How to manage your finances in the time of COVID-19

An accounting expert offers a wealth of advice – starting with not letting your net worth define your self-worth

How to manage your finances in the time of COVID-19People struggling to pay their debts in a crippled COVID-19 economy can’t avoid tough choices but shouldn’t let it crush them, says a University of Alberta financial expert. Feelings of fear, frustration or shame can overwhelm the clear-headed thinking needed to tackle tough times, but try not to internalize it, advised Mike Maier, an accounting…

Diversifying your portfolio in one neat package

An ETF is a low-cost mutual-like fund that trades on the stock market, with a significantly different fee structure

Diversifying your portfolio in one neat packageExchange-traded funds (ETFs) seem to be all the rage. There are more than 600 ETFs traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange and it seems like new ones are being created almost every day. An ETF is basically a diversified investment pool that’s very similar to a mutual fund, with the exception that they’re sold or…

Comparing investment returns is a tricky task

Each investor is unique in their goals and personal risk tolerance, so their investment portfolio should be customized to their situation

Comparing investment returns is a tricky taskYou worked hard for your money and, in turn, your money should be working hard for you. However, when comparing returns, you need to be sure you’re making a fair comparison. Investors often compare their returns to that of a published benchmark such as the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX), or to the returns their friends…

Home is where the heart is – and where the costs can pile up

When it comes to owning a home versus renting, you can’t just compare the amount of rent you would pay to the amount of a mortgage payment

Home is where the heart is – and where the costs can pile upShould I buy a home or rent? It’s a common question but the answer isn’t as simple you may think – it totally depends on your situation, since there are advantages and disadvantages to both. It’s usually better to own an asset that’s likely to go up in value than to rent an asset that’s…

Hidden or visible, you’re paying investment fees

Be smart, shop around and make sure you’re aware of the total fees you pay and what you're getting for them

Hidden or visible, you’re paying investment feesSome fees for investments are hidden, some are visible. But there’s always some type of fee or cost involved in investing. Some people will disagree with my broad use of the word fee, but I believe that any money paid out, regardless of how it’s paid, is a fee. Every business sets out to make…

Third of Canadians face some degree of financial stage fright

Households with an average income of $50,000 worry twice as much (2.25 hours) a day than households with an average income of more than $100,000

Third of Canadians face some degree of financial stage frightThere’s no question that Canadians these days are worrying a lot more about their personal finances, according to new surveys from Scotiabank. The surveys indicate 65 per cent of Canadians with debt struggle to save or invest money while paying down debt and 67 per cent said they find the amount of information about investing overwhelming.…

Debt-burdened Canadians want to dig themselves out

Top financial concerns are the rising cost of goods, the low Canadian dollar , low wages and household debt, according to CIBC survey

Debt-burdened Canadians want to dig themselves outCanadians have had their fill of debt. For the 10th straight year, Canadians have told a CIBC poll that getting out of debt is their top financial priority. Numerous surveys and statistics over the past year have demonstrated how far into personal debt many Canadians have fallen. Now, those economic concerns are weighing on their…

Debt doesn’t always have to be a four-letter word

Using debt in your financial planning is a good strategy, but exercise caution and discuss all the risks and rewards with your accountant and planner first

Debt doesn’t always have to be a four-letter wordDebt is often a four-letter word – but, when used correctly, it can be a real benefit to your financial planning. Most of us use debt when we buy a home, a second property, automobiles and other large purchases. We simply don’t have enough cash available to do otherwise. Many people are very comfortable using…

The secret to enjoying a Christmas that’s easy on your wallet

Whether tough times force your hand or you just want to start January without a credit card bill, you can still enjoy a glittering, happy holiday season

The secret to enjoying a Christmas that’s easy on your walletWhat if I told you that ‘cutting corners’ can transform Christmas from a hectic, stressful money drain into a joyous, energizing experience? I understand if you are skeptical, but let me show you how it is possible to save money at the same time you enjoy a sumptuous, all the trimmings holiday season. The secret…

Canadian household net worth, debt on the rise, StatsCan says

Household debt service ratio rose from 14.82 per cent to 14.9 per cent – an all-time high, statistics from the federal agency indicate

Canadian household net worth, debt on the rise, StatsCan saysCanadian households have more net worth but also a troubling level of household debt, data from Statistics Canada indicates. Net worth rose by $101.4 billion to $11.5 trillion in the third quarter of this year, primarily as a result of a $138-billion hike in the value of total assets. But at the same time the…

Canadian economy will stall in 2020

The next two years will probably bring feeble increases in GDP, in line with 2019’s uninspiring performance. Job creation is likely to decelerate

Canadian economy will stall in 2020As the clock winds down on 2019, it’s time to ponder what the coming year may have in store for the Canadian economy. To provide some context, 2019 hasn’t been a great year for the economy, with inflation-adjusted gross domestic product (GDP) expanding by around 1.6 per cent. This was less than growth in both…

Understanding and comparing investment returns

Keep in mind that, despite new disclosure rules to increase transparency, the fee shown on your investment report may not be the total fee you paid your adviser

Understanding and comparing investment returnsWhen comparing your investment returns to that of others or those you see published, selection and timing are two critical issues. Make sure you’re comparing apples to apples: that you’re weighing similar investments. Each investor has their own risk tolerance and objectives. What’s right for your friend, neighbour or family member may not be right for…

Do you need mortgage insurance?

It depends. As with all financial planning questions, no one answer fits every situation

Do you need mortgage insurance?“Did I need to take the insurance the bank sold me when I got my mortgage? Do I need mortgage insurance at all?” C.P. wrote and asked. I’m often asked this and the answer is usually the same: That depends. As with all financial planning questions, no one answer fits every situation. The simple answer in…

Two in five Canadians expect lifelong debt

'There is a financial wellness crisis, and it's affecting Canadians of all demographics' -- Manulife

Two in five Canadians expect lifelong debtHousehold debt is growing so large, it may be cracking Canada's financial foundation.  A Manulife Financial Corporation survey found that two-in-five Canadians do not expect to escape debt in their lifetime and the spending-to-income ratio is trending negatively in Canada. The Manulife Bank Debt Survey found: 94 per cent of Canadians say the average household…

How to be an adult, one sound financial decision at a time

Many people take a long time to launch on adult life because they've never been taught to spend less than they make

How to be an adult, one sound financial decision at a time“The first responsibility of adulthood is paying your own bills,” according to Jamaica Finance Minister Peter Phillips. That country has worked hard to wean itself of dependency on the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and is in a position to stand on its own feet economically. Paying your bills is a definition of adulthood that applies…
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