Author Topic: Canadians - Review my investments and advise please (Newbie)  (Read 12004 times)

Meggslynn

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Canadians - Review my investments and advise please (Newbie)
« on: August 07, 2014, 09:16:14 AM »
I am looking for advice on my investments and what I should do with them……

I have been following MMM for awhile now and have read every post but I am still wary/overwhelmed/confused about what to do with our savings/investment accounts.

We currently are saving about 34% or our combined income. I am hoping this will increase to 50% once the kiddo is out of childcare and in school and we can get a better handle on couple spending categories.

I am 30, hubby is 31.

Here are our investments:

H Company Pension – Current balance $36,000 – H contributes 5% company matches ($5100) – MER 1.79% - Averages 6.7% in gains. No control over where it’s invested.
H TFSA - $12,000 – No monthly contribution – ING GIC 3 Year 2.25%
H RSP - $21,000 - $5200 contributed annually – MER 1.75%, averaging 11.1% - RBC Fund

My Company Pension - $20,500 – I contribute 5% company matches ($6500) – Not sure on the MER as that info is not available(?), averaging 9.91% since enrollment. No control over where it’s invested.
My TFSA - $15,250 – Contribute $3500 annually – MER 1.07%, averaging roughly 8% since I joined – Tangerine Balanced Fund
My RSP - $17,500 - $5200 contributed annually – MER 2.05%, averaging 9.2% since I joined – RBC Fund

Our sons RESP - $1200 annually – RBC Education Fund – MER 1.89%, averaging 6.1% since joining.

We also save about $7200 a year into a Tangerine savings account that gives 1.5%. This is a “spending” savings account for a roof replacement and car replacement. Current balance $13500.

Phew, if you made it through all of that THANK YOU!! I know it needs a lot of work but I am overwhelmed with where to start. We would be saving more but my husband is dead set on being mortgage free as soon as possible where I lean towards investing. We compromise by increasing our mortgage payments to the point where we can still save 34% into investments. We have about ten years left on our mortgage and about $150,000 in equity.


Thanks in advance :)

Spudd

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Re: Canadians - Review my investments and advise please (Newbie)
« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2014, 11:45:59 AM »
Your MER's in your personal accounts (outside work) are really high. Look at switching to TD e-series funds, which are 0.3%-0.5%, or at least consolidating in Tangerine which is around 1%. Those 2% RBC MER's are a killer.

The strategy I've been using is first max out my registered accounts (RRSP, TFSA, and in your case RESP to the point of getting the govt match) and then with any leftovers, go for the mortgage. But since your husband is keen on killing the mortgage, then the way you're doing it is also fine.

RichMoose

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Re: Canadians - Review my investments and advise please (Newbie)
« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2014, 10:18:54 PM »
If I'm understanding right, your work pension accounts are both off-limits. Keep contributing as much as you need to get the maximum match, but no more. It is unfortunate that you're getting nailed on the MER there.

As for your personal accounts, get out of the overpriced RBC mutual funds if you can! I believe the best Canadian option is to open self-directed Questrade accounts and purchase low MER Index ETF's (no commission to purchase) such as Vanguard ETF's, certain iShares, and certain BMO. That being said, you need to have some understanding of markets, purchase orders, balancing, etc.
The reasonable option for a newbie that is virtually bulletproof are the Tangerine Investment Funds like Spudd stated. For your age, the best would probably be the Tangerine Balanced Growth Portfolio. Just open accounts, and start buying. The balancing is done for you.

Before making any quick decisions though, check if there are penalties for selling your RBC mutual funds (known as back-end load). If there are not, then open your registered accounts with Tangerine and do a proper transfer to close your RBC RRSP's, this will cost around $150 - $200 per account. TFSA is not as big a deal, just sell your investments and do a e-Transfer to your new TFSA account.

A good resource for any option: www.canadiancouchpotato.com

Hope this helps!

sleepyguy

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Re: Canadians - Review my investments and advise please (Newbie)
« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2014, 10:45:46 PM »
LOL, i was typing out and realized I was typing the exact same thing you typed out.  BMO is also good (we're with them), if you have a balance of over $50k i believe.

To be honest, if it's gonna make your husband have peace of mind and "be on same page" with you... attack the mortgage.  My GF is the same way... she hates mortgage debt even though we have a low rate, so we pay accelerated and top off extra payments at the year end as well.  Yeah we may end up behind if we invested it instead but being mortgage free is nice too and having a happy partner is even better :)

You seem to be doing fine.  Careful with those kids programs... they can cost a fortune.



Your MER's in your personal accounts (outside work) are really high. Look at switching to TD e-series funds, which are 0.3%-0.5%, or at least consolidating in Tangerine which is around 1%. Those 2% RBC MER's are a killer.

The strategy I've been using is first max out my registered accounts (RRSP, TFSA, and in your case RESP to the point of getting the govt match) and then with any leftovers, go for the mortgage. But since your husband is keen on killing the mortgage, then the way you're doing it is also fine.

Gmullz

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Re: Canadians - Review my investments and advise please (Newbie)
« Reply #4 on: August 08, 2014, 07:31:34 AM »
Not trying to hi-jack the thread here, but I think this is a relevant thread for my question and the OP might be able to learn something as well. I use Canadian Couch Potato's recommended portfolio of:


Canadian equity              20%      TD Canadian Index – e (TDB900)
US equity                    20%      TD US Index – e (TDB902)
International equity         20%      TD International Index – e (TDB911)
Canadian bonds               40%      TD Canadian Bond Index – e (TDB909)


But I really only picked TD Mutual Funds instead of Vanguard ETFs because the site says that if you have less than 50k, you should use TD. Should I switch to QuestTrade, with their commission-free trades, and go with this portfolio instead?


Canadian equity      20%      Vanguard FTSE Canada All Cap (VCN)
US equity            20%      Vanguard US Total Market (VUN)
International equity 20%      iShares MSCI EAFE IMI (XEF)
Canadian bonds       40%      Vanguard Canadian Aggregate Bond (VAB)


I don't understand why CCP would recommend TD at all over QuestTrade. The amount of money or trade frequency shouldn't matter if you're trading on a commission free basis, no? If I switch, I'll have to wait until the holding period is over on my recently purchased TD e-Series funds. And wait for the market to bounce back the 2% that I lost in the past week..... :(
« Last Edit: August 08, 2014, 07:37:52 AM by Gmullz »

jasonw223

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Re: Canadians - Review my investments and advise please (Newbie)
« Reply #5 on: August 08, 2014, 12:01:26 PM »
I'd definitely recommend Questrade.  I previously used BMO and Tangerine (ING), but have completely switched my RRSP / TFSA over now.  I will admit it can be a pain to start an account, figure things out and set things up the way you like them (DRIP / automatic contributions / etc.), but it's a breeze to use now.  And I pay nothing when buying ETFs, which is excellent.  Here's my QPass key thing if anyone wants to sign up with it (I get $25 a referral, you get up to $250 depending on how much money put in): 666025028377846

And as far as asset allocation goes, I like jlcollinsnh.com and his stock series.  I'm 100% VUN.

Meggslynn

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Re: Canadians - Review my investments and advise please (Newbie)
« Reply #6 on: August 08, 2014, 02:26:39 PM »
Thanks!

I think I am going to move on over to the Tangerine Funds once I understand the ramifications of closing the RBC RRSP's.

I am a bit leary about moving into Questrade as I don't have time or trust myself to follow the markets, and I don't know about things like purchase orders etc.

I really do appreciate you all taking the time to advise me. Thank you!

RichMoose

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Re: Canadians - Review my investments and advise please (Newbie)
« Reply #7 on: August 08, 2014, 06:53:34 PM »

Should I switch to QuestTrade, with their commission-free trades, and go with this portfolio instead? 


Canadian equity      20%      Vanguard FTSE Canada All Cap (VCN)
US equity            20%      Vanguard US Total Market (VUN)
International equity 20%      iShares MSCI EAFE IMI (XEF)
Canadian bonds       40%      Vanguard Canadian Aggregate Bond (VAB)


Absolutely do! With no trading costs for purchasing ETF's, Questrade is a definite win over TD-e. As for those exact ETF's, I prefer ZCN over VCN. XUS over VUN. A little lower fees.

Also, remember its not worth waiting for a market bounce, these ETF's are also cheaper now. :)

Gmullz

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Re: Canadians - Review my investments and advise please (Newbie)
« Reply #8 on: August 10, 2014, 06:06:01 PM »
Good advice all around guys. I'll switch to Questrade as soon as my minimum holding period is over.

scrubbyfish

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Re: Canadians - Review my investments and advise please (Newbie)
« Reply #9 on: August 10, 2014, 06:12:08 PM »
Following!

Blany

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Re: Canadians - Review my investments and advise please (Newbie)
« Reply #10 on: August 11, 2014, 01:48:09 AM »
This is a great thread. THANKS FOR THE CDN content.

If I'm understanding right, your work pension accounts are both off-limits. Keep contributing as much as you need to get the maximum match, but no more. It is unfortunate that you're getting nailed on the MER there.

As for your personal accounts, get out of the overpriced RBC mutual funds if you can! I believe the best Canadian option is to open self-directed Questrade accounts and purchase low MER Index ETF's (no commission to purchase) such as Vanguard ETF's, certain iShares, and certain BMO. That being said, you need to have some understanding of markets, purchase orders, balancing, etc.
The reasonable option for a newbie that is virtually bulletproof are the Tangerine Investment Funds like Spudd stated. For your age, the best would probably be the Tangerine Balanced Growth Portfolio. Just open accounts, and start buying. The balancing is done for you.

Before making any quick decisions though, check if there are penalties for selling your RBC mutual funds (known as back-end load). If there are not, then open your registered accounts with Tangerine and do a proper transfer to close your RBC RRSP's, this will cost around $150 - $200 per account. TFSA is not as big a deal, just sell your investments and do a e-Transfer to your new TFSA account.

A good resource for any option: www.canadiancouchpotato.com

Hope this helps!

Should I switch to QuestTrade, with their commission-free trades, and go with this portfolio instead? 


Canadian equity      20%      Vanguard FTSE Canada All Cap (VCN)
US equity            20%      Vanguard US Total Market (VUN)
International equity 20%      iShares MSCI EAFE IMI (XEF)
Canadian bonds       40%      Vanguard Canadian Aggregate Bond (VAB)


Absolutely do! With no trading costs for purchasing ETF's, Questrade is a definite win over TD-e. As for those exact ETF's, I prefer ZCN over VCN. XUS over VUN. A little lower fees.

Also, remember its not worth waiting for a market bounce, these ETF's are also cheaper now. :)

I am very interested in the above quoted info:

I also follow Canadian Couch Potato.  I basically follow the model Global Portfolio found here:
http://canadiancouchpotato.com/model-portfolios/

I am more heavily weighted in the equities than the bond fund as listed in his recommendations. 
I use the TD e-series funds.
I use these funds in both my TFSA and RRSP.

Shame on me for not doing more research.  Can you direct me to some more reading about Questrade?   
The main reason I use the e series funds is because the min purchase is $25.  What things should I look deeper into before moving towards Questrade.

As per CPP I have a small portfolio and invest small amounts regularly.  This makes the eseries fund more suited to me.  What am I missing or being misinformed about?

Tuxefoeagle, you sound well informed on this topic and I appreciate your feedback. Thanks in advance.



Dee

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Re: Canadians - Review my investments and advise please (Newbie)
« Reply #11 on: August 11, 2014, 05:55:51 AM »
I think Questrade used to charge fees for buying ETFs. Some time ago (a year or so?), they announced that these trades would now be free. Perhaps CCP hasn't updated his advice since then? It used to be that each purchase cost $4.95 (or more if you buy over a certain number of shares). This is still true for individual stocks but there are no more fees for purchasing ETFs.

To the OP, if you adopt a couch potato approach, you don't have to follow the stock market, certainly not any more so than you have been doing for mutual funds. You just pick an approach (i.e. how many ETFs and what percentage of your portfolio each will represent) and keep implementing with every purchase.

I would say that using Questrade is comparable to using online banking, in terms of difficulty. There is some terminology that is particular to buying securities (e.g. making a "trade" rather than buying or selling) and it may feel more stressful, certainly. I say this as someone with no prior experience with the stock market. I am using Questrade quite comfortably and would definitely recommend it to others. If you can use MMM forums on your own, you can likely use the Questrade platform on your own, though I would also recommend watching some tutorials to understand how it works.

jasonw223

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Re: Canadians - Review my investments and advise please (Newbie)
« Reply #12 on: August 11, 2014, 09:22:01 AM »
+1 to Dee's comments.

Free buying of ETFs means that you can buy small quantities if needed which is handy during the saving / investing years.  These funds have much lower MERs than you'll find with TD's E-Series and especially Tangerine's funds.  It will save you thousands of dollars over the years - there is a nice calculator on the Vanguard Canada website that can do the math for you if you're lazy: https://www.vanguardcanada.ca/individual/insights/fundcompare.htm#target=cst

Yes, Questrade is definitely more difficult to sign up for and use than online banking, but not something a normal human can't figure out in a day.  And think of it this way - if you can save thousands of dollars in MER fees over the next few years, your hourly wage for learning how to use this platform will be huge.  Once you are set up it really just takes a few minutes to buy/sell/etc.  And following the stock market isn't necessary - I just buy my index funds at whatever they are trading at each month when my money is automatically pulled from my checking account.

On top of that they do offer to pay for some transfer fees - worthwhile to look into if you are switching from some other place.

Blany

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Re: Canadians - Review my investments and advise please (Newbie)
« Reply #13 on: August 11, 2014, 09:44:33 PM »
Good info thanks!

strider3700

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Re: Canadians - Review my investments and advise please (Newbie)
« Reply #14 on: August 12, 2014, 12:26:20 AM »
I'm definitely a fan of questrade.   If you have a minimum amount in the account ( I think it's 4k but it may be 5k)   and you stick to just buying ETF's you pay zero fees.  You'll pay of course when you sell.   iTrade stuck me with a yearly $100 account charge because I had less then 25k in my RRSP account.  Fuck them.

Questrade is pretty easy to use and the second you get stuck click the live help and every single time I've used it whoever answered has either known the answer or found it within a couple of minutes.   I use them as an example of how I think my companies support should be.

I have questrade setup as a reoccuring bill payment that takes money once a week and pays it.  It takes about 2 days to get there.  Every friday morning I log in check the balance in the accounts update my spreadsheet and it tells me which of the 8 etfs in my portfolio is the furthest behind the desired percentage and I buy that one.   It's not uncommon for me to buy 2 or 3 shares and thats it.  The whole thing could easily be done in 2 minutes.

I'm also a follower of CCP with a minor change to the bond weighing.  It makes sense in my opinion. I will say I still have trouble following his posts on minimizing the taxes paid.   
 I thought he was changing his recommended ETF's  a bit recently but hadn't bothered to move away from the TD e-series as the new options were basically as good or close enough that selling and moving wasn't worth it.   

for the original poster I'm pretty sure you're not maxing out the RESP government matching.   Make sure you do as  outside of your husbands company matching it's the best thing going right now.



Gmullz

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Re: Canadians - Review my investments and advise please (Newbie)
« Reply #15 on: August 12, 2014, 07:43:29 AM »
So if you're charged when you sell, how does it work exactly?

If I buy $5000 worth of VAB initially, and then say $1000 every year after that for 5 years, how much will I be charged when I sell after 5 years with a commission of $5 per ETF? (I hopefully won't be selling after 5 years, just an example)

In other words, do I hold "6 ETFs"? Thus my commission is $5 * 6 to sell those 6 ETFs? Or am I only charged the commission for one trade?

« Last Edit: August 12, 2014, 07:48:18 AM by Gmullz »

jasonw223

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Re: Canadians - Review my investments and advise please (Newbie)
« Reply #16 on: August 12, 2014, 10:57:22 AM »
To clarify, you do not need a minimum amount in your account to buy ETFs for free.  However you may need to fund an account with $1000 or something to start it in the first place...

And selling ETFs (or stocks) will cost 1cent per share with a minimum of $4.95, maximum of $9.95.  This will be per sell order - so if you hold 6 different types of ETF, you'll be incurring more fees when selling.  Another reason why I like jlcollinsnh, and only hold one ETF for now (VUN) in both my RRSP and TFSA. 

So in your example, buying $5000 of VAB will get you 200 shares of this ETF @ approx. $25.  You'll pay $4.95 each year to sell 40 shares, or you'd pay $4.95 to sell all 200 shares at once.  If you sold 550 shares of any ETF, you'd pay $5.50, or 777 shares for $7.77.  If you sold 1000000 shares, you'd pay $9.95.

For me the plan is to buy small quantities of ETFs for free each month while I am working, then sell them in retirement in larger chunks to minimize trading costs.

scrubbyfish

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Re: Canadians - Review my investments and advise please (Newbie)
« Reply #17 on: August 12, 2014, 11:37:30 AM »
I hope these questions serve the OP, rather than feel like a hijack:

I may need to move/reinvest over $100,000 in a couple of months. I'm in an unusual position: If I lock the money into restricted accounts, I can access about $400/mo from the government until my income goes up again (but the money remains of restricted access eternally). If I keep the money more accessible to me, I lose out on the $400/mo.

1. Can an RESP be comprised of Questrade or TD-eSeries options? How about an RDSP? TFSA?

2. If we, say, choose Questrade and apply CCP's portfolio recommendation, is it simply a matter of clicking an option? i.e. On the Questrade system, is there a series of options presented, one of those being the balance recommended by CCP, and we can just click on that?

3. Are there people who exist that can help us set up these accounts, and help us apply CCP's recommendations, etc?

I'm pretty sure implementing this is not supposed to be beyond us, but it still feels that way to me!

Ottawa

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Re: Canadians - Review my investments and advise please (Newbie)
« Reply #18 on: August 12, 2014, 11:50:49 AM »
I hope these questions serve the OP, rather than feel like a hijack:

I may need to move/reinvest over $100,000 in a couple of months. I'm in an unusual position: If I lock the money into restricted accounts, I can access about $400/mo from the government until my income goes up again (but the money remains of restricted access eternally). If I keep the money more accessible to me, I lose out on the $400/mo.

1. Can an RESP be comprised of Questrade or TD-eSeries options? How about an RDSP? TFSA?

2. If we, say, choose Questrade and apply CCP's portfolio recommendation, is it simply a matter of clicking an option? i.e. On the Questrade system, is there a series of options presented, one of those being the balance recommended by CCP, and we can just click on that?

3. Are there people who exist that can help us set up these accounts, and help us apply CCP's recommendations, etc?

I'm pretty sure implementing this is not supposed to be beyond us, but it still feels that way to me!

1) not totally sure I understand the question.  If you mean  can you trade options in an RESP...I don't know.  You can't access TD e-series through Questrade though.  We have our RESP at TDW.  If you are asking can you have an RESP account at each of two brokerages...yes.  That goes for RRSP and TFSA and non-registered (as long as you don't over contributed on the registered accounts. 
2) all other investments of ours are at Questrade.  There is no 'couch potato' button within the questrade environment.  Instead, you just buy the etfs in the recommended (CCP) proportions on the questrade platform.  Easy!
3) The hardest part (and it is not hard) is to do all the paperwork for Questrade to set up the accounts.  It was a little more work for us, because we were transferring out (5 accounts) from another broker into Questrade.  That's a bunch of paperwork.    Like I say above, CCP's recommendations are very easy to implement. 

If you have any

Meggslynn

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Re: Canadians - Review my investments and advise please (Newbie)
« Reply #19 on: August 12, 2014, 12:46:12 PM »
I'm definitely a fan of questrade.   If you have a minimum amount in the account ( I think it's 4k but it may be 5k)   and you stick to just buying ETF's you pay zero fees.  You'll pay of course when you sell.   iTrade stuck me with a yearly $100 account charge because I had less then 25k in my RRSP account.  Fuck them.

Questrade is pretty easy to use and the second you get stuck click the live help and every single time I've used it whoever answered has either known the answer or found it within a couple of minutes.   I use them as an example of how I think my companies support should be.

I have questrade setup as a reoccuring bill payment that takes money once a week and pays it.  It takes about 2 days to get there.  Every friday morning I log in check the balance in the accounts update my spreadsheet and it tells me which of the 8 etfs in my portfolio is the furthest behind the desired percentage and I buy that one.   It's not uncommon for me to buy 2 or 3 shares and thats it.  The whole thing could easily be done in 2 minutes.

I'm also a follower of CCP with a minor change to the bond weighing.  It makes sense in my opinion. I will say I still have trouble following his posts on minimizing the taxes paid.   
 I thought he was changing his recommended ETF's  a bit recently but hadn't bothered to move away from the TD e-series as the new options were basically as good or close enough that selling and moving wasn't worth it.   

for the original poster I'm pretty sure you're not maxing out the RESP government matching.   Make sure you do as  outside of your husbands company matching it's the best thing going right now.

My mother in law contributes $2000 a year into the RESP (for the first six years) and from what I understand that does max us in regards to gov't matching. But I could be wrong.

My company pension also matches ;)
« Last Edit: August 12, 2014, 12:50:02 PM by Meggslynn »

Ottawa

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Re: Canadians - Review my investments and advise please (Newbie)
« Reply #20 on: August 12, 2014, 12:54:50 PM »
I'm definitely a fan of questrade.   If you have a minimum amount in the account ( I think it's 4k but it may be 5k)   and you stick to just buying ETF's you pay zero fees.  You'll pay of course when you sell.   iTrade stuck me with a yearly $100 account charge because I had less then 25k in my RRSP account.  Fuck them.

Questrade is pretty easy to use and the second you get stuck click the live help and every single time I've used it whoever answered has either known the answer or found it within a couple of minutes.   I use them as an example of how I think my companies support should be.

I have questrade setup as a reoccuring bill payment that takes money once a week and pays it.  It takes about 2 days to get there.  Every friday morning I log in check the balance in the accounts update my spreadsheet and it tells me which of the 8 etfs in my portfolio is the furthest behind the desired percentage and I buy that one.   It's not uncommon for me to buy 2 or 3 shares and thats it.  The whole thing could easily be done in 2 minutes.

I'm also a follower of CCP with a minor change to the bond weighing.  It makes sense in my opinion. I will say I still have trouble following his posts on minimizing the taxes paid.   
 I thought he was changing his recommended ETF's  a bit recently but hadn't bothered to move away from the TD e-series as the new options were basically as good or close enough that selling and moving wasn't worth it.   

for the original poster I'm pretty sure you're not maxing out the RESP government matching.   Make sure you do as  outside of your husbands company matching it's the best thing going right now.

My mother in law contributes $2000 a year into the RESP (for the first six years) and from what I understand that does max us in regards to gov't matching. But I could be wrong.

My company pension also matches ;)

$2500 is the amount required to attract the maximum 20% or $500 CESG annually.

http://www.canlearn.ca/eng/savings/cesg.shtml

RichMoose

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Re: Canadians - Review my investments and advise please (Newbie)
« Reply #21 on: August 14, 2014, 11:14:34 AM »
Quote
I am very interested in the above quoted info:

I also follow Canadian Couch Potato.  I basically follow the model Global Portfolio found here:
http://canadiancouchpotato.com/model-portfolios/

I am more heavily weighted in the equities than the bond fund as listed in his recommendations. 
I use the TD e-series funds.
I use these funds in both my TFSA and RRSP.

Shame on me for not doing more research.  Can you direct me to some more reading about Questrade?   
The main reason I use the e series funds is because the min purchase is $25.  What things should I look deeper into before moving towards Questrade.

As per CPP I have a small portfolio and invest small amounts regularly.  This makes the eseries fund more suited to me.  What am I missing or being misinformed about?

Tuxefoeagle, you sound well informed on this topic and I appreciate your feedback. Thanks in advance.

I personally got into Questrade after reading an amazing Canadian PF blog, http://www.milliondollarjourney.com/questrade-review.htm
He's got quite a few posts about Questrade, ETF's, etc. I think the biggest thing you're missing is the commission free purchasing part. It used to cost +/-$5.00 per trade to purchase ETF's at discount brokerages. The theory behind TD-e was that if you regularly invest small amounts, you're better off not buying ETF's because the commissions take a good chunk out of your returns. For example, you buy $100 of ETF but spend $5 to make the trade, you're starting down 5% already.

To switch to Questrade, you would have to do an account transfer for your RRSP's (for your TFSA, just sell your funds, do a money transfer to your TD checking account, and then make payment to your new Questrade TFSA to avoid the fees). This may be partially covered by Questrade's promotion: http://www.questrade.com/campaigns/free_to_transfer
You can do pretty much everything online as far as opening an account goes, so it's really quite easy. If you are only buying 4 ETF's, it would be very easy to learn by watching the online tutorials. Questrade is not known for their great customer service though, so don't expect TD-like service if something goes wrong. Yes, they will fix it but expect to be on hold for 5 mins, talking to at least 2 people before they can figure out what you need, etc. Again, not a big problem for me, I buy a few ETF's and just keep buying. My only hiccups were in the account setup and transfer part, mainly my LIRA account.

If you have any more questions, feel free to PM me. :)

scrubbyfish

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Re: Canadians - Review my investments and advise please (Newbie)
« Reply #22 on: August 14, 2014, 11:27:35 AM »
Ottawa: Thanks!

Tai

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Re: Canadians - Review my investments and advise please (Newbie)
« Reply #23 on: August 14, 2014, 11:37:41 AM »
I believe that if you withdraw funds from a TFSA and you place them in another TFSA (or even replace them in the same TFSA) within the same year and exceed your maximum there's a large tax penalty. You might want to check that out.

RichMoose

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Re: Canadians - Review my investments and advise please (Newbie)
« Reply #24 on: August 14, 2014, 08:39:32 PM »
So if you're charged when you sell, how does it work exactly?

If I buy $5000 worth of VAB initially, and then say $1000 every year after that for 5 years, how much will I be charged when I sell after 5 years with a commission of $5 per ETF? (I hopefully won't be selling after 5 years, just an example)

In other words, do I hold "6 ETFs"? Thus my commission is $5 * 6 to sell those 6 ETFs? Or am I only charged the commission for one trade?

No you're charged per trade, just like stocks. Good reason to chose a highly liquid ETF so you don't get caught in bid-ask spreads. You can only trade 1 ETF at a time, so with liquid ETF's lets say you own: ZCN, XUS, and VAB and you wish to sell all your holding. You make 3 trades, one for each ticker. You could incur about $15 in commission fees.

RichMoose

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Re: Canadians - Review my investments and advise please (Newbie)
« Reply #25 on: August 14, 2014, 08:47:19 PM »
I believe that if you withdraw funds from a TFSA and you place them in another TFSA (or even replace them in the same TFSA) within the same year and exceed your maximum there's a large tax penalty. You might want to check that out.

Yes! I forgot this important note. I sold my TD TFSA holdings in December and transferred immediately to my chequing account. Then at the end of January I made a payment to my new Questrade TFSA and bought exactly what I sold. This avoids the fees and potential tax penalty. Because of market moves, I didn't lose any money in this instance.

Any one who is considering this move should be aware that a sell in one TFSA account and a contribution to a different TFSA account in the same calender year could be subject to over-contribution penalties. You may be better off paying the $150 transfer fee and try get it reimbursed at least partially by Questrade.

Gmullz

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Canadians - Review my investments and advise please (Newbie)
« Reply #26 on: August 16, 2014, 06:47:04 AM »
I have another question!

What percentage of your amount invested are the quarterly (or whatever frequency) dividends?

I imagine they can vary based on the earnings of the companies in the index, but say I had $8500 of VUS - what would I expect to receive in dividends over a one year period on average? $100? $200? I literally have no idea.

This thread has been awesome. I'm still a self-directed investing newbie but I'm getting there. I'm signed up for Questrade now. Thanks!

Edit: I also have read that you can apply "DRIP" in Questrade so the dividends get automatically reinvested. Totally planning on doing that. But if I do, I assume there's a way to see when those transactions occur?
« Last Edit: August 16, 2014, 06:49:21 AM by Gmullz »

RichMoose

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Re: Canadians - Review my investments and advise please (Newbie)
« Reply #27 on: August 16, 2014, 08:18:53 AM »
I have another question!

What percentage of your amount invested are the quarterly (or whatever frequency) dividends?

I imagine they can vary based on the earnings of the companies in the index, but say I had $8500 of VUS - what would I expect to receive in dividends over a one year period on average? $100? $200? I literally have no idea.

This thread has been awesome. I'm still a self-directed investing newbie but I'm getting there. I'm signed up for Questrade now. Thanks!

Edit: I also have read that you can apply "DRIP" in Questrade so the dividends get automatically reinvested. Totally planning on doing that. But if I do, I assume there's a way to see when those transactions occur?

Current most US index ETF's have a trailing yield of around 1.5%. On $8500 that would be around $125 per year. Most US index ETF's pay their distributions quarterly, so when you sign up for DRIP it shows up as a transaction on your Questrade account. I don't use DRIP right now because I invest monthly. Distributions just add a bit to my cash balance and form part of my next month's purchase. As far as I can tell, there's no significant advantage to DRIP for index ETF's because you don't avoid commission fees (they're commission free purchases regardless) and they don't offer a discount to market price. I would say it's more of an advantage for dividend investors that pick individual stocks or for people who are not buying regularly so they are not looking at their brokerage accounts often.

Gmullz

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Re: Canadians - Review my investments and advise please (Newbie)
« Reply #28 on: August 16, 2014, 12:42:44 PM »
Ah yes, good point about DRIP. No need to dodge commissions in a commission-free trading environment. Thanks!