Category Archives: Retirement

Do You Need an Investment Advisor?


If you have considered saving and investing for a certain goal, such as a house, a child’s education, or your own retirement, you’ve undoubtedly wondered the best way to go about it, and whether or not an investment advisor would be worth the, ahem, investment.

What Is an Investment Advisor?

An investment advisor is a person who invests other people’s money (or suggests investments for others’ money) for a living.

An investment advisor is different from a financial advisor in that an investment advisor is only going to advise on investments, not on the rest of your financial situation. If you need an overall look at your finances, perhaps a financial advisor would be a good place to start, followed by an appointment with an investment advisor. One person can be both, but an investment advisor will specialize in investments, whereas perhaps a financial advisor will generalize in a lot of areas.

What Can You Do Yourself?

You can dive right into doing a lot of learning about investments on your own, and you can do much investing online or otherwise, without help. Or, you could hire an advisor with the knowledge who could steer you in the direction you need to go to achieve your desired outcome, knowing that you will be paying this person for his or her advice, but that theoretically he or she will save you much of the time it would take you to get over any learning curve, and potential upkeep of knowledge over time.

Always Question How Advisors Make Money and Their Certifications

All financial and investment advisors need to make money somehow. Some will charge flat fees, or percentages on what they handle. Many, however, will also get kickbacks based on certain products they sell; for example, a 10 percent fee each time they sell a certain investment. This can undoubtedly make someone biased, encouraging them to sell you something that may or may not be the best option for you and your particular situation; that is why it is essential you question how your advisor gets paid and whether he or she receives kickbacks or bonuses on certain products.

According to Dale Walters, CEO of KeatsConnelly, people like that are salespeople, but in the US, registered investment advisors do have regulatory oversight by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and are required to act as a fiduciary, meaning your needs are to come before the advisor’s personal wishes.

Always ask about your potential advisor’s certifications and who oversees them. In Canada and the US, the Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) designation is used to denote someone who has been certified by the Financial Planning Standards Council, or CFP Board, not-for-profit organizations that develop, promote, and enforce professional standards in the industry.

Where Can You Find a Good Investment Advisor?

Ask family and friends if they have any trusted investment advisors and know that you can “interview” them before you hire them to handle your investments.Don’t sign over your money if you aren’t sure about a person. Take your time and find someone you can trust.

For more about personal finances and investments, see Self-Counsel Press’ personal finance titles

What To Do When You Retire?

Most people plan for their financial health in retirement, but neglect to address the non-financial aspects of no longer working: What will they do with to make the most of their time?

Have You Considered the Non-Financials?

A Consumer Reports survey conducted in 2010 showed that only 19 percent of those surveyed were highly satisfied with their retirement planning. Presumably, retirees would like to enjoy retirement, which of course means ensuring their finances are in order. Beyond that, though, how does one go about planning this phase in life which can be relaxing and enjoyable, or stressful and full of doubt?

“Many people hope that their retired years will be the best in their lives; they say they want to ‘finish well’ and not just give up or fade away,” say authors Dr. Ronald W. Richardson and Lois A. Richardson in their retirement planner Creating a Happy Retirement, A Workbook for Planning the Life You Want.

The Richardsons penned their planner as a way of addressing these questions retirees have about planning for a successful retirement, beyond the financial questions. While some of the advice is common sense, it could all be helpful to someone who is unsure of what the future holds for him or her in retirement.

Said the authors in the book, “In one survey, 50% of retired people said that they had not spent enough time thinking about their life in retirement. In another survey, 70% of retiring people said they had made no plans for this new phase of life. In our case, we knew that if we entered retirement with no plan, we would not do many of the things we had said over the years that we wanted to do when we had the time.”

The planner asks the reader to consider what makes him or her happy, and delves into whether his or her life trajectory is on a suitable path to achieve this happiness in retirement. Where the reader has been is as important as where he or she is going in determining what is right for each individual, and if an individual is part of a couple, then different considerations come into play. The planner is not a way to write a “bucket list,” (unless that is how the reader wishes to approach retirement — it’s up to each person).

Perhaps most useful to a reader considering the questions posed are the exercises and forms offered in the planner. Every person will no doubt answer differently, leading to what is hopefully the right outcome for him or her.

“It would be too bad to have spent years putting away money for your retirement, planning your financial goals and executing those plans, and then not know what to do with the time you have when the day arrives,” said the Richardsons.

About For more information about planning the retirement you want, see Creating a Happy Retirement, A Workbook for Planning the Life You Want by authors Dr. Ronald W. Richardson and Lois A. Richardson.

The book available in our web store in a print edition

and in an ebook (EPUB format) edition.

When Should Canadians Invest in RRSPs?

RRSPs (Registered Retirement Savings Plans) are considered an important part of retirement for Canadians; they enable people to set aside money for the future while lowering the amount of tax payable in the year in which the money was deposited.

But just when should you start investing in RRSPs? And how much should you put in? That depends on several factors.

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Uncover the Myths to Get on Track Financially

Personal finance is a constant area of struggle for Canadians. It is often pushed to the bottom of our list of priorities to be dealt with later, while other problems are tackled first. Individuals often procrastinate in dealing with their monetary problems. This can be a result of a lack of financial knowledge, a feeling that there is not enough time, or simply not having the right tools.

Whatever an individual’s reason, people tend to look for a quick and easy way to fix these financial issues and get misled by myths along the way.

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Year-Round Financial Prioritizing

Every new year, many of us begin thinking about our finances. But should we continue to make resolutions for better financial management—resolutions that often aren’t kept—or should we consider revamping our budgets entirely, once and for all?

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