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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: In my open (unregistered) account, I currently own VGRO and am looking to invest some funds in ETFs . What is the difference between ZLU and ZLU.U? How would your rate the above ETFs for growth over the next 5 years? Do these ETFs hold similar investments (stocks, bonds, etc)? If I invested in 2 ETFs, which ETFs would be complimentary? Can you suggest similar ETFs with better growth potential in the next 5 years? Thank you
Read Answer Asked by Don on November 24, 2023
Q: I have some funds to invest in my unregistered account for a 5 year hold and am considering the above stocks and ETFs. Please comment on the projected growth of these stocks and ETFs and rank the stocks for future growth.
Read Answer Asked by Don on November 21, 2023
Q: "We don't quite match the market in good years but will lessen your losses in bad years" say many portfolio managers to clients in exchange for a 1/2 to 1% management fee.

But, over the years, since the market has had significantly more positive years than negative years, I feel this is a good argument to just purchase some very low-fee ETFs, once you've determined your asset and currency mix. Less fees, therefore more money invested and therefore little value add from the advisor! Your comments please.

Also, I am a 65 year old retiree with a high 7 figure investment portfolio who will not run out of money. I favor a balanced portfolio of 80% equity (with a slight tilt to growth) and 20% fixed income. I also favor a 50/50 split between US and CAN dollars.

While I realize you cannot provide individual advice, which low cost ETFs should I consider?
Read Answer Asked by John on September 20, 2023
Q: I own TOCA. Performance has been OK. But less than I expected from an aggressive ETF. Do you know a similar ETF of ETFs , with little Canadian and income exposure? I have XAW too, which I prefer.

I also own VGRO but not very growth-oriented with too much income, so I might get rid of VGRO. Your thoughts?
Read Answer Asked by Denise on June 12, 2023
Q: I am looking to build a corporate portfolio (i.e. ~40% tax on dividends and distributions), and will be adding a position monthly, then topping those holdings up on a monthly basis ongoing. My timescale is 30 years, and really the only important thing is amount of money at the end. What holdings would be reasonable for such an account? Any preference as to order I add them?

I grew up with Money Saver magazine, so my gut feeling is just to buy a set of big, well run companies that pay dividends. However, the current popular zeitgeist seems to be to just buy an all-in-one fund, like VGRO, and not overthink it.

Please take as many credits as needed to answer this question as completely as possible. Thank you!
Read Answer Asked by Sam on January 23, 2023
Q: We have been keeping in cash the proceed of the sale of a condo. what would you suggest for a conservative growth ETF in canadian currency. That would represent 10% of our equities holdings. Looking for more growth than yield, as this would be in a non registered account. We would like something all in one, as I do not want to add more names to the list of equities we have.
Read Answer Asked by francois on January 04, 2023
Q: I hold these in an RESP with the following weighting (BIP 18%, Goog 18% VGRO 23%, XAW 41%) and I am considering selling to purchase a 3 year GIC as my eldest child is approaching post-secondary education.

Which holding would you reduce?
Can you rank these holding in terms of risk?
Is there an alternative security other than a GIC that should be considered?

Read Answer Asked by Simon on November 29, 2022
Q: My Daughter has about 300K to invest. She is thinking of Vanguard Etfs.
Which ones would you suggest - in Canadian dollars and low Mers and in what proportion ?
They will be in registered accounts.

What would you suggest for an unregistered account?
And many thanks for all your helpful advice.
Read Answer Asked by Constance on November 03, 2022
Q: I am looking to start a RESP for my one-year-old grandson. Can you please suggest a suitable investment portfolio for an initial $5000 investment. Could you also recommend a strategy for investing future deposits to the plan.

Read Answer Asked by John on October 18, 2022
Q: For a market bottom/rebound, which 6 US growth stocks would you buy (as opposed to value) and would there be any ETFs you would use? Thanks
Read Answer Asked by Michael on October 06, 2022
Q: Please rate these mutual funds and suggest 2 options for each from Fidelity that you would choose instead if a rating is poor to fair.
Read Answer Asked by Terry on September 22, 2022
Q: Hi team!
I am considering a hybrid portfolio of either (A) 80% ETFs and 20% individual stocks or (B) 80% in an All-in-one ETF (VEQT/VGRO) and 20% individual stocks. I understand there may be foreign withholding tax considerations on the Vanguard All-in-one ETFs depending on the account type in which it's held and I'm wondering how significant this actually is.


- Which accounts out of RRSP/LIRA, TFSA, RESP, and Non-Registered would US listed ETFs be a better alternative due to this foreign withholding tax drag?

- At what account value would the tax drag from these withholding taxes be material enough to warrant buying individual ETFs (ex. VT, VTI, XUU, XEF) instead of using an all in one fund (VGRO or VEQT)?

Trying to avoid losing 15% or more of any US/foreign dividends due to unrecoverable foreign taxes if possible!

Thanks for your great work!
Read Answer Asked by Davin on August 29, 2022
Q: What specific ETFs suggestions would make a diversified portfolio
Read Answer Asked by Nick on August 02, 2022
Q: Hello,

Please recommend some total market ETFs for the Canadian market, the American Market, for growth, for income, and/or the best overall in your opinion.


Read Answer Asked by Mark on August 02, 2022
Q: New retiree caught with pants down. Need to sell some stuff in RIF to cover current cash needs. Horrible position to be in with current market. Lesson learnt. Maybe (tough to be on the sidelines in a bull market)
Please help with sell sequence, which I guess should be based on which of these holdings is least likely to see near term growth from here OR which is most susceptible to further declines in near future??

Please list in order starting with the holdings you think should be sold first, ending with the holdings you think should be retained longest, and advise your rationale. All will need to be liquidated by mid 2023

Your crystal ball will be better than mine.


Read Answer Asked by Jim on July 21, 2022
Q: I hope all is well at 5i and you are enjoying the sunny summer. I wish we had more rain here in Niagara.

Garth asked an interesting question last week which you answered on Friday. He was asking about all-in-one ETFs and specifically such as VGRO, XGRO, ZGRO or HGRO. 5i recommended VGRO over ZGRO with no mention of HGRO.

I did my usual half-baked research (engineer not a financial guy) and found some interesting things using the G&M watchlist plot routines. I just plotted a comparison of ETFs using 1, 2 and 3 year intervals relative to last Friday (July 15th). First, I compared VCNS, VBAL, and VGRO. To my surprise, the worst performer for each relative time interval (1,2 and 3 years) was VCNS and the best by far was VGRO. For 1,2 and 3 years VCNS was -13.4, -7.5 and -3.7% while VGO was -12.7, 2.9 and 5.7% from July 15th). Seems Garth was on to something by asking about GRO ETFs.

Then I compared the 4 GRO ETFs that Garth was asking about. The one year returns relative to July 15th were all essentially the same at about -13%. However, HGRO was hands down the winner for the 2 and 3 year relative time periods from July 15th i.e., 10.6 and 20.5% for HGRO versus 2.9 and 5.7% for VGRO. I realize VGRO has a 2.2% dividend (according to G&M) but not that doesn’t make up the difference. I also realize HGRO is just shy of 3 years history but close enough for me.

Is HGRO doing something with significant increased risk or is something wrong with my research oven?

Maybe an article in your ETF & Mutual Fund Update report would be helpful.

Thanks, as usual.
Read Answer Asked by Dan on July 18, 2022