GICS – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly – COVID edition

GIC-the good

Most Canadians are familiar with the term GIC – Guaranteed Investment Certificate. For those that are not, a GIC is a type of fixed-income investment provided by financial institutions. Typically offered in specific terms (1 – 5 years), a GIC guarantees interest payable and the return of principle at the end of the term.

Like most investments, there is an element of risk associated with GIC investing with a commensurate rate of return.

The Good –In times of market uncertainty and volatility, GIC owners can rest assured that the principle of their investment is protected. There is no concern that their initial investment amount will decrease in amount.

The Bad –Depending on the health of the economy, the interest rate environment may not be very attractive. If interest rates are low, then your investment will not earn a high rate of return.

The Ugly –The Consumer Price Index measures changes in the price level of a market basket of consumer goods and services purchased by households. This index is widely accepted as the measurement of inflation for Canada.

Why is this important? Simply put, due to inflation, the value of $1 today, will be less or will purchase less goods and services, in the future.

Since the onset of COVID-19 and the resulting pandemic, supply chain issues and increased demand for limited goods and services have contributed to a spike in inflation in Canada. As of September 2021, the annual inflation rate rose to 4.4%. You will be hard-pressed to find any GIC paying close to that. In fact, as of the date I write this, the highest 5-year GIC rate that we can provide is paying 2.35%. By investing in this GIC you are provided the following guarantees:

1. Capital preservation
2. Guaranteed interest (albeit low)
3. Inability of your money to buy the same amount of goods and services that you have grown accustomed to

Over the short-term, a guaranteed loss of future purchasing power is not a compelling reason to invest in a GIC.

Speak with your advisor to discuss investment options that provide the opportunity to outperform inflation.

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