesting is that we are generally gaining financial strength by our … Continued

My Dad Turned 99 recently. Here Are His Words of Wisdom.

If you know me well, you probably also know a lot about my dad. I talked about him often. I’m very proud of him. He’s an old-fashioned gentleman, quintessentially humble, relentlessly supportive, incredibly resilient, and an all-around great guy. He’s a pleasure to sit and spend time with. I don’t know if there is anything I’m more grateful for than having him and my mother as parents. Born in 1923, he’s lived through the depression; lost both his parents in … Continued

We Should Always Be Bullish

I’ve been holding back on writing this blog and on using that title. Yes I know, it’s a bold statement. Sometimes, the market is lousy and the outlook bleak. But now is a good time to remember that it treats patient, long-term investors very well. I’ve been doing this work long enough to have been through several bad markets. The financial crisis of 2008 saw the worst stock market declines in a generation. The recent pandemic also threw markets into … Continued

My “Wordle” Favourite is a Big Part of Today’s Investment Climate

Like a lot of people, I’m crazy about the daily online puzzle game Wordle. It involves guessing a five-letter word using a process of letter elimination. It requires you to start with any word.  Everyone has their favourites. Some of mine are “early”, “point” and “yield”. I remember the first time I saw the word yield. I was a child and I was watching my mother bake cookies. At the end of the recipe, it said “yields two dozen”. My … Continued

Like Life in General, Retirement has Many “Eras”. You Can Plan for Them.

A few weeks ago, I challenged the way financial planning graphs typically appear with smooth lines and steady, consistent results. Financial plans are formulated based on the assumptions we choose and on long-term averages. But life doesn’t work that way. One part of your plan that will be anything but smooth, consistent, and predictable, is the amount you will spend in retirement. Planning software will typically start with the amount of money you hope to live on at the beginning … Continued

What do we really mean by risk?

My last article provoked a lot of feedback. It was about the way individuals who have created an exceptional amount of wealth view risk. I have often said that my role in helping people with their wealth is mostly about risk management. Finding the appropriate balance between risk and reward is arguably the most important thing I can do for them. But I find that people often have a narrow or flawed view of what risk is. Many people think … Continued

The One Thing the Very Wealthy do Differently

The recent passing of one of Hamilton’s icons, businessman and philanthropist Charles Juravinski, was cause for reflection. I had the pleasure of being in his company on several occasions. If you had ever met him, you’d know that he was as big a character as he was a success. A true rags-to-riches story, Charlie came to Ontario from Saskatchewan as a young boy with nothing but the clothes on his back. After years in business, he and his wife Margaret … Continued

Charting your Wealth the Way it Actually Looks.  Something for All Ages.

I remember when I was a young guy in my twenties and I first got acquainted with the idea of putting a little money away each month and watching it grow. The information I was reading at the time had these pithy points to condense what you needed to know into a few actionable phrases. Start early. Pay yourself first. Stay invested. And along with it was a chart that showed your money growing consistently until you had what seemed … Continued

The Evolution of Advice – the Best Advice is Vocational

A number of years ago, I was engaged in a tug of war with another advisor over a client we were both trying to attract. I knew a lot about my competitor and I felt very strongly and sincerely that I was a better fit for the client.  The other advisor was competent, knowledgeable, hard-working, and honest. But there was no doubt in my mind that the client would be better served dealing with me. But why? What did I … Continued

An Advisor’s Most Important Attribute

I have something to confess. I don’t have all the answers. You probably already knew that, but it gets us talking about what we expect from the professionals in our lives. I’ve often said that humility is the single most important attribute that an advisor can exhibit. The great thing about humility is that it works together with confidence. It takes a certain amount of self-esteem to be truly humble. Humility isn’t downplaying your skill. Humility is understanding your limits … Continued