Do I need a financial planner and if so, how do I find one?
May 31, 2013 1:31 PM   Subscribe

I want to understand retirement savings and long-term investment products. Who do I want to speak with and how I find them? (Some relevant details inside.)

So, I have some money that I've mostly been socking away in a TFSA and some high interest saving accounts and GICs for awhile. Now that I've brought my housing costs down significantly and have no debt to speak of, I'd like to invest some of that money, and review/consolidate some RRSP products I've gotten over the years. I know in broad strokes what my goals and risk tolerance are, but mostly I'd like some advise on how to navigate what savings/investment products are available for the amount of money I'm considering and what their benefits and risks are. I've read The Wealthy Barber, and I'm not looking for broad financial advice, but information specifically about investment products and services so I can comparison shop.

Since I want a neutral perspective, I don't want to just make an appointment at my bank or any major bank, because they will of course want to direct me to their own products. Where should I start in getting advice and how much should I expect to pay for it? Are there any essential qualifications and credentials I should check to stay away from scammy types? If it helps, I live in Alberta, Canada, so I'll be looking for credentials and industry information relevant to this jurisdiction.

Also, I'm not looking for someone who would actively handle my investments for me on an ongoing basis, more for someone who could do some one-off advising/consulting with me so I can understand the options available to me and manage it myself.

Alternatively, is there another neutral source where I can compare RRSPs, mutual funds, and other investment options from all the major financial institutions and get this information without seeing an advisor?
posted by Kurichina to Work & Money (3 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: is a great resource for DIY long term investing.

Otherwise, what you're looking for is a fee based financial adviser, most of which start at around $200 per hour.
posted by GnomePrime at 2:35 PM on May 31, 2013

You very well may not need one. You can invest passively in low cost highly diversified index funds rather than pay higher fees for managed funds that have no guarantee of having higher returns. Be skeptical of the investment industry's claims and marketing pitches (and note very carefully that nothing is every guaranteed with them). Educate yourself by reading books like The Big Investment Lie and websites like MoneyChimp. There are a lot of postings on AskMeFi about investing and those would be helpful to you too.
posted by Dansaman at 3:10 PM on May 31, 2013 is a great resource, though I am not sure how big the differences are between investing in Canada and the US. I believe some members are Canadian, so I am sure if you post asking for Canada-relevant resources, someone will have some good links.

As for a financial planner, if you do decide to go with one, make sure to look for one who is fee-ONLY, not fee-BASED. Fee-based financial planners sometimes charge other fees (commissions, etc.) and may have conflicts of interest. Fee-only planners never charge commissions, only either a percentage fee (of assets under management, if they are actually managing your assets) or an hourly fee.

A good resource for finding a fee-only financial advisor is NAPFA, but a search doesn't reveal any fee-only advisors in your area.
posted by matcha action at 4:16 PM on May 31, 2013

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