It’s that time of year – at least in the middle of Ontario – where it starts to feel like winter’s this close to ending…and then it snows again. Seriously, the only thing keeping me alive right now is that this late winter garbage weather makes great maple syrup.

March’s great reads might give you just the excuse you need to curl up inside until the snow melts and spring really, truly arrives. If you can’t read anything else because you’re busy tapping trees and boiling sap, at least read the top three (and seriously, thank you for your service). For everyone else with time on their hands, the rest of the list includes being (rightly) terrified of people who know what the stock market will do next, Dan Bortolotti’s review of the new Vanguard ETFs, how making non-registered accounts joint to avoid probate fees puts seniors at risk of abuse, and a single piece of advice from a strong, righteously angry woman.


What if You Stop Expecting it to Be Easy?

From Jacquette Timmons

“Couples with a strong and healthy connection value the mundane because they recognize the power of how what you do day-in and day-out matters much more than what you do on occasion.


And they apply a similar sentiment when it comes to money. Yes, there are some within my industry that thrive on you being attracted to the notion that financial success is all about the sexy headliners – the latest IPO; picking the latest top-performing mutual fund; focusing on what the market did (or didn’t do) yesterday and such; or, how many commas and zeros do you have following them, etc.


With relationships and with money, the truth is far less exciting. A good portion of your relational and financial success rests in the aspects that are rather boring and quite unsexy.


This matters because in much the same way as you don’t measure the strength and intimacy of your relationship on one day, the same is true when it comes to money. The ‘small,’ daily choices matter more than the grand one-off events or days.”

Read the full article here.



Strategic Faith

From Daniel P. Egan

“Most of us will invest for about 50 years, from age 30 to 80. Over that period the primary driver of non-savings growth will be that you invest in a reasonably diversified, risk-aligned portfolio with low cost and tax drag.


Once those boxes are checked, the exact flavor you choose isn’t hugely important. Market-cap, SRI/ESG, Smart Beta, Trend, Risk Parity, Global CAPE, home biased. Sure, sounds good. Go for it. Bikeshedding.


They’ll all have periods where they look best, and periods where they under-perform.




Except if you don’t stick with it. Except if you flop in and out of strategies with each glittering fad and temporary disappointment…


Distill most investing mistakes down, and you get a simple story: the single biggest factor is simply cumulative time invested. Anything we can do which increases the total time an investor holds a reasonable portfolio, is a win.”

Read the full article here.




From Tony Isola

“Many [retirees] constantly focus on the threat of running out of money rather than enjoying the fruits of decades of saving and sacrifice.


Michael Kitces wrote an excellent article on this subject: ‘Why Most Retirees Will Never Draw Down Their Retirement Portfolio.’


He brings to light something called the ‘consumption gap.’


In theory, the whole point of saving and investing for retirement is that upon reaching retirement, it’s time to spend down the money and enjoy it. In practice, a growing base of research finds that for most of their retirement, retirees are just continuing the growth of their pre-retirement portfolios, suggesting a ‘consumption gap’ between what retirees could and should spend versus what they actually do.


Most retirees do not begin to touch their principal until they reach well into their eighties. Leaving your entire principal to heirs means you under consumed your retirement portfolio and needlessly sacrificed a higher quality of life; unless, of course, that was your goal to begin with. In my experiences, it is often not.”

Read the full article here.


You can read this month’s entire list below, and browse through past lists here.

Will the Market Go Up or Down from Here? | Dirk Cotton

“The answer is yes. It will go up or down from here”

….and what to do about it.

Be Terrified | Josh Brown

“Imagine the sheer arrogance and borderline mental illness required for a person to assume that they can accurately foretell the actions of a hundred million investors around the world.”

Raising Red Flags on Probate Fees | Wanda Morris

“There is a clear lesson here: don’t create a joint account simply to avoid probate fees.“

“Private Banker” | Josh Brown

“There are great advisors working in conflicted situations and managing these conflicts becomes a sort of career-long struggle for them. It’s admirable, but it’s not your problem as the consumer. There are plenty of great advisors working in situations that do not require this daily conflict-management effort, because they are compensated correctly from the start – not for selling one product or service over another, but for giving advice to you without commissions from a third party or additional goals they need to meet.”

Our Single Best Piece of Advice for Women (and Men) on International Women’s Day | Kitty

“I wish I could take my younger self by the shoulders and shake her. I want to tell her that if she wants anything done, she must start doing for others.”


Sandi Martin

Co-Founder, Financial Planner at Spring Financial Planning
Fee only financial planner. Former banker. Money nerd. Curmudgeon only on days that end in "-day"

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