Financial Advisor or Adviser? It Can Cost You a Lot…and Your Cell Phone

Here’s a word that you have to know how to spell. If not, it can cost you tens of thousands of dollars. The word is advisor…or adviser. Two different ways to spell the same word and almost nobody notices the difference.

Almost all financial institutions now use this word for their formerly known as loans officers. But if you’re dealing with a financial advisor, you’re actually dealing with a sales person. If it’s advisor (with an e) it’s someone with a license, which you’ll see by their degree and designation. Those people need to act in the best interest of the client, it’s called a fiduciary responsibility.

If you’re going to buy a vehicle, a mattress, furniture, or jewelry – the items that are most expensive and/or have the largest markups – do you want to deal with a close family member or a stranger? The family member, of course. Because you can trust them a lot more than a stranger trying to close the deal and make the commission.

Banks are for parking your money and not for investing. But, since the majority of Canadians are going to ignore that fundamental advice…would you like to deal with a sales person or someone who has your best interests in mind? If you need an easy way to remember, think of the “o” in financial advisor as “oh oh…you’re about to get sold!”

The difference in your investments is whether it benefits the financial institution or you. And that can quickly add up in the front or back loaded mutual funds, the fees, the type of investments, the person’s investment knowledge, and the type of investments they recommend based on your needs and goals…or maybe on an internal bonus system or steering you into their managed funds. If it’s a GIC or something basic, it won’t matter. If it’s more than that – it matters a lot. Don’t spend a ton of time looking for the advisers (with an e) as they’re less than 7% of those jobs and it’s 93% plus that are sales people on commission.

 

Great news: The regulators of our phone services have come into the 20th century and have now made cars legal to operate in Canada. Yes, that’s rather sarcastic. But the point is that regulators move at the speed of glaciers. Unfortunately, that’s almost always to the detriment of our wallets and finances!

The Canadian CRTC has now mandated that phones be sold unlocked so you’re not a hostage to your current cell provider. That’s for new purchases starting in December. And current customers have the right to have their phones unlocked so they can fire their cell provider and become a free agent.

Plus, on family plans, the person who pays the bills now has to OK any data overages. You’d think that’s common sense, but ask the thousands of parents who have paid hundreds or literally $2,000 or more for data overages when their kids have just been able to press the “yes” button.

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