Q – Right now, the markets are a scary place to be for the do-it-yourself investor. I’m looking to hand over my investment planning and portfolio management to a professional financial planner, but I’m at a loss as to where to begin. What should I be looking for in a financial planner to handle my investments? – Sylvia B., Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario
In today’s low interest rate environment, investors are challenged to generate a sufficient level of income from their portfolios while avoiding additional risk. Savvy investors are recognizing the opportunity to generate more yield from their equity holdings so that they don’t have to extend interest rate risk or credit risk beyond comfortable ranges on their fixed-income holdings. Covered call strategies are an effective solution that can add yield with the bonus of reducing equity risk over the long term.
To say recent mutual fund performance figures illustrate the volatility of the precious metals sector would be an understatement. For the 10-year period through January 2016, precious metals funds averaged a dismal -1.2% annual return, one of the worst among all fund categories. Yet they were tops in performance for the month of January, bolstered in part by an uptick (finally) in bullion prices. One of the top performers over the past 12 months is the A-gradeDynamic Precious Metals Fund, which owes its success as much to what it doesn’t hold as to what it does.
It’s the day of reckoning – the time when I look back on my predictions for 2015 and see how they fared. I began my column on the prospects for 2015 a year ago with the words: “Buckle up! It’s going to be a rocky year.” Well, it certainly was that and more, and 2016 hasn’t started off any better. Let’s look at my specific forecasts that I made at the beginning of 2015, and see what happened.