Are You Getting More than Just Financial Advice?

November 14, 2018

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The industry of financial advice has changed significantly since I first entered it. In the past 20 years, financial advisors have truly had to change the way they do business, or rather they should have. Customers today realize they have tons of options when it comes to choosing a financial advisor, from online robo-advisors, bank-based financial advisors to independent Investment Advisors. No matter who your advisor is, they should be providing more than just financial advice.

This article will illustrate how the beginning stages of any relationship with an advisor can be wholly different than what it should be to provide a successful and winning long-term strategy for financial success.

Getting to Know You beyond a KYC

In Canada, a Know-Your-Client (KYC) form is standard issue and is an actual regulatory requirement for all new clients of an advisor. This basic form lays out your basic information and risk-profile but speaks nothing to your wants, needs, dreams and goals or expectations. In the industry, we call this initial relationship-building phase the discovery process, and it helps good advisors build a wealth plan for you, your family or business to truly reach your goals.

A great advisor spends time with you, your children and even dependent parents to understand your financial needs and ask these types of questions:

  • What is your net worth? What is your consolidated debt, liquid assets and monthly cash flow?
  • What investment contributions are you making to RRSPs, RESPs, and TFSAs?
  • If you own a business how is it legally structured? How are you compensated?
  • What is your risk tolerance within each of your asset allocations in your portfolio?
  • What is your greatest fear?
  • What is your greatest accomplishment? What do you still want to accomplish?
  • What are your financial life goals now, five years from now and in retirement?
  • Do you have a tax-efficient retirement withdrawal plan?
  • What are the changes that you see needed to move from your working life to your retirement life?
  • Do you and your spouse agree on your retirement plans?
  • Does your current plan meet your retirement goals?
  • Do you have a tax-efficient retirement withdrawal plan?
  • How will you transfer your wealth to your children or beneficiaries?

The discovery process enables your advisor to create an in-depth and holistic wealth plan that truly meets your needs now and is easily adapted if your situation changes later with these questions and more.

The Importance of a Plan

A complete discovery leads to a holistic wealth management plan that includes all the tools, products and investments needed to achieve your stated goals. However, not all wealth plans are created equal, and you should be sure you have one that covers all aspects of your financial life. A holistic wealth plan should include:

  1. Goal-setting
  2. Investment Management
  3. Insurance Planning
  4. Retirement Planning
  5. Estate Planning
  6. Charitable Giving
  7. Business Succession Planning
  8. Tax Planning
  9. Wealth Transfer Solutions
  10. Tracking & Measurement
  11. Scheduled Reviews

If you have ‘investments’ but no plan to ensure you are heading where you want to be going, a good rate of return may not be all it’s cracked up to be. An inclusive discovery paired with an in-depth plan to focus your financial efforts will be the best way to reach your financial and life goals.

Feel free to contact Steve McBride, Investment Advisor, Echelon Wealth Partners regarding any questions you may have on this content.



This blog is solely the work of Steve McBride for the private information of his clients. Although this author is a registered Investment Advisor with Echelon Wealth Partners Inc. (“Echelon”) this is not an official publication of Echelon, and this author is not an Echelon research analyst. The views (including any recommendations) expressed in this newsletter are those of this author alone, and they have not been approved by, and are not necessarily those of, Echelon.

Echelon Wealth Partners Inc. is a member of the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada and the Canadian Investor Protection Fund.

Forward-looking statements are based on current expectations, estimates, forecasts and projections based on beliefs and assumptions made by authors. These statements involve risks and uncertainties and are not guarantees of future performance or results and no assurance can be given that these estimates and expectations will prove to have been correct, and actual outcomes and results may differ materially from what is expressed, implied or projected in such forward-looking statements.

The opinions expressed in this report are the opinions of this author and readers should not assume they reflect the opinions or recommendations of Echelon Wealth Partners Inc. or its affiliates. Assumptions, opinions and estimates constitute this author’s judgment as of the date of this material and are subject to change without notice. We do not warrant the completeness or accuracy of this material, and it should not be relied upon as such. Before acting on any recommendation, you should consider whether it is suitable for your particular circumstances and, if necessary, seek professional advice. Past performance is not indicative of future results.

These estimates and expectations will prove to have been correct, and actual outcomes and results may differ materially from what is expressed, implied or projected in such forward-looking statements.