Smith Manoeuvre Maintenance

Smith-Manoeuvre-Smith-Maneuver People often ask about the steps required to perform the Smith Manoeuvre.  We’ve talked about the initial setup procedures before (see above link), but there’s also ongoing maintenance to consider.

The example below shows the monthly steps required if you use FirstLine’s Matrix mortgage.  The Matrix is one of the more popular Smith Manoeuvre mortgages so it’s a fitting example.  These steps will differ slightly with other mortgages.

We’ve also included a hypothetical timeline to show the typical dates that transfers take place.

  1. February 1:  FirstLine automatically debits your bank account on the 1st of each month for your mortgage payment.  (assuming you make monthly payments)
  2. February 3:  FirstLine increases your line of credit (LOC) by the amount of principle you paid in your mortgage payment–typically by the 3rd of each month.
  3. February 3:  You log in to FirstLine.com and electronically move these readvanced funds from your LOC to your bank account.
  4. February 6:  The funds typically arrive in your bank account within 72 hours.
  5. February 6:  You invest these funds online as you normally would.  (Some clients save another step by setting up their investment account to automatically debit their bank account each month. The debited funds are then automatically invested according to a pre-designed investment plan.)
  6. February 8:  FirstLine automatically debits your bank account for required interest-only payment on your LOC.  This happens 21 days after your statement is printed.  (Statements are printed on the 18th of every month.)

That’s basically how it’s done.  After you do it initially, it takes about 5-10 minutes of your time each month to do the transfers. 

In addition, if you’re self-directing your investments, you’ll need to add whatever time is required to monitor those investments and find the best places to put your money to work. 

As always, we’ll remind you that the Smith Manoeuvre is not suitable for everyone.  Moreover, we recommend using a qualified financial/tax advisor for the investing and tax aspects.  Consulting with a financial planner often entails no out-of-pocket expenses, saves you a lot of time, and may well provide better results.

  1. Great Step by Step Points!
    I would also add always use your tax refunds from the SM to pay down your mortgage. If you are in a 40% tax bracket you only need 4% to make money on your investments.
    Also, use corporate capital class funds, so you can switch without capital gains!
    On a 25 year mortgage you will have “converted your interest” in about 21.5 years vs. 25 years saving thousands!! Some people looking at this should have a long time frame to work with and be comfortable with interest rates going up and markets going down.
    Good work!
    regards,
    Brian Poncelet, CFP

  2. Hi Rob,
    When you borrow at 6% (prime) you can deduct 40% (if this is your tax bracket) 6 – 2.4 = 3.6%. So 3.6% is your cost of borrowing.
    When you take the tax refund, lets say its a $1,000, you really need to earn $1,400 before tax…so this extra payment on your mortgage adds up over time. Thats why using your tax refunds makes this so excellent.
    My thoughts are not using the tax refunds (spending it) makes the SM less powerful and not really worth it.
    regards,
    Brian

  3. Hi Rob,
    I thought I would add of few thoughts for the do ityourself crowd. A number of people bought dividend paying bank stocks (which can go down in value) but they forget that they have to pay taxes! This lowers the benefit of the plan.

  4. I want to know about the concepts of the SM risks. Like what if our return from investment is less than the cost of borrowing and negative amortazation year. How’s that affect us on tax refund. Please advise
    What would you recommed for a good income fund. Our financial advisor did mention something like TD income funds & wealth fund from Clarington. He said the wealth fund is almost gurantee that you won’t lose anything. is this true?

  5. Hi Penny, Thanks for the note. There are questions best suited to a licensed investment advisor. (We focus only on the mortgage implementation of the Smith Manoeuvre.)
    If you need a referral please email us at your convenience.
    Cheers,
    Rob

  6. TD Funds are far from the best for this type of strategy. In fact, stay away from the banks when performing something like this.
    You should get a personal financial broker that has access to every company and that will tell you what you should invest your money into.
    As a financial broker I recommend dividend income funds to take advantage of an additional tax break on your investments. Look at Fiera dividend income funds for example.
    If you’re in Montreal I could show you how I implement this strategy with solid investment security for my clients.
    email me at VladAdoniev(at)gmail.com
    Good luck,

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