Investing in Precious Metals

  Armchair often gets asked about investing in precious metals such as gold or silver. Investing may not be the right word here. As  Warren Buffet  will gladly tell you, gold pays no interest nor dividends to you. Metals are more of a traditional store of value, a hedge against inflation, or a good way to prepare for the inevitable Zombie Apocalypse. Buying precious metals is not something a lazy, relaxed, armchair investor should do. Please go back to  Be Rich  as well as  How to Invest . That being said, for more sophisticated investors who have already accumulated a good nest egg of wealth, it certainly doesn’t hurt to put part of your portfolio (say 5 percent) into precious metals for the reasons stated above. Avoid mutual funds and ETFs that deal in gold and silver. They’re just paper. Some are of dubious intent and may or may not be backed by the full amount of physical product. That won’t help you when the Zombie Apocalypse hits and you’re bartering for  guns and ammo . If you’r

Check your Credit Score and Report for Free

Getting your credit score, and your credit report, is much easier for Canadians than it has ever been before. There are two primary credit bureaus in Canada:  Equifax   and  TransUnion . Canadian legislation requires that they provide you, for free but only at your request, with a credit report once a year. Neither are required to provide you with your credit score. Both will do so, but only if you want to pay them to see it! What’s a credit report? Your credit report is simply a snapshot of your credit file, which is created when you borrow money or apply for credit. Credit card and loan companies you deal with will regularly update and send financial information related to your transactions to the credit bureaus. Your credit report, which is ongoing and evergreen, is is one of the main tools a lender uses when deciding whether or not to give you credit. What’s a credit score? Your credit score is a credit bureau’s or lender’s judgment about your overall financial health at a given po

Low Cost All-In-One Investing

Once in a rare while, something comes along that may make a real difference for you as an investor. Today is one of those days. As we discussed in  Investing is Easy  and  How to Invest , there are two main principles that good armchair investors will always follow: One:   Create a well-diversified global portfolio  of equities (stocks) and fixed-income instruments such as bonds. The fixed-income component ensures you’re always getting paid, no matter what happens to equity markets, and it also serves to lower the volatility of your portfolio. A 60-40 mix of equities versus fixed-income has proven over time to provide good growth along with the ability to mitigate the immediate impact of financial storms. Two:   Keep your portfolio low-cost.  Minimize the fees you pay by building a passive portfolio of very low cost exchange traded index funds (ETFs), or alternatively a low-cost passive or actively managed balanced fund with a good track record. Vanguard Investments Canada Inc.  has in

When should I take the CPP?

A common question of retirees and soon-to-be retirees is when to elect to take start payments from the   Canada Pension Plan (CPP).   The traditional or ‘expected’ time to begin to receive a CPP retirement pension is the month after your 65th birthday. However, in accordance with changes that have been in place for the last few years, you can now take your CPP as early as age 60, or defer it as long as age 70. If you elect to take your CPP early, the downside is you will receive less. The upside is that you will receive your CPP sooner, and for a longer period of time. From a strictly mathematical perspective, taking CPP prior to age 65 will result in a reduction in payments of 0.6% per month prior to age 65 (7.2% per year). This means that your pension will be reduced by up to 36% if you elect to take it as early as age 60. If you take CPP after age 65, your monthly payment amount will increase by 0.7% for each month after age 65 that you delay receiving it (8.4% per year). By age 70,

Investing the Warren Buffet Way

Warren Buffet, the legendary Oracle of Omaha, is the chairman and largest shareholder of  Berkshire Hathaway . He is the second wealthiest person in the United States, and the fourth wealthiest person in the world, with a net worth of over $70 billion. Buffet has made his fortune through decades of research and acquisition of companies that he considers to be well-priced given the quality of their management and the fundamentals of their underlying finances (value investing). Buffet is a classic long-term investor – his preferred holding period for an investment is ‘forever’. That being said, Buffet himself realizes and understands that investing is a ‘zero-sum’ game. In order for their to be winners, there have to be losers.  Not all investors and certainly not all financial advisors can sustain above-average returns relative to the markets.  It’s a mathematical impossibility! So what does Warren recommend for the vast majority of investors? Most investors, both institutional and indi

Creating an All-Weather Portfolio - The Comfy Armchair

Markets are volatile. Not that they ‘can be’ volatile, they  are  volatile. Sometimes, like we saw with the crisis of COVID19 and the resulting financial markets’ response to massive injections of income supports and business bailouts from world governments, they can be terrifying for the average long-term investor. Prior to COVID19, economies and markets were already teetering on the edge of  recession . The only questions seemed to be ‘when’ and ‘how bad’. Frankly, although most analysts and commentators are saying a recession (and maybe a….ummm…. depression ) is now essentially inevitable, nobody has the proverbial ‘crystal ball’ to know for sure what the outcome of all this will be. Your post-COVID19 portfolio may already be down anywhere between 15 and 30% depending on its asset allocations, current events, or the time-of-day. Painful to say the least. Most advisors will tell their clients to stay the course, and historically, that has always been good advice. Losses are only real