Friday, June 4, 2021

Short Takes: Firing Your Financial Advisor, Measuring Returns, and more

As long as the pandemic feels like it has lasted, I’m amazed at how quickly we’ve reached the point we’re at today.  Early on, we hoped a vaccine would be ready by sometime in 2021, but maybe it would take longer.  Then once we had a vaccine ready, it seemed optimistic to hope that we’d be vaccinated by the end of 2021.  Then the Canadian federal government promised that every adult who wanted a vaccine would get it by September, and the general reaction was “sure, I’ll believe it when I see it.”  Now it’s starting to look like adults and children as young as 12 who want a vaccine may be fully vaccinated by the end of August.  I know it feels like this has all gone on forever, but our estimates for when it would end have been consistently getting earlier.  There is every reason to believe that the world’s reaction to the next pandemic will be even faster.

I managed only one post in the past two weeks:

How to Lie to Yourself about a Stock Crash with Statistics

Here are some short takes and some weekend reading:

Tom Bradley at Steadyhand lays out ten good reasons to fire your financial advisor.

Canadian Couch Potato gives a good overview of some different ways to measure your portfolio’s returns as well as some videos for those who want to dive in further.

The Blunt Bean Counter explains the various ways siblings can get into conflict over their parents’ estate.  Believing your own children would never squabble over your estate is seeing the world as you want it to be rather than how it is.

Preet Banerjee interviews Ben Rabidoux who analyzes what’s been happening in the Canadian housing market.

Justin Bender compares the global ex-Canada stock ETFs VXC and XAW in a recent video.  He has a stronger preference this time than in most of his other ETF comparisons.


  1. I hope your view that the "next" pandemic reaction will be faster. My pessimistic view is that the "next" one, will have even more skeptics claiming it is not that bad, and if the "next" one is a bit more virulent, the reaction may be hobbled by all of that. The new Vaccine concepts (mRNA) do hold promise though.

  2. Completely off topic. Michael, what’s your best guess to this question. What percentage of the Canadian adult population who are in a position to save for retirement can become true, 100% DIY investors (no robo-advisors or real people advisors).

    1. Hi Larry,

      That's a tough one. If the question is what percentage can do as well as owning just VBAL without ever selling to do something dumber, the answer is very low -- likely under 10%. If the question is what percentage could do better than going to a bank and buying whatever they recommend, then the answer is much higher because it would include many people who pick their own stocks randomly (but maintain reasonable diversification). This one might be 20% or more.