May 30, 2024

Five sneaky good deals in investing and personal finance to pursue in 2024

Some of the best deals in investing and personal finance never get any hype or marketing, which means they’re quietly waiting for you to discover them. Here are five examples I have accumulated over the past year. Take a moment to see if any of them can help you in 2024:

4 per cent savings accounts

Three financial players offered 4 per cent interest on savings in early 2024 – the investment company Wealthsimple, and the alternative banks Neo and Wealth One Bank of Canada. A fourth alt bank, Motive Financial, offered 4.1 per cent. Motive and  Wealth One are members of Canada Deposit Insurance Corp., while deposits with Wealthsimple are protected because they are held with a CDIC member. Neo’s account is provided by Peoples Bank of Canada, which is a CDIC member. Big bank savings accounts are typically below 2 per cent,  while alternative banks are typically in the 2.5 to 3.8 per cent range.

A 4.55 to 5 per cent investment savings account

Investment savings accounts are just savings accounts for your investment account. They trade like mutual funds, which means they’re accessible through all online brokers. Most ISAs pay 4.55 per cent to 4.75 per cent, which is pretty good considering your money is covered by deposit insurance and thus virtually risk-free. One ISA that pays 5 per cent is the F-series version of the Scotiabank Investing Savings Account, with the order symbol DYN6004. It’s available to clients of Scotia iTrade.

No-cost ETF investing

Exchange-traded funds in their classic form are a cheap, well-diversified way to buy into the stock and bond markets. If you’re looking to move out of safe havens like guaranteed investment certificates in 2024, give ETFs a look. And, look for a digital broker that lets you at least buy ETFs at no cost. BMO InvestorLine, Qtrade Direct Investing and Scotia iTrade all have a limited menu of ETFs available commission-free. There’s enough at each broker to build a diversified portfolio. CI Direct Trading and Questrade allow clients to buy ETFs commission-free, but there’s a cost to sell. And, or course, National Bank Direct Brokerage and Desjardins Online Brokerage have no commissions of any kind for stocks and ETFs. One more option is the mobile all TD Easy Trade, which offers no-cost investing in TD’s family of ETFs.

Asset allocation ETFs

These ETFs are gaining traction quickly, but they should be more popular because of the low-cost simplicity they offer. Each is a fully diversified portfolio of bonds and stocks from Canada, the United States and the rest of the world. Just pick your risk level – conservative, balanced, growth or all-stocks. Costs are as low as 0.2 per cent, compared to around 1.5 to 2 per cent for balanced mutual funds.

Pre-paid bank cards

Load money on cards issued by EQ Bank, Koho, Wealthsimple and Wise and you can pay for purchases outside Canada without incurring the 2.5 foreign currency fee applied by most credit cards. These prepaid cards are connected to credit card networks, so they’re accepted wherever major cards are. These cards are unlike the first generation of prepaid products, which were loaded with fees and expiry dates.

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