Friday, March 17, 2017

Short Takes: Honest Fund Disclosure, Juicing Returns, and more

Here are my posts for the past two weeks:

Recognition Points Update

Tangerine Adds Some New Fees

Retirement Spending Plan Question

Balance Transfer Offer

The Case for Delaying CPP and OAS to Age 70

Here are some short takes and some weekend reading:

Jason Zweig brings us the best mutual fund disclosure ever. Brutal honesty can be hilarious.

Larry Swedroe explains how mutual fund families use IPOs to juice the returns of new funds. He also shows how they shift returns from one fund to another with front-running: “A large fund family with a small-cap fund has the small-cap fund buy shares of stocks with a low market cap and limited liquidity. Other funds in the same family then pile in, buying more shares. The limited supply of stock allows the large fund family to drive up prices with relatively small purchases by each fund. The returns of the new fund then look great.” (Web crawlers don't seem to like this address of this article, but it still works:

Canadian Couch Potato uses his latest podcast to explain why active share have little predictive power for fund returns and takes a shot at Gordon Pape’s poor investment advice.

The Reformed Broker points out that U.S. household wealth grew by a staggering $40 trillion during Obama’s presidency. That’s quite a jump considering how his political enemies have had some success painting his financial impact as a negative. Of course, presidents have only a limited impact on the growth of wealth, even if they tend to get the credit or blame.

Retire Happy has a very clear explanation of the difference between a TFSA beneficiary and a TFSA successor holder. It pays to understand this difference.

Tim Cestnick describes an interesting trick to decide after the federal budget is announced whether to realize capital gains at the 50% inclusion rate that existed before the budget.

Squawkfox reports that 39% of Canadians don’t understand the benefits of paying more than the minimum credit card payment. She uses her engaging style to explain the benefits of paying more than the minimum.

Big Cajun Man has some tax tips including the fact that CRA offers auto-fill now. I was skeptical at first, but I’ve heard from others that it works well.

Boomer and Echo explain why a 4-minute portfolio is tough to beat.

My Own Advisor updates his progress on his 2017 financial goals. I really like his first goal: “Do not to incur any new debt.” He says this goal goes without saying, but it’s an important reminder for his readers. It only goes without saying for those who’ve already figured out how bad debt can be. More naive readers might find this goal enlightening.

The Blunt Bean Counter explains the tax consequences of borrowing from or lending to your small business.

Million Dollar Journey updates us on Frugal Trader’s progress to building enough portfolio income to make his family financially independent.


  1. The CRA stuff works well, when their site is up :-). Thanks for the mention this weekend, enjoy the March Vasectomy Madness too!

  2. re: Squawkfox -- Pretty sure those same 39% aren't reading any type of personal finance blogs; not sure who that article targets.

    re: CPP/OAS @70 -- "...the truth is in the numbers, but only when you get all the facts right. If you get a fact wrong..." Problem being 'age at death' is one fact we only ever know after the fact. Thus we can only calculate based on probabilities, esp. the probability of actually reaching age 95 (or somewhere beyond 85). And what of the probability of CPP/OAS ceasing, or at least decreasing, payments, as so many Canadian PF blogs/bloggers predicate? Should they simply outright ignore those future payments in their scenario? If they do, then taking the money as early as possible would always be the best choice.

    1. @SST: You're not showing much imagination. Even if only a small fraction of the 39% read blogs, others who do read blogs will offer advice to some of the 39%. Much of what I write doesn't help many of my readers directly. I'm hoping for secondary effects.

      You don't need to know your age at death. You have to plan for a long life, even if it doesn't happen. Fears of CPP and OAS ceasing or decreasing significantly are fueled by a generation of financial advisors who were taught to try to scare investors into saving more money. Of course, anything is possible, but I see no good reason to plan for CPP and OAS collapse.

  3. re: It doesn't take much imagination to know the target/active audience of PF blogs and the actual effect they have on the financial standing of the greater public.

    "...others who do read blogs will offer advice to some of the 39%" and you are certain of this biased view? I'm not. Even if transference of advice (with exact replication) does take place, to what degree does action take place? I guess 1% of 1% is still moving the needle.
    "I'm hoping for secondary effects." Any measurement of your hopeful effects?

    The best thing (but requiring more effort) for Squawky to do in order to engage more behavioural change in the 39% would be to visit those places where the 39% reside, instead of squawking in her own livingroom (e.g. NOT 20 minutes into a CBC financial tv show). I'm guessing the 39% are scattered throughout all different flavours of demographics so that effort might just be wasted chasing all over town.

    If she wanted to effect an even greater change, she would preach to the 94% of us who utilize credit cards to cease using credit cards. But that's just me. :)

    1. @SST: If I took the same approach you're taking, I would ask why you don't do something effective in your crusade against credit cards instead of just commenting on blogs. But that would be pointlessly argumentative.

      I'm not sure what you have against Squawkfox. She and I have very different styles, but I have little doubt that she has helped more people who are routinely victimized financially than I have.