Young And Thrifty http://youngandthrifty.ca Saving Generation Y Tue, 21 Mar 2017 21:05:50 +0000 en hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.3 Nest Wealth Review http://youngandthrifty.ca/nest-wealth-review/ http://youngandthrifty.ca/nest-wealth-review/#comments Mon, 20 Mar 2017 01:30:35 +0000 http://youngandthrifty.ca/?p=16866 To wrap up our tour of the top robo advisors in Canada (see our Ultimate Guide to Canada’s Robo Advisors for more information), we thought we’d take a look at the first entrant into the Canadian market and one the market leaders in Canada with our Nest Wealth Review. Right now Young and Thrifty readers […]

Nest Wealth Review first appeared on Young And Thrifty

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To wrap up our tour of the top robo advisors in Canada (see our Ultimate Guide to Canada’s Robo Advisors for more information), we thought we’d take a look at the first entrant into the Canadian market and one the market leaders in Canada with our Nest Wealth Review.

Right now Young and Thrifty readers can try Nest Wealth for FREE for 3 months.  To activate this exclusive Nest Wealth promo offer code simply click here.

My favourite part about Nest Wealth is that one of the first things you see when you head to their page is a calculator that invites you to compare their fees to what you’re currently paying in mutual fund fees (the investment choice for most Canadians).  If you’ve been reading this blog for a while you know that the fact that Canadians pay so much more than most of the world for investment advice drives me absolutely crazy.  So many Canadians watch their retirement savings grow at a slothful rate – or even shrink slightly – over the long term, simply because such a large percentage of their investment returns are garnished by mutual fund companies.

Nest Wealth is amongst the most transparent financial companies that you’ll find on the market and readers have had only great things to say about their customer service component.  Let’s see what Nest Wealth looks like behind the shiny curtain of their website.

Who’s Behind Nest Wealth:

The man that powers the machine over at Nest Wealth is Founder Randy Cass.  Randy has over 15 years of experience in the financial services industry and managed massive portfolios for clients such as that Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan.  You also might have saw him on TV as he hosted Market Sense on BNN for several years.  Randy is like a slightly more modest, much funnier, Kevin O’Leary – with way better hair and much more actual business experience.

Randy is surrounded by a team of professionals that blends youth and experience – just what I look for in a FinTech company.  There are international MBAs, computer engineers, and a “wealth” of relevant backgrounds from many corners of the financial and tech worlds.

One of the interesting details I found while digging into Nest Wealth is that Canadian media company Metroland Media is one of their large investors, having a purchased a minority stake in the company for $1.5 million back in 2015.  I can’t say that I’ve seen a lot of media companies taking such an interest in the FinTech sector, but it will obviously mean some great deals when it comes to marketing to the Canadian demographic.

All client assets are held by the National Bank Correspondent Network (NBCN), a subsidiary of National Bank.  Obviously National Bank is one of the most trusted and well-known names in Canadian banking, and puts a lot of clients’ minds at ease.  This isn’t to say that Nest Wealth is owned by National Bank, only that they are the third-party institutional that is responsible for handling client assets.

Portfolio Creation:

Nest Wealth takes a lot of pride in pointing out what goes into their portfolio creation process.  As far as pure index investing principles go, Nest Wealth is probably the most committed of the Canadian Robo Advisors.  They will construct an individualized investment plan for each client – and believe that this approach is superior to placing investors into pre-made template portfolios.

Nest Wealth will construct your portfolio to be geographically diversified and contain assets from the following seven asset classes:

  • Domestic Equities
  • USA Equities
  • Emerging Market Equities
  • International Equities
  • Government Fixed Income (Bonds)
  • Real Returns Bonds
  • Real Estate

You can see the ETFs that they use to put your portfolio together below

ETF Name Asset Class MER
Vanguard Canadian Bond Index ETF (VSB)
Fund Fact Sheet
Short-term Bonds 0.11%
BMO Aggregate Bond Index ETF (ZAG)
Fund Fact Sheet
Medium-term Bonds 0.09%
iShares Canadian Real Return Bond Index ETF (XRB)
Fund Fact Sheet
Real-return Bonds 0.39%
iShares Core S&P/TSX Capped Composite Index ETF (XIC)
Fund Fact Sheet
Canadian Equities 0.06%
iShares Core S&P 500 Index ETF (XSP)
Fund Fact Sheet
US Equities 0.11%
iShares Core MSCI EAFE IMI Index ETF (XEF)
Fund Fact Sheet
Global Equities 0.20%
Vanguard US REIT ETF (VNQ)
Fund Fact Sheet
Real Estate 0.12%


How Much It Costs:

Nest Wealth sets up their pricing slightly different than some of Canada’s other robo advisor options.  Basically there are three tiers when it comes to paying for the advice services and platform that Nest Wealth will provide you with:

Less than $75,000 $20 per month
$75,000 – $150,000 $40 per month
Over $150,000 $80 per month

On top of these costs, Nest Wealth gets charged trading fees when they re-balance your portfolio and has to pay the underlying ETF Fees in your portfolio.  While this might not be the easiest fee structure to understand (it’s easier for example to just say “.6% all in”) it is the most transparent in my view.

What this looks like in practice is that Nest Wealth’s third-party custodian NBCN, charges $9.99 per trade.  These trade fees are capped at $100 annually.  If your portfolio is relatively straightforward and there is not much movement in the market in a given year, there might not be a need to make very many trades.  On the other hand, if there is a year when the stock market hits a large downturn such as in 2009, then obviously as index ETFs go down, Nest Wealth will need to re-balance more often.

The ETF fees (aka MER) that Nest Wealth pays average out to .15% – this is why I love basic index ETFs!

Nest Wealth Review: What’s Included

For this price of admission, Nest Wealth customers get:

  • Customized portfolio creation
  • Diversified, tax efficient asset allocation
  • Optimized portfolio construction
  • Consistent portfolio monitoring by your portfolio manager
  • Threshold portfolio re-balancing
  • Annual updating of information
  • Professional support from your own registered advisor available via chat, email, or phone. You can schedule calls with your advisor at a time that suits you!
  • Transparent fee and performance reporting via your online portfolio dashboard. You can log in at any time to see exactly how your investments are doing, re-balancing that’s happening, and how much you’re paying in fees.

Types of Accounts:

  • RRSP
  • Spousal RRSP
  • TFSA
  • RESP
  • RIF
  • LIRA
  • Joint
  • Trust
  • Corporate

Account Security:

Like the rest of Canada’s robo advisors, all Nest Wealth customers are protected by the Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF) which covers each client up to $1,000,000.  Check out our Ultimate Guide for more on why robo advisors are super safe and not nearly as scary as your Big Bank likely makes them seem.

What Makes Nest Wealth Unique

Nest Wealth believes that their combination of customized portfolios and subscription pricing are what gives them a different flavour than the rest of Canada’s robo advisors.  When new customers sign up at Nest Wealth they have a conversation with an advisor, who will design each portfolio specifically for their financial situation, time horizon, goals, and risk tolerance.  This is obviously very appealing to folks who are used to a traditional financial advising model and has a ton of value for people with fairly large portfolios.

Nest Wealth is also quick to point out that whether you have $150,000 or $1,000,000+ invested with them, your fees remain the same: $80 per month, or $1,060 per year ($960 plus $100 maximum in trading fees) plus the ETF’s MER.  The idea is that after the $150,000 mark, there is no extra work being done to manage your portfolio – it’s all automated.  This clearly makes the price point extremely attractive to high net worth investors.

Perhaps because of their advisor-client model or because of the attractive pricing at higher investment tiers, Nest Wealth is able to attract an older client base than you might expect when you initially see the term “robo advisor”.  In fact, their average client is in their mid-40s.

Nest Wealth Review: What It Looks Like

You can see below that Nest Wealth offers an easy-to-use platform that is accessible on multiple devices and a very simple sign-up process.

NestWealth Review

The user interface is based on the goals that you identified for yourself.  The summary page gives you a clear, clean view at how you are doing in relation to meeting your goals – a nice feature that gives your investing some context.

The Accounts Page gets down to the nitty gritty of performance, balance, and overall asset allocation.  All the graphics are interactive and provide more information as your hover over them as shown below

If after reading our Nest Wealth review you want a risk-free way to try one of Canada’s leading robo advisors, simply click here to get 3-month FREE trial period!

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How to Get More Money Back from your Tax Return http://youngandthrifty.ca/how-to-get-more-money-back-from-your-tax-return/ http://youngandthrifty.ca/how-to-get-more-money-back-from-your-tax-return/#comments Mon, 13 Mar 2017 01:30:00 +0000 http://youngandthrifty.ca/?p=868 How to Get More Money Back from your Tax Return first appeared on Young And Thrifty

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It’s that time of year again! TAX TIME!  If you didn’t get a chance to implement any of my 16 Tax Tips for Year End, don’t fret, my friend, there’s still time to get more money back from your tax return! 

I started filing my own taxes last year. Before that, I hired an accountant to do my taxes (my taxes were really simple) and paid about $125 for his services. He gave me a few good tips which I carried on to use for the next year, when I learned to do it myself.  I decided to do my own taxes because:

1) I didn’t want to pay someone else $125 when I could do it myself

2) I didn’t have my own business so I couldn’t deduct my accountant expenses

3) No one cares about your money more than you do.

4) I wanted the challenge and to actually understand the system.

I would recommend you NEVER walk into a chain tax preparation place such as H&R Block.Click To Tweet

They can charge exorbitant fees if your tax return is complicated and often the people doing your tax returns are not accountants.  I’m sure there are good and decent people that work at H&R Block, but my guess is that they work primarily with high net worth clients.  The folks that deal with the average walk in customer likely took a basic course and simply ask the questions that get shown to them on their screen (much the same method that tax preparation programs use to allow you to simply do your own taxes).

I still harbor a special place of disgust in my heart for H&R Block due to a post-secondary student promotion they ran with great success back when I was attending school.  They would advertise something like “FREE Piazza” and “Walk in and get your cheque TODAY for $0”.  What the price really was however was 10% of your tax return.  Since students often have relatively low incomes and lots of tax credits, they tend to generate fairly large tax returns.  I know several of my friends and I walked in, answered basic questions for 20 minutes (as read to us by someone who clearly had just started in the tax world and wasn’t really proficient in the English language), and were charged $200-$300 (10% of our return, which we didn’t really understand at all).  We did get our tax return money a few weeks early though – and for a bunch of broke students who really wanted to celebrate the end of classes and exams – that was the main consideration.  The more perspective I gain on life and the financial world, the more distasteful and unethical this experience becomes in hindsight.

Doing Your Own Canadian Tax Return

Doing taxes by yourself is actually kind of fun (yes, I know I sound lame… but maybe I was an accountant in my past life) but I would only say it is “fun” if you use a tax preparation software program and you have a fairly mainstream return to prepare (i.e. you work for one or two places that provide you with a basic T4 every year).  Calculating everything by hand with a calculator and a pencil and eraser would likely drive anyone batty.

If you have your own business, do a lot of freelance work, have a lot of investments outside of an RRSP and TFSA (you’re way ahead of the game if this is the case) or have rental property, it can be helpful to hire an accountant because there is simply a lot more to take into consideration.  That’s a challenge I’m just not ready for you yet – but if you are, then all the power to you!

Alright my friends, so here are some ways to Get More Money Back from Your Tax Return:

  • One key thing to remember is that you really need to KNOW what you can deduct IN ADVANCE, or else you won’t be aware to collect them for your deduction!! (i.e. receipts, transit passes, etc.)  So you kind of have to embody the accountant mindset throughout the year in order to reap the full rewards.
  • Contribute to your RRSP before March 1: The RRSP deadline is usually around March 1.  You can find how much you’re allowed to contribute on your Notice of Assessment (you know, that form the government sent with your tax refund cheque last year?) When you contribute to your RRSP, you’ll be able to receive a tax refund, that you can later then contribute to your TFSA or to pay down your mortgage! (Hey, two birds with one stone– not bad, I say!)
  • It is important to remember though that sometimes a TFSA is a better place for you be saving than your RRSP.  Check out our comparison here for more information.  Having said that, if you have enough dough to contribute to both a TFSA and your RRSP, you can contribute to your RRSP BUT hold off on using it as a tax deduction until future, more income-generating years (use Schedule 7 for this).
  • Keep your Transit Passes: You can get a tax credit of 15%.  If you’re a student, keep your monthly pass because you can deduct the cost you pay for it on your taxes.  If you have a monthly transit pass you can claim those as well. (Don’t lose them or throw them away! They’re worth something even after the transit pass expires).  The transit passes have to provide detailed information (e.g duration of use, transit authority, amount paid) and are good for a Federal Tax Credit.
  • Tuition Credit: If you’re a student or recent grad (congratulations!) you can claim your tuition credits.  Several provinces also have tuition-related tax benefits.

How to Get More Money Back on Your Tax Return checklist
  • Claim your Student Loan Interest: Yes, having student loans looming does have a minor silver lining- that is, you can claim the interest that you are charged on your student loan.
  • Claim Medical Expenses: Keep your receipts for any prescriptions and medical or dental expenses that weren’t covered by your Health Benefits Plan.  If you plan to get laser eye surgery (which can be upwards of $3,000) for example, you should make sure you keep other expenses you incurred within any 12-month period (it doesn’t have to match the tax year– e.g. it can be from April 2008 to April 2009 instead of January 2009 to December 2009) as long as you hit the magic number: 3% of your net income OR about $2,200 for tax year 2016 (whichever is less).  If you live common law or are married, you can add up your expenses for both of you and claim it against the person with the smaller income (3% of a lower number is easier to become eligible for).  Your pharmacist can usually give you a statement of all your prescription drug costs if you contact them.
  • Utilize Dividend Tax Credits: THIS is why Canadian corporations that pay dividends are best kept in a non-registered account.  The taxes on dividends are much lower and almost favourable if you are in the lower income tax bracket.
  • Claim your cell phone and internet bills: The tip my accountant gave me was that you can deduct a reasonable amount of your phone bill (e.g. 50)% if your employer regularly uses it to call you to obtain work (this works for example, if you are a ‘casual’ employee and they usually call you to see if you can come in to work).  The percentage used should be traced back to your airtime.  A similar rule of thumb exists for your internet use.
  • Donate to charity: Charitable donations are tax deductible (as long as the charities are registered).  This is why it makes sense to donate your old broken down car.  You easily get rid of a trash heap that you’d have a difficult time selling, the charity gets something they can sell for parts/scrap, and then you also get money back on your tax return because you “donated” the equivalent value of the car.
  • Support your preferred politician: Governments love giving tax breaks to people who give their party money.  Who would have thought?  There is a bevy of tax credits available for folks that donate to political parties.  If you have any questions on the matter just call your preferred party, I guarantee they’ll have someone available to discuss the details!
  • Working from Home: If you work from home more than 50% of the time, there are a large number of deductions that you can account for.  You can deduct your internet expenses and stationary bought provided that you use these to obtain income.  If you rent, you can deduct the portion of rent and any other maintenance costs you would pay for your office space.  Per the CRA’s workspace in the home expenses site:

You can deduct the part of your costs that relates to your work space, such as the cost of electricity, heating, maintenance, property taxes, and home insurance. However, you cannot deduct mortgage interest or capital cost allowance.

  • Don’t give an interest-free loan to the government: Yeah, you heard me… that lovely tax refund you get in the summer? It’s basically YOUR money that the government was keeping warm for you.  If you fill out a T1213 form and hand it over to your employer, they can deduct less of your income on your paycheque.  This allows you to keep your money in your hands form day one instead of waiting on a big tax refund.

There’s a variety of tax return software available.  Some are free.  You could even use the tax return software to do all your calculations, and then input the numbers into your paper tax return (the tax return booklet).

Here are a few that are popular, FREE, and NETFILE-certified if you want to send it through NETFILE:

Studio Tax: Not the fanciest of websites, but it’s great for basic tax returns.  It’s completely free (if you file less than 20 tax returns)! Free download of tax software and you don’t need a license key or registration key to get it.  They even have student versions.  You don’t have to pay $40 for Ufile or Quicktax.  Studio Tax is highly recommended.

CANTAX: This was the program I used last year. It’s super comprehensive and it’s designed for tax professionals.  It’s NOT free, but it’s good.  It was free for me because my dad the accountant let me use it. =)

UFile: You can file for free with UFile if you earn less than $20,000 per year OR if you are a student (Oooh the perks of being a student).  If you do not fall into that category, you can try it for free and only pay when you have to print or submit it online through NETFILE.  It’s $15.95 for this.

Turbo Tax: You can start the return for free but you may need to pay a bit to actually file it (depending on your specific situation).  One of the most popular tax preparation software options available!

Have you ever filed your taxes by yourself?  What do you think of it?  Any suggestions or tips with any of the free tax preparation software mentioned above? 

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Questrade Review – Updated 2017 – $50 Promo Offer Code http://youngandthrifty.ca/questrade-review/ http://youngandthrifty.ca/questrade-review/#comments Sun, 05 Mar 2017 23:00:02 +0000 http://youngandthrifty.ca/?p=501 Questrade Review – Updated 2017 – $50 Promo Offer Code first appeared on Young And Thrifty

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Congratulations!  If you’re considering opening a Questrade discount brokerage account, you have have likely managed to get a handle on your personal finances and are now ready to put your money to work for you.  Read our in-depth Questrade review below and take advantage of our exclusive Questrade promo code when you open up an RRSP or TFSA account.  Then sit back and watch your investments grow, while you focus on cutting investment fees to the absolute bone!

Questrade Review Summary

No Fees on ETF Purchases
✅ Lowest Per-Trade Costs ($4.95)
No Annual Account Fees
✅ Great Service (Inc. Chat)
✅ Great Promo Offer
✅ Questrade Pays Your Transfer Out Fee

 

Some Negative Online Reviews (Most are Dated)
Mobile App Needs Improvement
Bottom Line: Questrade is Canada’s low cost leader with $4.95 trades and No-Fee ETF purchases! We recommend this discount brokerage for all Canadian DIY investors that make less than 40 trades per month. Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆

Or just input the following Questrade promo code- a1b9d1d9


Exclusive Questrade Promo Offer Code

When you combine our special promotional offer of $50 in free trades, with the fact that you can purchase Questrade ETFs for $0 – you are basically guaranteeing yourself no trading costs for several years worth of portfolio re-balancing.  Zero dollars in trading costs equals more money compounding in your investment account!

Simply click here to take advantage of our $50 in free trades promo code or enter the code {a1b9d1d9} once you get to the Questrade website.

A Summary of Questrade

Questrade has been in operation since 1999 and they are the largest independent Canadian online brokerage.  They are super popular amongst Do-It-Yourself investors like me primarily because of their ultra-low fees.  Right from Day One, Questrade has focused on offering a streamlined platform that competed primarily on the basis of its low-cost advantages.  While they have added several bells and whistles over the years (routinely grabbing one of the top spots in the Globe and Mail’s & MoneySense Magazine’s rankings), their main attraction to investors like myself is their simplicity and their ongoing commitment to remain the cost-savings leader in the Canadian market.

All of us at Young and Thrifty have been with Questrade for 7+ years – so you are getting the collective wisdom of several user experiences over a prolonged period of time.  While they offer many different options as part of their overall platform, we’re going to focus primarily on their bread and butter – the simple brokerage accounts that let you buy and sell stocks and ETFs for the lowest fees in Canada.

2017 Updated Questrade Review

I personally have been a Questrade user for over eight years now and have been pretty happy with the platform and the company.  Before Questrade, I was with a Big Bank brokerage and was dissatisfied with the high commissions that I paid on every trade that I made.  (That was back then when the big fish could get away with charging $25-30 per trade.)  When I found Questrade, I was pretty happy with the $4.95 per trade fee, and that ultra-low price hasn’t increased since eight years ago – in fact, you can now buy ETFs for FREE (they do make some money when you sell them of course).

If I’m looking to find a fly in the ointment of my Questrade review it would be that I could do without the frequent platform changes (the original platform issues now seem to resolved) and that the mobile app isn’t exactly breathtaking.  That said, Questrade has really evolved over the past eight years into an excellent option for Canadian DIY investors.

Questrade is considered Canada’s low-cost leader, have low-to-non-existent account fees, and have Canada’s lowest commissions at just $4.95/ trade.  They have grown their Canadian online investing presence over the last couple of decades to now manage $4.5 billion in assets.

Questrade vs RBC, Scotia iTrade, and TD Direct

Here’s a general look at how Questrade stacks up against three of Canada’s Big Bank brokerage competitors.  While the cost has gone considerably down from the $25-$30 per trade back in the day, to just under $10 per trade, there are still some areas such as registered account fees where Questrade simply beats the competition hands down.

As you can see, Questrade’s pricing is second-to-none.  They have the lowest prices in Canada, hands down.  When you’re just getting started, these account fees can really hurt your portfolio growth because $100 is a fairly large percentage of the $3,000 or so that most of us start investing with.  Going with Questrade allows that compounded investment returns snowball to get larger and gain momentum at a faster pace.

Questrade Review – Pros

Here’s what sets Questrade apart from some of the other options on the Canadian market.

It’s Cheap!

At a $4.95 minimum and $9.95 maximum, Questrade refuses to be beaten in this area.  The total that you pay if you buy general shares of average companies is almost always below $6.00.  The only time it ticks up closer to the $9.95 figure is if you’re buying hundreds of shares or units.  (The overall fee is $4.95 + $0.01 for every share or unit.)  If you’re buying penny stocks or tens of thousands of dollars worth of a single stock, then you might hit that max price point, but I’ve never come close.  Of course, I pay hardly any fees at all due to the no-fee ETF purchases feature that really sets Questrade apart for me.

The other thing to keep in mind is that since I started investing with Questrade over eight years ago, the prices haven’t gone up.  There aren’t too many companies that can say that in any industry!

If you trade options it is $9.95 + $1 per contract.  (Personally, I would almost never recommend someone get started in options, so I’ll just leave it at that.)

They also have fewer hidden fees than many other brokerages.

How much can you save if you go with Questrade versus the other brokerages?

Let’s look an example if you are determined to buy and sell individual stocks and not go with our preferred ETF investing strategy.  Let’s be conservative, and say you do one trade a month (and this only counts purchases, not selling – after all you’re not ready for retirement yet right?).

Questrade:

$4.95 x 12 = $59.40

Other brokerages:

$9.95 x 12= $119.40

Sixty dollars might not seem like very much, but over time and compounded, it certainly adds up.  Once you have a slightly larger portfolio that requires more re-balancing and/or begin to buy and sell more stocks or ETFs, this $60 can easily be multiplied by 3x-5x.

Questrade ETF Investing:

If you decide to embrace index investing with vanilla ETFs (such as the ones that we recommend here) then the gap in investing fees becomes even wider.  These investing fees used to be the sole advantage that mutual funds had over ETF investing and why a lot of people used to recommend getting started with the TD-eSeries of mutual funds (still not a bad option).  Questrade has completely negated this advantage with their free ETF purchases.  For most portfolios under $200,000, re-balancing can usually be done simply by adding to whatever asset class is underrepresented at the time – no need to sell anything to put your portfolio back in balance.  (If all of this sounds like a foreign language to you, take 30 minutes to page through our free eBook where I’ll explain all of this ETF/index investing stuff in more detail.)  This means that you basically pay no money to invest through Questrade (if you stick to a disciplined ETF/index strategy) until you have already started to build some serious wealth.

Purchasing three Exchange Traded Funds as part of your portfolio every month = $0 (Before 2013, this would have cost $4.95 x 3 x 12= $178.20 annually.)

For example:

  • VXC- Vanguard FTSE All-World Ex-Canada Index ETF
  • VCN- Vanguard FTSE Canada All-Cap Index ETF
  • VAB- Vanguard Canadian Aggregate Bond ETF

Other Brokerages ETF Investing:

$9.95 x 3 ETFs x 12= $358.20 annually

If you are an ETF fan, going with Questrade is a no-brainer.  You can save $358.20 annually and not have to worry about timing the market because you are buying “the market” every month whether it is up or down.

If you save $358.20 annually at an annualized growing rate of 8.0%, after 40 years, that savings almost equates to $108,000.

$108,000!

Talk about the magic of compound interest.

Warren Buffett, my idol, loves compound interest and his recommendation for his estate after he is gone is to have it invested in low cost index funds just like the ones we are recommending.  Index investing gurus reiterate time and again the time real key to investment success isn’t jumping on the hottest stock, but rather focusing on keeping costs as low as possible.

No Commissions When Purchasing ETFs

As illustrated in the example above, the thing that sets Questrade apart from some of the other excellent discount brokerage options in Canada is that there are no commissions charged when purchasing Exchange Traded Funds.  This started in 2013 and I have taken full advantage of it by purchasing ETFs on a monthly basis without any added cost.  This makes your couch potato investing much easier and really, a no-brainer.  It was a game changer at the time, and remains a major perk that we recommend taking advantage of.

There are no worries about only using specific ETFs or having minimum purchase amounts or anything like that.  Simply wire the money to your Questrade account, and purchase the same ETFs you did the month or quarter before.  Getting wealthy usually means setting a boring plan and then efficiently executing – it’s not exciting but it’s very effective if you can stay away from needless fees.

While the free ETF feature certainly shines relative to online brokerage competition, where you really see the difference is when you compare it to the traditional methods of mutual fund investing in Canada.  Canada has the highest-priced mutual funds in the world – often charging in the 2.5% territory.  This can easily chew through 30%-50% of the average investor’s returns over the decades of responsible retirement saving.  Keep your investments simple and low cost with Questrade’s discount brokerage or a robo advisor option!

No Annual Fee for Registered Accounts

The no-fee registered accounts are another of Questrade’s game-changers that has forced the market to adjust.  I remember when I first signed up for a TFSA at one of the Big Banks, I was charged an annual $100 management fee.  This was another reason why I took my money out of the Big Bank and switched it over to Questrade.  Questrade charges no annual fee for registered accounts (such as an RRSP or a TFSA), allowing you to keep more of your hard earned money.  If you think about a $100 fee applied to your $5,500 TFSA contribution (maximum contribution limit annually as of writing) that is 1.8% right there off the top – a killer of future returns. These days, the annual fees for the Big Banks are around $50, which is better, but obviously still not as good as $0.

Holding USD In Questrade’s RRSP or TFSA

Another great thing about Questrade is that they allow you to hold USD in your registered accounts.  I have USD investments in my RRSP and the option to do this is great.  It’s good to know I don’t have to do the dreaded currency conversion unnecessarily when I have USD to invest.  You can also convert your CAD into USD with their currency converter too or use Norbert’s Gambit to save money on foreign exchange fees.  Avoiding needless currency conversion fees are another way to keep your money working for you instead of going to pay for some Bay Street CEO’s third yacht!

Questrade Will Pay Your Transfer Out Fee

Questrade will pay for your Transfer Out Fee charged from your other financial institution, provided that you transfer a minimum of $25,000.  This payment of the transfer out fee is a pretty good deal considering transfer out fees can be hefty (like $150) at most places.  When combined with our Questrade promo offer code, it is obviously a pretty strong incentive for people to switch from their other brokerage to Questrade.

Questrade’s IPO Centre

If you’re into buying IPO’s then you might be interested to know that Questrade allows you to purchase IPOs for FREE (no commissions).  If you were wondering what the heck an IPO is, it stand for Initial Public Offering, and it occurs when when private company goes public (offers shares on a stock exchange) for the first time like, like Snapchat did recently.

Questrade has an IPO Centre where you can look at the most recent IPO’s, sign up the the IPO Bulletin.  To buy an IPO you just click “buy” and fill out the form.

All of this being said, I have to note that entering the IPO game is a risky one and not really all that relevant to most retail investors – especially ones that are just trying to execute super simple index investing strategies.

Questrade Review – Cons

Of course, with the ultra low-cost nature of Questrade, there comes a few trade-offs.  Here are some of the areas Questrade could use some improvement.

Customer Service

Although they have made improvements on their customer service, it is still lagging compared to some of their full-service (more expensive) competitors.

The “Chat with Us” feature allows you to type and instant chat with a Questrade representative (Monday to Fridays from 8:00AM to 8:00PM EST) but you can’t do it on weekends and if you enter a message, it will be an automatic email reply – still not a bad option, but not as good as immediately solving your problem.  “Chat With Us” is probably the best way to reach someone at Questrade, and when you go online during those times someone answers and types back to you within minutes.  We have used this feature several times and has always received prompt service, however some online reviewers have had more negative experiences to report.

You can also phone them (I haven’t phoned since chat with us started but remember waiting on hold for at least 20-30 minutes back in the day) and their hours are from Monday to Fridays 7:30 to 8:00 PM EST).

Other Big Bank brokerages are bigger of course, and consequently provide more services such as 24-hour phone support.  If this is more important to you than absolute cost savings then Questrade might not be the best fit.

They do have lots of self-help information, such as The Exchange (contains blogs, how-to’s, videos, and pre-printed information like how to get started with your account). Personally I prefer sources of information like this that I can access online and allow me to solve my problems for myself as opposed to waiting on hold somewhere for an employee to become familiar with my account.

Ultimately, most of the negative comments that I have read online stem from investors that are trying to do fairly complex maneuvers or are comments created several years ago on Questrade review articles like our old one, when they were still refining their online platforms.  If you stick to basic investing strategies such as the ones we recommend on this site, I highly doubt that you’ll have any problems.  If you’re trying to day-trade your way to wealth by making dozens of trades every day in a margin account that you’re borrowing money in, then a more expensive online platform might suit your needs better.  I just find that’s such a small segment of the population that it’s not really worth going into depth on.

The Platform Changes Frequently 

As mentioned previously, Questrade has changed their platform a few times (I have lost count in the past eight years) but I have gotten used to it.  It takes a few months to get used to the new platform visually, but eventually it all becomes second nature again, and in general, the platform is easy to use.  Questrade’s updates have left the site looking better and more modern, so the change is usually for the better.  That being said, the platform, despite the updates, is easy to use and very intuitive, you can pick it up within minutes.

This may be the case for many other online trading brokerages, (I have heard similar grumblings about all discount brokerages at some point) but there is some downtime whenever the platform is updated or refreshed in which you will not be able to access your accounts at all and you will just see a screen that says “sorry for the inconvenience” or something like that.  I have had a few isolated experiences when I’ve logged in while a platform change was underway, only to see errors pop up on my account history page.  This downtime as been less and less as Questrade has improved over the years, but still not something I would expect from a full-service platform like the ones the Big Banks put forth.

Questrade’s Mobile App Could Be Improved

I am not an active trader and the more difficult it is for me to access my accounts the better (meaning I will have to sit down at my computer to review my accounts) because this means less tinkering with the portfolio.  That being said, if we’re being honest in our review, it needs to be mentioned that Questrade’s app has not been its most successful endeavor to date.

I’m not a big app person (I like to see my whole computer screen when I do my investing) but in reading forums related to Questrade, a lot of customers using the app are not satisfied with it.  Now, Questrade is promising big things with their new App that is due to roll out any day.  Currently in the App store there is a ‘one star’ rating on the app and it was last updated in 2015.  You can scroll down to see some screen shots of the app if purchasing ETFs or stocks from your cell phone is a deal-breaker for you.

In a perfect world, the Questrade app would include less bug fixes and more usability… but it’s still more than adequate for index investors who just want to take a peek at their portfolio from time to time and are too busy to log into their computer.

Dated Negative Online Reviews

In the spirit of trying to provide an unbiased Questrade review, we’ve pointed out some of the commonly cited concerns about investing with Questrade.  If you search online you’ll find several reviews by folks that are not huge fans of Questrade.  I think this is due primarily to a few reasons:

  1. Questrade undeniably had some customer service and platform issues 5+ years ago.  While they have come a long way and fixed most of these problems, their negative online reviews will live on forever.
  2. It’s natural for a few unsatisfied customers to dominate the online feedback relative to the thousands of fans (like myself) who have had very few problems with the platform.
  3. When executing more elaborate and complicated online trading manuevers, you may want some of the bells and whistles of a more expensive brokerage.  If you are a simple index investor, you will likely have very few problems.  Kyle and Justin both report having 0 problems with the platform – but then again they have only purchased a few ETFs over and over again and have never tried to open a margin account, do a limit order, or use options.

We can only directly report what our experiences have been, and for all of us, the massive advantage of low fees has been well worth a few hiccups here and there.  Overall, folks must be generally satisfied with Questrade because their assets under management numbers keep exploding every year!

A Peek Inside Questrade

No Questrade review would be complete without taking a look at the various platforms.  You can always check out Questrade’s free trial to pretend to see what the platform looks like and tinker around with it without risking any real money.

Here’s what Questrade’s platform and watch list looks like and what the order entry to buy shares looks like:

Here’s another example of what a watch list might look like with the Questrade trading platform.  I really like the colours in the red and green to help you discern/ visualize how the stocks that you are watching are doing more easily.  If you’re wondering what a watchlist is, the basic idea is that if you pick stocks you might want to keep your eye on how your “targets” are doing at any specific time.  This allows you to quickly pull up a screen and see if there have been in any movements in the companies that you are interested in.

Here’s what Questrade’s investment return page looks like in the chart format, there are other formats such as the graph format too if you prefer that:  As you can see, it’s an easy way to visually analyze your portfolio’s performance.

Here is what a detailed quote would look like on the Questrade Platform.  It is similar to that of most online brokerages, but if you haven’t used it before this might look a little intimidating.  The truth is that once you get beyond the initial scariness, the math involved is not that difficult.  You can see how much each share costs, what the ticker symbol is (AAPL), and how the stock has fared over the last few years.  Personally, I don’t use this information all that much because again – I am a couch potato investor – but it’s there if the need to pick stocks is an itch that must be scratched.

Questrade IQ Edge

Another platform that Questrade has, if you trade frequently and want to look like you are a day-trader (complete with two computer screens!), and it is free to use and switch to, and a matter of preference, if you like a darker screen rather than a white one and if you want more trading options than the regular platform.

With the IQ Edge, you can have a custom trading environment (you can adjust the platforms on your screen to accommodate your own preferences better).  It also has pre-installed option trading layout, and IQ Edge gives you the ability to make advanced trading orders, such as conditional orders and multi-leg options strategies.  IQ Edge is highly customizable and created for advanced traders (not my style).

Here’s a screen shot of what IQ Edge looks like, as you can see it’s much more detailed compared to the regular Questrade Platform, and is complete with advanced trading tools:

IQ Web Platform

Finally, if you would like yet another Questrade Platform to choose from, there is another free platform you can switch to.  With the IQ Web platform, you can personalize it by adding ‘gadgets’ so that these are easily accessible only to you when you log on.

Here is a screen shot of a quote on IQ Web (don’t worry it’s not my margin account number, but a screen shot of a sample Questrade account):

Here’s what IQ Web looks like and the options for the gadgets that you can add to personalize your platform:

Of all the different platforms, which one is for you?  Well it’s very individual.  But personally, I like the regular one just fine and don’t have any inkling to try out the other platforms.  The basic one works just fine for my needs.  However, it is nice that it is an option to switch to if needed.

Questrade Mobile App

Here are a few shots of what the Questrade Mobile App platform looks like.  Below is what a quote would look like on the mobile app.  It is available for both iOS and Android.  It is synced with your online trading account so you can trade and look at your portfolio ‘on the go’ which is very appealing for busy people who can’t get in front of the computer.  The Mobile App platform includes research tools like Intraday Trader and Market Intelligence so you can look up your favourite stocks.  Of course it’s not as detailed as the regular platform, but it performs well if you need to just execute a trade quickly or want to look at your portfolio during your commute on the bus.

Here is what an order entry screen would look like on the Questrade Mobile App, as you can see it’s pretty straight forward and replicates what the order entry screen would look like on their regular platform:

Finally, here is what your watch list would look like on the Questrade Mobile App:

Statement and Account Histories

Statements are online and posted on the 15th of each month.

Here is what the statement screen looks like, the number of statements available is reflected under the month, and all you have to do is download them to look at them.  The actual PDF statements are super detailed with colours and graphs galore!  It breaks it down to your performance to date and even compares your performance to a few years ago.  It also details all the dividend payouts, all the transactions etc and is very very detailed.  My account statement is 14 pages long, that’s how detailed it is!  There is no need to worry about all this reporting if you are super simple index investor, but it’s comforting to know that it is there nonetheless.

Here is an example of one of the pages in the detailed statement you will receive monthly:

One of the great things that I like about Questrade is that you can quickly toggle and review your account activity, and sort by date (e.g. to look at the previous month), and by activity (such as trade, dividend, or withdrawal).  It’s really handy to have when you want to quickly review what your dividend income has been across all your accounts.

Here’s a look at the bar where you can toggle your account activity by date and activity, as you can see you can “select all” or “deselect all” or even just select individually.  In this picture I have selected Trades and Dividends.  Once you select that a summary of all the trades and dividends that you have requested for that time period will show up.  You can then export it to Excel if you wish.

Why I’m Sticking with Questrade After Eight Years

Hopefully you now have a good idea of what Questrade looks like before you decide to take the plunge.  Instead of switching to another brokerage, I have stuck with Questrade.  Why have I been a loyal Questrader for the past eight years?

Well there are a few reasons for this:

  • I really really like the free Exchange Traded Funds (no commissions charged for purchase of exchange traded funds) that started in 2013 and that dramatically lowered the cost of my index investing.  To me, this is a huge feature when compared to other brokerages.  I am able to dollar cost average and purchase on a monthly basis to avoid trying to time the market (which we all know doesn’t work that well for most people)
  • I really like the overall low fees and how the fees have not increased since I signed up eight years ago.  You really can’t beat $4.95 a trade (unless it’s the $0 per trade ETFs offer).
  • I like that Questrade is ‘grassroots’ and Independent and not affiliated with a big bank or oligopoly.  I have always liked rooting for the underdog.
  • I like that they have a refer a friend program.  For every friend you refer, you get $25 deposited into your account, and for every third friend you refer, you get a $50 bonus.  If your friend deposits $1,000 they get $25 into their account, and if they deposit $50,000 into a new Questrade account, they get $100 into their account.
  • The chat function to access customer service for Questrade is perfect for me (I’m not a phone person).  I’m not familiar with the Big Banks’ customer service and whether they have a chat function, but I don’t like waiting on the phone for 45 minutes to speak to someone. (In fact, I don’t really like speaking to people in general, so the ability to just instant message someone is great.)
  • I also like that there is no annual fee for registered accounts.  When you have a finite amount that you can deposit into registered accounts (e.g. $5,500 annually for the TFSA), the last thing you need is to get gouged by fees.
  • Funding the account is easy, all I have to do is transfer money as if it were a bill payment – I’ve been doing it for eight years with 0 problems.
  • According to MoneySense’s Canada’s Best Online Brokerages of 2016, Questrade ranks as the best for fees and commissions and has honourable mention for overall best independent broker and ease of use.  It stands out as overall best independent broker because of its steady improvement in service.

How to Sign Up for Questrade

As long as you’re properly prepared, signing up for Questrade is super easy.  All you need are a few minutes in front of the computer, some government issued identification, and of course, the determination to tackle the basic steps of DIY investing.

Click here to open an account.  To open an account, you’ll need to the following:

  • Your email address
  • Your name as it appears on your government issues identification
  • Your Social Identification Number
  • Information about your employer
  • Your phone number
  • Create a user ID and password and set up your security questions
  • Choose an account to open (you can save time by clicking on the Packaged Tab to open a TFSA, RRSP, and margin account all at the same time)
  • Put in Young and Thrifty’s OFFER CODE “a1b9d1d9 to save $50
  • Continue following the prompts and sign the agreements online (they accept esignatures to make signing up for an account even easier)
  • Upload your documents (e.g. Photo ID) to Questrade for verification
  • Your account is now open and you can feel free to take a peruse around the platform
  • Then fund your account!  You can use an electronic fund transfer from your bank via direct deposit or check out the chart below for more option to fund your account.  If you  need a bit more help, Questrade has a good 1 minute video on how to fund your account

  • The minimum deposit is $1,000 to purchase stock and options, and if you were thinking of opening up a Portfolio IQ account, you  just need $1 to open an account and $2,000 to start investing.
  • Remember, you must keep at least $250 in your Questrade account to keep it in good standing
  • If you would like a PDF tutorial on how to set up your account, Questrade has a great one through their The Exchange website.  It walks you step by step on what to do after you have successfully opened and funded your account.

Questrade $50 in free trades

Online Security Guarantee

Many people are wary of doing anything money-related in an online setting, let alone using a discount online brokerage to buy and sell investments, but Questrade points to their Online Security Guarantee when they wish to ease these fears.  They will guarantee 100% reimbursement of any unauthorized transactions from your account that result in direct loss.  That’s a pretty cool safety feature that I hope I never have to use!

Questrade is also a member of the IIROC (Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada) and CIPF (Canadian Investor Protection Fund), which insures your account up to the limit of $1,000,000.  In excess of $1 million, you can contact Questrade at 1.888.783.7866 for additional private insurance of up to $10 million in protection.  If you’re not sure what the CIPF is, here is what their website has to say: “Investment dealer insolvency doesn’t happen very often.  In fact, since CPIF’s inception in 1969 there have been only 20 Member insolvencies.  CIPF has paid claims and/or related expenses of $43 million, net of recoveries, and no eligible customers have suffered a loss of property.”  To my way of thinking, that’s a pretty rock solid track record.

What’s Questrade Portfolio IQ?

Questrade Portfolio IQ is a new robo advisor function for Questraders who want a little more help with their portfolio and want their investments managed on their behalf.  The unique thing about Questrade Portfolio IQ compared to other robo advisors our there is that it is somewhat actively managed, though combining index exchange traded funds and active management.  They will still re-balance your portfolio of course, like other robo advisors, but they will also do a little bit more.

Related: Questrade Portfolio IQ Robo Advisor Review

With Questrade Portfolio IQ, you won’t have to worry about asset allocations and re-balancing on a regular basis.  They will do that for you.  The fees associated with Questrade Portfolio IQ are a bit higher than what you would get with the regular Do It Yourself Route.

To invest with Questrade Portfolio IQ, you will need a minimum of $2,000 to invest.  If you don’t quite yet have $2,000, your account will be kept in cash until that minimum threshold is reached. The fee for Questrade Portfolio IQ starts at about 0.7% and the ETF fee is also added on top of that.

The Questrade Portfolio IQ platform looks great.  I have personally not tried using Questrade Portfolio IQ, but do know that people have been very receptive to the concept of robo advisors.  When you can rest assured that your investments are working hard for you, and you don’t have to worry about rebalancing your portfolio, people really appreciate that.  To start off with Portfolio IQ, it asks for more detailed information to find out your investment style and personality.  Here’s a peek at what Portfolio IQ looks like:

Overall Questrade Rating and Promo Offer Code

If your goal is to pay the minimum amount of investing fees possible, there is simply no better option than Questrade.  It is the perfect discount brokerage option for the everyday investor who has no wish to execute complicated day-trading strategies, and is perfect for index investing devotees like yours truly!

What are you waiting for?  If you haven’t already, sign up now with our FREE OFFER CODE to get $50 of free trades just for checking out our Questrade Review!

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Mixing Social Norms and Market Norms with Dating http://youngandthrifty.ca/mixing-social-norms-market-norms-dating/ http://youngandthrifty.ca/mixing-social-norms-market-norms-dating/#comments Wed, 22 Feb 2017 17:00:36 +0000 http://youngandthrifty.ca/?p=16661 I recently read this great book by Dan Ariely (a researcher in behavioural economics) called “Predictably Irrational” and one of the chapters was especially interesting: The Cost of Social Norms: Why we are Happy to Do Things but Not When We are Paid to Do Them” Social Norms Social norms are actions among friends or […]

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I recently read this great book by Dan Ariely (a researcher in behavioural economics) called “Predictably Irrational” and one of the chapters was especially interesting: The Cost of Social Norms: Why we are Happy to Do Things but Not When We are Paid to Do Them”

Social Norms

Social norms are actions among friends or people you are close to, not based on money.  For example, if a friend asks you to help move their belongings you help them out because you’re a good friend, and you don’t expect anything in return.  It is implied that your friend will return the favour somehow but not in a specific time frame (but you won’t keep track of that because it would be socially unacceptable to do so).

Market Norms

Market norms are actions that are based on traditional economics.  You pay for something therefore you expect to get something of quality for the amount you spent on it.  You expect something of equal value for what your paying for it.  Money is involved and it is a transaction.

Social and Market Norms Mixing

He argues that we are happy to do things to put deposits (figuratively speaking) in the bank of a relationship but when given a monetary value to it, then it causes damage to the relationship.

An example that Ariely gives is when you go over to your mother in law’s house and she cooks you a delicious meal, then you take your wallet out and ask her how much you owe her for that delicious meal.

Another example was when a friend was upset at me about something else and ended up saying that coming to our wedding was costing her X number of dollars because it was quite a far distance to go.  She mixed market norms and social norms and put a dollar amount on our friendship which really hurt.  I have since forgiven and forgotten and brushed it off but at the time it was quite hurtful and I could not identify why it was hurtful until after learning about market and social norms.

Dating and Market and Social Norms

mixing social normsAnother example is when, after a few dates, you tell a woman you’re dating how much the date is costing you, and you’re wondering when you can lean in for that first kiss.  If you tell your date how much the first few dates are costing you, you won’t be leaning in for that first kiss—guaranteed!

That’s because even though many women expect that the guy usually pays on the first date, they do so because they want to feel courted and they are interested in the guy.  Usually, when a woman is not interested in the guy then they would make more of an attempt to split or alternate bills so that they feel like they don’t “owe” them (the social norm of courtship).

That being said, I wasn’t more attracted to someone who spent a ton of money on a date personally (one guy took me to a nice concert on the first date with floor seats, but it didn’t make me want to go out with him more).  In fact, I think that dating shouldn’t cost very much.  In fact, my husband took me to McDonald’s on our third date, haha, and I ended up marrying him!  Mind you, I love eating McDonald’s from time to time.

Online Dating in a Way Mixes Market and Social Norms

To me, online dating, in a way, mixes market and social norms.  When you are inundated with choice, with certain attributes that you erroneously think might make them more compatible with yourself (e.g. astrological sign, height, whether they like walks on the beach or going out for drinks) you start to think that the market for dating is large and you are then faced with the paradox of too much choice.

Some of my friends who are online dating right now feel this way.  That the amount of choice is overwhelming and you get this feeling that there are better fish in the sea or other options.  Nonetheless, I know there are many couples out there who met online.  I suppose it is up to the person who is dating online to realize that they have met someone special and to stop thinking there is something else out there.

Here is a Youtube clip by Dan Ariely himself talking about the market and social norms colliding and why they don’t mix.

Readers, what do you think?  Have you had instances where social norms and market norms end up colliding?

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February 2017 Net Worth Update: +$2200 (+0.5%) http://youngandthrifty.ca/february-2017-net-worth-update-2200-0-5/ http://youngandthrifty.ca/february-2017-net-worth-update-2200-0-5/#comments Mon, 20 Feb 2017 02:05:25 +0000 http://youngandthrifty.ca/?p=16720 One whole month into 2017 already!  How have your personal finance resolutions been going?  Nothing too exciting this month, markets are pretty flat.  Something else is exciting happening in my husband and I’s life and it will be a life and game changer! My personal finance goal for 2017 is to reach $475,000 by 2018, […]

February 2017 Net Worth Update: +$2200 (+0.5%) first appeared on Young And Thrifty

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One whole month into 2017 already!  How have your personal finance resolutions been going?  Nothing too exciting this month, markets are pretty flat.  Something else is exciting happening in my husband and I’s life and it will be a life and game changer!

My personal finance goal for 2017 is to reach $475,000 by 2018, and I have about $20,300 left to go for the rest of the year.

I just redeemed $300 from my MBNA credit card and I think I’ll “put it towards” my flight/trip to Iceland, nice to start the year off by rewarding yourself a little bit!  I have over 100,000 Aeroplan points but never seem to be able to get the right dates and times for that free International flight, so they are just sitting there!  I like the flexibility of the MBNA World Points Mastercard because it can be a cash back card and hassle free.  I haven’t decided if I’m picking up/ applying for another credit card yet, as I usually do every year to supplement my MBNA card.

Okay, so here’s the breakdown for February 2017: $454,700 (+$2200)

ASSETS:

CASH: $63,200 (+2.4%)

  • Once I deplete the cash in my non-registered account (yes, there is more cash in there) I will start moving this cash into investing accounts.  It is nice to keep it here for an emergency fund anyway.
  • I added up my chequing and savings accounts (High Interest Savings Account). I automatically deduct money from my chequing account and have it siphoned to the HISA account (paying yourself first)

Non-Registered: $83,540 (+0.2%)

  • These are stocks that capture the “moment in time”, including unrealized gains or losses in my BMO Investorline and Questrade accounts.

RRSP: $67,000 (+0.0%)

TFSA: $68,610 (-0.1%)

HOME: $272,000

  • This is the approximate purchase value
  • Am planning to rent it out in two years or sell it.  I think am leaning more towards selling it.

CAR: $15,625 (0.0%)

  • I updated it for 2016-2017 with the Canadian Black Book price, will update it again in July 2017 with the depreciated price

LIABILITIES:

Credit Cards: -$1170

  • I just have my MBNA World Points World master card right now as I cancelled the other cards… I’ll be looking for more cards again with the goal of travel hacking my way to trips.
  • I use Mint.com account but I only added my credit card (this is helping a bunch so that I can keep track of my spending)
  • I’ve redeemed $300 for 2017 so far with my MBNA World Points World master card and it went towards my upcoming trip
  • I pay off my full amount every month (and folks, it’s VERY important you do so otherwise you’re losing out on a 19% return!) but include it in my net worth update so I have an accurate picture of my actual net worth. I sort of think “If I were to sell everything right now, what would my net worth be?” I guess I shouldn’t put it in the liabilities column since i pay it off regularly, BUT in mint.com it’s under the liability column so I’ll do the same.

Mortgage: $114,100 (-1.0%)

  • I pay an extra mortgage payment a month
  • I usually put $20,000 annually on top of the extra mortgage payment per month but haven’t decided what I’m going to do this year, I will probably not put in $20,000 so I have more liquidity
  • My intent is to rent it out in a little while (see above). In order to offset future rental income, I chose to acquire a mortgage instead of paying for the majority of the condo, and would rather not put all my eggs in one basket (e.g. real estate).

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