Monthly Archives: May 2016

ETFs break past $100 billion milestone in Canada

Tiwari_Atul_11_bBy Atul Tiwari

Special to the Financial Independence Hub

Last Friday, ETFs (Exchange-traded Funds) surpassed the magic $100 billion mark in assets under management in Canada and hopefully, continued growth in the markets and sales will keep us moving forward. But this milestone signals that many investors are gaining greater appreciation for these powerful, low cost and transparent investment vehicles.

And the industry is growing rapidly with new providers and products joining the ranks, regulatory changes on the horizon and technology changing the investment management field, like it has many others.

But the doubling of assets and tripling of ETF providers since 2010 is an indication that ETFs are being integrated into more investors’ portfolios. We see this every day with a growing number of ETF options and lower costs across the industry.

While there are a multitude of factors for the rising popularity of ETFs, I wanted to take a deeper look into four in particular.

  • The rise of indexing.
  • Increased competition.
  • Regulatory efforts to increase the transparency and awareness of investment fees.
  • More fee-based financial advisors.

The rise of indexing

Canada was an early innovator in ETFs, as the first ETF in the world was listed here in Canada 26 years ago. Continue Reading…

The 2-letter 4-letter Word

Gignac - Headshot - 2013By Robert M. Gignac

Special to the Financial Independence Hub

One of the things I love about my job is that I get to have interesting and passionate conversations with North Americans regarding money, personal finance and fiscal responsibility. We all have a relationship with money – sometimes it is a good relationship – sometimes not.

I spoke at an event in Victoria, B.C. recently and during the Q&A portion a guest asked the following question: “What is the one biggest thing I can do to improve my financial situation?”

Now, I’m a firm believer that there is no single thing we do that makes us financially successful – it’s the repetition of a variety of little things, done over and over and over that make us successful. I could tell from the way the question was phrased and the rather emphatic index finger in the air as they asked the question – they were looking for “one thing.”

Looking for one big answer

While the silence seemed to hang in the air, an audience of 250+ waited for the answer. I took a sip of water from the glass on the table and hoped they were going to be happy with what I had to say: “There is no one “biggest” thing you can do – but – if you’ll humor me for moment – I’ll share with you what I think the one biggest word is? How’s that?” Continue Reading…

Millennial Blog Wrap: Cheap vs Frugal and Chronic Money Stress

Beautiful young woman listening to music and having takeaway coffee outdoorsby Helen Chevreau, Hub Staff

This short and to-the-point post from Budget Bloggess is here to quell all our concerns about the millennial generation being frugal. Sure, the word ‘frugal’ may get some flack for its apparent likeness to ‘cheap’, but oh how different the two really are. If you were ever unsure as to whether cutting up your old t-shirts to use as dishrags qualified you as cheap, you can stop worrying. Thanks to Toronto-based Budget Bloggess for putting my mind at ease:  I’m not cheap, I’m frugal.

Have Your Latte

 We’ve probably all been told at this point in our financial journeys about the magical ‘latte factor.’ You know the one:  if we just save the $5 a day we would normally spend on our Starbucks, we’ll be rich before we know it. Of course there’s nothing wrong with this tactic. However, this new post from My Money Counts will definitely help us put that $5 in perspective when compared with the “4 expenses that will steal your savings.” Those being expensive car payments, having too much house, insane student loan debt, and of course, credit-card debt. It is a well-informed look at some of the most common and burdensome factors that contribute to young peoples’ savings struggles. And, if nothing else, it’ll make you feel a little less guilty about that double mocha frappucino!

 Chronic Money Stresses?  Continue Reading…

Healthcare abroad: What about the Language Barrier?

Thailand's Bumrungrad Hospital
Thailand’s Bumrungrad Hospital. Photo

By Billy & Akaisha Kaderli

Special to the Financial Independence Hub 

When it comes to navigating healthcare issues in a foreign country, lots of travelers or would-be Expats have a legitimate concern over the language barrier.

While there is a possibility that you could find yourself in the backwaters of Vietnam, in a lonely village in the mountains of China or Tibet, or spending the night in a hill tribe pueblo reachable only by rickety bridges, chances are you will be somewhere close to a civilized town or large city. In our decades of world travel through dozens of countries, our experience is that most medical professionals speak English or enough English to make the transaction go smoothly.

Service is Primary

In the hospitals of Thailand, we have discussed surgeries, received executive physicals, blood tests, colonoscopies, eye exams, sonograms, x-rays and more. But we are not fluent in Thai. How were we able to communicate about such complicated topics?

Not only do these professional medical personnel speak English, but we are issued a personal translator/assistant who takes us from office to office, procedure to procedure. She translates for us if necessary, keeps our paperwork together and wheels us around in the wheelchair if required. The fee for this service? About $2USD each visit.

It’s not a guessing game

Continue Reading…

How realistic is it to live only on cash?

Steve Repak

By Steve Repak, CFP

Special to the Financial Independence Hub

If you are in debt, you have probably heard over and over again that you should quit using credit cards and stick to using cash exclusively for purchases (aka “cash-only” purchases.)

In a previous article I explained that for some people it actually hurts to break a large bill like a $20, so only using cash may help you get your spending under control. I wanted to share some of the risks and benefits of a cash-only lifestyle and also show that you can still get out of debt if you want to use credit cards.

If getting out of debt is your goal, there are three things you must do in order to succeed regardless of whether you use cash or credit:

  1. Spend less money than you take home each week
  2. Build an emergency savings
  3. Develop and follow a get-out-of-debt plan

Cons of using cash

Continue Reading…