Why Bargain Hunting Investors Should Take A Look At Canada!


Many readers have emailed me to ask, “Should I invest in oil, now that’s it cheap?”  

Here’s a far safer and more diversified way to get a great deal. 

Slumping oil prices haven’t just affected oil stocks. 

They’ve dragged down entire countries…including Canada. 

 Image by Pixabay

Read my article at AssetBuilder.

Andrew Hallam

I’m a financial columnist for Canada’s national paper, The Globe and Mail, as well as for AssetBuilder, a financial service firm based in Texas. I’m also the author of Millionaire Teacher: The Nine Rules of Wealth You Should Have Learned in School (2nd Ed. Wiley 2017) and The Global Expatriate’s Guide To Investing: From Millionaire Teacher to Millionaire Expat (Wiley 2015). My mission is to educate, motivate and inspire people on basic retirement planning and best practices for investing, using evidence-based strategies. I'm happy to comment on your questions. However, please read the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and the Comments Policy.

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18 Responses

  1. Ross says:

    Hi Andrew,

    Good article, I need to get into the mindset of visiting where our cash goes furthest.

    In need of advice, I live in HK and have an approx portfolio split of 65% VWRD.L, 15% 2805.HK and 30% IAAA.L. Only started investing last year after reading several books including yours.

    Would you recommend adding REITs to the portfolio or trying to acquire property instead?

    Thanks again for sharing your experiences and knowledge.


    • Hi Ross,

      It’s great to hear that you are on the right track. As for whether you should buy property or REITS, that’s entirely up to you. Many personal factors should go into consideration here. Far too many, in fact, to be simplified by a stranger such as me.


  2. Simon says:

    Thanks for the article Andrew. Can a Brit buy off the Toronto exchange? Would I be susceptible to estate taxes like in the US? What index would you advise I track?

  3. Vig says:

    Hi Folks
    Might be slightly off topic, but does anyone know if a non-resident Canadian couple can buy property in Canada with the intent to collect revenue from rentals? We have no plans to move into the property or to re-patriate. Just want to get into the landlord game from afar without risking our non-resident tax status.
    Any input or advice would be much appreciated!
    Thanks, Vig

  4. Chris says:

    Hi Andrew,
    I have just finished reading your excellent books. Thank you for providing so much food for thought! I am from UK but have no intention of returning long-term. I currently live in Hong Kong but, like you, consider myself a “global nomad”. I had not been aware of the US estate duty issue and now wish to establish a simple ETF portfolio in an alternative jurisdiction. I also prefer to avoid the UK market. Would it be reasonable to consider the Canadian market as a good option? I am paid in US$.

    As a HK Permanent Resident, Canadian withholding tax would I think be 15%. I recall in one of your articles that you have used some of the Horizons swap-based products to help mitigate this in your own “global nomad” portfolio. Would I be on the right track here too – assuming I am comfortable with the associated risks?


    • Hi Chris,

      Congratulations on setting up a great, long term-thinking portfolio of ETFs. Yes, you could definitely build a portfolio of ETFs via the Toronto Stock Exchange. In addition, you could also buy a couple of swap based ETFs, as mentioned in my book. That would lower (eliminate, in those cases) dividend withholding taxes. But of course, as I mentioned in my book, it carries slightly (very slightly) higher counter-party risk. If you get a chance, would you mind post a short review of my book on Amazon Chris? Here’s link: http://bit.ly/globalexpat

      Thanks! Andrew

  5. Michael says:

    Hello again Andrew and thanks as before for your books!

    For background, I am a Canadian living in the Middle East and I invest 100% through TD International. I’ve been investing seriously since last May and trying to learn more as I go – despite my apparent cognitive challenges in this area. I question my abilities frequently as I’ve been hovering in the red since I began – down about 1.33% overall as it stands today.

    Over the last 10 months I’ve created a portfolio on the TSE that is probably too diverse, at least compared to some of the sample couch potato samples out there. My choices of bond (ZFL, VAB) and stock (XIC, VCE, VFV) indexes are based on your books, vanguard information and the Canadian couch potato articles. I’m realizing that despite being balanced according to my age formula, I am too heavily weighted in North America. I’m open to any thoughts from you or your readers about indexes I should investigate or moves I should consider to bring more international balance to my portfolio. Thanks! M

    • Hi Michael,

      First of all, congratulations on two things:

      1. You have built a portfolio of ETFs
      2. The stock market, in general, has dropped since you started buying (lucky guy).

      If you continue to be lucky, stock markets will keep dropping slowly over the next few years, giving you better and better deals while you continue to add money to your ETFs. This is how you have to think.

      Your portfolio doesn’t look like it has followed the ETFs in my book. I can’t see any developed world international stock market exposure. Nor does there appear to be any emerging market exposure. For developed international, you could add VDU. For emerging, you could add VEE. Here’s the link to my expat book, in case you don’t have it. http://bit.ly/globalexpat

      Always remember how to think about market prices. Unless you’re about 60 years old (or older) you should hope to see it drop.


  6. Paul says:

    Hi Andrew,
    Thanks for sharing all of your knowledge with us. I have a question that I am having a hard time finding the answer to.
    I am an American teaching at an International School. Recently, my school offered a Roth 401k plan that charges around 1.7% per year (depending on the funds you choose). We now have the option to take our retirement as cash or invest in this plan. What I found particularly interesting is that since this is a Roth 401k, I can eventually roll this over to a Roth IRA when I leave the school, with no penalties (minus the account closing fee).  Also, I can contribute up to 18,000 per year to a Roth 401k and invest in over 60 different funds available (vanguard, ishares, etc.).
    I am having a difficult time determining if it will be worthwhile to invest in the Roth 401k OR invest in the same exact etf funds with my personal vanguard account. I’m not sure if the tax free benefit is worth the high 1.7% annual fees? FYI – I am under the foreign earned income exclusion.

    Let me elaborate in a hypothetical situation – I invest 10,000 usd for 5 years in the Roth 401k (1.7% annual fees) and then roll it over to a Roth IRA (tax free, only vanguard expense costs) and let it sit for another 25 years thereafter OR 10,000 USD for 5 years in my personal account (same vanguard etf funds, no fees only vanguard expense cost) and let it sit for 25 years, eventually paying taxes on capital gains and dividends.

    Any insights you have would be much appreciated.

    • Hi Paul,

      Much will depend on your taxable situation or earnings, upon the time of your retirement. If somebody were to stay at your school for an entire career, the numbers would fall in their favor if the chose NOT to invest in the 401K. The extra drag of 1.7% per year would almost certainly be a far greater liability than taxes. However, in your circumstance, if you plan to stay at the school for just 5 years, and roll the money over to a Roth IRA, you should come out ahead, if you can eliminate that onerous 1.7% fee, five years from now when you move the money to a low cost Roth IRA.

      What school is providing this option? It’s a shame that it’s so expensive. But if the administration gets this sorted out (and stands up for its teachers) and forces a fee structure change, this would be considered a fabulous perk for U.S. expats at that school.


  7. jules says:

    Hi there,

    I am fairly new to investing so I appologize if my questions may sound like something that more experienced investors are completely familiar with.

    I live in Canada and have a TFSA that is not maxed out. I also have Euros with in a European bank account. Is there any way that I can invest with Euros in Canada? If so, how would I get the Euros over to Canada without imposing big transfer/currency exchange fees? Or might there even be a better option for investing Euros than in Canada? Thanks so much!



    • Hi Jules,

      To my knowledge, you would have to convert the currency. But keep this in mind. Doing so wouldn’t be a big deal. You would lose about 1% in currency conversion costs. That’s it. Nothing to sweat over.


  8. Larry says:

    I have a question regarding risk and real estate (income properties not overpriced Vancouver homes).

    My Wife and I are currently trying to evaluate our finances and starting to diversify a bit with ETFs and and bonds. We have a fair amount invested in real estate so does it make senses to take a bit more risk with ETfs? For example, the rule of thumb dictates that we should be 50-50 split as we are 50 years old but seeing we have a fairly secure investment with our rental properties we both feel that we could handle a 60 (ETFs)/40 (Bonds) split. Does this make sense?

    Love the books Andrew thanks for the insights!

    • Hi Larry, much has to do for your personal tolerance for risk. Don’t think of real estate as bonds. They aren’t. But personally, I have 40% of my portfolio in bonds. I’m 45 years old. When I am 60 years old, I will also have just 40% of my portfolio in bonds. That’s a sweet spot for growth and stability. My portfolio will just be more volatile when I am 60, than most people’s will. I can handle that. It sounds like you could too.


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