Columnist image
Pattie Lovett-Reid

Chief Financial Commentator, CTV


The TSX hit a milestone – it finally moved into positive territory in 2017. No guarantees it will stay there, so for the faint of heart, it shouldn’t be surprising the fear of losing money is keeping investors on the sidelines.

When it comes to investing money, Canadians may be missing out in the long run. A recent survey conducted by Tangerine Investments reveals that more than a third of Canadians (36 per cent) don’t have an investment account and only a mere four per cent have ever seriously considered opening one.

Does it make sense to invest? Yes! Over time, stocks and stock mutual funds or ETFs have offered the most growth potential. Sure there is volatility in the market, but if you are saving for something years away such as retirement, you can probably ride out the stock market downturns. And if your risk tolerance is low, you don’t need to invest all of your money in stocks. Balanced and diversified portfolios make sense even for the savvy investor.

So why are we so scared to have our dollars work harder for us? Tangerine Investment's poll found Canadians face key barriers when investing for the first time:

  • The overwhelming majority (70 per cent) of Canadians don’t think they have enough money
  • One quarter are worried about the risk of losing money
  • Two-in-10 feel investing is too complex and they don’t know enough.

Despite these concerns, 67 per cent of non-investors agree that investing should be a priority, even if they are carrying debt. They also identified reason why they would want to invest: 50 per cent selected retirement, 36 per cent said to grow their money faster, and 29 per cent said to save for a big purchase like a child’s education, a vacation or a house.

So how do you get started?

Determine which investor type you fall under. Do you want to go it alone or work with an advisor, invest in stocks or mutual funds? Consider how much money you can afford to set aside and how much you need to get started, open an account and start to ask a lot of questions by doing some research. It sounds so simple, and it really is if you decide to do it. If you don’t, the quickest way to destroy your plan is to procrastinate.

Doing nothing shouldn’t be an option.