16 February 2018


This Chapter was last updated on Feb 16, 2018.

The type is small due to the word-press format.  If it is too hard to read,  you can copy, paste and enlarge it into a word document, but you must do so for each of the 4 Parts of this manual.


This e-manual is a concise self-help retirement planning, and investing manual designed for time-strapped Canadians.  It runs 38 pages, plus Appendices for specialty-topics.  Young and less wealthy investors can ignore several Chapters, which are clearly said to be applicable to older and more wealthy investors. For them, the manual could be as short as 15 pages.

This manual is updated frequently. It should help Canadians make a sound retirement plan, based on their own definition of a successful retirement. To get there, it will help them:

~   make informed conclusions about their appetite and need for risk, and how that may change as they advance in age;

~   weigh the pros and cons of various sensible strategies and products, based on their apetite for risk, and the available time they for monitoring their investments;

~   and then, to weave these into a disciplined investment plan, appropriate for them, which will allow them to achieve a rich retirement.

Sadly, no such concise manual previously existed that I can find. All of the books promote just a strategy or two.  The media and blogosphere contain much conflicting information, but even the good information suffers from a lack of organization, and little “big-picture” wisdom.

One of the fundamental underlying themes in this manual is that many Canadians are not well-served by their financial advisor/fund-sellers, or banker-sellers, and their “free” advice. That “free” advice is typically for you to buy their firm’s brand of products, often mutual funds, which pay secret commissions.  Accordingly, most such “free advisors” put their clients into poor investments with the best commissions paid to them.

To remedy this sad truth, this manual promotes the concept that many Canadians would be better-off without advisor/sellers if they are armed with:

~   a modest amount of common sense, and self-education — (this manual);
~   a modest amount of time, (a few hours per year), to monitor and revise their investments.

Who am I to be saying so? My name is  Dale Rathgeber (BA., Juris Doctorate, 1985). I am a wealthy, 56 year old, semi-retired (half-time) lawyer, with 30 years’ experience, including a long stint as a full-partner in one of Canada’s top business law-firms. I am also an investment strategist, and wealth counsellor. Prior to my professsioal life, I was a decorated scholar with numerous awards, a gold medal, and the highest LSAT test score at the U of S.  I am also the author of a successful Investing Newsletter published since 2002, featuring real-world equity investment returns of 11% per year. (See the year by year results in the Chapter entitled, “The Newsletter”.

I am completely independent from all investment firms and products. I sell no investments, and am not paid to recommend any product, other than my Newsletter, which is the topic of Ch 5.5. That chapter contains some cheerleading. (If you find it offensive, Ch 5.5 can be ignored, without affecting the usefulness of the rest of this manual). Apart from this cheerleading, this manual is offered as a public service to busy Canadians.

The fundamental underlying themes of this manual are:

~    that your investments, and the risk inherent in them, must allow you to sleep easily at night;

~    that diversification is paramount; (so that if one of your several nest-eggs should fall from the nest, it is not catastrophic);

~   that most Canadians would benefit from adding much more discipline to their investing strategies, in order to guard against making emotional/knee-jerk decisions, which result in them “buying high and selling low” and making other mistakes.

~    that our equity investment climate going forward in time may well be less profitable than it was in the go-go 1990s, and from 2009 -2014, with the result that we need to be both more nimble in our approach — (no more “Buy and Hold Forever”) — and that we need to be more protective and conservative than in past years. That is, most investors now need a healthy dose of lower risk investments.

~     that most “one-size-fits-all” investing strategies are dangerous; (because they are typically only well-suited for those readers that are of the same: age, wealth, and risk-tolerance as the promoter);

~   and accordingly, that every investor should consider a few sensible, but different strategies so that if they make a mistake, it is not life-altering, before finalizing an overall investing plan.


Table Of Contents

Introduction and Purpose of this Blog/Manual

Ch 1:    Retirement-Planning Rules
Ch 1.1: Rule # 1: Everyone Over 50 Should Make a Retirement Plan, with Calculations
Ch 1.2: Rule # 2: Live Below Your Earnings/ Pay Yourself First
Ch 1.3: Rule # 3: Maximize Your RRSP
Ch 1.4: Rule # 4: Pay Down Your Mortgage
Ch 1.5: Rule # 5: Set up an RESP
Ch 1.6: Rule # 6: Set up a TFSA
Ch 1.7: Rule # 7: Invest in Un-registered Investments
Ch 1.8: Rule # 8: Invest “Wisely”
Ch 2.1: The Good Discount Brokers
Ch 2.2: Don’t Buy any Crap
Ch 2.3: Consider Self-Directing Your Own Investments
Ch 3.1: Use Your Own Unique Risk Tolerance as the Driver of Your Asset Mix
Ch 4.1: Income Generating Investments
Ch 4.2: GICs
Ch 4.3: Fixed Income Investing: Risk and Reward
Ch 4.4: Bonds and Bond ETFs (after Bank of Cda prime is 3% plus)
Ch 4.5: Mortgage Pool MICs
Ch 4.6: Reaching for Yield, due to low rates into Income Trusts, REITs, and Dividend Paying Equities

Ch 4.7: Preferred Shares (after Bank of Cda prime is 3% plus)
Ch 5.1: Equity Investing
Ch 5.2: The Futile Temptation to “Time” the Markets
Ch 5.3: Dividend Achievers

Ch 5.4: Index-fund-zealots/Lazy/Sleepy/Couch-Potato Portfolios
Ch 5.5: Dale Rathgeber’s ETF, Plus Momentum, Plus Dividends Strategy

Appendix 1.1:
Appendix 1.7: Revenue Real Estate

Appendix 5.5: The Merits of Momentum Investing
Appendix 6.1: Leverage; the Smith Maneuver
Appendix 6.2: Options
Appendix 6.3: Annuities
Appendix 6.4: Hedge Funds
Appendix 6.5: Tax Shelters
Appendix 6.6: Charitable Super-Write-Off-Scams