ETFs and gics​​

Consider GICs (guaranteed investment certificates) as an alternative to fixed income ETFs.  They require slightly more effort because you have to set up a separate account / buy GICs / keep up with them - possibly having to deal with another financial institution. GICs often make more money than fixed income ETFs of comparable risk.​ 

There are several other benefits. 

  • GICs are simpler, more predictable, and less expensive than fixed income ETFs. 
  • ETF distributions are not known in advance. GICs pay stated interest - you know exactly how much you'll earn.
  • GICs have no MER fees. 
  • When you sell ETFs, you don't know how much you'll get.  It depends on the price other investors are willing to buy at. GICs work differently - you'll know exactly how much you'll get. 
  • GICs are insured by the federal or provincial government - up to $100,000 per GIC.

Are you cashing out / changing providers?  Learn to close investment accounts.​​

Once the account is open, you'll buy shares of the ETFs  you've selected (selling is done the same way). 

Buy GICs directly from banks that issue (create) them - it's the least expensive and easiest way (no transaction cost).

​What's an asset mix?

You're a do-it-yourself investor - you'll have to choose your own asset mix. Are you a conservative or an aggressive investor?

What is it?

ETFs (exchange-traded funds) ​​are baskets filled with equity and / or fixed income securities. Instead of buying fixed income ETFs, you can buy GICs (guaranteed investment certificates) - they're simple and highly predictable investments. 

Some ETFs are called index ETFs. 'Index' means the ETF represents the entire market for a particular fixed income / equity security (like all Canadian bonds or US equities).

  • You can't buy an index - it's just a list of securities.

Buying individual securities is risky. Buying a basket of them through ETFs reduces investment risk. Index ETFs reduce risk even more because they hold every security in their market.  This is diversification.

You'll build your portfolio with 1-3 ETFs, matching your asset mix.

Choose your ETFs and GICs. Use our research tables.

What's it like to invest

​​Once you have a plan, open an online broker account.

  • ​While you're opening an account, your provider may ask you to complete a questionnaire to determine your level of investing expertise - it's part of getting to know you as a client. 

​Don't stop saving. Follow your budget - when you've saved some money, transfer it to your investment accounts and buy additional shares of your ETFs / additional GICs, in proportions that maintain your asset mix.

Check your account once a year.

  • Are your ETFs performing well?
  • What fees are you paying?
  • Is this approach still right for you?

Own your investments, step-by-step.

​​Build your portfolio by selecting ETFs/GICs in proportions that match your asset mix.

​​​Research and choose an online broker - you'll use it to buy your ETFs.

Use our research tables to choose a broker.