Working with an advisor

Step 1: Your financial check-up

You need to do some homework about yourself before you go looking for a financial advisor. Having a general outline where you expect an advisor to help is a good place to start. The Advisor services checklist can help you determine this.

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Understanding your needs and your expectations for your advisor will guide you during the selection process and ultimately help find the advisor best suited to help you achieve your financial goals.

Statistics Canada, Tuition fees for degree programs, 2016/2017, September 7, 2016.

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Know your financial picture

Understanding your financial situation is a critical first step in choosing a financial advisor. Here are a few considerations:
 
  • Financial goals—Are you looking to buy a first home, save for your child’s education or perhaps develop a retirement plan? The financial plan you build with your advisor will largely depend on your goals and your unique stage in life.
  • Assets— Which accounts do you keep your money in? Take  inventory of all your retirement and non-retirement financial assets. Your net worth will also be a key factor in choosing an advisor, as some financial professionals set minimum investment levels.
  • Income, expenses and debt—Where does all your money go? While it’s relatively easy for most of us to gauge monthly income, tracking spending (especially discretionary spending) can often be a daunting task. By examining your cash flows and tracking your savings habits, you can develop a sound financial plan.
 
The  Financial needs checklist , located in the Tools secion, is a great resource to help you-and your future advisor-put your financial picture in focus.