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|by FCNB on |
| |ETF Fund Facts
The world of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) just got a little clearer.
You might have heard about ETF Fund Facts already. If youíre unsure what they mean for you as an investor, or youíre curious about adding ETFs to your portfolio for the first time, good news Ėwe have some resources that may assist you.
What are exchange-traded funds?
In short: ETFs are investment funds that hold a collection of assets, such as stocks, bonds or commodities. Similarly to mutual funds, ETFs are bundles of securities that can be traded on stock exchanges. Bundling securities provides diversification, which may minimize the risk of losing the money you invested. ETFs often track the performance of an index, which generally results in lower operating costs versus actively-invested mutual funds. For more details about ETFs, check out this blog post.
What the ETF Facts are
As of December 10, investment dealers are now required to deliver ETF Facts to you no later than midnight following the second business day after you invest in an ETF.
The ETF Facts are a two-page summary of the key information you should know on any ETF. Itís meant to help you make an informed decision about your investment and compare funds to determine which one might be best suited to your investment goals.
While itís the investment dealersí obligation to provide no later than midnight following the second business day after you invest in an EFT, you have the right to ask for a copy of the ETF Facts before you invest your money. Itís your responsibility to read it thoroughly. Itís also a good idea to speak with your registered investment adviser before you invest in an EFT to figure out if an ETF is suited to your investment portfolio. (Pro tip: you can make sure your investment adviser is registered by checking at aretheyregistered.ca)
How ETF Facts can help investors
There is no such thing as one-size-fits-all in investing. The investments that are right for you are completely dependent on your life stage, your financial goals and your current financial situation, among other factors.
ETF Facts can help take the guesswork out of investing, since they provide information on the fundís performance, pricing, how much you pay in management fees and which investors the fund suits well. Itís important to take all of this information into account before you part with your money, not after.
Help navigating the ETF Facts document
If you havenít seen an ETF Facts document before, it can look confusing at first glance. But the good news is, the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) has a handy guide to help you navigate the document.
Questions for your registered investment adviser
Itís important to ask your investment adviser questions about anything youíre unsure about. Here are some questions about ETFs you could consider asking:
- Which market does this ETF invest in?
- Based on what you know about my investing goals, is this ETF suited to my portfolio?
- How risky is this investment compared with other ETFs?
- How much do you stand to earn by selling me shares in this ETF?
ETFs arenít right for every investor, but the ETF Facts and the help of a registered investment adviser can help you decide whether a particular ETF is right for you.
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|Payday Loans in New Brunswick: What You Need to Know |
|by FCNB on |
| |Payday Loans in New Brunswick: What You Need to Know
When you are low on cash or faced with a surprise expense, payday loans might seem like the way out. But, did you know that payday loans are one of the most expensive ways to borrow? By a long shot!
Payday Loan vs. Credit Card Cash Advance
Which do you think costs more: a payday loan or a cash advance on your credit card?
Letís take a look...
Loan amount: $300
Payday loan: A payday lender can charge you $15 for every $100 you borrow. So a $300 payday loan will cost you $45. At the end of the 14 days, you must pay back $300 plus the $45 fee. TOTAL: $345
Credit Card: The annual percentage rate (APR) for this example is 23 per cent. At the end of the 14 days, you would pay $300 plus $2.65 in interest for the cash advance. TOTAL: $302.65
The payday loan costs $42.35 more. Thatís money that could stay in your pocket!
A report by the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada, however, found the use of payday loans has more than doubled in Canada recently. Disturbingly, it also found less than half of consumers understood that payday loans cost them more money than other borrowing options Ė like credit cards, banks or credit unions.
How payday loans work.
They are usually small, short-term, high-interest loans that are meant to get you through until your next paycheque. Typically, you write a personal cheque to the lender or give permission for them to automatically withdraw the loan amount and fee from your bank account on your next payday.
On your next payday, the lender cashes the cheque you wrote them, or makes the withdrawal electronically from your bank account. If you do not pay your loan back in full and on time, you may face additional fees Ė including penalties and NSF (non-sufficient-funds) charges.
New Brunswick introduced new rules for the payday loan industry on 1 January. Payday lenders in New Brunswick must be licensed by FCNB. You can check their registration by contacting FCNB.
The new rules also give consumers more rights, better disclosure and stronger protection.
Top 10 things you need to know about payday loans in New Brunswick:
- The most you can be charged is $15 per $100 you borrow. This includes all charges and fees - no matter what. Learn more about how much payday loans cost.
- You can cancel the payday loan within 48 hours, without paying any charges. Learn more about cancelling a payday loan.
- You donít have to get insurance on the loan. It's okay to tell the payday lender that you don't want it.
- Payday loans are expensive. Before getting a payday loan, check out other ways to borrow money (from family or friends, a bank or credit union or your credit card). Learn more about alternatives to payday loans
- Payday lenders must have posters showing the rates they charge.
- The loan agreement must list all of the charges, terms and conditions of the loan. Learn more about payday loan agreements
- Payday lenders can't issue you more than one loan at the same time. They also canít rollover your loan. This means that they canít extend or renew your loan at an additional cost or give you a new loan to pay out an old loan.
- Payday lenders can't give you a loan for more than 30% of your net pay cheque. Learn more about getting a payday loan.
- The most you can be charged in penalty fees for not paying off your loan in full and on time is 2.5 per cent per month on the loan amount. The most you can be charged is $20 for each NSF charge, and the payday lender can only attempt to withdraw the amount from your bank account once more after the first NSF charge.
- NEVER give a payday lender direct access to your bank account. Do not give your bank card PIN or your online password. Learn more about Protecting your Credit.
Taking out a payday loan when you are in a hard financial situation is risky. You may be less able to pay it back and fall into a debt trap.
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|What to do after a car accident |
|by FCNB on |
What to do after a car accident
The holidays are here, and for many of us, that means road trip season! Between picking up the tree and hitting up a family dinner, there are plenty of reasons to pile into the car.
Itís fun to think about all the fun youíll have once you reach your destination. (First order of business: snowball fight.) But at this time of year, itís a good idea to be prepared in case of bad weather and slick road conditions.
A basic first aid kit or emergency kit in your car can help in a number of situations. You can buy kits or prepare one yourself by packing a plastic container with the following:
- First aid kit
- Emergency road flares or warning cones
- Small shovel
- Fire extinguisher
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- Bottled water and non-perishable snacks
- Tire repair kit and pump
- Work gloves
- Booster cables
- Small tool kit
In the event you find yourself in an accident, here are some important dos and doníts:
Donít panic. When you are in an accident, emotions, confusion and stress can make it difficult to think clearly. It is important to remember, as difficult as it may seem, to stay calm and not argue with or shout at the other drivers or passengers. Take time to record the details of what happened using our Auto Accident Report Form so you can give your story to the police.
Do avoid further damage. If itís safe to do so, move your vehicle to the side of the road. If you canít move your vehicle, turn on your four-ways (hazard lights) or use warning cones or emergency flares.
Donít get scammed. Unfortunately, some con artists may prey on those whoíve just been involved in an accident. Donít be pressured by unauthorized tow truck operators. If theyíre demanding payment up front, or trying to pressure you into letting them tow the vehicle to a garage or body shop of their choice, you can say no. Ask the police for the name of an authorized tow truck operator and have your vehicle towed to a garage you are comfortable with, a police compound or to your home until you can speak with your insurance company.
Do record all important information. Exchange information with the other drivers involved and record the contact information of any witnesses. Keep a copy of our Auto Accident Report Form in your glove compartment and use it to record important information at the scene.
Do call your insurance company as soon as possible to report the accident and get clarification on whatís included in your policy. Some drivers may choose not to file a claim and to pay out of pocket for any repair work that needs to be done. Be cautious because there is no guarantee that the driver responsible for the accident will agree to the quote you receive, or that they will pay the repair bill when it comes due.
Knowing what to do if you are in an accident can help you avoid making potentially costly or personally harmful mistakes. Happy (and safe) holidays to you and yours!
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|Guest Post: Making the Most of Your Grocery Budget |
|by FCNB on |
| |Guest Post: Making the Most of Your Grocery Budget
You donít have to look very far to see articles about the rising costs of food, and you donít have to listen in on too many conversations to hear someone griping about what to make for dinner. Enter meal planning! You can greatly reduce your grocery bill by planning your meals based on whatís on sale. Not only will it save you money, but it can save your sanity! No more 5pm stops at the grocery store, no more standing in front of the fridge looking for inspiration, no more sticker shock at the checkout. With a few steps, you can make a meal plan that works for your family, your preferences, your schedule, and your budget. (Donít have one? Try our free budget tool!)
Set Yourself Up for Success
Like anything, you have to set yourself up for success. Donít try to make your meal plan moments before going to the store, or with kids running around. Begin with minimal distractions.
Have your calendar in front of you. Do you need to plan dinner each night this week, or is there a night you already have other plans? Is there an evening you will be in a rush (meeting, sports, etc.) and youíll need a quick meal? Is there a night where one or more people will be missing from the dinner table, and you could make a smaller meal? Plan for your own real life.
Check the fridge. What do you already have on hand that youíd like to work into your menu? Maybe you have some fresh items you need to use in the next couple of days. Similarly, check the freezer & pantry for items you have on hand.
If you can purchase various cuts of meat when they are deeply discounted, stock the freezer. The same goes for many pantry staples. Once you are accustomed to shopping the sales and stocking up on your own regularly purchased items, you can ďshopĒ from your own stash before going to the store.
Read the Flyers
Look through the flyers: the paper ones that have been thrown in your driveway, the ones posted online, or use an app like Flipp. You are looking for the biggest bargains, often called the ďloss leadersĒ, which are items priced near or below cost to bring you into the store. Those items are generally posted on the front and back covers of the flyers. Brainstorm ways to use those deeply discounted items along with what you already have at home to make your main meals. If you can get some of your regularly purchased items at significantly lower prices, consider stocking up to avoid paying regular price in the coming weeks.
Be Prepared for Change
Itís ideal to have your menu plan and grocery list on the same page so you can edit at the store. When youíre shopping, some list items may be out of stock or look bad. If you have your menu plan with your list, you can rearrange a few things and re-plan. In the same vein, if you find an amazing in-store special, change one of your meals to use that new key ingredient if you can get it for a bargain.
You may also make changes once the week has begun, if you get a last minute invitation to join someone else for dinner at home or at a restaurant. Having a meal plan doesnít need to be boring: your meal plan can (and should) be a living document.
Waste Not, Want Not
If youíre going to stock up on clearance items, properly freezing and storing them is important. Itís not a deal if you end up wasting it!
Many items are best flash frozen, by placing them on a baking sheet so they are frozen individually, not stuck together. Once frozen, they can be transferred to a freezer bag or another container as needed.
- Flash freeze burgers, sausages, chicken breasts, pork chops, steaks, etc.
- Freeze cooked bacon in strips (to reheat in microwave or pan) or crumbled (for salads, pizza, etc)
- Flash freeze chopped green onions and store them in a jar.
- Flash freeze peppers in strips: use them straight from the freezer to a pan for stir fry, fajitas, curry, etc. Chop further to use as topping on pizza or nachos.
- Use ground meat to make cooked meatballs or taco meat to portion and freeze
- Freeze half-cup pureed vegetable portions for baking (squash, sweet potato, pumpkin, zucchini) or smoothies (spinach, kale). Silicone containers are great for this!
- Freeze marinara sauce flat in a bag for use on pasta, or in smaller portions to use as pizza sauce. Again, silicone containers are great for this.
- Blanche and flash freeze fresh vegetables.
- Freeze over-ripe bananas whole for baking, or broken into pieces for smoothies.
Stop thinking about leftovers as something boring or repetitive. You can easily serve most leftovers in a whole new way, which can also save lots of time compared to preparing a whole new meal.
- Chicken dinner on Sunday can become several dinners throughout the week: chicken pot pie, peanut chicken pizza, chicken quesadillas, chicken soupÖthe list goes on!
- Sautť a large amount of chicken, peppers, and onions and you can have fajitas one day, use it as the toppings for pizza the next day, and serve it over rice another day.
- A pot of tomato sauce can be serve over spaghetti, baked with pasta or rice in a casserole, on a bun as a Sloppy Joe, or as pizza sauce.
- Chili in the slow cooker can be served in a bowl with toppings on day one, on a baked sweet potato on day two, and layered in a casserole or shepherdís pie on day three.
These ideas are not ďall or nothing.Ē You need to pick and choose what methods will work for you and your family. Even incorporating a couple of these meal planning ideas can change the way you look at shopping, cooking, and dining. Once you get into the routine of meal planning, you will wonder how you ever survived without it. Watch your grocery bill, food waste, and dinnertime stress drop dramatically!
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|How to Be a Savvy Holiday ShopperÖ even if you waited Ďtill the last minute |
|by FCNB on |
How to Be a Savvy Holiday ShopperÖ even if you waited Ďtill the last minute
The snow is falling and coffee shops are serving up delicious eggnog flavored treats. All seems right in the world until you realize that your holiday shopping isnít done and Christmas is almost here! Before you run out to the stores, check out our tips on how to be a savvy holiday shopper. You (and your bank account) will thank us after the excitement of the holiday season dies down and you donít gasp in horror when you open your credit card statement.
Tip #1: Make a list and check it twice. Santa does it and so should you!
Start by setting a budget for your holiday spending. We all like to give as much as we can during the holidays but you donít have to blow your budget and max out your credit cards to show your loved ones that you care. You will regret it come January when the bills start to roll in. Next, make a list of everyone you want to buy a gift for and set aside part of your holiday budget for each person on your list. This will help you brainstorm gift ideas within your price range.
Tip #2: Think twice before you use credit
If you are considering a purchase that doesnít fit in your holiday budget ask yourself if you truly need it before paying with credit. Does your adorable niece really need another Barbie or will she appreciate the other gift you already bought and wrapped? Do you absolutely have to buy yourself another party dress, or will the little black dress you have only wore twice look just as great? Give yourself a cooling off period. Go home and consider the purchase. If you do choose to pay with credit, make sure you can afford the payments and have a plan for paying off the balance. Interest can quickly drive the price up if you donít pay off your statement and all of a sudden that great sale can end up costing you a lot more in the long run. Read our guest blog post on ďHoliday credit triageĒ for more tips on getting through the holidays debt free.
Tip #3: Do your homework
Research products before you buy. I know, I know Christmas is right around the corner, but you still have time to compare prices, after sale services and warranties. This is especially important when youíre buying big ticket items. You may also want to check out Health Canadaís Consumer Product Safety website for product recalls, warning and advisories to make sure the gift you are giving is safe.
Tip #4: Always check a retailerís return and exchange policies BEFORE you buy.
Contrary to popular belief, you do not always have the right to return or exchange any product or cancel a service contract within 30 days of purchase. In fact, retailers have the right to set their own return and exchange policies. If the retailer does have a return policy it is up to them if they will provide you with a cash refund, an exchange on goods or a credit slip. Asking before you buy will save you time and money after the thrill of the holiday season has died down. For more information on understanding warranties, check out our ďAsk Before You BuyĒ tip sheet!
Tip #5: Know your rights when buying gift cards
People love gift cards. I mean, who doesnít want free money to spend at their favorite store? This great gift idea will save you the headache of trying to figure out the sweater size of your significant otherís nephew but can be a disappointment if the card has expired or has been eaten away by service fees by the time he gets around to using it.
Within New Brunswick, service fees are restricted and expiry dates are prohibited with some exceptions. For more information on your rights when buying gift cards check out our Gift Cards info sheet!
Tip #6: Keep your receipts
Always keep your receipts, warranties and service contracts. You may need these to make a claim if something goes wrong or to return a product if you change your mind. It is also a good idea to ask for a gift receipt! Many stores offer gift receipts around the holidays which allow you to extend the return/cancellation period on the items you bought, making exchanges and returns much easier.
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