Stephanie Block


Family physician


Thunder Bay, Ont.



Has an advisor?

Yes. With the current one, who was recommended by colleagues, for about three years

Will retire:

Mid-60s at the earliest

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When we moved to our current advisor, I was very excited to learn about finances. I read a lot about passive investing and ETFs. I was committed to ETFs, and my advisor has been willing to work with me on them, even though she earns more with other investments. On the other hand, she has convinced me to buy some mutual funds, as well as individual stocks.

She’s always able to explain the rationale behind her recommendations, and she’s flexible and open to ideas. My attitude is that she’s my advisor and she’s working for me. If she didn’t listen to what I wanted to do with my money, I’d find someone else.

Overall, I feel financial planning is a world I don’t understand. That’s a bit frustrating, because I know I’m smart enough to get it. But it doesn’t hold my interest, and I don’t have time or the inclination to pursue it. Then I think, “Well, my financial planner is definitely smart enough to be a doctor, but she’s inclined towards finance instead of medicine.” So I’ve got my profession, and she’s got hers. Still, I wish I knew more.

What financial products do you own?

My husband and I have separate RRSPs, which contain a mix of ETFs, mutual funds and individual stocks. The kids have RESPs, which their grandparents also contribute to each year. We both have term life insurance policies, and I have own-occupation disability and critical illness insurance through the Ontario Medical Association.

Five years ago I incorporated, with the idea that it would be more tax-efficient—I worked with my accountant and a lawyer to set up the corporation. The idea is that cash to invest will eventually build up inside [the corporation], but that hasn’t happened yet.

When family and finance don’t mix

Initially, I worked with MD Financial Management, which was a benefit under the Canadian Medical Association.

Then, my husband and I let my (now former) brother-in-law, a financial advisor, manage our portfolios.

In hindsight, that was a mistake. He gave us the “family discount,” but the downside was that he didn’t take us seriously as clients: he never listened to our concerns, had unrealistic expectations about my earning potential and salary increases, didn’t communicate with us, and clearly didn’t understand our financial priorities.

Our assets may have been reasonably invested, but because he never communicated with this, it’s hard to know.