Does Your “Advisor” Really Work For You?
A lesser known fact in the financial service industry is how rare an independent financial advisor is indeed. Consider this, when you walk into most places that offer mortgages, insurance or investments, the person you talk to works for the company offering the product. They don’t work for you; they are trying to sell you their companies’ product, regardless of if there is a better alternative on the market. It’s difficult to not be somewhat sceptical of advice from a salesperson who works exclusively for one company.
Consider the example of car sales. You don’t commonly see the sales person called an “Automotive Advisor”. We know and accept the fact that the sales person works for one particular car company and we accept their recommendations with a grain of salt. Financial Advisors also often work for a particular company, but most folks don’t realize that the entire product line they’ll ever be shown by those advisors are provided solely by the company that advisor works for (or a parent company that owns a sister subsidiary).
When your advisor is paid by only one company, that company loses all incentive to have their advisor offer competitive products. The client is “fenced in” so to speak. It’s not their advisors fault, they have to follow the policies of the company they work for. (Sure the advisor could leave and start their own independent practice, but let’s not be naive. It’s difficult and costly to be independent) So what is the effect of this? I see it every day; a client walks into see their “financial advisor” who works for a particular company and they are offered a certain mortgage, or investment product, if they don’t shop around they won’t realize they weren’t offered the best rate available. They likely weren’t even offered the best rate that institution offers!
Bottom line; the best financial advice comes from an independent advisor that works for you not a big financial conglomerate.
As A Broker/Agent I Can Shop Around!
I am an independent financial planner and work as a broker/agent in each area of my practice. I work for my clients. That means I don’t work exclusively for any big bank or financial conglomerate. However, I can present products from 40+ mortgage companies, 12 life insurance companies, 52 GIC companies and 49 investments companies, including most of the big banks and well-known large financial institutions. My job is to find you the right solution, which I can do better because I have access to so many different companies’ products. Better solutions require better ingredients. It is best to have someone working for you that has access to a huge range of choices.
- I can show you which Life Insurance Company has the best rate for you, based on your age, term desired and coverage amount.
- If you need a mortgage, independence means I can show you the best rates and terms of a variety of lenders (including big banks), then help you decide which option is best for you. It also means that should you have a more complicated financial past, even if a lender has turned you down before, I have a host of others who are willing to consider you.
- If you’re ready to invest, there are more investment options than you can imagine. Independence means I search first for the right solution then show you a variety of competing companies’ products and help you choose which one suits you best.
The beauty of working as an independent financial planner is that companies I work with know they have to be competitive for their product to ever be shown to one of my clients.
2. I Offer Solutions Rather Than Just Products
Does anyone really choose a financial product for the sake of owning a financial product? I
think you’ll agree the answer is always No! You secure a mortgage to own a home, you purchase life insurance to protect your family, and you put your savings into investments to save for a dream or a goal down the road. I believe the best place to start is speaking to you about your big picture. This will allow me to present solutions to get you to where you want to be, options you might not be aware exist.
Financial Products Are A Means To An End.
Many clients I speak with begin their conversation by asking for a specific product. They think they want “this” or “that” product. But that isn’t what they really want. They might ask for a variable rate mortgage, when their goal is really to save money and pay down their mortgage faster. Or they may ask for a mutual fund, when their goal is to save for their children’s education. Once I understand your goals, I can present options that suit your goals, which can help you find a better solution than you might have selected otherwise. It’s my job to be “in the know” about a huge variety of financial products and services. This gives me the ability to customize your solution to get you where you want to be.
The Big Picture Vs The Small Pieces:
I’ve talked clients out of more than a few “product sales” because after some digging, I have learned from them what their goals really are and that the product they thought they wanted wasn’t the best option available. I want to work with you to reach your goals. The more you can tell me about your big picture, the better I can tailor the small pieces to work together to make your big picture a reality. After all, your goal isn’t to have this product or that product; it’s to live life, to enjoy some of what you have, save some of what you have, and be generous with some of what you have as well. It’s my job to find you the best solutions to get you there efficiently and effectively.
3. I’m Tri-Licensed: Mortgages, Insurance & Investments
It’s important your advisor has all the financial tools they’ll need to help you reach your goals. A growing trend in Canada is a high debt-load, which many advisors simply aren’t qualified to deal with. We’re in a different world than our parents, and not everyone has kept up with the changing trends. I’ve worked hard obtaining my Mortgage license in addition to my Life/Health Insurance & Mutual Fund licence so that I can help my clients eliminate their mortgage and other debt so that they can start saving for retirement faster.
Why Should Your Advisor Be Tri-Licensed?
Why is being licensed to provide mortgages, insurance and investments so important to your financial planning? Well, each of those three financial sectors overlap in some way. Mortgage agents offer mortgage insurance, insurance agents offer investment products from insurance companies and we’re starting to see investment advisors referring mortgages. However, unfortunately, the truth is these arrangements don’t always create an ideal situation for the client.
If All You Have Is A Hammer…..
There is an old saying “If all you have is a hammer, everything starts looking like nail”. If your financial advisor only holds one licence, their advice may start to sound like a guy with a hammer, whose solution to everything is using that hammer. Now it’s true that sometimes the hammer is the most appropriate tool, but many other times a screwdriver is better and still other times you need a wrench! As a tri-licensed financial planner, I can help you find the best option. Sure a hammer and a screwdriver might both seem to “work” for a certain job, but hammering in a screw isn’t the best choice when a screwdriver is handy!
I recently heard about a client being told by their insurance advisor that they should overfund their life insurance policy rather than using a more traditional mutual funds within a RESP to save for their child’s education. It was a situation where the insurance salesman was trying to force their product into an area it wasn’t really designed for. True it might work, but an objective look at the situation would reveal that in almost every possible situation, the RESP would perform much more efficiently for the client rather than saving within a life insurance policy.
A great example of the “hammer affect” can be seen on the mortgage insurance page. It illustrates how so very often people walk away with expensive mortgage insurance, because the person offering their mortgage can’t offer a better alternative. Many clients I have spoken to simply aren’t aware of the vast array of financial tools that are available to help them meet their financial goals. It is important to talk to someone who you trust and can show you solutions that truly suit your needs. They won’t try to force the only tool they have to do jobs they aren’t ideal for.
Don’t Just Get To Your Goals, Get There Efficiently
Having assisted many clients who have worked previously with other advisors who have had a more limited array of tools, I’ve seen many situations where clients have purchased financials products which weren’t as effective for their plans as alternatives could have been. Often times, this occurs because their previous advisor was not able to show them a different product. This ultimately means clients lose out on an opportunity. It could mean they are paying a higher rate or premium or simply not getting as good a return as they could have had on their investments. It’s not just about getting you to your goals, it is about finding the most effective and efficient route in getting you there.
Many financial professionals can provide tools for your financial plans, but as a tri-licensed independent financial planner I have a whole “tool-belt” of options for your financial plans, providing you with more effective solutions. I can help you honestly assess which tool is the best to use because of my experience, training and licenses.
Consider Something Different
I hope you’ll consider something different; working with me and allowing me to help you navigate the complex financial market place. I’m independent and provide honest and impartial advice and I won’t treat you like a commodity. I’ll work with you to find the best solution for you, not just cram a product down your throat. My experience, training and licences let me assist you in a variety of situations from debt management, life & health insurance strategies to investment planning. I’ll work with you and your big picture and show you the options to make you reach your goals.
It’s time to get serious about your plans for the future; no one plans to fail, but many of us fail to plan. One hour of your time is all it takes to get started. Give me a call or email me today to get started.