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Discussion Starter #1
Hey all, this is my first post here. I'm looking for feedback from users here who use Financial Planners. I am usually big on do it yourself, but after a month of reading/research I just don't think I'm going to get myself to a comfortable place taking complete charge of my investments.

I'm willing to pay for someone who knows what they're doing to make my investments their job. Hopefully this will be less then the difference from how well I could do on my own. I'm in the military, 26, and will be moving frequently. So a group with many offices nationwide would be important. Have absolutely no investments right now and just finished paying off all my debts except a mortgage. My mortgage is with ScotiaBank and daily banking with PC. I'm currently in Halifax N.S., so let me know your opinions there of who to go with.



My other request is for anyone's opinion on SISIP Financial Services. They cater specifically to the military, and have offices at every major base. I have a meeting scheduled with them next week, and from what I'm told the cost is $5 per month flat. That $5/month includes income taxes.
 

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Since you are just getting started might I suggest setting up a "couch potato" type portfolio using TD eSeries funds. Once you have accumulated a decent sized portfolio you might consider going to a Wealth Management Firm to diversify into some other investment classes.
 

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Unfortunately you will find there are a lot of mixed reviews about the merits of financial advisors. And forums like this one tend to be biased towards DIY, which will skew the data. It can be hard to find a financial advisor with whom you are comfortable, and who you can feel confident is working for your interests, and not his company's.

No one is going to "manage" your portfolio for any reasonable fee until you have acquired some more assets. That's why venter suggested just building your own couch potato portfolio for awhile. It's either that or a balanced portfolio fund from one of the banks. (If you want to use ING, they have a series of Streetwise funds that are just portfolios of index funds, like the couch potato models.) If you need immediate help trying to decide what to invest in, you can try to find an independent financial planner who, for a fee, will give you a 2-hr consultation and help you determine your investor profile.

The banks have mutual fund reps who are supposedly "certified financial planners", and they will give you free advice. But they are really only qualified to tell you which of their products might suit your needs (and you will find a few anecdotal horror stories on forums like this suggesting that some of them aren't even qualified to do that.) However, you could go to several of them and compare their recommendations to see if any of them agree.
 

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OGG:

You can find a (rare) fee-only financial planner, but they don't have to be "independent." I think the distinction you want to draw is between a captive sales force (i.e., Investor's Group) versus someone who, whether they have an investment license or not, is not tied to a particular company's products.

As for someone being "supposedly" a CFP -- either you are a CFP or you are not.
 

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so far, you've had some excellent responses. Venter's suggestion re the td e-series funds may be the first out of the box but it's probably going to wind up being the best.

don't mean to pry, but one would presume you intend to build up a portfolio by regularly contributing a portion of each pay cheque. No more than 2 or 3 funds should cut the biscuit for a beginning portfolio. Choices are pretty much no-brainers. Solid mid-to-large cap stocks, perhaps a slight weighting towards energy, maybe a touch of gold or another specialized sector that you happen to fancy, few or no bonds for someone so young.

about sisip, i had never heard of this so i looked it up. Madre de dios, it appears to be owned by the defence department. Evidently it started out as a purveyor of insurance policies to the military. So my guess is they're going to be ultra-conservative, with a bias towards insurance products. In a worst-case scenario they might even run their very own mutual funds (if that's the case i'm not sure i want to know about it.)

my other guess is that they have got respectable fees for themselves built in in some concealed fashion. In mufti, as it were. So the advertising might say $5 per month including income tax, but vigorous research will reveal that they're profiting handsomely at a deeper level, for example thru trailer fees.

however, it did seem that you like the idea of sisip being present on all the bases & custom-built to serve the military, so perhaps you could have the best of both worlds. Muddle along here at zero cost for a couple of weeks & mull over the suggestions. Or hire a fee-only planner for a consultation or two - but my guess is that they'll recommend something similar to what venter has already proposed. Then take the best of these suggestions to sisip, where they probably offer equivalent versions of these funds, albeit possibly with higher fees and perhaps not performing quite as well. Such handicaps could be compensated for in the early years by the familiarity and convenience of the sisip service, as well as the fact that the total portfolio would still be relatively small, so the fees themselves as a percentage would not be significant, nor would a slight deviation in performance really matter.

in a few years you'd have a bigger portfolio plus greater knowledge, to either find an alternate advisor or else venture into the self-directed mode through an online broker.

good luck, take care, & thank you for looking after our country.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the replies everyone. Sorry on the long time to respond. I have invested more time since my original post and have become a bit more confident. I'm probably going to start setting up a "couch potato" style portfolio contributing each pay with td e-series funds this week.

As recommended by venter, and reinforced by others by others, I can let this grow and either become more confident as time goes on or look to professionals later.

I will be visiting sisip Tuesday and am curious to see what they will recommend. I'll post results for any curious/future people.


Thanks for the help so far all, expect more questions from me.
 

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Thanks for the replies everyone. Sorry on the long time to respond. I have invested more time since my original post and have become a bit more confident. I'm probably going to start setting up a "couch potato" style portfolio contributing each pay with td e-series funds this week.

As recommended by venter, and reinforced by others by others, I can let this grow and either become more confident as time goes on or look to professionals later.

I will be visiting sisip Tuesday and am curious to see what they will recommend. I'll post results for any curious/future people.


Thanks for the help so far all, expect more questions from me.
The technique of regularly investing into broadly based, low fee index funds is also an investing style used by many people with large portfolios who know alot about investing. You don't need to necessarily think of it as a beginner's choice or an inferior method of getting returns from equities.

Contrary to what some others have suggested here, I would suggest you also keep part of your portfolio in fixed income/bonds. TD has a good canadian bond index fund that you can access through e-series as well. I would suggest a 25% allocation to bonds.
 

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I will be visiting sisip Tuesday and am curious to see what they will recommend. I'll post results for any curious/future people.
What did you think if SISIP? On my base anyways I found them a waste of time

I found I had to read a bit just to crosscheck an advisor and by then I could do it on my own anyways

I'm sure there are good advisors but none that I can afford
 

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I used to work for SISIP and would strongly advise for it. I felt utterly terrible having to turn people away for retraining because they'd opted not to pay for it. Depending upon the degree of injury, or reasoning behind why you become eligible to collect dictates what you might get out of it.
 
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