In recent years, most Canadians have played it safe, adding dividend-paying stocks and government bonds to their portfolios. That’s no surprise; after seeing their nest eggs shrink during the 2008–09 crisis, who would want to put their money at risk again? But with the world economy slowly improving and bond returns shrivelling, now looks like the time to shift from defence to offence. As this year’s RRSP deadline approaches, add some punch to your portfolio.
You don’t need to spend hours boning up on the markets. Even if you’ve got just five minutes and a limited understanding of the investment universe, this quick tune-up guide can help you add thousands of dollars to your savings this year. By rebalancing and topping up on benchmark-busting investments, you can ensure your RRSP account takes advantage of market advances without putting too much at risk.
The first place to start? Sell off some of your low-returning bonds, says Bob Gorman, chief portfolio strategist with TD Waterhouse. Then look beyond the big names that everyone else is buying. Add stocks or funds in some cyclical sectors, and look to fast-growing emerging markets as well.
What you buy will depend on your level of knowledge, risk tolerance and investing style, but every investor should keep this one goal in mind: buy things that won’t lose money. You can’t claim capital losses in an RRSP portfolio, notes Jolene Laing, an associate portfolio manager with ScotiaMcLeod, so if something goes awry the money is gone forever. Don’t worry, though. We explain what types of securities different investors should hold in their RRSP accounts. Follow the basics first, then add a little oomph, and watch your savings grow.
Read Bryan Borzykowski’s 5, 15, 30-minute and 1 hour RRSP tune-up options here.