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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: Hello 5i
First, thank you for your excellent service and guidance! I am retired, looking for income and growth. Following are my questions.

1) What do you think of VCNS? Could you suggest an alternative. I presently have a half position in VCNS.
2) At this time would you still recommend a 4.5% position in ATZ?
3)I am down about 30% with MMM. Is there a better place for these funds?
4) I am down 11% with CLF. What has to happen( with interest etc.) to recoup this loss?

Thank you, Bill

Read Answer Asked by William on July 21, 2023

Q: Hi
I am considering the smith manoeuvre and would prefer to invest in an etf rather than individual stocks because of the benefits of diversification. I would appreciate if you can share your thoughts on a few ets that would qualify and would also be less of a hassle in reconciling the ROC and ACB during tax time. I would appreciate your insight in smith manoeuvre using and etf rather that dividend paying stocks. I am in the 50% marginal tax rate. Thanks

Read Answer Asked by Sandak on September 07, 2022

Q: For a ultra conservative retired income based investor can you please give us your 10 best portfolio building blocks starting a new portfolio?...many thanks...

Read Answer Asked by adam on June 10, 2022

Q: What ETFs do you recommend for a retired senior with a company pension age 79. I am a conservative investor. How should covid developments affect my selection?

Read Answer Asked by Donald on January 03, 2022

Q: I am looking to finally replace the following mutual funds held in a self admin RSP account, to equivalent ETFs.
FID269 - Fid Monthly Inc;
FID5973 - Fid Global Innovation;
FID207 - Fid Global Concentrated Equity;
RBC460 - Sel Bal Ptf
TDB2760 - Td Retirement Balance
TDB652 - Td Global Entertainment & communication
TDB976 - Td Health Science
TDB2580 Td Tactical Monthly Inc
My goal is to replace these mutual funds with long term, high yielding where possible, low MER, CDN or US $ equivalent ETFs. Please provide 2 or 3 suggestions for each. Please deduct as many credit s as need.
Thank you for all the invaluable investment help you provide.

Read Answer Asked by Mark on October 15, 2021

Q: Good morning. I was wondering if you could recommend an ETF that is conservative with some growth and also having a world wide focus.

Thank you for all your outstanding investment information. I couldn't invest without you.

Read Answer Asked by Mary Jean on June 04, 2021

Q: I am interested in an 'all-in-one' diversified ETF to provide regular (quarterly/monthly) income such as VCIP, that best meets the following criteria:
1) Fairly conservative
2) As tax-advantaged as possible as it will be held in a non-registered account
3) Yield that can reasonably be expected to outpace inflation over time
4) MER<0.4

The rest of the investment portfolio is well diversified across geography, market cap, and sector, achieved with a few broad market index ETFs.

Read Answer Asked by Walter on April 16, 2021

Q: Please list the above in order of preference. Would all three, equally weighted, be sufficient for a conservative portfolio? Two of three?

Read Answer Asked by Paul W on February 11, 2021

Q: Good Morning
In my wife,s riff she has the following etf,s VCNS VBAL VGRO all a small position. What would your opinion be to sell all 3 and buy XAW to make a more significant position and also to help increase her international exposure?


Read Answer Asked by Marcel on February 01, 2021

Q: Only two holdings in my parents portfolio that both include a significant portion of bonds. Concerned if interest rates rise more than expected in a short period and bond prices decline. Wondering about putting a hedge in place , would a financial services etf accomplish this? Better ideas or thoughts on the bond portions of the holdings I referenced?

Read Answer Asked by Charles on January 14, 2021

Q: If one is only invested in North America, would now be a good time to buy VEE, or if you have a better idea for emerging markets? Also, if one has built a conservative portfolio for elderly parents using only VBAL and VCNS, would adding VEE be a good compliment, or would it add significant risk ?

Read Answer Asked by Charles on November 23, 2020

Q: Would like to create a 2 etf portfolio in the 500k range for my elderly parents, considering VBAL for the TFSA account and VCNS for the unregistered account. They will likely never have a need to access these funds but of course are risk adverse at their age. Thoughts on this approach, better options for ETF's ?

Read Answer Asked by Charles on August 12, 2020

Q: Hi
I am slowly selling into the rallies and consolidating my portfolio.
Of the two VCIP/VCNS which is safer to hold for 1 to 2 years.
Or should I simply put the money in a Hi Savings a/c or in an ETF like PYF/PSA. I won't need the money to survive for 1 to 2 years. But will need it to "wade into the market" as per your suggestions. Is PYF bit too fancy a place to park? One of the gentleman on BNN mentioned this product recently. I wasn't even aware of this product!
Thanks in advance.

Read Answer Asked by Savalai on May 13, 2020

Q: I sold some VBAL:CA at a loss to realize some tax losses and would like to repurchase this ETF at a lower entry point. Can I purchase a comparable ETF from another company like XBAL prior to 30 days, or would that be considered a superficial loss for tax purposes? Similarly, would purchasing a different asset mix product from the same company e.g. VGRO:CA or VCNS:CA be considered a superficial loss?

Read Answer Asked by Alan on April 14, 2020

Q: Thanks for all your hard work during this uncertain period.

I'm transferring conservative Mutual fund monies (to get out from under their fees) over to Questrade.

I want to keep that money conservative. I'm not drawing back, but just trying to keep my allocation.

I've read that similar bond ETFs are not the best way to go forward. Some recommend cash, even US cash but this seems too fearful.

Please recommend an ETF option for this situation.

Read Answer Asked by Kevin on March 23, 2020

Q: We just recently were switched from a fund we had been invested since 2002 into this fund in one our RIF accounts, we had to switch or sell. The reason given was to lower the MER which is still a hefty 1.2% in our case the amounts to $1090.92 per year and rising if the fund goes up in value as we have always reinvested the monthly income the current yield is 2.09%.
The fund has been in a trading range since inception from the information I can gather at TD.
My thought is to sell and distribute the money to the either the Conservative or Balanced ETF portfolios in the newsletter which both have higher yields.
I'm not sure what the total MER would be for the ETF portfolios do you have that number available?
Downside is it would double the number of investments in this account to many to follow.
Do you know of other one stop ETF's that are worth consideration as we would like to keep the funds in a balanced investment, we would not intend to use this money for 5 yrs and reinvest any income in the fund.

Read Answer Asked by Thomas on August 21, 2019

Q: Hi

My question is about structuring and managing a portfolio across multiple registered and unregistered accounts. Please forgive if this question has been asked before.

Between 4 family members (including two young children) we have 11 trading accounts on the go, including 5 unregistered (3 Cdn and 2 US), 2 tfsa’s, 2 rrsp’s, and 2 resp’s. My approach to date has generally been to try to diversify within each account and try not to duplicate between accounts, with an eye to overall diversification.

This results in three problems (at least): sub-optimal diversification within and across accounts, too many holdings (which are difficult to monitor) and a low average $ value per holding. For example, 11 accounts times ten positions per account is 110 holdings. As for low value, a 10% holding on a $50,000 registered account is $5,000, which represents only 0.5% of an aggregate $1,000,000 value (example).

I have been thinking of treating all of the accounts holistically rather than individually while accounting for tax considerations of course. My goal is to try to get the number of holdings down to 20 - 30, with an average value of 3% - 5% of aggregate portfolio value. I find the main difficulty to be in structuring the lower value accounts.

Two approaches I have been mulling over:

1) Scrap the individual account diversification approach and perhaps only hold 1 - 3 positions in lower value accounts. This approach would probably mean that no account on its own will be diversified but the aggregate portfolio will be (hopefully).
2) Try to maintain the account diversification approach by investing in only one etf per account until the account eventually reaches a size sufficient to hold more positions (then I suppose the approach would flip to the first approach). The idea being that each account would hold a different etf (and at least be somewhat diversified) that would contribute to the overall diversification of the aggregate portfolio.

Do you have any comments or guidance on managing multiple accounts? How do investment professionals manage their own family accounts? Any best practices that you are aware of, or good articles that you can direct me to? Any considerations besides tax; for example, how do you apportion risk between family members and accounts?


Read Answer Asked by Derek on July 05, 2019