According to a recent survey by FP Canada, only 39% of Canadians work with a financial professional.

However, everyone can benefit from having an advisor. That’s according to a study by CIRANO, a Quebec research centre. They point out that after 4 years, Canadians who worked with an advisor had accumulated 69% more assets than those who invested on their own. And that number jumps to 290% after 15 years.

So … what exactly does an advisor do? Find out what an advisor can do for you ... and your finances!

Why is it important to work with an advisor?

A personal trainer helps you stay fit. A financial security advisor helps your finances stay fit. Just like a trainer, your advisor will measure and quantify your results. Why? To help you reach your goals.

“Your advisor helps you make informed choices based on your reality. They will try to understand who you are, where you are in life and where you want to go,” explains Martin Côté, Sun Life financial security advisor.

Together, you will:

  • look at your financial profile;
  • set realistic goals;
  • draw up a plan to reach your goals;
  • put your plan into action.

As your life changes, so do your financial needs. Your advisor can help you tailor your goals to your current situation (expecting a child, buying a house, changing careers, etc.).

“We live in a period of economic uncertainty. People don’t know whether they’re coming or going. We’re bombarded by news about the economy. People hear things that may not be wrong but that don’t apply to them. That’s why it’s so important to have an advisor to guide you along,” he says.

Who should have an advisor?

Everyone can benefit from an advisor’s services, no matter whether:

  • you’re starting your career or nearing retirement;
  • you’re a financial newbie or a financial whiz;
  • you’re very thrifty or very well-off.

“Your advisor is there to help you reach your financial goals and retirement dreams. Everybody has financial goals, whether they know it or not,” Martin reminds us.

There are as many different goals as there are people. And all goals are valid:

  • buying or building a home;
  • starting a family;
  • planning a trip;
  • helping your kids with their education;
  • enjoying your retirement years.

What type of advisor do you need?

There are different types of advisors to meet different needs. Here’s a list:

1. Financial Security Advisor

Professional who helps you manage your money and insurance by analyzing your financial situation. They can offer the following products and services:

  • life insurance;
  • disability insurance;
  • critical illness insurance;
  • individual annuities from an insurance company;
  • segregated funds.

2. Mutual Fund Representative

Professional who identifies mutual fund products for you after analyzing your financial goals and needs.

3. Financial Planner

Professional who provides holistic planning to help you achieve your long-term financial goals. They look at your entire situation in order to adjust or optimize your financial strategy. They’re like an orchestra conductor who helps coordinate your other resources, like your:

  • accountant;
  • tax specialist;
  • financial security advisor;
  • mutual fund representative; etc.

Note: In Quebec, advisors can only refer to themselves as a financial planner if they have training. They need to have a certificate from the Autorité des marchés financiers to be licensed to practice.

4. Robo-advisor

A financial tech tool that provides automated digital services. It uses software to buy and sell assets and rebalance your portfolio. It can provide fact-based answers to common questions people have about their finance But it won’t give you personalized advice.

Finding the right advisor takes a bit of research. It’s a good idea to meet with more than one person until you find the advisor you really trust. After all, you’ll be going through your finances with them!

Once you’ve chosen someone, you can check their credentials on the Canadian Securities Administrators website. It’s a reliable, Canada-wide source to check that the chosen advisor has the right to offer the financial advice and products you need.

Remember that your advisor is not just there to discuss investment options. Your advisor should stay focused on your priorities and help you set financial goals that suit your situation.

Find the right advisor with our Find an advisor tool