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Investment Q&A

Not investment advice or solicitation to buy/sell securities. Do your own due diligence and/or consult an advisor.

Q: I think there may be some confusion about my previous question re VFV and also a question posed by umedali.
I may have misunderstand, but you seem to imply that VFV would undergo double taxation (withholding) because it is an etf that holds another etf. Is that what you mean by a “second level” of tax?
I am not sure this is correct. The etf being held by VFV would be U.S. domiciled, which would not be subject to tax on the dividends it receives from U.S. companies. However, VFV, being Canadian, would be subject to tax on the flow through of dividends to it from the underlying etf. Then, after this, the dividends should flow through to a Canadian holder without further tax, since it is from a Canadian listed etf. So only one round of taxation. Unfortunately, they call it “level 2” taxation in that link you provided, which is about the most ambiguous label they could have possibly come up with.
As far as I can tell, double taxation would only come into play if the underlying etf held by VFV itself held foreign securities (ex European stocks).
Apologize if I’ve got this all wrong, it’s not very clear on the Vanguard website imo.

Read Answer Asked by john on September 27, 2023

Q: My son is starting an FHSA account at Wealthsimple. With the goal of contributing monthly and maximizing the limit over 5 to 7 years before needing funds. What combination of ETF's and blue chip stocks would you recommend that combines steady/increasing dividends, capital appreciation and minimal downside risk. Looking for a manageable # and combination of stock/Etf

Thank you

Read Answer Asked by Harry on September 27, 2023

Q: Hello Peter,
From an earlier question on VFV in terms of foreign taxes, it looks like there is a double taxation as VFV invests in US ETF not directly in US stocks.. I would think i am better off with xsp excepts the etf hedges. Would i better off just investing in SPY or is there another ETF that is like VFV but invests directly in US stocks.. Thanks very much

Read Answer Asked by umedali on September 26, 2023

Q: Hi Team,
For an 18 years old's TFSA, is having equal weights of VFV and XQQ diversified enough? If not what other Canadian ETF or stocks would be a good fit?
No commission costs for trading so quantity is not an issue.

Read Answer Asked by Marco on September 21, 2023

Q: Hi 5i Team - What would your top 5 ETF's be as I'd like to purchase the best ETF's that you will recommend.
Thx - Doug

Read Answer Asked by DOUG on September 20, 2023

Q: What are your top 4-5 picks (stocks or ETFs) for an RRSP with a 15-20 year horizon?


Read Answer Asked by Cam on August 27, 2023

Q: Hi 5i,
These holding are all in my RRSP, 12 months from retirement, I'm planning to sell 80% of TOI, LMN, NVDA (not now) waiting for "better time" if it's possible to catch it. Can I have 2 or 3 suggestions for income + a bit of growth.
thank you 5i for all your great work!!!

Read Answer Asked by Fernando on August 23, 2023

Q: Good morning,

I'm looking at buying an ETF that tracks the S&P 500 for my TFSA account and am considering VFV.CA.

Withholding tax is a concern and given that VFV.CA holds US stocks, would there be a withholding tax on any of the dividends distributed and if so would you kindly recommend a few other similar ETFs that track the S&P 500 where the withholding tax is not a concern. Thank you.

Read Answer Asked by Francesco on August 16, 2023

Q: For a non registered account which etfs would your recommend for broad US and for tech exposure and what max weighting would you recommend allocating to these 2 etfs? Would these 2 etfs be the best for US exposure for the TFSA also or would you suggest different ones?
Thanks for your help.

Read Answer Asked by Anna on August 16, 2023

Q: Good afternoon,

I've owned the MAW 108 & MAW 106 mutual funds in my RRSP and TFSA accounts for a number of years and although I've been reasonably pleased with the absolute return of each mutual fund, the relative annual return compared to their benchmark index has not been that great...

Given that the MER of both funds is substantially higher than that of an ETF tracking the S&P 500 and the S&P TSX, I'm thinking of selling both Mawer funds and replacing them with one ETF that tracks the S&P 500 and another that tracks the S&P TSX, both with a much lower MER.

Q1. Do you agree with this course of action given that there would be no tax issue in selling these Mawer mutual funds and replacing them with two appropriate ETFs.

Q2. Would you kindly recommend your two best ETF ideas that would achieve my goal of reducing my MER fees and that track the S&P 500 and S&P TSX indexes.

Thank you and as always, your sage advice is much appreciated.

Read Answer Asked by Francesco on August 16, 2023

Q: Hi there,

The majority of my portfolio is held in XEQT. If I wanted to increase US exposure from 45% to 60%, in your opinion would to be best to layer in a hedged or unhedged US etf, considering XEQT already holds unhedged US exposure?


Read Answer Asked by Michael on August 01, 2023

Q: As per your recent guidance, with interest rates plateauing, ZRE seems to be bottoming. What would be your opinion re moving some money from VFV, and putting it in ZRE. VFV has done very well and is scheduled to do well in the future. Do you recommend this kind of movement of fixed income from one group to another. Thanking you for the great guidance you have always provided.

Read Answer Asked by Vinod on July 18, 2023

Q: Hi Peter, Ryan, and Team.

Would you endorse a switch from ZLU to VFV? When I look at the sector breakdown of ZLU, I notice that ZLU is heavy in sectors that probably should currently be under-represented, and very light in sectors that should have higher concentration. And of course, the MER of 0.08% for VFV is better than ZLUs of 0.30%.

ZLU is held in our Margin account, and VFV is already held in our RRIFs.

Thanks as always for the timely advice.

Read Answer Asked by Jerry on July 10, 2023

Q: Good morning 5i:
Next year I will be retiring, and currently I have the outlined stocks in my RRSP, I'm happy with all of them, I think I would like to sell some of them (or trim down, slowly -no rush) and buy stocks/etf that will provide resilience , some yield, and perhaps some growth , can you please provide me with some ideas, 3 or more , I was thinking BN, add more to VFV.
Please use as many credits as required.

THANK YOU for all your help.

Read Answer Asked by Fernando on June 15, 2023

Q: What are your top etf recommendations to purchase now given we are officially in a bull market, the latest cpi numbers are encouraging & the fed is possibly done?

Or is this too late and FOMO is leading me at the wrong time into investing more funds now?


Read Answer Asked by Donald on June 15, 2023

Q: Hello Peter,
Thanks for your service. My renewal is coming up and yours is the only service i plan to renew.

For the three index funds, over a 5 year comparison, VFV out performs all , SPY 2nd and XSP is the last ... Why such a discrepancy? Am I better off with VFV going forward? Thanks

Read Answer Asked by umedali on June 12, 2023