A Closer Look at Market Performance: The Major Indices

Those of us who follow the markets on a regular basis have watched as the major indices have climbed from their lows in March of this year. What has driven this performance?
S&P/TSX Composite Index Performance

The S&P/TSX Composite Index has traditionally been dominated by the financial and resource sectors, both of which have been impacted by the pandemic. The financial sector has struggled with credit losses and the energy sector has been plagued by falling oil prices due to the […]


What Comes After a Trillion?

In the effort to combat the pandemic, the sheer amount of stimulus pledged by governments globally has been staggering. In July, then Finance Minister Bill Morneau delivered Canada’s economic update, which replaced the regular spring budget. It was an economic tally of the measures taken to date. The 2020-21 deficit is expected to be $343.2 billion, largely attributed to pandemic relief programs.1 

RRIF Withdrawal changes in 2020

2020 Changes to RRIF Withdrawal Factors

Back in March, the Federal Government reduced the 2020 minimum withdrawal amounts for Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) by 25 percent “in recognition of volatile market conditions and their impact on many seniors’ retirement savings.”1
As a reminder, the RRIF withdrawal factors are based on age. If you were 71 at the beginning of the year, under the existing rules you would be required to withdraw 5.28 percent of your RRIF in the year. For a RRIF with a value […]

Maintain a Balanced Portfolio

Maintaining Balance in Your Portfolio

How have you reacted to the markets of late? In uncertain times, it may be tempting to take a conservative approach to protect investments from the downside.
Selling all of your stocks and holding cash is one alternative, though not practical for many investors. The potential capital gains tax consequences may be one reason this would be unpalatable. But more importantly, equity markets are largely unpredictable and cyclical in nature. The risk of being out of stocks is, over the […]

Estate planning

Estate Planning and the Will: Legal Doesn’t Mean Effective

In light of COVID-19, many people have turned their minds to their estate plans.1 One news report indicated that a Canadian online will-creation site saw an increase in sales of 700 percent from the same period last year.2
A will is the cornerstone of any estate plan, and creating one on your own is not difficult these days using the support of a will kit or online tool. However, there may be good reasons why more thoughtful planning can be […]

Advisors act as risk managers

Our Role in Managing Risk

The exogenous event of COVID-19 has been an uncomfortable reminder that we are all vulnerable to unforeseen risks that can have unprecedented effects. As investors, we could try and avoid these terrible events, but for most of us, overly defensive tactics, such as not participating in the markets, wouldn’t help in achieving our goals over the longer term.
As the saying goes, perhaps “the correct lesson to learn from surprises is that the world is surprising.” Equity markets inherently come […]

Common Investment mistakes

During Uncertain Times: Avoid These Investing Mistakes

Uncertain times often highlight the mistakes that investors can make with their portfolios. During buoyant markets, making money may not seem difficult. However, the reckoning often comes when markets turn down. Suddenly, mistakes can become glaringly apparent.
Here are some of the more common investing errors:
Overlooking Diversification
The concentration of assets in too few areas can be a common problem. Despite the broad-based market declines we have recently experienced, certain sectors have performed very differently. Some technology companies have outperformed as […]

RRIFs and Retirement Strategy

The RRIF and Your Retirement Withdrawal Strategy

Many of us contribute to a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) to achieve tax deductions and tax-deferred growth to plan for retirement. When the RRSP must be collapsed, funds are often converted to a Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF), which requires minimum withdrawals prescribed by the government based on age (please refer to Canada Revenue Agency for withdrawal rules). RRIF withdrawals are treated as taxable income.
If you plan on holding a RRIF, some forethought should go into your withdrawal […]

Managing Cashflow

Do You Have Visibility Over Your Cash Flow?

Regardless of your life stage or income level, creating a personal cash flow statement can be a valuable exercise. In a basic sense, it is a snapshot of your sources of income, as well as what you’re spending and saving.
Do you know how much you spent last year, or how much was spent on each type of expenditure? Although many of us have good visibility over our income, we may not have a clear picture of where funds are […]

Digital Security - Tips

Online Accounts: Tips to Improve your Digital Security

As technology advances, online crimes continue to improve in sophistication, and our digital security is increasingly being challenged. If our choice of passwords is any indication, we may not be doing our best to stay secure. According to a recent report, 23.2 million people who had their online accounts hacked were still using the password, “123456.”1
Ways to Improve Our Digital Security
Here are some basic tips to improve your digital security. While many of these tips may seem obvious, this […]