Most of us know where to invest money in good times, but when it looks like the sky might be falling, knowing where to invest money and how to invest it becomes a puzzle. In 2014 and 2015 good investments might be hard to find, especially if yesterday’s good investments like stocks and bonds tank. This is not a prediction, but rather a “heads up.” You can’t prepare if you’re not aware, so let’s take a closer look at the sky.We all know that safe choices like money market funds and bank savings accounts don’t look like good investments for 2014 because they pay peanuts. But what if the sky starts falling: either interest rates ignite and/or the stock market tanks? Either way or both… where to invest money is the question of the day. Safe choices will look like good investments for parking money that must be safe.Wall Street’s traditional answer to where to invest money: put about 60% into stocks with about 40% in bonds holding a cash reserve on the sidelines. Problem: in 2014 and 2015 losses in stocks may not be offset by gains in bonds… as was the case for the last 30 years or so. If interest rates soar from today’s record-low levels, neither stocks nor bonds look like good investments.For over 30 years interest rates were falling and bonds were generally good investments. With today’s ridiculously low rates (created by our government to stimulate the economy) a rebound in interest rates is in the cards (as the government unwinds its stimulus). When that happens, bonds will no longer be where to invest money for higher interest income with relative safety. Bonds are NOT good investments when rates go up; they lose money. That’s the way it works. How to invest in bonds in 2014 and 2015 if rates take off: lighten up and opt for safety.Stocks had been very good investments five years running as the year 2014 began. This was at least in part due to government stimulus and cheap money. In a sense, stocks were where to invest money because nothing looked cheap except for money (short term interest rates were set at about one-tenth of one percent). With a gain of over 150% in five years, the downside risk in the stock market is mounting. This begs the question of how to invest money in stocks if the sky starts to look ominous.Remember that the stock market is actually a market of stocks, which means that the vast majority of stocks get hit when the market crumbles – but at least a few will be good investments. And the best way to find good investments in a bad market is to watch the price action. For example, as the market climbed 30% in 2013, some gold stocks were down about 50% by early 2014. If you don’t know how to invest in or how to pick a specific gold stock… you might want to know where to invest money to get a piece of this action. The answer is to invest money in gold funds and let them pick the gold stocks for you.The bottom line is that in 2014 and 2015 investors face an uphill battle, because both stocks and bonds look pricey. That presents a new challenge to today’s investor in search of where to invest money. We are facing uncharted waters in this modern electronic world, where no one really knows how to invest or where to find good investments for the future. This includes the big investors like life insurance companies and pension funds.My suggestion is to take some profits in your stocks and bonds, because the tide will turn eventually if not in 2014 or 2015. Then you’ll have a cash reserve, so you can take advantage of the situation as the skies darkens. Smart investors are always in search of where to invest money next, especially when a change of trend is in the cards. At such times, yesterday’s underperforming sectors or industries often become today’s good investments.
As the world around us continues to adapt to a new sense of normal in light of COVID-19, we at Smythe LLP (Smythe), recently sat down (virtually) with Kendall Hanson from CHEK News to discuss how we’re adapting to working from home and what is means for us as a firm, as well as the communities we live and work in.
Although we may be smack dab in the middle of our busiest time of year, things at Smythe are still business as usual – with a few notable exceptions.
The first, and probably most obvious, is that nearly all our staff have now transitioned to working from home.
“The first week of office closures and having everyone work from home was definitely a week of transition, but I think everyone’s really quickly adapted to it and gotten used to it and a lot of people are really enjoying it,” said Partner, Trevor Topping.
During a time where our offices would normally be a buzz with client visits and meetings, our offices are now closed to the public and a skeleton crew has been put in place to ensure clients are able to safely drop off necessary files and mail is being received and sent out.
To read the full article and to hear what Trevor had to say about Smythe’s new normal, click here.
For more information on our response to COVID-19, or to learn what support is available to you, please visit our COVID-19 Resource Centre, or reach out to your Smythe Partner directly.
Given the current economic uncertainty, effective cash flow management will be critical for the success of many businesses. This will likely involve a combination of:
Managing working capital levels
Managing discretionary expenses
Obtaining additional financing
Working capital management can take the form of:
Implementing Credit Policies
By implementing credit policies with your customers you can speed up the collection process. This could include requiring upfront deposits, reducing the credit terms or offering incentives for early payment. Always ensure you follow-up on overdue accounts.
Utilizing a Just-in-Time Inventory System
Unless it will hurt your ability to sell, don’t carry extra inventory.
Using Credit Terms to your Advantage
Unless they are offering worthwhile incentives, don’t pay your suppliers until it is necessary.
A tool that should be utilized to help with managements’ decision making, is a cash flow forecast. This will help you assess the impact of working capital and expense management decisions, as well as determine whether additional financing will be required.
If you decide that you need to obtain financing (see below), it is likely that the lender will require a forecast as part of the application process.
Obtaining Additional Financing
As part of the economic stimulus package, the Government of Canada is working to ensure businesses have access to traditional financing, from both the government and private lenders.
Among the products being targeted to COVID-19 relief are:
Working Capital Loans
Funds to provide working capital for the operations, and cover general operating expenses, as opposed to capital purchases or expansions. There are currently programs in place where loans can be approved within 48 hours or maybe available without any payments for the first six months. BDC loans of up to $100,000 can be applied for online.
Loan Guarantee for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises
As part of the Business Credit Availability Program, EDC is partnering with financial institutions to guarantee 80% of new loans or credit requests up to $6.25 million for small and medium-sized enterprises. Financing is meant to be used for operating costs and is available to exporting and non-exporting companies. The idea behind the program is to encourage additional funding from banks as the EDC provides a re-payment guarantee of 80%. This program is now available through your bank or credit union.
Bridge Financing Program
Offered through BDC Capital, this special program may match (with a convertible note) a current financing round being raised through qualified existing and/or new investors made into eligible Canadian start-ups. This program is best suited for high-potential companies that have venture capital investors willing to support them. BDC will then invest alongside these groups. There are separate criteria for both companies and investors who wish to take advantage of this program – for full details, click here.
Term Loan and Lease Payment Relief
Ability to delay payment of principal for up to six months on existing loans.
Increases to Existing Line of Credit
Financial institutions are providing increases to the borrowing limits on existing lines of credit.
Purchase Order Financing
Flexible terms are being offered to ensure existing and future orders can be fulfilled.
Export Development Canada is providing buyer financing and direct financing for international sales to ensure Canadian businesses are able to participate in international trade opportunities.
If your business requires cash flow management or additional financing, please contact your Smythe Partner directly as additional reporting may be required. Our team can match your business with the appropriate product and guide you through the process and provide financial information to the lending institutions.
the Government of Canada announced the Canada Emergency Business Account interest-free loans that provide up to $40,000 for small businesses and not-for-profits that have been financially impacted by COVID-19. On December 4, 2020, the program was expanded to offer an additional $20,000 to businesses that continue to be seriously impacted by the pandemic. The loans are available through eligible financial institutions, and businesses must apply through a financial institution where they had an existing relationship. The loans are interest-free, and 25% of the original $40,000 of the balance and 50% of the additional $20,000 of the balance is forgivable if the business repays the loan by the end of 2022. Businesses are required to have had an annual payroll of $20,000 to $1,500,000 or non-deferrable expenses of at least $40,000 in 2019 to qualify.
Businesses have until March 31, 2021, to apply for a loan or the $20,000 expansion. In the case where applicants are waiting for their financial institution to finalize the submission of additional information, they will have until May 7, 2021, to complete the submission.