Pivoting in a Crisis

Its not raining, it’s a torrential downpour of biblical proportions. The worst part is that you could not have modelled or planned for these events. So now that we’ve dealt with what we can’t control time to focus on what we can.

Life offers us opportunities to grow as individuals, some choose to use these opportunities as lessons and learn from them, others do not.

Take this opportunity to Pivot on what you thought worked vs. what is actually working during this ultimate stress test.

  • Your Financial Situation
    • Which investments held up well, which didn’t? Transition to those stocks or instruments that held up well, buy more of what worked.
  • Your Income Stream (Job/Business)
    •  If you’ve been furloughed or laid off, has the drop in income affected your spending? Where can you adjust to meet your reduced income levels
    • Has your business been impacted by the shutdown, how can you adapt to the new reality?
    • What is the leanest your business can run without affecting service and losing customers?
  • Your Health
    • What can you do to stay active
    • What can you do to keep your sanity and keep boredom at bay
    • How can you avoid overworking while working from home
    • How can you maintain the “right amount” of contact with partners- too much vs. too little

In short, pivoting is the fancy word for adapting. However, choosing which approach is best suited for your situation is where the difference lies. Pivoting in the right direction takes research, trial and error and quick decision making when things don’t work.

Take back control however limited and steer your ship with the wind at your back.

Till next time.



The devil is still in the details

I have lost count of how many clients have asked about the various announcements that have been made recently regarding income repalcement and help for small business.

As of this writing the only finalized programs that are up and running are as follows:

  • Regular EI Benefits-Personal
  • CERB (Canadian Emergency Relief Benefit)-Personal

Still in the works

  •  75% wage subsidy of 15% Month over Month revenue drop
  • BDC small business loan program

Just Now available via your Bank or Credit Unions

  •  40,000 Small Business Loan with the possibility of 10k forgiven (Details differ per bank or credit union)

The best option in my humble opinion, is for small businesses to work with their Bank on the 40k loan option. Banks unlike Governments know how to structure programs and processes, and the details are clearer than what Governments promise versus what they actually deliver.

Try to manage the best you can on your own, become self-reliant and plan for the worst. The best time to fix the roof is when the sun is shinning, not in the middle of a downpour. 

Till next time,







Leading a Horse to Water

It’s a classic saying, yet never more appropriate than when it’s applied to professional advisors in any field. Be it medical, legal, counselling or financial. All professions that deal with the public can relate to this expression. In the beginning I used to cringe when good advice fell on deaf ears. But as I matured and raised a family, I learned to let things play out.

Failure is good. We forget about that. I’ll borrow a line from Batman and use these lines as a great reference;

“Why do we fall down Master Bruce?” “So we learn how to get back up Alfred”.

Our culture and especially our families have become too protective over failure, to the point of stifling effort. In sports the score does matter. It provides a clear indication of ones reward or effort and also spurs reflection and drive for those on the wrong end of the scorecard.  Life is similar. It owes you nothing. Sooner or later you will learn its harsh realities. The longer you prolong or protect individuals from these lessons, the harder it will be for them to learn from them.

Parents, Teachers, Counsellors, Lawyers, Doctors and yes Accountants, are all there to help us make good decisions. As professionals, we must also understand that not taking our advice is also sometimes necessary for the greater good. I know I have learned the hard way several times, and wish I had just listened the first time. I also know that these consequences made me who and what I am today.

Rick Barbosa


What to do when idiots run the world?

When you combine Trudeau’s Selfie politics with Morneau’s silver spoon trust fund mentality, you get ongoing budget deficits, careless spending on wasted programs and social agenda’s with no economic merit. Couple that with Trump’s war on everybody, and our lack of true leadership, and voila. Stock market downturns, investors pulling out of Canadian projects and infighting between provinces for political gain without consideration for economic fallout.

So what’s a person to do? Well if you’ve invested using time-tested fundamentals you weather the storm. When deploying new capital, go for fixed income instruments that have low volatility and meager returns. Now is not the time to bet the Farm.

Stay Calm and Build your Cash reserves.

Rick Barbosa


Can you sit still?

Recently, we’ve increased our positions in a few key holdings including CIBC, Genworth Mortgage Insurance and Blackberry. Initially the returns were positive, lately, based on the news cycle or lack thereof, their values have decreased somewhat. Nothing materially has changed for either one of these holdings, including Blackberry, which made an unexpected profit even when you back out the Qualcomm payment.

Analysts are paid to overreact, we do not. These businesses are sound, make money, and will make more money.

Our Criteria for investing is simple:

  1. Good or Service is Vital (Need)
  2. High Barriers to entry (Financial moat)
  3. Good Management
  4. Strong Balance Sheet and Cash position

The true mark of an investor versus a trader is how long they can sit still when things are not going in their favour at the moment. If you panic and “limit your losses” you are a trader, if you believe in your analysis and see these swings as temporary, then you are an investor. Limiting your losses also means wiping out future returns.

Stay Calm and Carry on.

Rick Barbosa


4 Pillars of Building Wealth

Believe it or not, the manner in which you can build your nest egg hasn’t changed since the dawn of the 20th century. The tools may have improved but these foundational pillars still exist.

  1. Discipline – Stay true to your purpose and never lose sight of your goal.
  2. Save – Learn how to keep and grow your money
  3. Research – The best results come from the most informed decisions.
  4. Plan – Anticipate life, surprises, retirement, and set out to meet these obligations.

Contact us to learn how to use these tools and start building your wealth.

Rick Barbosa


Best Financial Calculators


We’ve just updated our resource page with some of the most useful and easy to use financial calculators to assist you in making these common decisions or analyze your financial situation.

  • Lease v Buy
  • Rent v Buy
  • Net Worth
  • Accelerated Mortgage payment savings
  • RRIF payment Calculator
  • Financial Fitness Score
  • Break Even
  • Financial Ratios

Financial Tools made easy

Click on the link above to try them out today.



Really Smart People “Buy” when the “Smart” money is selling


If you’ve ever gone to my “Rick’s Picks” tab you probably have noticed that my picks rarely change. That’s not laziness on my part. That’s just me doing my homework. I like to lump myself into the “Investor” group rather than be labelled a “trader”.  Investors know that market volatility is part of the landscape, especially these days. What gets people into trouble is following the crowd and panicking when numbers start to move. Those who sold their investments after 9/11 , Black Monday and as recently as last week are those that will miss the inevitable rebound once the “Smart Money” moves back in.

Investing is simply putting your capital to work in a trusted company or institution, and letting them run their business. If they have done, are doing, or will do a good job, you will be rewarded with dividends, yield and capital appreciation. It’s that easy. The hard part is doing the homework to find out which companies have a good management team and a good business model that will stand the test of time. Once you or your advisor find those companies then invest and be patient. If you are not that type then consider yourself a trader.

So when you hear what the “Smart Money” is doing, think about what Steve Jobs once said.  “Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you.”

Till Next time,

Rick Barbosa

Get your “Shoebox” in order to save money


Tax time is almost here and now is as good a time as any to get your “stuff” in order to lower your tax bill with your accountant.  The awful truth is that most accountants don’t care about how organized you are because they can use your lack of preparedness to increase the amount they bill you. I can’t do that. My job is to educate and advise my client’s. Part of that advice includes how to organize your finances to :

  1. Understand them
  2. Lower your year end tax bill

Once client`s understand that the more work that I need to do translates into the more they pay, then they usually change their habits. Although, truth be told, there are some that  accept this and are OK with a higher bill.

How to get prepared

  1. Make sure you wait to get all your T4`s, T5`s, T3`s , and RRSP slips. This cuts down on filing amended returns.
  2. Find all relevant receipts (hopefully they are easy to get at) if not there are usually on-line records that you can access
  3. Sort by type of receipt (Medical, travel, meals, donations, vehicle, entertainment, cell phone, etc.)
  4. Add all receipts up with a calculator (buy a calculator with a print feature) then print tab and circle total amount
  5. Paper clip or bind these receipts with tab on top
  6. Present them in one docket or file to your accountant

This eliminates 80% of what accountants do. From here, the accountant should spot check and verify amounts for eligibility and weed out duplicates. This should result in your accountant lowering your tax bill. If it doesn`t then you need to ask yourself if  you are using the right accountant.

Hope this helps,


Your friend,


Rick Barbosa