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The FEE Talk…

All About Investment Fees by Lisa Elle, CFP

Don’t worry, I won’t make this as awkward as when your parents sat you down to tell you about the birds and the bees.

However, talking about investment fees is still an awkward conversation only because I find there is so much MISINFORMATION on the topic and I want to really outline the fees and the values that go with them when it comes to investing.

You have questions regarding investing and specifically fees.

And this is an important question to get answers to – for you, for me, for everyone.

My goal with this article is to lay down the facts about investment fees.

The first part of this is to determine the 5 ways you can invest.

There are only 5 ways to get to invest in companies in either a debt instrument (such as bonds or debentures) or as ownership (equity or stocks).

A reminder that all investing is truly putting up capital for other people’s ideas – in its simplest form.

And so how do we do that?


  1. Invest nowhere, do nothing, invest under your mattress
  2. Invest at your corner bank (big large institution) and provide them more capital to help them create more profits
  3. Invest through your employer (typically mandatory) with your pension, group RRSPs, etc.
  4. Invest through a self-directed account (fully DIY) or putting capital directly into a company or individual idea (private equity, crowdfunding, angel investing, helping your friend/family out)
  5. Invest with a financial planner and work with a professional investment advisor or PM.

There are different benefits to each AND most people will have one or all of these types of investment accounts.

None of these are the right way and none of these are the wrong way to invest.

However, you need to understand why some types of investing cost more than others.

DIY is typically the lowest cost, but you are all on your own. Typically the risk is higher as you are putting up capital for investments as a sole person or entity which doesn’t carry with it as much strength as a group of people investing larger amounts of capital into a project, idea or company, unless you are investing in an index fund, such as an ETF (Exchange Traded Fund).

Obviously, you know there are no guarantees with any of the types of investing and even the mattress option carries with it risk, such as your house burning down or the value of your money being eroded away from inflation.

So, we can’t look at risk when we deal with fees and we must take risk out of the equation, due to the fact that we must all agree on the point that everything in life carries risk and the only guarantee is taxes and death. How exciting?!

Well, now we need to establish what our intentions are with investing.

This is KEY when discussing fees as your goals may or may not align with the fee structure of various types of investments.

The level of service that comes with each of these 5 types of investment set-ups is extremely varied.

Clearly no one at the mattress store is going to help you hide money under your mattress, whereas sitting with a Certified Financial Planner is literally looking at your financial accounts and investments from every angle, including tax and estate implications.

Your employer’s group pension plan also cares about as much as the mattress sales person, and of course DIY, is well… DIY, so unless you are the professional well versed in the tax code, investments, estate planning, research, etc, then you are literally on your own.

I have clients ask this exact question on fees: why are they so high?

Well, I would have to say, they are high, but what people tend to forget is that if those fees weren’t there then you’d be all on your own (back to Investment option: DIY) or paying for advice (back to the $250 per hour invoice) plus leaving you to still do-it-yourself.

I know at our firm, most clients get away with a steal of a deal, because they are only paying the MER fee on their investments and receiving all the same value as the clients who are choosing fee-for-service and I’m invoicing them at $250/hour (some institutions charge much more than that).

So, if you calculate your fees, for most accounts under $500,000, you are actually getting a pretty good deal not having to pay the fee-for-service rack rate. (Oh, and as account value rises when you are invested in pooled-mutual-fund type securities, typically investment fees reduce – so your $1,000,000 portfolio will pay less percentage wise in fees than the average client with under $100,000 in assets.)

What is included in the MER or investment fees?

In a nutshell, a Management Expense Ration (MER) represents the combined total of the funds management fee, operating expenses, and taxes. (Oh ya, there are taxes upon taxes…)

Here’s a pretty detailed list that’s worth a review and these are all at a fraction of the cost that it would cost you to do it yourself:

  • Professional Investment Management & Investment Selection
  • Investment Diversification
  • Research (Have you done research before?! How many hours did it take you to study one company? This is why they have teams doing it.)
  • Easy Access to your money when you need it! LIQUIDITY! (Don’t underestimate this one – not every asset is liquid in nature!)
  • Convenience
  • Administration of Account Opening/Closings
  • Reporting, Statements & Fund Communication
  • Regulatory Compliance and CRA Audits
  • Accounting and Fund Valuations Costs
  • Custody Fees (the clearing house)
  • Legal Fees (Yes, Lawyers are everywhere)
  • Cost of Creating and Distributing Annual, Semi-Annual Reports and Prospectuses
  • PDF, Printing Costs & Mailing Fees (If you still get your statements mailed to your house or like a shiny brochure, even if it is a PDF)
  • Online Platform Technology Fees (How did you login to your account?)
  • Regulatory and Continuing Education Credentials (stay top of game)
  • Call Centre Support/Customer Service (For when things go wrong)
  • Advisors (A human to talk to regarding your specific account)
  • Taxes (How could we forget you?)

So yes, this can cost you in the range of 2% to 3.5%.

Total Realtor fees are in the same range as mutual funds (note: the average home price of $500,000 pays 3.8% in fees to sell your home plus lawyers fees, etc.) Most businesses provide services and have a profit margin of over 5-10%, yet you still buy the groceries and services that you require to function.

Investing & Investment fees are no different.

Not to mention, you are willing to hire a gym, fitness class or fitness coach to help you stay fit. Hiring a financial professional is no different.

Typically, the brokerages take 1% of that fee and then it gets cut up even further.

Your advisors role is to:

  • understand your financial goals & needs for this account
  • compliance and regulatory checks to make sure this account is suitable
  • monitors transactions on your behalf
  • complete 30+ hours of professional development, education and licence renewal every year
  • tax planning considerations for the account
  • estate planning considerations for the account
  • communications & updates regarding your account

I believe most people will see the value in this.

Now, the next question, what happens when my fees eat up most of my return?

That will happen from time to time as the market goes through its cycles. It’s the cost of doing business and in this case, the cost of investing – there are no guarantees. However, ALL of my long term clients have made money, over and above the fees, sure it varies, but that also depended on your personal risk tolerance and what you invested in.

It’s really important to note the difference in fees in regards to different investments.

Here are a few things to note:

  • Foreign Equity (Stock) Trading has higher fees than local trading or ETF (index type funds)
  • Active Management versus Passive Management: my opinion is that you still need both and there are macro trends you need to be aware of
  • Don’t forget about currency exchange when investing in different countries and how that effects your portfolio
  • Bonds and Debt Instruments cost less than equity trading
  • Fixed Income fees are usually embedded in the bond
  • What about the TER (Trading Expense Ratio?) Nobody really talks about that. That is the measure of a funds trading costs and usually expressed as a percentage
  • There are sales charges, however, our firm typically doesn’t charge upfront commissions, such as DSC (Deferred Sales Charge) funds. Our firm does No-Load or Front End Load at 0% – so there are no fees to you when you redeem your investment
  • Segregated Funds also have additional guarantees, such as Assuris for accounts up to $100,000 and have death benefit guarantees in place, even if minimal and this is included in the fee
  • Segregated Funds also by-pass probate in an estate and do offer creditor protection in certain cases

My goal here is to outline to you the value of what you are paying for.

Many investors are going the DIY route. That is great if that’s been working for you.

It is important to note that at some point in time, you will need a professional or you will need to hire a professional to help you navigate tax, estate matters, total holistic financial planning at some point, and those that choose the DIY method will have to pay for that service.

Here’s another point to note:

Clients who pay for the professional management and help along the way typically have 3.9 times more wealth or 290% greater net worth because of working with a professional financial planner than those who go it along. {Source: Center for Interuniversity Research and Analysis of Organizations, 15-year Gamma Factor Report & Value of Financial Advice Study on Canadians who work with a Certified Financial Planner and those that don’t}

No one builds wealth alone.

And, the old adage plays true here.

It takes a team. It takes a village. Like raising kids!

Fees are ever only an issue in the absence of value.

Are you getting the service you desire? Are you getting your questions answered in a timely manner? Does your advisor care? Do you feel you are getting value?

I personally will pay a premium to know I’m getting great service. I will also pay a premium for great advice.

Here’s another question: Do you know what you are paying in fees in regards to your investments?

If you don’t have anyone to explain that to you, then maybe it’s time you hire an advisor. If you have an advisor that can’t or won’t explain it to you in detail, then maybe it’s time you hire a new advisor.

Oh, and how great is it to be able to phone/email one person instead of a call centre and wait on hold for an hour?!

Sometimes in life there are things worth paying for.

Financial Planning, Retirement Planning, Tax Planning, Risk Management and Estate Planning is definitely worth paying for.

~ Written by Lisa Elle, BMgmt, CFP, FCSI, CHS, CPCA, EPC, CEA, CCS, RIS

PS. Want to get started working with Ellements Financial Group? Go to


What I REALLY Wanted To Say…..

What I Really Want To Say

I did a segment on Global TV morning news a few days ago.

It was FINE, however, I never got a chance to drive home what I really wanted to drive home. I had a lot to say, which didn’t get said. (You’re shocked right?!)

AND I have a platform, as we all do, and so I’m going to share it because I still feel it needs to be said.

So here is what I REALLY wanted to say in my morning interview, colorful language and all…. but that’s at the end of this post (or just scroll to the end!) 😉


A couple Quick RRSP tips & Strategies to Maximize your RRSP (blah, blah)

#1) Save monthly.  Because usually, it’s easier to have smaller chunks leave your bank account than have to come up with a large sum at tax time if you haven’t saved money throughout the year. However, on that note, lots of my clients get bonuses from their employer, usually in February, which they typically put in their RRSP which makes it easy to do, but nonetheless, I think creating a monthly saving habit is key. Plus, if you are investing in the stock market or mutual funds with your RRSP, then you can take advantage of dollar-cost averaging into the market, which means your just buying up new share or units every month and taking advantage of market cycles.

#2) I really want to make a point to say this. People are always so concerned about their Rate of Return on their investments. Which is super important, however, there is usually one BIG thing that I find people don’t talk about until after it’s too late, and that is TAX PLANNING.  Be very aware that withdrawing $60,000 from your RRSP versus your TFSA have very different tax consequences. And I find the cooler talk, or what everyone wants to know about is what the rate of return on your investments is at, but they don’t really ask what after-tax return or what the real numbers are.  $1,000,000 in your RRSP is NOT a million dollars in your hands to spend and I think that is one of the most overlooked aspects when it comes to investing in general. We all want to know what our Marijuana stocks or Bitcoin did because it’s fun and sexy and nothing about taxes is sexy. Let’s just be honest here…

#3) Reinvest your tax refund. If you overpaid your taxes you will be getting a refund. Take your tax refund and reinvest it. Especially if your income is consistent and high, this will help you in savings as well. (But if you feel you need to go on a trip to Europe to blow off some steam, then do that……)

Here are some more things, I planned to say but didn’t.

In regards to the question,

  • SHOULD YOU INVEST IN RRSP or TFSA or Pay down debt or your mortgage?

These were my notes:

First, There is NO right answer here and sorting through that will for most people require some guidance from a financial professional. Hence, why if you are serious about paying the least amount of tax or wanting to grow your ASSets you probably should work with a financial professional.

I have 3 things here to consider as well to help you with this.

1) Canadians need to Start saving.

In 2015 only 65% of Canadians paid into either a TFSA, RRSP or Both. That means 35% of Canadians or basically one 1 out of 3 Canadians are not saving anything. And I think that number is alarming, as is the fact that out of the 65% that are saving, a majority of those people do not have adequate retirement savings and will still need to rely solely on government programs such as CPP and OAS.

Only 6 – 8% of Canadians have maximized their RRSP or TFSAs.

However, I will say every investment tool and strategy has a place and is not for everyone.

Cash is king for the most part – so on that note, so is liquidity or investments you can liquidate quickly if need be for an emergency and I don’t think most people have that – which is one of the foundational things in financial planning.

2) The second thing is this, you can make a plan to get out of debt and if you don’t incur any more debt, your debt is finite, meaning there is an end to it. On the flip side, saving, accumulating, investing, investing in yourself, or businesses that help others – there is unlimited potential there, and that means that your investments do have the possibility to grow, technically they are infinite. I think there is a way to save and pay down debt, anything is possible with a plan, which brings me to my last point…

3) And lastly, my third thing to consider is it’s never too late to start. One of the things I find, and a huge part of my message for Canadians is that it’s never too late to save, however, I find shame and embarrassment, and all the things we “SHOULD HAVE” done but didn’t get in the way of our “getting started”. Then we feel guilty for not doing that and then we panic and fear sets in and we get into overwhelm. A big part of my message is money forgiveness and getting people to forget their past money mistakes, make a financial plan, make a plan to get out of debt and move on. So forgive yourself.  I’ve made huge financial mistakes, and I am 100% certain I will in the future, but it’s about forgiving yourself and making a plan and moving forward so you can live your dreams with clarity, confidence, and courage.

ALL THAT IS GREAT – and would’ve made a GREAT INTERVIEW, however…..


None of this shit matters. I mean, it does matter, as does anything we humans give meaning to, but we are the ones giving meaning to it.

Is it important to you? If it is, pursue it with your whole heart.

If it’s not, then it’s not for you. It’s not what you are here to do, or what you are called to do. If God didn’t plant that desire in your heart, then let that be someone else’s dream, don’t force something that’s not yours. (I mean this for ALL areas of your life, not just vocation & money goals.)

When it comes to money, and you know deep down in your soul that abundance in ALL areas of life is available to everyone once we decide to choose it and call it into our lives. All your needs will be met, and all your wants are a possibility that you can call into your life experience, then don’t be so focused on that lack side of this equation or the fear side of not having enough money. You can go about making money the hard way, or you can just call it in.

There is no magic formula for wealth. The choice is always yours.

  • Are you living your life in a way that makes you feel self-expressed, full, deep joy, & happiness?
  • Are you shining your light in the way that you know you were meant to?
  • Are you keeping your word with yourself & honoring your HEART, body, mind & SOUL?
  • Are you doing what you said you will do?
  • Are you creating value and making a difference?


  • Are you still just doing what you think will please other people?
  • Are you still trying to impress your boss?
  • Are you still trying to follow societies formula for success or wealth?
  • Are you still letting your fear and ego run the show?
  • Are you still not choosing beliefs that will serve you going forward?

The money is always a by-product of your thoughts.

End of story….  almost…

Ready for a run on sentence?

I personally think when you can get to a place where you love yourself, even if you cringe at seeing yourself on TV (I rarely re-read or re-watch any of my content because I find that doesn’t serve me…) and you get to decide what serves you and doesn’t serve you in this life, and you did your best and you know you are living in your purpose and living on purpose, and you know you have the power, knowledge & support of the entire universe at your back, you get to live in that magical place where you don’t give a flying fuck what anyone thinks (yes, she said that), and you can BE LOVE & SHINE LOVE.

This is all that matters.

Take it or leave it.

And I’m good if you leave it.


This is the message I need today.



PS. If you are serious about living a life on purpose in all areas….you need to be with me in Wealth Spa™! Go to to learn more!

PPS. Please share if this spoke to you 🙂


Why You Need A PPM

Let’s call a Kate Spade a Kate Spade. Most of us only have time for work, a glass of wine with our girlfriends, chocolate, shopping and the occasional Netflix binge. Anything else just does not make it into our schedule (or we at least wish it didn’t make it into our schedule).

This lack of time (and let’s be real…for most of us…lack of interest) is why you need to have a Professional Portfolio Manager (PPM) and team. Typically the bigger the fund companies are, the better they can research the crap out of companies to find the price discrepancies, anomalies, or flat out to take advantage of stocks that are mispriced to bring you value as an investor.

I do believe there is a place for passive investing, or in other words index funds or Exchange Traded Funds (ETF’s) which follow an index for a reduced management fee, which we will talk about another week (I know – you just can’t wait!). However, there is always going to be a place for active management, meaning real people on the ground doing the work and face to face research of the companies they are investing in, versus just following what the market crowd is doing.

I think this chart demonstrates the simple value that professional portfolio managers offer.

The Stock Universe
See the mountain of stocks in the world? Did you even know there are over 48,000 stocks one would have to sort through? However most people (no, not really most people, but the people in the industry or part-time investors), media, funds, etc, focus on the top 275 – 500 companies in the stock world and to be sure every bank and almost everyone in the money world has researched the bejeebers out of the top 500 companies. Trust me, the market is very efficient, and to make up alpha (meaning to make returns over and above the market) on those companies is very difficult. Money is made when markets are inefficient, or when a company is growing, adding value, and no one has really noticed yet, or there is some underlying factor that has kept its price low. A good PPM will find these opportunities and exploit them on your behalf.

We know time is money and money is time, so it does pay to have a fund company with the capital to do this research and that includes the people, the eyes and ears on the ground in countries around the world doing research on the other 48,000. This is where you typically get your biggest bang for your buck. Historically speaking, small and mid-cap stocks (meaning smaller and medium sized companies) have out preformed most large cap stocks, although they can be very volatile (go up and down like crazy…if you don’t like roller-coasters – you won’t be able to stomach these for the most part!)

Who has time to research 48,000 companies? So this is why you hire a team of people who do the research for you and pick up those trades you don’t have time for.

BOTTOM LINE: You need to hire a professional portfolio manager so you can live the life you were meant to live and not be stuck at some desk doing boring ASSets research work and do more important things, like drinking wine with girlfriends!


Markets Go Up!

What's Up

Last weekend, I attended what we in the industry call a “due diligence conference”, and although that may be code (and is) for fantastic wine and fine dining, which could only rival my eating and drinking my way through Europe at 18, I was not there for the food or the wine this time. (Not after my last conference fiasco eating and drinking extravaganza, which you can read about here!)

I sometimes (mostly) sit at meetings and find myself totally bored, usually because there’s a certain type of personality (or lack thereof) that is called into this business of numbers, and I think it usually has more to do with the flat monotone sound that my ears aren’t accustom to and I find peacefully soothing – this after coming from a house of screaming kids. So, naturally, one can find themselves after an entire day of these types of meetings in a zen type zone…..

However, this time, that was not me! I took more notes than ever before because we are in a super interesting financial time. So I want to go back to some of these basics over the next few weeks to help frame up some crazy misconceptions that go on in our heads about the global economy, equities (stocks), mutual funds, and the bottom line on some basics that keep getting distorted from our various media outlets, be it social media, news media, print media, etc. At the end of the day, you need to always sort the facts from the opinions, and trust me, when it comes to markets and investments in general, it is all opinions. We trade on opinions. We make money and lose money on opinions. And the sooner you can learn that and remember that, you will be better off in the long run!

Today, I want to share with you the first of these misconceptions.

Markets go up more than they go down, although, for so many investors, it FEELS like it’s always going down. (Usually for people who don’t really have a solid plan in place to let logic trump emotion.)

It really makes perfectly logical sense. Our world, the universe, as we know it, is always expanding. Life seeks to grow and evolve. No one wants to decline; no one wants to rollover and play dead. So, WE (collective humanity) live and grow and in doing so, so does our world, economies, businesses, and families.

So why do people think that the “stock market” is always going to crash and never recover? That means that we (as the people of the world who are the buyers and sellers of the companies we trade) feel that everything we’ve ever built on earth is worthless!?! It’s not going to happen! (Trust me, when the world does end you won’t care about your portfolio – I always say this to my clients. I’m very reassuring!)

Cycles will happen, but that’s because of other issues that need to be sorted out, and it’s really just the natural ebb and flow of businesses like life, with the ups and downs, doesn’t mean it’s all going to hell-in-a-hand-basket.

Check out this chart from Bloomberg. Markets go up three times more than they go down. Well, this is true of the S&P 500 anyways.  (The S&P 500 is the Standard & Poor’s (a rating/analysis agency) top 500 stocks in the American economy based on market capitalization (or basically the largest 500 publicly traded companies and based on a few other factors) which forms an index and benchmark we use as one of the leading indicators to measure growth, among other factors.)

Markets Do Go Up


BOTTOM LINE: Markets go up more than they go down. Also, another reason why you need to have a good portfolio manager to manage the downside risk, and stay invested for the long haul.



High Frequency Trading Needs Wine

High Frequency Trading

Have you ever been on a wine tour and by your 10th or 20th ‘sample’ glass of wine, you totally forget you’re there to ‘sample’ wine? Then soon after things start moving fast, too fast, and you get a ‘headache’?!  (Yes, I know you have NO idea what I am talking about!)

Enter: High Frequency Trading

Similar to a room spinning outta control is High Frequency Trading.

What is High Frequency Trading?

Investopedia says it best I think:

High frequency trading is an automated trading platform used by large investment banks, hedge funds and institutional investors which utilizes powerful computers to transact a large number of orders at extremely high speeds.

Okay, maybe Investopedia is too technical for you.  Here is my definition of High Frequency Trading:

High frequency trading is a way for banks, hedge funds, pensions, or people and organizations with gazillions of dollars which have the ability to sneak in one or multiple trades in the time it takes you to hit enter on your stock trade to the time your order has been filled, usually seconds, using super high tech computers and servers, and capitalize on the slower-average computer trades. In other words, they have the ability to cheat the system in a legal kinda way by budding in line a few times before you get your order in.

So what does this mean for you?

If you don’t do online stock trading or investing at all, then this means absolutely nothing!

(You can quit reading, have a glass of wine, and pat yourself on the back for learning a new word today!)

If you purchase mutual funds, then you have the huge organizations moving tons of money with the aim to make money on your side and they are usually big enough that high frequency trading does not affect them (or honestly, some may be utilizing high frequency trading).

Good, bad or ugly, high frequency trading is a real thing, although what negates this whole conversation is if you don’t have any money invested or if you invest for the long term. In other words, if you buy and hold quality companies in your portfolio, then the high frequency trading really shouldn’t do too much damage to your portfolio, unlike people who trade personally and more frequently.

However if you do online trade, you need to be aware of this if you are placing market orders and learn more about it. (If you trade, you know what I’m talking about. I’ll save the stock trading course for someone else to teach!)

BOTTOM LINE: High frequency trading is something to be aware of if you are trading for yourself, however, if you are buying and holding stocks or quality investments long term, then it shouldn’t affect you over the long run.



Why Timing Isn’t Everything!

Why Timing is Everything

Have you ever had bad timing? Like when you were in Europe visiting your grandpa’s friends and they insisted on kissing you on the cheek and missed.

EWWW! (Clearly, this has NEVER happened to me before!)

Although, there is one place where timing isn’t everything. When investing for the long term, in a well diversified portfolio, timing the markets is virtually hard to do. and why this old adage is true – maybe you’ve heard it before:

It’s not timing the markets, it’s TIME IN the markets that counts!

So, let’s back up this advice with some proof.

Take a look at this lovely little chart:



Here’s what that chart is saying:

If you dumped your money into the TSX Composite and left it over the last ten years and walked away, you would have had a 6.6% return.

If you tried timing the market, and missed the best 10 days of 3,652 days you would have instantly reduced your return to zero.

If you missed the best 20, 30 or 40 days of the market your return would plummet into the negative abyss.

BOTTOM LINE: When looking at a well diversified portfolio or even a broad ETF, your best bet is to stay in for the long run and not try to hop in and out like individual stocks, because no one can predict the best days of any market.


Home Sweet Home?


I work with some amazing women in this industry and one of those women who follow my blog (Hi Erin!), shared this awesome thought-provoking chart with me, so naturally, I share all the good stuff with you!

This chart compares a home purchase in 1981 versus purchasing 2 different Invesco Trimark Mutual Funds with the same amount back in 1981 and what they would grow to over the years.

AND what’s even cooler, is that this chart breaks down the average price of a home in different cities across Canada since 1981, so you can check out your city.

One more important question for you to ponder today:

How many times did your mutual fund investments call you to ask for a new fridge, renos, new hot water tank, new roof since 1981?


BOTTOM LINE: Although Real Estate is super important to diversification and flat out pride of home ownership in one of the best countries in the world, it’s also important to not have your eggs in one basket, and in this case, for millions of reasons.

Check this out!


Home Sweet Home!


Invesco Home Sweet Home-page-002

CLICK HERE if you want to download the PDF of Home Sweet Home!


Are you the Queen of Justification?

Cray Cray Justification


I’m going to admit to you a BIG secret I’ve kept, well….. secret for a long time.

I am the QUEEN of Justification – aka. excuses, reasons why to not do something or reasons to do something, not to mention all the wild stories I tell myself in my jungle brain.  I actually have the ability (like most of my girlfriends) to justify any purchase of shoes (specifically stilettos) even if they aren’t my exact size!

Now, for most things in life my cray justification does me no real harm, after all, I really do ‘feel’ I deserve chocolate, wine and Netflix, but sometimes, having excuses and justifying can harm us.

For example, thinking of all the reason you really shouldn’t invest now because….

This is going to stop you in your financial tracks because there is always going to be some crap story in the world about something that’s gone horribly wrong giving you excuses and justification to not invest in your future and sometimes you just need to shut that voice up by drowning it in wine and stuffing chocolate down it’s throat.

People will ALWAYS have a reason not to invest.  In fact, here is a chart illustrating a GOOD REASON NOT TO INVEST for every year since 1934! Check it out!

I don't want to invest my money now because

Did you notice the DOW in the light blue column and how it creeped up over time (yes, up and down, but up overall over the last 81 years)?

I absolutely LOVE this chart because it shows the shizza that is always going on in our world and how that stuff is always going to be there, but you still gotta get and make a plan to save &  invest and tune out that NOISE!

BOTTOM LINE: You will always find an excuse to invest or not to, just know that either way it’s an excuse or a story you are telling yourself.  If you truly want to save or invest, the best time is always yesterday! Stop justifying when it comes to investing!


Where Should I Invest?

Tub Full of Money


I sat with a sweet 60-year-old gal at my office yesterday who had a tub full of money she didn’t know what to do with after selling the farm – literally.

There are 2 things I want to share from our appointment that really got me thinking.

Thing #1 – The Billion Dollar Question Every Investment Advisor Gets Asked

She asked the question everyone asks anyone who deals in investments at some point, “Where should I invest my money now?”

And my answer always is the same, “Yes, there is always a good place to invest, because what goes down eventually goes up, and when something is going down, there is an equal and opposite reaction (remember our good friend, Newt), someone is always making money somewhere.”

People will ALWAYS have a story around investing and mostly because it’s not going in their favour, however the truth remains – someone is always making money. Check it out this awesome chart which illustrates the best and worst performing sectors across the US economy over the last 10 years.


The Case for Diversification

CHART TAKE AWAY: THE COLORS ARE SCATTERED!!  Meaning, there is not just one sector that will consistently produce good results.  Hence why you NEED TO BE DIVERSIFIED and that there is always money to be made – somewhere and a great money manager will find those sweet spots!

Thing #2 – Be HAPPY Where You Are Financially!

On a very sad note, my client was sitting on a tub full of money because she was forced to sell her farm after her husband and daughter passed away.

Keep this in the back of your mind when you may feel a teeny tiny bit of money envy creep in – you never know how people come into money. Many times, people who come “into cash” have typically suffered a loss. This is usually a loss of a spouse, or close family member and received an inheritance, loss of a job and received a severance, loss of health and received a lump sum payout or disability payments, aging or ill and selling off assets, loveless lonely millionaire playboys on Wall Street who choose money over love or the sexy rich pool boy living with the old rich woman who suffered the loss of his balls!

Just a shout of encouragement for my friends with large mortgages, kids and getting started with careers or with small businesses where every spare cent goes right back in (this is me!) and the “feeling” that you will never get ahead, take heart. You will be financially okay, just keep on doing the simple little things like paying down your mortgage each month, making sure you have sufficient life and disability insurance, and tuck money away each month for the future.

BOTTOM LINE: There is always someone making money and it’s always a good time to invest (especially if you have time on your side) AND keep on keepin’ on with your financial plans! Be thankful for all the things that “spend” your money: your business, your education, your home to live in, your friends, your kids and grand-kids……because that’s what it’s all about.


P.S. If you really want to know where to invest your money, you will need to book an appointment with yours truly, MOI!  🙂





Dollar-Cost Averaging

I’m going to teach you how to KISS and RELAX today.

Okay, okay – Maybe I won’t really teach you how to KISS per se (although, I must say I have this uncanny ability to turn frogs into Princes!), but I will teach you how to Keep It Simple Simple and RELAX when it comes to investing!

The best way to do that is Dollar-Cost Averaging!


Dollar-Cost Averaging is when you buy a little every month, or as often as you can and you dollar-cost your way into quality investments.

Why is DCA brilliant? Because you can still make money (for the most part) in a sideways or flat or volatile market.  I don’t want to start a hot debate over this subject, however, you can decide for yourself.

Reviewing years of research on this subject, if you had dollar cost averaged into a quality investment fund or stock, you minimize your long term risk and increase your rate of return. This isn’t a cure-all, and doesn’t protect against a falling market. At the end of the day, I believe DCA allows for most people to sleep better at night. So I do encourage you if you are investing money anyways, to consider this strategy.

Let’s take a quick look at the graph below as an example.

Dollar Cost Averaging

Ok – lets take a closer look at this chart. This is an example of a volatile sideways market for the most part. The top half represents an $8000 lump sum deposit once into a mutual fund or stock and watching it over an 8 month period. The bottom represents buying $1000 a month over 8 months. In both scenarios, at the end of 8 months, you have invested a total of $8000.

With the top illustration, you would see your investments fluctuate over the course of those 8 months. In the example above, in the month of July you would most likely be freaking out that your portfolio is down about 25%. Although, then in August, you would be relieved to know you are back even-steven.

With the bottom illustration, you would see your investments fluctuate as well, however, in month 1 you only have 1/8th of your total planned investment at risk because technically, the other $7000 is still in the bank so-to-speak, so you don’t really lose too much sleep over it. By month 8, you have been buying a little every month, so the fluctuations and crazy volatility (the ups and downs) doesn’t bother you because a) you still hold quality companies, and b) when you are buying low, you are buying more units or shares of the quality stock or companies that you own in your portfolio.

In the end you see that in a sideways market, or volatile market, there is still a way to make money. (FYI – There are always ways to make money in any given market, even if you are shorting stocks and betting that the market will go down…..enter: The BIG SHORT – go see that MOVIE if you haven’t!)

Now, if the underlying investment needs a boot out of your portfolio, then I do not recommend DCA. If you have reviewed your portfolio and it holds quality companies that you still believe in, then DCA is probably the best strategy that you can implement.

Now, for the million dollar question I get asked all the time.

When is it a good time to buy? Yesterday!

People always ask me if there is a good time to buy, get in the market. The best time was yesterday. There is no good time. This next statement is probably much older than I. It’s not timing the markets, it’s time in the markets that counts. It’s like waiting for a good time to have kids! Hahahaha – anyone who has kids KNOWS there is NO good time to have kids! You just go for it, and go for it with gusto…jump in both feet and don’t look back!

And don’t forget to KISS all the time – if you can! That’s right, you can say that your financial coach said the KISS is always the best route to a great relaxing day!