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 up on investing, she’s ready to rebuild her $200,000 portfolio-split evenly between registered and non-registered investments. She plans to add corporate bonds, but isn’t sure what to do about equities. “I have a low risk tolerance.”
Vancouver money coach Annie Kvick says losing 40% of your portfolio when you’re five to 10 years from retirement is stressful. But investing her entire portfolio in GICs and bonds is risky because Heather could lose her nest egg to inflation, or even outlive her money entirely. “Even though she wants safety, Heather needs some growth from equities for her portfolio to last,” says Kvick.