Monthly Archives: October 2015

How Diana saved $12,000 in Interest payments and was Debt-free six years sooner

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Diana used to come to work with bags around her eyes. Her co-workers would always ask her if she was alright, and if everything was okay at home. Diana was tired of being sick, and she was also tired of people asking questions about her personal life. Diana had many sleepless nights, and it was now showing on her face.

There were a number of things that were contributing to Diana’s sleepless nights. Problems at work and home were among those issues. She was also struggling with credit card debt. Diana had managed to accumulate a credit-card balance of more than $10,000.

Diana had a good credit score and a good-paying job, so she did not expect to end up in credit-card debt. She had used her credit card to pay for a getaway with her husband to the Caribbean. As readers of the Financial Independence Hub know, using a credit card as a borrowing tool can lead to trouble quickly.

Diana believed she could pay off the debt before interest was charged to the card. However, a crisis happened and she had to cover an unexpected dental expense and a leak. Diana’s expensed trip to the Caribbean caused her to carry a credit-card balance that she was now struggling to pay off.

Diana was now living the personal finance nightmare: stuck in high-interest credit-card debt.

Diana’s new debt made life extremely difficult. She felt like she was in a sinking boat with no lifeline. She was feeling out-of-control, stressed and anxious. Diana struggled to budget in the minimum payments every month, but they never seemed to make a dent on the balance.

It is easy to understand Diana’s predicament when you take a look at the math involved.

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Halloween Musings, a book about NOT retiring, living with ZIRP

Scary Halloween pumpkin from Wall Street in 2008
Scary Halloween pumpkin from Wall Street in 2008, courtesy Horizons ETFs.

By Michael Drak

Special to the Financial Independence Hub

My family and I just love Halloween. It’s one of our favorite times of the year, second only to Christmas.

I love it for all the smiling kid’s faces that show up at your door, dressed up in their costumes anticipating the goodies that are coming their way.

Really, if you think about it Halloween is the original “Block” party. Most people in our neighbourhood participate:  either you stay at home handing out treats to the visiting neighbour kids or you take your kids out visiting the neighbours for treats. These days with all of us being so busy, it’s nice to be able to take a night off and pay some attention to all the people living close to us, share a few laughs as well as a few boos or beers! On Halloween night everyone seems happy, everyone feels safe and life for a brief moment is as it should be.

An added bonus is when Austin gets back from trick or treating with his friends. The Contessa goes through his loot checking for anything funny and I go through it soon after searching for my favorite candies when the Contessa is not looking. It’s amazing how creative some of the neighbors are in dressing up their houses for the kids. I always enjoy walking around the neighbourhood and seeing some of the shows that people put on and each year they seem only to get better. Someone is sure making a lot of money on this deal!

Would You Read A Retirement Book About NOT retiring?

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Momentum building on Save our $10,000 TFSAs petition

Catherine Women's Post 001’s Catherine Swift

FP Comment has run a guest article by Working Canadians’ Catherine Swift about the campaign and petition to save the $10,000 annual contribution limit for Tax-free Savings Accounts.

You can find it here, headlined Save our $10,000 tax-free savings accounts.

The Hub focused on this issue on Tuesday, linking to a piece I wrote on the petition in the Financial Post that day: Save our TFSA: Working Canadians launches petition to preserve $10,000 limit.

That piece also includes a short video by me on this topic, which you can also find housed here at Findependence.TV.

Here again is the direct link to the petition.

The numbers signing it are rapidly rising but if you feel strongly about the issue, the more you can use social media and e-mail to spread the word, the better!



Is my two-ETF portfolio too simple?

by Robb Engen, Boomer & Echo

Special to the Financial Independence Hub

I get plenty of questions about my two-ETF retirement portfolio. Some advisors think it’s too simple – stating that a properly diversified portfolio should contain at least six asset classes. Further to that, some clients and blog readers ask me whether it’s wise to add a dash of gold, REITs, or even farmland to their portfolios – usually after reading doom-and-gloom advice from the likes of Peter Schiff or Jeff Rubin.

My two-ETF solution, which is made up of Vanguard’s VCN and VXC, is about as diversified as it gets when it comes to global equities. VCN holds 231 large-, mid- and small-cap Canadian stocks, while VXC holds 5,150 stocks from across the globe in developed and emerging markets outside of Canada.

Related: Why investors should embrace simple solutions

I’ll concede that an all-equity portfolio is not appropriate for most investors. My portfolio is missing a bond ETF, which is included in the popular three-ETF model portfolio listed on the Canadian Couch Potato blog.

I chose two equity ETFs for a few reasons: Continue Reading…

Beyond patriotic investing: Canadians should invest in the U.S. equity market

Som Headshot
Som Seif

By Som Seif

Special to the Financial Independence Hub

Many, even most, Canadian investors suffer from a bias by which they invest in what they know: home.

This is short-sighted and dangerous for an investor’s portfolio, as the Canadian market is very small and concentrated in comparison to the U.S., especially around three primary sectors. Canadians really don’t have to go away to far flung places for diversification – they only need to look southward to the U.S. market, which is one of the broadest, deepest and most liquid financial markets in the world.

For those considering investing in the U.S., really focus on these three areas that are the core to growing and diversifying an investment portfolio.

  1. Go for the big treasure chest of companies. Go for diversity.

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