Investments: How it works, who can do it and what your options are.
Save money, make money, and gain peace of mind. Banking requires an honest conversation and open relationship. Build a comprehensive and flexible plan that both reaches your goals and fits your lifestyle today. Be confident when making your saving, borrowing and investment decisions with a few tips to get you started.
How it works – build a plan
Savings hidden under your mattress? Give it a purpose. $500 is enough to get you rolling as a new investor. Consider your needs, goals and values when building your financial plan.
A values-based financial plan aligns your entire financial picture with your personal values, and explores a range of options to help you achieve them. After that, take the reins with your Qtrade Investor tools, or work with your personal banker.
We’re good at financial planning and we can get you started with a plan for free.
Figure out which type of investor you are.
Whether you are investing for retirement or for other financial goals, it's important to know what type of investor you are. Every investor should be able to answer these three questions:
1. What is my tolerance for risk?
As an investor, you need to accept that some level of risk is inherent in all investments, and there will be ups and downs along the way. Your tolerance for risk — whether aggressive, conservative, or somewhere in between — determines how much growth potential you pursue with your investment portfolio. It's a fundamental principle that to earn a higher return, you have to be comfortable taking on more risk. So, the question is: how much fluctuation in the value of your investments are you willing to accept, in exchange for the prospect of higher long-term returns?
Stocks have historically had higher risk but higher long-term returns than bonds or cash-based investments. If you choose to hold a high percentage of stocks in your portfolio, you should be willing to experience some volatility.
Bonds are generally less volatile than stocks but offer more modest returns. If you don't consider yourself an aggressive investor, then you might have a higher proportion of bonds in your portfolio.
Cash and cash equivalents, such as GICs and money market mutual funds, are the safest investments, but offer the lowest returns. The chances of losing money on cash-based investments are negligible, so they make sense if you're nearing a financial goal. But for a long-term investor, playing it safe with a higher percentage of cash in your portfolio makes less sense: returns may not keep up with inflation, and your purchasing power can gradually be eroded.
2. What is my timeline?
Your timeline is the amount of time from now until you'll need to access your investments. It's an important factor when considering risk and asset allocation. The key consideration is that the potential impact of market volatility is greater in the short term than over the long term.
For example, if you plan to borrow money from your RSP to buy a home within the next year, then you have a short-term time horizon, and safety of principal is paramount. You'll choose cash-based investments, even though the expected return will be low. If you're building your RSP portfolio for retirement in 20 years, then you have a long-term time horizon. You can afford to be less concerned about short-term market volatility, and choose growth-oriented investments.
Even if you're approaching retirement, your time horizon could still be quite long. Canadians are enjoying longer and healthier lives. Today, a 65 year old is more likely than not to live well into his or her eighties. A typical retirement could last 20, 25 or even 30 years.
While safety of principal naturally becomes a higher priority at retirement, it still makes sense for most retirees to keep a portion of their RSP or RIF assets in longer-term, growth-oriented investments. In most cases, a balanced portfolio that includes equities, fixed income and cash makes the most sense.
3. How involved do I want to be in my investment decisions?
If you enjoy following the markets, researching companies, and learning how to evaluate the quality of individual securities, and you're able to spend the time required to monitor your holdings, then you can choose to build a retirement savings portfolio of individual securities.
If you prefer to spend less time evaluating and tracking investments, you can still maintain control of your self-directed portfolio by choosing ETFs, professionally managed mutual funds, or complete portfolio solutions.
No matter which type of investor you are, Qtrade Investor provides everything you need to manage your self-directed RSP or other investment account: low commissions, outstanding service and powerful tools and research, all in an easy-to-use platform.
Know your options. Ask us for help.
We have amazing financial planners with a wide range of investment planning tools (they’ve even won awards).
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The Legal Stuff:
First Calgary Financial Investment Services offers life insurance through First Calgary Financial Investment Services Limited an insurance agency licensed with the Alberta Insurance Council. Online brokerage services are offered through Qtrade Investor. Mutual funds, other securities and securities related financial planning services are offered through Qtrade Advisor. Qtrade Investor and Qtrade Advisor are divisions of Credential Qtrade Securities Inc. Mutual Funds and securities related financial planning services are also offered through Qtrade Asset Management Inc., Member MFDA.