Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to live in Edmonton to work with you?

Of course not. Align Wealth works virtually with clients across Canada. Even with our local clients in Edmonton we generally hold review meetings virtually. While navigating through the coronavirus pandemic we have come to learn that meeting virtually is an extremely efficient way to connect. You can avoid traffic and meet with us at a convenient time from the comfort of your home or clinic.

Why should I work with an independent financial planner instead of a big firm or bank?

At Align Wealth, we believe that your life savings shouldn’t be someone’s quarterly sales goal. More importantly, we think that you should never experience the feeling of being treated like a number or have to go through a “transition” to a new advisor when your current one moves on. We accept a handful of clients each year and only when it’s a mutual fit.

How do I know if I would be a good fit?

Our goal is to develop long-term relationships with all of our clients so you can feel assured that you always have a trusted advocate guiding you throughout the different phases of life. It's important you're able to adequately determine our compatibility from the outset, and as such we endeavour to be totally transparent with you about our approach. You would be a good fit for Align Wealth if:

-You’re interested in a long-term partnership with a financial planner to help you organize your financial life and keep it that way.

-You value collaboration. No one knows their life better than you. We know how to guide our clients through the different phases of life and the changes come with those phases and how it all relates to their finances. We believe a collaborative approach yields the best results.

-You’re willing to meet 2-3 times throughout the year. Communication is key and we believe that financial planning isn’t a one-time event; it’s an ongoing process.

Do I actually get a financial plan?

The old school approach is to prepare a two-inch thick financial plan full of charts and graphs, and have it all bound together in a leather binder. These types of plans look pretty fancy, but what we have found is that they don't provide much value and they end up collecting dust on a bookshelf (or become a great doorstop).

We use a few different financial planning tools and, when it’s required, we will pull the appropriate graphs and projections that are relevant and important to review. When it comes to your financial plan we summarize the plan into an executive summary which we call your "One Page Financial Plan". We update this plan and make changes when it's appropriate and review these changes at our client review meetings.

By cutting out the noise we can focus on what is most important and the actions that we need to take together to move you closer to reaching your desired goals.

What are your financial planning fees?

Each of our clients have varying degrees of complexity as it relates to their financial situation. The complexity involved in planning for a new-grad starting off as an associate will be different than the owner of a clinic with staff and associate chiropractors.

Our financial planning fees start at $1,800/year for associates and $3,000/year for clinic owners plus 1% on your investment accounts managed by Align Wealth. There is an initial enrolment fee that ranges from $750 to $1,500.

After your initial consultation, if we both agree that there could be a good fit to work together, we will prepare a proposal outlining the details of the financial planning relationship and the annual financial planning fee.

My current advisor doesn't charge any fees, why do you?

You may have experienced working with an advisor that doesn’t charge a financial planning fee. Generally, most advisors get paid commissions for the sale of insurance products and/or a percentage of your investment portfolio. This isn't a negative, it's just how most of the industry works and therefore most advisors will focus on what compensates them for the work they do for you.

Most people will find that they will only see their advisor once a year (sometimes even less often) and the scope of their services is focused primarily around your portfolios investment returns or to buy more insurance products.

Investment management has become very commoditized with the introduction of better technology and the surge of Canadians moving from expensive mutual funds to low-cost ETFs and robo-advisor platforms.

Where Align Wealth is different is that we take a much deeper and more comprehensive approach to financial planning. We dive into all the important areas of financial planning that are often left out of the discussion by most financial advisors. We cover areas like practice profitability and assist with implementing cash flow systems into your practice to improve profits and your personal compensation. We go into personal cash flow planning, debt pay-down strategies, planning for financial independence, risk management, and tax planning.

Our clients are our people. We develop deep long-term relationships with our clients and have a clear understanding of their financial and life goals and what their core values are that they live their life by.

Is there a fee for an initial consultation with you?

Definitely not. Our goal is to build long-term relationships with clients. We want to get to know you and be sure that we’re a good fit for each other. The best way to ensure that it’s a good fit is to get to know each other first. For that reason, we do not charge a fee for an initial consultation.

Why should I pay a financial advisor to do this for me?

The simple answer is that a competent financial planner has years of experience guiding people in achieving their financial goals. We’ve helped clients become debt-free, save for new homes, and run more profitable businesses. Perhaps most importantly, we have helped clients reduce their stress and anxiety around finances, and bring new confidence to their relationship with money. 

You don’t need a financial planner, personal trainer, business coach, nutritionist, or even a travel agent, but they can certainly help you achieve your goals faster and easier.

We believe that your financial future is more important than a DIY project. Hiring an educated, experienced professional is better than spending the time to sift through all the misinformation on the internet.

Do you have an investment minimum?

No, we don't. Financial planning isn't just for those that have large investment portfolios. A lot of our clients are high-income earners and are still in the early stages of their careers. They may not necessarily have large investment portfolios (at least not yet), but they have a need for financial planning and professional advice.

How do you keep my money safe?

At Align Wealth, we have partnered with two of Canada’s top portfolio managers, Harness Investment Management and Nest Wealth.

All client accounts are held with a custodian and both of these portfolio managers use Fidelity Clearing Canada (“FCC”) as their custodian. FCC is a member company of the Fidelity group of companies, which combined have assets under management of $2 trillion. FCC is a member of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF), which covers each account up to $1,000,000 against insolvency or bankruptcy of the custodian. FCC is also a member of Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC).

In the simplest of terms, a portfolio manger gives the direction as to how to invest your money and the custodian holds your securities (your money) for safekeeping.

What is a CFP?

Most people think all financial planners are “certified,” but this isn’t true. Anyone can use the title “Financial Planner.” Only those who have fulfilled the certification and renewal requirements with FP Canada can display the CFP® certification trademarks which represent a high level of competency, ethics, and professionalism. 

Certified Financial Planner® certification is the most widely recognized financial planning designation in Canada and throughout the world, and is considered the standard for the profession. CFP® professionals have demonstrated the knowledge, skills, experience, and ethics to examine their clients’ entire financial picture at the highest level of complexity required of the profession, and work with their clients to build a financial plan so that they can Live Life Confidently™.

There are approximately 17,000 CFP professionals across Canada who are part of an international network of more than 181,000 individuals who have earned CFP certification in 26 territories around the world. Source FP Canada

What does it mean to work as a fiduciary?

As a member of the Financial Planning Association of Canada, I have made the pledge to act as a fiduciary in all my dealings with my clients. By making this pledge, I am promising:

1. To put the needs of clients first, ahead of my needs or the needs of any other party.
2. To work to help my clients achieve their goals and dreams by acting with the skill, care, prudence, diligence, loyalty and good judgement of a fiduciary, rooting my professional practice in evidence-based advice.
3. To avoid and minimize conflicts of interest, and to manage and disclose those conflicts which cannot be avoided.
4. To fully and transparently disclose all sources of my compensation in all of my dealings with clients.
5. To uphold the code(s) of conduct of the issuing body of my financial planning designation, and to continuously work to improve my skills and practice, and the financial planning industry as a whole.
6. To encourage other financial planners to uphold the standards and values embodied by this Association, and to aid this and subsequent generations of financial planners to fulfill on the Association’s vision for the financial planning industry.
7. And to help to build awareness of the good that financial planners can do for their clients.
Source

My spouse isn't a chiropractor, will he/she be part of the planning relationship?

Absolutely, we would actually insist that if you're married or have a partner, that the planning process should involve both of you (particularly on the personal side of your finances). We have experience working with other professionals and business owners in different professions and industries and we will ensure that we plan around his or her unique situation the same way we would yours.

Do you offer a money-back guarantee?

Yes. We are very confident in our process and believe that it will add tremendous value to your life. However, if there is a disconnect between you and our planning process and you aren't finding value in it, we will happily refund your initial financial planning fee. We don't have our clients sign a contract that locks them into any long-term commitment. We only have the desire to work with clients where it's a great fit for both parties.