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Trust me, investing is a lot harder than it seems these days.

But the fact that financial assets have soared in value over the past year in no way cheapens the achievement of young adults who took up investing in the pandemic. They were handed the opportunity of a lifetime to benefit from the rebound from a market crash and they jumped on it. Major kudos for that.

The investing establishment has had trouble processing the success of young investors. All their investing faults, and there are a few, have been highlighted without much acknowledgement of the greater good. We now have a young generation of investors getting a hands-on education that will carry them through a lifetime’s investing.

This latest season of Stress Test, the Globe and Mail personal finance podcast for Gen Z and millennials, will feature an episode on young investors. What have they bought, how are they trading and what have they learned about investing? For answers, Globe and Mail personal finance editor Roma Luciw and I want to hear from young investors who have been in the thick of it over the past year. We’re especially interested in hearing from young women. Reach out to us at

The biggest mistake young investors are making right now is not planning for the inevitable market crash to come. The timing of this reversal is unknown. But when it does come, it will be cruel. It will strip away gains made in the good times and annihilate investments that rose on hype rather than strong financial fundamentals. The recent pullback in cryptocurrency prices reminds us of the volatility of highly speculative investments.

When the next crash happens, do not expect stocks to rebound like they did last spring. The pandemic rally was unique – fed by interest rates cuts and government support for the economy to fight the pandemic. Past experience tells us it’s not out of the question for stocks to be down over a five-year period.

Unless you stick to guaranteed investment certificates, investing means periodic pain. You manage it with diversification, which means holding stocks from multiple sectors and countries and holding at least a small amount of bonds. Another way to manage downturns is to keep a long-term perspective of 10 or more years.

Now’s the ideal time for the young investors who are crushing it today to think about the end of the pandemic stock boom. These bull markets have a tendency to end ugly.

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Rob’s personal finance reading list

Top credit cards in 15 categories

Best credit card for young professionals, best card for earning travel points, best overall rewards card and more. Now for a head to head look at two cashback cards - Scotiabank Momentum Visa Infinite Vs. BMO CashBack World Elite Mastercard.

Realizing the power of enough

A short, smart blog post that uses a Jerry Seinfeld analogy to draw a lesson for investors about not trying to squeeze every last drop out of the stock market rally we’ve been watching since spring 2020.

Looking for low-cost online brokers

A deep dive into the details of a recent report on how online brokers, bank-owned and independent, compare on a variety of costs, including stock-trading commissions.

Spotlight on the disability tax credit

The recent federal budget proposed expanding eligibility for the disability tax credit. Here’s a thorough rundown on what the DTC offers and how to qualify.

Big city exodus

In this latest episode of our Stress Test podcast, we hear from a Toronto couple who moved to St. John during the pandemic to buy an affordable home. In fact, they paid just $99,000. So, how has the transition been? What do they like? What are they struggling with?

Ask Rob

Q: There has been a lot written about an increase in inflation in the near future. We have already seen food prices increase. Also, commodities such as copper are trading at near record prices. All of these should converge into increased prices for consumer goods. To decrease the effect of inflation on your portfolio, is it a good idea to have some or all of the income portion of your portfolio in real return bonds?

A: Real return bonds are considered a defence against rising prices for investment portfolios because they provide inflation-adjusted income. However, there are some caveats about these bonds investors should know about. It’s worth noting that the FTSE Canada Real Return Bond Index was down almost 9 per cent for the first four months of this year, even as concern about inflation began to rise.

Do you have a question for me? Send it my way. Sorry I can’t answer every one personally. Questions and answers are edited for length and clarity.

Today’s financial tool

The Ontario government has produced this guide for co-owing a home, where two or more people own a home and share accommodations or live in separate units. Co-ownership is one answer to unaffordable house prices.

The money-free zone

A list of books to get you out of your reading rut – a great mix of old, new and diverse authors. My own contribution is Nothing to See Here, a funny and life-affirming book about a young woman who is asked to look after two children who burst into flames when they’re angry.

In case you missed these Globe and Mail personal finance-related stories

More Rob Carrick and money coverage

Subscribe to Stress Test on Apple podcasts or Spotify. For more money stories, follow me on Instagram and Twitter, and join the discussion on my Facebook page. Millennial readers, join our Gen Y Money Facebook group.

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