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The Periodic Table of Investments

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Periodic Table of Investments

Periodic Table of Investments

The investment universe is vast, but it’s also made up of many smaller moving pieces.

For serious investors, the foundation of the discipline is to understand the properties of these individual components, and to have them work in harmony to achieve a specific portfolio goal.

To do this successfully, one must understand the breadth of asset classes, tactics, and categories of investments that exist – and to know how they relate to one another.

The Chemicals Between Us

Today’s infographic comes from Phil Huber, the Chief Investment Officer for Huber Financial Advisors, who has cleverly depicted this relationship graphically in his blog.

Similar to how the physical universe is made up of chemical elements, he sees the possibilities around portfolio management as drawing from a broad pool of investing “elements”. Combine these different elements together, and you get compounds, structures, and eventually entire funds.

The periodic table of investments created by his team denotes each type of investment, the primary and secondary strategy related to it, and a color classification:

Periodic table legend

Here are the seven objectives that the top letters on each box refer to:

Periodic table strategies

And finally, here are the colors that each block on the periodic table correspond to:

Periodic table color coding

As you can see, considerable thought has been put into the categories and classifications. However, as Phil notes, this is simply the opinion of one person and it is not intended to be a universally accurate depiction of all portfolio management wisdom that exists:

I fully expect that there are a handful of omissions, or perhaps a few areas where one might flat-out disagree with how I’ve laid things out. This was not meant to be 100% exhaustive, nor was it meant to be indicative of what one of our portfolios looks like.

Phil Huber, Chief Investment Officer

For more of the lessons that can be derived from this clever periodic table of investments, we suggest checking out the original post on Huber’s blog.

Is there anything that he missed, or that you think could be classified better?

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Investor Education

Visualized: A Step-by-Step Guide to Tax-Loss Harvesting

In Canada, tax-loss harvesting allows investors to turn losses into tax savings. This graphic breaks down how it works in four simple steps.

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An illustrative graphic showing part of the steps in tax-loss harvesting, including selling a $50,000 investment with a $10,000 loss.

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The following content is sponsored by Fidelity Investments

A Step-by-Step Guide to Tax-Loss Harvesting

Market ups and downs can be unnerving, but the good news is that tax-loss harvesting allows investors in Canada to capture tax savings when their portfolio drops in value.

While it sounds complicated, a tax-loss harvesting strategy is actually fairly straightforward. An investor can use capital losses to offset capital gains found elsewhere in their portfolio, leading to a lower tax bill. While there are important conditions to keep in mind, investors can use this strategy to enhance portfolio returns over time by reinvesting these tax savings.

This graphic from Fidelity Investments shows how tax-loss harvesting works and why it may improve tax efficiency in an investor’s portfolio.

Breaking It Down

Consider a person who invested $50,000 in a mutual fund held in a non-registered account that has dropped by $10,000 in value. To help minimize losses, they took the following steps in a tax-loss harvesting strategy.

For the sake of this example, taxes are based on the maximum federal rate and the average maximum provincial tax rate.

  1. Sold investment with a $10,000 loss
  2. Invested $40,000 into a different mutual fund
  3. Used the $10,000 capital loss to offset capital gains realized elsewhere in the non-registered portfolio
  4. Achieved up to $2,550 in tax savings

The investor realized as much as $2,550 in tax savings by utilizing a $10,000 loss against a $10,000 capital gain. Without tax-loss harvesting, this $10,000 capital gain would be taxed at a 50% capital gains inclusion rate ($10,000 X 50% = $5,000). This $5,000 in applicable gains is then taxed at a 51% combined federal and provincial tax rate ($5,000 X 51% = $2,550 in taxes owed).

In contrast, by using tax-loss harvesting, the investor would have achieved up to $2,550 in tax savings.

What’s more, you can reinvest your tax savings over each year—which may help boost portfolio returns over time if the new investment increases in value.

Tax-Loss Harvesting Tips

With a tax-loss harvesting strategy, here are some key tips and considerations to keep in mind:

  • Investment Timeline: A capital loss can be used to offset capital gains not only in the current year, but in the three years prior and/or any year indefinitely in the future.
  • New Investment Type: After selling an investment that’s dropped in value, it’s important to buy a different investment to avoid triggering the ‘superficial loss rule’. Investors can aim to choose an investment with similar long-term returns.
  • Plan for Year-End: In order to achieve a capital loss, plan to sell an investment at least two to three days before the year’s final trading day so the investment settles before year-end.

Together, these tips can help investors strategically execute a tax-loss harvesting strategy.

Tax Made Easier

During volatile markets, investors can seize the opportunity to turn losses into tax savings using tax-loss harvesting as a key tool to help generate higher after-tax returns.

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Explore Fidelity’s tax calculator to discover tax-saving opportunities.

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