confusion

Aaron Dalton, 44,
Gamer and coder, Calgary

From financial podcasts, I started hearing a lot about passive investing as a way to avoid mutual funds with high fees—fees that are unwarranted because fund managers don’t beat the market over time. So I asked my advisor about passive investing, despite my concern he would think I was trying to dump him.

Obviously, he has skin in the game, but I felt he was open with me about costs and the value of active management. He walked my wife and me through the numbers without guilt or pressure, and we remained in our mutual fund.

Mary Lynn Robertson, 73,
Retired business owner and grandmother of three, Woodstock, N.B.

I don’t have a lot of financial knowledge or interest—for example, I don’t read my statements. But I trust my advisor. When I don’t understand something, I tell him, and he provides details and shows me graphs—about why an investment is risky for my life stage, for example. He also explains why he chose my investments. What I remember is that my investments aren’t risky.

Joanne Mullen, 66,
Semi-retired registered nurse, Toronto

I’m mostly invested in mutual funds, and I don’t understand the big picture of why my portfolio value fluctuates in response to world events and the fixing of interest rates, for example. While my advisor is good at speaking in layperson’s terms, I admit I don’t often retain the information. There are lots of financial concepts I don’t understand, but learning about them isn’t a top priority—that’s why I have an advisor.