GFM Network News


Specs and SPACs, Part 2

...and how my idiot son quintupled his money in two months

No children were insulted in the writing of this article. In fact, our youngest gave me the subtitle, and is the lead character in the story. (Read Part 1, here) As they were growing up, our kids were learning how to allocate scarce resources from their allowance and sports refereeing earnings between immediate gratification (a […] Read more

Specs and SPACs…

...and “how my idiot son quintupled his money in two months” (his words)

“But the most absurd and preposterous of all, and which showed more completely than any other, the utter madness of the people, was one, started by an unknown adventurer entitled ‘Company for carrying on an undertaking of great advantage, but nobody to know what it is.'” The above quote is by Charles Mackay from a […] Read more


The difference between an investment and a speculation

Speculations are often described as investments because that word has a more positive connotation

Differentiating between investments and speculations is more nuanced than distinguishing investments from expenses. Speculations are often inappropriately referred to as investments with the main similarity being both are purchased with the intent of profiting. The allure of speculations is their potential for quick and dramatic profit, but quick and dramatic losses are more probable. Let’s […] Read more

The normally volatile markets have been unusually erratic these past two years,

Titanium-strength portfolio lives up to its name

Record-setting market turbulence tests portfolio’s mettle

As I write, it is almost the second anniversary of the titanium-strength portfolio. I am updating as of May 4, 2020, due to publication timelines. With the topsy-turvy nature of markets lately, the details may have changed by publication date, but the key message will remain the same. The normally volatile markets have been unusually […] Read more


Money held in mutual funds dwarfs the rapidly growing exchange-traded funds industry.

Utilizing exchange-traded funds in an investment portfolio

Buy broad indexes and hold for long periods of time

Exchange-traded funds (ETFs) came into existence in the 1990s in response to the high fees of the mutual fund industry. They provide broad diversification and are traded like stocks. The original premise of ETFs is because the vast majority of mutual fund managers fail to outperform the market, it’s best to simply invest in the […] Read more

Managing ourselves in times of crisis

Managing ourselves in times of crisis

The reality is that we are in uncharted waters

Since my last article was written, the economic situation has deteriorated significantly. Our stock markets have been in freefall with the U.S. market recording its fastest ever 30 per cent decline. I use U.S. market history rather than Canadian because the data is readily available and the United States is the largest, most diversified market […] Read more


Year and decade financial review: Part 3

The best market predictions are based on probabilities calculated from past performance

The last two columns reviewed Canadian and U.S. decade-long economic and investment performance. Successful investing takes a long-term approach; understanding the underlying reasons for the macro picture is important. Let’s look more short-term. What happened last year, how did our portfolios perform, and what is likely to happen in 2020? I concluded my 2018-19 New […] Read more

U.S. average stock market returns, 1925 to 2018: U.S. stock market average returns have been 40 per cent or higher in five years. Only six of the 94 years have seen losses of 20 or more. In most years, average returns cluster between 30 per cent.

Why the odds are in favour of investing in stocks

Over the past century, the stock market has vastly outperformed “safer” forms of investing

Annual returns from the U.S. stock market have averaged 9.4 per cent since 1900. Over these 119 years, inflation has run 2.9 per cent, so long-term after inflation returns have been 6.4 per cent. Stocks exhibited significantly better real returns than bonds at 1.9 per cent, T-bills at 0.8 per cent and residential real estate […] Read more


A background of hundred dollars scattered on the table.

Long-term U.S. successes, and blemishes

Adding U.S. stocks to your portfolio brings diversification and a chance to profit

Previously, I shared examples from my Canadian portfolio that contributed to long-term investment success. The Canadian market is just three per cent of the world market and isn’t very well diversified, with financial and resource companies dominating. This makes international diversification a key success component. My longest standing stock account is an RRSP. Many years […] Read more

Stock investing isn’t possible without a few failures.

Long-term investment successes… and a few blemishes

Herman VanGenderen reveals the ups (and a few downs) of his stock investing history

Success through simplicity entails buying the right companies and holding them a long time. This reduces stress and workload managing investments, and leads to better outcomes. But do I follow my own advice? My first decade of stock investing was unsuccessful so when I transferred my RRSP into a stock account in 1993, I began […] Read more