My Portfolio: Seeking Advice

Asset allocation, risk, diversification and rebalancing. Pros/cons of hiring a financial advisor. Seeking advice on your portfolio?
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The Management
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My Portfolio: Seeking Advice

Postby The Management » 22 Jul 2013 00:51

Welcome to the Financial Wisdom Forum. This online community includes many knowledgeable and friendly investors. They freely share their time and expertise with new posters who are looking for help, but they can't offer guidance in a vacuum.

Before you proceed with a portfolio question, consider this: investing starts with a plan - when do you need the funds, and what level of risk are you willing to take (how much of a loss can you tolerate), among other things? We recommend a look at this finiki article: Investment planning.

Our wiki, finiki covers the basics of this and a lot of other topics. Start here: Getting Started.

Now that you've familiarized yourself with finiki, we need to know some important things about you, including all the investments you already have. Otherwise, we may be advising you to buy into a fund that overlaps your present holding(s), doesn't fit your asset allocation plan, or, worse, is too risky or too conservative for your investing temperament. To make sure you get the help you need, we would like to provide a few suggestions.

Posting

When you have researched your retirement plan options and have a list of your current investments, it is time to post. We do not need to know your name or the amount of money you have invested or anything else that will identify you. To help us help you please post in this format:

  • Emergency funds: Three to six months of expenses (indicate if you have this, but it is generally not part of your asset allocation)
  • Debt: Indicate if you have any debt (credit card, school loans, car loans, mortgage) and the interest rate you are paying on each loan.
  • Marital Status: (Married (formally or common-law), Widowed, Divorced, Separated, Single)
  • Tax Rate: xx% Federal, xx% Provincial
  • Provincial Residence:
  • Age (a range would suffice):
  • Desired Asset Allocation: xx% stocks / xx% bonds (indicate if you are unsure)
  • Desired Stock Allocation outside Canada: xx% of stocks (indicate if you are unsure)
If you want to give us a detailed breakdown within each asset class (xx% large caps, xx% mid caps, xx% bonds, xx% cash, etc.), go ahead. (Most people probably will not want to do this. If you are not sure what this means, please disregard.)

Please provide a hint as to the size of your current total portfolio (as in high four-figures, mid five-figures, low six-figures, etc.) What might be appropriate for a very large portfolio might not be appropriate for a new investor.

Providing the split of your assets and contributions between taxable and tax-advantaged accounts is also helpful. Please include all investment and retirement accounts (yourself and spouse or common-law partner, if applicable) as it's important to look at the portfolio as a unified whole rather than look at accounts in isolation. Also include the available funds in your employer-provided retirement plans. For example:


Current Assets

Taxable
xx% cash (for investing – do not include emergency funds)
xx% fund name(s) (fund symbol, if known) (management expense ratio, if known)
xx% stock company name(s) (ticker symbol, if known)

His Tax-Free Savings Account
xx% cash (for investing – do not include emergency funds)
xx% fund name(s) (fund symbol, if known) (management expense ratio, if known)
xx% stock company name(s) (ticker symbol, if known)

Her Tax-Free Savings Account
xx% cash (for investing – do not include emergency funds)
xx% fund name(s) (fund symbol, if known) (management expense ratio, if known)
xx% stock company name(s) (ticker symbol, if known)

His RRSP / RRIF / LIRA
xx% cash (for investing – do not include funds earmarked for the Home Buyer's Plan)
xx% fund name(s) (fund symbol, if known) (management expense ratio, if known)
xx% stock company name(s) (ticker symbol, if known)
List any restrictions in available investment choices

Her RRSP / RRIF / LIRA
xx% cash (for investing – do not include funds earmarked for the Home Buyer's Plan)
xx% fund name(s) (fund symbol, if known) (management expense ratio, if known)
xx% stock company name(s) (ticker symbol, if known)
List any restrictions in available investment choices

Total of All Accounts Together (not each account individually) should equal 100%.

Pensions

Also mention any pensions you and/or your spouse may have at work, annual percentage contributions by the employer/employee, and for how long they have been accumulating.

If retired, mention the CPP, OAS and annuities you and/or your spouse may be collecting or are soon expecting to do so.


RESP(s)
Plan Type: (Family, Individual, or Group)
Plan sponsor:
Age of child(ren):
xx% cash
xx% fund name(s) (fund symbol, if known) (management expense ratio, if known)
xx% stock company name(s) (ticker symbol, if known)

Total of percentages for RESP(s) should equal 100%.


Contributions

New annual Contributions
$xx taxable (for retirement, not short term goals)
$xx his Tax-Free Savings Account
$xx her Tax-Free Savings Account
$xx his RRSP (also specify any employer matching contributions)
$xx her RRSP (also specify any employer matching contributions)
$xx RESP(s)


Questions

1.

2.

3.


Key Points
* In the Current Assets section, please make sure that percentages add up to 100% across all of your accounts, not within each account.
* Please make sure that you've provided all the information requested above. Omitting information often results in delays and/or longer exchanges.
* If you have an account in a retirement plan with your employer, be sure to enter the expense ratios for the funds as stated in your company's specific plan (if they are available, or, different from the retail version of the mutual funds).

Etiquette

Please make all responses and additions to your original post in the same conversation rather than creating a new topic. It helps everyone if the history of the discussion is available in one place.

Many posters put a great deal of effort into their replies. We simply ask that if you receive replies, you go back and respond to them in some way. It's a hollow feeling for those of us who respond to questions to never hear back from the person who started the conversation. Remember, the purpose of this is to have a conversation! We are NOT expecting a thank-you, but feedback on what you found helpful, if anything.

USING CAPITALIZED LETTERS is considered rude (it's shouting). Caps are good for emphasis, but are hard to read. If you consistently post in CAPS, some people may not bother to read and respond to your questions.

Preparing to make a post can be a significant learning experience for you. We appreciate posts that show careful planning. This doesn't mean your questions must be complex or show extensive investment knowledge. We really enjoy simple ones and want beginning investors to feel very welcome. Our goal is to help.

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