By Rob Carrick
If you’d asked me a week ago about the due diligence you should do before buying a house, I would have talked at length about affordability. And then I came across a website called Housecreep, which is an online database of properties where crimes of all types have been committed. Supernatural presences are also noted.
Here’s an overview of Canadian properties included on this website. Among them is 32 Carrick Ave. in Hamilton, onetime home of the notorious Evelyn Dick. Of course, I looked up my house on Housecreep. No hits, but some sad stories from other homes in our end of town.
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Rob’s top web links
Ditch the house
> That’s part of the manifesto of the Millennial Revolution, which is led by a young woman who, with her partner, has built a seven-figure investment portfolio by renting a house instead of owning. Housing bear Garth Turner approves.
This 96-year-old hates retirement
> He’s Charles Eugster, once an English dentist and now an athlete who competes in weightlifting and running.
What’s up with house prices?
> The Globe has put together this thorough data package on the latest housing stats.
How to finance your life
> This infographic takes you through all the stages of adult life with notes on financial milestones, costs and savings options.
Thinking of using a robo-adviser?
> Financial planner Sandi Martin has created a calculator to compare the cost of using online advisers, which manage your investments online. Just so you’re clear on the difference, planners create a personalized roadmap to help you reach your financial goals and robo-advisers manage the investments you’ll use to put your plan into action. Here’s The Globe and Mail guide to online advisers, which I’m planning to update over the summer.
The myth of over-consumption
> A new book deconstructs the idea that financial troubles of middle class families are a result of overspending on luxury items.
Are target date funds for you?
> These investment products are basically balanced funds that regularly adjust your mix of stocks and bonds as you head towards a targeted retirement date. Here’s a rundown of what you need to know about target date funds.
Today’s featured investment tool
With housing markets in some cities on the boil these days, there’s a growing focus on how millennials will afford to buy. My Real Life Ratio is designed to show young adults whether they can manage the cost of a house as well as expenses like daycare, retirement savings and car payments. One reader’s feedback: “I have become obsessed with your Real Life Ratio tool.”
The question: “I’m a professional, unattached (no dependents) clinical psychologist on staff at a local hospital with an active private practice. I own a condo outright, with a second that is occupied by A+ tenants. I’ve been told I have a good problem financially, with in excess of seven figures sitting in cash (between corporation and personal – note that I am the single shareholder in the private practice). Any suggestions for allocating about $500,000 to maximize returns?”
My reply: Start by seeing a financial planner to map out where you are financially and where you want to be in the future. Whatever investments you ultimately choose should be in service of your plan. Many planners cannot recommend specific investments. In that case, you could either build a portfolio yourself or find an investment adviser or portfolio manager (a higher-net-worth option).
Do you have a question for me? Send it my way. Questions and answers are edited for length.
Should I take money out of my RRSP to buy a house? Financial planner Shannon Lee Simmons offers her view in this video. Me, I say no.
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