DIY Investing: What On-line Brokerage Firm to use?

Female freelancer working from home.

There are various routes to access the stock market when it comes to investing your hard-earned cash. You may seek out a wealth advisor or investment advisor that works at an investment firm, or a financial planner who works at a bank or at a mutual fund/insurance company.

These investment experts must hold a license to sell clients investment products and they usually get paid through a commission or fee based on the amount of money you invest through them.

But today there is a less costly avenue available: the DIY option. Of course, this is for the investment savvy who are comfortable with learning and doing it on their own.  This option is less expensive because you are not paying the expert for their advice.

The DIY option is through an “on-line brokerage” firm. Each of the five largest banks in Canada own one, plus there are the independent ones, too.  There are so many “on-line brokerage” firms to chose from that it can be discouraging to even start this process.

But if this is an option for you, I have tried to make the process easier by researching five on-line brokerage firms to compare commissions and fees. Click the link to see my ‘quick, handy review’ chart of differences for yourself.  what-online-brokerage-firm-to-use

Through personal trial and error, the less expensive firms were not up to par in terms of quality of service.  The two less expensive firms, Virtual Brokers and CIBC Investor’s Edge, lost documentation, which slowed down the process drastically for clients.  Whichever firm you decide on I would recommend you take copies of what is mailed in. Then you can follow up with the staff on what was included in the envelope.

As for time requirements, set aside at least an hour for completing the paperwork to open the account. You may need to seek advice on what type of accounts would best suit your goals and time horizons for those goals.  The more involved part is setting up a portfolio of investments in the account. You want investments that align with your goals, a time horizon of when funds are needed and, especially, risk tolerance.  I highly recommend you work with a financial coach that has investment experience if you do decide to DIY. The financial coach can assist you each step of the way or can be used just to double check decisions.

If you would like to learn more about investing before the DIY step.  Call Shannon  at 250.899.4541 or email her at

 This is only the opinion of Dollar Dame Coaching Co. Information provided is to be taken as general and if implemented adjusted to suit your personal situation at all times.






Are you really prepared to make one of the largest purchases in your lifetime?

Moving Home
Is ownership going to be comfortable for us?

There is something that drives most of us to be home owners rather than renters.  It could be that we don’t want to waste money on something that we actually won’t own at the end of the day and/or it is a sign that we are responsible and successful adults.  Whatever the reason may be, I would like to share two areas of concern to ensure you are not just following an emotion to own but are thinking about the financial variables of ownership.

One major area to be aware of is employment security.  Recently, I have heard sad stories of people that are being laid off or even fired from their job.  If the economy slows down and employers are downsizing or closing shop, then a regular paycheck will disappear, leaving little choices in covering the mortgage payment. This is one of the worst case scenarios that we must think about. And whether you are single or in a relationship this is an important question.

Can you afford the monthly mortgage payments if you lose your job for a period of time? This question will help us determine if buying a house is possible. If it is possible, how expensive of a house can be afforded?

Another area to understand is that our Canadian historical 5-year mortgage rates have been under 6% since 2005 (source: To give you some background, in the early 80’s 5-year rates were as high as about 20%.  With rates being so low now there is a possibility rates increase going forward. When you purchase a home you can lock in your mortgage over a variety of years (1-10 years is common) to have certainty of what your payments will be each month.  But once the mortgage is up for renewal then you have to be prepared to take on the interest rate at that time.

Now let’s put a scenario together for us to determine if we can afford a detached home in the Kelowna market.

Points to consider in the hypothetical initial purchase:

  1. The average price of a home in 2015 is $542,000, according to
  2. The posted fixed 3-year mortgage rate is 3.65% with RBC.
  3. The amortization period is 25 years.
  4. The down payment is 10% of house price = $54,200.
  5. The amount to mortgage is $487,800 after the down payment.

The monthly mortgage payment would work out to $2,474.

If rates were to be higher in 3 years once it was time to renew what would your payment be?

Points to consider in a hypothetical future scenario of renewing mortgage:

  1. $449,768 is the mortgage amount outstanding at the end of year three.
  2. The posted fixed 3-year rate is now 6.65% or 3% higher than three year ago.

The monthly payment would then work out to $3053 or about $579 more each month.

If you would like to calculate your personal mortgage situation you can go to

If you have a financial question, please email me and it may be chosen for my next blog posting.

Happy Holidays!


Be Financially Fabulous

be financially fabulous pic1

The New Year is here. Are you tired of being confused and overwhelmed with your finances?  Join me in a small and intimate group to gain clarity and confidence with your personal finances.  You do your work privately but get the information, tips and support in a group setting. I have designed this workshop to help you take charge of your finances so you can be confident with all financial decisions. 

My workshop series will include:

1. Creating supportive beliefs around money to encourage positive 
spending and saving habits.
2. Providing researched tips and solutions to organize your finances.
3. Setting financial goals aligned with your values.
4. Completing a personal cash flow plan to realize your “Financial Freedom.”
5. Reviewing the best savings tools to reach your goals.

Dates & Time: January 14, 21 & 28 from 12-1 pm
Location: Landmark 6, 
1631 Dickson Ave., Suite 1100, Kelowna
Price: 3 workshops for $150

Space is limited to 10. Reserve your spot by January 10th at
 or 250.899.4541.

I look forward to helping you get a system in place to get ahead financially, economically!

How often should I see a Financial Coach?

bag of moneyBefore I get started we must understand what a financial coach is. There are so many titles in the industry that I don’t want my readers to be confused. A ‘financial coach or money coach’ is one who provides services via an hourly rate or package price. They (usually) do not sell any investment or insurance products. The typical coaching areas are budgeting, debt management, saving/investing, divorce, real estate, business and retirement. Anytime you have to make a financial decision in your life that you would like a second opinion on, a ‘financial coach’ is the perfect person to run your ideas or concerns by. Overall, I think it’s important that your financial coach has the proper education and experience to advise you on the array of topics related to wealth accumulation and that they do not sell any products. You want them to be objective and experienced.

The minimum number of visits – no matter what the situation – is once a year. I look at this as an annual check up that reviews your goals and ensures your actions are ultimately leading you to your desired results with the least resistance. This visit will also help catch any potential money leaks that could lead to a major financial loss.

If you see a financial coach more than once a year then these could be the reasons…

  1. You want someone to hold you accountable to change behaviour around money and meet financial goals.
  2. You want advice on portfolio allocation because you do your own on-line investing.
  3. You work with a financial advisor or planner and you would like to have someone review his or her portfolio allocation recommendations before agreeing to implement.
  4. You want to make a large purchase and would like someone to help you negotiate or shop around. Example: vehicle, home, going back to school, care for kids, long-term care facilities for you or parents, etc.
  5. You want to start your own business and need help with creating a few years of cash flow statements.
  6. You run your own business and need help with increasing your cash flow.
  7. You are going through a divorce and would like some guidance on how to separate assets.

If you would like to contact me and discuss how I can help please feel free to email me at or call at 1-250-899-4541.

Small Business Makeover – 4 Workshops for Women that Get Results!

working-women-handbagsWomen are responsible for 83% of all consumer purchasing and make 95% of all household financial decisions. Source: Statistics RBC

Each year more women are taking control of what their employment looks like as they value flexibility. They also make the final decision on most purchases in the household. So why do most service businesses still gear their businesses to a male buyer?

The ‘Small Business Makeover’ is a day of four workshops designed by women for women. August 19th is the day of hands on training to get results. We know that so many conferences or webinars offered only share what to do but don’t show you exactly how to do it. The four female entrepreneurs facilitating the workshops will walk the group through the steps until you have a finished outcome. They will be covering topics such as: Office Organizing, Image, Finances, and Social Media. It will be a full day of learning, doing and meeting passionate women who want to get results in business and life.

The event will be held at the Manteo on August 19th from 9am to 5.30pm. Lunch is included, along with wine at the reception afterwards. Tickets are $199 plus GST if you get your tickets now. The value of attending the event is $850 so $199 is a steal. Get your tickets today (price goes up after the 8th) and share the event if you know a woman who runs their own business or is looking to start their own business.

Tickets available at:
Session details at:

What should I do with my money?

woman with glassesSomeone asked me whether they should pay down their mortgage or invest in their RRSP.

With interest rates continuing to be low I lean towards investing the money smartly, long-term. However, there are so many factors that must be weighed before making a decision based solely on the potential for more money.

A home is bought at a specific price and sold at a specific price. The difference of the cost and sale usually ends up in a gain and those gains made on the house are not taxed, as it is your principal residence. This is great and I hope the housing market is strong when you do want to sell. Since the house cost and sale price is somewhat out of your control, you only have time on your side to determine the amount of growth or gains you come out with. Placing extra funds on the mortgage is in your control but is not going to affect what you will get out of the asset.

Placing more money on the asset will, however, alleviate the interest charges on a large amount of money owed. You will lower your interest paid out and ultimately cut down your time of paying off a mortgage. This is a wonderful feeling for some who cannot stomach the thought of owing anyone money. This would then leave you with lots of extra cash later in life to use as you wish.

But the main question is: can we earn more money with that extra money we have today rather than pay down our mortgage? Interest rates are currently low and our investment returns are higher if the strategy is with moderate risk and long-term. So to me it seems like a no brainer to continue paying the mortgage payment as is and use the extra money to invest. You then diversify and have two assets working for you. But there are some points that must be understood in order to be successful with this strategy.

  • Invest long-term with a proper asset allocation
  • Automatically invest each month to dollar cost average without emotion
  • Keep investment fees realistic or return decent after fees

In order to follow this advice it takes a certain personality so ensure you can handle the strategy.

You need to be disciplined to stay invested, comfortable with holding a mortgage, and trust whom you work with as an investment expert.

Ultimately, whatever you do it is your choice and good for you on saving money! Now you have to make some decisions!

Here is a link to a Mortgage vs. RRSP calculator to punch in your numbers.

If you would like to get advice before making a final decision please contact me. I’d love to help you find a productive home for your money.


Financially Fabulous for 2014

happy women with snowEvery January I like to take some time to reflect upon the past year to review the challenges and successes I faced. It helps me determine what worked and what didn’t work so I can make necessary adjustments. Then based on my challenges I set goals to improve for the New Year.

Usually I hear how others want to get into better shape or how they want to spend more time with their family. I agree that these are two important factors to have a peaceful, happy and long life. However, there is one more goal that I’d like people to consider…I’d like to introduce the goal of being Financially Fabulous for 2014.

What does this mean? I want people to feel fine with their financial situation; to accept it and then be willing to take action to learn and to put into practice some easy tools to ensure good money decisions.

  1. Set three goals. The goals must be financially related. For example: take a trip, start an RRSP, work less, etc.
  2. Get organized. Are all your bills and financial statements in one place? I use a binder with tabs for each category for my paperwork.  If you get everything online, create on-line folders for each category.
  3. Create a budget. Sit down with your binder or your computer and write out what all your sources of income are and all your expenses. This can be interesting as many people are shocked at where there money is actually going.
  4. Do some homework and figure out how much it will cost to reach your goals. Also, write out the steps that you must take. Breaking it down helps it seem less monstrous and intimidating.
  5. Revise your budget so that you can start saving to reach one or all three goals. If you can’t save a lot right now it may take you two years rather than a year to save for it. Play around with the numbers to see what works for you.
  6. Share what you are doing with friends and family. We need to start talking more openly about money. You may get some good tips along with support.

All the best with being Financially Fabulous for 2014!!!