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Discussion Starter #1
Hubby and I have decided to go to a fee only CFP to have our retirement plans checked out before he actually retires (aka takes early retirement). What should we know/ask?

I realize this is aligned with a recent thread started by Spirit Deer, which I've read. My concern is that we are so close now. DH wants to retire in less than one year. I do not think it is feasible financially without eating into capital significantly early on in retirement...which I do not think wise.

We would like someone who knows how to massage numbers to crunch various options for us and show us the best route to take...without trying to sell us anything!
 

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Hmm...guess no one knows the answer to my question, so I'll share what we've learned so far.

We had a free phone consultation with the Certified Financial Planner today. She is fee only and independent. Meaning she does not take money from any company or institution for selling their products. She said there are about 20 CFPs like her across Canada.

They do not come cheap. We were quoted $2500 for the first year, with an annual review after that costing $220/hr. I was gagging at the cost, but once hubby heard her out, he was okay with it. He has training in accounting and manages an organization's finances in his job. He said that was actually a good price for what she said she would do for us.

After asking some particulars she claimed she could probably save us that much in fees in a year. I'm surprised as I didn't think I was paying that much in fees. But I can nail down $625 in needless annual fees we're paying right now that would disappear if we switched where we were handling accounts.

She was able to tell from my investments right away that I was too heavily invested in certain areas.

She sent an email after our conversation outlining what we talked about, and said she expects to spend at least 3 meetings 2-3 hours long doing the prep work to come up with a plan for us. And another 7 hours in office work crunching numbers, etc.

She also sent us a list of references and their emails. We've contacted all of four of them and have heard back from two, singing her praises of course. Who ever gives out bad references?

One thing that surprised me was hubby's reaction to this. My normally reticent penny pincher was quite excited about having someone he could trust look over our finances with us. Someone who wasn't selling product. He was concerned that we should have done this long ago...but she's only been in business here for the last three years. Though she's been in the financial business as a whole for over 25 years. That was the other thing she did on the phone - gave us a rundown of her work and personal history and qualifications.

I'm thinking this is worth a try, if only to put hubby's heart and mind at ease. He's already concocting ways to pay this lady by revising the budget.

So that's how it works folks, from what I can see so far. Will let you know how it pans out in the future.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Well, we decided to bite the bullet and go with this lady. We decided the money to pay for it would come from our savings.

I contacted her and she sent a list of all the information she needs, and for us to think about our dreams and visions for our future and write that down too. I actually do a lot of mine right now. So I'm not worried about me. It's hubby's desire to travel that concerns me.

We have our first 2-3 hour meeting tomorrow morning. Yep...Canada Day.

Some of the information required for her to do a good job?

  • Insurance policies and amounts
  • benefits packages from work and elsewhere
  • pensions and amounts
  • CPP Statements
  • income tax assessment forms
  • all bank accounts and balances
  • net worth statement
  • TFSA and RRSP balances and contribution room
  • etc.

This should be interesting. I certainly hope it's worth it!
After spending the weekend online reviewing my portfolio I can see where I am spending a lot in fees on my investments. Even if she could save me those it would be great. If nothing else, I am more aware now of MER on my investments! And then there's the other costs. No wonder I don't make much money!

Her references were very big on DIY investing, and she is teaching them how to do it. But we do not want that service and told her so. She will talk to us more about it tomorrow. We shall see.
 

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Well, this is a short thread folks. We signed a confidentiality agreement. So suffice it to say she spent 4 1/2 hours with us yesterday morning, discovering what our situation was, and then gave lots of good advice and teaching. We paid her and she left.

I talked to my DBRO#1 about fee only CFPs and he commented that he found they were only worth it if you had over $150,000 in assets to move around. I don't know...we don't have that much and she was interested in us. So there are some exceptions. If you have multiple streams of income going into retirement, as we do, I think it pays to at least ask a fee only CFP if they would take you on as a project. She cut to the chase pretty quickly and determined what our true desires were. Looking forward to seeing what she comes up with.
 

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Peanut good for you two! We do self guided investing but our guy helped us make it much better and taught me a lot.
 
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