The best way to protect your retirement savings from a market crash is to safely park enough money to cover your income needs for two to three years.
Until 2022, safe parking has meant dead money. Now, with interest rates rising, you can adopt this strategy with a smile on your face. Rates were high enough in mid-May that you could build a three-year ladder of guaranteed investment certificates earning an average return of as much as 3.8 per cent.
A feature of every stock market crash I’ve seen as a personal finance and investing writer is the senior distraught over the idea of having to sell hard-hit stocks and equity funds to cover the minimum annual required withdrawal from a registered retirement income fund. In both the 2008 and 2020 crashes, the federal government allowed a 25 per cent reduction in the minimum RRIF withdrawal for those years. But that’s only a limited benefit and, anyway, seniors shouldn’t depend on the feds for help with their investment portfolios every time stocks plunge.
The best strategy for protecting a RRIF against inevitable stock market declines is to keep a reserve of money to draw from when selling stocks or equity funds would lock in a serious loss. At bare minimum, have enough money for one year. At best, try for two to three years.
You could keep this money in a high interest savings account, where rates have recently climbed to between 1.5 and 2 per cent at best among alternative bands and credit unions. If you have the financial flexibility to lock money into a GIC, the best one-, two- and three-year rates in mid-May were 3.35, 3.95 and 4.1 per cent, respectively.
Those rates were available from alt banks that sometimes don’t offer RRIF accounts. An alternative is to see what GIC rates your broker offers for RRIFs. Online brokers have unusually competitive GIC rates right now – not as high as alternative GIC issuers like Oaken Financial and EQ Bank, but close.
With a three-year GIC ladder, you invest equal amounts in terms of one through three years and invest each maturing GIC into a new three-year term. If a two-year term seems a better fit for you, try that. They key is to have cash safely stowed so that you can give your stocks time to recover from the next stock market decline.
-- Rob Carrick, personal finance columnist
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Stocks to ponder
Colliers International Group Inc. (CIGI-T) On May 3, the global real estate services and investment management company reported solid first-quarter earnings results and increased its 2022 outlook. Yet, high inflation, rising interest rates and concerns about a potential recession continue to weigh on stock markets, including Colliers, which is down 23 per cent year-to-date. There has been opportunistic buying on this price weakness, with the company repurchasing nearly 1 million shares in March and April. As well, the chief executive officer recently invested over $17-million in shares of Colliers. Should investors consider buying shares as well? Jennifer Dowty looks at the investment case.
Now is the perfect time to slay these five investing myths
During volatile times like this, it’s important not to let myths sabotage your investing plan. Some of these myths are so pervasive and ingrained in our culture that many people don’t question them. They reflect the way investing is portrayed in the media, from financial websites and business channels to movies and the evening news, where dramatic events – especially ones in which people make or lose a lot of money – get the most attention. John Heinzl presents five of the most common investing myths. Become familiar with them so that, to paraphrase Rudyard Kipling, you can keep your head while everyone else is losing theirs.
Know your history before buying the current dip
Investors who bought stocks in the depths of the great financial crisis in early 2009 were quickly rewarded. So were those who bought the dip in the early days of the COVID pandemic. Will that same bounce occur again? Don’t count on it. Share prices will no doubt eventually recover from their recent weakness – they always do – but reaping the rewards is likely to require more patience this time around, says Ian McGugan.
Bank stocks are reflecting a lot of risk. Now let’s look at the reward
Canadian big bank stocks have tumbled more than 14 per cent over the past three months, as concerns about an oncoming recession rattle equity markets. The potential rewards of buying into this dip are becoming hard to ignore, says David Berman.
Why the Canadian dollar is poised to surge
Forex traders beware: economist David Rosenberg and his team believe any dip in the Canadian dollar should be bought. In fact, they think the loonie is considerably undervalued and will soon zoom up to 83 cents (U.S.). Here’s why.
Why this portfolio manager sold his Magna stock (and wishes he’d bought Disney)
Money manager Denis Taillefer is holding a lot of cash, awaiting what he calls ‘peak interest rate hawkishness.’ Brenda Bouw speaks to the senior portfolio manager at Caldwell Investment Management Ltd. to find out what he has been buying and selling.
Others (for subscribers)
Monday’s Insider Report: CEO and CFO are buying this high-yielding REIT with a 32% gain forecast
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Ask Globe Investor
Question: I have stocks in my TFSA and in my cash account. There’s one investment in my TFSA that I think will pay off but will take longer to do so than some in my cash account.
I’m thinking of transferring the one in my TFSA out in kind, creating plenty of room so that I can transfer in some of the investments that are closer to the finish line. What do you think of this strategy? – Chantal M.
Answer: Your logic puzzles me. The main objective of a TFSA is to maximize the tax-sheltered profits on your invested money. But your suggested approach would do the opposite. Let’s look at the two sides of your equation.
You say the stock in the TFSA looks promising but will take longer to pay off. But as its value grows in the TFSA, those gains will be tax-free. Moving the stock to your cash account will mean all the gains from the time of the switch will become taxable when you sell.
Meantime, you want to move stocks that are “closer to the finish line” into the TFSA. To what end? If they are that close to your sell objective, most of your gain is already taxable. Remember, when you make a contribution in kind, the Canada Revenue Agency considers that as a sale at the market price on the day the shares go into the TFSA. You are taxed accordingly. If you really plan to sell soon, moving those shares into the TFSA will not be of much benefit.
You need to consider the potential profit of each stock, not from the time you bought it but from the day it goes into (or comes out of) the TFSA. Those with the highest long-term growth potential should be in the plan.
What’s up in the days ahead
Bonds have been producing terrible returns this year, but many investors still want to hold them as a stabilizer in a balanced portfolio. Are short-term bond funds the way to go? Gordon Pape will have some fixed income advice.
Share your investing successes (or misfires)
Are you interested in being interviewed about your first stock purchase? Globe Investor is looking for Canadians to discuss their experience as part of this new, ongoing feature. If you’d like to be interviewed, please write to: email@example.com with “My First Stock” in the subject line and include a short description of your first stock purchase.
Compiled by Globe Investor Staff