Smith Manoeuvre HQ

What if I told you there's a way for Canadians to invest in the stock markets, pay down your mortgage, and save thousands of dollars each year in tax?

It's my take on the Smith Manoeuvre (SM), a strategy popularized by a former B.C.-based financial planner. I want to give full kudos to the late Fraser Smith for sharing this strategy. If you want to learn the intricacies of this strategy before implementation buy the book like I did, it's well worth the money. You can also get Fraser's book at most public libraries.

The Smith Manoeuvre Guide

The Smith Manoeuvre is an advanced strategy that takes a bit of financial knowledge to implement. Management of several accounts linked to the strategy, careful accounting, and financial discipline are key to making the Smith Manoeuvre pay off big time. Over the course of your lifetime, you can literally be hundreds of thousand dollars wealthier with no extra cost to you by using this strategy!

The Smith Manoeuvre is best used by homeowners who have at least 35 percent equity in their homes and are saving money in investment accounts each month. You should have a general knowledge of methodical self-directed investing before implementing this strategy.

Here are the detailed steps to implement the Smith Manoeuvre strategy:

  1. Obtain a re-advanceable HELOC style mortgage. You need to have at least 35 percent equity in your home first! Make sure the HELOC is structured so you have two separate parts: a nondeductible portion for your house mortgage and a revolving, re-advanceable, tax deductible portion for investing;
  2. Start a online chequing account with Tangerine or Simplii Bank;
  3. Sell your current taxable (not TFSA/RRSP!) investments and pay down your house mortgage portion of the HELOC;
  4. Start a new Non-registered Investment Account with a brokerage. Make sure it is separate from any other Investment Account you may have! You must have a clean paper trail;
  5. Make regular mortgage payments and put all extra savings towards the house mortgage portion of your HELOC;
  6. Borrow back the newly available money from the investment loan side of your HELOC by making a transfer to the Non-registered Investment Account;
  7. Use investment loan money to purchase Canadian stocks which pay some dividends. Make sure the dividends get deposited in your separate online chequing account;
  8. Use the dividends and new investment money to pay down your house mortgage portion;
  9. Borrow back newly available money from your investment loan portion and transfer to your Non-registered Investment Account;
  10. Borrow from investment loan portion, transfer to chequing account, and send back to investment loan portion to pay the interest expense on the investment loan portion (guerilla capitalizing);
  11. Claim Canadian dividend income on your income tax return to the highest income earner, or split between both spouses if in the same tax bracket. Always claim investment income and deduct interest expenses (Step 13) in the exact same proportions;
  12. Adjust the investment loan for any Return of Capital distributions paid by your ETF, REIT, or stocks;
  13. Deduct all interest paid for investment loan portion ONLY in the tax return of the highest income earner or split between both in the same proportions as the investment income (Step 11);
  14. Apply tax refund to house mortgage portion, borrow back under the investment loan portion, and invest in your Non-registered Investment Account;
  15. Repeat steps 5 through 14.

When you are finished paying off the mortgage (Portion 1 of the HELOC), you have several options. Here's a post to give you some ideas.

The SM Strategy Effects

In this admittedly complicated strategy you are basically shifting your debt from non-deductible mortgage interest expense to a fully deductible interest expense used for investing purposes. This allows you to invest the principal repayment and tax savings with no extra monthly cost to you.

There are numerous steps involved; to get an idea of the money flow, here is a diagram of the accounts and steps involved. There's a lot of money movement involved!

Source: (Adapted from the work of Fraser Smith)

With the Smith Manoeuvre strategy, you don't become debt-free. Instead you maintain your debt level at a maximum of 65 percent of your stated house value.

The strategy allows you to grow a massive investment account alongside your loan. After the first few years, your investment account should start to increase in value and exceed your investment loan liability. Combined tax savings and compound interest on investments is a powerful force which generates substantial wealth over time.

Additional Smith Manoeuvre Related Posts

The Impact of Rising Interest Rates

Risks vs. Rewards

Investment Strategies for SM Investment Accounts

Advisory Disclaimer

The content in this website is intended as an education and information resource only. The information is amateur in nature and should not be interpreted or acted upon as individualized professional financial advice. Discussions related to specific securities are an example of available options and author opinions only. This site does not derive incomes, sales benefits, or other material gain from the securities mentioned or from their managers.

Neither the authors, nor the site, are licensed or registered as professionals in any manner with the Alberta Securities Commission, its provincial peers, or industry associations.

Always do your due diligence before acting on the opinions shared. The information published may not be accurate and is not confirmed by applicable government agencies or licensed professionals. Investing is risky and can result in significant financial loss; readers should always consult with the appropriate professionals before making any investment or financial decisions.

Neither the authors nor this website assume responsibility for reader actions completely or partially as a result of the content of this site. This may include financial loss, penalties, fines, or other forms of harm.