Money & Career

Do I need a financial advisor?

MoneySense expert Bruce Sellery gives the pros and cons of outsourcing your finances.

Woman calculating doing math or taxes on a calculator calculating personal finance and money

Photo, iStock.

Dear Bruce,

I’m 29 years old and have a few savings accounts set up (RRSP, TFSA, defined-benefit pension plan and a company-matched shares plan). I feel like my money could be doing more for me, especially when it comes to taxes, and I’d like to work with a financial advisor. What should I look for and what questions should I ask?
— Hillary, Edmonton

Dear Hillary,

Don’t get a financial advisor. Not yet, at least. Here’s why: You’re young and won’t be a very profitable customer, and the advisor won’t be of much value to you at this stage of your life. If you were a hot mess financially I’d have a different view, but you’re already doing the right things. Most advisors earn their money based on the amount invested with them. Since you have savings elsewhere, you won’t contribute as much as someone who has all their investments with an advisor. Say you have $50,000 to invest, the advisor (and the investment firm) would make about $1,200 based on a commission of 2.4 percent. That won’t buy a lot of face time. Instead, pay an accountant to answer your tax questions. Or hire a fee-only financial advisor who can do that, plus some basic financial planning, and steer you toward a low-fee investment portfolio. As your assets grow, a great financial advisor can be worth every penny, but it doesn’t sound like you need that yet.

Bruce Sellery personal finance expert advice


Bruce Sellery is a personal finance expert and author of the bestselling book The Moolala Guide to Rockin’ Your RRSP. He’s a columnist for MoneySense magazine and a regular guest on Cityline and the Lang & O’Leary Exchange. Read more at moolala.ca.

Have a question about your finances? Email Bruce at letters@chatelaine.rogers.com