Steadyhand should have a ________.

Tue, 23 May 2017 12:13:51 PDT

by Scott Ronalds

TD has a green chair. AGF has a tiger. Vanguard has a ship. Fidelity has a pyramid. Steadyhand should have a __________.

We posed this question to clients at our recent 10-year anniversary events in Toronto and Vancouver. While we’ve never been keen on adopting a company symbol or icon, we thought it would be interesting to canvass our client base to see what associations come to mind when people think of Steadyhand.

The responses were great. We had close to 100 different suggestions, ranging from the obvious (steady hand) to the obscure (Duke of Palmerston). We often brag that we’ve got the best clients in the country, and this exercise reinforced it. You guys are a passionate, thoughtful and creative bunch. Below are some of our favourite submissions.

Yogi
Brain surgeon
Handshake
Ship’s steering wheel
½ tortoise, ½ cheetah
Thumbs up
Jenga
Wild salmon
Victory sign
Climbing wall
Bernese mountain dog
Clock
GPS
Juggler
Trophy
Hummingbird
Rhino
Ladder
Cycling team
And my personal favourite … Phil. Steadyhand should have a Phil.

Although you shouldn’t expect a salmon or genetically-modified tortoise to accompany our wordmark anytime soon, should we change our mind on an icon, we’ve got a stellar working list. And if you want to weigh in on the matter, we’d love to hear your thoughts in the Comments section below.

Of dragons, wealthy barbers and saving more

Wed, 17 May 2017 08:36:50 PDT

by Scott Ronalds

We all know we should probably save more, budget more, invest more. But there are just too many other things to do with our money. Personal finance experts have all sorts of tips to help us save more. Cut out the daily latte. Bring our lunch to work every day. Get rid of our vehicle and join the car sharing movement. But when these sacrifices start to detract from our quality of life, they’re quickly abandoned.

I don’t have the silver bullet. And the point of this piece isn’t to pile on the guilt. I attended an investment lunch last week, though, where David Chilton (of Dragons’ Den fame and author of The Wealthy Barber) touched on the topic of saving and I thought I’d share a few of his observations.

Among Dave’s biggest worries these days is debt. Canadians are drowning in it. Partly because money is so cheap to borrow, and partly because we love buying cool things. A by-product of this is that our savings rate as a nation is dangerously low. We’re spending freely on things like cars, vacations and the biggie, home renovations. Chilton figures the four most dangerous letters in the English language are HGTV. Home improvement projects have gotten middle class families in trouble. We’re putting granite countertops ahead of retirement savings, heated floors ahead of college savings and steam showers ahead of building an emergency fund.

He’s concerned that many Canadians aren’t financially prepared for retirement. Consumption takes precedence over saving and, generally speaking, we’ve paid little attention to planning for the last third of our lives. His number one piece of advice: save more. Put aside 10% of your paycheck. 20% if you can.

This is easier said than done. Real estate, and thus home ownership costs, have gone through the roof for many people and real incomes (i.e. after inflation) haven’t grown much over the past decade. But there is an effective tool that can, in a way, force you to save more: the PAC, or pre-authorized contribution. Chilton didn’t touch on it, but with a PAC, a pre-determined amount of money is automatically withdrawn from your bank account on a specific date each month (or semi-monthly) and deposited into an investment account, TFSA, RSP, or other account of your choice. It takes procrastination out of the equation. The other benefit of PACs is that they can help smooth out your investment returns, as your contributions go further when markets are down.

Getting back to the lunch, while Chilton has his worries about Canadians’ balance sheets, he’s a long-term optimist. He reminded us that we live in an incredible and exciting time. And he’s an entertaining speaker, to say the least. He regaled the crowd with behind-the-scenes stories of his time on the road promoting The Wealthy Barber and his days as a Dragon. Some fun facts we left with: each season of Dragons’ Den is filmed over 20 straight days, the cast are told to stay in separate hotels during filming because they’ll hate each other at the end of the day, and yes, everything you’ve heard about Kevin O’Leary is true.


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