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The issue of money

Our never-ending quest for better returns

Feb 1, 2013

by Michael Ganley

My grandfather used to say God gave us money to save us aggravation (then he’d reach into his pocket for whatever change he had and hand it over). But mostly, it seems, that’s not how it works. We worry about money. We fight over it. Marriages and friendships dissolve because of a lack of it or because of some miscommunication over who owes whom how much and, generally, the aggravation builds. Our income, it seems, never quite catches up to our expenses.

We here at Alberta Venture can’t do much to curb the liabilities side of your ledger other than to reiterate Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney’s advice to borrow less and save more. But in this, our annual money issue, we have pulled together some advice about how you might be able to build the assets side through sound investing strategies.

So in these pages you’ll find out how to channel your emotions and your instincts to become a better investor; which stocks and which plays are predicted to do well this year; how to avoid getting sucked into a scam; and what you ought to be doing if you’re of a younger generation. And, of course, there is our Stockwatch chart of Alberta’s 50 biggest companies by market capitalization. The online version might be of particular interest as it can be manipulated to highlight the best stocks by net profit margin, by five-year return and more. Finally, we have profiles of two people who have proven to be very successful at managing money: AIMCo CEO Leo de Bever and former Investopedia heavy Tom Hendrickson, now of Mitre Media.

But will more money really make you less aggravated? I’m not so sure, so I return with all due respect to my grandfather, P.J. Burns. He was a lawyer, a graduate of Osgoode Hall law school who entered the workforce during the depression. He considered himself lucky to find a job, despite it being in the (then) remote Northern Ontario gold-mining town of Kirkland Lake. So that’s where he went. He made a fairly comfortable living there, but he was hardly among the one per cent. Yet he always had enough money for his liking. He was one who wouldn’t render an invoice to someone who couldn’t afford his services, who would accept barter as payment from those who were tight, and who always had a pocketful of change to sprinkle into the waiting hands of his grandchildren.

And I believe he died a happy man.

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