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Year in Review

As 2014 draws to a close, we thought we would take a look at what exactly happened during the year, at CMS and in the markets.

At Canadian MoneySaver, we continued with our web seminar series, to fulfill our goal of helping Canadians become better investors. We offered free webinars during the year with Colin Ritchie, Eileen Reppenhagen, David Stanley and the Pension Specialists; Shelley Johnston and Ian Burns.  

For Canadian MoneySaver, we experienced good growth, and made many changes to position the magazine for the future. We updated our cover, to entice readers at the store level; we boosted the quality of our pages, and have now added an app so that MoneySavers can better view CMS on computers, phones and tablets. We have added many new writers, each of whom brings their own area of expertise to the magazine. In the next year we will continue to adapt and focus on continually improving the content of your magazine.

We had a well-attended booth at the World MoneyShow and the Toronto Zoomer Show, where we also made investment presentations.

In 2015, we look forward to our webinar on January 10th, our investment symposium on Feb. 28th, and beginning a seriew of FREE webinars aimed at you, the DIY investor. Going even further out, we can’t wait until our CMS 2016 Cruise to Bora Bora. Details on all of these events can be found   https://www.canadianmoneysaver.ca/events.  

In the stock markets, as usual, there was never a dull moment. We think, likely, the Canadian highlight of the year was the dramatic takeover of Tim Hortons. There was lots of Canadian angst as Burger King swallowed up Timmies, but of course this is not the first time our Canadian icon has been owned by foreigners. We think the deal highlights a few important points for investors: One, despite some good gains in the stock market, Canadian stocks still look like bargains to strategic, global investors. Tim Hortons stock surged 60% in 2014 on the takeover news. Two, boring stocks can still produce un-boring-like returns. A year ago, if we told you Tim Hortons, simply selling coffee and donuts (ho hum) was going to rise 60% in a year you would have thought we were crazy. But, in the stock market at least, boring is not just good, it is sometimes great.

We think another highlight of the year 2014 was interest rates. Everyone, and we mean everyone (including us) thought they were going to rise. Economic growth was strong, the FED was stopping stimulus to the economy, and it was, most thought, just a matter of time before rates rose. But, they went the opposite way. Interest rates continued to drop, with 10-year bonds barely yielding 1% at some points during the year.

The next surprise was oil: complete devastation to the price and the energy sector in the fourth quarter. Investors who were enticed by high dividends saw them disintegrate. The TSX, at almost a 21% energy sector weighting, almost was down on the year in mid December after the sector’s rout. More surprisingly, the price of oil brought down pipelines, utilities and any stock with any business exposure in Alberta.

Metal stocks continued to drift lower, and all of those junior resource investors learned a lesson that there doesn’t need to be a recovery just because the last few years were so bad. It was a horrible year again for junior resource investors, and some former fund managers who were once treated as Gods found themselves with huge redemptions, forced to sell into a plunging market.

Dividend increases continued. Every week, it seemed, two or three companies would raise their payouts (not the energy stocks!). Investors who held in and did not trade did well. There were market panics in October and December, but the year ended up OK if you count your dividends. Stock traders paid tax and commissions, and long term holders did not.

Sometimes, doing nothing works best, and we think 2014 was a good example of that. A lot of investors got whip-sawed last year, by reading too many headlines and reacting, not investing.

On a personal note, my year was a series of highs and lows. My 86 year old father died in October, resulting in a difficult fall period for my family. I was hit by a car while cycling in June, while training for the Sears National Kids Cancer Ride. These were the lows.
Although I am still mourning my father, I did manage to recover from the crash, and in September rode across Canada with an amazing group of people and volunteers, raising more than $88,000 for charities helping children with cancer. Many MoneySavers donated to the cause, and I would like to thank you all again for your generosity. It was a life-changing experience, as I knew it would be. Another highlight was my brother's wedding in June, in Ottawa. Our family is spread all across Canada, and it was great to see them all happy and together again.
Thank-you for being a part of our year and we look forward to 2015.
Peter Hodson, Editor
Canadian MoneySaver Magazine
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