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Discussion Starter #1
We have been trying to find a tax advisor about our future retirement planning. We are satisfied with our DIY investing but need advice about our RRSP, RRIF. and other assets. Being retired and coming from a small southwestern Ontario town we are wondering if communicating via phone , email is the way to go or do we have to travel to meet face to face? What is the normal cost for such advice? Thanks for the help!
 

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What I got from your post was that you need to clarify what you're looking for. Are you looking for specific tax advice or investment advice?

If you're looking for taxation advice, go to your accountant.

As soon as you add in the term 'advisor' you're going to be talking to salespeople. And they may or not give you good advise, but whatever they do for you it's certainly going to involve them wanting to manage your investments because that's how they get paid. It's unlikely that someone's going to spend a lot of time with you with no expectation of getting paid. Fee only advisors are touted, but I don't know that I've ever seen one - and there's no indication that if they exist they're better than a traditional commission based advisor.

In terms of face to face you're probably going to have to do that. Gov't regs make it very difficult to do investment work remotely, particularly for new clients.
 

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I'm not totally sure what you are looking for. If you just want some tax advice, a CA specializing in personal tax planning would be fine, and I am sure your town (unless it is VERY small) has several candidates.

However, if you are looking for financial planning - and I suspect you are, because (for example) even if you say you are satisfied with your DIY investing, nonetheless whoever you will work with will need to make assumptions about your expected rate of return, expected tax rates, expected portfolio distribution strategy, etc. - then you may be looking for a fee-for-service financial planner. MoneySense magazine used to have a list of fee-for-service advisors, but I can't find it on their site (after only a few seconds of looking).

As one model, that might get you thinking, take a look at the website of Weigh House Investor Services. You can see the kinds of services they offer, which might provide you with a little more clarity about what you are looking for.
 

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X-post with Wheel.

I think there is a LOT of misconceptions about "fee for service financial advisors" -- and the primary misconception IMO is that this is a viable alternative for ordinary Canadians.

What I've said earlier here is that this is a very difficult business model to make work - because the money is in managing investments, and also because when you provide financial advice, you take on risk. Why do that when the return is so diminished?

Short answer is that there ARE fee-for-service financial advisors AND they are rare, and there's no guarantee they are any better than other advisors (whether commission-based or fee-only).

(Note that I am not discussing any particular company or individual...I have worked as a fee-for-service financial advisor and a fee-only investment advisor and I'm not doing either now, nor do I ever expect to again.)
 

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Tell me if you think this should go onto it's own thread, but I'm curious, for those who hire tax advice, does the costs associated more than pay for themselves?
 

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Depends on the amount of money at stake, and the timeframe.

Changes which result in small savings compounded over long periods make a big difference.

And changes that result in a big amount of savings/tax avoidance make...a big difference. :p

Often the value from preparing a tax or financial plan is not so much in the money saved, but having the client leave the engagement with their questions answered and a clear sense of the parameters they are working with and how to influence them.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the comments. Just to clear somethings up, we are satisfied with our investments (5% return is our objective) but feel we don't get good advise on our tax implications and how to start using our savings and our registered savings. We feel this will be very important for our future years of living well in retirement.
 

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The thing I do is I go to the library and read-up on things as best as possible. For example, my father-in-law has had insulin-dependent diabetes and never claimed the disability tax credit for the 3 shots, 4 tests, and the multitude of doctors appointments that he goes to.

Then, I go to my accountant and verify I can claim what I want to claim. I find most accountants don't point out things until you point it out to them.

Over time, I've made major savings by pointing things that I can claim, (and even going back a few years, if I need to.)
 

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Yes I think accountants are just that. Tax planning consultants are a different breed. Ideally you want to find a tax planning consultant that is good at financial planning. I can't help because I DIY.

Every consultant with have their biasses.
 

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Well, hopefully you don't get THIS accountant. From the story:

In a case that’s sure to rock the tax-shelter world, Michael Perris, an Oakville chartered accountant, was found liable last month for recommending a tax scheme to his clients and was ordered to pay more than $45,000 in damages.
 

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The thing I do is I go to the library and read-up on things as best as possible. For example, my father-in-law has had insulin-dependent diabetes and never claimed the disability tax credit for the 3 shots, 4 tests, and the multitude of doctors appointments that he goes to.

Then, I go to my accountant and verify I can claim what I want to claim. I find most accountants don't point out things until you point it out to them.

Over time, I've made major savings by pointing things that I can claim, (and even going back a few years, if I need to.)
This is what I'm thinking.... I don't know enough to know if my tax accountant is knowledgeable or just so-so. If I'm going to pay, I want someone who does an excellent job.
 

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One thing to remember about tax shelters. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

I am old enough to remember MURBs and Labour-sponsored Equity Funds. I avoided these simply by applying the above principal.
 
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