An investment pro looks at China


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Much Ado About China

Although China is rarely noticeably absent from headlines, its return to being top of mind has been feverishly fierce in recent weeks. And although Shakespeare has nothing to do with this topic, I’ve chosen it as the heading theme. Not everything makes sense.


China is a hot topic after its government reopened the borders and scrapped its zero-COVID policy that citizens have lived under since 2020. A simple Google search for “China reopening” returns endless articles, opinions, pontifications, and predictions on what this could mean for the rest of the globe.


Questions that now arise are: Is this good or bad? Does it prevent a global recession or make it more likely? Will China actually stay open or reverse course? (“To be, or not to be, that is the question.”)


For starters, let’s take a look at what it could mean for the travel industry. Pre-COVID, outbound Chinese tourists amounted to 150-200 million people per year. The onset of COVID stopped that for all countries, but China’s restrictions have kept it suppressed.


Granted, not all of those tourists came to the U.S., and it will likely take time to get back to 2019 levels. That said, even if half this many people traveled in 2023, it could present a notable demand tailwind for hospitality, retail, airlines, and service industries around the globe. In a very straightforward sense, this is positive for global consumption. In reality, it’s complicated.

What’s Past is Prologue

Luckily, the rest of the world has already completed this reopening mission, and we have our experience to draw upon. There was indeed a lot of pent up demand, but there was also a shortage of supply, a shortage of materials, and resulting inflation acceleration. Cue the present day global fight against inflation.


China’s reopening is smaller in scale than the combination of most developed nations doing it at the same time. Still, given that China is the world’s second largest economy, it deserves consideration, or at the very least a double-check of our growth and inflation assumptions.

The delights and consequences of the rest of the world reopening were many, and I’d expect this experience to be similar, although at an accelerated pace for China. We’re already seeing some consequences as COVID cases have surged and some countries have placed restrictions on traveling to and from the People’s Republic of China.


I’ve seen this movie before…we, too, experienced a spike in COVID cases as everyone began traveling again and went through a seemingly endless process of lifting and then reinstating certain restrictions, with uneven adoption across the country and around the globe.

This announcement of a reopening isn’t a magic bullet for growth in the short-term as China goes through its own re-entry to Earth, but in the long-run, it is positive for demand.

Wisely, and Slow. They Stumble That Run Fast.

However, the current concern is that much of the rest of the world is trying to control inflation which requires some forced reduction in demand. The most vulnerable spots to this increased demand are likely commodity markets, and particularly oil. Brent crude is down markedly from its 2022 peak of $128/barrel (to $85/barrel today), but since the move by China to scrap zero-COVID it’s up 9% — and that was less than two weeks ago.


Needless to say, this could present a problem for global central banks as they battle headline inflation. While investors continue to over-index to what the Fed is or isn’t going to do, this could be a curve ball in inflation readings while the world absorbs the increase in activity.

Turning the discussion to what it means for China domestically, and for the rest of Emerging Markets (EM), so far the currency moves have been quite large. After a recent depreciation vs. the U.S. Dollar, both the Chinese Yuan and a basket of EM currencies have strengthened on the news (lower values = strengthening vs. the USD).


As investors, this is another data point to note. Emerging markets certainly carry higher risk than developed markets and they’ve remained unattractive due to geopolitical risks (which remain), currency weakness and volatility (monitoring closely), and their dependence on China (reopening reduces this headwind).


In the name of global consumption, I welcome this reopening news. In the name of investing, I submit that it does present an interesting bull case for international markets. But in the name of prudent investing, I point to the heading of this section: “wisely, and slow.”

I think it’s a bit too soon right now. I still want to let some of the initial boom simmer down so that we have a better idea of just how “open” China will stay. But given that my main focus in 2023 markets is valuation, international developed and emerging markets pose a much more affordable bargain than the U.S.


The next two to three months will be very telling for the Fed, global markets, and corporate earnings. Let’s get through a bit more of that journey before we revisit this opportunity, after all, “Modest doubt is called the beacon of the wise.”


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19 ways to actually save money in 2023


Save money for emergencies: It is a phrase that is so well-known yet ambiguous because, unfortunately, no “money cutter” can help you cut out expenses. Yes, unless you start saving up for good, you’ll always find it easier to spend. Either you’ll find your favorite jeans on sale or a totally unnecessary-yet-so-cute product will catch your attention.


Of course, that’s unless you are a pro-saver and have the best customer-friendly secured credit card from Canada to help you get started with the initial steps. But even if you are scared to get into less spending and more saving world, we are here to help. So, without any further ado, let’s dig in!


For help with your personal finances, consider working with a fiduciary financial advisor. Find an advisor who serves your area today (Sponsored).




We’re starting with the first and foremost step: budgeting. The only way to save money is by taking the initiative to spend less. And making a solid working budget will help you tons in this regard. But, of course, you don’t have to go all out to create the perfect budget right off the bat. What matters is your thinking and strategy to do that.


By only starting with the baby steps to make a budget that work right for you, you’ll get to notice how foolishly a lavish spender you were before. Of course, we are not talking about the need expenses, but those you consider as “trivial” or “a few pennies won’t hurt.” Trust us. When you make a budget, you’ll realize there’s so much you can avoid saving more for emergencies or a better future.


Living on a limited paycheck is hard. But struggling to keep it going until the last date of the month is even harder. However, you can avoid major spending to let that heavy burden off your shoulders. For instance, if you want to buy something that would take a considerable amount of your paycheck, reconsider it. Think hard about whether it is a thing you want or a thing you need.


You’ll see a major cut out of unnecessary expenses and at least some savings monthly once you start avoiding big purchases all at once. Or you can confine one big purchase a month to stop ruining your budget. Of course, unless it’s a necessity, you have to at any cost to live a normal life.


If you think a mini shopping haul is a must during the month; you deserve to get a self-care day full of fancy food; or you deserve to party every night with friends, then you are wrong. We aren’t implying you can’t have fun. But going out of the way just to feel relieved and relaxed is not a good option. Surely you’ll be regretting your choices, seeing zero balance in the last days of the month.


However, rewarding yourself here and there once you achieved your weekly savings goals can boost up your morale. Whenever you feel like you are struggling with a tight budget, it’s fine to take a day off rather than being demotivated and giving up. So, feel free to treat yourself to your favorite food or a walking date with your best friend on achieving a milestone.


The fancy clothes displayed on the mannequins outside the store attract you. You just saw a leather jacket ad that you have been searching for a long time. The style of that faded jeans is so hard to miss. Or some plain white tee and blue denim outfit caught your eye, and they were among the last remaining pieces available, too.


Undoubtedly, resisting the temptation to buy new clothes is hard when they are limited, fancy and on sale. Like, isn’t it a complete package? Been there, done that! But let’s face reality. You still have enough clothes to survive, right? Do you still have enough shirts and jeans to live a comfortable life? So, yes, you don’t need to spend that extra money which you could have saved for your “road to a better future” account.


If you think you can save one day a week while spending carelessly for the rest of the days, you are wrong. Savings don’t become a huge sum of money unless you put the effort to make them big. Daily savings amount is a crucial point to consider while making a weekly or monthly budget. Organize your earnings and spendings in a way that you always have something beneficial every day.


The amount doesn’t have to be big to consider it a saving. See whatever you can set aside to put in your piggy bank to submit into your savings account at the end of the month. This sole practice will put you at ease knowing you are saving something on a daily manner.


According to Chelsea Brennan, you need good insurance, but you don’t need to pay any extra to get the most out of it. She explains that you can get quality insurance that will give you endless benefits without going broke to have it. In addition, health, travel, car and life insurance can save you from unexpected money situations by covering the spending cost.


Chelsea describes insurance to be the savior from bad situations that could have cost you so much otherwise. It is more like financial security in an emergency to your life, health or belongings. You might indeed have to spend a little extra to buy it, but it’s really not a bad option for the long run.


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To be a pro-saver and considerate spender, you must know your cash flow. What’s your monthly net income, your expenses and your savings? Categorize your expenses, subtract your spending from income and see what you are remained with. You can also download a CashFlowTool app to record and sync all your spendings.


The key is to record even the simplest of the expenses. For instance, you bought ice cream, a water bottle, a pair of socks or even paid for a parking ticket with the card. There should be a record of every penny you spend to calculate weekly. Only then can you observe what needs to be changed.


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There’s a thin line between needs and wants. If a thing is necessary to survive, it becomes a need. But if you desire to have something for your satisfaction or pleasure, it is categorized as want. So, adopting a “what I need” lifestyle is a crucial way to walk on the “save more, spend less” journey.


One tip is to create two columns of wants and needs. Then, every time you feel like buying something, try to place it in the two columns. And, surely, you’ll have your answer through this practice whether you need to spend your hard-earned money on it or not.


What takes up the most of your monthly income? Rent, phone and mobile bills, energy bills, food and groceries, cable, internet, and insurance. These all seem like must-haves, right? Now, think again. Cut down on any bill that you can. If you have cable and internet connection, choose to keep the more useful one. Avoid eating out daily and buy stuff in bulk on sale. Keep the leftovers in your fridge to reuse the next day. Store the takeout sauces to utilize as salad dressings or for sandwiches.


Look for a mobile service that offers discounts and monthly offers. Pay bills on time to keep your credit card stable and debt-free. If housing takes half of your income, consider finding a better and affordable place.


Damir Khabirov / iStock


Yes, you read that right. Seasonal, vocational and occasional gifts also fall on this money-saving list. Why? Because every penny counts. You can choose to DIY stuff for birthdays, Christmas, Thanksgiving or housewarming occasions. Or pick a cheaper but fancier option like a gift basket, herb garden, mini plant, or jewelry item.


Making the gifts yourself doesn’t mean you have to compromise your relationship with the person. Instead, it will show them how much you care for them.


For help with your personal finances, consider working with a fiduciary financial advisor. Find an advisor who serves your area today (Sponsored).




You went out to buy groceries but ended up getting more than you thought. So there goes your weekly budget and your monthly savings. Experian explains making your finance sustainable is the key to avoiding overspending on budget.


It doesn’t mean to take the fun out of your life but to always have an emergency fund ready in case of job changes, overspending or any household broken situations. For instance, when you go out for dining, order the food that’s not over-expensive. Don’t forget to bring the leftovers; it can be your breakfast or lunch for the next day.


Spending a few dollars daily on your takeout meal sounds like a good option. It is easy and convenient for your busy routine, right? But if you sum up the monthly amount, you might be amazed that it takes out a considerable percentage of your income. On the other hand, you can also get food poisoning or stomach aches from daily junk, adding to your health bills.


To save money on your necessary food, make meals at home. You can get enough protein from eggs, fiber from chickpeas or beans, carbohydrates from sweet potatoes, and dairy from milk or yogurt. Make huge portions for the entire week and save every money where you can. Of course, you can have a nice treat on the weekend.


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Expensive is not always the best. Sometimes, cheaper alternatives work just as fine or even better. It’s all about the marketing a branded name put on their product to make it look fancy and bougie when the reality is that you can get the same thing from a less popular brand but at a way lower price.


And when you have a budget to follow and saving accounts to fill, it is best to go for a better dupe. So, next time you are on to buy the expensive item, try and look for its cheaper yet equally good-quality version. Look on Quora, Reddit or Pinterest to find and see if others are searching for the same thing. You never know. You might end up finding the best budget-friendly brands.


The biggest hurdle in the way of saving more is your debt. For instance, if you have a credit debt of 16%, consolidating it to 0% can help you quite a lot. Look for the lowest interest rates and choose a company that offers the best services in such situations. If possible, negotiate your situation with them to get the best deal.


Try to balance your credit score by keeping the debt value at zero. Then, if you pay your bills on time, you can be a good customer eligible for loans and other benefits. Or you can opt to take a personal loan of a minimum interest rate to pay off your debt and start anew. Andrew Beattie of Investopedia has eight ways how you can successfully balance your credit debt if you need help.


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Some people have the sole purpose of trying any and every food out there. It can be possible to live this way with a secure and sound monthly income. But if you’re part of the group that’s struggling and that wants to make ends meet and save for good, this is one of the worst choices.


However, if you really love food, then you can make food YouTube your side business. Start by spending just a little, and if you feel the potential of going viral, then you can slowly enhance the setup. Of course, you can always record your everyday meals on a budget yet still do what you love.


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This may sound odd, but imagine all the food subscriptions, gym memberships, magazine renewals and diet charts you once signed up for. They could be costing you money without you knowing. Yes, if you are someone who hardly checks their pay history or bank statement, all the automatic memberships and subscriptions can be costly.


Have a thorough look at your history and accounts to cancel any subscriptions or memberships you no longer use or can survive without. Or if you don’t want to unsubscribe from anything, try and share referral links with your family and make them download the app or take the trial to earn brownie points.


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Do you have a habit of paying bills and everything else with your card? Sure, the referrals, rewards points and bonuses sound good. But if you rely entirely on a credit card, it may make you spend more. The theory is you don’t feel the cash reduction in real-time. Yes, you get a message of the bill you paid, but it is totally different if you compare it with the one you do with cash in hand.


Divide your major and trivial spending and categorize them. It can help you save money on a low income. For instance, try restricting your card for needs and cash for the wants.


According to the 50-30-20 rule, you should save a minimum of 20% of your total income every month. However, saving money at home in a piggy bank or some drawer is never the best option. Why? You’ll always be tempted to spend the amount whenever you’re in a sad or bad mood.


So, your best bet is to open separate savings account dedicated solely to your savings. You can also choose to redirect the 20% of your income straight to the savings out each month. Another thing you can do is ask someone trusty to check to make sure you don’t end up spending all your money before the right time.


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This is more like a 30-day rule challenge in which you restrict yourself from making any purchase for a month. For instance, if you want to buy something, you add it to a “spending freeze” list and forget about it. And after 30 days, if you still feel like buying it, you then initiate the buying and payment process.


It clears the confusion of wants and needs. If it will be a desire or want, you’ll probably forget it after a week or so. But the need will remain consistent. The spending freeze will save you from lavish spending, overspending or making any big purchase that’s totally unnecessary.


Before moving on to the conclusion, let’s review saving and spending answers to some of the most common questions:

How do I train myself to spend less?

By avoiding overspending. If you start with a list of priorities, monthly goals and a good budget, you can train yourself to spend less. For example, start with taking out the cash for your brick-and-mortar shopping and only spend the amount you brought.

What’s the 30-days rule?

The name 30-days rule suggests that you should wait for 30 days before purchasing something. If you still feel the need to get it after 30 days, you are good to make the purchase. Otherwise, you’ll realize it wasn’t necessary to have it.

What’re three best ways to spend less money?

The best three tips that can help you save more and spend less are avoiding fast food (skip eating out and cooking at home), making a shopping list for everything and keeping a record of your weekly savings.

Can I survive on a $1,000 a month plan?

If you plan a budget and decide on a money spending strategy for your month, you can make both ends meet with $1,000. Lower your food, transportation, electricity, clothing bills and keep an eye on where you are spending. Even $10 of savings count!

How can I improve my savings strategy?

Surely the best strategy is to manage your expenses. Pay your credit bill and keep your savings account always filled. Also, consider taking credit counseling to save the maximum amount on every salary.

What is the 50/30/20 budget rule?

The 50/30/20 budgeting rule is a strategy to help you spend and save like a pro. The rule suggests dividing your income into three parts — 50% for necessities, 30% for wants and 30% for credit debts and savings accounts.

What is the best amount to save monthly?

Creating the rules that work for you can really make a difference in your spending and saving. But in general, according to the 50/30/20 rule, 20% of your income is the ideal amount to save up every month.

What bills can I cut for fast savings?

Cut your food, groceries, car, energy, banking, taxes and car insurance taxes. Some of them might only help you save a few dollars, but you can save a ton yearly if you add them all up.


Hard times call for hard-to-make decisions. However, you don’t have to feel depressed or sad about them. On a positive note, you can take this opportunity to transform your wealth management from a vague path to a steady road. And the best part is that you can adapt the habit of credit management and become a pro-saver during your learning journey.


Moreover, it can help you save enough if you, unfortunately, have to live in stressful conditions in the future. But don’t worry: We have mentioned everything you need to know to save more and spend less.

Need help managing your finances?

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