How to Find a Financial Advisor Who Won’t Guide You

Don’t lose your short- or long-term financial goals by rushing an important decision

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Hannah Chafe is stressed about her finances.

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As a graduate student at the University of Toronto, she sees inflation and the state of the economy taking their toll.

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Although house prices are falling, they remain high and the growing interest makes the prospect of owning a home still seem out of reach.

And although Chafe has a financial advisor, she is hesitant to use the service.

“The embarrassment,” she said, “I think that’s a big part [of it]. My finances are a mess.

And she is not alone.

About 71% of Gen Zers and 72% of Millennials don’t know how to get reliable financial advice on the questions they have.

Finding the right financial advisor is not an easy task. You need to do your research and find an advisor who identifies with your financial goals and ideals.

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Ask the silly questions

Trust is the key to any good relationship. Your relationship with a financial advisor should be no different.

Candice Dziedziejko, investment advisor at BMO Nesbitt Burns, encourages those looking for an advisor not to be ashamed to ask awkward questions.

“No question should be on the table, or no question is silly or stupid,” says Dziedzejko.

It is essential to find an advisor with whom you are comfortable discussing your financial matters. A paid advisor is your best bet, as they work for a flat fee and will provide unbiased opinions.

Come prepared with a goal in mind

Dziedejko stresses the importance of having a goal, whether it’s buying a house or a car, or saving for education or retirement. Having this goal gives you something tangible to build towards, giving you a clear view of why you’re saving your money. This will help your advisor lay out a plan for you and give you clarity on how to achieve your goals.

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Dziedejko points out that one person’s saving style may not work for you. Whether it’s not being comfortable with the volatility of certain stocks or investing in a certain type of asset instead of another, it’s essential to ask your potential investor how they feel about you. will help achieve your goals.

Things to look for

When looking for a trustworthy financial advisor, keep these tips in mind:

**Are you dealing with an advisor or a planner? **Outside Quebec, anyone can call themselves a financial planner or advisor. There is upcoming legislation in Ontario to formalize the use of titles, but the process is still ongoing. While planners generally help you achieve your financial goals, advisors help you manage your money.

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Check your advisor’s certification. A Qualified Associate Financial Planner, or QAFP, designation indicates that the person you are dealing with has a proven knowledge of financial planning. A Certified Financial Planner, or CFP, has a high level of skill and knowledge and will work with you to achieve your daily and long-term financial goals. A QAFP designation can be a stepping stone to the CFP designation, which is the highest standard.

** Have there been any disciplinary actions against your advisor? ** If there are complaints against your advisor or disciplinary action taken against them, you should try to find one with a clean record. The Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada is a good place to start researching any action taken against an adviser.

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**You also need to know how you compensate your advisor. **Some advisors work on an hourly rate, others work on commission, while others are paid by salary. Generally, paid advisors offer the most unbiased advice because they are not encouraged to sell any particular product.

Some things you may want to ask your advisor are where they trained, what certification they hold, how long they have been practicing, and where they currently work. If meeting your advisor in person is important to you, make sure they are able to do so.

Remember that the advisor will be dealing with your money, so you must be prepared to trust them completely. Ask for references if you deem it necessary and make sure your advisor works with you.

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It’s never too late to find a financial advisor

You may think you’re at an age where a financial advisor won’t help you. You might be embarrassed that you’ve never had one before or that your finances aren’t where you’d like them to be.

For Gen Xers, now is the time to find a financial advisor if you don’t already have one, says Dziedejko.

Goals like retirement and estate planning require careful consideration, and the help of a knowledgeable advisor is very helpful.

“The benefit of working with an advisor is that they can really help not only with a financial plan to plan those goals, but also plan all the benefits that can be used by the government from a tax standpoint.”

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It’s never too early to find a financial advisor

“I believe it’s never too early for individuals to start saving and, in particular, investing for the long term,” says Dziedzejko.

Whether you’re looking to start an RESP for your child or considering the next steps in your relationship, it’s important to know that you can trust your financial advisor with some of the big questions you may have.

Although Chafe may think her finances are in a mess now, she is optimistic that things can go in the right direction.

“I’m hopeful for the future because I think it’s important to have hope,” says Chafe. “Something has to give way, it’s not a lasting situation.”

This article provides information only and should not be construed as advice. It is provided without warranty of any kind.


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Geraldine L. Melton