Most Canadians experience an increase in expenses during the winter holiday season. People enjoy giving gifts, entertaining, donating and generally feeling the spirit of the season.

So much of the investment industry is focused on the “how” – how to get enhanced returns, how to build a portfolio, how to save tax, or how to capture the “next big thing”.

Revisiting your tax strategy towards the end of the year is a terrific way to use the benefit of hindsight and market movements to optimize your strategy.

I selected this week’s article based on two amazing conversations I had this week. The common thread between these two conversations, and the article that follows, is that a financial plan helps you pause, reassess your current state of affairs and might even enable you to imagine a better path forward.

The 60-40 portfolio strategy is a touchstone for the industry, and shorthand for the tried and trusted method of protecting capital from wild market swings. There are endless variations on this theme, largely dependant on client risk tolerance and time horizon, but the navigational starting point of a “balanced” 60% stocks and 40% bonds mix has endured.

Everyone is talking about inflation and its effect on every-day life but few are changing their every-day behaviour. This article makes an interesting connection between the recent long-term bull market coupled with low interest rates and the “wealthy-ness” effect – the comfort that Canadians have felt in increasing their personal spending.

Our House, the gentle Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young classic – written, incidentally, by Graham Nash – strikes an emotional beat familiar to many homeowners or wannabe homeowners. The song describes an everyday scene yet it’s beloved by millions because, as the cliché goes, home is where the heart is.

This article offers a different take on investing for yield; i.e. dividend income. In turbulent markets, high yield implies that the underlying investment may be struggling since yield is inversely related to the price of the stock.

My early meetings with clients revolve around determining what they want to accomplish with their money. Most have come to terms with the fact that “a comfortable retirement” doesn’t provide enough information for their planner.

This white paper, produced by the Canadian Institute of Actuaries, demonstrates that the majority of Canadians would benefit from deferring their CPP pension onset to age 70 and drawing from RRSPs/RRIFs in the interim.