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Sep 1, 2022

Portfolio Confidential

by Barbara Stewart

Do you have questions about your own investment portfolio? I have recently set up The Rich Thinking® Financial Advice Hotline. This will be a win/win: you get a free 30-minute confidential Zoom chat offering an independent, unbiased perspective on your financial situation with no sales pitch! In exchange, I get to use the anonymized data that will come from these conversations to make my Rich Thinking research even better. Email me to book your Zoom discussion:


Q: My dad passed away a couple of years ago, and my mom isn’t doing great and needs a lot of care. I did most of it (visiting her, cooking for her, taking her to medical appointments, cleaning her place, helping her in the bathroom, etc.), but my brother Tom was the one who helped her with her investment portfolio. Tom recently lost a huge amount of money in his own account—he had most of it invested in crypto. He just told me he has lost confidence and no longer wants to be responsible for managing mom’s money. I’m a 29-year-old registered nurse with no finance background, and this just landed in my lap. How can I learn about investing quickly!?

A: First, you might be surprised to learn that you are not the only daughter in this situation. According to a 2017 report from JAMA Neurology: “Women now outpace men in hours spent caregiving for their aging parents and their in-laws: Women provide nearly two-thirds of elder care, and daughters are 28 per cent more likely to care for a parent than sons.” Daughter Care is not only a real thing but also a growing thing, and it often includes managing investment portfolios.

How to get started learning about investing? Fortunately, the culture around finance and investing has evolved: younger women are redefining the world of finance and financial behaviour. I recommend that you join the social e-learning platform Female Invest (, which is now in over 60 countries. Their tagline is “Be the Boss of Your Money”, and for approximately C$13 per month, you can have access to many excellent resources and community discussions.

My research has shown that “…when it comes to learning about financial matters, most women do not watch financial news on the television, take financial courses, or spend time talking about their winners and losers. Women tend to be more interested in learning about financial matters by reading or listening to real stories from real people.” How do they do this? Online, of course! From the 2022 Rich Thinking® Quantitative Survey: An amazing 64 per cent of 18-29-year-old U.S. women either invest already or plan to invest within the year, higher than any other age group. Of the women who are already investors, 96 per cent use an online platform.

Q: My portfolio has taken quite a beating since December 2021. My investment advisor is linked to Portfolio Strategies and has offered no advice over the last eight months, which I find unacceptable. Please let me know if you would be interested in giving me an unbiased perspective regarding my next moves to correct and rebalance my investments. My wife and I are in our sixties, and our objective is quite straightforward: growth for the long term so that we can draw around 4 per cent per year, which, combined with our pensions, will support our lifestyle.

Summary of Investments and Cash Accounts


A: First, let me say I am appalled that you have not received any communication from your advisor in the last eight months, particularly in light of the fact that we have endured the steepest drop in market values in the last 50 years! This is obviously unacceptable. Second, I find it quite ironic that a firm called “Portfolio Strategies” would continue to associate with an advisor that clearly hasn’t offered you any type of portfolio strategy. Why do I say this? As you explained, your investment objective is quite straightforward; yet your portfolio holdings are unnecessarily complicated. There are too many different mutual funds and too much variation in the percentage weightings for each fund. I can’t think of a reason for this other than your advisor having a self-serving interest in selling a bunch of funds with higher Management Expense Ratio (MERs) so that he can earn as much as possible on top of his fee-for-service.

For confidentiality reasons, I cropped the advisor’s name from the statement excerpt above, but it may be of interest to note that when I googled his name, I found out that he has only a high school education and a mutual funds sales licence. Sadly, this lack of appropriate education (such as the CFA) is still all too common in our industry. My best advice at this point would be to speak with your tax advisor and put together a plan to transition out of mutual funds and into either a) three low-cost Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs) that offer exposure to world markets* or b) a well-diversified portfolio of individual equities selected by a professional money manager with proper qualifications.

*Sample three ETFs: 




Do you think now is a good time to invest in the Metaverse? If so, what types of investments can I make to profit from this trend/theme?

I am definitely not a Metaverse expert, but I do happen to be married to one! Here is some interesting perspective from Duncan Stewart, Director of Tech, Media, and Telecom Research, Deloitte Canada:

Given my role at Deloitte, I can’t comment on investment timing, valuations, or individual companies. But I have been talking to the tech, media, and telecom companies all over the world in 2022, and I do have a few thoughts based on the questions they are asking about the Metaverse and some of our ongoing research.

First, there are several obvious categories of companies that many believe will be important and successful if the Metaverse becomes an enormous market. Most of the things that look like proto-Metaverses are computer games that have virtual worlds and multiple users, and most people expect these gaming companies to be early winners. Add to those social media companies and companies that make virtual reality goggles or components for them.

Second, I am seeing most clients realize that building the mass market consumer Metaverse is going to take time. That is new—many seemed to think it was around the corner earlier this year (2023 or 2024), but most have now shifted to thinking this is a longer-term story: 2030 or so? The companies I have talked to are interested in experimenting with the Metaverse but are not willing to invest heavily, at least not yet.

Third, one of the reasons for that longer time frame before it matures is that rendering, creating, and processing the Metaverse means doing it in high resolution and in real-time, which is incredibly hard. We’re going to need to invent and build much better hardware (chips, mainly), software, and communications networks to make this happen at scale.

Fourth, although the mass market consumer Metaverse may be 7-8 years away, the enterprise Metaverse market could be sooner. That’s likely not as large a market as the further-out consumer market, but it could still be large and profitable.

Barbara Stewart: What is available in terms of investment vehicles to access the Metaverse space? I came across a couple of interesting options:

1) The Fidelity Total Metaverse Index ETF

2) The 7 Best Metaverse Stocks to Buy Now

As always, readers beware: these are ideas only—not investment advice.