What the “Smart Money” is telling us about how to invest our money

March 19, 2019 - The Montrealer

Every year when employed and self-employed Canadians file their tax returns, they contribute to their government managed pension fund, the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) or the Quebec Pension Plan (QPP). These mandatory plans collect money from working Canadians, invest and manage the money, and provide an income to retirees based on their contributions. Managing this money on behalf of the nearly 30 million contributors and beneficiaries is a huge responsibility and it can guide us in our own personal investment strategies.

Redefining “Cheap”: How to embrace Frugality

February 19, 2019- The Montrealer

I was recently chatting with a client when she referred to herself, sheepishly, as “cheap”. Now to put this in context, she has been a client for over twenty years, so I know her quite well. She’s a lovely, kind lady who is generous with the people she cares about, both with her money and time. She is also a multi-millionaire. When she said this, in the context of “she’s too cheap to spend on house cleaning” I gently suggested she rephrase it as she is too “frugal”, not “cheap”. There’s a big difference. She thought about it for a second, and agreed that frugal sounded much better, and much more accurate.  She now proudly uses that term to describe herself and acknowledges that it is likely the basis for her financial success.

5 Strategies to Beat Stock Market Stress

January 26, 2019 - The Montrealer

Happy New Year!  Thank goodness it’s a new year! Christmas Eve 2018 marked the worst Christmas Eve for the Dow Jones in its 122-year history! And December 2018 was the worst December for the Dow since 1931, ending the month down -8.7%. Most investors are relieved that 2018 is over and looking forward to better prospects in 2019. Regardless of what’s to come, expect that volatility is here to stay. We had a smooth ride for a few years through the middle of the last decade, but that was the exception and it’s not likely to continue. Volatility has always been a part of the markets and like it or not… it’s back!

A gift idea for kids who already have ‘EVERYTHING’!

December 23, 2018 - The Montreal

Last week I had clients in my office and the topic of Christmas gifts came up. They were struggling with what to get for their grandchildren, who according to them “have everything!” They jokingly asked if I offered anything that they could give their grandchildren for Christmas, and this got me thinking…

Does Money Buy Happiness?

November 28, 2018 - The Montrealer

When people are asked what kind of things they think will make them happy or have a successful life, many answer with things to do with money. A good job, a high salary, a nice house, a big retirement account. But are these the things that in fact lead to happiness? Yale psychology professor and Harvard graduate Laurie Santos delves into this issue through a course she created which has become the most popular course in Yale’s history.

We pass on to the next generation what we have learned from the previous generation

November 2, 2018 - The Montealer

Recently, I was thinking back to when I was a child and how I often watched my parents fix all sorts of items. Anything from a broken radio to a ripped pair of jeans. They usually took the time to at least try to repair things. There’s something about that habit which made these items feel like they were more valuable, and even precious. Unfortunately, we now live in a world where things have become disposable.

Cottage Life – Six tips on how to pass it on successfully

June 3, 2018 - The Montrealer

After a long, cold winter, summer is finally here! For those of you who escape to the peace and relaxation of cottage life during the summer, your plans are surely in full gear. You can already smell the fire and hear the sounds of country living. Maybe it’s been a tradition since childhood, a family cottage where many memories have been created. It may also be a place that requires financial investment and upkeep, and this is sometimes where the challenges begin.

Alternative Investing: Private Equity Simplified

September 28, 2017

A few weeks ago I received a text message from a friend (and client) who was in Florida. Our conversation went something like this:

Him: Is ‘Chick-Fil-A’ listed on the stock market?

Me: No, it’s private.

Him: I want to invest.  How can I invest?

"Can I ask you a stupid question? Truth and Clarity in Financial Advice

March 17, 2017 - The Montrealer

I had a conversation last week about brakes. Car brakes. About the cost of brakes today, versus brakes years ago. Something about, you just needed to change the brake pads, and now there’s a whole drum or disk or something like that. I’m sure some of you know what I’m talking about, but honestly, I know nothing about car brakes and really didn’t understand the difference. And in the context of this particular conversation, it wasn’t important for me to understand the mechanics of car brakes, to get the point that was being made. Why am I bringing this up?


Making a List! But are you checking it twice???

December 18, 2016 - The Montrealer

The holiday countdown is on.  You’ve surely made a list, but have you checked it twice?  Trying to find the “perfect gift” for those on your list can add up, and up, and up, until you’ve blown your budget trying to make everyone happy.  We all have more “stuff” than we need, so before going overboard this year, and spending money on yet another scarf for Aunt Sue, let’s consider the impact that our holiday shopping can have, not only on our pocket books, but on others as well.


Transitioning financial management: taking the financial reins away from a partner who is failing

November 9, 2016 - The Montrealer

We recently lived through this with my father. My dad, a highly educated and intelligent man, who was organized, on top of everything, and never missed a birthday or bill payment, was being slowly taken away by Alzheimer’s. He had always been the one who managed the finances, paid the bills, and handled their investments, with me as their financial advisor. It slowly became clear that my mom would have to take over all this responsibility.


Kids & Money: more than just their piggy banks

October 22, 2016 - The Montrealer

Money can be a difficult concept for kids to get. Whether it be the more basic concepts of banking, or how credit cards work, to the more complex such as investing, compounding and financial planning. Considering how important financial skills are in life, learning about money and developing good financial habits is one of the most important life lessons children can learn.


Is Your Money Safe in Cyber-Space?

September 11, 2016 - The Montrealer

Almost 90% of Canadian households are connected to the internet¹. Over the past few decades, the internet has grown from a simple communication tool, to something so big that it touches nearly every aspect of our lives. Even when we’re not online, information about our health, finances, careers, and even our personal life is vulnerable. The internet can be a great tool for investors, and offers a wealth of knowledge about financial markets and personal investing. But how do you keep your money safe?


Retirement: and the “gap” that you may not realize exists

August 21, 2016 - The Montrealer

Most people think of a retirement plan as “How much do I need to save for retirement”. But it can be much more than that if properly done. Whether you are working or retired, a retirement plan will give most people a sense of empowerment over their financial future. Getting clarity about where you stand financially – either good or bad – puts you in a position to make more informed choices.


Are you getting what you pay for?

July 12, 2016 - The Montrealer

In the past few months, you may have seen mention of CRM2 either on your investment statements, or in the newspaper.  It may not be the most exciting topic, but if you have investments, it will likely affect you.  The investment industry has been phasing in CRM2 in stages since 2014. What is CRM2? How does it affect you?


Your Habits? Will they make you rich or poor?

June 17, 2016 - The Montrealer

Money and finances rank way up there with health and relationships when it comes to what’s important in most people’s lives. They can be the source of much comfort or much anxiety. Over the course of my career, I have worked with many financially successful people. What’s interesting, is that it didn’t seem to matter whether they built their wealth from being a high income earner, or if they earned very modestly during their careers.  The common factor amongst almost all of them, is their habits.


What can we learn from where the wealthy are investing their money? Is real estate the way to go?

May 12, 2016 - The Montrealer

Investors these days are wondering where to turn, not only to protect their nest egg, but to achieve returns that are above 1-2%.  Looking at where the wealthy are currently investing their money can give the rest of us some direction as to where we might consider investing our own.


The Importance of Giving

March 21, 2016 - The Montrealer

A wide range of research supports the fact that giving makes us feel happier and enjoy better health. In fact, a 2008 study* by a Harvard Business School professor found that giving money to someone else, lifted participants’ happiness more than spending it on themselves (despite participants’ prediction that spending it on themselves would make them happier.)



Stock Market: Is current stock market pessimism warranted?

February 16, 2016 - The Montrealer

We’ve had a pretty wild ride in the stock market over the past six months. I won’t go into all the reasons, as we’ve been hearing about the same news flow for months – China, oil, slow global growth. Nothing has really changed much, but the markets have been extremely volatile through the end of 2015 and beginning of 2016. Why?