How Does GIC Laddering Work?

A GIC, or guaranteed investment certificate, is one of the safest investments you can make. When you buy a GIC, you’re essentially agreeing to lend a bank or financial institution your money for a certain number of months or years. In exchange, you’re guaranteed to receive the amount of money you deposited plus a little bit of interest.


Naturally, GICs are part of many investors’ fixed income portfolios.


The longer you lock your money into a GIC, the greater the return. One-year GIC Rates in Canada, for example, may offer a 1.5% yield, whereas a five-year GIC might offer 2.5%. The five-year option is obviously more appealing, but you may not want to lock in your money for that length of time.


If you want to invest in GICs but don’t want to place your entire investment for five years, there is another option: GIC laddering.


How Does GIC Laddering Work?

GIC laddering is a simple way to maximize the returns from this type of investment without having to lock your money into a long-term investment.


Laddering is a lot simpler than it sounds:

  • Divide your total investment amount by five
  • Invest those five smaller amounts into five individual GIC terms:
    • 1-year
    • 2-year
    • 3-year
    • 4-year
    • 5-year
  • Once each term matures, reinvest the new amount into a five-year GIC.
  • Rinse and repeat.

With the laddering method, you have a term that matures every year. Each year, you can decide whether you want to reinvest that money, or access it for your own use.


If you continue with the laddering method, your return rate will be much higher compared to investing in consecutive short-term GICs.


Keep in mind that in most cases, you’ll need to invest at least $500 with a GIC.


What are the Benefits of GIC Laddering?

There are many reasons to consider adding GIC laddering to your portfolio.




Low Risk

GICs are a very low risk investment. It’s a guaranteed, as long as you purchased a GIC with a fixed interest rate. The return rate may be low, but you’re guaranteed to walk away with your initial investment and interest accrued.


Maximize Your Returns

The laddering strategy allows you to maximize your returns because you’re spreading your money across different GIC terms. Also, you don’t pay any fees with a GIC.


Access to Your Investment Every Year

With the laddering strategy, you have access to 20% of your investment every year. It’s a somewhat liquid investment strategy, so if you need money to pay for an unplanned expense, you’ll have the option of keeping the money from a matured GIC.


Take Advantage of Rising Interest Rates

Each year, one of your investments will mature. This means that you’ll be able to take advantage of rising interest rates when you re-invest in a new 5-year GIC.


Potential Risks

Just like with any other investment, there are some potential risks – even with a GIC.


The primary risk is that your returns will not keep pace with inflation. If the interest rate on your GIC is lower than the rate of inflation, your purchasing power will actually decrease when it matures.

Improving Financial Skills Through Literacy

Financial management has been defined as understanding the financial consequences of your actions and ensuring you only do those things that enhance profitability. However, I would add financial failure to that definition, as it’s an important part of the industry and my work as a merchant banker.

In short, you can’t expect all of your investment to result in significant returns. So you need to condition yourself to deal with the failures and continue your work with the same passion you had prior to the disappointing outcome. That’s what makes a successful merchant banker.

But let’s take a step back. It’s been said that 90% of business failures around the world are due to financial mismanagement. Not poor marketing, not labour problems but plain old bad management. So how do we resolve this problem? We need to focus on financial literacy, one of the world’s biggest challenges.

Although there are many worthwhile financial literacy initiatives happening today all over the world, too many of us don’t have a basic understanding of things like budgets, inflation and rates of return. Although it’s unrealistic to expect everyone to possess sophisticated financial knowledge, it is broadly agreed that some financial knowledge is necessary to make important life decisions related to money.

Building personal financial capabilities early in life can give people the foundation for financial well-being in the future. Schools are an important channel to provide the education that can improve financial literacy. Studies in the U.S. have shown that financial education, when done properly, leads to an improvement in financial behaviour.

But there’s a long way to go. According to a survey of 13 million U.S. high school students, only one in six received mandatory financial education. And only 17 states require personal financial content to be included in educational standards.

Of course, people want to make good financial decisions that set them up for success but most haven’t had the opportunity to learn. For instance, a significant number of American adults can’t pass a basic financial literacy test with three questions on stocks, interest rates and inflation. Here’s an example:

Suppose you had $100 in a savings account and the interest rate was 2% per year. After five years, how much do you think you would have in the account if you left the money to grow?

  • More than $102
  • Exactly $102
  • Less than $102

Although 43% earned scores of three, meaning they correctly answered all the questions and another 36% received scores of two, 21% got only one or zero questions right. Across all households, the average score was 2.2. Considering that the questions are relatively simple, those scores aren’t good enough and show why financial literacy needs to improve, and not only in the United States. The correct answer in the sample question, by the way, is more than $102.

Financial literacy can be a hard sell for educators, many of whom don’t see the importance of adding it to the curriculum. But it’s a skill all of us need to succeed in life. If you teach a child about financial literacy, odds are he won’t come back to live in your basement after college.

Cannabis Retail Offers Potential Investment Prospects

The role of a merchant banker is in part to provide capital to entrepreneurs and startup businesses that exhibit high growth potential. If you dig deeper, though, what investors are really funding are good ideas that show potential and, moreover, have the potential to disrupt industries.

Possibly the biggest disruption right now in Canada’s consumer market is cannabis. The opportunities that cannabis present are becoming more and more evident to companies around the country, and that means entrepreneurs want to be invested before everyone else gets into the act. In particular, cannabis retail is a promising sector of the industry that is presenting rapid growth potential.

Until April 1st, legal cannabis sales in Ontario were only available through an online government e-commerce store. Today, according to the provincial Alcohol and Gaming Commission, cannabis retail shops and outlets are appearing across the country in Ottawa, Kingston, Toronto, Brampton, Burlington, London, and St. Catharines.

This means millions of dollars of potential investment opportunity for companies that focus on running recreational cannabis stores. To date, large operators have attracted the lion’s share of investment dollars – but there are opportunities for smaller players too.

If you really think about it, smaller players who are looking to expand in high-value markets need capital. They could see outsized returns without requiring the significant capital investments needed by larger players. To boot, entrepreneurs are continuing to find a number of new opportunities in the evolving cannabis industry and one of those opportunities is marijuana-infused edibles. What was once known as the stereotypical “pot brownie” has moved far beyond to products that include infused beverages, candies, tinctures, and cooking ingredients.

For those who prefer a cannabis-adjacent business, information to accompany new products and uses is another important area that offers business opportunities. Putting the right data in front of consumers, and providing them with knowledge, is a need that entrepreneurs can fill.

As the number of legal cannabis consumers increases, so will the business opportunities.

It’s a great time to be a cannabis entrepreneur, but it’s still crucial to be knowledgeable about your product and your business, and more importantly, you still have to be passionate.

The Best Way to Invest Money For Passive Income

The term “passive income” sounds great, doesn’t it? Earning money for little to no physical time or labor. Passive income in reality is an income stream that flows in regularly without too much time or labor, it doesn’t necessarily mean you put forth no effort at all. With passive income the idea is to make an upfront, or front loaded investment of time or money with the hopes of it snowballing later on into a steady income stream requiring little to no time.

There are tons of great ways to invest online and create a passive income streams for yourself and your family. You do need to understand, however, that not all passive income strategies are the same. Some require a lot more time and money than others. That being said, let’s look at the most popular passive income opportunity that everyone is talking about right now.

Peer to Peer Lending or P2P

This is a modern twist on the old school, small town loan office. The idea is basically the same. Individuals loan money to other individuals and then make money on the interest. Usually these types of loans are for people who cannot get traditional financing. Modern technology, however, has taken this idea to a whole new level. Today P2P platforms can make it possible for individuals all over the world to loan money, even in micro amounts, to other individuals all over the world.

Feel Good About Your Investments

Beyond simply being a great way to establish passive income, this can in many cases also be a great way to invest in humanitarian efforts as well. In many instances the loans are being processed for individuals in situations in which they are trying to better themselves. Loans can be used to buy a vehicle, start a business, pay for college or many other noble reasons. Some platforms even allow you to pick and choose the recipients of the loan so that you can feel great about where your money is being used.

Get Started Quickly

This is a great way to get your investment journey up and running because some platforms allow you to begin investing with as little as $25. There are almost no barriers in place to get started which is far different than traditional lending.

P2P lending is one of the most passive of passive incomes because you literally fund the account and then make money. Easy as that. If you would like to learn more about this super easy way to start earning passive income, you can start by reading reviews of individuals who are already making money through platforms like Mintos. Check out this Mintos review to learn more.

3 Tips For Finding The Right Manufacturer To Work With

If you’re running a business but aren’t planning to manufacture all of your product or equipment on your own, then it’s vital that you’re able to find a quality manufacturer to partner and work with. However, doing this can often be much easier said than done. While there might be a lot of different companies out there who manufacture for businesses in the same field as you, your business likely needs something unique to itself when finding the perfect manufacturer. So to help make this task a little easier on you, whether you’re creating your own product from scratch in the healthcare industry or needing to find a way to equip your processing plant in the oil field,  here are three tips for finding the right manufacturer to work with.

Make Sure You’re Ready To Work With A Manufacturer

Before you even start looking for specific manufacturers to work with, you first need to ensure that both you and your business are ready to take this next step. According to Kathryn Hawkins, a contributor to Intuit Quickbooks, you’ll need to come to any meetings with manufacturers with a lot of information about your business and plans for what you’ll need now and in the future. This includes being prepared with a solid business plan, budgets, goals, and your exact manufacturing needs. Without these things, you’ll never be taken seriously by a manufacturer.

Weigh Staying In North America Versus Going Overseas

Once you’re ready to start looking for the ideal manufacturer to work with for your business, you’ll want to weigh the pros and cons for working with a company in North America versus going overseas to get your work done. According to Bennett Conlin, a contributor to Business News Daily, many consumers appreciate products made in America or another North American country, and you can often get a more high-quality product, even though you’ll also have to pay more for it. But if you go with an overseas manufacturer, you’ll generally save money and get larger order fulfilled in a timely manner. It’s all about figuring out what you want, what you need, and what you can afford.

Ask The Right Questions When Vetting Potential Manufacturers

When you’ve decided on just a few manufacturers that will likely work for your business, it’s then time to speak with them about what you’re looking for and what you need. During this vetting process, Richard Lazazzera, a contributor to, recommends that you ask them all types of questions to help you gauge what it’d be like to work with them. For example, you’ll want to know what their minimum order quantity is, the difference between their sample and product pricing, what the turnaround time will look like, how payment will be dealt with and more.

If you’re searching for a manufacturer to work with for your business, consider using the tips mentioned above to help you find the right fit for you.

Investment Tips For The Upcoming Generation

Millenials are next to inherit the financial world, and they are sharper than Gen-Xers ever were in their prime.  Millennials are the first generation that grew up in a tech savvy world, and you better believe they know how to navigate their way around an app.  

The key is to turn your young mind towards the future.  Invest the money you’ve worked hard to obtain, and compound your total nest egg with time and knowledge.  Here are some smart financial investment tips for the upcoming generation.

Find an accomplished financial advisor

If you’re not really in the know when it comes to the world of the stock market, then you will need some help navigating the treacherous waters.  Find an honest financial advisor, as you don’t want to get into any trouble with FINRA (Financial Industry Regulation Authority).  A solid financial investor will have a history of giving great advice, and he/she will be able to prove it.

Start investing as soon as possible

The earlier in your life you begin to build your portfolio, the better.  You will have more years to learn, diversify, and solidify your investments if you begin working the markets early.  The market is also soarly unpredictable, and it’s helpful to have a stash of financial security.

If your employer offers you the option of a 401k, take the offer every time.  The more you can toss into your retirement fund, the happier you will be when you’re old.  

Do not forsake a decent risk

Risk is necessary in life, and there’s a way to take calculated risks.  Financial investment is the place for these leaps of faith, but you have to find a reason good enough to take the risk.  Keep your safer investments like a traditional savings account or a savings bond, but step out of your comfort zone a little to diversify your portfolio.  

Don’t let your investments manage themselves

Be an active investor.  When you make an investment, don’t just let it sit.  Watch the market, and keep an eye out for a buying or selling opportunity that could bring in a higher ROI (return on investment).  

Keep your debts as low as possible

You’re still young, so hopefully, you haven’t already built up an excessive debt.  Even if you have, start working to pay down your debts.  Your future takes time to build, and relieving your identity of stray debts will help you go further.  

Start by taking a thorough inventory of your financial history.  Get a credit report from all of the most vital credit reporting agencies, and sift through every entry for errors.  Many people allow financial errors to weigh down their credit score, when a simple dispute of the charges could make them disappear.

What To Do With Bitcoin Investment In 2019

Forbes noted that in July of 2018, the price of Bitcoin (BTC) spiked past the $US 8000 mark fueling speculation that it may return to the heights it had previously tested in the past. After a few months however, it was noted that the price continued to plunge, settling at somewhere between $US 3000 and $US 4000 in January 2019. For many crypto speculators, the days of quick movement and fast cash are over. However, there are still a large amount of people who are “hodl”ing onto their BTC stash, waiting for the predicted rise in value. What do the business experts have to say about the possibility of another BTC bull run this year?

Price Fluctuation is Evident

BTC has shown its penchant for trading in a volatile manner and because of that, it’s very likely we’ll see a lot of spikes when it comes to BTC over this period. Coin Telegraph states that, in December of 2018, BTC volatility tripled, despite the fact that prices over this period were plummeting. This may be good news for traders who intend to short the coin as a commodity, since it creates a lot of good setups if the value of the coin continues to fall. However, for those who already have BTC in their portfolio, it’s just a matter of waiting out the fluctuation and seeing where the final price leaves you.

Playing the Long Game

Many of the adopters of BTC that got in when the coin had already breached massive highs are currently suffering the losses, but once they hold onto the coin itself, the losses may write themselves off. Most predictions for BTC see it being stable and even gaining ridiculous amounts of value in a five to ten-year span. Some predictions even place the maximum realized value at twenty years, citing things like inherent scarcity of the coin as well as adoption by international banking institutions. BTC already serves as a standard for other cryptocurrencies, and this means that if any of those get adopted as a viable alternative to fiat currency, there should be a knock-on effect that impacts the value of BTC as well.

External Factors should be Considered

Coin Codex notes that in the long run, external factors like BTC futures trading can lead to a decreasing of volatility in the market through increased liquidity. Additionally, as more and more investors get drawn to BTC, more and more value will pour into the network and increase its presence. These things suggest that, instead of a short term outlook on BTC, investors ought to think about the long term gains. Despite its inherent differences from traditional financial instruments, the supply-demand curve is still in operation and the scarcity of the coin will eventually lead to increase in value, provided it becomes adopted in a more widespread manner.

Riding the BTC Train is Dangerous

In the past, fortunes could be made in a matter of hours on BTC using Harga Bitcoin. Today, that scenario has completely changed. Just like all other financial instruments, it is a risk that the investor is taking and such risk should never be taken lightly, nor with money that is necessary to fulfil other needs. BTC’s future is still murky, but signs are strong that we will see it increase. This year will be crucial to BTC’s continued success over time, especially based on the wider acceptance and usage of cryptocurrencies. We are also likely to see a cleanup of “junk altcoins” on the market as they lose value and slowly drop off the radar, leaving the handful of resilient coins to retain their value and improve. While the immediate future of BTC is a bit of a black box, it’s long-term outlook is still relatively secure. 2019 will serve to cement this opinion if bitcoin rises. For those who aren’t already in BTC, it is important to note that just like every other security instrument, investment should only be made with funds that the investor can afford to lose.

Digital Currency At Year’s End: Crashing On The Cusp

As is often the case in massive cultural and societal shifts, the story of cryptocurrency’s 2018 ups and downs is incredibly complex, requiring several smaller stories to explain its current place in the world, and why people are so stirred up over it. This post is particularly aimed at folks with a reasonable understanding of the world of crypto, so if you’re a little out of your element, we recommend reading up on the basics first.

In this post we’re going to look at two seemingly contradictory trends in the world of digital currencies and why they are likely to become a tipping point for this revolutionary technology. We’ll cover these trends in two sections and then explore what it means when you bring them together.


Fringe Adoption Vs. Mass Adoption


While crypto’s detractors (and there are many) will argue that spending Bitcoin, Litecoin, etc., is complicated and unsecured, reputable companies such as Microsoft, Subway, Overstock and Expedia have all begun accepting popular cryptocurrencies. Additionally, many small, independent businesses, retailers, cafés and so forth, have begun accepting cryptocurrency as an alternative to government-controlled centralized, fiat currency. In this sense, crypto is inarguably growing closer to mass adoption.


On the other hand, while we may be approaching this tipping point, we are not quite there yet. Adoption by a tech giant like Apple, Amazon or Google would certainly constitute the required push – a sort of Deus Ex Machina effect – to bring crypto fully in the mainstream, for it is currently perched just on the cusp.


In the past year, a plethora of easy ways to sell Bitcoin have popped up, with an increasing number of reliable, secure digital platforms serving as fiat gateways for those who are interested in using crypto as currency, or purchasing it as an investment. Know your customer (KYC) and anti-money laundering policies provide a solid level of security to guard against untoward uses of crypto, but as it is still largely an unregulated frontier, more conservative, pro-fiat individuals argue that it facilitates shady dealings and undermines government.


Bears & Bulls


Even the most fanatic crypto proponent would admit that Bitcoin’s 2017 high of $20,000 constituted a bubble, and that $7,000 (the level that it fell to) was a correction, alarming though it was. The November dip below $5,000 is being heralded by glib detractors as a death knell, but this completely discounts the fact that the global market (at time of writing) is a bear, dropping rapidly and indicating a recession.




Thus, to declare the death of crypto is to ignore the greater context: yes, digital coins are losing value, but only at a rate proportionate to the overall drop in the markets at large. Of course, this drop comes at an extremely inconvenient time for crypto, which seemed poised to establish a consistent store of value around that $7,000 mark. As we get into the first quarter of 2019, it will be fascinating to observe the relationship between the fluctuations of global economies in relation to the fluctuations of Bitcoin prices.


For the time being, crypto geeks and rain-makers are holding their breath, waiting to see what happens next. The rise of crypto is utterly unique, and thus the current situation is unprecedented – we can only wait and see.

Examining the retail cannabis space at a macro level

There are certain developments in every generation that create opportunities for those who have an eye to seize upon them. The twentieth century was full of these technological, political or cultural shifts.

The widespread production of electric power, the splitting of the atom, the rise of computer technology — these are just a few of the discoveries that changed Western society, and paved the way for new industries and news way of life.

It’s not unrealistic to believe that the legalization of cannabis will be seen in later years as one of these shifts.

Currently, the known cannabis market is at least a $100-200 billion industry, while the illicit market is worth at least $100-150 billion. The idea that it is now possible to convert that illicit market into one that is legalized is exciting. It means that what is now an unknown frontier—Cannabis retail—will eventually become mainstream.

The societal concerns surrounding legalization are not new. There were similar concerns surrounding the legalization of alcohol in Canada following the First World War, and regulations also varied province to province for a number of years. Many people had health concerns and were worried about liquor’s widespread use. They were suspicious that uncontrolled public drunkenness would ensue once people had the ability to consume freely and openly.

While similar concerns have been raised about cannabis, this sector has the advantage of showing promising scientific research and development, through which effective solutions for the treatment of chronic pain and disease are being discovered. The industry can build a mainstream reputation on this solid foundation.

So here, at the beginning of a new era, cannabis retailers have the opportunity to be first in what is sure to be a valuable space. Clear regulations will develop from province to province and governments will gradually improve those laws and make them more suitable to social expectations. Eventually, any existing stereotypes will fade.

In the meantime, the possibility that an entrepreneur could start off with a very small company and build into something exponentially larger, represents one of the most recent frontiers here in Canada, and the possibility of a larger frontier abroad.

Understanding Risk: Investing in Junior Mining Companies

There are many lessons to be learned from investing in the mining sector. First, it’s inherently risky and many companies will disappear before mining a single ounce of base or precious metals. But it’s also an attractive sector for those willing to take chances and put in the work. Here are a few things I have learned over the years.


Do Your Research


Don’t go on a blind faith tip or even a rising stock price. Research the exploration project or mine you are interested in thoroughly and find out what others aren’t seeing before you put in a penny. There’s always something new to discover in a deep dive.


Find The Right Price


One of my last acts before leaving the position of president and CEO of Cornerstone Capital Resources in 2011 was to acquire the Cascabel project in Ecuador at a very early stage. At the time, it was believed to be a future source of gold and copper, but there was no proof. So the price was right. I got a bit lucky with Cascabel, as exploration has since revealed it as one of the largest gold-copper undeveloped mineral deposits in the world. But that was because I had done my research before making an offer.


Know When to Exit


Cornerstone was a small company and we needed help to get the Cascabel project up and running. I knew it would take years and hundreds of millions of dollars. So, making sure I left the company in solid financial shape, I turned it over to Brooke Macdonald, who remains CEO to this day.


The Truth About Cascabel


The Cascabel mine has gained the attention of BHP Billiton and Newcrest Mining, two of the largest mining companies in the world. They both have bought shares of SolGold, Cornerstone’s partner in the project. SolGold has the right to earn 85% of Cascabel by funding all exploration costs through to the completion of a bankable feasibility study. Cornerstone has the other 15% interest plus it owns about 10% of SolGold, effectively owning 23% of Cascabel. That’s one of the reasons I was happy to increase my already significant stake as a Cornerstone shareholder when the opportunity presented itself in 2016.


Although it was a risk to invest in a gold and copper early stage projects in Ecuador, the potential rewards were, and still are, tremendous. Even today, with all signs pointing to a positive outcome, Cascabel is still at the exploration stage. There’s a long way to go before the mine will see a profit. If you’re looking for quick and easy returns, the junior mining sector isn’t for you. But if you like doing research and have lots of patience, the risks can pay off in the long term.


Along the way, as a general rule, I sell enough shares to recover my original investment plus pay taxes on capital gains and then leave the balance of the investment until it hits my target price at which time I sell. Cornerstone has not yet hit my target price. However, I’m optimistic that it will within the next 12-24 months.