Balance your portfolio with these tips

Setting the right portfolio asset allocation is one of the key things you can do to ensure success with your investments. Sometimes, though, it’s harder than it sounds. Why? Well, there’s a lot to consider.  You have to find the balance between risk and reward amongst equities/stocks (high risk, high reward), fixed-income/bonds (medium risk, medium reward) and cash (low risk, low reward) in your portfolio. Luckily, we can help. By following a few important rules, your financial goals will be within reach.

 One rule you may have heard of is that the percentage of stocks in your portfolio should be equal to 100 minus your age. This is, if you are 45 years old, your portfolio should be 65% in stocks and 45% in bonds. The idea behind this is that someone who is younger can take more risk since they have a longer time horizon.

While this might be a good starting point, it doesn’t factor-in things like your goals, personal financial situation and your personality. Below, we explore several areas that will help you set an appropriate asset allocation.

 Your Time Horizon

One thing that affects your ability to take risk is the time horizon associated with your goals. If your child is going to university next year, you don’t want to invest their tuition money in stock market in case it drops and doesn’t recover by the time the university mails the bill. On the other hand, if you are 20 years away from your retirement, you can probably afford to take more risk with your retirement savings than someone who is retiring next year. 

Your Personal Financial Situation

You also need to look at your personal financial situation when assessing your ability to take risk. If you have a government job with a defined-benefit pension for life, your financial picture is rather predictable, allowing you to take more risk. If you are working for a temp agency though, your situation is less clear. You wouldn’t want to take a lot of risk with your investments if you don’t know if you’ll have a job next month.

Your “Need to Take Risks” VS  “Ability To Take Risks”

If you are an 80-year-old retiree with a $5 million portfolio and are only withdrawing $40,000 a year from it for spending, you don’t need to take risk. Such a person has the ability to take risk thanks to their large portfolio and small spending habits, but they don’t need to. Why take on more risk and uncertainty than you may need to achieve your goals?

Your Willingness to Take Risks

Even if you have the ability and need to take risk, can your personality handle it? If you lie awake in bed at night after seeing that your portfolio dropped in value last month, the added stress may not be worth it for you. You have to find the right risk/reward trade-off that doesn’t increase the amount of worry in your life. 




So, you’ve decided to double down on your weekly workouts. Good on ya! But have you given any thought to when you’re going to squeeze in those trips to the gym? There’s a strong case to be made for a.m. sweat seshes, according to the experts.  

Some research suggests that people who exercise in the a.m. have less of an appetite throughout the day, which is a big bonus if you’re trying to shed pounds. Morning workouts may also lead to better productivity throughout the day and overall mental health, since it’s great for busting stress.


But that’s not all! Morning exercisers tend to stick to their program because they can check it off their to-do list first thing and don’t have to worry about it for the rest of the day.


If you’re new to a.m. workouts, ease in slowly, say the experts.  For instance, don’t start with a 10 km run at 6 am no matter how enthusiastic you are to start a program. It’s just not sustainable to go big right from the get-go.


Better to take baby steps. Set your alarm 30 minutes earlier than normal so that you can take a morning walk.  These kinds of ideas, fitness experts say, will help your body adjust to being active.



Working It!

You’ve landed your dream job. Congrats! Now what? In addition to learning your way around the shared drive, there are a host of things you should do to prepare for success – whether you’re the boss or the worker bee. READ MORE


The ability to earn the trust of your colleagues is not only a reflection of your character – it could be the cornerstone of your career. You can begin to build trust in a new work environment by giving colleagues praise (genuinely, when it’s warranted), avoiding office gossip and trusting your employees and bosses equally.


Set goals – big and small – for yourself and your business, and strategize an actual plan to achieve them. It’s wonderful to blue sky future achievements, but they rarely come to fruition if you don’t plan for success. 


You know what they say about first impressions – and they’re not wrong. In the early days and weeks it’s important to show your new team respect by being on time (or early) for every call and meeting. Introduce yourself to everyone on the team (don’t wait for them to come to you). And listen at least as much as you talk during those early interactions. That’s how you really get to know someone and ingratiate yourself to the existing network. It never hurts to invite someone out to lunch! (It could hurt to turn down someone else’s invite, though – always accept an offer to grab a coffee and chat outside of the office).


Stuff Verity women know (and share)

Stuff Verity women know (and share)

THIS WEEK: Nutrition Newsflash

There is so much nutritional info out there, it can be hard to know what’s important to put on our plates. We asked Verity Dietitian & Herbalist, Tania Ibrahim, for her advice on buzzy foods that are worth loading up on, and which ones aren’t worth the hype. 

Up close & personal with investments

Up close & personal with investments

Want to make a strong value statement with your assets portfolio? You can! It starts with investing in companies that support your values, whether that’s gender parity, the environment or social sustainability. And, the good news is that there is a growing industry within the investment world that is dedicated to this very type of investing.

Fitness to go

Fitness to go

Whether you’re on a business trip, vacation or just looking to shake up your fitness routine, we’ve got moves you can do in a hotel room, local park or even your office. These five exercises will tighten, tone and get your heart pumping. Best of all, for this do-anywhere workout you only need you. No yoga mat, hand weights or resistance bands required!

Are you a savvy saver?

Are you a savvy saver?

When it comes to money, most of us fall into one of two camps:

Proactive: Devote time and energy to a financial plan.

Reactive: Only think about moolah when we need it.

If you fall into the latter, then, the time is nigh for change. Here are 3 easy ways to start saving.

Fall in love with fitness

Fall in love with fitness

Flirting with the idea of getting into shape? In the short-term, regular sweat sessions will boost your daytime energy and help you sleep better at night. In the long-term, a consistent gym routine reduces your risk of chronic diseases, gives your brain a boost and helps you feel happier. Plus, toned muscles are good for everything from nixing back pain to improving your balance. But, if it’s been, ahem, a while since you’ve dusted off your sneakers, it can be tough to know where to start. We say, go with—not against—your comfort zone.

Freshen up your fitness

Freshen up your fitness

Feel like you’re in a rut when it comes to your workout? If you’re dreading the treadmill or dragging your feet at dance class, it may be a sign that you need to shake things up. If you don’t like too much change, then just tweak your usual activity. For instance, if yoga is your thing, switch out your go-to Hatha class for Yin Yoga. You’ll challenge your body in new ways and meet a few new friends, too. Want a bigger change? Try these recommendations.

It’s the perennial question: RSP or TFSA?

It’s the perennial question: RSP or TFSA?

The answer depends on your age and stage of life. Here’s what you need to consider before you deposit your dough in one or the other.

If you think you’ll need the money in the next couple of years (for a vacation, emergency or renovation), a TFSA may be the better option because of its greater withdrawal flexibility.

An RRSP is the better choice if you are saving for the long-term, or are in a higher tax bracket now but expect to be in a lower one in retirement.

How to spark innovative thinking

Everyone has the ability to become a better thinker. It is not a trait you’re born with, rather something you can hone over time. Sometimes, all you need is a little nudge to start thinking in new ways, says executive coach and workshop facilitator, Natalie Currie. Here are her straightforward strategies to help you tap into your inner innovator, regardless of your age or stage of life.

If you’re an entrepreneur…

Arrange regular meet-ups with peers from different fields—the more diverse the better—and bounce ideas off of one another. “You can stress-test each other’s business plans and products or services to make them better.”

If you’re a team player…

Get moving! Your brain relaxes and becomes more creative when you’re walking, driving, working out—basically doing anything other than staring at a screen looking for a solution. A change of scenery, even a new coffee shop, can also give you a fresh perspective.

If you’re a leader…

Rather than brainstorming aloud, where ideas are shared one at a time, ask your staff to write their thoughts on Post-Its, then arrange them on a board where everyone can review. Currie calls this “brain writing.” It takes the pressure off those who are nervous to share and prevents a phenomenon called group think—where consensus forms around one idea, potentially shutting down others.

Guaranteed Hits for Your Gift List

Did you miss our sold-out Ben McNally book night at Verity last week? No worries. We’ve got a handful of his best picks, categorized to help you find something for everyone on your holiday list (or just to treat yourself).


MYSTERY: Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton. “This is not your typical mystery,” says Ben McNally. If you only read mysteries because you can figure out the whodunit by page 7, this book is not for you. Here’s how it goes: The narrator has seven attempts to stop the death of Evelyn, which occurs at a weekend ball. Every Saturday, the narrator wakes in the body of a different guest, collecting clues as he goes along. McNally says, “On logistics alone, it’s triumphant.”

LOVE STORY: Never Anyone But You by Rupert Thomson. Two young French girls meet during Europe’s war years, eventually reinvent themselves as men, move to Jersey to escape Paris’ war rumblings, and end up forming a resistance against Hitler. Doesn’t sound very romantic, but McNally says, “This is the best love story I’ve read all year. It’s fascinating.” Bonus points: It’s based on a true story.

SUSPENSE: His Favorites by Kate Walbert. This book is “brilliant,” says McNally. “In fact, I read it twice and liked it better the second time.” The story is told through the eyes of a girl who was involved in a teenaged joyride that ended with the death of her best friend. Compelling story to be sure, but what makes it such a good read is the voice the author creates. You think the narrator is talking to you but partway through you realize she’s telling someone else the story. You don’t find out who that is until the end. “The voice in this book is spectacular,” McNally says.

CANLIT: Women Talking by Miriam Toews. “I don’t know how this book didn’t make the Giller list,” says McNally. “It’s an extraordinary book by one of our most accomplished young authors.” The story about a group of Mennonite women who discover their men are drugging and raping them, is so pertinent to the world today, and offers a fascinating look at both victims and perpetrators.

Ben McNally with his copy of  Nine Pints .

Ben McNally with his copy of Nine Pints.

QUIRKY: Nine Pints by Rose George. This book is bloody good, pun intended. It literally is about blood, thus the title (humans have nine pints of blood—give or take—coursing through their bodies). George discusses all manner of items linked to blood—from leeches to hemophilia to menstruation. “It sounds gross, but it’s really fascinating!” McNally says.

MEMOIR: Becoming by Michelle Obama. If you were expecting fluff, guess again, says McNally. This is a sophisticated read, a book with substance and insight and it deserves all the accolades it’s been getting.

HOSTESS GIFT: Messing About in Quotes by Gyles Brandreth is a very entertaining compendium of quotes. “I’m always looking for a little book for a host gift and this is it,” says McNally. You can open it to any page and it’s guaranteed to bring a smile.

Breakfast Networking Club: Is Your Speaking Voice Sabotaging Your Career?

You may be the smartest person in the room, but if your speaking style is unpolished you will never be heard. Or worse, heard but not heeded. 

This, according to Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, who writes in her bestseller, Lean In, that the way women communicate to management, colleagues, and clients is holding them back in the workplace.

Lucky for Verity Members, fellow Member and president of Speech Science International, Bonnie Gross, helps people speak more effectively and she recently shared her top tips at the October breakfast gathering. If you missed it, here are the highlights:

1. Get rid of negative speech habits such as “um” and poor pronunciation.

2. Remember that your voice is a powerful tool and use accordingly.

3. Use your posture and facial expressions to make people listen to your ideas.

To sign up for our next Members’ breakfast, click here.

Entertaining Ideas

GEORGE sommelier Brie’s favourite sangria variations are bright, fresh, thirst-quenching, and highlight the flavours of the season.

The best part about these recipes? You can assemble the night before, in fact, sangria benefits from a day in the fridge before serving. More time to relax and enjoy hosting the party!


White Sangria

with Riesling, citrus, and orchard fruits

Riesling is a white wine grape grown widely across Germany and Canada’s Niagara region. Its bright citrus and white peach flavours and vibrant, often slightly sweet, palate are perfect as the base for a fresh summer sangria.

Serves 4-6

  • 1 x 750ml bottle of Riesling
  • ¾ cup Triple Sec, Apricot brandy, or any combination of similarly flavoured liquors
  • Juice from ½ lemon and 1 lime
  • 1 cup peach juice or nectar - ½ cup for sangria, reserve ½ cup for freezing into peach ice cubes
  • 2 white peaches, chopped - reserve small portion for peach ice cubes
  • Sprigs of fresh mint to garnish
  • Soda water to top

For Sangria


Combine all ingredients (except ice cubes, soda, and mint sprigs) into a glass pitcher the night before. The next day, serve each wine glass with a sprig of mint and a few ice cubes and top with a splash of soda.

For Peach ice cubes

Add a few pieces of chopped peach pieces to each square of the ice cube tray. Top with peach juice/nectar and a small mint leaf and freeze. These are optional, if you are pressed for time regular ice cubes will be fine.

Pink Sangria

with rosé, summer berries, and lavender

Rosé season is back! Celebrate it with this pretty pink sangria that embraces summer berries and florals. Brie prefers using a rosé from Ontario or the south of France.

Serves 4-6

  • 1 x 750ml bottle of Rosé
  • ¾ cup Cherry Brandy, Alize Red, a combination of the two, or any other favorite berry liquor
  • Juice from ½ an orange - reserve small amount of orange peel zest for garnish in a damp paper towel in the fridge overnight
  • 1 cup raspberry juice - ½ cup for sangria, reserve ½ cup for berry ice cubes
  • ½ cup strawberry puree - reserve ¼ cup for berry ice cubes
  • 1 cup seasonal berries - Brie likes to use Ontario strawberries and raspberries, chopped if necessary. Reserve small portion for berry ice cubes.
  • Sprigs of Lavender - thyme works well as a substitute
  • Soda water to top

For Sangria

Assemble all ingredients except the ice cubes, lavender, and orange zest in a glass pitcher the night before. As with the White Peach Sangria, serve in a wine glass, adding the lavender, berry ice cubes, and orange zest to each one, topping with a splash of soda water. Sip, smile, repeat!

For Berry ice cubes

As with the peach version, fill tray with raspberry juice, strawberry puree, and a fresh berry. Add small amount of pulled lavender. Freeze overnight.

Seasonal Prep

It’s sleeveless season again, are you ready for it? We can help! Verity’s fitness expert Paige has the PERFECT toning exercise to make your pipe dreams a reality.

Why push-ups?

Push-ups are Fitness Director Paige Rose’s favourite toning exercise because they are a full-body functional exercise (uses your entire body) and they do a tremendous job defining the abs, triceps, shoulders, and torso.


How many and how often?

Paige advises working towards 3 sets of 10-15 push-ups (including modified push-ups), or as many as you can complete while still maintaining good form, every other day.


When can you see results?

If you do these reps every other day you will see results in 1-2 weeks.

Summer Style

If space is at premium in your weekend tote, then you need to know our top 3 skincare picks for easy summer skin.

Dermalogica Sheer Tint Moisturizer

The perfect all-in-one product to toss in your bag as your run out the door! With a light hydrating formula, this moisturizer provides an all-day sheer wash of colour AND broad spectrum sunscreen to shield against damaging UV rays.


Weather Warrior MaskerAide Hydrating Facial Sheet Mask

After a day out on the lake or at the beach, your skin may be screaming for a little relief from the sun and wind – that’s where MaskerAide comes in. Their Weather Warrior sheet mask is made with aloe, green tea, witch hazel, and argan oil to help soothe and heal skin after a day outdoors.


Sun Bum

Sun Bum sunscreen offers broad spectrum protection from UVA/UVB rays and Vitamin E, an antioxidant that helps to neutralize free radicals which are the main cause of premature skin aging. Sun Bum Sunscreens are tested, approved, and recommended by The Skin Cancer Foundation (SCF).

Visit the spa to purchase one of these products or for more information!