Are you looking for an independent financial advisor?

Good idea! Today there are more financial services offered to consumers than ever before. However that means it has also never been easier for finance novices to get themselves in trouble. The vast majority of Canadians are financially illiterate and a good independent financial advisor can help you navigate the wide array of options available to consumers.

But there are several important factors you need to consider before choosing an independent financial advisor.

First and foremost, what are your financial goals? You want to have a clear picture of your financial needs before you meet with an advisor. Knowing this will help an independent financial planner help you.

Secondly you should understand how your financial advisor would be paid. Generally they are compensated in one of three ways and it pays (literally) to understand the differences. Fee-based advisors charge by the hour and are best for clients with a smaller net-worth. While you will be paying for the service up-front, you can be comfortable in the knowledge that your advisor will be giving you unbiased advice. Commission based advisors earn a percentage on financial products purchased by their clients. For consumers this means you will not have to pay an upfront fee for their services! Most medium net worth consumers choose this option. Finally asset-based financial advisors earn a percentage cut of your entire portfolio as it grows. Most high net worth clients prefer this method because both parties are incentivized to increase the value of the portfolio.

Now that you have a firm understanding of your financial goals, and a basic understanding of how financial advisors are compensated, its time to find the right advisor for you. It will be important to meet your independent financial advisor in person. This person will have intimate knowledge of your finances and goals – meet them in person to make sure you feel comfortable with them, and also to get a sense of their expertise.

To help you get started on your search we’ve listed some of the top independent financial advisors below. Good luck!

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