A no-debt financial advisor?
July 30, 2006 10:07 PM   Subscribe

How can I find a financial advisor with specific requirements? I'm sure you know by now that there is

We need a financial advisor who doesn't put us in the mold that most people in this area (Richmond, British Columbia) are in.

Most importantly, our primary goals are:
  • get completely rid of our debts (which are about $20k, including $11k in an RRSP loan, which I wish I hadn't made)
  • move out of the city, to rural Quesnel BC (where we already own 5 acres with no living quarters)
  • build a house on those 5 acres while remaining with very low or no debt
  • live simply, happily, peacefully...while not worrying about paying off massive debts
The financial advisor we get would need to not only accept the above, but also Not Even Try to get us into more debt (at least without it being for the house-building). If they did try, I'd likely want to end the business relationship.

So...who, what, how and where do I look for someone to fill this goal?

Thanks!
posted by Kickstart70 to Work & Money (10 answers total)
 
Response by poster: Addition: How much would/should I pay a financial advisor in this capacity?
posted by Kickstart70 at 10:15 PM on July 30, 2006


I don't know how much you should expect to pay, but I think most financial advisors agree that debt is bad - you shouldn't have a problem finding one that will accept your goals.

One thing the financial advisor won't be able to help you with is figuring out the cheapest way to build a living space on your land. That's probably something you should do some research on before talking to a financial advisor. Once you know what you want and how much everything costs, they can advise you the best way to finance it (they may also have specialized information about loans with good terms especially for building houses, etc.)
posted by lbergstr at 12:09 AM on July 31, 2006


A tumbleweed house might fit your philosophy (of simplicity) and your budget.
posted by greedo at 5:14 AM on July 31, 2006


FlogMyCompanyFilter: As you live in the Vancouver area, a company name you might find tossed around is 'Investors Group'. You can have a good experince with them. You could potentially also have a bad one. They are worth contacting though. To have a good experience, some points to remember:

1) The company acts like an umbrella over the consultants, who are technically self employed. The result is you get a very diverse bunch with many different skills and attitudes. I have found and met many who are genuine when they say they want to help their clients. The seedy people don't usually get far. Your best bet is to talk directly with some and find out if you fit personality wise. An introduction meeting doesn't cost anything.

2)To answer your 'how much do I pay?' question, in a nutshell you don't actually hand over a cheque, so much as they get a commission when you invest in company funds, open an insurance policy with them etc. I would assume most companies have a similar structure. You can also walk into any office and request a 'Fee Schedule' which will describe exactly how and where you get dinged for fees, by both the consultant and the company.

3) There are many good consultants at Investors. There are many poor consultants as well. They have a very high recruitment turnover rate, which I feel is a failing, however I feel that overal they are a good company. I would try for a well established advisor. I would also contact one of the region offices, describe yourself as above and ask them to recommend someone for you to talk to.

4) As a BC consultant is licenced in the province, it doesn't matter -where- you are in relation to your consultant (so long as you reside in BC). If you are OK without frequent face to face meetings, the distance shouldn't be a problem when you move.

They also have some very interesting products beyond investing. Insurance, debt consolidation, banking, mortgages.... the list goes on. Talk to some Advisors and ask questions! Financial Advisors are there to advise, not to force you into debt. I have a very good relationship with my consultant, who is helping me pay for school, buy a house and get married all on my meanger salary -without- making me take out a loan or sacrifice my lifestyle.
posted by billy_the_punk at 9:34 AM on July 31, 2006


Response by poster: billy_the_punk: That's part of the problem...I wouldn't want anyone to sell me anything. I just want them in their advisor capacity. Therefore, I'd have to pay them instead of them earning their commission on purchases we made.

I have to say I dealt with one person from the Investor's group in the past, for a very short bit. He met with me, and then went for the high-pressure selling of something else he was working with: Primerica (which is a massive scam). I'm pretty wary of going through that again.
posted by Kickstart70 at 9:45 AM on July 31, 2006


Ibergstr writes: "One thing the financial advisor won't be able to help you with is figuring out the cheapest way to build a living space on your land. That's probably something you should do some research on before talking to a financial advisor. Once you know what you want and how much everything costs, they can advise you the best way to finance it (they may also have specialized information about loans with good terms especially for building houses, etc.)"

Sorry for the additional post. Something about what you wrote bothered me, and I just figured out what it is. There seems to be a common misconception about Financial Advisors as being only good when you need the loan paperwork, or when you have extra money to foolishly invest.
Financial Advisors are long term planners. They probably wont help you find cheap building materials (if they do they are super awesome), however if this is going to be a big project, you need to start figuring out a stradegy now, and figure out how much you can afford now. An advisor is wasted when you look at one project. You need them to look at the next five, ten, even twenty years. Do you want to build this house on your property this year, or within the next five? Where does your money go now, and is there a way you can pay off your loans faster without sacrificing too much? These are questions you need to go over with them so they can start working for you -now-. They can also help you in determining what kind of time frame is realistic. You will need some estimates regarding cost and such, but that doesn't mean you don't talk to them until you have the building contractors lined up and then ask them to magic some money up for you.
posted by billy_the_punk at 9:52 AM on July 31, 2006


To reply to you above Kickstart70: yikes. I know those things happen, which is why I put the whole 'some arn't so good' slant on my post.

I'm a little skeptical about your prediction that you won't use any products an advisor has to offer. Some are out an out salesmen (as you discovered), however you will need to put your mortgage somewhere and deal with gathering the money to pay for your new home. If you prefer to do this with the bank, then start shopping around there. I used my company only as an example.

Ok. I'm going to shaddup now.
posted by billy_the_punk at 10:03 AM on July 31, 2006


Response by poster: b_t_p: No worries about additional posts, more info is welcome :)

Anyway, I didn't mean for the post to sound like I wanted the F.A. to help me plan the house or buy the materials. Likely we're going to start with a prefab cabin anyhow. Really what I want is intelligent tax advice, help with budgetting debt repayment (and more), life insurance, etc., as well as making sure our newborn daughter is well taken care of in the event we get hit by a meteorite.

Thanks.
posted by Kickstart70 at 10:53 AM on July 31, 2006


Write a really good pitch (research your situation and throw it in a spreadsheet too) and send it to the Globe and Mail. We got profiled this way and got a free makeover, even though we were in good financial shape. The profiles are in the personal finance section of the Globe every week.
posted by acoutu at 5:08 PM on July 31, 2006


I think you're right to seek a planner who is paid a fee rather than a commission. Here in the U.S., NAPFA is the organization of planners who are committed to fee-only compensation as the basis of ethical financial planning, and all members also must sign a strict code of ethics. I don't know if there's a Canadian equivalent, but maybe someone at NAPFA would know that? If there is, then that organization's membership would be a good place to start your search. I think many planners who don't have commission-driven conflicts of interest would be able to listen well to your real needs rather than trying to fit you into a mold.
posted by daisyace at 5:10 PM on July 31, 2006


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