Fee-Only Certified Financial Planners

I'm 49 years old and joining the ranks of the "grey divorces" after 26 years of marriage. My husband was a CPA and handled/ignored our finances. Fortunately, I started using YNAB about 4 years ago when he started accusing me of mismanaging the family account and so I'm pretty aware of what we have.  My YNAB records were very helpful when we both had to provide records for the last year and I could show where every penny had gone and he had thousands that he had spent without records.  

So now I'm going to get a large lump sum of money from the divorce settlement and I want to set myself up so that I can live comfortably until 100 years (great genetics!).  I've increased my work hours and should be able to maintain that for at least 10 years. I want to connect with a Financial Planner and have read a little about Fee-Only planners.  I'm wanting to have a long-term plan and relationship set in place that will look at insurance, estate planning, retirement, investing and tax planning. Has anyone used a Fee-Only service?  They aren't very common in Canada.  We had multiple accounts with Edward Jones, but my husband's brother was our planner and I'm not keen to keep that relationship going! Plus I was paying crazy management fees. 

Any thoughts from the collective YNAB wisdom?

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  • As you mentioned, you want to keep your management fees as low as possible. I don’t know what your options are in Canada so I’m not much help there. I myself learned how to manage my own investments which can be quite simple and is not as complex as the financial industry wants you to think. From what I have heard and read, you want to steer clear of Edward Jones. Best of luck in finding something that works for you. Take your time and really understand what you’re getting into before moving forward.

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    • Superbone thanks for the reply.  I'm thinking it will be worth the time and money to have a FP review my situation.  It's a little overwhelming when I see this number and know that I have to buy a house and have enough for retirement and still do some of the living and enjoying life. I want to do it with solid advice. If a FP can improve my income stream by 3%, then I'm still ahead.

      Reply Like 1
  • Agree, our Edward Jones planner just sold us stuff, not much on the true planning side. I've not used a planner again. The ones I've heard of were from personal referrals, like our director at work told me about his planner. 

    Reply Like 1
  • Hi Frugalflamesfan ,

    A google search brought this up:

    https://nationalpost.com/pmn/life-pmn/how-to-find-advice-only-financial-advisers

    But I agree that asking for personal recommendations from people you know would be a great way to find someone. 

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    • Couch Cat Thanks for googling this!  I did find someone through this article (through a site recommeded in the article) and have met up with my new FP and think it's going to be a great fit.  I'll pay a percentage of my investments (sliding scale, so it tops out at a certain amount) and any Financial planning advice is included.  He likes to meet twice a year to review.  Think it will be a good fit for my objectives.

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  • Well, I recently received a somewhat anticipated inheritance and have been spending the summer doing similar planning.  I'm using Schwab Private Client.  Probably not the absolute lowest in fees, but it's not commission based or anything like that and is still considered a discount brokerage.  I have a relationship with a portfolio manager, investment advisor, and had multiple VERY helpful sessions with a Certified Financial Planner.  They also had me work with a bond specialist, an estate specialist, and I have a local office contact.  They're all salaried and things like the financial planning is free with all the other services (normally over $2k a plan).  I had experience with some of this team before the inheritance because I managed this trust for almost 10 years anyway and was very satisfied.  

    I imagine Schwab operates in Canada.  Depending on your assets, take a look at their different services.  They can refer you to people too.  You are totally pursuing the right strategy in any case.  When my mom died a few months ago I was in an absolute panic, not knowing how her financial plan would translate into one of my own, but all of the consultations and continued active follow-up have really put my mind at ease.  And now I'm back to my diligent YNABbing as usual.

    Good luck to you during this difficult transition. :)

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    • Annieland thanks so much! It's a little overwhelming at times. I just want to make sure the steps I take are measured and well thought-out.  My background is healthcare, but I've learned a little about finance through my marriage to a CPA (probably as much as he learned about medicine! Likely precious little!) Anyway I'm humble enough to know when I need help and guidance.  Looks like Schwab is in Canada, but not in Alberta. I'll keep my eye out.

      Reply Like 1
  • You can also do a search for Canadian Financial Planners on their national association website:

    https://www.fpcanada.ca/home

    Once you enter your geographical location, it will bring up a list of names. You can click on each one to scan their profile which includes: certifications, years of experience, any complaints or censures, areas of focus, clientele demographics.

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    • HappyDance that's a handy tool!  Thanks.

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  • Frugalflamesfan said:
    My YNAB records were very helpful when we both had to provide records for the last year and I could show where every penny had gone and he had thousands that he had spent without records.  

     Can I just say:  Bravo!  

    I set my mom up with YNAB4 about four years ago.  My dad died last year, and she had no financial mysteries to solve or accounts to try to find.  YNAB took care of the financial transition.

    I applaud these examples of how YNAB removes some of the complications from the serious life events some face.  Sad and stressful, yes, but less so because of YNAB.

    ((hug)) of support.   Take your time and be ruthless when interviewing the candidates prior to selection.

    Reply Like 3
    • HappyDance thanks Happy Dance.  It's been a rough time but at least I'm not as worried financially. I'm so glad it helped you and your Mom too. Once this gets figured out, I need to sit down with my parents and look over their finances. 

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      • HappyDance
      • YNABing consistently since 2014
      • HappyDance
      • 2 mths ago
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      Frugalflamesfan 

      The conversation with elderly parents about their finances is an uncomfortable one to start with.  That generation tends to keep their personal business ultra personal.  I was able to ease into that with my dad a few years ago, at a time when I was considering changing my will.  I sat down and said to him:

      Dad, I have a question to ask you about my estate planning.  I'm planning to update my will and final plans.  I currently have mom listed as my beneficiary on my life insurance for $X --  (I'm a single and that's how I set it up years ago, and then never changed it) -- but I'm thinking of changing that to leave it to the nieces and nephews for  their education needs.  My question to you is: if I should die before you and mom, do you need the funds from my life insurance to supplement your finances/income in old age? or can I change my beneficiary as I'm thinking of doing.

      Wow. That started us on a wonderful revealing conversation about my planning, and their planning, and that assured me that they didn't need my funds.

      Reply Like 1
    • HappyDance what a gentle way to bring it up!  My parents are actually very open about their finances with me.  They have a "Just in Case" folder with all of the accounts listed as well as funeral plans!  It's actually quite funny--when they go for a drive in the country, they will leave a message "we driving out to look at the crops. If we die in a car crash, the "just in case" file is in the top drawer of the dresser." Might need to review Mom's confidence/ability in driving!

      That compares to my ex-inlaws who kept everything hidden. When my Father-in-law went into a coma after years of illness, his wife was still his decision-maker and she has advanced dementia.  What a mess. Should have dealt with years before.

      I'm an RN in family practice and I routinely bring up Goals of Care and Personal Directives with my patients.  Some folks are in their 90's and still haven't got a will or PD.  

      Reply Like 2
      • MXMOM
      • MXMOM
      • 4 wk ago
      • Reported - view

      Frugalflamesfan This is totally my family too. Including the in-laws. My MIL won't even tell me if they have wills.

      I am an accountant and used to do taxes etc. and I heard so many stories about money after death scenarios. Most of them bad! I was talking to my dad (who remarried and then his wife passed away so he is on his own) about his estate and planning etc. to the point that a mutual friend told me to stop "killing my father" in the various scenarios I came up with. 

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  • We used a fee-only financial planner late last year to early this year as I'd been sitting on an inheritance for over a year, paralyzed with indecision by how best to utilize the money - pay down the mortgage, increase college fund contributions, invest, retirement, what???  She was well worth the money and gave us a great picture of where we are right now in regards to our mortgage, insurance, our retirement funds, and college funds, and how likely we are given our current situation to achieve our goals.  She told us what she suggested for various funds based on our risk comfort profiles for our retirement funds, told us to invest a certain amount in CDs for an emergency income replacement fund, open a Vanguard account to invest in a certain amount for future expenses,whatever they might be, put lump sums in our kids' college funds (and how much an increase in what we're adding now might look like in 6-15 years as the kids will be going through college).  Just peace of mind.  Also turned us on to YNAB, for that matter.  We're doing great finance wise, even given the fact that I've been a SAHM since the kids were born, and have been making reasonable, balanced financial decisions overall since we joined finances some 19 years ago.    She even made a suggestion to re-do our wills and trusts, etc, since we've added 2 kids, a house, and a fair amount of assets since 2008.   

    We don't make enough money to pay her month by month to manage our money but I've already put a YNAB category in to have her revisit our situation in another 4-5 years or so as we're staring down the barrel at college applications.  It was a huge kick in the pants to take more control of our money and has given me great peace of mind knowing that as things are, we can afford to retire someday.  

    I'm in the US, so the sites I used to find mine after word of mouth didn't get me anything won't help you.  For my neighbors to the north, I found this site and this other one which might give you some names (the latter site you can choose 100% fee compensation to avoid commision-based advisors).  Can't swear to how useful they'll be but maybe they'll help.  Or you could do a google search like I did to find the two sites above.  Good luck.    

    Reply Like 3
  • I would want the financial planner to show me their financial status. I would not want someone who can't take care of their own life to give me advice. 

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    • MXMOM true enough! 

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      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 4 wk ago
      • Reported - view

      MXMOM A financial planner who is in good financial shape is making too much money off their customers. 😄

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    • nolesrule Pretty tricky game for them to disclose then!  Make and save enough that you seem competent, but not too much that you're greedy!

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      • MXMOM
      • MXMOM
      • 4 wk ago
      • Reported - view

      nolesrule possibly but I’m thinking more about performance of investments etc. And a general balance sheet to see how leveraged they are. 

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      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 4 wk ago
      • Reported - view

      MXMOM I wouldn't use a financial planner for investment advice. I would use it for planning needs such as determining insurance levels, savings levels and what account types to use for asset protection, and perhaps for setting a stock to fixed income asset allocation level. For investing I would just use  a low-cost total market index mutual fund approach that is easy for anyone to manage.

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