Archive | 2018

Podcast 14: Make Millions in Bitcoin (Not Really)

My first podcast of 2018 is now live:

This episode’s interview features Shannon Lee Simmons, a refreshing young voice in financial planning. At the age of just 25, Shannon quit her job with a large investment firm so she could work with Canadians who are underserved by the financial industry. Today, at age 32, she runs a successful fee-only planning business called the New School of Finance, where she works with clients in all income brackets and life stages, including recent grads, small business owners, and those who need a mid-life check up.

Shannon has also just authored a new book, Worry-Free Money (published by HarperCollins Canada), which  focuses on our attitudes and approach to money. It offers a lot of valuable insight for people who need to sort out some big-picture issues before they worry about small details such as which ETFs to use.

In our discussion, Shannon says she’s noticed a discouraging trend among younger investors that she calls “fee shaming.” This is when a supposedly enlightened index investor scoffs to a friend or family member, “You’re paying a 2% MER on a mutual fund?

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Couch Potato Portfolio Returns for 2017

They contained no marijuana stocks and no bitcoin, but the Couch Potato portfolios put up another good year in 2017. Once again, investors were rewarded for simply following a disciplined, low cost, broadly diversified strategy and ignoring the blather of market forecasters. Before we get to the portfolio performance, here’s an overview of how the major asset classes fared in 2017:

What a strange year for bonds. How many more reminders do we need that guessing on interest rates is as futile as trying to time the equity markets? The Bank of Canada raised rates not once, but twice during the summer, and for the 12 months ending September 30, the FTSE TMX Canada Universe Bond Index was down 3%, the biggest 12-month decline in two decades. But for the full calendar year, the index was up 2.5%, which is almost exactly the current yield to maturity on broad-based funds such as the BMO Aggregate Bond Index ETF (ZAG). Had you just tuned out the noise and held on to your bond fund for the whole year you would have enjoyed a respectable return—again.
Canadian equities followed up their banner 2016 with another solid performance: the S&P/TSX Capped Composite Index returned 9.1% in 2017.

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