Finally! Alternative Investments For the Rest of Us

Finally!  Alternative Investments For the Rest of UsThere’s no doubt some Canadian investors are cynical about the rise in popularity of alternative investments over the past few years. And really, who can blame them? Hedge-fund strategies and non-traditional asset classes such as private equity and infrastructure are repeatedly touted for their significant diversification benefits and returns that are uncorrelated to stocks and bonds, but they also usually come with big price tags and, more often than not,…

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The Five Investment Rules You Should Follow in 2015

The Five Investment Rules You Should Follow in 2015Most investors would likely agree that 2014 has been an unusual year for stock market activity. A lot of investors got whipsawed and plenty of mistakes were made. There was a ton of confusion and, more recently, panic. It seems, at least to us sitting independently on the sidelines, that a lot of Canadian investors simply forgot the basics. With that in mind, here are five simple investment rules to…

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GICs – The Problem With Playing It Safe

GICs - The Problem With Playing It SafeThe Problem As a 59-year-old training administrator for a mining company, Heather is a member of her company’s defined contribution pension plan. She’s also mortgage-free. But in 2008 she suffered a 40% loss in her stock portfolio and has since slowly sold off all her high-fee mutual funds, putting her 100% in cash. “I have to pay more attention,” says Heather, who has started managing her own finances. After reading…

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Confusion Aside a TFSA is Still The Best Tax Shelter in Town

Confusion Aside a TFSA is Still The Best Tax Shelter in TownFive years after their introduction, there still appears to be rampant confusion about tax free savings accounts. Not just about the cumbersome rules on replacing withdrawn funds, but about the very nature of the TFSA itself. Newcomers often end up in default TFSA plans offered by the nearest financial institution, believing they can hold nothing but interest-bearing vehicles like GICs. Since interest rates have been pitifully low over the five-year…

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A Portfolio for Paupers — Investing When You’re Short on Time and Money

A Portfolio for Paupers -- Investing When You're Short on Time and MoneyA prince’s portfolio may be an ideal way to reach your investment goals, but lots of investors have neither the time nor the money to manage anything more than a few different holdings. Luckily, there are plenty of simple, low-cost investment options available to build a solidly diversified portfolio. Perhaps the best bet for investors on this front is a portfolio exchange-traded fund. Two to consider, in particular, are iShares…

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When High Investing Fees are a Good Thing

When High Investing Fees are a Good ThingWe’ve all heard the complaints that investment management fees are too high, but what’s missing from the debate is whether those fees represent good value for the money. The value of something requires, by definition, that it have usefulness or merit to an individual, either because she sees it as desirable in itself or because others do. In other words, value is entirely subjective. Investment products are not good value…

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How to Prevent Your Investments From Cracking

How to Prevent Your Investments From CrackingDon’t put all your eggs in one basket. It’s a maxim we have all heard since childhood. The basic premise is that if you must figuratively transport a number of eggs from one place to another, placing all of them in the same basket will expose you to a total loss should the basket fall en route. We hear this admonition in the world of investing all the time as…

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Dollar Cost Averaging Helps Investors Manage Risk

Dollar Cost Averaging Helps Investors Manage RiskPeople are always looking for the best time to buy when investing their money. Ultimately, no one wants to pay too much for an investment that they know will fluctuate in value from one day to the next. It doesn’t matter how smart or experienced someone may be, no one can tell you with any degree of certainty where interest rates will be from one day to the next and,…

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Investing In Gold And Silver

Investing In Gold And SilverFirst, it’s necessary to decide how you want to deal with these precious metals. (I’m adding silver into the discussion, though other metals, like platinum and copper, are also significant.) People have been using them for coinage and ornamental purposes for thousands of years; early civilizations like the Sumerians and Egyptians seem to have focused primarily on gold for jewelry and ornamentation. Weighing your choices Gold is measured by troy…

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Eggs, Baskets, and Diversification

Eggs, Baskets, and DiversificationIt’s almost Easter and many of us have thoughts of eggs and baskets running through our heads. Everyone’s looking forward to enjoying a little chocolate and some quality time with family and friends. In terms of finance, however, we often speak of eggs and baskets in the context of diversification. Diversification means spreading your investments among asset classes that are less correlated with one another. You can put some of…

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