A Lot of People are Retiring in Stages

I was talking with a close friend recently who works as a trade with a major manufacturer. He said that for many years now, he could work overtime just about any time he wanted. At his plant, many trades have often worked 7 days a week.  But since Covid, most people are turning down the overtime; especially people late in their careers. “I’m winding down”, he said. “I’m interested in working less, not more.”  For him, this is Stage One of retirement.  As … Continued

I Picked Olives in Italy and it Strengthened My Optimism in Financial Markets

When I launched my brand, I told the story of a trip to Italy that inspired the Olive Tree theme. I visited Italy again recently and among the stops was a small town in Abruzzo where I helped with the olive harvest at the home of a friend. What an experience! It’s quite fascinating how it is done. Something akin to a rake is at the end of a long pole. The tines ofthe tool move rapidly, powered by an … Continued

Why I Became a Financial Advisor

When you read an account of a topic like this, the writer usually starts with a story such as “when I was a child, we had no money” or “I always knew I wanted to be…”. I have no such story. I’m from a working-class family and my parents were practical, no-frills people. But I can’t say that I ever felt poor. I did recognize that some people had loftier lifestyles than us and it gave me something to which … Continued

People Ask: What Do You Think of My Portfolio?

One of the first signs that someone is considering changing advisors is when they ask me to review their investments and give them a second opinion. No two advisors will create exactly the same portfolio and every one of us brings a personal touch or a specific approach to things. That’s understandable and I wouldn’t criticize a portfolio because it’s not exactly what I would do. But what strikes me most often are not the individual holdings, but rather the … Continued

How a Jar of Smarties Can Help Make Sense of Market Forecasts

In my last blog, I explained how I deal with uncertainty by always being ready for anything. I argued that proper portfolio construction, aligned with the client’s unique needs, should leave them in a strong long-term position regardless of what is going on in the economy and in capital markets. Still, people often ask me what my outlook is and how I feel markets will perform over the next few months. It won’t surprise you that I try not to … Continued

People Ask: How Do I Deal with Uncertainty?

So far, it’s been a tough year for investors. As of late August, major stock indices are down a fair bit and so are bonds. Globally balanced portfolios are lower by 10% to 15% year to date*. The common refrain in the financial media that I follow very closely is “uncertainty”. The talk is about how high-interest rates will go; how long will it take for inflation to come down; what will be the impact on the economy; how will … Continued

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