YOUR Independence Matters

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A client who has been with me for 20 years came in to thank me the other day. When he was 72 he brought in his RRSP to be converted to a RRIF. He had been investing directly in stocks his whole life, never coming out of the market, and wanted my help in keeping him in the best stocks for him. He started taking $18,000 out each and every year.

During the last 20 years I recommended getting out of the market twice. Both times he refused, as he was comfortable with the positions we held and he had faith that the market will come back. Mind you, we had more conversations during the correction of 08/09, but he stayed unwavering. In both cases, I was correct in recommending he get out, but it was not how he had invested all those years.

He came in the other day thank me. He pointed out that with us working together his RRIF started with $130,000, he has taken out $18,000 a year and 20 years later, now a 92 year old man, he still had $92,000 in his RRIF. He couldn’t believe that his RRIF still has any money in it, let alone $92,000. Every article he had ever read on RRIFs stated that since the mandatory withdrawal percentage went up each year, his RRIF should run out of money before he turned 90.

He thanked me for his Independence

He is still very fit and of sound mind and thanked me for the independence this has afforded him. While he has enough income without the RRIF income, he wants for nothing with this extra each month.

This is a great example of crafting a portfolio to meet the client’s special circumstances. Investors have the right to have individual portfolios set up for them, or with them. The marketplace is currently overloaded with advisors pushing every client into one or two pre-determined portfolios. So many are able to make their client’s believe their portfolio is unique, but are the farthest from it.

In the 80’s when I was writing for a local newspaper I made up the word sleepabilityTM. As you can see I trademarked it. I use the word to explain how an investor feels when they are invested correctly. This gentleman has been able to sleep well for 20 years knowing he was well invested. This does not mean he didn’t have a few moments during downturns; he understands that his decisions has up and down sides.

A Disturbing Trend

While this gentleman is a rarity and has been able to work exclusively in equities, I am running into a disturbing trend that I have written about before. There is a vast number of investors and advisors not paying attention to the times we are in. Interest rates are the lowest we have ever seen, yet I see more and more money indiscriminately flowing into bonds and bond funds. You must be very careful being in the bond markets these days. Studying, due diligence and knowledge of historical trends is required. In our investing life we have not been through the interest rate scenario we are currently in. Too many are mistaking their comfort and ability to sleep for having the right investments.

Investing in the same as everyone around you, doing what has, for reasons unknown to you worked in the past, or allowing yourself to have your investments to be picked by a proprietary computer program is not the way to invest to obtain your independence.

Long term sleepability™ can only be achieved by understanding markets and working towards your independence. If I am not using my independence to achieve your independence, then I am not doing what is right for you.

If you want to see what a truly independent advisor can do for you, call me at 905-846-9060, ext.3838, email me at or visit my website at