Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
How to Save Money and How to Make Money
Do I need a lot of money to hire a financial planner?
Most financial planners charge a fee based on a percentage of how much money you have, or how much money you will trade. As a fee-only financial planner, we charge a flat fee which means you will not be screened by what you have. There are also no "client tiers" based on wealth because we are charging based on the work performed, not on what level of wealth you have accumulated, allowing you to make money wherever you are starting from.
If I hire you, will I have to fire my current financial planner?
No, not necessarily. In some cases, people will not want their advisor any longer, but in other cases, a person just needs confirmation that their current plan is in their best interest, or a second opinion. We can also work with your advisor in some situations if it is to your advantage. This decision is entirely up to you.
If I am paying a flat fee, will I be taken care of down the road?
Yes, we offer a follow up arrangement for a fixed fee per year, or if this does not appeal to you, there can be a flexible follow up arrangement. The method chosen is based on your needs and how to save money overall.
Click on the video link below entitled "What Is a Fee Only Financial Advisor?" to learn more about flat fee advice:
Why should I trust you?
Since we do not sell product, we are being paid for the work performed, and nothing more. This means we can provide you with advice without any conflict of trying to make profit on selling products. Secondly, we can demonstrate to you the value we will provide before you pay anything. Value typically comes from savings in investment fees, debt interest or tax savings. In terms of credentials, I have a Bachelor of Commerce degree, a Chartered Financial Analyst designation (CFA) and 15 years of service in the industry. Client references can be provided if required.
As an alternative, you can look up Joe the Investor on MoneySense. Joe the Investor is now a MoneySense Approved Financial Advisor!
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There is also this video called "How I Provide Financial Advice":
Will doing a financial plan with you be difficult?
It will not be any more difficult than doing it yourself or dealing with a financial institution. Since we aim to simplify the process and educate as we go along, you will find doing a plan much easier than you think. The psychological and emotional aspects of money are usually where the value is created.
What sort of output or report would I receive if I engage your services?
You would receive a written summary with a spreadsheet of calculations to support the report. There may be additional documents depending on your situation such as retirement projection scenarios, simulated tax return information or customized calculations. You will receive what you would need to answer the questions that you have. For a sample written summary, click the written report link. For a basic sample of calculations that you would receive, click the calculations link. This spreadsheet would also serve as a consolidation of your whole portfolio across all of your accounts or institutions.
Will I be paying constantly?
On the contrary, you will be paying very infrequently. Unlike most planners, you will pay a flat fee and that would suffice for a period of time - usually one year. Any fees you pay will be laid out upfront so you can see exactly what the service will cost you.
I have an idea how I want to manage my money, but I am intimidated by implementing and sticking with my plan. Can you help?
Absolutely! We offer education ranging from: guidance on opening accounts, how to make trades, how to read statements, understanding what to expect from what you purchase, frequent follow up service (as often as you would need), understanding investment fees and much more. Many people are unfamiliar with how to purchase products in a self-directed account, how to transfer assets between accounts or how to read their account statements. Advice for the logistics or handling the accounts can be provided if needed.
Why would I come to you when I get free advice?
Advice is not free. You are not paying directly for advice out of pocket, but it is part of the fees embedded in the product return. As an example, if you have $50,000 invested in a mutual fund, the average management fee would be 2%, plus possible referral, sales and advisor fees. This amounts to at least $1000 per year every single year. There are methods of reducing these fees substantially, which is how to save money. As your account gets larger, these costs go up significantly. With an independent fee-only financial planner, your fees would typically be less than this, and stay the same as your money grows, saving you a lot of money in the longer term.
Click on this video below entitled "How Much Are You Paying For Financial Services?" to learn more about the cost of advice. There is also this video on investment fund costs.
Will my money be locked in for a long time?
Your money will be in your accounts under your name. Since only advice is provided, there is no risk of assets being restricted or locked in for any length of time unless you choose to do this according to what product you purchase. In most cases, your accounts can stay as they are with no additional administration work involved.
Is paying for a financial plan worth it?
Yes, a plan can be of use for many years, and a plan can typically save you thousands or tens of thousands of dollars over a lifetime.
Click on the video below entitled "Why Should I Pay You?" to learn more about how financial advice is charged.
What if I am too old to benefit from a new plan?
Even if you are retired, there are typically 20 to 30 more years left in an average person's life. This means that there is a lot of time for savings to accumulate, or for a better plan to provide value. Do not assume that it is too late.
What can you do that others do not?
We can provide an honest opinion because we only serve you the client, and not the profit margin. We can also demonstrate how you will make more money before you commit to do a financial plan. Lastly, you can be educated about your money and how it relates to the rest of your life, which will create lasting wealth.
What if I want to buy securities?
We do not sell product, but we can work with you to find out what type of products you need and who you can purchase them from. If you deal with an existing broker, the problem is solved. If not, we can take you through the process of buying securities and how to get the most appropriate product for you.
Will I have to meet you in a specified location?
Financial plans can be done in our offices, your workplace, your home or over the telephone. We are based in the High Park area of Toronto, but service clients across Canada. The location can vary depending on schedules or preferences, so there is a lot of flexibility.
Does it matter if the plan is done for a couple or a single person?
The prices provided would apply to couples or single people. There is no difference in cost either way.
How would you describe your average client?
My average client ranges in age from the mid-thirties to the mid-eighties, with the average age close to 55 years old. Most of my clients are couples, but I do have single, divorced and widowed clients as well. About two thirds of my clients have children, but in some cases they are grown and are living in a different place than the parents. Most people are part of three major categories - looking to accumulate wealth, pre-retirement or close to retirement and then retired. That being said, there are clients who are entrepreneurs, want second opinions or who are looking for an alternative point of view. The average net worth is close to $900,000 not including homes, and with homes the average is close to $1.3 million. These numbers are in spite of the fact that I have no minimum asset requirements or restrictions.
What is the process involved in getting advice?
Typically, the process starts with a 2 hour initial consultation meeting. The purpose of this meeting is to get to know you and what you need, your desires, what you have and owe, and your preferences and current situation. If you want to have a preliminary discussion before getting to this meeting, there is a no-obligation telephone call where you can interview me to see if you would like to work together. From the initial consultation meeting, we can decide what to focus on. I would write up the plan both in written form and with supporting analysis and calculations. This would be sent to you and then we would have a follow up meeting if necessary to clarify, ask questions or make any changes to the plan. The process will vary depending on how extensive the plan is and what you specifically want advice on.
If you prefer a document that you can download, there are 3 brochures that are available from this site: What Is an Independent Financial Planner? The Power of 1% and Frequently Asked Questions.
Note: This site is intended for people who want to learn about the world of investments and how to research for themselves. If you would like to buy or sell investment products, or specific advice on investment products, tax or legal issues, please consult your investment advisor, accountant or legal counsel.
Joe the Investor, Joe the Planner,
Joe the Tax Preparer
B.A.Sc. BCom, CFA
Fee-Only Financial Planner,
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Telephone Number: (647) 286-8020
Fee For Service Financial Planning Advice