5 Steps To Take To Jump-Start Your Financial Success

5 Steps To Take To Jump-Start Your Financial SuccessLacey Hamilton hopes to attend the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea to cheer on the Canadian athletes. To save for the trip, the 22-year-old Mississauga resident drops spare change and $5 bills into a 0.9-litre mason jar that she empties into a savings account when it becomes full. “I live on a cash diet as much as possible,” she says. “I find that’s the best way for me…

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Why Even a Crystal Ball is No Guarantee

Why Even a Crystal Ball is No GuaranteeA great deal of investment analysts’ time is spent trying to predict the future. How will the new iPhone sell? How many new automobiles will be sold in Europe next year?  What will next week’s employment numbers look like? Who will win the next election? And what will the Fed do about interest rates in the coming quarters? These questions are important to these analysts not because of the answers…

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5 Lessons that will Help Protect Your Portfolio

5 Lessons that will Help Protect Your PortfolioOne of the fascinating things about the market is that, no matter how long you invest, or how much you think you know, there can always be new lessons learned. For a lot of investors, losing money — unfortunately — is often the cost of tuition for these market lessons. But, no investor is going to bat 1.000, and if you can at least learn from your mistakes then your…

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You Only Live Once

You Only Live OnceIf you’re of a certain age, YOLO needs no translation. For the rest of us, personal finance writer Jason Vitug has helpfully spelled it out in the title of his latest book: You Only Live Once. Vitug is American, as is his publisher John Wiley & Sons Inc. but, as is often the case, the basic principles transcend borders. Vitug was a credit union executive who has turned financial guru…

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Debt to Continue Rising in 2016

Debt to Continue Rising in 2016Canadian households will close out 2015 carrying thicker layers of debt after worrisome gains over the past 12 months — extra padding that’s expected to get even fatter in the new year. But even with the borrowing binges, many experts still believe the finances of most Canadians remain in decent shape. This assessment comes as the country shows worrisome signs linked to consumer spending. It has a record-high debt-to-income ratio…

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5 reasons it’s Still Too Early to Buy Commodities Stocks

5 reasons it's Still Too Early to Buy Commodities StocksMany contrarian investors are wondering if the time is right to start loading up on commodities in anticipation of the next big rally. Certainly, stocks in the sector are cheap, and we would expect many of them to double if and when a commodity recovery occurs. Stocks of smaller, riskier companies could triple or more. Alas, we need to throw some cold water on such thoughts. It is still far…

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You Spring-Clean Your House Why Not Your Finances?

You Spring-Clean Your House Why Not Your Finances?Many Canadians engage in regular spring cleaning rituals like checking fire alarms, rotating mattresses and planting gardens. They’re tedious and time-consuming tasks, but they need to be tended to by responsible homeowners. Those responsibilities shouldn’t end at household chores. Spring is as good a time as any to dust off and polish up all things personal finance. You’re already sorting through slips and statements to file your taxes, so you…

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Canadians Find New Way to Binge on Debt as Borrowing to Buy Stocks hit Record Levels

Canadians Find New Way to Binge on Debt as Borrowing to Buy Stocks hit Record LevelsDennis Colpitts could pay down the mortgage on his house in western Canada early if he wanted. He’s investing in the stock market instead — and in some cases borrowing to do so. With a mortgage rate of 2.35%, Colpitts said it makes more sense to put his money into stocks or other investments that hold the potential for higher gains. He primarily invests in exchange-traded funds, including through a…

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Cashless Buying Poses Financial Risk For Those Without Self-Control

Cashless Buying Poses Financial Risk For Those Without Self-ControlFinancial planner Victor Godinho said goodbye to his wallet four years ago and hasn’t looked back. The 23-year-old adviser at the VTAG Financial Group Inc. in Toronto was one of the early adopters of the “cashless” lifestyle, a move to ditch pocket change and bills in favour of plastic cards and mobile phone payments. “I simply decided that change and cash were too frustrating to deal with,” he said. New…

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Why and When Using Debt to Invest Makes Sense

Why and When Using Debt to Invest Makes SenseThe history of investing is full of cautionary tales regarding the use of leverage to enhance returns, and how it is your best friend until it becomes your worst enemy. But many times, the trigger that causes great losses resulting from leverage has nothing at all to do with the quality of the underlying investments. The story is quite simple. Let’s say there is a good idea with a fair…

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