Archive for February, 2010

This and That: Chinese Bubble, Active Management and More…

February 26, 2010

  1. Many investors are worried that the massive economic stimulus provided by the Chinese Government in the wake of the financial crisis is inflating a massive credit bubble.
  2. Dan Richards reported on new research that has some good news for truly active mutual fund managers.
  3. Million Dollar Journey is giving away five copies of QuickTax Platinum.
  4. Michael James drew some investing lessons from the way Team Canada played in some of the earlier games.
  5. The Canadian Personal Finance stuff blogger may be an Anglican but he is cheering a fatwa on credit cards.
  6. Thicken My Wallet points out that there is a vested interest behind a lot of doomsday predictions.
  7. Ever the romantic, Larry MacDonald had a Valentine’s Day suggestion: turn your spouse into a tax shelter. Fortunately, it’s good for pretty much every day of the year.
  8. Four Pillars has eight reasons why you should use a real-estate agent.
  9. Canadian Couch Potato compared the fees of ETFs from iShares, Claymore and BMO.
  10. Canadian Financial DIY says that ETFs are not always and necessarily better than mutual funds.

One of the benefits of hosting an Olympics is the attention showered on the host city (and country) by the world media. The coverage may not always be positive — sections of the British and the Russian media viciously criticized everything from the weather to glitches in the early part of the games. Not everyone is grouchy like the Brits and the Russians though. In this short video, veteran broadcaster Tom Brokaw explains Canada to his countrymen:

I’m unable to highlight all the articles worth checking out in my weekly round up but you can check them out through my Twitter feed. Have a great weekend everyone. Go Canada! Go!

Free Filing Options from and Giveaway

February 25, 2010

110 comments, a web-based tax software, is offering several free ways for Canadians to prepare their 2009 taxes:

  1. Free File Friday for Seniors: On February 26, 2010, tax payers 60 years or over can open a tax file and file their taxes at a later date for free. Check this web page for more details.
  2. Students, regardless of income level, can file their taxes through at anytime through the tax season. More details are available here.
  3. Families with total income of $20,000 or less are not charged a fee to NETFILE or print their tax return.

Giveaway: I am giving away 10 vouchers that can be used to prepare and file an entire family’s tax returns at You can enter by simply leaving a comment in this post (please do not send an entry via email) and don’t forget to include your email address. If you are reading this through your favourite RSS Reader, you have to click through to the website and scroll to the bottom of the page and type in your comment. Some quick rules: (1) Deadline for entries is 11:59 p.m. EST on Friday, February 26, 2010. (2) One entry per person. (3) Canadian residents only. (4) I treat your privacy very seriously. Your email will be used for the sole purpose of contacting you if you happen to win. (5) I’ll pick ten entries at random and announce the winner after the deadline.

Go Canada! Go!

Tim Hortons Brews an Expensive DRIP and SPP

February 24, 2010


Recently, Tim Hortons (TSX: THI) announced that it is offering shareholders a Dividend Reinvestment and Optional Cash Purchase Plan (I found this out through the Canadian DRIP Primer). In the press release accompanying the announcement, Tim Hortons said that the Plan allows shareholders to purchase shares in “an economical and convenient way”. The Tim Hortons DRIP and SPP may be a convenient way to accumulate shares but it is a joke to call it economical. Here are some of the fees shareholders will be charged to participate:

Enrollment Fee: $8.25
Reinvestment of Dividends: 5% of amount reinvested, up to a maximum of $3.00 plus $0.03 per share purchased.
Optional Cash Payment (via cheque or one time online bank debit): $5.00 per transaction plus $0.03 per share purchased.
Optional Cash Payment (via Pre-authorized Debit): $2.50 per transaction plus $0.03 per share purchased.
Sale of Shares: $15.00 per transaction plus $0.12 per share sold.

DRIP investors are the type of investors a company should be looking for: long-term, buy-and-hold investors who behave as part-owners of a business. Many companies offer a discount to shareholders participating in their DRIPs but Tim Hortons is instead choosing to ding them with a 5 percent premium. A $5.00 fee on optional share purchases defeats the purpose of a SPP, which is to offer a low-cost way for small investors to accumulate shares. Tim Hortons should wake up and smell the coffee: you can’t pretend to be shareholder friendly by offering a DRIP and then sock participants with steep fees at the same time.