Straight Talk About Fees and Penalties on Mutual Funds

Mr. Canadian Budget Binder received a question from one of his readers and asked me to craft a guest post to answer it. Question: Can you explain MER Fees and Penalties regarding investments?  What Does MER stand for? MER means Management Expense Ratio. There are a variety of expenses that make up MER. Some are: The fee paid to the fund managers for managing and investing your money Legal and audit fees of the fund Advisor sales compensation and trailer fees (ongoing service fees) Advertising expenses that promote the fund The cost of buying and selling the stocks the fund holds How does this impact my investing return? All published returns for a fund are net returns, after the MER has been deducted. In simple terms Fund A has a return of 10%. Its MER is 2.5%. The net return to the investor is 7.5% Fund B has the same 10% return but has an MER of 2%. The net is now 8%. The lesson we can learn from this is that lower MER’s usually mean more money for the investor all other things being equal. Some investors have focused exclusively on buying investments with the lowest cost. There are investments […]

Reader Question: RRSP’s-The Need To Know Basics

YOUR RRSP QUESTIONS ANSWERED Reader Question: I want to save for retirement. Where is the best place to save for this? I have been told NOT to use RRSP. Can you help? Saving for retirement is a good thing and RRSP’s (Registered Retirement Savings Plans) are a popular tool for doing so. I don’t know the client’s age or his/her income so this answer is predicated on the fact that the client has several months of income in an emergency fund. An emergency fund is a base component of proper planning and should be done before making any RRSP contributions. Also, it assumes the client is making more than $40,000 in income per year, as incomes under $40,000 don’t benefit much from tax savings on RRSP contributions. Below I will try to define some of the Basics of RRSP’s and also illustrate some of the long-term advantages. When Did RRSP’s Begin? RRSP’s first came into existence in 1957 as a government supported effort to help Canadians save for their retirement.   Types of RRSP’s   There are broadly speaking three main types of RRSP’s Individual RRSP-where the contribution is made in your name and held in your name. Spousal RRSP– […]