March 23, 2021

Creating the ideal retirement portfolio

By Gordon Powers, Sympatico / MSN Finance

Sadly, many people have found out too late that stocks are suitable only for money that they won't need for several years. No one knows the ideal time horizon for holding stocks but you can be certain that it's extremely risky for money that you think you'll need in a year or two.

And if you didn’t know this before, 2008’s meltdown brought it home with a vengeance.

Older investors, in particular, need to be wary of market downturns as they enter what York University prof Moshe Milevsky has labelled the "retirement risk zone" — namely, the period just before or after they leave work.

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February 26, 2022

Is buy and hold dead and gone?

By Gordon Powers, Sympatico / MSN Finance

Given that we’ve never seen a 10-year stretch as bad as this one, it’s not surprising that so many people feel that that buying and holding stocks is a mug’s game.

In fact, according to Jeff Macke, the loudest of CNBC’s strident Fast Money crew, 2008 will go down in history as the year that long-term investing died altogether.  

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February 16, 2022

CPP will be there when you need it

By Gordon Powers, Sympatico / MSN Finance

Sliding markets sent assets tumbling by $8.5-billion at the Canada Pension Plan in the most recent quarter. This, the second consecutive drop, means the fund's assets shrunk by $18.8-billion over the last six months of 2008.

That’s a big number … and more fodder for alarmists who want you to think that the sky is falling, taking your hard-earned retirement money along with it. Don’t believe them.

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January 29, 2022

Stock market to pick up in 2009

By Gordon Powers, Sympatico / MSN Finance

Although I wouldn’t bet the farm on it, the Super Bowl has been a relatively successful predictor of how the stock market will perform going back to the big game’s inception in 1967.

According to this theory, a win by a team from the old National Football League means stocks will end higher for that year, while a win by an old American Football League team means the bears reign on Wall Street.

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January 16, 2022

The end of oil?

By Gordon Powers, Sympatico / MSN Finance

The study of "peak oil" - the point at which half the total oil known to have existed has gone up in smoke, beyond which supplies steadily dwindle - was once the sport of squinty-eyed academics. It wasn’t taken seriously by business or consumers, mainly because oil has always been cheap and plentiful.

Well, we know where that got us. Now, thanks to China’s second great leap, global warming and recent record oil prices, the debate has shifted from if to when. If consumption grows at even a modest pace low, then, according to U.S. Department of Energy estimates, we may reach the turning point as early as 2035.

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January 12, 2022

Will history repeat itself?

By Gordon Powers, Sympatico / MSN Finance

After shredding their yearend statements, it’s easy to see why so many investors are quick to challenge the boring advice of staying the course and continuing to invest regularly. Why bother throwing good money after bad, they ask?

Of course, if they don’t believe that stock markets are ever going to recover, then they’re probably right. But if you feel, as I do, that it’s still possible for market results to again reflect their historical average then you have to keep going.

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January 09, 2022

One country, one stock market

By Deirdre McMurdy, Sympatico / MSN Finance

The big news in financial markets - and political circles - next week is going to be the release of a report by an expert panel on the creation of a single securities regulator for Canada.

The acceptance of this panel report by the provinces, which currently regulate 13 individual markets across the country, is an important event for Canadian investors for several reasons.

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December 10, 2021

Are stocks ridiculously cheap?

Investorblog121008 by Gordon Powers, Sympatico / MSN Finance

Finally, an optimist emerges.

While trying to keep his head during what he labels “the worst market crash since the Great Depression” Paul Larson, longtime editor of Morningstar Stockinvestor, reminds us that …

1. The market is inherently volatile, and there’s no telling when the volatility is going to stop — or where the bottom is. Only invest money that you won’t need for a couple of years, he suggests.

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November 27, 2021

So there really is no free lunch

Marketsblog112798 by Gordon Powers, Sympatico / MSN Finance

Buried in this Canadian Press item about soaring fund redemptions, there’s a brief mention of the $1.4-billion in “involuntary” sales recently triggered by principal protected notes providers switching into survival mode. 

What this really means is that thousands of investors are only now realizing that there’s no chance of them realizing a profit on the PPNs they bought, even if markets take off like a rocket in the coming years. 

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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...