Finding the right financial advisor can do wonders to help you reach your goals.
Have you ever noticed how many of the biggest goals in life tend to have a financial component? Yes okay, you can learn a foreign language or train for a triathlon (like I am), without making a big financial commitment. But for the really big life events like buying a home, starting a family or helping your kids go to university, not to mention retiring or creating a legacy, without disciplined planning, your goals will just become pipe dreams and slip away.
If you’re like most of my clients, juggling a career and family, you don’t have time to figure it all out for yourself, either. And like most Canadians, you probably feel like you don’t have the knowledge to take on the complexities of financial planning by yourself. That’s when seeking the advice of a professional can give you a huge boost. In fact, getting the right person working on your team can make all the difference in helping meet, or even exceed your goals. According to research by the Investment Funds Institute of Canada (IFIC), the retirement accounts of Canadians who retain the services of a financial advisor significantly outperform those who don’t.
The stakes are high when it comes to talking about something as important and personal as your retirement accounts. Your expectations of your advisor need to be just as high. Like all good advisors my commitment to my clients is to do at least these three things:
- Learn about you. This means endeavoring to understand your family’s goals both short- and long-term, not just your finances but also your general hopes and dreams. Just as importantly, your advisor should help you understand your attitude toward risk. Do you avoid risks at all costs? Do the ups and downs of the markets excite you? Or more commonly, are you want I like to call a Goldilocks investor, not too hot and not too cold.
- Build your plan. This is the part where the term Financial “Advisor” gets its name. We’re all about giving advice after-all. As your advisor I will create an actionable plan that contains a number of things that you can do immediately. The plan will also show some milestones to be achieved later. A complete plan will include:
Debt management – this should be the first part of every financial plan, if you don’t pay attention to your debt there is no point in going any further.
Systematic savings – predetermined and agreed upon amounts to put aside regularly (usually monthly).
Investment portfolio – keeping in mind your attitude and tolerance toward risk, a well planned portfolio should both protect and grow your assets.
Tax strategy – Ben Franklin was right, there are only two certainties in life, death and taxes, but smart people know how to a least minimize and differ the amount of tax they pay.
Risk management – There is nothing any of us can do about death, life, disability and critical illness insurance are integral parts of all financial plans that help to protect your family from the inevitable and the unthinkable.
Retirement plan – Everyone at some point will stop working, either by choice or out of necessity. The plan will include projections of when you can expect to retire, and with how much money.
- Adjust your plan. Life is never systematic and fixed, change is a given and often unexpected. Your plan must be flexible and reviewed regularly. I contact my clients at least twice a year just to check in and make sure all is well, generally with a phone call on your birthday and a summary report around the anniversary of our setting up your plan. We will also try to have a sit down meeting once a year to check your progress, revisit your goals and, if necessary, reset your course.
Not just about retirement
A lot of Canadians start thinking about engaging an advisor somewhere in their 40s or 50s, when retirement starts to look like a real possibility. Major life events like buying a home or becoming a parent also tend to trigger a need for a financial reckoning and a bit of outside advice. But you don’t have to wait for big goals to appear either. Maybe you just want to save up for a new car or take a vacation without going deep into debt these are all good reasons to make an appointment with an advisor.
The point is, you call the shots with your advisor we work for you after-all. Anything from helping you to create a comprehensive estate plan to just being an impartial third party sounding board for your own ideas.
Finding the right fit
Every client and every advisor are unique individuals, and each party brings a different set of personal experiences and professional skills to the relationship. And don’t discount that “gut feeling” everyone gets when they first meet someone new either. Personally I know that I work best with people who share some of my core values. They are:
Integrity, Stewardship, Humility, an openness to learning and accepting that you might not even know what you don’t know, and an unwavering commitment to avoid and eliminate debt.
My mission statement says it all:
I am here to teach you to Eliminate Debt, Build Wealth and Leave a Legacy.
If you think you can align with those core values and goals I think we can find a way to work together. Contact me any time at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s get started.
Mr. Lauren C. Sheil is a serial entrepreneur who has been in business for over 20 years. He is currently a Financial Security Advisor with one of Canada’s premier financial planning organizations. He holds dual licenses from the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) for Life, Disability and Critical Illnesses Insurance and the Mutual Fund Dealers Association of Canada (MFDA) for personal investments. He is passionate about helping people to live life to the fullest while Eliminating Debt, Building Wealth and Leaving a Legacy. (And he really is a triathlete.)
He can be reached at email@example.com or by calling 613-295-4141.