JUST over 40 years ago, on Jan. 27, 1973:
. U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War ended with the signing of the Paris Peace Accords.
. If you had started investing $100 a month compounding monthly at six per cent, your $48,000 would have grown to about $200,000 today; at eight per cent to $350,000; and at 10 per cent to $630,000. (During that period, the Canada Savings Bonds rate started at seven per cent, rose to an amazing 19.5 per cent in 1981 and now is around and below one per cent.)
. I wrote my first money column.
During those 40 years, consumers learned to shop and even bargain for financial products as they discovered not all savings rates, loan costs, insurance premiums and so on were the same.
Stock and mutual fund owners went on a few sickening rollercoaster rides. Real estate values generally went up.
We had a global financial crisis, and the after-effects are still far from over. RESPs and TFSAs came, RHOSPs came and went, RRSPs, RRIFs and DRIPs remain alive and well.
I've appreciated all your interest and support as readers - your questions and often "how it all turned out" follow-up emails. And I'm grateful to the paper's editor for publishing my column.
Interestingly, through all those years, the basics of money management have remained constant:
. Balance spending and enjoying now with saving/ investing to have enough to spend and enjoy in the future.
. Paying off non-deductible debt is still one of the best - safest, simplest - investments most Canadians can make.
. Unless you can demonstrate a better alternative, contributing to an RRSP remains a sound retirement planning strategy for most people - saving tax now and deferring tax on investment growth.
. Insure against losses you couldn't cope with financially.
. Money matters continue to be sensitive topics in relationships - and resolving financial and related conflicts remains as important as ever.
. Preservation of capital is the first rule of investing. Understand what you invest in, and don't invest past your sleeping point.
Mike Grenby is a columnist and independent personal financial advisor; he'll answer questions in this column as space allows but cannot reply personally. Email firstname.lastname@example.org