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First Choice Savings’ financial experts have answers to your questions



If you have more questions about the different types of investment boxes, April can offer greater detail. them as the different kinds of boxes they can invest in.

“So, you have the RRSP box, your tax-free savings box and then your non-registered boxes that are not in one of those plans.

The money that goes into an RRSP box or a tax-free box, can be invested in multiple ways. The advantage to an RRSP is that every dollar you put into it is like a dollar you haven’t technically ‘made’ and you get a tax rebate at the end of the tax year on the amount that you’ve contributed. So, you get the tax break upfront with the RRSP and that money is meant for long term – meant for retirement, meant for when you don’t have your regular income coming in and you can start to withdraw from that. So, think of that as the long-term saving.”

“The Tax-Free Saving is more for large amounts that you want to invest, that you could access sooner that retirement or, could also be saved for extra income at retirement or extra savings for retirement. Every dollar that you put into that, which you earn interest on, you don’t pay tax on – even when you take it out.”

A growth tax shelter, is the same as the RRSP, but when you need access to your money in your tax-free savings account (TFSA), you don’t have any tax penalties.”

With interest rates so low, is it worth investing?

April says the short answer is yes, “In the boxes, you can invest in multiple ways – for example, there’s GIC is a guaranteed investment (Guaranteed Investment Certificate) – it has a lower interest but you know what you’re going to get at the end of the term. Those can be invested in both the RRSP and the Tax-free savings, you can invest in mutual funds that give you potential higher returns, if you’re in it for the long-haul, and that can also be in an RRSP or Tax-free savings. So, the myth of an RRSP or a tax-free savings account is low interest is not really accurate. It’s what you’re investing inside those boxes.”

What about young people who are just leaving college or university, who may think they don’t have to worry about investing yet?

April dispels that myth, “Starting early means you have more time for your money to compound and grow. So, the ‘rule of 72’ is the amount of interest divided by 72 is how many years it takes your money to double, so the longer time frame you have to invest, the higher your money will grow. The longer time you have in any investment, whether it be GIC’s or the market such as mutual funds, the longer your money ha to grow.”

“Start early – that’s the big one. I love helping young get started, they’re my favourite cause they’re moldable, they want to learn, they listen to you. I often say, just get into the habit of putting something away – $20 a month, $20 a pay-cheque – just get that habit and as you get raises over the years, you can increase that amount, but you can start seeing your money start to grow and you’re paying yourself first. Money is going into investment, to pay you – it’s your money.”

When people are looking for information about investing – how does that work?

“Anyone who comes in, they are more than welcome to sit down and have a conversation and we show them different calculators, show them physically how their money can grow, we can tech people and educate and we don’t charge anything for that service. We are a Credit Union, we’re locally owned and operated, we help our communities that we live in, we pay back to our communities, so we are here to help the people who live in those communities.”

There is a specific product they are featuring over the first few months before tax time.

“We are featuring this new investment product from January to March 6. It’s really exciting because it give people options and some flexibility and we’re calling it “Flex Invest” and it is a five year term product that you invest your money in and it’s still completely guaranteed, so all the money you put in is 100 per cent safe and guaranteed and he interest floats with prime. So prime, minus one-and-a-half per cent is what the interest rate will be. So, if interest rates go up, your investment rate will go up and if the rate goes down, it will follow that as well. But, keep in mind that the investment that you put in is always going to be guaranteed, so you won’t lose any of the principle or interest that you earned.”

It’s a five-year term, but can the money be accessed before the term ends, in the event of an emergency?

“Yes, this one is really unique. We’ve never had an option like this before so on the anniversary date of when you put the money in, you’re allowed to redeem 20 per cent of the balance that you put into it. You’re also allowed to contribute more to it on the anniversary date and that gives it a nice flexibility to if you can’t always put in the amount that you want to start with, every year, you can add to it and help it to grow.”

“Another cool thing about the Flex Invest is that it is eligible for all the boxes, so it’s eligible for the Tax-Free savings, the RRSP and for non-registered money, and the non-registered just means that it’s not in a sheltered growing investment, so you do pay the tax on the interest that you earn.”

One other thing to note, is that with the RRSP’s and the Tax-Free savings, you do have maximum contribution limits, so we always advise people to check their notice of assessment or call CRA (Canada Revenue Agency) to make sure they know how much they are allowed to put into the investment.”

“First Choice Savings is locally owned and operated in Southern Alberta – with locations in Taber, Lethbridge, Cardston and Magrath – and we really help our communities by giving back to school functions, to rodeos, sports teams, or individuals. When you become a member of First Choice Savings, you actually become a member-owner and that gives you a voice in the say of what we do in our communities. We really appreciate our members, value our members and help them reach their financial goals.”

For more information or to set up an investment discussion, contact First Choice Savings

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Nicholas Kyriacopoulos: How to invest properly in 2021 and beyond –



Entrepreneurs like Nicholas Kyriacopoulos know the importance of how to invest during uncertain times, and it would be fair to say that the last year or so has had a few surprises for everyone following investment markets. While this change and volatility can be very profitable for those who make the right decisions, it also makes those right decisions harder to discern.

Nicholas Kyriacopoulos

The fundamentals of good investment have not changed, however, and will continue to help investors in the future:

Keep it simple

Keeping it simple is a good rule for many areas in life, and investment is definitely one of them.

How much time do you really want to spend managing your investment portfolio, and what kind of returns would make that commitment worth it to you?

If your investment portfolio takes careful attention and management to work, you need to be prepared to give it the time it needs. Keeping a simpler portfolio that doesn’t need as much attention paid to it can be a better option for people who have limited time to spend on their investment decisions.

That doesn’t mean you should necessarily take a ‘set it and forget it’ approach to investment, but absolutely consider the additional time commitment and stress of each potential investment and whether it is worth your time.


Diversification improves reliability and reduces the risk of just about every investment portfolio. Your investments should always be varied enough that even when a few of your investments are in a slump, you will still have enough winners to make a minimum return.

Many entrepreneurs like Nicholas Kyriacopoulos from Toronto recommend holding a variety of asset types as well as stocks. For example, consider bonds and real estate as part of your overall portfolio; make sure you have stocks associated with several different industries.


According to Nicholas Kyriacopoulos, be open to the concept of rebalancing. As market conditions changes, look to shift your portfolio away from investments that with less promising prospects and up your investments in markets that look ready to rise. 

Nicholas Kyriacopoulos gives a simple example of rebalancing from the latter half of 2020. While oil prices were not looking great for most of the year, there were signs of incoming change. As a result, some investors sold oil assets over the summer and later purchase oil stocks. They then saw great returns when the stocks surged in November.

Asset allocation

As an experienced investor in Toronto, Nicholas Kyriacopoulos advises careful consideration of your current situation and future financial goals. For the most part, this is about the amount of risk you can take on and your ability to recover if an investment doesn’t go your way.

If you still have decades left to work and rebuild, you can afford to take more risks than if you are approaching retirement and are looking for holdings you can rely on for a long time.

Consider your long-term goals

Nicholas Kyriacopoulos observes that besides your current situation, you also need to think about long-term goals. Where do you want to be in five, ten, or twenty years, and what can you do along the way to ensure your investment takes you in the right direction? Setting goals and having plans is just as important in 2021 as it has always been.

Don’t ignore your instincts

As Nicholas Kyriacopoulos, investing does involve risk and it sometimes means going with what you feel deep in your gut. While your decisions should always be backed by data and analysis of the market, following your instincts make it easier to have confidence in your decisions.

Your instincts can come about as a result of noticing minor details others are not noticing. If the feeling is strong enough, take the risk.

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Investor Education Month Encouraging Investment Opportunities – 91.9 The Bend



October is Investor Education Month, and the Financial and Consumer Services Commission (FCNB) is using the time to encourage New Brunswickers to think about investment opportunities.

Investor Education Month is a national initiative aimed to provide Canadians with more investor information.

“(As well), to understand their investment decisions, implications of them, and their responsibilities in the decision-making process, and particularly now with new online ways to investing,” said Marissa Sollows, director of education and communications for FCNB.

Sollows mentioned, FCNB has noticed over the years New Brunswickers are becoming more comfortable with investing.

“And as it becomes more accessible to people, we are seeing more New Brunswickers starting to put money away for their future, so that’s positive.”

The majority of New Brunswickers are investing in mutual funds, which is the most common product that investors hold.

Meantime, FCNB has also discovered investing is gaining popularity in young people.

“It could be due to increased media, or an increased use of social media coverage that they’re being exposed to investing topics, and wanting to get in and try a little bit earlier … and there are new trends that are becoming more popular with younger investors like DIY investing and using different online tools and apps,” said Sollows.

Sollows encourages new investors to meet with a registered investment professional and added the future looks quite exciting but will also present some challenges.

Throughout the month, FCNB will provide investor guides, videos, and social media posts on how to be an informed investor.

At any time of year, New Brunswickers can turn to the commission’s website for unbiased investor and consumer tools and information.

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Bitcoin tops $60,000, nears record high, on growing U.S. ETF hopes



Bitcoin hit $60,000 for the first time in six months on Friday, nearing its all-time high, as hopes grew that U.S. regulators would allow a futures-based exchange-traded fund (ETF), a move likely to open the path to wider investment in digital assets.

Cryptocurrency investors have been waiting for approval of the first U.S.  ETF for Bitcoin , with bets on such a move fuelling its recent rally.

The world’s biggest cryptocurrency rose 4.5% to its highest level since Apr. 17, and was last at $59,290. It has risen by more than half since Sept. 20 and closing in on its record high of $64,895 hit in April.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is set to allow the first U.S. bitcoin futures ETF to begin trading next week, Bloomberg News reported on Thursday.

Such a move would open a new path for investors to gain exposure to the emerging asset, traders and analysts said.

“ETFs open up a raft of avenues for people to gain exposure, and there will be a swift move to these structures,” said Charles Hayter, CEO of data firm CryptoCompare, which tracks ETF products.

“It reduces the frictions for investors to gain exposure and gives traditional funds room to use the asset for diversification purposes.”

Bitcoin’s moves on Friday were spurred by a tweet from the SEC’s investor education office urging investors to weigh risks and benefits of investing in funds that holds bitcoin futures contracts, said Ben Caselin of Asia-based crypto exchange AAX.


Graphic: Bitcoin on the rise


Several fund managers, including the VanEck Bitcoin Trust, ProShares, Invesco, Valkyrie and Galaxy Digital Funds have applied to launch bitcoin ETFs in the United States.

Crypto ETFs have launched this year in Canada and Europe, growing in popularity amid surging interest in digital assets.

SEC Chair Gary Gensler has previously said the crypto market involves many tokens which may be unregistered securities and leaves prices open to manipulation and millions of investors vulnerable to risks.

Citing people familiar with the matter, the Bloomberg report said proposals by ProShares and Invesco, based on futures contracts, were filed under mutual fund rules that Gensler has said provide “significant investor protections”.

The SEC did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the report.

“It’s one of the final frontiers for mandate access,” said Joseph Edwards, head of research at crypto broker Enigma Securities.

“Plenty of Americans in particular have strings attached to how they deploy a lot of their wealth. It allows bitcoin to get in on the sorts of windfall that keep U.S. equities as consistently strong as they are.”


(Reporting by Tom Wilson in London and Alun John in Hong Kong, and Mrinmay Dey and Shubham Kalia in Bengaluru; editing by Alexander Smith and Jason Neely)

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