About the Author

Welcome to our new website - it is still a work in progress. Charts, graphs and tables will be added over the next few weeks and we will be updating some of the data from the original book to make it more relevant.

Bob Trask spent more than 30 years in the financial services industry. During his career he has been licensed to trade in stocks, bonds, mutual funds, exchange traded options and commodity futures.

He has successfully completed the Canadian Securities Course and the Professional Financial
Planning Course and has achieved the designation of Certified Investment Manager offered through the Canadian Securities Institute.

Bob strongly believes in the value of education when it comes to financial matters and in writing this book he addresses the many issues facing Canadians today. His experience in dealing with clients face to face and dealing with their concerns has given him an understanding of how emotions play a big role in decision making.

Bob is now retired and lives in Victoria

Copyright © 2013 by Robert Warren Trask

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or any information storage and retrieval system without permission in writing from the publisher.

About the Book

The Money Maze and Your Path to Success was originally written in an effort to help Canadians gain a better understanding of personal finance including finanancial/retirement planning, investing, insurance & estate planning, investment regulations, fees and so on. It was written by Bob Trask who enjoyed a successful 30 year career as a Canadian financial advisor. The original e-version of the book is available online through the Kindle Store at www.amazon.ca.

This web-based version includes some updates and active links to provide users with quick access to various reference sources. It will continue to be updated from time to time.

Preface

by Bob Trask

I had always been interested in studying the markets and remember looking forward to launching my career in the financial services industry. It was the middle of October 1987 and little did I know that in less than a week after I started, we would experience the biggest stock market crash since Black Monday of 1929.

Since then I have seen the best and the worst of the financial markets.

In addition to the market crash in October 1987, I saw the Asian contagion that began in 1997, the tech wreck of 2001 and the credit crisis that led to the financial meltdown of 2008-09. I have seen interest rates drop from over 15% to less than 1% and despite the major corrections that occurred along the way I also experienced the biggest bull market in stock market history.

Today, governments and individual investors around the world are still reeling from the after-effects of the credit crisis. Canadians have felt the impact as well and I have found that my clients are interested in gaining a better understanding of the intricate workings of the financial markets. They want to be better prepared to deal with any unforeseen circumstances that may arise.

These experiences have given me a unique perspective; it is a perspective that I want to share with you.

Despite the popularity of the catchy advertising slogan ‘You’re richer than you think,’ most Canadians will face many financial challenges during their lives.

My goal in writing this book was to identify many of the common financial issues you may face throughout your life and provide some guidelines to help you deal with those issues. I also dispel some of the myths surrounding personal finances, expose flawed strategies and outline what you can expect in terms of service.

The book is also a great reference tool. You can keep it handy to look up those hard-to-find facts regarding issues like government benefits, inflation, investment returns, mortgage rates and so on. Inside you will also find links to resources such as financial calculators and other useful financial websites.

There will be points of agreement and disagreement but as long as it encourages you to take a closer look at your finances, I will have succeeded in my goals.

There are no inspirational stories of failure turned into success. Instead, you are given the tools to create your own inspirational story and that is the only one that matters.

The research has been done for you and the answers to many of your questions lie within these pages. It comes from scouring such sources as Statistics Canada, Service Canada, the Bank of Canada and many others. Hundreds of hours were spent distilling the data and organizing it into a format that makes the information easy for you to use and understand.

I advocate the use of a financial advisor, who I define as someone who works with you to prepare a financial plan as well as to provide you with the investment advice to help you fulfill that plan. The section on choosing an advisor can be helpful if you are trying to decide whether it is worthwhile or not.

As you will see, it involves much more than trying to identify investment opportunities or minimizing fees.

Finally, I wanted to prepare you for the investment experience, including the processes of opening an account with a financial advisor, preparing a financial plan and making investment decisions. I demystify the sometimes vague and complex fee structure that seems to be a characteristic of the investment industry so you can make educated decisions on the products and services you choose.

It is my personal belief that your best insurance when it comes to handling your financial security is to learn the fundamentals. By the time you have finished reading this book you will be well prepared and one step ahead in planning your financial future.

Now is the time to begin that journey.

Introduction

It’s Your Future  – Take It Seriously

Managing your personal finances is a tremendous responsibility; your future depends on it. You need to treat it as a business endeavour and not as something that will take care of itself.

Don’t count on governments to step in and lend a helping hand either; they are clearly moving in the other direction.

Many look for simple solutions. These can range from the concept of “pay yourself first” to “dollar cost averaging”.

While they can be components of an overall strategy, these ideas fall far short of being a comprehensive plan. If a plan to manage your finances seems too simple and easy, it probably is.

The risk is that you do not take your finances seriously. For some, it could be because they are disinterested, intimidated, or don’t want to face reality. Or it could be because they believe the “system” will care for their needs.

Whatever the reason, those who procrastinate or take a casual approach to their personal finances may be faced with unhappy consequences.

Unlike many books that promise easy solutions, I examine many of the challenges you may face in detail. I also provide information and strategies that can help you on the road to success.

Treat your money well and it will return the favour.

The result is a book that is more factual than entertaining. Because it is a serious topic, it was a compromise that I was willing to make.

NEXT: Stages of Life - Overview

 

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