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Trying to decide what you should pay for financial advice?

Sebastien Chevrier - Nov 13, 2019
You can’t make that call without first knowing your goals and the level of guidance you need to achieve them.

From full-service advisors offering a surplus of investment products and services, to digitally driven, low-cost models that are limited in choice and human involvement…and everything in between, there’s no shortage of options for financial and investment advice these days. 

With the increasingly mainstream presence of do-it-yourself approaches – including discount brokers, robo-advisors and all-in-one investment products like exchange-traded funds – for busy professionals like yourself who already face a daily barrage of information with limited time to sort through it all, knowing how best to handle your finances may seem more challenging than ever.

You have only to peruse the financial pages or randomly search out any popular online investing forum to be convinced that any or all of these low-cost options are the way to go for all investors.

But reaching your financial goals comes down to more than just low fees. Long-term success depends on determining the level of reliable advice you personally need and enlisting the services of the right qualified professional to meet those needs. 

This is not to say that low fees aren’t good for investors – they certainly are. Fees reduce the amount you have to invest so the lower the fees you pay, the higher your potential returns. Finding an Advisor who will help you contain those costs is very important (For an illustration of how fees can affect long-term returns, check out our fee calculator here).

However, fees in and of themselves should never be your only consideration, given that the professional services you enlist could make the difference between achieving your financial goals or not. 

Maybe you’re uncertain about which investments will help you reach your goals and are looking for investment recommendations and strategies. Avoid sales-people who are selling you proprietary products or expensive investments and look for an advisor with credentials, knowledge and experience in portfolio construction (CIM) who will  provide value in navigating the wide world of investing and help you select appropriate, evidence-based, lower cost options that best align with your investor profile and investment objectives. 

Or, as is often the case, it could be that you need help with aspects of your finances well beyond investing – managing debt, cash flow analysis, budgeting, saving enough to meet your financial goals, estate planning or implementing a strategy to minimize taxes, for example.  This requires professional financial planning and the expertise to integrate all aspects of your finances in an optimal plan for your situation. Working with someone who works with and understands physicians and their needs is also important. 

Less tangible but equally important value from a qualified financial advisor includes a steadying hand when the inevitable ups and downs in the market happen – guidance that could help you avoid making unwise emotional decisions and derailing your financial future.

Professional wealth advisors earn their credentials based on education, knowledge and experience. Like physicians, as licensed advisors, we are also held to high standards by regulators – including requirements to act in the best interests of our clients and to maintain proficiency. (Be sure to check the background of anyone selling securities or offering investment advice. There is a wide range of firms and individuals offering many different kinds of products and advice, and the level of skills, areas of expertise, and even the fees charged will vary. Look for an advisor/team with a CFP/FPSC L1 and/or CIM designation working at a firm regulated by the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC).  You can get an AdvisorReport at the IIROC website. There’s no cost for the report which includes the individual’s background and qualifications, and disciplinary information).

It can be challenging to figure out what financial advice is worth and who to turn to for that advice.  Getting clear and upfront information about compensation – the types of fees involved and how they are calculated – is a great starting point.  Minimizing fees where possible is important. Equally as important is the value of expert advice. Becoming clear about the level of service and advice you require to see your financial goals realized and finding the right professional to support you, all at a reasonable cost, will be the key to your financial success.




Sebastien Chevrier runs Physicians Wealth Advisory, a multi-disciplinary wealth advisory practice offering tailored services at a contained cost to physicians and their families. From managing clients’ investments and creating/helping you implement a tailored, comprehensive financial plan to providing a personalized plan and offering ongoing support when you’re “doing it yourself”,  we can help you move with confidence toward your financial goals. Please contact us to learn more about the services we offer and how much more you could save by working with us.