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Sorting accumulated investment clutter key to worry-free retirement plan – GuelphToday



CALGARY — A long life of assorted jobs, good times, hard times, moves and mistakes can result in an investment portfolio that looks like a jumbled basement storage closet.

Your working life goal of accumulating as many assets as possible to build a nest egg for retirement ends along with your employment income when retirement day arrives at last.

Now, investment experts say, de-cluttering those tangled stocks, bonds, mutual funds and can’t-miss-opportunities — and making sense of them so they last at least as long as you do — is your most important chore.

“Many people, especially those who live here in Alberta, have had a lot of different jobs throughout their careers,” said Willis Langford of Langford Financial Inc., a retirement income adviser in Calgary.

“So they may come with a TFSA (tax-free savings account), RSP (retirement savings plan), they may have a LIRA, which is a locked-in retirement account, they may have a defined benefit pension plan, a defined contribution pension plan, plus they have non-registered accounts.

“And those, technically, could be all over the place in multiple carriers with financial institutions all across Canada.”

Returns are vitally important when accumulating investment assets but tax planning and managing risk gain priority when retirement becomes a reality, Langford said.

“If you’ve got things in your plan of action that don’t fit, you’ve got a mumble-jumble, you’ve got stuff bought over the years and nobody can remember why, you have to do something about that,” said Adrian Mastracci, Vancouver-based fiduciary portfolio manager for Lycos Asset Management.

“Quite often, people come in and they’ve got 30, 35 mutual funds. I have no idea how somebody can look after 30, 35 mutual funds. Or even 15.”

Cluttered portfolios are often marked by missing written plans, non-existent savings projections, too many scattered accounts and either too many or too few different classes of investments.

They can contain mutual funds where costs and exit charges are unclear. Or different funds that contain the same kinds of securities.

Both Langford and Mastracci recommend finding a single trusted adviser to look at the entire portfolio and give advice on how to clean it up.

They recommend choosing someone who is paid with fees, not commissions, to get the most unbiased recommendations.

The result should be a schedule of actions designed to provide maximum income and tax efficiency with the least amount of risk over the client’s expected remaining lifespan.

“How you take income from those sources will dictate how much taxes you pay over your lifetime. If you don’t do it right, you will pay more than necessary,” said Langford, adding improper tax planning can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The adviser should be chosen for what he or she can do for you, said Mastracci. Different clients need different services depending on the size and complexity of their investment portfolio.

A good retirement planner should also be able to help the client track down investments he or she has lost track of by tracing past employers and going through records, he said.

He presented the example of a 65-year-old client whose goal is an income of $100,000 a year for the rest of his life.

That could mean 20 or 30 years or more, which is where the math gets complicated enough to test even the smartest non-professional investors.

“Chances are your portfolio will not receive any savings from you, the client, for that period of time,” Mastracci warned.

He added: “Sometimes you have to tell the client something he doesn’t want to hear.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 16, 2020.

Dan Healing, The Canadian Press

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Europe's top firms must double low-carbon investment – study – Financial Post



LONDON — Europe’s top companies need to more than double their current level of spending on low-carbon projects to meet the European Commission’s flagship goal of ‘climate neutrality’ by 2050, according to a report released on Tuesday.

The major study of 882 publicly-traded companies across multiple sectors by climate research provider CDP and consultancy Oliver Wyman showed they spent 124 billion euros ($134.1 billion) on capital investment and research and development in 2019.

That amounted to around 12% of total investment. To be on track to meet the goal of net-zero emissions by 2050 however, that figure needs to jump to 25%, said CDP Europe’s Managing Director Steven Tebbe.

The biggest areas for new investment were electric vehicle technologies, with spend of some 43 billion euros, renewable energy, at 16 billion euros, and energy grid infrastructure, at 15 billion euros, the report said.

“Some European companies are making bold new low-carbon investments to roll out renewables, build greener infrastructure, buy electric vehicles and make manufacturing more energy-efficient,” Tebbe said.

“But there is a huge opportunity to do more, and we need to see more action across the board.”

While doubling capex spend was “a big ask,” Tebbe said the costs of inaction were higher still. The companies assessed account for around three-quarters of the EU’s total emissions and the same amount of its stock market capitalisation.

“To help fill this investment gap, there’s a serious need for policymakers and investors to help companies finance the breakthrough technologies of the future,” he added.

CDP, which works with companies and investors to help them manage their climate risk, is largely backed by funding from philanthropic and government grants.

European policymakers are aiming to reduce emissions targets to 50%-55% below 1990 levels by 2030 and to achieve climate neutrality by 2050 as part of a 1 trillion euro ($1.1 trillion) European Green Deal.

In a bid to achieve its goal, the EU last week opened a public consultation on how companies report the social and environmental impact of their activities, amid concern the current rules on corporate sustainability disclosures are not tough enough.

($1 = 0.9246 euros) (Reporting by Simon Jessop; Editing by Jan Harvey)

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Money Hunter: A Smart Investment – Montreal Alouettes



He was born Monshadrik Hunter, but in the football world, everyone calls him Money. And he may be one of the smartest investments our Alouettes have made since the free-agent market opened earlier this month. On February 12, Money officially joined the Montreal crew after spending two years with the Edmonton Eskimos. The defensive back recorded 59 tackles, two interceptions and one sack in 2019 – his first season as a starter in the CFL – and, being only 24-years old, he surely still has much more to bring to the table.

Following Into a Hall of Famer’s Footsteps

As he hit Free Agency, Money knew one thing: he’d be good wherever Barron Miles was. As a matter of fact, Barron played an important role in persuading Money to come to Montreal, just like he largely contributed to his protege’s evolution as a pro.

Last year, I started watching more film and working on game plans. Having Barron there really helped me understand the game better and dissect it,” says the DB. “He taught me how to study the game and I knew I’d be comfortable playing for him again.

Adding Some Bite to the Defence

According to GM Danny Maciocia, our recruit has what it takes to be a serious candidate at the strongside linebacker position. So far in his professional career, Money has seen playing time at safety and halfback. Fulfilling the role of SAM would take him back to his high school years, but he’s ready and willing to do whatever it takes to help his team. Plus, everyone agrees: Money’s versatility is one of his best assets. He has the ability to stop the run game, to get to the quarterback if needed or to drop back into coverage.

He can perform at multiple positions,” Barron Miles explains. “He’s going to add a little bite to the secondary. He’s long, fast and rangy. Now that he’s in his third season, the game will be slower for him and he can only get better.

It takes a special kind of relentlessness to be able to hit literally everybody on the field. Think of Patrick Levels in 2019. Those who appreciated his fire will certainly learn to love Money’s bite. Standing at 6’1, he has the potential to become a serious threat if he continues to focus on his technique.

I love playing this game more than anything. So much so, that I’ve been working on controlling my passion,” he admits. “Some people will say I can be a hothead. I know I don’t play calm, but I just have to constantly put that energy into my technique.

While he may be known for his intensity on the field, Money spends most of his off-time relaxing at home with his four (soon to be five) year-old daughter, Miya. As a matter of fact, the little cutie, who was born on April Fool’s Day, will be moving with him to Montreal this summer. Her presence, he says, helps him stay levelled. Something he will want to be coming into the 2020 season.

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If you invested $1,000 in American Express 10 years ago, here's how much you'd have now – CNBC



American Express’ 2019 fourth-quarter earnings, announced late last month, beat Wall Street expectations.

With the company’s adjusted annual profit coming in 12% higher in 2019 than in 2018, that was good news for the company and for shareholders.

If you invested $1,000 in the financial institution 10 years ago, your investment would be worth more than $4,000 as of Feb. 18, for a total return of 301%, according to CNBC calculations. By comparison, in the same time frame, the S&P 500 had a total return of just over 275%. American Express’ current share price was slightly above $129 on Monday, down more than 4% in morning trading amid growing fears of the economic effects of coronavirus

While American Express’ shares have done well over the years, past performance is no sign of future results.

CNBC: American Express’ stock as of February 2020.

How American Express got its start

American Express dates to 1850, when it started as a freight shipping company. The company began introducing financial products and services and by the 1950s, Amex launched its first consumer charge card.

In 1966, it put forth a corporate card program for businesses, and in 1991, created its first loyalty program, now called Membership Rewards. The program serves to incentivize users with benefits and encourage member loyalty.

Since then, American Express has continued to reiterate its financial offerings by introducing lines of debit and credit cards as well as banking services. Today, it’s one of the world’s largest financial corporations with more than 63 million cardholders.

American Express’ stock performance

Through the years, American Express stock gone up and down.

Like many financial institutions, the company saw its stock sink around the time of the 2008 recession. By February 2009, its share price landed at just over $11.

In February 2015, the market value of American Express fell by around $8 billion within 48 hours after it announced the loss of a lucrative contract with Costco, which was set to expire in March 2016. The contract termination had shareholders worried about how much revenue Amex would lose and how it would impact their investments.

In October 2017, it was also announced that Kenneth Chenault, chairman and CEO for 17 years, would step down in February 2018 as American Express struggled to find its place in a modern market.

Despite the problems, Amex stock returned 5.4% annually under Chenault’s tenure. That’s close to double the 2.6% annual return of the financial sector during that period.

The latest on American Express

American Express attributed its Q4 success to the “well-balanced mix” it’s been able to strike between spending and fee and lending revenues. The card issuer reported that nearly 70% of new card members in 2019 went for fee-based products, which helped to grow card fee revenue by 17% last year.

Millennials are also big fans of Amex. In January, CNBC’s Jim Cramer credited young people with helping the company reach its better-than-expected quarter. “Millennials are really signing up, 50% of the new cards. That business is great,” Cramer said during a “Mad Money” lightning round.

This month, Amex also announced a new reservation booking tool for Platinum and Centurion members. The feature will allow cardholders to browse, book and manage reservations all in one place using their mobile device. And eligible users can make multiple reservations per day at over 10,000 restaurants worldwide.

If you are considering getting into investing, experts, including Warren Buffett, often advise starting with index funds, which hold a basket of companies. Because index funds aren’t tied to the performance of a single business, they’re less risky than individual stocks, making them a safer choice for beginners.

Here’s a snapshot of how the markets look now.

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