I’m not about to give you financial advice, if that’s what you were expecting from the title. Goodness, the people who know me must be laughing at the thought.
Rather, I’m in the process of getting myself a financial adviser. We met yesterday and it was quite enlightening in a number of ways. I was focused only on contributing to an RRSP but he quickly widened my view to all of the other components of a sound financial plan and why they’re so important. It wasn’t a sales pitch, but rather a description of the components of a financial plan. Okay, you might consider it a pitch anyway, but very little pitch is required. That the components all fit together and are important is obvious.
I particularly like his approach. He told me that he acts as his clients’ chief financial officer. It’s not his place to tell them what to do, but he also doesn’t just set up their investments and let things run on auto-pilot. It’s a continuing process requiring on-going communication and effort on both our parts. There’s so much more to it than I considered. My previous experience was going to a bank, choosing an RRSP-eligible mutual fund, having monthly contributions withdrawn from my bank account, and … nothing. In light of what I’ve learned, calling this a financial plan would be ridiculous.
You’ll also notice that I did not say I have a financial adviser, despite having met with one and discussing things at length.
Because he works a great deal on behalf of, and with, his clients, he doesn’t just take on anyone who asks. We met yesterday and discussed both of our goals and expectations. We’ll let our conversation sink in for a few days and then discuss if we’re a good match. If we both agree that we are, then we move forward. If not, then not.
During our meeting, I said this sounds a lot like a relationship. Certainly it’s a business relationship, but aspects of it parallel those of a personal relationship. He absolutely agreed. At one point I asked if things weren’t working out with a client, would he “break up” with them? It’s more interactive than I ever imagined. What I do with my money is my choice, but I’ve got a partner watching my back.
Or at least I hope to.