Post # 1
DH and I want to buy a house.
We live in Canada (Ontario – the GTHA to be specific…one of the most expensive housing markets you’re going to find…)
We’ve recently discovered that his DC Pension Plan at his work has a nice sum for a downpayment in it. We also have a bunch of debts (car, student loans, credit cards…we’re trying to get those paid off).
I think we need a financial advisor to tell us what our best course of action is and the best way to take advantage of all the programs available – I used to work for a bank, so I have a pretty good idea of what we should do, but I’m not confident enough to tell DH ‘do this with your/our hard earned money’ without being worried it’s a mistake.
Where do we start trying to find an advisor? Is the bank the place to go? Do we go to a private firm? Any advice is appreciated!
Post # 2
DO NOT GO TO THE BANK. Please.
I work for financial advisors, and the crap that I see people come to us with, that the bank has advised them on, is scary.
I’ll put it this way, no matter what work the bank employee does for you, they are paid a salary. There’s a lot less drive to help people when your pay doesn’t rely on it.
Independant advisors work off commission. You pay them nothing, they get paid if they sell you a product. They will sit down with you and do an in-depth analysis of your goals, current finances, etc, and help lay out a plan for you.
As for finding an advisor, my first advice would be to ask friends or family if they have a recommendation. If you don’t have this as an option, look for independant advisors and ask for testimonials or references if possible. Call offices and ask what financial PLANNING services they migth provide.
I see a lot of crappy advisors and a lot of exceptional advisors for the company I work with…it can be difficult to find what is right for you…but it’s worth having somone who seriously knows their stuff and can help you down the right path.
Post # 3
+1 to the PP
If you’re sure you want to speak to a financial advisor, make sure you find a fee-only financial advisor, with a fiduciary duty to his clients. Only a small fraction of so called “financial advisors” actually fit that standard. Most are just glorified salesmen that will try to sell you on financial product that they get commission on. This site can help you find a fee-only CPA in your area: http://www.cfp.net/utility/find-a-cfp-professional. The very first thing you ask them should be whether they are bound by a ficudiary duty. If the answer is no, walk out.
That said, you probably don’t need a financial advisor for this situation. Based on what you’ve said here, your situation doesn’t sound particurarly complex or unique. There are plenty of resources you can use to read up on what to do. You are your own best advisor in most cases.
Post # 4
Sorry, I just realized that site I linked does not apply to you in Canada. Here is a similar resource that will help you find a CPA in Canada: https://kyfa.com/ . Same considerations apply though – make sure whomever you choose is fee-only (not percentage or commission based) and a fiduciary.
Post # 5
urchin: that’s what I figured – I used to work for a bank, I know how they operate. I’m pretty good at this stuff and have a pretty good idea of what we should do, but I know DH doesn’t always love when I determine what the best thing to do with our money is and was thinking professional advice might help, that said, we had a chat last night and he seems to agree with my suggestions.
The biggest thing we need to figure out is how the Canadian HBP works and what plans qualify and what don’t, and the best way to take advantage of them are.
Post # 6
I agree with other PPs. Go to a private firm with a fee only! Also, I suggest trying a couple and going with the one that fits you the most! I love my financial advisor and often go to their office just to chat. I can not see myself doing this with some of the others I was considering working with!
Post # 7
Looking for a ‘money coach’ instead of a financial advisor might help you find what other bees have suggested a little faster.