Latest articles

Index investing versus buying mutual funds

Guarding Wealth: To get diversification in your portfolio you have to pay for it, but not every mix works

There is an old saying that you can’t beat the market. Famed investor Warren Buffett has said, “Mr. Market always wins.” One school of investing agrees that, given you can’t beat the market, you might as well join it. That is the birth of index investing: the concept of buying index funds packed in exchange […] Read more

Farm Financial Planner: Grandchild will inherit widow’s farm

Managing taxes across the generations takes extra effort and a careful approach

Celeste, as we’ll call her, is 75. She lives in south central Manitoba and owns a 320-acre farm. Her husband, who we’ll call Edward, passed away earlier this year. The farm, a mixed grain and grazing operation, was profitable for many years. The couple put about $382,300 into off-farm investments over the years. Celeste’s problem […] Read more

Stock market chart on LCD screen. Selective focus.

Global junk

Guarding Wealth: Scorned in the past, it’s become glamorous in a market driven by index funds

The investment market at times resembles a circus in which the strangest acts sell the most tickets. In the latest bit of acrobatics, sovereign junk bonds issued by national governments are turning in their best performance in years. For example, European sovereign junk returned 100 per cent in the nine years since the mid-2008 beginning […] Read more

Farm Financial Planner: Lessening the sting of the AMT after land sales

With planning, retiring farmers can reduce the burden of the Alternative Minimum Tax

A couple we’ll call Herb, who is 67, and his wife, Mary, 60, farm 600 acres of grain and hay and another 500 acres of pasture in central Manitoba. They have put much of their effort into a 100 head cow-calf operation. Their two children, Suzy, 32, and Astrid, 29, are married and have no […] Read more

Investing: taking risks in the new economy

Old economy, new economy. Finding safe off-farm investments in a perilous world

It is the question closest to the hearts and digestions of most investors: How long can the good times last? The tech-heavy NASDAQ Composite index was up 26.3 per cent for the 12-month period ending June 7, 2017. Canada’s S&P/TSX Composite Index rose a modest 7.7 per cent in the same period, restrained by flagging […] Read more

Farm Financial Planner: Succession can skip a generation

This couple will hand the farm over to a grandson, keeping preferred shares for income

In western Manitoba, a couple we’ll call Jurgen, 73, and Frieda, 71, have farmed for the last 52 years. Jurgen inherited the home farm of 320 acres in 1972. The farm grew slowly. Jurgen and Frieda expanded the farming by renting land and buying parcels as they became available. At present, the couple has 2,000 […] Read more

Guarding Wealth: Signs of future risk in the stock market

U.S. government initiatives are raising returns on government and corporate bonds

In the early days of the Clinton administration, Democratic Party strategist James Carville opined that, after death, “I’d like to come back as the bond market. That way, I could intimidate everybody.” Bond prices determine bond yields and yields determine the weight of public debt — how fast taxes can pay it down, how affordable […] Read more

Farm Financial Planner: A smooth transfer on the way to retirement

Planning smooth generational transfer to six children keeps Manitoba farm in the family

A couple we’ll call Jack and Susan, ages 56 and 54, respectively, farm 2,240 acres in central Manitoba. The third generation of their family to farm in Manitoba, they began three decades ago with 640 acres and expanded by renting an additional 1,600 acres of cropland. About 15 years ago, they incorporated their grain production […] Read more

Guarding Wealth: Keeping your financial portfolio stable

How much risk do you want in your portfolio, and will risk bring you higher returns?

Choosing stocks and bonds is in some ways like picking the petals off a daisy. The choice: will it be regular income or capital gains (hopefully)? Some investment assets pay regular income. In this category are conventional bonds that promise annual or semi-annual interest payments and dividend-paying stocks that make no firm promises but that […] Read more

Guarding Wealth: Long-term investing is a sure thing

There are short-term risks, but inflation and survivor bias make long-term bets winners

Let’s have a heart to heart talk about the fundamentals of investing on the farm and off the farm and, for that matter, investing in education for a career or a used car. Every investment has character, whether it’s a tech stock and you have to bet on a new trend or product on the […] Read more