Why should I work with a financial advisor?

There are many benefits to working with an independent financial advisor, including:

  • Personalized attention to your unique situation
  • Education and Coaching to allow your desired level of input
  • Goal Setting for achievable targets and timelines
  • A Written Plan to provide a roadmap to your goals
  • Investment Advice to narrow the options to a selection that fit your goals and objectives
  • Proactive Management to keep you abreast of changes in the investment and tax environment that may affect your plans

How do I choose the right financial advisor for me?

The Financial Planning Standards Council provides some useful tips on choosing a financial advisor. In addition, you might find it useful to consider the importance of the following questions about a potential advisor: Is he/ she a person who... 

  • I feel I can trust 
  • Makes me feel like a valued customer 
  • Has a personal rapport with me
  • Helps me meet my financial and lifestyle goals
  • Has a breadth of knowledge about financial topics and helps me increase my knowledge 
  • Makes me feel confident as an investor 
  • Makes investing and insurance convenient 
  • Conducts ongoing reviews and points out new opportunities

As my financial advisor, how are you paid?

There are several ways for Financial Advisors to be compensated in Canada. My income most commonly comes in the form of commissions from insurance and investment companies when I provide their products.

For investment products, there are trailing commissions that act as compensation for the ongoing service I provide – it is paid as long as you own the fund. Sometimes an initial commission is paid when a fund is purchased.  This commission varies based on the load type of the product/fund sold.  If you have a fee based account, there are no upfront or trailing commissions and instead I am paid an annual fee usually charged monthly to your account. This fee is negotiable and is agreed upon with the client. 

Insurance companies in Canada typically pay a commission to advisors in exchange for matching the needs of their clients with specific insurance products.

I will always explain the alternatives and tell you exactly how I am being paid at the time I am making a recommendation. As a client, you will be entitled to my full suite of planning and advisory services at no additional charge. As a Certified Financial Planner I have a legal duty to put the interests of my clients before my own and I take that responsibility very seriously. I am proud of the work I do and I hope you will agree that there is real value in the services I provide.

How much time will it take to get my own financial plan started?

This question depends very much on you – your goals, challenges and the level of detail you seek for your own plan. I understand that your own life involves more, much more, than your financial plan and I work hard to make myself available on a schedule that works for you. Most often I meet with clients in their own homes at a convenient time but can also arrange meetings at my office in Waterdown or an alternate location of your choosing.

Initially, I like to get a preliminary assessment of your financial status and your goals as a start point for a informed plan. Your decisions about investments and insurance can be made after one meeting or as many as 3 or 4 depending on your needs.

Questions for Garth