Many of us are hesitant to speak to an advisor, for all sorts of reasons. Roger Tobon, Sun Life investment advisor in Blainville, Quebec has heard them all! 

“I usually meet with 10 to 12 Clients per week.” His new Clients are often quite surprised by their initial meeting. “They say, ‘That’s not what I was expecting!’ or even, ‘That was a lot less painful than I thought!’ ”

Let’s look at the 5 main reasons why people are hesitant to work with an advisor. 

Reason #1: Why should anyone talk to an advisor?

Some people think there’s no need to talk to an advisor. 

But an advisor can be a valuable ally in helping you create a plan. The right advisor by your side can help you:

  • make better financial decisions, 
  • understand where your money is going so you can manage it better,
  • get protection for your family in case something happens, 
  • plan for your retirement, and 
  • find ways to save more money.

Each advisor is different and approaches the first meeting in their own way. For Roger Tobon, it’s an opportunity to introduce himself and explain what an advisor does. Or doesn’t do. 

“My first job is to listen. To get an idea of the Client’s financial situation. And to find out what their priorities are. That’s what I put on my business cards. I’m here to advise you, not to make decisions for you! People are free to make their own decisions, as long as they have all the facts.”

Here are some questions your advisor might ask to get to know you better: 

  • What are your major life goals in the short, medium and long term?
  • What’s most important to you? 
  • Do you need an emergency fund?
  • What does your dream retirement look like? 

The more information you can share, the better. What if you can’t find all your financial statements? Not a problem! Whatever you can pull together will be enough to get the discussion going.

Reason #2: You’re afraid an advisor will judge you 

The initial meeting with an advisor is usually a getting-to-know-you conversation. Be open about your dreams and plans. 

If you have concerns, talk about those too. There are no right or wrong things to say. Each of your projects is important; all you need is a plan to achieve them!

During your initial meeting, tell your advisor about your journey so far. This is when you discuss what you know about finances and your feelings about money. And don’t hesitate to discuss difficult times in your life. Everyone has them. 

“Nobody’s life is smooth sailing all the time,” Tobon reminds us.  "I’m not ashamed to tell Clients that I’m divorced. We all have challenges to face at some point. That’s why it’s better to be prepared.”

Your advisor is a person, after all. They understand that everyone’s journey is unique. Their goal is to help you create a plan that will get you where you want to go.

Reason #3: You think you don’t know enough about money

An advisor can help you understand financial jargon. For example, an advisor might discuss ways you can save money, like a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) or Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA). Or help you find the insurance coverage that best suits your needs and goals.

And a good advisor starts with the basics: a plan. 

Stephanie Vaarsi, Sun Life advisor in Toronto, has some words of encouragement. “You don’t need to wait till you’ve saved lots of money to create a financial plan,” she explains. “Everyone should have a financial plan. 

  • Even if you don’t earn much;
  • Even if you don’t have much money to invest;
  • Even if you don’t think you have much room to manoeuvre.

It’s your financial goals that shape your financial plan.”

And, Roger Tobon adds, you don’t need to cut out all the pleasures in life to look after your money. “I advocate a balanced approach, and I tell my Clients: “I like to travel and I enjoy a nice bottle of wine just like anyone else! But saving money is number one on my list.” 

“The first thing I spend my money on each month is savings: retirement, TFSA, my next trip. Then we live off the rest. My job is to get Clients to save money as a daily routine. And help them prepare as much as they can for the unexpected.”

Reason #4: You’re worried an advisor will sell you something you don’t need

Code of Ethics governs advisors’ professional activities. In Quebec, the governing body is the Chambre de la sécurité financière.

The Code states: “a representative must be objective when their Client, or any potential Client, asks them for information. The advisor must express opinions and make recommendations objectively and impartially, without considering their personal interest.”

A good advisor will:

  • listen to you,
  • think carefully about what you want,
  • discuss financial topics with you in language you can understand,
  • advise you according to your needs and dreams, and
  • bring value to you.

Tobon points out to his Clients that he’s not a salesman in the conventional sense of the word. “I’m here to meet a need, not sell you a product. I want to build a lifelong relationship with my Clients. I get 95% of my referrals from Clients who are happy with my advice. That’s proof that my foremost concern is people’s well-being.”

Reason #5: What happens if you don’t click with your advisor?

Your relationship with your advisor can last for years, sometimes even decades. It’s important to feel comfortable with your advisor. If you’re not, feel free to talk to another one! 

It’s especially important for couples to find an advisor both partners trust. “Financial stress is one of the most common types of stress for a couple. And it can become a major source of conflict!” Roger Tobon reminds us. It’s important that both partners have confidence in the value their advisor provides. 

Most advisors now offer to meet Clients virtually by video chat. Find a Sun Life advisor today.