Building Wealth

For the first 30 or so years of working, saving and investing, you’ll be first in the mode of getting out of the hole (paying down debt), and then building your net worth (that’s wealth accumulation.). But don’t forget, wealth accumulation isn’t the ultimate goal. Decumulation is! (a separate category here at the Hub).

Strategies for Selling your Business Quickly

Looking to get out of your business as soon as possible? Our tips will help you sell your business quickly while still getting a fair deal.

Adobe Image by Robert Kneschke

By Dan Coconate

Special to Financial Independence Hub

Are you a small business owner ready to start the next phase of your life? If you’re looking to sell your business quickly and move on, read on.

We have some helpful strategies for attracting serious buyers and closing deals below.

Get your House in Order

The first thing you should do before putting the “For Sale” sign on your business’s front lawn is to get your organization and financial records in order. One of the first things that any potential buyer will want to look at is the accounts and books of the business to gauge its financial health.

If the documents and accounts are a disorganized mess that only you can decipher, your business won’t be very appealing to a buyer. Ensure your financial documents are organized and straightforward, including critical documents like the complete list of all assets, copies of patents and licenses, and profit and loss statements.

Hire a Business Broker

As you prepare for a sale, hiring an independent business broker is one of the best strategies for selling your business quickly. A broker will take a commission from the sale, but their experience and skills are invaluable when selling a private practice or business.

They’ll connect you with more potential targets and get the word out that you’re looking to sell and vet buyers for you. They’ll also represent you in negotiations and offer valuable insight to attain the best deal as quickly as possible.

Sell to a Competitor

While it may sting the pride of some to sell their business to the competition, it’s often the fastest and easiest option for small business owners. After all, what competitor wouldn’t be interested in expanding and bringing their competition under their umbrella? Continue Reading…

Lessons learned in diversification: Reducing Canadian home country bias

Image by Pexels: Mihail Nilov

By Mark Seed, myownadvisor

Special to Financial Independence Hub

Many financial advisors, analysts and investing gurus alike tout the merits of portfolio diversification. In this updated posted, you can read on about my recent lessons learned in diversification, including reducing my Canadian home bias since becoming a DIY investor well over a decade ago.

Theme #1 – how many stocks are enough?

This answer depends on who you ask but there are some experts who claim owning about 30-40 individual stocks, in various industry sectors, will provide modest diversification to mitigate portfolio risk. Here are some examples:

Lowell Miller author of The Single Best Investment:

“In our portfolios for individuals and institutions we tend to carry thirty to forty stocks.”

“The more stocks you have, the more your group will behave like an index.”

“If you don’t want to hold the thirty to forty stocks that satisfy my personal comfort level, you can reduce the number – bearing in mind that each reduction increases the risk that a single bad apple in your bushel will have an excessive impact on results.”

Gary Kaminsky author of Smarter Than The Street:

Holding 100 stocks is yet another myth of the great Wall Street marketing machine.”

“If you’re going to do your own work/research, you should feel comfortable that with 25 to 30 names, you have enough diversification and you have enough skin in the game.”

Gail Bebee author of No Hype – The Straight Goods on Investing Your Money:

“A popular rule of thumb asserts than an individual stock should represent no more than 5% of a portfolio.  This would mean owning at least 20 stocks.”

“Some studies of past stock market performance have concluded that owning about 15 to 20 stocks provides the best return for the least risk.”

Stephen Jarislowsky, Canadian billionaire and author of The Investment Zoo:

“Out of the many thousands of stocks I can choose from worldwide, I therefore really only need to look at 50 at most.”

Those estimates seem about right to me as a practising DIY investor.

When it comes to individual stocks though, dedicated readers of this site will know I’m a fan of portfolio diversification myself and practice the following personal rules of thumb to avoid individual stock risk:

  • I strive to keep no more than 5% value in any one individual stock, and
  • I’m working on increasing my weighting in low-cost ETFs over time to avoid my bias to Canadian dividend payers in my portfolio while generating total returns. Read on…

You can always review some of my current stock holdings on this standing page here.

Theme #2 – why diversification?

Portfolio diversification aims to lower the volatility of my portfolio because not all asset categories, industries, nor individual stocks will move together perfectly in sync. By owning a large number of equity investments in different industries and companies, and countries, those assets may and do rise and fall in price differently; smoothing out the returns of my portfolio as a whole.

There is a close logical connection between the concept of a safety margin and the principle of diversification.” – Benjamin Graham

While I/we continue to hold no bonds in our portfolio at this time, as I contemplate semi-retirement in the coming years, I am seriously considering ramping up our cash on hand to counter any bearish equity markets when we’re not working full-time.

Theme #3 – how can I reduce my Canadian home bias with ease?

During the pandemic, I decided to make a few portfolio changes to simplify my portfolio more as semi-retirement planning continued. These were my decisions related to asset location and further diversification. Continue Reading…

Focus on Blue Chips and hold the good ones indefinitely

Image courtesy of

Uncover good companies for long-term investments and you will boost your portfolio returns over time. Learn more here and discover one of our top picks.


Long-term stock investment strategies aren’t built to make a fast dollar. They are built to prosper over time, and most importantly, teach you how to pick the right stocks.

In our view, your goal as an investor, particularly if you follow a conservative investing strategy like the one we recommend, is to make an attractive return on your investments over a period of years or decades. Failure means making bad investments that leave you with meager profits or losses. Continue reading to learn about good companies for long-term investments.

Visa Inc., symbol V on New York, is on our list of good companies for long-term investments

Visa has been a terrific performer for our subscribers since we first recommended the stock at $19 (adjusted for share splits) in the December 2010 issue of our Wall Street Stock Forecaster newsletter.

A big part of Visa’s appeal is that it gets most of its revenue from the fees it charges card issuers and merchants using its network. This unique business model means the banks — and not Visa — are responsible for evaluating customer creditworthiness and collecting payments, which helps to cut risk for investors.

The company first sold its stock to the public at $11 a share in March 2008. We held off recommending it at that time, as the best way to cut the risk of investing in initial public offerings is to wait till after the next market slump and/or recession comes along. Thanks to Visa’s unique business model, it was able to avoid big losses during the 2008-2009 financial crisis.

Even though rising interest rates and inflation could slow consumer spending, we feel Visa has many more years of growth ahead. The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the shift to online shopping, while the easing of restrictions will spur the use of credit and debit cards to pay for airline tickets and hotel rooms.

Visa is also making shrewd acquisitions that enhance its expertise in new areas, such as buy-now-pay-later payment plans. These moves will let it stay ahead of smaller firms with potentially disruptive fintech (the combination of financial services and technology services). 

The company also continues to reward investors. In the first half of fiscal 2022, it spent $7.05 billion on share buybacks. It still has $9.8 billion remaining under its current authorization.

Visa has also increased its dividend each year since the 2008 IPO.

Visa is a buy for long-term gains.

Spotting good companies for long-term investments lets you profit from long-term growth in the economy

For decades — as long as I’ve been involved with the stock market — some brokers have claimed that they favour the “buy and hold” investing strategy in principle, except when the market was so treacherous and unpredictable that their clients had to indulge in short-term trading, options or whatever to make any money. Continue Reading…

Embracing Entrepreneurial Wisdom: A Guide to Financing, Funding, and Starting Your Business with Podcasts

Phil Bliss (on left) interviewing Brad Krieger (right)

By Philip Bliss

Special to Financial Independence Hub

Starting a business can be both exhilarating and daunting. Aspiring entrepreneurs often find themselves navigating through a sea of uncertainties, seeking guidance on financing, funding, and launching their ventures successfully. In today’s digital age, podcasts have emerged as powerful platforms for disseminating invaluable insights and wisdom.

One such beacon of knowledge in the Canadian entrepreneurial landscape is the “#1 Podcast for Entrepreneurs in Canada” by In this blog post, we explore the profound importance of listening to entrepreneurs’ words of wisdom and advice, and how this podcast can become your go-to resource in your journey towards building a successful business in Canada.

Empowerment through Experience

The beauty of a podcast hosted by successful entrepreneurs is that it provides you with firsthand accounts of their experiences, challenges, and triumphs. These entrepreneurs have weathered the storm, overcome obstacles, and tasted success. By listening to their stories, you gain insight into the real-world dynamics of business, which textbooks and theories often fail to capture. Their experiences can empower you with the knowledge to avoid common pitfalls, make informed decisions, and stay motivated through tough times.

Insights into Financing and Funding

Financing and funding are critical components of starting and sustaining a business. Entrepreneurs featured on Canada’s #1 Podcast share their journeys of securing capital, whether it be through angel investors, family investment, venture capitalists, or traditional loans. Their advice can enlighten you on creating a compelling business plan, preparing a convincing pitch, and choosing the right financing options for your venture’s unique needs. Additionally, understanding the financial landscape in Canada and how to navigate it effectively can significantly improve your chances of success. Continue Reading…

Low Volatility Investing: Benefitting from Alternative Weighting

By Chris Heakes, CFA, M.Fin., BMO Global Asset Management

(Sponsor Content)

Most investors look to equities to provide the primary growth component of portfolios, and for good reason: the S&P 500 has returned an average 10.9% annualized over the past 50 years[1]. However, while the attraction of long-term growth is there, the drawback, as most investors know, is risk and volatile markets, such as the collapse of the Information Technology (IT) bubble in 2001, or the great financial crisis of 2008.

What is Low Volatility Investing?

Low Volatility investing is an approach which attempts to achieve the benefits of equity investing (upside return), while mitigating the inherent risk within equities.  A soundly constructed low volatility Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) will generally achieve this by overweighting defensive stocks (using some measurement of risk – at BMO, low volatility ETFs use Beta as a measure) as well as overweighting traditionally defensive sectors such as Consumer Staples and Utilities, while underweighting more aggressive stocks and sectors, such as Energy and Materials.

By embracing a methodology that is different from broad indexes, low volatility strategies fall into a category of ETFs we call Factor ETFs or Smart Beta ETFs (the terms are interchangeable). In this sense Low Volatility strategies seek to preserve more capital (relative to broad markets) when markets are volatile, due to the weighting to defensive stocks.

How do Low Volatility ETFs perform?

Classic finance theory supposed a relationship between return and risk.  All things being equal, an investor should get more return for assuming more risk (and vice versa).  However, the concept of the “low volatility anomaly” comes from the empirical observation that this relationship doesn’t hold true in practice. Lower-risk stocks generally have as good, if not better, returns than higher-risk stocks.

How can this be the case? Investors, or perhaps more accurately, traders, often chase higher-risk stocks, which to their detriment often don’t live up to expectations.  No better example is there than the recent meme-stock behaviour, where a social-media organized horde chased returns on various small-cap stocks, in the often misguided “shoot for the moon.” Low volatility investing is the opposite of meme-stock investing. It’s about winning by not losing. Batting for singles and doubles, but not going for home runs and striking out.  Keeping the ball in the fairway … and on and on.  A good low volatility strategy can deliver the benefits of equity investing over the long period, while also providing better cover and portfolio protection, when the markets aren’t working.

It’s beyond the scope of this blog post to get into the plethora of academic research around the low volatility anomaly, but for those interested readers, see an article linked on the CFA website.

What are the risks of low volatility investing?

Simply put, the different weighting methodology can both work for, and against, the investor, particularly in the short term.  Higher-risk stocks will enjoy their days in the sun at times, and low volatility investors may lag, in these exuberant style markets. Like other factor investing strategies (value, momentum, etc.), performance is generally best analyzed on the long term, which is to say through business cycles. Lastly, low volatility strategies tend to be overweight more interest-rate sensitive stocks, so in periods of interest rate increases, this may pose a headwind to the overall strategy. Continue Reading…