Market volatility does not mean the sky is falling

Market volatility does not mean the sky is falling

Rudyard Kipling’s famous poem “If” starts with “If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs…” That is good advice for all of us, but especially investors.

The Covid19 pandemic has mixed health concerns with financial concerns. Unprecedented market drops, continued volatility, stimulus packages, layoffs and the fear of recession or depression is weighing on most people’s minds. The human and health toll is substantial and not one that anyone can, or should, dismiss lightly.

From an investment perspective, redemption activity is picking up pace and will likely continue. Globally, equity funds saw record outflows of $43 billion in the first 2 weeks of March 2020, according to the Financial Times. Flight from equities is typical in these situations. However, investors fleeing investment-grade corporate debt and sovereign bond funds underscores the fear-inducing sell-off in the market. According to market data provided by EPFR Global, mutual funds and ETFs that invest in bonds had $109 billion in outflows for the week ending Wednesday, March 18th. This rush towards cash has exacerbated already volatile markets – and there is no indication that this will change any time soon.

 

When Q1 statements arrive at investor homes in a few weeks, there will be a rush by many to redeem some or all of their investments. Before investors decide to do so, they should keep a few things in mind:

  1. The sky is not falling: investment legend Peter Lynch once observed that most investors sit in excess cash or redeem investments because they fear a doomsday scenario. Lynch argued that the end of the world has been predicted for thousands of years and that the sun has still risen every morning. He also argued that in a doomsday scenario, people will be focused on food and shelter. So, whether you hold stocks or cash is not likely to matter. His advice? Act like the sun will rise tomorrow and invest accordingly.
  2. People will still buy stuff: when we get to the other side of the Covid19 crisis – and we will – people will still need food, clothing, shelter, services, etc. As Warren Buffett said in 2012, “Our country’s businesses will continue to efficiently deliver goods and services wanted by our citizens.” He also said “In the future, the U.S. population will move more goods, consume more food, and require more living space than it does now. People will forever exchange what they produce for what others produce.” So, businesses will continue to exist, continue to produce, continue to employ, and continue to reward investors.
  3. Market corrections are natural: in Europe and North America, prescribed burning has been used for over a hundred years to rid a forest of dead leaves, tree limbs, and other debris. This can help prevent a much more destructive wildfire. It also enables the hardier trees to receive more nutrients, water, and sunlight so that they may thrive. Joseph Schumpeter, the Austrian economist, coined the term “creative destruction” whereby more nimble, innovative practices displace more complacent ones. After the longest bull market in history, there was bound to be a market correction – of course, it is deeper and faster than anyone anticipated. A dispassionate investor would view the current economic turmoil as shaking out some of the less nimble public companies, reducing over-valuations and directing capital and resources to the best-positioned businesses.
  4. Don’t try and time the market: even the most successful professional investors don’t believe in their ability to time the market. Peter Lynch said “When stocks are attractive, you buy them. Sure, they can go lower. I’ve bought stocks at $12 that went to $2, but then they later went to $30. You just don’t know when you can find the bottom.”
  5. Don’t forget your long-term goals: most stock market investors originally invested with a time horizon of 5, 10 or more years. Most would have known that stock markets can and will correct, and sometimes violently, and so they should have invested only those monies that they did not need in the short-term. When the rebound comes, it will come quickly and those who are out of the market, and miss it, will have to dramatically revise their long-term goals.

Yes, the Covid19 crisis is a new crisis – but Canadians, the Canadian economy and Canadian portfolios have experienced and survived world wars, depressions, and pandemics before. There is little reason to believe that this time will be any different. Investors would do well to keep that in mind.

I’m going to see other Banks

I’m going to see other Banks

At Henley Financial and Wealth Management we are here to help you save money wherever we can, we want to help you save money being spent unknowingly and unwillingly.

So, let’s start with something we know that everyone has… a bank account.

Why do you pay a monthly fee just to keep your money in a bank account?  Canada’s big 5 banks have been raking in the profits from monthly chequing account fees and additional transaction charges. We’ll even go out on a limb and say you do most if not all of your transactions online.

We have all fallen into this category once we got out of school and were no longer eligible for a free student chequing account. We use debit cards for everything, so our banks recommended that we sign-up for the “unlimited” chequing account for $14.95 per month. Again, we ask why do you pay to keep your money at the bank when you do all the work? You put your pay check in the bank and take it out of the bank without any assistance from them and you pay for that service – but there is no service.  Spending money Unwillingly because this is not an option. We will come back to that “option” part later.

Since most of us lived paycheque-to-paycheque in the first few years out of school we didn’t even realize how much money we were wasting on fees. You can have those monthly fees waived by always carrying a minimum balance, but how many people could do that on a fixed start up budget.

You probably pay up to $179 a year for the privilege of using your own money in your chequing account at your bank.  So, think of that as a household, your Husband/Wife, and children also have accounts so as a family (of four) you are paying over $717 a year in bank fees! That is the Unknowingly because you never stopped to do the math. Now it does not seem like much but remember you are doing all the work and it’s your money that was put in their hands.

So now that you know and are willing to save the money, would you stop paying the bank fees and switch to no fee bank account?

Here is the “Option” part we spoke of earlier, Manulife Bank has an advantage checking a online account (personal or business) that pays you an interest percentage to keep your money with them. Now that’s a service that makes sense to us, you get paid to keep your money in your own account with no penalty for using your own money. A bank with several unique features such as listed below:

  • no fee daily chequing
  • pays interest
  • 24/7 live support
  • free email money transfers
  • free ABM access through the banking network
  • mobile banking

Now that free chequing accounts are becoming more popular in Canada, there are many more non brick and mortar banks with high interest savings accounts than Manulife. We like Manulife because of their willingness to help with other financial needs we all need as adults, such as Mortgages, Credit cards, lines of credit, with the emphasis on keeping the money in your hands. No more Fees Lost Unknowingly or Unknowingly!!!!

Contact Us at Henley Financial and Wealth Management and we will help you set up a No Fee, High Interest Paying, Account with Manulife Bank.

2018 Financial Planning Guide: The numbers you need to know

2018 Financial Planning Guide: The numbers you need to know

A new year means new limits and data.  Here’s a list of new financial planning data for 2018 (In case you want to compare this to past years, I’ve included old data as well).

If you need any help with your rrsp deposits or clarification on other retirement issues please do not hesitate to contact Henley Financial and Wealth Management, we are here to ensure your financial success.

Pension and RRSP contribution limits

  • The new limit for RRSPs for 2018 is 18% of the previous year’s earned income or $26,230 whichever is lower less the Pension Adjustment (PA).
  • The limit for Deferred Profit Sharing Plans is $13,250
  • The limit for Defined Contribution Pensions is $26,500

Remember that contributions made in January and February of 2018 can be used as a tax deduction for the 2017 tax year.

Financial Planning CalculationMore articles on RRSPs

TFSA limits

  • The TFSA limit for 2018 is $5,500.
  • The cumulative limit since 2009 is $57,500

TFSA Limits for past years

More articles on the TFSA

Canada Pension Plan (CPP)

Lots of changes are happening with CPP but here’s some of the most important planning data.

  • Yearly Maximum Pensionable Earning (YMPE) – $55,900
  • Maximum CPP Retirement Benefit – $1134.17 per month
  • Maximum CPP Disability benefit –  $1335.83 per month
  • Maximum CPP Survivors Benefit
    • Under age 65 – $614.62
    • Over age 65 – $680.50

Reduction of CPP for early benefit – 0.6% for every month prior to age 65.  At age 60, the reduction is 36%.

CPP rates for past years:

For more information on CPP

Old Age Security (OAS)

  • Maximum OAS – $586.66 per month
  • The OAS Clawback (recovery) starts at $74,788 of income.  At $121,720 of income OAS will be fully clawed back.

OAS rates for past years:

Year Maximum Monthly Benefit Maximum Annual Benefit
2018 $586.66 $7,039.92
2017 $578.53 $6,942.36
2016 $570.52 $6,846.24
2015 $563.74 $6,764.88
2014 $551.54 $6,618.48
2013 $546.07 $6,552.84
2012 $540.12 $6,481.44
2011 $524.23 $6,290.76

For more information on OAS Clawback:

New Federal Tax Brackets

For 2018, the tax rates have changed.

 

Sorry to burst your bubble, but owning a home won’t fund your retirement

Sorry to burst your bubble, but owning a home won’t fund your retirement

As I was looking through past articles I saw this and was intrigued. There are many who will do well when they “downsize” their family home as the article states. But with the cost of housing even for a smaller home or condo on the rise the nest egg is becoming much smaller for the younger (45 -55) home owner. My thoughts are simple, if you have a Million dollar home that you want to sell and downsize to a $500,000 home. You probably don’t need to worry about your retirement fund, you will have the money you require to live a wonderful life.  Unfortunately everyone does not own a million dollar home, and everyone will not be able to “down size” to a smaller home at half the cost of their present home. Baby Boomers will be able to take advantage of today’s real estate market. But generations X, Y and Z will need a better plan for the future.

Everyone requires a solid financial plan your financial plan can, and should include downsizing the family home. Which economically, physically and mentally, will make sense as you grow older. But again as the article states this is only a piece of the puzzle.

As you read the article, if you have any questions, or require any help with your financial plan please contact us at Henley Financial and Wealth Management .

All the best.

Winston L. Cook

A disturbing number of people are building their retirement plans on a weak foundation – their homes.

Years of strong price gains in some cities have convinced some people that real estate is the best vehicle for building wealth, ahead of stocks, bonds and funds. Perhaps inevitably, there’s now a view that owning a home can also pay for your retirement.


home buying puzzle

Don’t buy into the group-think about home ownership being the key to wealth. Except in a few circumstances, the equity in your home won’t pay for retirement. You will sell your home at some point in retirement and use the proceeds to buy your next residence, be it a condo, townhouse, bungalow or accommodation at a retirement home of some type. There may be money left over after you sell, but not enough to cover your long-term income needs in retirement.
In a recent study commissioned by the Investor Office of the Ontario Securities Commission, retirement-related issues topped the list of financial concerns of Ontario residents who were 45 and older. Three-quarters of the 1,516 people in the survey own their own home. Within this group, 37 per cent said they are counting on increases in the value of their home to provide for their retirement.

The survey results for pre-retirees – people aged 45 to 54 – suggest a strong link between financial vulnerability and a belief in home equity as a way to pay for retirement. Those most likely to rely on their homes had larger mortgages, smaller investment portfolios, lower income and were most often living in the Greater Toronto Area. They were also the least likely to have started saving for retirement or have any sort of plan or strategy for retirement.

The OSC’s Investor Office says the risk in using a home for retirement is that you get caught in a residential real estate market correction that reduces property values. While housing has resisted a sharp, sustained drop in prices, there’s no getting around the fact that financial assets of all types have their up and down cycles.

But even if prices keep chugging higher, you’re limited to these four options if you want your house to largely fund your retirement:

  • Move to a more modest home in your city;
  • Move to a smaller community with a cheaper real estate market, probably located well away from your current location;
  • Sell your home and rent;
  • Take out a reverse mortgage or use a home equity line of credit, which means borrowing against your home equity.

A lot of people want to live large in retirement, which can mean moving to a more urban location and buying something smaller but also nicer. With the boomer generation starting to retire, this type of housing is in strong demand and thus expensive to buy. Prediction: We will see more people who take out mortgages to help them downsize to the kind of home they want for retirement.

Selling your home and renting will put a lot of money in your hands, but you’ll need a good part of it to cover future rental costs. As for borrowing against home equity, it’s not yet something the masses are comfortable doing. Sales of reverse mortgages are on the rise, but they’re still a niche product.

Rising house prices have made a lot of money for long-time owners in some cities, but not enough to cover retirement’s full cost. So strive for a diversified retirement plan – some money left over after you sell your house, your own savings in a tax-free savings account and registered retirement savings plan, and other sources such as a company pension, an annuity, the Canada Pension Plan and Old Age Security.

Pre-retirees planning to rely on their home at least have the comfort of knowing they’ve benefited from years of price gains. Far more vulnerable are the young adults buying into today’s already elevated real estate markets. They’re much less likely to benefit from big price increases than their parents were, and their ability to save may be compromised by the hefty mortgages they’re forced to carry.

Whatever age you are, your house will likely play some role in your retirement planning. But it’s no foundation. You have to build that yourself.

A tax-free compounding account… In your portfolio that may have been over looked – $52,000 for each spouse to be exact, start planning now!

The tax-free savings account (TFSA) is starting to grow up.

Introduced in the 2008 federal budget and coming into effect on Jan. 1, 2009, the TFSA has become an integral part of financial planning in Canada, with the lifetime contribution limit now set to reach $52,000 in 2017.

Start taking advantage of this savings today.

Remember when you thought $5,000 did not amount to much as an investment. If you had taken advantage of this program you could have another $60,000 to $70,000 for each husband and wife invested in savings today. That’s $120,00 -$140,000 of Tax free Value based on the average market return since 2009.

Used correctly the TFSA can supplement income lowering your tax base during retirement. The gain made in a TFSA is tax-free, and therefore so are withdrawals — Did you know? That the money coming out of the account does not count as income in terms of the clawback for Old Age Security, which starts at $74,780 in 2017.

The TFSA has also become a great vehicle for dealing with a sudden influx of wealth. For people who downsize and sell their house or receive an inheritance, this money is already tax-free. Do not make it taxable in the hands of the government again.

Contact me for more information regarding this and other investments that have been overlooked. It never hurts to get a second opinion regarding your future.

 

How should I invest my tax refund?

How should I invest my tax refund?

You may soon find yourself with a tax refund.

  • How should you spend it?
  • What is the right answer for you?
  • Would you be interested in a value added idea?

Presented by Henley Financial & Wealth Management – please continue to read you may find this of some value.

The average individual tax refund is between $1,500 and $3,000. Not everyone will get a tax return essentially a return means that you paid the government too much in tax during the year and now they want you to have it back… For the chosen few people that do lend the government their own money to invest during the year on a tax free basis, that’s the biggest chunk of discretionary income they’ll see in a year. There’s a lot of temptation to spend this cash as is not readily accounted for so it’s essentially free money.

What would you do with that cash if was suddenly given to you?

Hmm, A Trip, Newest Phone, Clothes, Shoes, Dinner and Drinks (well more drinks than dinner), Raptors Tickets, Concert Tickets and a host of many other ideas come to mind.

Once you see the cheque or the deposit in you bank account a spending rush will come over you. Earning 1% in a high yield savings account does not seem very appealing. Investing in your portfolio for future returns that cannot be seen for years to come does not give you that warm and fuzzy feeling.

You could take a trip of a lifetime. How could that be a bad investment? The experience alone is worth a lifetime of memories. This will subside next month when you realize that you spent the return and then some and have to pay for those memories. Hopefully you took some beautiful pictures to share with your face book and instragram friends. Those will more than make up for the sticker shock price of the trip.

The other items or ideas mentioned are all short term memories but definitely worth the time spent if that’s what you want. Just remember there is a difference between needs and wants.

So what should you do with your tax return? Here is an idea that will work but isn’t sexy at all. Double up on a mortgage payment. Or Pay down a credit card bill as it is the highest interest debt that you are carrying. Either is a good choice…

If you think about it paying down your mortgage with your return you are one month closer to paying off the principle on your house. This is one of the biggest assets you own in your portfolio especially with today’s housing market. Since mortgage rates are historically quite low, you could potentially make more money by investing that return in the market but as we know the market can be very volatile.

In any case it’s just a thought and the value to you in the long run is a great basic investment in yourself and your family.

 

The greatest compliment we receive is being introduced to family, friends and co-workers. Let us know if you would like to introduce someone to Henley Financial and Wealth Management. Contact us Henley Financial & Wealth Management.

 

Caught in the cross fire of Oil.

Caught in the cross fire of Oil.

As they say, the cure for high prices is higher prices.

That always seems to make the high prices more reasonable, Its called sticker shock we become acclimatized to paying a high price for our consumer goods.

But the truth at the heart of the collapse in oil prices in 2015, a force that will shape our personal finances in the coming year, is that we will become acclimatized to these low gas prices. In the GTA, it’s good news. The commute is cheaper and so is the cost of heating our homes. It adds up to a tax cut as good as the one the Liberals are giving us.

The downside of cheap gas is the upside to other expensive consumer goods across the board. So much for the savings established at the pump

In the west, where 40,000 industry-related jobs have disappeared, more pain is on the way because the energy rout may only be midstream. Even if it isn’t, more jobs will likely go. Until the price of oil stabilizes, the only thing companies can do is guess and keep cutting to make sure their costs stay below their falling revenues.

It’s hard to recall that 18 months ago, oil was at $110 (U.S.) a barrel. Today it’s trading under $35, two-thirds lower.  If you think about that in terms of your household, how would you fare if your family income was cut by 69 percent?

This is all about a fight for control of the world’s oil market, dominated by the Organization for Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), of which Saudi Arabia is the lead. As China’s insatiable demand for energy drove up prices, a search for cheaper supplies made sense. New technologies made it easy to drill into shale formations and fracture the rock to release oil, creating a plentiful supply of energy in North America.

A sign of the times is that the U.S. lifted a 40-year ban on the export of domestically produced oil. That is because fracking is making the U.S. almost energy self-sufficient, just as China’s economy is slowing — and so is its need for oil. In the meantime, Iran is adding two million barrels to world markets as part of its nuclear deal.

The Saudis seeing a long-term threat to their oil power have ensured that OPEC continues to produce at the same pace to keep up market share. The Saudi goal is to drive the higher-cost fracking industry under. Our, even more, expensive oil sands are caught in the crossfire.

OPEC shows no signs of standing down.

The dollar

In June 2014, with $110 oil, the loonie sat at 92 cents (U.S.). It cost us $1.09 for one American dollar. Today, it was at 72 cents, a drop of 22 percent. Which is $1.38 to $1 at the consumer level!

If oil rebounds, so will the dollar; if not, it may fall further which is something Canadians living close to the borders care a lot about. Even if you don’t live close to the border that cheap flight or vacation in the U.S. is no longer an option.

Canadian stocks

Toronto share prices are down 9.8 percent year to date. Energy stocks make up about 10 per cent of the TSX and have fared much worse. The TSX Energy Index is down 26 percent.

If oil prices improve, these shares will too.

Inflation

We climbed out of our 61-cent-dollar hole in 2000, gradually getting to par in 2009 without much inflation. Our exports to the U.S. were cheaper and so more attractive, creating profits and jobs. By substituting Mexican avocados for California ones, we energized our economy without higher prices. Cross your fingers we can do that again.

Interest rates

If we can’t and inflation starts picking up, rates may rise even though the Bank of Canada doesn’t want them to. If so, housing starts will cool, consumer spending will fall and we’ll all have a harder time.

There are a lot of ifs, and’s and maybe’s here and, as always, beware of forecasts. Between now and this time next year, anything can happen. As I stated in a previous article no one can predict the future but much speculation will spin these storylines moving forward. All we can do is live life have fun and enjoy the day as it comes.

Since gas is cheaper in your area fill up and enjoy the ride as it will not last. We know  all too well that things go up and down over night. This soon shall pass and we will be talking about something completely different in 12 months time.

www.henleyfinancial.ca

 

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