Retiring farmers may very well have worked through their own retirement plan with the guidance of a financial advisor. Congratulations, you are one of the few to do so!
However, in my experience there is one question these farmers will ask their advisor but typically never get a clear answer. That is, “What happens to me if something happens to you?” This is a very valid question that deserves not only a clear answer but also a copy of your advisor’s continuity plan. If your advisor can’t provide you with either of these – then it is time to start asking more questions and exploring your options.
If you have a financial advisor, it’s a fair assumption that this person is also considering (or at least planning) for retirement. You need to understand how their plan will impact you; as your retirement strategy has been developed for your lifetime (which could either be longer or shorter than your advisors).
Candidly, if your financial advisor is an independent advisor (95% of Canadian financial advisors are) it is unlikely a continuity plan exits.
In this case, you need to:
- Understand the impending transition from your current advisor to another.
- Ask now about your advisor’s retirement date
- Ask how he or she specifically intends to handle your account throughout and after the remainder of his or her career
- Ask yourself if you want to stay with your current advisor or:
- Move to someone with a continuity plan that is a better match for you
- Move to a “firm” of multiple advisors who share responsibility for managing your affairs and has a continuity plan contemplating the retirement of your primary advisor
- Do you want your current advisor to handpick his successor at his future retirement date?
- How quickly would a successor advisor be able to become familiar with your affairs?
- Look for an upgrade.
- You may be satisfied with your current advisor but there is always room for improvement. Your advisor will appreciate your input on how his or her services could be improved.
- Take this opportunity to reset your expectations and clarify how your needs are changing.
- Ask questions. You want to know all about your options long before you are notified of a transition from or retirement of your advisor.
Remember, your financial advisor will at sometime retire or slowdown. Advisors’ also must face mortality and/or health and family issues that will affect their ability to continue providing the services you have engaged them to provide to you.
This means you MUST TAKE CHARGE OF YOUR RELATIONSHIP with your advisors and that you should always feel free to change this relationship to best match the services you want. To do this you deserve answers from your professional advisors as to how their personal and business plans will affect you and your family. After all, you sought out a relationship with an advisor to address your and your families needs that will likely cover a period extending well beyond the career of your primary advisor.
About the Author:
Donavon K. Tofin CPA, CA, CFP
Don Tofin is a Senior Financial Advisor with Assante Financial Management Ltd. Please contact him and his team at 1-877-996-8696 to discuss your particular circumstances prior to acting on the information above.