### Smith Manoeuvre Calculator/Spreadsheet for Excel

By now, most people here know that I’m interested in the Smith Manoeuvre. If you are new to this concept, you can read more about them in my article “Mastering The Smith Manoeuvre“.

From surfing the web researching the Smith Manoeuvre, I discovered a great thread on RedFlagDeals.com that talks exclusively about the strategy. This includes the tax implications, the various mortgages available, and some calculations relating to potential return.

Cannon_Fodder, a regular contributor of RFD has created an Excel spreadsheet that he is willing to share with the world. He was even gracious enough to allow me to share the spreadsheet with you!

Update: Cannon_Fodder has released version 2 of the SM Spreadsheet.

Since the Excel spreadsheet doesn’t come with a manual, I will provide a few notes on HOW to use the program. Note, you are going to have to enable macros when you open the program.

• Go to the “input” tab which for the most part is the only sheet you’ll need. The other tabs are primarily “Calculation” sheets, however, they can be helpful to see exactly what is going on.
• Enter all relevant information as it pertains to you. The only portion that I have confusion with was the “Periodic investments” portion. If you choose biweekly payments (26 payments/year), then your periodic investments will be calculated as bi-weekly also. So if you’re accustomed to investing monthly use this formula: Periodic Investment = (Monthly Investment * 12 / 26)
• Everything else should be self explanatory. I didn’t fool around with the “Cash Flow Damn” option, so I won’t comment on that.
• Remember that your “Starting LOC” value is the equity in your home. In mathematical terms: (Home Value x 75%) – Mortgage Balance.

Tomorrow, I will go through my personal scenario to see how the Smith Manoeuvre stacks up.

1. David on April 12, 2007 at 1:32 am

I have tried both products, and Cannon_Fodder’s calculator produces numbers that are very close to those in the Smithman Calculator. I found Cannon_Fodder’s useful beyond the original, as it allows for the existence of unconsumed LOC, a regularly increasing mortgage payment, a variety of payment frequencies, and the ready ability to adjust your initial mortgage payment. The results allow you to view your mortgage and investment over a period of 25 years. This allows folks who have accelerated their mortgage to estimate the portfolio’s value, any time during the 25 years of the calculation.

The Smithman Calculator is a bit more challenging to use if you have an accelerated mortgage, as there is no simple way to address the portfolio growth beyond the original mortgage amortization.

The SM Calculator also allows you to compare the results of the Smith Manoeuvre with Chilton’s “Wealthy Barber” and invest 10% of your income in the same vehicle, or use Garth Turner’s method of rapidly paying down your mortgage, then re-borrowing some of the equity in the home to fund a portfolio. The Smith Manoeuvre seems always to be superior to these two other options. Since both of these are commonly used strategies, it is clear why Ed Rempel suggests to “shoot the Sacred Cow” in his posts.

Both are useful tools to help one arrive at a decision about the value of the Smith Manoeuvre in their particular financial situation.

2. Cannon_fodder on April 12, 2007 at 9:44 pm

David,
I would be interested to understand how my calculations differ from those of the SM calculator. I had found some errors which I corrected a few days ago but that may not address what you have seen. It took me awhile to figure out the discrepancies between my calculator and the specific examples in SM book when he talked about the Black’s using Step III. I had to go into the working tabs to manually place the liquidation of the \$30k and \$20k in interest bearing securities at the right month before it matched exactly.

I will take the opportunity to start putting version numbers on it so I can keep track of the iterations.

3. Cannon_fodder on April 12, 2007 at 10:01 pm

Thanks to FrugalTrader’s suggestion, I have created an addition to my calculator which attempts to demonstrate the effect of using dividends from your growing portfolio to pay down the mortgage faster.
I really would appreciate someone examining it for accuracy and relevancy of my assumptions. At this point, it only works for the monthly mortgage scenario.
Here are some pointers:
1. I’ve used drop down boxes so you can choose which province, and then it will give you choices (based on 2007 taxation year) of which marginal tax rate you can select. It then will automatically put in the marginal dividend tax rate (I’m not bothering with small business dividends). This does restrict the input of marginal tax rate, but I hope accuracy will be appreciated more than convenience.
2. I applied dividend payments, in this case, on a monthly basis. I could have changed this to only applying the dividends at the end of the year. Doing quarterly applications will provide more of a challenge so I will see how this goes on (especially if trying to adapt this to the twice monthly or biweekly mortgages). So, I take the dividend yield (which you input) and divide it by 12 and apply that to the previous months end portfolio balance. It then gets applied as a prepayment to the mortgage, reborrowed and invested.
3. I calculate the tax liability and then apply that against the tax refund on an annual basis. For negative marginal dividend tax rates, you will get even more money back, and with positive marginal dividend tax rates, you get less back.
4. Running through some scenarios made me think. For example, if you think equity investments will grow at X%, would you not adjust the growth rate if you were investing in dividend producing equity investments? E.G., take an 8% growth portfolio that produces 0% in dividends. If you now are thinking about moving that into dividend producing investments, would you split the 8% such as 6% growth and 2% dividends? If so, it is quite alarming to see what happens if your LOC interest rate is higher than your growth rate in spite of the dividends. Your portfolio net of LOC is actually negative until just after you pay down the mortgage.
So, if anyone wants to give it the critical eye, I would appreciate the feedback.

4. Cannon_fodder on April 12, 2007 at 10:03 pm

Oh, and thank you to FrugalTrader for giving a ‘cheat sheet’ on how to use the calculator. The calculator is free, but the manual costs \$9.95 plus shipping and handling. ;-)

5. David on April 16, 2007 at 12:06 pm

Cannon_Fodder,
I’m out of town for a few days, and will be in touch with you shortly. I’ll have to download your most recent calculator for review.

It seems that you are building a much more comprehensive tool than the original.

David

6. FrugalTrader on April 16, 2007 at 12:14 pm

Great job indeed Cannon! Thanks again for sharing.

7. […] Smith Manoeuvre Spreadsheet / Calculator […]

8. Manoeuvring Smith on August 11, 2007 at 2:32 pm

Hi,

First I would like to say great site to FT!

I am interested in implementing the smith manoeuvre and downloaded the excel file to try some scenarios. I have a question regarding the interest expense on the loan. I have read the smith manoeuvre book and he talks about capitalizing the interest payment which meaning paying for the interest with the loan. Does the excel file do that? From what I can tell for the monthly payment tab it only resets cumulative interest expense per year at year end and does not factor in this payment. It does factor in the tax refund and contributing dividends to the mortgage but nothing about the interest charges you have to pay. What’s up with that?

Wouldn’t that reduce your bottom line because instead of having \$1k (whatever the interest charge is) to invest you have to use it to pay off the interest on the loan? I realize you get a tax refund but if the interest owed is \$1k and you get \$300 back in taxes you still have to pay \$700 in order for the principal not to increase and for you not to default on the loan.

9. Cannon_fodder on August 11, 2007 at 6:23 pm

Manoeuvring Smith: Try to strip away all of the extra things going on and concentrate only on a Step 1 scenario when using the calculator. Hopefully you will see that (under reasonable inputs) the amount to invest each month actually goes down even though the principle paydown increases. This is because you borrow the full principle paydown but use a portion of that to pay the interest on the growing LOC.

If I’ve misunderstood your question, then feel free to throw some actual numbers at me and perhaps I can see your perspective.

10. Manoeuvring Smith on August 11, 2007 at 9:24 pm

Thanks Cannon_fodder, I didn’t notice in the money to invest column it minuses the LOC interest.

One more question:
If the LOC interest rate and the investment growth rate are the same (i.e. both 6%) why would the net portfolio have minimum returns (almost \$0)? Is this because you are constantly reducing the investment portfolio by the same amount of interest owed on the LOC? Does that mean the LOC amount owed is still being compounded because you are in reality not really paying off the interest owed?

11. Cannon_fodder on August 12, 2007 at 11:05 am

MS – if the LOC interest rate and investment growth rate are the same, then the net portfolio will have negative returns. This is because the interest rate is compounded monthly while the investment return is compounded annually (I’ve noticed that the true Smith calculator compounds the investment growth monthly which probably goes against what most people would expect).

Thus, the LOC is growing faster than the investments. They are both growing because you are still adding reborrowed principal (and perhaps tax refunds) but 6% compounded monthly is about 6.18%.

12. Manoeuvring Smith on August 12, 2007 at 3:00 pm

Not according to the model I’m using. I have version 1.11. I have only included step 1, 25 years, 12 payments per year and LOC interest rate =investment growth rate. You have the investment interest rate at ((i/12+1)^(m/12)-1), should it be ((i/m+1)^m-1)/12, where i is interest rate and m is compounding times per year?

13. Cannon_fodder on August 12, 2007 at 5:41 pm

MS – Ah, yes, version 1.11. I couldn’t figure out how the SM was getting its numbers until I changed the investment growth rate to compounding monthly. Later versions don’t have that “error”.
So, when using 1.11, you will see zero difference as opposed to negative. The reasons are the same.
It is still a helpful demonstration that shows you want to minimize the borrowing costs and invest in higher growth investments. However, even when growth in investments and LOC are very close, you still are paying down your mortgage faster. When all is said and done, your net worth does grow faster than not implementing the SM.
Whether it is sufficiently comfortable to participate in this manoeuvre is up to each individual.

14. Manoeuvring Smith on August 12, 2007 at 10:33 pm

15. Cannon_fodder on August 13, 2007 at 9:49 am

Unfortunately there has been some professional interest in the calculator but with various customizations based on their needs. Until I see how these firms want to structure the licencing of the calculator, I don’t feel it wise to post any more updates.

If you have any specific numbers you want me to run through the latest calculator, you can ask FT to setup an introduction through email.

16. Manoeuvring Smith on August 13, 2007 at 12:51 pm

Did I just get the Cannon_fodder Manoeuvre? lol!

17. anthony colad on October 20, 2007 at 2:23 pm

what kind of % will l see anually a ball park figure thanks a.c

18. anthony colad on October 20, 2007 at 2:26 pm

what kind of return would l see yearly

19. Cannon_fodder on October 21, 2007 at 10:04 am

A.C.,

Are you talking about investment return? When I plug the numbers in to any investment return scenarios, I use a 3% inflation rate and an investment return of inflation rate + 5% for preretirement and inflation rate + 4% for post retirement.

What you will actually get is unknown.

20. Investing Newb on November 1, 2007 at 1:29 pm

Does anyone know what happens should the Real Estate market tank and home equities shrink?
Should we convert our LOC back as quickly as possible?

Not trying to be negative but it does happen every decade or so.

21. Ed Rempel on November 2, 2007 at 12:48 am

Hi Newb,

Good question. From experience, nothing happens when the real estate market tanks. The Canadian banks have not in practice reduced credit line limits when the home drops in value.

I lived in Calgary for a year after the last real estate boom in the late 80’s. Home values fell sharply (I believe 40-50%) and I met a few people that walked into the bank and handed in the keys to their home – because they could buy the neighbours similar home for \$50,000 less than their current mortgage.

However, I did not hear of any cases where the bank reduced a credit line limit.

The story was similar in Toronto in the early 90’s where home values fell 30% over 7 years. Again, I’m not aware of any cases where banks reduced credit line limits.

Therefore, you can just continue your SM.

Ed

22. HDEAN on December 10, 2007 at 12:40 am

Hi All,

Was capital gain considered in the spreadsheet. If i want to payoff my mortgage after X years, I would have to liquidate my investment which will result in a capital gain.

23. Cannon_fodder on December 11, 2007 at 12:52 am

HDEAN,

No, capital gain taxes would still apply depending on how you liquidate your assets. Since this could not be easily calculated it is left to the user to decide for themselves. You could take the output and plug it into one of the many free calculators found on the web.

24. […] Smith Manoeuvre Potential Returns Spreadsheet […]

25. Frank on February 10, 2008 at 2:09 pm

Has anyone ran the numbers using a T-SWP (roc) fund?

Thanks

26. Ed Rempel on February 10, 2008 at 2:42 pm

Hi Frank,

Yes. This is called the Smith/Snyder. Depending on how you do it, the T-SWP or ROC fund results in either:

1) mush more work and zero benefit.
2) loses most of the long term gain of the SM.

There are no advantages at all of taking the distribution from the fund. Every dollar of distribution you take means one dollar of your investment loan becomes non-deductible. If you take an 8% distribution, then after 12 years, your entire investment loan is NON-deductible. We call this the “Reverse Smith Manoeuvre”, since it is a process of converting a tax decutible loan into a NON-deductible loan.

If you put the distribution onto your mortgage and don’t reborrow to invest, most of the long term, exponential compound growth of your investments is lost.

If you put the distribution onto your mortgage and do reinvest, then you have paid down your mortgage an extra amount by the amount of the distribution, but you have the same amount of your investment loan that is now non-deductible. There is zero benefit from all these transactions, and you would then have to the the “Snyder Tax Calculation” every year to figure out how much of your investment loan interest you can still deduct.

If you pay all of the distribution onto the investment loan, then you maintain the tax-deductibility of your loan, but again you lose most of the long term, exponential compound growth of your investments.

The best strategy is to reinvest the entire distribution.

There are all kinds of variations of the SM that do not mess up the tax deductions. If you look at the SM within your total financial picture, you can usually come up with better strategies.

Ed

27. Cannon_fodder on February 10, 2008 at 6:20 pm

Frank,

The only updated versions to the spreadsheet are now commercial versions. None of the commercial versions support Smith/Snyder… but, if you are interested in exploring the Rempel Maximum, I suggest you contact Ed via this blog or his website.

28. […] the loan servicing payments when I'm finished paying off the non-deductible mortgage in about 10 years time.  That way, when the non-deductible mortgage is paid off, we'll have another reliable and […]

29. Jared on March 10, 2008 at 1:16 am

Hey Cannon,

Is the link to the spreadsheet that is provided in this post the last free version you released? I didn’t see a version # anywhere in it and don’t want to use if it there are errors. If not, is there anywhere I can download your last free version?

Also, where can we get the commericial versions as I wouldn’t mind paying for good products

30. Cannon_fodder on March 10, 2008 at 8:53 am

Jared,

Yes, this is the last free version that I released. The current commercial versions were customized for client purposes and add a few new features as well as clean up some errors. The errors weren’t significant though (at least in my opinion).

The commercial versions are intended for financial planners. This is why I spoke with FT about working an arrangement whereby readers of his blog could contact either one of us to run individual scenarios through the commercial versions for a fee. The fee would be much less than buying the Smithman calculator because I figured you really only wanted to try a few scenarios to see if the SM works for you.

The fee would be \$3 for running it through 1 set of inputs and \$10 for running 4 sets of inputs. In return you would get a summary page, a graph and a complete breakdown of the SM for every payment made in each scenario.

The commercial version was enhanced to support 40 year amortization, semi-annual and monthly compounding mortgages, Rempel Maximum, mortgages with as little as 20% down and corrects some minor issues.

As of right now, there are 29 inputs to the commercial version so it is relatively feature-rich.

Feel ‘free’ (literally!) to continue to use the version I posted. Otherwise, you can contact FT for more information about the service.

31. handler on March 11, 2008 at 11:29 pm

I think the SMITH manouvre is great. and I am doing it myself…read the book twice…and was convinced, in OTTAWA housing is v costly, and I dont want a 500k asset, paid off, just sitting there…..moeny needs to work..so I dont have to…

32. Neil on March 16, 2008 at 12:27 pm

I am also a big fan of the Smith Manoeuvre. I have been doing this for two years now and I have invested in divident-paying blue-chip stocks.

An article in the NEW IN HOMES section in the Toronto Star was published Yesterday (March 15/08) which alarmed me.

The article is called “Seek advice before making mortgage manoeuvre.

My major concern is the following quotation from the article:

“Under CRA Rules, interest paid on money used from a mortgage to produce capital gains is not tax deductible. As a result, if a Smith Manoeuvre loan is used to buy stocks mainly for the purpose of capital appreciation, the interest is not tax deductible.“

I wrote to Fraser Smith for his comments.

Neil

33. DAvid on March 17, 2008 at 12:19 pm

Neil,
Actually your quote has been repeatedly mentioned in the past. Interest on money from any source is deductible only if used to generate income. This is explained in Fraser’s book, where the purchase of investments which can only appreciate (gold, art, etc.) will not allow deductions to be claimed. Any other investment with the expectation of income is likely to have some appreciation (small business, dividend paying stocks, rental property, etc.), and a capital gain may be triggered. AS far as I know, as long as there is an expectation of income, the investment may allow interest costs to be deducted.

DAvid

34. Sam on March 25, 2008 at 12:20 pm

Hi all,

I’m very new to this whole thing so pls forgive me if i put something out of context. I’m considering smith Manoeuvre and needed some help. my situation :

mortgage: 224500 /1 yr old/5.2%/ 1YR TERM 24 yrs amortization left.with scotiabank.

I spoke to a banking officer who told me that they could bump the whole thing for me a total line of 240000.(i’m sorry if this is not too informative, they just got pissed when I mentioned SM and were pretty reluctant after).The interest on the LOC is prime.

If i understand SM correctly :
1) I plan to take out 10,000 and invest in the scotia canadian dividend fund in a non-regd acct.

2) with every mortgage payment i make , the principal will be directed to increasing the line of credit. The principal less the interest due on the LOC will be withdrawn and invested in the fund.

3) All dividends, tax refunds etc will be used to reduce the mortgage principal.

This goes on till the mortgage is 0 and LOC balance is equal to the original mortgage principal.

I would greatly appreciate any input,advice or recommendations on the same.

Thank you
Sam

• FrugalTrader on March 25, 2008 at 12:53 pm

Sam, your procedure sounds correct. One thing you might want to look out for is to make sure that the distributions are dividends only with no ROC. Paperwork gets a little more complicated if you have ROC as part of your distribution.

35. DAvid on March 25, 2008 at 12:36 pm

Sam,
You might be wise to learn the background behind their attitude. That you are keeping your money entirely in their products should have them very satisfied with your interest in building a portfolio.
The steps you have described meet the goals of the SM, though I can’t comment on the suitability of your choice in investment, as I have no knowledge of the returns it offers.

DAvid

36. sam on March 27, 2008 at 4:27 pm

hi guys,

thanks for the reply. I had just one more question. I’ve read a couple of forums and I see that CCRA is pretty pissed with people who do this maneouvre. Has anyone here actually implemented this for at least a year or two ??

Thanks
sam

37. sam on March 28, 2008 at 3:29 pm

hi guys,

adding onto my first question: suppose the mutual fund that I invest my mortgage principal in has a bad year and does not declare dividends . What happens with respect to taxation ??

Thanks
Sam

• FrugalTrader on March 28, 2008 at 3:32 pm

Sam, the rule of thumb (as of right now) is that as long as there is an “expectation” of profit/income/dividend, the investment loan will remain tax deductible.

38. Randy on June 14, 2008 at 8:28 pm

Hi All,

It’s odd that someone would say that the CRA is ‘pretty pissed’ with people who do this manueouvre. I would suspect that is an interpretation of the unfortunate things that happen when a taxpayer doesn’t _correctly_ follow the Smith plan.

Surely our government has nothing against the Smith plan in principle – it knows that more investment put into things that will produce income will inevitably produce even more income, and more tax eventually collected all around.

The Smith Maneouvre is not sneaky or underhanded in any way. It’s no more likely that the CRA people are ‘pissed’ when you put money into your RRSP instead of paying 40% of it in tax. There again, our government knows that if we were to invest carefully in a retirement plan now, we will be someday be a source of tax revenue instead of a drain on the economy.

I won’t go so far to say that the CRA is your friend, I am only saying that retirement in poverty runs counter to their interests, too.

Randy

39. Marc D. on July 22, 2008 at 9:31 pm

just a word of caution – I noticed a slight error in the way that the spreadsheet calculated the tax refund – so to anyone using this make sure you double check your numbers.

40. FrugalTrader on July 22, 2008 at 10:10 pm

Marc, if there is a problem please provide details so that we can fix the calculation error.

41. Marc D. on July 22, 2008 at 11:10 pm

It’s in column G. The formula used is a bit confusing (and I don’t totally understand it), so I created my own to see if the numbers matched up. They did for a good chunk of the amortization but I noticed they started to diverge.

It was because the calculation for the tax refund didn’t use the cumulative interest payments for the year (it used the cumulative interest for 1 period earlier).

The example I used was 225,000 down, plain jane SM, with no other payments, etc. everything else stock. I noticed the error for the 7/1/2019 period.

Sorry, this sounds a bit disjointed, but again, I wasn’t too sure how he calculated (using the Index function). I changed it to use VLOOKUP for 12/31/XXXX.

42. Chuck on July 23, 2008 at 12:09 am

The issue might be related to the fact that 2018 is an anomalous year. Looking at the “Bi-Weekly” payments worksheet there are 27 payments, not the standard 26. (Rows 292 – 318 inclusive).

The index function is set to only bring back 26 rows when calculating the tax refund. (I think)

43. Marc D. on July 23, 2008 at 2:00 am

Clearly there are smarter people than me on here!

As I said before, I used a vlookup to basically search for 12/31/Year-1 and that seems to work well.

And I did forget to mention that it was the biweekly payments schedule that I was looking at.

44. Cannon_fodder on July 23, 2008 at 12:32 pm

Marc,

Thanks for the ‘interest’ in the calculator. There are other errors that are more significant but I attempted to build a calculator that gave me better insight into how the SM worked and could duplicate the answers in Smith’s book. As a result I discovered some issues with the results put into his book.

The most serious one is that the calculator I posted uses the same method to calculate investment growth – monthly compounding. I have a problem with that because when I think of 8% growth on an investment I think annual compounding. However, this is one of the concessions I made to get the same answers as in Smith’s book.

I did get in contact with his company to highlight some calculation errors that I believe I discovered (I don’t have his calculator but others have done calculations for me) but I don’t know if they have updated the calculator or not.

Feel free to email FT the details of the scenario you are trying to calculate and I will run the results through my latest commercial calculator and send you the complete output (input page and calculations page).

45. William on September 2, 2009 at 12:19 pm

Cannon_fodder and FT,

Thanks a lot for making the latest version of the SM Spreadsheet available to all. It’s really a great tool!

I guess something is not working the way it should. When I enter the “HELOC Starting Value” it’s not added to the “Investments” in the “Calculations” sheet.

In a previous version of the calculator it use to work like I’m describing, and it makes sense because I will have around 31% equity when I start the SM which means I will have 11% credit available in the HELOC ready to invest. I will be investing 10% from the HELOC which will make it the “HELOC Starting Value”.

Thanks again for the great calculator!
William

46. cannon_fodder on September 4, 2009 at 12:01 pm

William,

You are welcome.

It has been so long since I looked at the original but, yes, it is different. They are independent but connected. So, you will need to add whatever your initial investments are to the mix.

In fact, you can use this spreadsheet simply as a mortgage amortization schedule… or you can forego anything to do with mortgage and use it for projecting investment growth. It doesn’t have to be about the SM so I tried to make it more flexible.

I hope this helps…

47. William on September 4, 2009 at 1:08 pm

Cannon_fodder,

As I don’t have an investment portfolio, the initial amount I will have to invest is the 25K lump sum from the HELOC (from your example).

If I use the 25K as Non-registered Assets, it gets applied to the Principal Amount and then shows up on the Investments. This doesn’t work for me because I haven’t actually reduce the principal.
On the other hand, if I use the 25K as HELOC Starting Value, it doesn’t show up on the Investments.

Am I missing something? Can you please tell me how I input the 25K lump sum from the HELOC as initial investment

Thanks again!

William

48. cannon_fodder on September 4, 2009 at 3:52 pm

William,

Sometimes when you create something that is comprehensive, you also make it complex. I admit I haven’t spent a lot of time adding instructions to it so it won’t be as intuitive to anyone else but me.

If you don’t want the investments to be applied to the principal then you must make sure you do not have Step 3 checked. This option, when checked, assumes you already had some investments (I believe it was GIC’s in Fraser Smith’s book) that you would sell, take the proceeds and reduce the principal, and then borrow the principal back to invest in something else – likely equities.

Make sure you look over all of the check boxes, radio buttons, etc. to ensure they apply in your situation.

49. William on September 4, 2009 at 4:47 pm

Cannon_fodder,

That’s what I was missing.
I unchecked Step 3, added 25K to Non-registered investments and 25K to HELOC starting value and everything makes sense now.
Thanks again!

William

50. DocB on September 17, 2010 at 2:32 am

I’m surprised nobody has been active on this thread since last year…

Cannon – excellent job with the spreadsheet, you are an excel guru. I always like running models, it’s amazing what they can reveal…this one you created is no exception.

Someone might have already asked this and it might already have been answered but the “calculate” button does not appear to have any function – am i missing something? I’m running excel 2007.

Also, what is the point of the ”house value growth rate”? It does not seem to effect any of the calculations?

Cheers

• FrugalTrader on September 17, 2010 at 8:41 am

@Doc, do you have macros enabled?

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