Monthly Archives: November 2015

One retiree’s quest to boost financial literacy in our schools

Bob Cleaver

By Bob Cleaver

Special to the Financial Independence Hub 


I am not alone. In 2011 I made a decision to move all our investments out of a mutual fund holder and into a discount brokerage in order to buy stocks.

I had begun to read books on the stock market:   investing, history and psychology. It was a tremendous learning exercise.

Then one day during a conversation with a like minded friend he mentioned charts. I had read about charts; they seemed complicated but something struck a chord and I signed up for a stock charting service. The charting included with the discount brokerage I use is archaic and slow and I wasn’t learning anything from it. The charting service opened my eyes to a whole new world.

Why isn’t investing taught in the schools?

At the same time as I was learning I wondered why investing isn’t being taught in our schools. I wrote  letters to several different  ministers of education for the province of Ontario. All polite replies but nothing positive until one day I received a letter that referred me to two policy statements  for the province for grades 4 to 8 and another for grades 9 to 12. “It’s all in there ,” was the reply. Continue Reading…

What the “The Usual Suspects” has to do with Investing

Randy Cass,

By Randy Cass

(Sponsored Blog)

Do you remember Keyser Söze’s line in The Usual Suspects? “The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.”

There is a parallel in investing: The greatest trick the mutual fund industry ever did was convincing people they should pay a percentage of their assets to invest.

Among other flaws, the percentage trick makes the amount Canadians are paying opaque. Most people just don’t know how much they’re being charged to invest and a lot of people I talk to think they’re paying nothing at all.

Canadians paying highest fees in the world

The truth is they’re paying the highest fees in the world.

In the United States, the fee on the average mutual fund has fallen below 1%. In Canada, the average fee on an equity mutual fund is 2.42% a year. It might sound small but it takes a huge bite out of the money Canadians would otherwise be saving. Paying 2.42% a year means you could be giving up 40-50% of your lifetime growth in wealth. That could be as much as hundreds of thousands of dollars in money you would otherwise have. Continue Reading…

The Gift of Early Findependence

Could 14-year old Austin Drak become Canada’s next “Youngest Retiree”?

By Michael Drak

Special to the Financial Independence Hub

Today there are a number of early-retirement bloggers out there doing great work, teaching people how important it is to adopt a frugal lifestyle so they can quickly regain their freedom.

They continue to preach the merits of “early retirement” but as far as I can tell none of the ones I follow are really retired. They continue to earn money from some activity but the key difference is that they earn that money on their own terms doing something they enjoy. They have earned the option to take a traditional full-stop retirement but for some reason have chosen not to. The question we all need to ask yourselves is why?

The other day I read an article in the Toronto Star about “Canada’s Youngest Retiree” and his book that outlines the strategy that enabled him to retire at the early age of 34. The article went on to say he authored six national best-selling books after retiring and became a millionaire through investing.

Why not retire at 14 and make millions revealing how you did it?

I found the article interesting and said to my son Austin (who still lives at home): “Why don’t you pack in school, and retire? Being 14 years of age we could probably get you into the Guinness Book of Records as the earliest retiree on record. Then all you have to do is write some best-selling books about how you were able to retire at such an early age, go out on the seminar circuit and preach to everyone about how you were able to do it. Continue Reading…

Mortgage Brokers Gone Bad

Depositphotos_38899881_s-2015By Robb Engen, Boomer & Echo

Special to the Financial Independence Hub

When it comes to buying a home or renewing a mortgage term, many financial experts recommend using a mortgage broker to help find the best mortgage rate and terms. The reason is that mortgage brokers work for you – not the bank (even though they’re paid by the lender and not the client) – and can leverage their large network of lenders to access the most favourable mortgages based on their clients’ needs.

But some mortgage brokers are taking that notion too far; forging documents, creating fake pay-stubs, employment letters, bank statements, and tax documents to help clients qualify for mortgages.

A shocking expose

In this shocking expose, Globe and Mail real estate reporter Tamsin McMahon revealed how mortgage fraud is thriving in Canada’s hot housing market.

The article goes on to suggest that mortgage fraud is so rampant in this country that as many as one-in-10 mortgage applications will have some element of fraud. This happens when would-be homebuyers can’t quite qualify for a conventional loan, a problem that has been exacerbated in recent years by soaring home prices.

An anonymous mortgage broker from Ontario said:

 “It’s happening on such a level that some bank reps, mobile mortgage reps, have said: Call a mortgage broker, they can probably find a way to make your income higher.”

Continue Reading…

The seasonal online spending orgy begins — tips for minimizing January debt hangover

Happy young woman making online purchases near Christmas treeBelow is a link to my latest Financial Post blog, which tackles the financial implications of the annual spending orgy that starts with Black Friday tomorrow, builds steam with Cyber Monday, and on to Christmas itself. (Not to mention Boxing Day!)

It’s titled Why it makes sense to use your TFSA to get out of debt this Christmas. Note there is also an accompanying video.

BMO Black Friday/Cyber Monday report

While I didn’t have a chance to include it in the FP blog, BMO has released its annual Black Friday and Cyber Monday Report and finds Canadians plan to spend an average of $446 over both days: $300 on average on Black Friday and $229 on Cyber Monday. Continue Reading…