What is a financial planner?  

A financial planner is a professional who has the knowledge, skills, abilities, and professional judgment to advise you about advanced financial planning. Our day-to-day work consists of thoroughly assessing an individual’s personal and/or professional financial situation, and helping them to achieve their short-, medium-, and long-term goals. They will develop a strategy tailored to their customer’s needs and priorities, so as to align their customer’s future financial goals with their current financial needs.

What’s the difference between a financial planner and a financial advisor?

One should not be confused with the other, as a financial planner is a professional who has studied at and earned a diploma from the Institut québécois de planification financière (IQPF). Whereas a financial advisor is trained as much through their formal education, in finance for example, as by the on-the-job training their employer provides them with. However, financial advisors do not have a certificate in financial planning.

How do I choose a financial planner?  

There’s no real simple answer to this question, because everyone’s path is different. If we had to give you the big picture, we’d say you need to find someone who makes you feel comfortable and provides you with answers to any questions you might have. When you meet your financial planner for the first time, feel free to ask as many questions as you need to, to see if they suit your needs. As finance is an unfamiliar subject for some, it’s important that your broker take the time to explain information to you, to make sure you understand it. A good financial planner should make you feel at ease, answer your questions, and, above all, offer you service tailored to your needs, and not just to their own agenda.

How much do the services of a financial planner cost?  

To understand how a financial planner is compensated, you first need to understand the difference between an independent certified planner and a salaried financial advisor.

 Salaried financial planners:

  1. Are paid by their employer (e.g., the bank)
    1.  Have sales targets that they need to hit to earn certain bonuses, which are then added to their base salary.
  2. Self-employed financial planners (are independent, and build their own clientele)
    1. Can charge fees to provide financial advice, without having to sell financial products in order to get paid.
    2. Can charge asset-based management fees

As a result, some financial planners earn their living producing comprehensive financial planning reports for individuals and businesses. So they don’t work to earn sales commissions for financial products, instead charging a fixed fee for the hours and effort involved in producing the full report. Generally speaking, for an experienced financial planner, comprehensive financial planning can take anywhere from 10 to 20 hours.

As most consumers find it hard to come up with several thousand dollars in a lump sum, many choose to take advantage of fee-based investment management and advice. When a planner is remunerated for managing an investment, they may be paid on a fee basis, or through a portion of the management fee deducted from the net return on your investments.

Simply put, management fees include a percentage for the house (the bank), a percentage for the fund manager, and a percentage for the remuneration of your financial planner.

With what kinds of things can my financial planner help me?  

A professional financial planner can help you with all kinds of financial planning. Below are the 7 areas of expertise they can address with you:

  1. Legal matters
  2. Insurance and risk management
  3. Financial management
  4. Tax management  
  5. Investments  
  6. Retirement  
  7. Estate Planning  

For more information, or to get the financial support you need, book an appointment with one of our advisors.