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Trying to read every personal finance post, article, and news item out there is probably last on your to-do list, after taking out the garbage. Why? Because so much of it is just noise, or else completely irrelevant to folks just trying to make a living, raise their families, and make wise decisions.
Fortunately for you, your friendly neighbourhood money nerd (that's me, naturally) is here to help with my selections from this month's Canadian Personal Finance News list.
Money nerds: when we're not thinking, talking, or writing about money and need some down time, we read about money. It explains why we're so fun at parties.
Best of Personal Finance November
This month's list is a great one, if I do say so myself. Entries range from the practical (Are you receiving as much CPP as you should be? and Take a day off to work on your finances) to the philosophical (Twelve pieces of financial wisdom, from a retiree to his adult children), and touch investing (Everything you need to know about stock market crashes), public policy (10 reasons why CPP expansion is dumb), and everything in between, including the funniest finance article I've ever read: Stupid things finance people say.
"We're trying to maximize returns and minimize risks" (Unlike everyone else, who are just dying to set their money ablaze).
Top Personal Finance Article in November
My pick for top post of the month, however, goes to a short one by Tim Paziuk about the financial-industrial complex.
Why This Article?
Because you're probably invested in mutual funds, and it's very likely that you're one of the many, many Canadians who was just given a three-inch stack of disclosure documents when you invested and are still kind of fuzzy on how those mutual funds work...and how much you're paying for them.
Why so Fuzzy?
Because you're an expert on your own life and profession, not investments. That's why you went to a financial advisor in the first place, right? The problem is this: advisors are paid based on how much and what kind of mutual funds you buy, and it's their best interest to sell you the kind of fund that pays them the most commission. They're bound by a "suitability" standard, not a "what's in the best interest of my client" standard, and there's a gaping valley between the two concepts.
Why so Wussy?
While some (wussy) regulation is coming that's meant to clarify the disclosures given in the sales meeting, there's nothing stopping a great salesperson from dancing around the issue until you're confused enough that you'd buy your own cat from them.
From the Article
"The mutual fund industry is convinced that if you get rid of embedded commissions then the cost to investors will go up. Why is that the case? Call me simple but I think that's a ridiculous argument. The real issue here is transparency. The mutual fund industry doesn't want it, mutual fund salespeople don't want it, and most importantly, mutual fund companies don't want it."
You worked hard to save the money that you're investing for your future, and you need to know how big of a cut the financial industry is taking from you and how hard that industry is willing to fight to keep it...and to keep you from understanding it.
Next month's list will be posted on Monday. Help us make it relevant to you by following and voting for stories you like, stories you love, and stories you wish you could erase from your eyeballs.