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Stocks, bonds and what? People need to learn more about investing

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Financial literacy or a pair of shoes?

Last year I blogged about financial literacy in Canada.

Statistics about kids and adults are a little worrying when it comes to financial literacy. From new data, Americans aren’t much different. Studies show people need to do a lot more to become financially knowledgeable.

Juggling the egg

I recently overheard this: “What’s in your portfolio?”

Blank stare, and then: “I own XYZ.” (One of the biggest stocks in the U.S.)

That’s it. XYZ. Nothing else.

But wait! XYZ’s done great! It should go up forever or even longer.

Hmmmm … The thing is:

Those are the two “it’s different this time” ideas that have humbled investors since stock markets were born. Short-term thinking … People forget that the XYZ’s of this world have been a long interchange of different companies throughout investing history.

Do you really want one egg dictating your financial future?

Investing without diversification is potential financial suicide. (Or at least financial Russian roulette.)

Momentum is a marvelous thing when it’s on your side. But your worst enemy when the tide changes.

Ask former RIM, Palm, Nortel, Enron, Lehman Brothers investors.

If this had been your only stock, how would you have felt? What would have happened to your portfolio?

Know what you know:

Find out what you don’t know

According to the Investor Education Foundation of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s study in the U.S.:

  • 67 per cent rated their financial knowledge as “high”

but,

  • Only 53 per cent answered this question correctly:

True or false: Buying a single company’s stock usually provides a safer return than a stock mutual fund.

I doubt that most of these respondents were momentum traders trading single stocks. It’s more likely that the majority had no idea that this is one of the most important rules of wealth creation: Diversification.

  • Only 6% got the above question wrong, choosing “True.”

But,

  • 40% said they didn’t know the answer, and 1% declined to answer

Ouch.

Maybe it was just an anomaly.

Let’s try again:

If interest rates rise, what will typically happen to bond prices?

Rise? Fall? Stay the same?

No relationship?

  • Just 28 per cent answered correctly

Yes, they will usually fall.

  • 37 per cent didn’t know
  • 18 per cent said bond prices would rise if interest rates rise
  • 10 per cent said there’s no relationship between bond prices and interest rates
  • 5 per cent said bond prices would stay the same
  • 2 per cent said they preferred not to answer

Becoming a statistic can have long-term complications

Looking at these stats shows there’s a lot of financial illiteracy out there.

It’s a crime that financial literacy is not taught in high schools.

— Michael Finke, professor of personal financial planning at Texas Tech University/co-developer of the Financial Literacy Assessment Test, part of Ohio State University’s Consumer Finance Monthly survey.

(In Canada, things are changing.)

Can teachers help?

When asked about six personal financial planning concepts:

  • Fewer than 20 per cent of teachers and teachers-in-training said they felt “very competent” to teach those topics
  • Teachers felt least competent about saving and investing

   — 2009 survey of 1,200 K-12 teachers/prospective teachers National Endowment for Financial Education

What do you do if teachers don’t feel competent to teach financial literacy skills?

Governments …

  • Need to focus on helping teachers get these skills

or

  • Need to bring in outside help to assist in improving financial literacy skills

Agencies are doing their part in both the U.S. and Canada to raise awareness around financial literacy. They can’t do it alone:

  • Parents need to teach their kids about debt

But parents need to understand the dangers they’re trying to warn their kids about.

The consequences to our economy and economic future of financial illiteracy are immense. Championing long-lasting positive changes for kids (and adults) is important.

Those shoes were made for walking (but they could really cost you)

Study after study has shown that adults will spend more time focusing on buying a pair of shoes (or other purchase) than they will on their financial future.

Is this the legacy we want to leave our kids?

Find out more about diversification:

You don’t need to listen to Warren Buffett (if you’ve allocated your investment portfolio properly)

A simple way to arrive at the right asset allocation for your portfolio

Get the balance right

Plan like a pension fund manager when it comes to your investment portfolio

Asset allocation: Diversification is king

How to be a smarter investor

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Is it better to have invested, and lost, than never to have invested at all?

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Well …

It certainly helps you achieve your investment goals if you own investments that have a chance of getting you to your destination.

Take a look at the following charts and ask yourself two questions:

  • If you had bought during the major dips, would it have benefited you?

and

  • How would you have done with your money in low interest instruments according to the charts below? *

Example fund vs. 1-year GIC

Example fund vs. 5-year GIC

It’s clear that the most conservative investments wouldn’t have served you as well since the inception of this fund. What investors would do well to remember is that GICs lock your money in until maturity while mutual funds, ETFs and stocks are more liquid, generally.

Not to mention:

  • If you had bought during the dips

and

  • If you had rebalanced regularly

… you’d have done better than the chart shows since you would have lowered your cost or ACB and generally bought lower and sold higher.

So …

Do you have a plan, a strategy?

What is it?

Remember a few weeks ago when the news about Europe was so bad that optimism seemed naive?

I’m paraphrasing myself from a previous post. I talked about learning to harness your fear. There are always reasons you can find for Armageddon if you look hard enough.

People want stability. At times, markets and the business cycle are anything but stable. Above, you can see that during the worst stock market correction in most of our lives, an example of a balanced, dividend-based portfolio outperforming the most conservative of investments, GICs, by  four times or more.

When the doom and the gloom gets really thick, many investors feel paralyzed. But that’s exactly when great investors look for opportunity.

During the doom and gloom, markets often decide to have a good bounce.

Isn’t that counter-intuitive?

Actually, it’s pretty normal. If there were no walls of worry to climb, there’d be no bull markets. In “Wait a minute. There’s some good news re the markets?” I blogged about how investors often miss the opportunity in the end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it scenarios.

I posted some stark stats in “Why you should consider new investments now”.

Since we’re supposed to be strategic about long-term investing, let’s ask ourselves a question again:

When the market takes a substantial dip, is there more chance that it’ll rise or keep falling on average?

In “Don’t Panic”, I also talked about managing fear while investing. Learning to harness your fear is important in sports. Imagine you’re taking a penalty. It isn’t easy to stand there and score in front of 70,000 people.

Why should it be any different when you invest?

What’s the market going to do?

No one knows. There are a lot of educated guesses, research, charting, but no one knows.

Accept it.

Just as, if you decide to start a business or enter into any kind of relationship, there’s no 100 per cent satisfaction guarantee.

Business, economic news, the process of investing, continues to flow. It’s a river. There are rapids. There are waterfalls.

There may even be a couple of Niagaras out there.

But if you look at history, you’ll see that there were always those who pushed and went further. For every time you encounter end-of-the-world-scenarios, you’re going to see that someone steps up, looks at the recent correction in the market and says:

Hey, there may be some value here.

Accept the psychology of the market. But get a plan.

Is the bad news over?

Here’s what I said in that previous post:

We’ve come through a tough time. We’re not out of the woods yet, but if you’ve been sticking to a sound investing plan, you’ve taken advantage of the weakness in the market.

The bad news about being an inactive investor in 2011

If you had been sitting in cash only:

  • You missed a very nice rise in the bond markets

and

  • A great opportunity to reallocate investments to stocks

You might have taken advantage of a great time to buy equities at lower prices and participated in the rise of the bond markets.

Or, you might have asked the more unlucky question:

What happens if the world ends?

It might be better to ask:

What happens if I think strategically about my investments?

What happens if the world doesn’t end?

Want more information?

Click here for more about bonds and fixed income investments.

Click below for more about asset allocation and reallocation strategies:

Get the balance right

A simple way to arrive at the right asset allocation for your portfolio

Plan like a pension fund manager when it comes to your investment portfolio

Let’s think about assets

Asset allocation: Diversification is king

Click here for articles about dividends/dividend-payers.

* Example fund chosen out of large bank balanced funds with a dividend bias. Fund used purely for illustrative purposes with a time period of less than ten years since the effect of the financial crisis should have been greater during this period.

Chart source: Globeinvestor.com

Part Two: You don’t need to listen to Warren Buffett* (if you’ve allocated your investment portfolio properly)

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In Part One of this post, I left off saying I’d discuss why having a plan benefits you when it comes to asset allocation within your portfolio.

Markets keep on moving

Investors have to be conscious of the fact that the markets are never static. No one knows exactly what’s going to happen in the markets.

Since markets change, and taking into consideration recent events, here are three points we should consider:

  • Are investors now overweight bonds?
  • Do investors miss out by trying to time the markets?
  • Can you achieve your investment/retirement goals by holding (supposedly) low-risk investments?

The bond blackhole 

It’s highly probable that some investors are overweight bonds. If this movement to bonds is related to short-term fear rather than long-term planning, it’s a mistake.

Consider an older retiree who’s heavy in bonds. That same retiree holding a large fixed income component in his portfolio is going to suffer in a bond correction.

Still, these older retirees need the safety fixed income investments provide them. But retired investors need to weigh the potential in equities long-term over the safety in bonds or GICs and allocate accordingly.

Equities, inflation and long-term hedges

Here’s an interesting article from The Economist discussing Canada’s pension plans.

Ask yourself: Why do professional pension fund managers include equities in their investments? Are they about to abandon stocks?

Without growth an investor’s going to be in trouble when they begin withdrawing investments in retirement. Equities have done best over the very long-term against inflation, even during recent superb bond outperformance.

So, what’s happened to stocks? Why all the noise?

Of course, it’s generated by abuses leading up to the financial crisis, and investors who’ve been spooked by the big correction of 2008-2009. But here’s the thing:

Stocks have undergone a period that will go down in history as one of the largest corrections most investors have seen. Equities then had a larger than average correction last year.

Since that time, if you’d focused on the opportunity presented, you’d have had some nice returns. Stocks may correct again since they’ve had a march upwards. Companies have increased dividends focusing on what looks like better times with strong balance sheets.

Are stocks a better value than bonds?

In Part One, you can find solid reasoning on why they are.

Don’t want to be glued to your portfolio?

What’s the easiest way to take advantage of market swings that favour different investments at different times — without becoming a burden on your personal time resources?

Proper asset allocation.

Despite the volatility, stocks have done pretty well

As the chart above shows, stocks and bonds have still done pretty well over the long-term. Amidst all the volatility, stocks and bonds have performed. U.S. stocks may not have done as well for Canadian investors, but they picked up enormously in 2011.

Avoiding equities? It’s going to cost you in the long-term

The S&P/TSX 60 is made up of sixty of the largest companies in Canada. These dividend-paying stocks have done well over the ten years above despite the correction during the financial crisis.

Since equities have had a couple of major corrections in the last five years, they continue to show value especially in the face of historically low interest rates. U.S. equities are showing even more value relative to those in Canada. But they’ve also had a nice increase lately.

Believe in your plan

The stock and bond markets have shown an amazing ability to outwit retail investors. It’s hard to know what the markets will do. Don’t worry about it.

The secret is focusing your energy in a pro-active plan:

That long-term plan will help keep you focused.

Do you still believe in your plan? Are you comfortable with the amount of risk your taking?

If you believe in your plan and you are comfortable with the amount of risk you’re exposed to, make sure you apply the following to your investment portfolio:

  • A well-balanced mix of suitable assets
  • Evaluate your portfolio regularly
  • Stick to your plan
  • Rebalance your portfolio
  • Diversify with respect to the assets you hold, as well as the geographies you hold them in
  • Contribute regularly to your plan in order to take advantage of market volatility

Stocks have a lot going for them at the moment, but they’ve had a great run over the last few months. Will they correct?

Bonds have performed very well since the financial crisis. Will they correct?

Whether there’s a market correction or not in either asset category isn’t important. What is important is that you have a long-term plan that takes advantage of outperformance at different times in both stocks and bonds.

A good manager will make use of market volatility.

So can you.

Need more information?

Click below for more about asset allocation and reallocation strategies:

Get the balance right

A simple way to arrive at the right asset allocation for your portfolio

Plan like a pension fund manager when it comes to your investment portfolio

Let’s think about assets

Asset allocation: Diversification is king

How’s Warren Buffett’s long-term stock-picking record?

Chart source: Globe Investor

 

*While using proper asset allocation may reduce your need to listen to Warren Buffett about the stock markets, listen to him, anyway. Few have been as successful as Buffett in stocks.

The title of my blog post is a poke at his critics. Even fewer of them have had the same long-term track record as Buffett!

You don’t need to listen to Warren Buffett (if you’ve allocated your investment portfolio properly)

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Warren Buffett came out and highlighted the risk in bonds recently. He pointed out that long-term, stocks have a lot less risk than currency-based investments like bonds.

Stocks or bonds? Maybe both

Backing Buffett, the S&P 500 has had it’s best February since 1998. The S&P/TSX 60 has hit a five-month high.

Sadly, RRSP contributions are hitting lows just as the markets have taken off.

There are many reasons RRSP participation has declined: difficult economic times, fear generated by stock market volatility and the effect of demographics are just a few.

If some investors are avoiding the stock market because of fear stemming from the financial crisis, it’s cost them this year. If this becomes a long-term trend, it will cost people in retirement.

In “Bonds: Why you should love the unloved investment”, I discussed the role bonds play in a diversified, balanced portfolio within the context of stock market corrections.

Since the financial crisis, investors have seen a bull market in bonds as people bought “safer” investments like bonds.

But bonds tend to rise when interest rates decline. If interest rates don’t continue to decline, the return on bonds will be limited.

Considering today’s already low rates, is it likely that they’ll continue to decline?

If interest rates go up, the returns will become negative, and we might see the first correction in the bond markets since before the financial crisis.

Bonds vs. the S&P/TSX 60: The return of equities

Dom Grestoni of Investors Group recently said: “Rates are going to start rising, so if you commit to a 20-year bond at 2½% and the market rate goes up half a percentage point, you’re going to part with 30% of your capital.

We’re seeing valuations that are now discounted relative to the past 20 years, and interest rates are at record lows … Would you rather lock into a 10-year government of Canada bond paying 2.1%, with no prospect of growth, or buy a high-grade dividend-oriented stock, like a bank or utility, with yields above 4% … and that dividend is going to grow year after year.

Investors were underweight bonds as stock markets went from outperforming to underperforming during the financial crisis. Many may now be overweight bonds.

Both Buffett and Grestoni are trying to alert investors to this danger.

The mania is the message

Buffett would probably be happy if you didn’t need to listen to him. Some wise investors are already well-prepared.

How can you be one of them?

What Buffett was trying to counter are the manias that investors inevitably fall for. Sadly, most investors go for whatever investment vehicle has been getting the majority of cash flows.

Too many investors arrive late in the game.

Bad news burnout

The barrage of bad news has influenced investors: events in Europe, and other withering news grabbed all the headlines. Have people noticed that news has gotten more positive regarding companies, Europe and the outlook for stocks?

There are still threats amongst the opportunities. Financial news from Europe and the U.S. is mixed though better than it was.

Bonds?

There’s nothing wrong with holding bonds in a properly diversified portfolio. In fact, many managers hold bonds in their portfolios.

As mentioned in “Bonds: Why you should love the unloved investment”, many pundits were calling for a bond correction last year, and it turned out to be a great year to hold bonds.

But the same may not hold true in the future.

In Part Two, I’m going to discuss why having a plan benefits you when it comes to asset allocation within your portfolio.

Chart source: Globe Investor

Part Three — Market volatility: Why and how to make it work for you

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In Part Two, I left off discussing benchmarks on investment returns.

Easy as ACB revisited

I stressed that such benchmarks only reveal how your investment would have done if you invested all of your funds at the beginning of the period. These benchmarks assume you were inactive during the time period you’re measuring, and you did zero rebalancing during 2008-2009 or other significant market corrections — exactly the periods of time when you should be (or should have been) more active.

While investors should have been rebalancing during 2009, research shows average investors freeze up during these times, or worse, sell.

The worst case scenario is that they sell heavily.

Let’s say you had a large cash position in your portfolio near the bottom in 2008-2009. New cash, profits you’d taken, whatever …

Now, let’s say you used that cash and bought equities around that time, which turned out to be the bottom or near the bottom of the correction. Your return would be considerably different. And this is why rebalancing is so important to the success of your investments, portfolio and retirement plan.

If you’d been following a sound rebalancing strategy, you would have bought during the downturn in 2008-2009 because your asset allocation would have drifted away from your plan.

Let’s use a simple illustration:

• You bought 50 shares (or units of a mutual fund ) at an average cost of $7

• Then you bought 10 shares at $5 (you were brave and when the market dropped 50 per cent in panic selling, you saw opportunity)

• You then continued to deploy your cash while the market was cheap and bought 10 shares at $6 (because of your rebalancing strategy, which you follow automatically. You bought while prices were cheap because your asset allocation had changed.)

• The market rose dramatically after this period and your asset allocation reached your target. You stopped buying.

So, your adjusted cost is:

50 @ 7= 350
10 @ 5 = 50
10 @ 6 = 60

Your total cost was $460. The price now is $7.
7 x 70 = $490

You now have profit of $30, called a capital gain.

In reality, your transactions will be more complicated, and there will be dividend payments in there somewhere. But the simplicity of this example shows us how following asset allocation strategies with your investments will help you lower your Average Cost Base (ACB).

Your equity component would have been, percentage-wise, less than it had been. Your allocation plan would have kicked in, and you would have bought the underperforming equity investments.

Even if you did this more gradually, before, during, and after the correction, it would have lowered your average cost.

One way for Joe and Josephine Average to get a leg up is to take advantage of what’s available to them. Tax-preferred or (deferred) investments and plans, and sound portfolio strategies included.

But research shows they don’t. Volatility spooks them, and sadly, this will cost the average investor over the long-term.

When I was a kid …

An older colleague I used to work with said the following, loosely paraphrased, about his lack of savings and investments in his youth: “When I was a kid, I was convinced I wouldn’t make it to forty.”

Heavy pause.

“I was wrong …”

I had asked him why he didn’t have an RRSP because I wanted to understand how he thought. He later added that he had lost a ton of money in real estate (Canadians seem to have forgotten the real estate crash that happened in 1989-1990 – Americans have had a harsh reminder).

Looking at real estate in this context reinforces my point of view on buying assets when they’re low. While it took residential real estate a long time to recover from ’89-’90, today’s real estate prices (supported by an extended period of low interest rates) prove that buying assets when they’re cheap is rewarding.

Yet nobody wanted residential real estate in ’89-’90, and many developers lost their livelihoods during that time.

Raising awareness, being startegic

Raising awareness about the investing habits of Joe and Josephine Average will help them over the long-term. They need to better educate themselves about market volatility and be more strategic in their approach to it.

While this is easier said than done, it is one of the reasons the Warren Buffetts do better than the Joe and Josephines when it comes to investing and financial planning.

Market volatility, understood properly, is your friend. Reminding yourself of this completely reframes the way you look at the market, your investments and corrections.

Maybe your friend goes a little berserk once in a while. Maybe he’s a little impatient or a little irrational at times, but he’s still your friend.

You know you can count on him when you’re down. Looking at market events this way, despite difficult times, puts you in control.

Just make sure the relationship is a long, diversified one.

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Part Two — Market volatility: Why and how to make it work for you

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In Part One, I discussed some differences between the 1 per cent and 99.

How do the 1 per cent differ from the 99 when it comes to market volatility? Is there something the average investor can learn?

I’m not trying to defend the 1 per cent. What I am trying to do is point out that the market is public and that market volatility leaves no one untouched. No stone unturned.

I’m not here to talk about tax inequality or to defend either side. People like Warren Buffett have done that. There have been arguments for and arguments against Buffett.

What I’d like to focus on is:

While the 1 per cent have better intelligence and more powerful networks when it comes to investing, there are strategies the 99 can use to get ahead. Strategies Warren Buffett and the 1 per cent have been using for a long time.

If you’re a long-term investor, you can own a lot of the same assets. Granted, you may not get these assets at the same transaction costs due to scale, but you can own assets that should enrich you over time.

Have the wealthiest people sold all of their assets? Doubtful.

Do they sell them after market declines?

Well, let’s look at this rationally.

  • You need to find a buyer in order to sell your shares (the sheer scale of owning billions in assets means it’s harder to find a buyer when you sell)1
  • Liquidating such assets might cause some significant tax implications2
  • Because of professional counsel, the 1 per cent are exposed to more and better research than average investors, leading to fewer knee-jerk reactions in the face of market events

There would be barriers to the 1 per cent selling their assets.

Taxes …

You can see at least three articles above discussing whether taxes on investments and the 1 per cent are too low. There is definitely a movement afoot to examine these issues.

Let’s set the 1 per cent aside for a minute.

Remember, Joe Average gets a break on taxation for certain investments, too. So does his partner, Josephine. They may not get as big a break, but they do get a break.

They get a deduction for contributing to an RRSP. They get tax-free earnings in a TFSA. If they’re invested in dividend-paying equities outside of an RRSP or TFSA, they get tax-preferred income from those dividends.

Advice

Because the wealthy have the means to get good counsel when it comes to their investments and financial planning strategies, we can assume that those professionals counsel their clients:

  • To avoid panic selling
  • To rebalance regularly and systematically

Joe and Joe and Market Volatility

Now, what about Josephine and Joe Average? Are they taking advantage of the better prices presented through market volatility?

After the 2008-2009 correction, did the average investor take advantage of some of the cheapest prices we’ve seen in a generation? Is the average investor taking advantage of cheaper prices now?

Research says no. (Like to explore this idea further? I blogged about it in “Don’t Panic”.)

People concentrate on returns over a given period of time. But such assessments assume that you invested your money all at one time at the beginning of the period. How many investors do that?

Easy as ACB

Your Adjusted Cost Base (ACB), basically, how much you paid as you bought an investment, is a much more realistic measurement of how you’re doing.

If the broad market’s down 20 per cent, and you’re ACB is showing that your investment in a broad-based mutual fund or ETF has broken even, e.g. the investment’s price is 10 and your ACB is 10, you’ve done great.

Why? Because you’ve outperformed the market over the same period.

How did you accomplish this? By using excellent rebalancing strategies.

Of course, if you’ve had a more conservative position, you have to realize that when the market turns around, the broad index may start outperforming with respect to your investment. Your rebalancing plan will help with this, and sticking to that plan will help even more.

Figuring out who you are as an investor is important.

In Part Three, I’ll continue, focusing more on long-term strategy with a simple illustration of why that focus will make you a better investor.

Notes:

1The 1 per cent tend to buy shares of companies more than they buy mutual funds. Diversification isn’t as big a deal for them. They have the means to buy enough shares and still be adequately diversified. This isn’t true of the average investor. Some market experts say you should have at least a million dollars to invest to be adequately diversified when holding stocks. Others disagree. It’s true that the fewer companies you hold, the less diversified you are, and the more risk you’re taking on. Employees that held most of their investments in Enron or Nortel found this out the hard way when the stocks collapsed3.

2Taxation is another reason why the 1 per cent sell their holdings, e.g., experts have suggested Steve Jobs’ heirs sell their shares in Apple to avoid over $800 million in tax liabilities.

3More evidence for diversification comes by way of Bill Gates example. While he has significant wealth in Microsoft shares, he holds a lot of Berkshire Hathaway in order to further diversify his holdings. Forbes claims that more than half of Gates wealth is held outside Microsoft stock.

Follow @JohnRondina

Market volatility: Why and how to make it work for you

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Freaked out about the markets? You’re not alone.

This year’s market volatility has rattled investors. While nobody loves market volatility, the wealthiest members of society seem to tolerate it better than the average Canadian or American. At least, they don’t seem to cash out of their investments after large market drops, and, according to studies, many investors do.

What separates the wealthy from the average investor? What is it that causes Joe and Josephine Average to be less successful as investors than they could be?

Recent research on young people and financial literacy shows that fin lit is an area where young people need help. Kids aren’t alone. Many adults don’t understand financial markets. In “Kids and money: What kind of financial legacy are we leaving our children?”, you can find some startling information on adults and financial literacy.

Investing (and financial literacy generally) is a major factor separating the poor from the wealthy in Canada and the U.S. While this is obviously not the only factor determining household wealth, it is a large contributor.

The media’s been saturated with stories about the “1 and 99”. Awareness about the 1 per cent and the 99 per cent of society in the U.S., and about why the 1 per cent hold so much more wealth than the 99 per cent is high right now. The Occupy movement has gotten a lot of attention in the media despite criticism that the movement’s message is somewhat muddled.

Some facts about the extremely wealthy in Canada (the richest 1 per cent of Canadians who capture 32 per cent of all income growth, according to StatsCan):

  • They own an enormous proportion of our society’s wealth
  • They are major holders of stock, bonds and real estate
  • They tend to be well-informed when it comes to investing, or they seek out experts to assist them with their financial planning strategies
  • They understand market volatility much better than the average investor does (again, they seek out experts more than the average investor does)

Up down and all around

Market volatility has put terror into more than one heart. Especially that of the novice investor. The danger here is that fear will stop the average investor in his tracks.

But don’t the 1 per cent face market volatility as well?

The volatility during the last five years has been extraordinary. The market has undergone two of its most extreme periods of volatility starting in 2008 and ending in 2009 and then beginning again this year. And, yes, we’re still in the midst of it. We may be closer to the end of the current period of volatility, but that’s difficult to know given the number of variables involved.

In Part Two, I’ll discuss why market volatility is your friend, and how changing the way you look at volatility leads to superior returns.

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