Weekend Reading: New Look Edition

Our blog got a bit of a makeover during the holiday season thanks to Justin Bouchard at Top Shelf Web Solutions. We’ll call it a new look and feel, but with a layout similar to the old design so readers won’t get lost while navigating around the site. Let us know what you think of the update, and give us a shout if you see any bugs or quirks that should be fixed.

We’ll also be re-designing our fee-only advice page in the coming weeks; adding tiered-levels of service that will hopefully address some of the unique aspects of planning that potential clients might be after.

For example, some clients are like a dog with a bone when it comes to acting on our recommendations and so after a financial plan is developed and implemented they feel comfortable striking out on their own. Other clients prefer ongoing coaching and accountability and may require monthly check-ins to keep on track. And some clients don’t need a complete financial plan but instead would like some help with budgeting and cash flow, devising a debt repayment plan, having a portfolio audit and check-up, or building their retirement income plan.

Our aim is to come up with those modules to give us and our clients more options and flexibility on the type of advice they need, as well as the costs associated with that advice.

This week(s) recap:

It has been a few weeks since our last weekend update. Here’s what you might have missed:

Over on Lowest Rates I shared eight steps for setting financial goals in the New Year.

My picks are in for the 2016 stock picking contest over on Financial Uproar’s blog. I went for a home-run with Under Armour, MasterCard, FitBit, and GoPro. I’ll probably finish last…

Weekend Reading:

I use Flipboard to save all of the interesting articles I read each week with the idea to share them with you in this weekend reading format. Even though the holidays are generally slower for finding new and interesting content I did manage to save up a good number of articles over the last few weeks.

Here is an ultra-extended edition of weekend reading:

What were the best and worst investment returns by asset class over the last 15 years? Turns out REITs have made the best investment with an impressive 11.14% annual return, while, you guessed it, cash (U.S. 3-month T-bills) was the worst performer with a paltry 1.42% annual return.

Helaine Olen says that if you panicked over the stock market, don’t sweat it. Society has given you every reason to do so.

A good read on a rising tech company called Good Technology that was valued at $1 billion as recently as 2014 before being sold to Blackberry for $425 million in September.

A smart take by Barry Ritholtz on ridiculous year-end financial advice.

Smarter still, is this video by Preet Banerjee who urges savers to increase their automatic contributions every year:

Tim Cestnick says the small business (part time, on the side) might be the last great tax shelter left in 2016.

MoneySense’s David Hodges argues that it’s time for regulators to clamp down on trailing commissions and start putting investors first.

Rob Carrick says it’s time to leave deferred sales charges for mutual funds to the dinosaurs.

TD is set to introduce 4 new passive ETFs that will cost investors between 0.07 and 0.18 percent. Now, will their advisors recommend these funds to their clients?

The Motley Fool’s Morgan Housel explains the difference between patience and stubbornness when it comes to investing.

Wealthing Like Rabbits author Robert Brown explains the difference between good debt and bad debt.

Is it worthwhile to spend more on something you really love? Carl Richards explores this with a story about a $5,000 bike.

Richards also explains why your most valuable asset is yourself and what you can (or should) do to invest in yourself.

Harold Pollack, co-author of The Index Card, explains why the best investment advice has always been too boring for TV.

Michael James on Money answers some questions from financial hell.

Big Cajun Man Alan Whitton cautions readers about a $75 fee to transfer your TFSA.

What exactly is credit card churning? Young and Thrifty explains this clever way to earn more rewards points.

Barry Choi also had a solid year of returns from his Vanguard ETF portfolio.

The Findependence Hub explains how to discover your retirement number.

Some interesting new research into the best retirement withdrawal strategies.

A thorough look at six retirement myths that can set you back.

Urban Departures dishes some straight-talk to Millennials about housing and affordability.

Finally, Calgary’s Bridget Eastgaard shares some tough financial lessons from Alberta’s recent slide into recession.

Have a great weekend, everyone – and thanks for reading!

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  1. Michael James on January 9, 2016 at 11:23 am

    “Now, will their advisors recommend these funds to their clients?” That cracked me up. Thanks for the mention.

    • Echo on January 9, 2016 at 11:44 am

      I won’t hold my breath.

  2. Big Cajun Man (AW) on January 9, 2016 at 6:41 pm

    I somehow expect that the answer is NO on the new TD ETFs with the low Management Fees. Thank you for including me in this exciting new format.

  3. canadianbudgetbinder on January 10, 2016 at 6:22 am

    The new look is great mate. It’s very sleek and easy to navigate! I also use Flipboard to read many great articles. Great reads this week.

  4. Elizabeth on January 10, 2016 at 7:41 am

    Love that I’ll be able to read this on my other devices 🙂

    The green links are hard to read though, and I suspect someone who has colour blindness might miss them altogether. Maybe ask your developer about WCAG 2.0 guidelines for colour contrast ratios?

    • Echo on January 10, 2016 at 10:24 am

      Hi Elizabeth, thanks for this. Great suggestion, I’ll look into those guidelines…

      • Robert on January 11, 2016 at 11:42 am

        Yep – a colour-blind guy here (thanks for looking into it…)

  5. Darrow Kirkpatrick on January 10, 2016 at 10:00 am

    Thanks for the reference to my research into retirement withdrawal strategies, Robb. Nice makeover here — best wishes for the New Year!

    • Echo on January 10, 2016 at 10:25 am

      Hi Darrow, thanks for stopping by. I’m glad I got a chance to check out your research and include it here for others to read. All the best!

  6. May on January 10, 2016 at 1:25 pm

    I usually read your posts on my tablet and I used to be able to make the text bigger so I could read it. It would re-flow beautifully so there was no horizontal scrolling required. Since the update, it does not re-size at all.

    And having the comment boxes use grey text on a light grey background does nothing for ease of readability.

    Seems to me that what wasn’t broken has been ‘fixed’.

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