Last updated: Sep-21-2018

    
 
QUESTION & ANSWER
9/21/2018 10:03:28 PM
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By Robyn K. Thompson | Friday, September 21, 2018



Q – I’m recently divorced, and I’m wondering what my next steps financially should be. My ex-husband and I shared a financial advisor and had both joint and separate accounts. That’s been sorted out, and the settlement has been finalized. But now what? Should I keep the same advisor or look for a new one? And what are the next steps in planning? – Monica G., Vaughan, Ontario

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By Gordon Pape | Friday, September 14, 2018

Q – You have urged readers to be cautious of the global mess bring created by Trump and the possibility of a stock market crash. My question/conundrum is this: Is it worth incurring the capital gains to move to a cash/defensive position to avoid a possible market fall? – Barry D.

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By Robyn K. Thompson | Friday, September 07, 2018



Q – I like the idea of managing my own investments. I enjoy online trading. But sometimes I feel like the red tape involved gets to be too much. There seems to be a never-ending pile of statements, notices, advisories, and tax forms. Those worry me the most, because I’m not at all sure I’m staying onside with the CRA. Do you have any suggestions? – Adam K., Kingston, Ontario

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By Robyn K. Thompson | Friday, August 24, 2018



Q – Our eldest daughter will be going on to university next month, and we’re looking to fund some of her tuition from a Registered Education Savings Plan that was set up for her about 15 years ago. However, we’ve heard stories in the news recently about people who find they have lost their money because they didn’t follow the rules of the plan. Would you explain the withdrawal rules for RESPs. – Melinda C., Thornhill, Ontario

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By Robyn K. Thompson | Friday, August 17, 2018



Q – On checking my portfolio, I’ve noticed that my bond fund holdings, both mutual funds and ETFs, have been lagging in performance. Can you tell me why? I’m thinking about selling or switching and wonder if this is a good idea. – Len S., Markham, Ontario

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By Robyn K. Thompson | Friday, August 03, 2018



Q – I’m a professional in the medical field with my own practice, which has now started to grow. I’ve saved diligently, and I’ve built up a sizeable nest-egg in RRSPs and TFSAs, but I suspect I’m not making the most of my investments, largely because I don’t have the time to monitor them. I need a money manager or advisor to look after my financial affairs, but with all the various choices available, I’m not sure where to start or whom to ask. Do you have any suggestions? – Melinda L., Markham, Ontario

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By Robyn K. Thompson | Friday, July 27, 2018



Q – Stock markets have risen without a protracted correction for nearly 10 years, about the length of time I’ve been a serious investor. Anyone who has held a broad index-tracking ETF during that time has done very well. It seems like we’re in a new era of steady equity market gains. Although I currently have some fixed-income funds as well, what would be wrong with putting all my investment capital into equity ETFs and just sitting back and reaping the rewards? Given the steady market performance over the past decade, I’m pretty sure I can handle the risk, if any. – Mark N., Oakville, Ontario

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By Robyn K. Thompson | Friday, July 20, 2018



Q – We’ve decided to sell our summer cottage, which has been in the family for about 50 years. We understand there will be some capital gains tax to pay, but is there any way to reduce the tax bite? A neighbour told us about something called the Adjusted Cost Base, but we’re not sure what this is or how it works. – Lynn R., Lindsay, Ontario

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By Robyn K. Thompson | Friday, June 29, 2018



Q – I recently received a Notice of Re-Assessment from the Canada Revenue Agency. They say I made some sort of error in calculation, and are now asking for several hundred dollars more in tax, with a threat of interest and penalties if I don’t pay up by the deadline. I think they’re wrong. Is there any way to fight this? – Jordan N., Scarborough, Ontario

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By Robyn K. Thompson | Friday, June 15, 2018



Q – My fiancé and I are planning our wedding this summer. We’re both career professionals and we’re financially secure. Do you have any advice on the best way to plan our financial affairs as a couple? We think a financial professional would be the best way to go, but what should we be asking them? – Sheri L., Burlington, Ontario

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By Robyn K. Thompson | Friday, June 08, 2018



Q – I’ve seen some 5-year GIC rates advertised as high 3.50%. This seems like a pretty good return, considering that most savings accounts offer much less than 1.00%. And I’ve been told at my local bank branch that some GICs are linked to a market index and may offer much more than 3.50%. What are your thoughts about investing in GICs at this time? – Vic L., Calgary, Alberta

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By Robyn K. Thompson | Friday, June 01, 2018



Q – I’m graduating from university this month, but I’ve never really had to deal with personal financial matters in any meaningful way. Mostly, it’s all been handled by my parents, scholarships, and student loans. Do you have any advice for new grads on how to handle their finances? – Indra S., Toronto, Ontario

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By Robyn K. Thompson | Friday, May 25, 2018



Q –– I consider myself a middle-of-the-road investor, with exposure to both stocks and bonds in my portfolio. But I’m seeing negative numbers on my quarterly performance reports, by my advisor assures me that I have done better than the “market.” I’m not quite sure of what he means. How can I figure out if I’m outperforming the market? What benchmark should I be using for a balanced portfolio like mine? – Rick T., Mississauga, Ontario

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By Robyn K. Thompson | Friday, May 11, 2018



Q –– I’ve heard the old stock market adage about selling in May. I’ve never actually done it, but I’d like to know whether it has any basis in fact. – Martha E., North York, Ontario

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By Robyn K. Thompson | Friday, May 04, 2018



Q –– Could you explain the costs and fees involved in investing in mutual funds and ETFs? I’ve seen some ads recently for investment firms that seem to offer portfolios at very little cost. Is this even possible? – Jackson T., London, Ontario

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By Robyn K. Thompson | Friday, April 27, 2018



Q –Every day I read about the importance of family financial planning. But why bother? After all, the money comes in, the money goes out. And who’s got the time? The kids have to go to some practice or other. Then there’s the grocery shopping, doctor’s visits, house-cleaning, yard-work, the list seems endless. Creating a “financial plan” seems just another chore. – Liz D., Brantford, Ontario

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By Robyn K. Thompson | Thursday, April 19, 2018



Q – I’ve been looking for tax-efficient ways to save for a down payment on our first home. I’ve heard that a Tax-Free Savings Account is a good way to save for shorter-term objectives because any growth in the plan is tax-free, and so are all withdrawals. That seems almost too good to be true. Can you confirm how this works? – Kim T., Erin, Ontario

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By Robyn K. Thompson | Friday, April 13, 2018



Q – There seem to be so many different tax deductions and credits and special exemptions when it comes to filing your tax return. I’d like to make sure I take advantage of everything that’s available. Do you have any tips on tax breaks that are most often missed by taxpayers filing their returns? – Monica D., Thornhill, Ontario

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By Robyn K. Thompson | Friday, April 06, 2018



Q – I have a successful practice as a medical practitioner, and my practice is run through my incorporated operating company. I’ve been shopping around for a suitable pension plan arrangement that goes beyond what an RRSP has to offer. I’ve heard that an Individual Pension Plan can be a good option, but I’m not sure what’s involved. Can you explain? – Richard D., Mississauga, Ontario

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By Robyn K. Thompson | Friday, March 30, 2018



Q – We’ve been shopping for a new home, but we’ve heard some horror stories from friends about the mortgage market. Apparently there’s something called a “stress test” you have pass before you can qualify for a mortgage, even if you don’t have to be insured! If you don’t pass the stress test, you don’t get a mortgage. This is stressing us out even more. Can you explain what this is all about and what else I can do to make my mortgage borrowing a bit easier? – Glenda S., Whitby, Ontario

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