I have been a professional fee-only financial planner since 1997, when I received my Registered Financial Planner designation (‘RFP’) from the Institute of Advanced Financial Planners (‘IAFP’). My practice provided a full range of financial planning advice and strategies including retirement income security, wealth management oversight, estate planning and any other area the clients needed guidance and assistance. I was fee-only financial planner, with ongoing services based on a retainer fee.
I retired from active financial planning in 2018. I now mentor individuals working to become professional advanced financial planners. I also assist clients looking to work with the best financial planners and advisors in Calgary. I complete a needs assessment for them and arrange an introduction to one or more financial planners who will meet these needs and work with them. This is by fee only and NO commission or referral fee is accepted for this service.
I provide these consulting services under my personal consulting as The Financial Mentor.
I am committed to the principles of unbiased advice provided on a client-first basis, with transparency on fees and ongoing planning support as client needs change.
My focus is always to help clients achieve a higher level of financial literacy and retirement income security over all stages of their working and retirement years. I always separate the sale of products from the provision of financial planning advice and strategies. But I do recognize most clients need help with implementation of their financial planning strategies and in acquisition and oversight of the Investment management, insurance and estate planning services needed in their financial plan.
A good friend and financial planner in Calgary, Tim Faunt, died in April 2020 after losing his fight with brain cancer. Following is an extract of the introductory text on his website that says much about what professional advanced financial planning is all about.
“As a Fee-Only / Fee-for-Service Certified Financial Planner with over 20 years of experience, I offer clear perspective, advice & guidance on how best to achieve your goals – without bias, because I don’t have any products to push. I’m a professional advisor, not a professional salesman, unlike pretty much every other financial advisor you will ever meet. In fact, I’m unlike at least 99.83% of them.”
I appreciate ‘fee-only” financial planners are a rare breed, as recently we noted that out of 90,000 financial advisors in Canada, about 25,000 call themselves financial planners, 18,000 of which are accredited Certified Financial Planners… but there are only ~150 fee-only financial planners offering advice without product bias in the whole country, or one for every 244,000 Canadians! (0.17% of all financial advisors.)
In recent years advisors licensed in the sale of investment services began to move away from transactional fees to fees based on the value of the assets under management. This is a ‘fee-based’ model. It is often straight-line fee scale meaning fees are not reduced as the value of the assets managed grows. This is a major flaw in fee-based compensation.
A ‘fee-for-service model’ can include a retainer-based fee for providing ongoing services that may or may not be tied to asset oversight or other services. It is important to understand what value the advisor/planner is providing value under this model, and they can – and should – explain this early in the discussions.
The fee-only model is based on time and effort spent in analysis and other advisory services. Clients often can start with a fee-only advisor and may find value in moving to the fee-for-service model for ongoing services.
We help clients understand the fees for advice and what would be best in your circumstance, based upon our experience and understanding of investment counselling as opposed to investment advisory services. There is a difference!
The essential element of advanced financial planning services is preparation of a written Comprehensive Financial Plan at the beginning of the engagement. This document outlines all key elements of a clients’ circumstance and needs, identifying problems, options to correct, solutions and an action plan for each party. This is the ‘roadmap’ to achieving your financial goals.
Here is the key #1 – anyone presenting themselves as a ‘financial planner’ must demonstrate they will complete this key step first, and provide examples of recent plans prepared for clients like yourself.
Part of our consulting service include reviewing this key element for clients to confirm we are recommending a ‘financial planner’ rather than a ‘financial advisor’ using computer based reports on the growth and depletion of investment capital assets and portfolio income with some general advice on actions needed by the client.
Whether it’s a “holistic” financial plan to optimize every aspect of your financial life, an unbiased assessment of whether you’re on track to reach your goals, helping you through a major change in your life, or providing implementation & oversight for your wealth management strategy, it will be my pleasure to give you the unique advice and service you need.
Professional financial planners will prepare a Client Engagement Agreement with new clients covering services to be provided, the cost of services, and other key information such as timelines and termination steps. We help our clients to ensure their engagement agreement meets their needs as to cost and service standards.
Here are some areas a financial planner can address in their advice and assistance to clients:
- Planning for the unique needs of executives, business owners, and professionals.
- Developing and implementing coordinated, cost-efficient investment strategies to increase the values of your wealth and reducing your stress in this key area, so you sleep at night!
- Ensure your family will be protected in case of surprises (i.e. Insurance & Estate Planning).
- Planning for major changes in your life: retiring, marriage, children, inheritance, severance, becoming mortgage-free, death of spouse, medical events, sale of a business, windfall (Plan 6/49), and just about every other financial matter!
- Strategies on the key stuff we all need to address – saving tax, getting enough of the right kind of insurance, objectively reviewing investment management services and alternatives (including options that some advisors may not consider because they don’t pay commissions), updating Wills to ensure everything will go where you want it, confirming you’re on track, plus:
- Providing unbiased second opinions, perspective, prioritizing actions, and PEACE OF MIND!
There’s nothing boring about your life’s goals, and my greatest reward comes from helping you reach them, by helping you work with the right people on what is important to you.
Frankly, financial planning is dull and challenging for most people and part of the reason why they put off working on this.
I look for financial planners who can bring these dry complex topics to you in a unique and engaging way, so you will be motivated to take action and reduce your stress by getting results.
In advanced financial planning the professional planner helps to keep focus between the forest and the trees and yet provide enough detail to you to take the action you need with their help.
It is your money and your financial security is the primary focus for a professional financial planner.
I suggest you pick up the phone and call me or email me. Tell me what you are looking for and I will help you get there.
After our initial discussion I will let you know what information we require and how we can work with you including our fees and a timeframe to get you underway.
The following Financial Planning Process helps to explain how financial planners work on your behalf. Our work with you is in the first three steps of this process. The steps for through six are going to be the work of you and your chosen planner and other advisors.
We can sort it out together over coffee, virtually or by phone. There is no fee for an initial consultation of up to ~one hour. This is a get-to-know-you meeting to give you a sense of who I am & what I do for my clients, to get a sense of your needs, and jointly determine how I can best help you reach your goals.
I will advise you of the cost prepare a needs analysis and introduction to the right planner before we begin the preparation of any report on your behalf. If your needs are straightforward this will be a very modest fee and will ensure you get the best possible financial planning advice in a timely manner.