I founded Hardbacon with a clear mission. To democratize access to the financial system so that everyone can use investment as a tool to reach their goals. Whether this goal is to change the world, give yourself more freedom (what I like to call “fuck you money”) or to buy material things. Or to save for retirement, although honestly, the mere mention of retiring puts me to sleep.
The good news is that the barrier to entry for small investors has decreased dramatically. Most discount brokers have lowered their minimum amount for opening an account to $1000 or less. Meanwhile, most robo-advisors don’t even have a base amount to start. So in theory you could start to invest with a single dollar.
The bad news is that the small investors have to be very careful of fees – hidden or not. The most pernicious fees are account management fees, which are most often called “inactivity fees”, and they exist in some form or another at almost all brokers.
On the whole, these fees penalize investors if they don’t make enough transactions in a year, or if they don’t keep enough money in their account. I detest these fees because it sends the complete wrong message to investors. It suggests that if you don’t make a certain amount of transactions in a year, you aren’t doing it right. Meanwhile, the opposite is true. It’s because investors are making so many useless trades that a large number of them lose money even when the market shows a positive return.
My diatribe against maintenance fees ends here (for now – I’ll come back to it later). What’s important is that you understand the first step of Hardbacon’s master plan. Step one is this: to launch our comparator of Canadian discount brokers and robo-advisors, and to publish our first articles.
The comparator was created to help investors quickly determine what platform they should use to pay the least amount of fees, and to earn the most for their money. In short, the objective was to make the main service offers more transparent.
Since it’s our mission to make the finance industry more transparent, it goes without saying that Hardbacon will serve as the example. Contrary to the rest of the industry, we will always tell you how we make money. This is, after all, one of the central points of Hardbacon’s manifesto.
Today, we aim to generate revenue by signing contracts with discount brokers and robo-advisors who will offer promotions directly on our site. It’s a win-win. You will benefit from the promotional offers, and us from the commission.
As of right now, we have one agreement with Wealthsimple, from which you can earn $50 by opening a non-registered account with them. And yes, we will make money if you do so by using the link below. But before doing this, by all means, I invite you to take the time to compare Wealthsimple’s offer to the rest of the Canadian robo-advisors.
In addition to the comparator, the current site also hosts content about investment and personal finances. Some of them, like Ceilidh’s article about the “why” of investing, addresses those of us who might only be starting to think about investment. Others, like Stephane’s reading suggestions, or Frederic’s rant about mutual funds, are also geared towards beginner’s, but are interesting enough for experienced investors. In any case, I learned from them.
As is, the current site is a beta version, and it will improve day by day from now on. If you see something that could be improved, write me an email right away! More importantly, don’t believe that our plan to democratize access to the financial system stops at a comparator and interesting (needless to say transparent) content.
This is only the first step. More products are on the way. Hardbacon will only stop once everyone in the world benefits from the financial system.
About The Author: Julien Brault
Julien started Hardbacon to help Canadians make better investment decisions. He’s raised more than two million dollars and signed strategic partnerships with financial institutions across the country. Before starting Hardbacon, Julien shared his passion for personal finance and the stock market while working as a business journalist for Les Affaires.
Julien manages his stock portfolio with National Bank Direct Brokerage. He uses a pre-paid KOHO Mastercard® for his online purchases and Borrowell to keep an eye on his credit score. Julien also has a Tangerine high-interest savings account.
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