My cover photo this month shows my three kids playing hockey on the backyard rink that we built a couple of months ago. When our kids were all younger, I built the rink each year for several years. As schedules and priorities changed over time, we found ourselves progressively busier with activities and with less time to make use of a rink. However, as Covid has changed pretty much everything around the entire world, we too found ourselves with a changed household schedule this year, and with a lot more time to fill at home. I suppose that there is a silver lining in all of this as we are reminded of the importance of spending time together with our families - time that often goes by far too quickly.
Stock markets around the world have been very good overall since the depths of last March when the seriousness of the Covid situation really began to gain traction. Thanks to early and aggressive government intervention in financial markets and increasingly well-placed optimism about vaccines, the markets have steadily climbed back to levels seen before this all began. In the midst of this increasing optimism there has also been high-profile examples of market speculation gone wild with shares of companies like Gamestop trading to levels that are frankly ridiculous. The power of social media has allowed many small investors to make a coordinated attack on short selling professionals that borrow shares of companies like Gamestop and others, selling them with the hope of buying them back later at a lower price. These coordinated small investor buying campaigns of these companies contributed to something known as a "short squeeze" on these professional hedge funds. When the stock prices of these companies took off upward instead of downward, they were quickly pushed into large losses that they needed to cover to stay solvent. This rampant speculation or gambling in the market reminds me of the dot-com era in the late 90s (yes, I was there) when some investors stopped "investing" and instead embraced "gambling". It didn't end well back then and gambling like this probably won't end well this time either. It is amazing how history tends to repeat itself. Try to avoid the spectacle of all this and keep your focus on diversified investing into solid companies.
You will see below that we have introduced a new section to our website entitled "Upcoming Events". RBC has recently been offering some very interesting virtual presentations on a variety of lifestyle topics. With all the extra time we have available, why not check some of these out and see if they are of interest. A new one available on March 10th is a tribute to International Women's Day on March 8th. We will also try to post presentations that have already gone by but are still available for playback, including a very good presentation on Alzheimers.
Have a great March/April as the cold of winter turns to the warmer weather of Spring.
2021 Handy Financial Planning Facts
This truly "handy" one-page report comes out each year and provides a wealth of information on just about every financial statistic or number you may need, including OAS cutoffs, Yearly Max pensionable earnings (YMPE), TFSA contribution limits, both past and present, RRSP maximums, etc. Double-click here to read the report (press back on your browser to return to the newsletter): 2021 Handy Financial Planning Facts
2021 Tax-free Savings Accounts
With another year comes another opportunity to contribute to your Tax-free Savings account (TFSA). The contribution limit for this year is $6,000. As most of you likely already know, there is no tax-deduction for making a TFSA contribution, but there also is no tax payable when you take funds out either. Besides tax-free growth and rollover to your beneficiaries, the TFSA also offers significant flexibility. Any funds withdrawn in a given calendar year are added to the following year's contribution room on January 1st of the year following. If you have any questions or haven't already made your 2021 contribution, please contact us.
Upcoming Events - A new addition to our website
As mentioned in my Opening Notes, we have recently added a new menu option to our Hazzard Wealth Management website entitled 'Upcoming Events'. We are starting with a few virtual events provided by RBC covering a broad range of lifestyle and investing topics. As time progresses, we may even put some of our own events in there as well. Technology has moved very fast during this past year and we are now doing things we wouldn't have imagined possible. There is a very interesting virtual presentation offered Wednesday, March 10th at 12 noon (45 minutes) dedicated to International Women's Day next week - A look at the 'Nova Scotia Nine'. See below for more details. Follow this link to be taken to the Upcoming Events section of the website and an opportunity to register (press back on your browser to return to the newsletter): Hazzard Wealth Management Upcoming events