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Feeling FOMO after the pandemic stock gains? It might be time to rethink your investing approach – The Globe and Mail

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Shot of a young businessman looking stressed during a late night in a modern officeCecilie_Arcurs

Stock markets have hit record highs while cryptocurrencies have exploded during the pandemic, but if you’re an investor tempted to jump in only because you missed out earlier, financial experts say you should take a step back, a deep breath and first reconsider how you approach investing.

Salman Ahmed, co-chief investment officer with investment firm Steadyhand in Vancouver, says there are investors, both new and experienced, who feel like they missed a golden opportunity.

Canadian saving rates shot up during the pandemic as people sat at home during extended periods of lockdown. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 index has more than doubled from its pandemic low in March, 2020, and many Canadians who invested in stocks – and cryptocurrencies – are richer than they were before COVID hit.

While North American markets are still climbing upward, they’re moving at a slower and rockier pace than before, with concerns that lingering cases of COVID-19, labour shortages and supply chain issues will limit what many thought would be a bustling post-pandemic economy.

But if you’re worried that the best gains are behind you, don’t be. Mr. Ahmed and other investment advisers say the period of rapid gains the market experienced during the pandemic will look tiny down the road – if your goal is to invest for the long term. And if you’re not thinking with that kind of timeline, he says it might be time to reconsider whether to invest in stocks at all.

“In the long chart they’re going to have in front of them 30 years from now, what they experienced in the last 18 months is going to be a blip. That’s the case when markets go down, and it’s the case when markets go up.”

Stephanie Douglas, a financial planner and cofounder of Harris Douglas Asset Management, said stepping into investing because of a fear of missing out, or FOMO, is the kind of mindset that’ll burn you in the short-term.

“Investing in this way, you’re much more likely to buy close to the top and sell close to the bottom because you constantly have this panicking that you missed out,” said Ms. Douglas, who is based in Toronto.

“You need to build a plan and use that plan to build your investment strategy according to your risk tolerance, your goals, and to me that’s a far better way to invest than finding something that’s favourable at the time.”

So how can you get started? If you’re investing in the stock market, then both Ms. Douglas and Mr. Ahmed say you have to be willing to invest for three or five years at the very least. Ideally, you’re looking at a longer term, such as 20 or 30 years, for exponential growth to really take place.

That’s because there needs to be enough time for your investment to recover from any downward volatility in markets, which is a reality to consider when investing in stocks.

The risks and rewards can be even higher if you’re considering investing in cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin and ethereum, which are up more than 300 per cent and 900 per cent, respectively, over the past year in Canadian dollar terms.

Mr. Ahmed said the reality is that we simply have less information about cryptocurrencies to use toward an educated investment decision, since they’re relatively new and regulatory decisions are still evolving.

“Know what the purpose of the investment is. If you’re investing in crypto as a gambling part of your portfolio, then allocate a part of your portfolio that is high risk, and that you’re willing to see go to zero,” said Mr. Ahmed, who added that all cryptos are different, with some that are more speculative, or new, than others.

Jason Heath, a financial planner and managing director with the fee-only planning firm Objective Financial Partners in Markham, Ont., said people looking to get started should consider one of the more than dozen robo-adviser companies that exist in Canada.

“Robo-advisers really have made investing accessible to young people or anyone with smaller amounts of money to invest,” said Mr. Heath.

“Some robo-advisers have no minimum investments, the fees are low and competitive, and you don’t have to worry about what to buy and when to sell.”

He pointed to companies such as Wealthsimple and Netwealth, which offer simple long-term saving accounts that allow you to invest in a mixture of stocks, exchange-traded funds, bonds, and commodities like gold, to have a diversified portfolio.

While some people may have profited heavily off of individual stocks, Mr. Heath warns they carry much more risk than ETFs.

“It’s been a pretty phenomenal year … and one concern I have is it gives people a false sense of investing prowess, that they might be able to continue generating great rates of return,” Mr. Heath said.

“Everyone’s a genius when stock markets are going up, but it’s important to have reasonable expectations about stock market returns.”

A reasonable goal for stock investors would be a return between 5 and 9 per cent, Mr. Heath said.

For consumers who want a more guided experience, there are firms like Mr. Ahmed’s Steadyhand that have minimum investments at $10,000, and aim to provide a service similar to what you’d get at firms that require a six- or seven-figure minimum investment.

Mr. Ahmed said that even people who profited wildly during the pandemic are coming to firms like his own, because they’re realizing that investing isn’t as simple as it seemed at the beginning of the pandemic.

“A lot of investors who did do well during that period have taken their chips off the table,” Mr. Ahmed said. “They realized they got lucky and got the timing really, really right and wanted to take some of their winnings to a diversified portfolio with us.”

For anyone who plans to invest for the long term, Mr. Heath and Mr. Ahmed have one last piece of advice: Invest now, not later.

“Statistically the best time to invest a lump sum is today, because stocks generally do rise,” said Mr. Heath, saying that over enough time, markets will provide good returns.

“People, even professionals, generally do a poor job of timing markets, so for any individual investor to think they can outsmart the markets, the odds are pretty low.”

Are you a young Canadian with money on your mind? To set yourself up for financial success and steer clear of costly mistakes, listen to our award-winning Stress Test podcast.

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Lightspeed China Raises $920 Million For Tech Investment – Forbes

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Lightspeed China Partners, whose founding partner James Mi ranked No. 51 on the 2021 Forbes Midas List, has raised $460 million for its Lightspeed China Partners V and $460M for its Lightspeed China Partners Select II. The capital raised marks the largest fundraising rounds in its history, Lightspeed China Partners said today.

The new funds, covering both early stage investments from Fund V and emerging growth stage investments from Select II in China, will focus on sectors including green tech, deep tech, enterprise tech, health tech and consumer.

“The funds’ oversubscription is evidence of the strong support garnered from returning and new institutional limited partners across the U.S., Europe and Asia,” Mi said in a press release.

Lightspeed China Partners manages $3 billion of committed capital across eight U.S dollar funds and one renminbi fund. In addition to green tech, Lightspeed China Partners has picked winners in the mobile internet, deep tech, and enterprise services space, including Meituan, Pinduoduo and Full Truck Alliance.  

China, the world’s No. 2 economy, accounted for more than a fifth of the members of this year’s Midas List.

See related posts:

China Accounts For More Than A Fifth Of New Midas List

China Mints Its Latest Green Billionaire

@rflannerychina

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N.B. Investment Awareness Campaign Targets Scam-Prone Millennials – 91.9 The Bend

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Millennials are more prone to lose money in financial scams than their elders.

With years of attention paid to educating older Canadians about protecting their money from fraud, it may be surprising that many younger investors have fallen victim to get-rich-quick pyramid schemes, bogus virtual currencies, and more.

Perhaps equally surprising is how New Brunswick’s financial and consumer services regulator feels Millennials are disinclined to take financial advice from a Crown corporation.

“We know this demographic is notoriously difficult to reach,” says Marissa Sollows, the director of education and communications with The Financial and Consumer Services Commission of New Brunswick (FCNB).

In an interview with Huddle, Sollows cites FCNB’s research, in addition to research coming from other provincial commissions, confirming millennial investors are in some cases at higher risk of falling for poor investment pitches or making decisions without the right financial knowledge.

In the first nine months of 2021, 20 New Brunswickers reported losing nearly $711,000 in crypto investment scams, according to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

“When we started looking at this situation in New Brunswick, it became clear as we saw different trends in DIY investing and interest in crypto and that this was an audience that we needed to try and reach,” explained Sollows.

Not your parents’ investment landscape

Sollows says Canadian investors in their 20s and 30s approach their finances from a different cultural perspective than their predecessors: research shows they are less likely to want to work with a financial advisor and want more hands-on control over their investments.

But Sollows says there is also fear that they don’t know enough about investing and are worried about losing money.

“To come from a regulator, we sort of recognized it wouldn’t work as well for this audience, who get their information from different sources and who have different levels of trust with those different sources,” said Sollows.

In an effort to respond with something meaningful for the Millennial segment, FCNB designed a new awareness campaign that was outside its traditional outreach.  Where social media has hooked young investors on finance, FCNB decided to put more of its campaign resources on YouTube, Twitter and, for the first time, TikTok.

For Sollows, that meant focusing not just on what channels Millennials were getting their financial information from, but also trying to understand how they were interacting with those they perceived as “experts” and where that financial advice was coming from – whether legitimate registered online trading platforms or somebody purporting to be an expert with a hot tip.

“There’s a much higher level of comfort, with the younger generation, with technology and with putting trust in their peers in these different online forums as opposed to going to a traditional financial advisor that their parents would have had more trust in,” says Sollows.

On Nov. 22, FCNB launched “The Right Recipe,” a new investor education campaign targeting Millennials and do-it-yourself investors with resources designed specifically for them.

FCNB campaign videos serve as explainers on a variety of topics–including fad investing, multi-level-marketing schemes, influencer scams, and high-risk investment products–while reinforcing the steps any investor can take to protect themselves and their money.

Do-it-yourself investing is exploding

Covid-19 lockdowns and uncertainty translated into a meteoric rise of online DIY investment platforms and trading apps, leading many to investment possibilities for the first time at the touch of a button. Others are getting their advice on social media and choosing instead to test unconventional methods. But, as Sollows points out, these often “prey on FOMO” (fear of missing out) on advertised payoffs.

The rise of “finfluencers” (a specific type of influencer who focuses on money-related topics) have made full use of platforms like TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube to get the attention of young investors.  Couple that with Millennials increasingly willing to devote cash on decentralized cryptocurrencies and hot stocks – with much of that advice coming at them through social media – and you’ve got a scene rooted in familiar tones.

Interactive Investor, A UK online investment service published a July survey showing more than half of young investors surveyed in the UK who have purchased cryptocurrency like bitcoin or dogecoin have done so using credit cards, or even student loan money.

More unconventionally, users of Reddit have made headlines swelling into pump-and-dump schemes targeting low-cost stocks for small companies.  Money inflating the value today might be worthless tomorrow on a pre-planned selloff, leaving young investors holding pennies of worthless stock days later.

Trendy concepts like “Impact Investing,” where a company gathers investment intenting to “generate measurable, beneficial societal and environmental impact, alongside a financial return,” have gotten young people to invest money for the promise of helping a greater good, which often leads to confusion and no return for the investor.

“It’s the same old scam,” according to Sollows, who says it’s just wrapped up in different wrapping paper with a different story around it.

“We’ve seen this kind of thing happen with ‘green investing’ in the past when renewable energy and so on was becoming really popular. The scammers would follow the headlines and build pitches around it.”

Financial awareness education is evolving

On the flipside, Sollows says there’s a need to help young investors navigate many of the legitimate online platforms out there. She hopes FCNB can be a trusted resource to help Millennials make some of their first investment decisions, especially when going the DIY route.

“The Right Recipe” depicts a fictional brewmaster who has heard a lot of financial tips over the years.

He’ll tell you that everybody knows someone who’s made a bundle in the markets. He figured if his customers could do it, why couldn’t he? The example allows the user to follow his investment journey, for better or worse, through videos.  That journey is everything from “listening to some rando’s advice on social media” to letting “FOMO be his guide” and blindly “following the latest investment trends.”

In addition to campaigns like “The Right Recipe,” FCNB also offers investment updates and fraud alerts emailed directly to those who sign up on its website and provides a variety of financial literacy topics through both in-person and through virtual presentations. Those sessions are offered to workplaces, classrooms, and the broader community, covering topics ranging from financial literacy and budgeting to investing to fraud prevention.

For navigating the investment learning curve and the possible pitfalls for young investors, Sollows believes the campaign would be a success if people used the information and experience of the brewmaster to instead follow their gut instead of social media when the offer seems too good to be true.

“If you’re being offered some crazy returns on things, and they’re telling you, ‘Oh, I can guarantee you’re going to make this much money and it’s so easy you don’t need to understand it — In any other aspect of your life, if somebody said that to you, would you keep the conversation going or would you walk away saying, ‘No thanks, I’m good.’”

FCNB’s The Right Recipe campaign will run until mid-February, in both English and French on most social media platforms and at: therightrecipe.ca.

Tyler Mclean is a reporter with Huddle, an Acadia Broadcasting content partner.

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Toronto index rebounds as energy stocks jump

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Canada‘s main stock index rebounded on Monday, after posting its biggest decline in more than a year in the previous session, as a near 5% jump in crude prices lifted energy stocks.

At 9:44 a.m. ET (14:44 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was up 86.7 points, or 0.41%, at 21,212.6.

The energy sector climbed 1.6%, gaining its footing after recording the worst session since Dec. 2020 on Friday.

Crude prices jumped as investors looked at the Omicron coronavirus variant concerns that led to a drop in oil and financial markets on Friday as exaggerated. [O/R]

Sentiment in global markets improved as investors waited for more details to assess the severity of the Omicron coronavirus variant on the world economy. [MKTS/GLOB]

“While market participants continue to have more questions than answers for the moment, the general tone coming into the new week certainly feels a lot less panicky,” said Arthur Hogan, chief market strategist at National Securities in New York.

The benchmark equity index’s record-breaking rally paused in the last few weeks as weakness in commodities and concerns around COVID-19 resurgence in Europe dented sentiment. However, the index was set to end the month in positive territory with consumer discretionary stocks and miners leading gains.

The materials sector, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, added 0.5%.

On the economic front, producer prices in Canada rose by 1.3% in October from September on higher prices for energy and petroleum products, Statistics Canada said.

Meanwhile, domestic investors await bank earnings this week and will be seeking more information on dividends and buybacks, as earlier this month Canadian regulators granted financial institutions approval to return more capital to shareholders.

HIGHLIGHTS

Oil producer Vermilion Energy Inc was the biggest percentage gainer on the index followed by lithium miner Lithium Americas Corp.

The TSX posted no new 52-week highs and one new low.

Across Canadian issues, there were five new 52-week highs and 13 new lows, with total volume of 46.61 million shares.

 

(Reporting by Amal S in Bengaluru; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi)

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