Managing director at Wealth Stewards Inc., Toronto
Previously, I hadn’t fully integrated my personal and business affairs—a classic circumstance among my clients. My wife and I were challenged to rectify this, particularly because it required transparency. We used our own firm because we wanted to have the same experience and value that our clients receive.
We now have a consolidated plan that includes our business, real estate and portfolio assets. Being completely open and trusting was difficult, and we experienced the personal feelings the process arouses.
Our clients are mostly private business owners, who are likewise challenged by disclosing finances, as well as understanding the component parts of financial planning.
My own experience taught me to ask the right questions to encourage openness, and to let clients know that what they reveal is private, confidential and in their best interests. The advisor-client relationship is mostly open communication. Factual information received is a component.
Financial planner and founder at Caring for Clients, Toronto
I’m a fee-only planner who does her own plan, as well as those of other advisors. I apply the same processes and rigour to my own plan as I do to clients’.
As my team and I discuss client solutions, I reflect on these and apply them to my own plan. When I discover a good tax planning or investment strategy for a client, I benefit as well. Once, when a client told me about a new investment firm, I did my due diligence, which resulted in integrating the firm into my own and my clients’ portfolios.
To help clients with their plans, I use cash-flow modelling. If a client is challenged to, say, reduce expenses, I’ll share my strategies—like shopping on consignment, managing children’s allowances or getting a great price on a car.
Vice-president and investment advisor at TD Wealth, Toronto
When thinking about my own plan, I ask: “Which client is like me and what’s worked for them?” The key question is, “What’s most important to you?” Demographics don’t tell the whole story.
My team, which includes a financial planner, helps with my plan, and we all review clients’ financial plans. I also use the firm’s financial planning software, which allows me to see various outcomes by changing input data.
A complementary tool focuses on behaviours, and can reveal surprising characteristics clients aren’t aware of. I discovered I’m more aggressive than I thought: market downturns don’t bother me. That encouraged me to take some money off the sidelines to invest.