March 2023 – 15 min read
The right advisor can play a big part in helping you set financial goals, understand strategies for investing and savingOpens in a new window and bringing your plans to life.
There can be many reasons why you’ve decided it’s time to start working with an advisorOpens in a new window – perhaps your financial situation has recently changed, you’re nearing retirementOpens in a new window, or are experiencing a life milestone like relocatingOpens in a new window or welcoming a babyOpens in a new window.
Whatever your reasons, an advisor can provide knowledge and expertise that can help. When it comes to choosing an advisor, there are some things to keep in mind when deciding on the right person for you.
Consider your needs
Think about why you’re considering working with an advisor in the first place. Advisors can help with several things, such as:
- Managing day-to-day finances and budgetingOpens in a new window
- Tackling debt
- Meeting financial goals like getting married or starting a familyOpens in a new window
- Saving towards buying your first homeOpens in a new window or a child’s educationOpens in a new window
- Making the most of government benefitsOpens in a new window and saving on your taxes
- InvestingOpens in a new window and retirement planning
- Estate planningOpens in a new window and advice you might consider when creating a willOpens in a new window
- Starting a businessOpens in a new window or becoming self-employedOpens in a new window
You may need help in more than 1 area of your finances, so getting a clear idea of what you’re hoping to achieve will help you start to narrow down advisors that might be right for you.
Not all advisors offer the same services or specialize in the same subject, so once you’ve determined the goals that are important to you, it’s a good idea to find an advisor that matches. There are some criteria you may want to consider.
The advisor’s area of expertise
At your initial meeting, it’s a good idea to bring a list of questions to ask your advisor that can help you determine if they’re the right fit for you.
For example, some advisors may specialize in helping people protect their families with products such as lifeOpens in a new window, critical illnessOpens in a new window or accident insurance. Some may help retirees or people nearing retirement to make a retirement budgetOpens in a new window or access retirement savingsOpens in a new window, while others may provide more generalized wealth planning services.
It’s a good idea to make sure you’re choosing someone who will be able to help you not only with the services you may need now, but who can build a long-term relationship and provide changing advice and help throughout the future.
Description: This animated video introduces two characters named Lauren and Amina and illustrated graphics to show how an advisor can help create a financial plan to reach your goals.
Text “Ask an advisor” appears. The camera zooms out as the text lands in an outlined square. “Why work with an advisor?” fades in below. An illustration of a handshake draws on the right side of the frame.
Lauren: I could buy my insurance and investments online. Why should I work with an advisor?
Description: Lauren sits outside at a café table with a lemonade in front of her.
Amina: My advisor sees the big picture of how all my finances fit together.
Description: Cut to show both Lauren and Amina sitting at the table.
Amina: I might miss something important doing it myself.
Description: The frame fades to reveal various graphics representing a new pet, life insurance, marriage, estate planning, new home, luxury car, speed boat, health coverage, travel and cottage.
Amina: There’s a plan to achieve all my goals,
Description: A line enters the frame to select Lauren’s goals: life insurance, a new home, health coverage and a cottage. All other graphics fade away.
Amina: even when new ones pop-up.
Description: The advisor’s hand moves into the frame to add a travel goal.
Amina: If something unexpected happens in the economy or the markets, I won’t freak out thinking I have to change or fix something.
Description: The line and goals move up and down to represent a shifting stock market.
Amina: My advisor updates me regularly, so I feel confident I’m on track.
Description: Amina’s hand moved into frame, holding her phone. A notification appears on her phone with a mail icon that reads: “New message.
Amina: With an advisor, my financial future is one less thing I need to worry about.
Description: Cut back to Amina sitting at the table, showing Lauren her phone.
Text “To learn more, contact your advisor.” appears onscreen with the Canada Life logo and legal line: “Canada Life and design are trademarks of The Canada Life Assurance Company. canadalife.com 1-204-946-1190.”
When choosing an advisor, it’s important to remember that you’ll not only be sharing details about your financial status, but also about your personal life.
Therefore, you should feel a connection with your advisor that makes you feel comfortable discussing not only money, but your plans and hopes for the future.
Do you trust this person to help you through good times and successes, as well as through tough times like the loss of a loved one or financial difficulties?
These and other questions will help you decide if this is someone you can envision a long-term relationship with. Ultimately your advisor should be someone that will take the time to understand your needs and provide personalized advice that will help you achieve your financial goals.
Other personal preferences you may wish to consider include:
- Whether you’d like to meet someone face to face, only digitally, or a combination of the 2
- How often you’d like to meet
- How you’ll measure success
- If they offer any tools, calculators or other resources alongside their advice
Meet with different advisors and take notes to compare things like their services, rates, and availability.
You may want to start by asking friends and family if they currently have an advisor they’d be willing to recommend.
The information provided is based on current laws, regulations and other rules applicable to Canadian residents. It is accurate to the best of our knowledge as of the date of publication. Rules and their interpretation may change, affecting the accuracy of the information. The information provided is general in nature, and should not be relied upon as a substitute for advice in any specific situation. For specific situations, advice should be obtained from the appropriate legal, accounting, tax or other professional advisors.