NestWealth.com - Simple Low Cost Diversified Investing for Papasan Pickles

Randy Cass - Honorary Papasan Pickle and CEO of Nest Wealth
3 great reasons you should invest with Nest Wealth - the one-stop, all-in-one place for low-cost, diversified investments and effective returns based on Nobel prize winning investing strategies:

Reason 1. You are less motivated than a Couch Potato (i.e., you are a Papasan Pickle, meaning you want low fees but will not expend the calories to buy a handful of ETFs and balance them once in a while).  After all you are likely curled up in a papasan chair now reading this on a tablet, as opposed to doing something active.  Just an observation ... we are not judging.

Reason 2. You have a good job allowing you to pay a few dollars in fees for the great value and service Nestwealth.com provides.  Or you have an OK job and a good hobby (e.g., chair testing at Ikea, carving walking sticks, collecting steam-punk pickles  ...meaning you have no time for investing).
Yes, steam-punk pickles exist!

Reason 3. You think that if you invest enough, Randy Cass the CEO of Nest Wealth will give you BNN Anchor Catherine Murray's phone number and you'll hook up.  Sweet mother of relish!

But seriously.

What Does Nest Wealth Do?
  • Offers a managed portfolio for only $80 / month ($40 if you are under 40 years old).
  • Creates a customized portfolio based on your "current financial situation, goals and risk tolerance".
  • Invests in low-cost ETFs (average fee of index tracking ETF in a Nest Wealth account  is 0.18% - 90% less than the average equity mutual fund in Canada (2.42%)).
  • Builds your portfolio using Nobel Prize-Winning Theories 
  • Rebalances your portfolio yearly to align with your plan, or changing circumstances.
How?
Nest Wealth uses the principles of David Swensen, head of the Yale Endowment Fund, noted as "one of the most recognized professionals in the investment industry" and the same approaches that large institutions use:
  1. Diversified holdings across 6 core asset classes (domestic equities, emerging market equities, international equities, government fixed income, real-return bonds and real estate).
  2. Regular rebalancing.
  3. In absence of a 'confident market beating strategy', use of low-cost index funds.
Our thoughts: with the use of index funds, a NestWealth.com portfolio is 'managed' at a high level, not managed in the conventional, down-in-the-weeds, individual stock-picking sense.  But that is the secret to low fees and returns that are better over the long term than high fee managed funds. Who are you to argue with that? Markowitz and Sharpe have the Nobel Prize in Economics to prove it - you have a jar of steam-punk pickles.  NestWealth.com states the low equity index ETF fee .. what about the average ETF fees?

How do the costs compare to other all-in-1 investment solutions: since fees are fixed per month on top of the underlying fund fees and yearly rebalancing trade fees it is not as easy to calculate as Wealthsimple.com's all-in costs.  We've assumed rebalancing fees and have not included currency conversion costs, nonetheless below is a Wealthsimple Nest Wealth comparison.  Top table is $80 per month Nest Wealth Fee (i.e., you are over 40 and listened to a lot of Rush). Bottom table is for the discount $40 per month fee (i.e., you are under 40 and listened to a lot of Billy Talent):


(notes this is an updated comparison table -  the original post did not multiply the Nest Wealth management fee by 12 for each month so fees are not as favourable in the update - so yes, fees are important!)

Nest Wealth comes out ahead for the young high rollers with $250 k + or older folk with $1M+ - overall fees are pretty close for under 40's in the $100k to $250k+ range or for over 40's between $250k and $1M.  Unless you are over 40 with less than $50k (meaning you may be working through retirement anyway) either investment is beating out mutual funds on fees and for higher amounts, they are competitive with ETF wraps and robo funds in terms of time and effort.

Either of these options beats the 1.07% fee of a Tangerine on-fund solution and hands down spanks the 2.0-2.8% fees on our old Investors Group funds - IG even charged 0.18% to rebalance the portfolio of expensive underlying funds.  This blog is really a diary of ideas on our journey away from IG.

A key factor here is "Simple".  Both investments give you a one stop shop and simple management. As our family is now settling a parent estate, there are some key lessons to be learned about simplifying accounts for the purpose of estate administration, or even before that as it relates to tax filing.

Post post:

If you've read our other posts you know investing101.ca favours laddered GICs to bond funds, so if you select a higher risk/growth portfolio with Nest Wealth or Wealthsimple, with a low mix of bloated bond ETF fees that's great.  You should be able to cover this plain vanilla, low risk part of you portfolio at no cost (except your time).

We also have a 'confident market beating strategy' for the spicy, kim-chi part of our portfolio that we trust in the hands of Donville Kent Asset Management - that is something you high rollers could consider while you let an all-on-one strategy take care of the middle ground in your portfolio.

Lastly, if you have options to get exposure to private equity in your pursuit of low-fee diversified investments, e.g., through OMERS AVC contributions, consider that to lessen public equity exposure.  Nest Wealth says they do what large institutions do to invest, but the largest pension funds hold private equity - Nest Wealth can put a real estate ETF into your portfolio, but OMERS will put own Oxford Properties with no market ups and downs.  The OMERS AVC management fee is in the 0.5% range which is competitive with the all-in-one fees and could offer less volatility for those with a shorter investment time horizon.

Wealthsimple.com Investing Made Easy

Papasan Pickles make Couch Potatoes look motivated!
Wealthsimple.com could be the answer for Papasan Pickle investors! - those looking for a diversified low cost investment portfolio, but too busy, inexperienced or wedged into their papasan chairs to do what Couch Potato investors do (i.e., buy a handful of index ETFs and balance the portfolio themselves).

Weathsimple.com boasts the use of cutting edge technology and Nobel-prize winning research to edge out others and help boost returns.

"Your portfolio is automatically optimized and rebalanced, which can add up to 4% additional returns vs. the average investor."

Here is the secret recipe for these returns and the various amounts investors can save/earn:

The biggest benefit it the 1.6% Fee Savings relative to mutual funds. The Institutional Pricing benefit is due to "preferred pricing" Weathsimple has negotiated on investment services and products that are not available to the retail investor (Couch Potato, Papasan Pickle, you).

Wealthsimple compares the cost of fund expenses, advisor fees and trading fees as well.  The Wealthsimple fees includes a 0.35% to 0.50% management that depends on the size of you portfolio plus the embedded funds fees of 0.25%.  Under $100,000 you will pay 0.5% (0.75% total) and over $1,000,000 you pay 0.35% (0.60% total). That is a competitive total fee compared to other one-stop investing products and funds that we have reviewed in the past.

Basically you are paying 0.35-0.50% in fees for Weathsimple to allocate the assets in your portfolio from the standard basket of asset classes.  The proportion of assets is based on you risk profile determined from answers to on-line questions related to your investment knowledge, tolerance for market ups and downs, need for income vs. growth, income level and security.  Below are the allocations for the risk scores between 5 and 10.  The allocation for a risk score of 5 is 40% bonds and 60% equity, similar to a Global Couch Potato or Complete Couch Potato portfolio.  At the other extreme (risk score of 10) its 10% bonds, 90% equities.






Click on the smaller images to enlarge to see asset allocation.





























The fees for similar portfolios for DIY investors would be as low as 0.20% if you buys low MER Vanguard and iShares ETF commission-free (e.g., Questrade) - the Couch Potato investor would save  up to 0.55% to 0.40% over a Wealthsimple investor (aka the hands-off, sedentary Papasan Pickle investor).  You do the math - is the convenience and expertise of the Wealthsimple portfolio services worth several hundred dollars a year on each $100,00 invested?  Likely the answer is "Yes" to inexperienced investors who don't have the time or desire to learn to trade.  Face it - time is money: you could put a few hours into your day job instead of ETF trading/balancing/book-keeping and get further ahead further financially by boosting your bonus (e.g., take on some corporate initiative to get noticed, participate in an industry group to raise your profile and enhance job prospects, treat your boss to a round of golf).

So Wealthsimple fees are certainly competitive compared to other all-on-one solutions considering the service provided.  Their fees of 0.55%-0.75% are comparable to what you'd pay with TD e-series funds or index mutual funds at a broker in a balanced DIY portfolio.  Wealthsimple fees are even less than Tangerine Investment Funds (formerly the ING Direct Streetwise Portfolios) whose 'one-fund', non-nonsense, no-trading-required balanced index fund has a MER of 1.07%.

The bottom line?  Investors looking to get out of expensive mutual funds, and Couch Potatoes who want an even more hands-off approach to their DIY investing, should consider the value (time and money) offered by Weathsimple to help meet investing needs.

Check out other ideas on robo-advisor products:
shareowner-etf-portfolio-review
...and low fee balanced portfolios and ETF wraps:
papasan-pickle-portfolios-low-fee

Also, here is out updated comparison of Wealthsimple and Nest Wealth:
Wealthsimple Nest Wealth Fee Comparison

Bond Funds, Bond ETFs, GICs and Guarantees

With record low rates, is there a place for GICs in your portfolio? Maybe if you are replacing a Bond Mutual Fund or even a Bond ETFs.

Management fees on bond mutual funds eat up most of the return of the investments. Even a low fee fund like PH&N Bond Fund has a MER of 0.6% which takes 23% of the portfolio's Yield to Maturity of 2.6% - you lose almost a quarter the the returns in fees!  You can expect to put the remaining 2% in your pocket. With other high MER funds you could be losing half of the funds returns in fees.

With ETFs you are in the same boat - iShares Canadian Government Bond Index ETF (XGB) holdings have a Yield to Maturity of 2.28% and MER of 0.38% - you lose 17% - you put only 1.9% in your pocket.  You can do better with a high yield savings account.   Oaken Financial has a savings rate of 1.75% and Achieva Financial has a rate of 1.8%.  GIC rates are even higher.

UNLIKE BOND FUNDS AND ETFs, SAVINGS THE GIC PRINCIPAL AND RETURN IS GUARANTEED: Oaken deposits (through Home Trust Company) are insured through the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC).  Every dollar deposited with Achieva is 100% guaranteed without limit by the Deposit Guarantee Corporation of Manitoba.

Oaken Financial continues to offer the best rates on GICs. A 5-year GIC rate is 2.8% which is greater than your net return on the bond fund or bond ETF yield after payer the MER.  Here are today's rates:

GUARANTEED INVESTMENT CERTIFICATES (GIC)

Term1 year18 mths2 year3 year4 year5 yearMin. Dep.
Annual Compound or Annual Pay2.002.252.352.402.602.80$1,000
Semi-Annual1.952.202.302.352.552.75$1,000
Monthly1.902.152.252.302.502.70$1,000

1 YEAR CASHABLE

TermRateMin. Dep.
After 30 Days1.75$1,000
After 90 Days2.00$1,000

SHORT-TERM DEPOSIT(RSP from 90 days minimum $2,500)

Term30-59 days60-89 days90-119 days120-179 days180-269 days270-364 daysMin. Dep.
Paid at Maturity1.751.751.751.751.851.90$1,000

RETIREMENT SAVINGS PLANS (RSP)

Term1 year2 year3 year4 year5 yearMin. Dep.
Annual Compound2.002.352.402.602.80$1,000

TAX FREE SAVINGS ACCOUNT (TFSA)

Term1 year2 year3 year4 year5 yearMin. Dep.
Annual Compound2.002.352.402.602.80$1,000

RETIREMENT INCOME FUNDS (RIF)

Income Options: Annual, Semi-Annual, Quarterly and Monthly
Term1 year2 year3 year4 year5 yearMin. Dep.
Annual Compound or Annual Pay2.002.352.402.602.80$10,000

OAKEN SAVINGS ACCOUNT

Oaken Savings Account1.75
Achieva rates are competitive too. Daily Interest Savings rates on TFSA Savings, RRSP Savings and RRIF Savings and GIC rates are listed below.

ProductRate

Daily Interest Savings1.80%
1 Year Term2.15%
2 Year Term2.25%
3 Year Term2.35%
4 Year Term2.45%
5 Year Term2.60%

Double Double and Fries? - Burger King buying Tim Horton's

Cartoon King Conquers Canuck Icon.  Well not since the War of 1812 has so much been at stake. Timmy's Loyalists take arms!

My quick poll of Toronno this morning does not bode well for the announced Burger King Wordwide Inc. (BKW on the NYSE) buyout of Tim Horton's today (THI on the TSX).  At the court house I told the clerk the news - she said looking down at her large double-double "I guess I'll have to start making my own".

Then near the corner of Dundas and University I popped into Timmy's which had 4 full lines of patrons (oh, yeah that's why Burger King is interested!) - after getting my medium with one sugar and 3 milks and a double chocolate donut I asked the new Trainee Jessica on cash if she heard the news and suggested she would have to start adding "Do you want fries with that double-double?" - her reply, "If I have to say that I'll cry."

As long a Burger King doesn't try to colonize our Canadian Icon, and keep the brands separate, everything should be fine and the stocks will continue to soar.  Time Horton's Inc. on the TSE is up by almost 20% today.

Let's hope we don't have to revolt, raid the shores of Chesapeake Bay and flame broil the White House again like in in 1812!

Market Linked GICs from HSBC, TD, CIBC

So the stock markets have been climbing.  And what goes up must come down .. they say...whoever they are.  Its called regression to the mean or mean reversion for your statistics geeks.  So if you are interested in participating in the market but want some protection, think about the HSBC Market Linked GIC Investments.

HSBC offers the Annual Income Opportunity GIC:

  • Opportunity to earn interest each year
  • Return based on the 10 stocks Morningstar® analysts believe have earned a "wide-moat rating" – above average company returns and sustainable competitive advantages
  • Initial investment guaranteed with 100% principal protection

But the details in calculating the return are somewhat complex.  These is a maximum interest of 3.75% for a 3-year term (12.5% total), or 4.50% for 59-month term (22.5% total).  And there is a "FLOOR (maximum negative return used in the calculation if a stock performs poorly), i.e., negative 10% for 3-year or 59-month term.  Considering you can get a 3% GIC at Oaken Financial, and a guaranteed 16% compounded return for 5 years is the extra 1.5% a year upside from this HSBC GIC worth it considering you have downside market risks? We don't think so.  But there are some other products too.

HSBC also offers the Stock Market GIC for non registered accounts.  There are 3 types: Canadian (S&P/TSX 60®), Asian (Hang Seng Index®, KOSPI 200 Index, MSCI Singapore Index(SM), MSCI Taiwan Index(SM)), and USA (S&P 500® Low Volatility Index).  Each has a minimum return rate of 0%. Each has a 'Participation Rate' which is used to calculate the return depending on the term (3 years or 59 months, or 3 years for the Asian product). 

The USA product is worth a look and has a 150% participation rate, meaning you earn 150% of the average of all the index values for each quarter for the next 5 years (i.e., participation does not relate to the final value of the index at the end of 5 year).  Here are some examples of what that means:
Index return - including dividends?
  • The USA index tanks steady over 5 year - you get 0% and wish you bought the Oaken GIC
  • The USA index climbs in a straight line up to the right, earning about 15% a year, and doubling in 5 years - you get a total 75% return, equivalent to about a 12% annual return.  As this chart to the right shows, that has happened in the past.
What is attractive about this?
  1. You participate (benefit from) a high the index in the first years, even of the index tanks in year 5 - you are not stuck with the final index.  This is good if you think a correction may be years away.
  2. You can earn a lot more than the measly maximum return of the Annual Income Opportunity GIC.
The HSBC participation rate is high relative to other products like the TD's market GIC products that can return a maximum of 25% in 5 years (Financial GIC Plus and Utilities GIC Plus).  The TD U.S. GIC Plus has a maximum of only 20%.

The CIBC products like the CIBC Guaranteed Market Return GICs have a cap (26.25% total for 5 years) but also have a minimum return (5% total for 5 years).  CIBC calculates a 'Coupon Rate' for each year based on individual stock return and considers a 'floor' just like the HSBC Annual Income Opportunity GIC. and notes "Coupon Amounts payable in respect of the GICs will not include any dividends declared on the Shares".

So just like the Meridian market linked product reviewed earlier (meridian-index-linked-gics), you are participating in the share price and not the total return.  Considering that from December 1990 to July 2013, the S&P 500® Low Volatility Index had a long-term median dividend yield of 4.6% and always stayed above 3.5%, you are giving up a lot of steady / guaranteed dividends to guarantee your principal with a market linked GIC.

ShareOwner ETF Portfolio Review

".. back every year that is, with trailer fees
to terminate your investment growth !"

"It's not a tumour ... its those sky-high
mutual fund fees giving you a headache."
Are you interested in having a robo-advisor manage your investments?  If so, you can escape high management fees in a low-cost ETF portfolio, created by the "robo-advisors" at ShareOwner.

What ShareOwner offers are model portfolios that even the laziest investors can appreciate.  Couch Potato investors have to pick their ETFs and balance/trade them every now and again.  If that is too much effort for you, ShareOwner has created 5 different model portfolios to meet the range of risk/return profiles of different investors. These include Aggressive Growth, Growth, Balanced, Conservative and Income portfolios with between 100% and 25% equity exposure.

MER and Fee Comparison for ETF and Mutual Fund portfolios
The best thing? ShareOwner does all the rebalancing for you and the fees are low, low, low - especially for a large account. ShareOwner fees are 0.5% on top of the ETF expenses (MER) as shown in the chart to the left.  But fees are capped at $40/month if you have $100,000 or more invested.  So if you invest $200,000, your fees drop in half percentage-wise.  For example, the Balanced Portfolio funds have a weighted MER of 0.27% (iShares, BMO, and Vanguard funds) - add $480/$200,000 for another 0.24% and you a paying 0.51% to be absolutely hands off in your index investing.  Let's face it - time is money.  Commission-free automatic DRIP is another time and cost saving feature.

So wake up all you papasan-pickle investors! Zero-effort ShareOwner portfolios may be for you.  Their investment products will give you what other balanced portfolios can (diversification, optimal asset allocation, automatic rebalancing)  but at a lower overall cost than some of the other core portfolio funds and ETF wraps reviewed before:

papasan pickle low fee portfolio review

..and cheaper than the BlackRock Strategic Portfolio series as well:

blackrock strategic portfolios review


Best GIC Rates

Don't go to your bank looking for the best GIC interest rates - go to their affiliates.  Look at the RBC bank online rates below - the 5-year rate is 2%.

Compounded Annually and Paid at Maturity

Term
to
Maturity
For Investments of
$500
to
$99,999.99
$100,000
to
$249,999.99
$250,000
to
$999,999.99
$1,000,000
to
$4,999,999.99+
[%][%][%][%]
1 to 1.5 years less a day1.2501.2501.2501.250
1.5 to 2 years less a day1.5001.5001.5001.500
2 to 2.5 years less a day1.5501.5501.5501.550
2.5 to 3 years less a day1.5501.5501.5501.550
3 to 3.5 years less a day1.7501.7501.7501.750
3.5 to 4 years less a day1.7501.7501.7501.750
4 to 4.5 years less a day1.6001.6001.6001.600
4.5 to 5 years less a day1.6001.6001.6001.600
5 years2.0002.0002.0002.000

But look at what RBC Dominion Securities is offering, a range of products from other institutions with up to a 2.6% 5-year GIC interest rate:


Tangerine $50 Bonus 40132831S1

Use this Tangerine Orange Key to earn your Tangerine bonus:  40132831S1


Open any new Tangerine Chequing Account or Tangerine Savings Account by March 31, 2015, with a minimum deposit of $100 and start earning double the regular refer a friend Bonus.

Plus receive an additional $25 Bonus you set up an Automatic Savings Program (ASP) into a Tangerine Savings Account!

Click here to sign up!

Investors Group 1.99% 3-year Mortgage Interest Rate

Investors Group is offering up to 1.01% off prime for its 3 year variable rate mortgage as well as a series of highly competitive short and long term limited-time mortgage offers :

Variable-rate mortgage
1.99% 
(Prime – 1.01%)
36 month closed variable-rate mortgage or adjustable rate, adjustable payment mortgage
2.40%
(Prime – 0.60%)
49 month closed variable-rate mortgage or adjustable rate, adjustable payment mortgage
2.75%
(Prime – 0.25%)
60 month closed variable-rate mortgage or adjustable rate, adjustable payment mortgage
 Rates as of May 12, 2014 and are subject to change or withdrawal at any time without prior notice.

Investors Group fixed-rate, closed mortgage rates and terms are as follows: 2.39% for 18 month, 2.49 for 30 month, 2.59 for 36 month and 3.35 for 60 month (5 year) terms.

Best RESP Savings Interest Rate - Meridian Credit Union 2%

Aye laddie, Meridian has a
 Fergus Ont. office
I'm learning more about Meridian Credit Union going through some estate administration.  One thing that popped out was Meridian's nice RESP savings rate offered of 2%.  You could consider this as the fruit of your loins (your kids) approach university age and you transition into something safe to preserve capital and earn a little to counter inflation.

Meridian has branches across Ontario.  Being Ontario chartered, deposits are protected through The Deposit Insurance Corporation of Ontario (DICO).  It insures Canadian currency deposits, including interest, to a maximum of $100,000  per customer.   Unlike CDIC which has an insured limit, deposits held in RSP, RIF, LIRA , LIF, RESP, and TFSA accounts are fully insured with no maximum amount.   Unique trust or joint accounts are insured separately from those in your own name, to a maximum of $100,000 per account.

Meridian Index-Linked GICs - 100% upside .. but what about dividends?

At first glance, what's not to like with Meridian's Index-Linked GICs ? With their S&P/TSX 60 and S&P 500 products you benefit from the Canadian or US equity markets with exposure to the largest companies across several business sectors.  While the upside is capped for some Meridian Index-Linked GICs and those from most banks (CIBC Market-Linked GIC, RBC SmartMarket GIC, TD Security GIC Plus), these give you 100% upside participation in the index.  All the Index-Linked GICs have 100% principal guarantee at maturity.  Here are the deets:

Key Benefits per Meridian:
• Unlimited upside potential
• No management fees or commissions (see below)
100% participation rate – you receive the full gains made on the index over the term
• Principal completely guaranteed at maturity
• Deposits insured by Deposit Insurance Corporation of Ontario (DICO)

Highlights & Features:
• $500 minimum investment for registered accounts
• $1000 minimum investment for non-registered accounts
• Earned Interest paid at maturity
• 5-year term

This investment might be ideal for you:
• It offers 100% principal protection
• It offers exposure to the Canadian stock market
• If you have an investment horizon of at least 5 years
• If you don’t plan to withdraw your investment prior to maturity higher potential return than that
offered by term savings.

You have to question the "No management fees or commissions" part.  While an index ETF like XIU, iShares S&P/TSX 60 Index ETF, let's you participate in the market, it also pays you a 2.6% distribution (largely eligible dividends with favourable tax treatment).  In contrast, Meridian is pocketing that dividend.  Take note: with Meridian's GICs you are participating in the index only not the total return of the index.

You have to consider taxes.  The GIC distributions you receive from Meridian are taxed as other income each year.  In contrast the appreciation in XIU shares are not taxed each year which is better tax deferral.  It's only when you sell your XIU shares any upside is tax but as a capital gain of which only half is taxable.  Your upside in the Meridian GIC is fully taxed (100%).

So when could these products make sense?  Only in a registered account because of tax implications.  Only for those who are papasan pickles (lazier than couch potato investors who buy index ETFs).  Only for those who think the market is getting frothy, and so they want to give up a 2.6% dividend to guarantee principal in a market crash.

Pension Crisis? What me worry?

What Pension Crisis?
A recent MoneySense article reviewing the federal “target-benefit” pension scheme suggests that Defined Benefit (DB) pension plans put employers on the hook when the pension fund under-performs.  Maybe that is the case for some (Canada Post?) but it's not so for all.

1 on 20 Ontarians are members of OMERS, the $64B municipal employee plan. Employee contributions are currently jacked up to cover the current unfunded liability of over $8B, thus making up for financial crisis under-performance, previous contribution holidays, etc..  True, young and new workers are getting hosed since only 75% of today's contributions are funding their retirements and 25% is making up the gap - but it is not municipalities/employers on the hook.  Today a healthy 14.6% of employee earnings over $52k go into the plan and this will continue until the liability is wiped out - these are significant contributions.

Most people are lazier than couch potatoes when it comes to their finances and are more like papasan pickles - so even after boosting financial literacy they need simple alternatives for investing:

Papasan Pickle investing

But unfortunately, even with simple alternatives, humans discount future risks in many areas (health, finances, building in Calgary's Bow River  flood plain...) and may be destined to make bad decisions not their their future self interest. Canadians are bombarded daily with "Your Richer Than You Think" and "It's Worth  a Talk" bait to make them pay attention and use some of the existing savings vehicles.  While the cornucopia of resources is there, like on the Money Sense site, it's not working.

So maybe the only alternative (and only need) is mandatory benefit programs targeting the real gaps (like single or widowed elderly women who have never worked and who are shown to be at risk).

Rob Ford Resigns, Gets Professional Help - The Value of Advice (Financial or otherwise)

Don't Stay THIS Course
(new Rob Ford crack video)
(subtitle: polishing a turd)

So Rob Ford is finally getting professional help for his alleged (admitted?) drug abuse. So we ask: What is the value of professsional advice?  Does it help?  With the new Rob Ford crack video images and drunken rant tapes posted, for Rob Ford, we can hope it helps break bad personal habits.  What about the value of financial advisors? Are financial advisors worth it too?

Ride the investing Gravy Train !
According to a groundbreaking research study, Mackenzie Investments says the answer is a resounding Yes (or as Rob Ford would say in drunken patois "Ya Mon!"). Advised households have approximately twice the level of financial assets as their non-advised counterparts, and this advantage grows over time. Canadians who rely on a financial advisor to guide their financial decisions are wealthier, more confident and better prepared for the financial implications of marriage, a new child, their children’s education, retirement and other life events.

The study, carried out by the Montréal-based Center for Interuniversity Research and Analysis on Organizations (CIRANO), shows that advisors positively affect the level of wealth of Canadian households.

Their analysis showed that financial advisors contribute significantly to the accumulation of financial wealth. The study considered a list of other socio-economic, demographic, and attitudinal variables that can affect wealth, the research indicates that the advice advantage is largely attributed to a greater savings discipline.

So stay disciplined! Stay the course as Bob and Doug Ford say in the above video.  Get good advice and you could be riding the investing gravy train!

P.S. - we have to wonder cause and effect here.  Are successful, wealthy investors just parking their money with advisors while they make more money in their day jobs? Or are the advisors contributing to the wealth?  Similarly, do high-priced BMW car dealer mechanics make the drivers wealthy and help them afford the high-end car (not really) or is it just a service?