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One of the benefits of tracking our expenses each year is that we can identify spending trends and highlight any areas of concern. One troubling area is our overall household spending, which is on the rise. Those of you with growing families know that there’s the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which has hovered around 2.3 percent this year, and then there’s true household inflation.

Of note, our grocery spending increased 7.7 percent this year (even with a conscious effort to eat less meat). electricity nyc Our clothing budget stayed the same at just under $200 per month, thanks to having two girls (hand-me-downs!). We spent 8.5 percent more at restaurants this year, which is most likely a testament to our busier schedule. Perhaps related, we also spent 100 percent more on alcohol this year!

While I have nothing specifically budgeted to replace in 2019 I know I should plan for at least $2,500 in household maintenance next year. That’s in addition to factoring in higher household inflation for food, clothing, and kids’ activities. To counter that, we’ll try to reign in our restaurant spending and aim to cook more meals at home.

How did we save up enough points to do that? The quickest way is to sign up for The Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express ( use my referral link). Both my wife and I signed up this summer and each quickly earned 50,000 Marriott Points. We combined those points (you can transfer up to 100,000 points per year to another member) and I also applied for the SPG Business Card for an additional 50,000 points, plus transferred over another 40,000 Membership Rewards points from American Express.

Our portfolio is managed by one of the big bank’s private investment counsel, for a fee of course (1.5 percent annually). Our portfolio – a mix of non-registered, RRSP, LIF and TFSA accounts – is currently valued at about $2.1M. wd gaster theory Very recently I’ve become interested in moving about $1M of our non-registered funds away from their management and invest it myself by way of our discount brokerage account. wb state electricity board recruitment I am looking for the best and easiest methods/vehicles to obtain a decent average return. I’m not looking for home runs – I would be quite content with an average annual return of 7-8 percent.

Our advisor recently recommended that we move $1M of our non-registered funds into a segregated fund, which has a 1 percent annual management fee PLUS a separate $2,500/year active-management fee. I’m becoming weary of all these fees by wealth management firms. The returns never match expectations and “promises” made. I believe at this point that I could no worse investing on my own, if I’m very careful of course.”

Just doing the math on $2.1M and that’s $31,500 per year! Has that ever been expressed to you in dollar terms? Paying for advice can be worthwhile if you are receiving major financial planning, tax, and estate planning advice. So the question is, are you receiving that, and, is it worth $31,500 per year. electricity kwh I’m going to guess the answer is no.

To answer your question, my two-ETF portfolio is currently down about 2 percent on the year. I’m not panicking. This is perfectly normal. Remember, we’ve been on a nine year bull market run. gas nozzle stuck in car I know we’re used to seeing double-digit gains in the market but that is not sustainable each and every year. Markets are volatile and we should expect to see them go down or sideways from time to time.

Have you looked into Nest Wealth for your stock/bond portion? They are a robo-advisor that can place you into an appropriate portfolio of index ETFs (stocks and bonds from around the world) and they charge just $80 per month. No percentage of assets. That makes them a huge bargain for investors such as yourself with more than $1M in assets to invest. If you slashed your investment costs and then hired an advice-only planner to assist with financial planning, estate, and tax planning for a one-time fee, you’d pay far less in fees, improve your investment outcomes, and get objective, unbiased advice on the rest of your financial needs. Two ETF Portfolio vs. VGRO

I’ve just discovered you and your site from the Rational Reminder podcast. I’ve been so excited by what I’ve been learning and this fall I opened up a Questrade Account and have moved my TFSA, RRSP and RESP to this self-directed platform. gas prices under a dollar Up until I’d listened to the podcast, I was on track to purchase Vanguard’s VGRO. I love the simplicity and the asset allocation even though I’m 48 and my husband is 44.

Because I’ve come to the investing table later in life, I feel like I’ve got some catching up to do. Your asset allocation of 75 percent / 25 percent in VXC/VCN seemed amazing to me. electricity formulas physics Am I crazy at my age for considering it? My husband will have a teacher’s pension, but outside of that we have a paid for condo ($600,000), but only $25,000 combined in our RRSPs and TFSAs, and $60,000 in an RESP. Come January, we plan to contribute $1,000 per month to the TFSA.

Hey Jennifer, thanks for your email. Vanguard’s asset-allocation ETFs came around after I had already set up my two-ETF portfolio and I haven’t bothered to switch. The main reason is because I prefer to be in 100 equities at this time (I’m 39), but I’m not opposed to switching to VGRO some time down the road. (VGRO is 80 percent stocks and 20 percent bonds).

When in doubt, I’d go with the simple solution and concentrate more on contributing as much as you can. Catch up on your investments by increasing your savings rate, not by trying to eke out an extra bit of return. Trust me, once you go down that path it’s a slippery slope to constantly second guess yourself and tinker with your portfolio far too often.

“Hi Robb, I was recently talking with a family member about retirement savings plans and came across a Saskatchewan based firm called Golden Opportunities Fund (a family member was maxing out contributions into this) and also another called Sask Works Venture Fund. These funds are subsidized by government tax credits and support local Sask companies. gas knife lamb I thought this might be interesting as its a significant up front tax credit that I can re-invest into something else.

Hi Jonathan, thanks for your email. I’m glad you’re looking out for your family members. I had not heard of the Golden Opportunity Fund but it looks like a classic Labour Sponsored Investment Fund. It’s legitimate, but highly controversial and the program has been eliminated in some provinces, although obviously not in Saskatchewan. It was a way for governments to assist with riskier venture capital like mining and oil & gas exploration.