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Air Miles

Personal finance blogger Robb Engen has written an open letter to Air Miles and, wow, is it ever meticulous in how it documents the takeaways that members have experienced over the years. What prompted his letter is the plan at Air Miles to have points older than five years start expiring at the end of this year. "By allowing reward miles to expire, you're potentially alienating millions of Air Miles collectors…," Mr. Engen writes.

This newsletter started covering the Air Miles story in the spring and the initial reaction from readers was one of surprise. Many had missed the initial announcement about points expiry made back in 2011. Next came some grumbling from people unhappy about the rewards available to those who want to redeem points before they expire.

Now, we have Mr. Engen's open letter challenging Air Miles to help clients preserve points so they don't expire. Over to you, Air Miles. Will you tough it out or, as Mr. Engen puts it, will you "step up and do the right thing for Air Miles collectors?"

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Ask Rob
The question: "I stumbled upon an exchange-traded fund that has a good balance of exposure, low management-expense ratio, decent yield, and holds mostly low volatility. If I pool all I have into this one fund, do I run the risk of it being de-listed if there isn't a lot of activity?"

My reply: If an ETF is delisted, you'll get a warning and have the opportunity to either sell beforehand or wait and receive cash from a liquidation of the assets. The bigger risk here is putting all your money in a single ETF. Will you be properly diversified – bonds, stocks from Canada and globally – if you do this? Also, be cautious about low-volatility funds. They're done brilliantly in recent years, but they're not a sure ticket to beating the market. They will underperform at some point.

Do you have a question for me? Send it my way. Questions and answers are edited for length.

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