I am currently listening to Tony Robbins book Money, master the game.  I am happy to say, that all the things I teach, he teaches as well.  I think I am a little more practical than he is. Tony like so many Financial instuctors comes from an American background. What I teach applies to Canada.  We have very different banking rules and laws here. What I teach works even better in the United States, because the US is still the most investor friendly country in the world.

In his book, he talks about a “Fiduciary Advisor”.  In the Real Estate course I am taking, it talks about the “Fiduciary” responsibilities an agent owes his “Clients”.  Fiduciary basically means that you put the client’s best interests above your own.  You don’t do, or recommend, anything that makes you (or your Company) more money than it makes for your client.  Sounds like basic ethics to me, but I guess it is not that common. 

I figured I better look up some Canadian Fiduciary advisors.  The search was very frustrating.  Very few answers came up.  However, I did find this interesting definition on the Wealth Professional web site.

Canadian securities regulations place different standards of care upon financial advisors depending on how they act on behalf of their clients. Currently there is no single standard that applies to all advisors. Advisors fall under these two registration categories on the Canadian Securities Administrator’s national registry search:

Dealing Representative – This category includes virtually all Investment Financial Advisors. Regulations only require them to ensure that investments they recommend are suitable for their clients.
Advising Representative – Held to a fiduciary standard.

Here is a link to that article so you can read the whole thing yourself.  The underlining is mine to add emphasis.  That means that “Virtually All” investment Financial Advisors do not have to do what is better for you than for them.  That makes sense of so many of the experiences I have had with Financial Planners.  I fired my last one about 2 years ago.  I have done about 6% better than they did over that time. 

My mission is to make people more interested in their money, and help them to learn how make it grow.  Most people think that means handing over their money to a stranger, who will invest it for them, in a high return Mutual Fund.  That usually means a Fund that makes the Fund Company 2 to 5 times more than it makes you.  So, when the Planner says “This fund has a 5 year average return of 3%, and is safe, is that ok with you?” and you say YES.  That means the suggested Fund is suitable for the client.  It does not mean that the Fund is giving you the best return possible.  

Remember, NOTHING is free.  You might not pay your regular financial planner by the hour, but they are getting paid.  Their pay comes out of the money that the fund makes.  You will probably never know exactly how much the Fund makes or its true expenses.  But each Fund has a listed MER.  Management Expense Ratio.  This is the percentage of the Funds value that is taken out to pay most of the expenses.  Like your advisor’s commission.  MERs of 3% or more are not uncommon.  Those expenses are eating away at what should be YOUR money.Don’t expect your advisor to recommend Funds that do not belong to his/her company.  If they did that, they would not get paid.  If you’re not ready to get into stocks on your own, which is what most Mutual Funds are based on, you can buy Mutual Funds and ETFs (Exchange Traded Funds) from your own online trading account.  This allows you to buy the best Mutual Funds regardless of who’s it is.  Could buy one from TD (Toronto Dominion Bank) another from CIBC (Bank of Commerce) and another from BoM (Bank of Montreal).

Stocks and Mutual Funds are not the only form of investment that can lead to wealth.  There are 2 others.  Real Estate, and your own business.  You could even do some of all three.  I will admit that I have made the most money in Real Estate.  Putting $50,000.00 into a stock and selling it for $100,000.00 doesn’t happen every month/year.  (Not to say that isn’t possible.)  But, it is very likely to happen to a smart Real Estate investor.

Building a business can be just as lucrative.  Today, with the internet, there are whole reams of new business ideas and “app”s that can make several thousand dollars a week or month.  If “Diversification is the key to investing success, then why not be in all three.

I like to listen to several people who have opinions on the same subject.  Each may offer a single pearl of wisdom.  Each individual pearl is valuable, but not near as valuable as when we have strung them all together into a fine necklace.  I have a basic philosophy about life.  THINK SIMPLE!  Guess what!  It is simple.  With Real Estate and Stocks it is: Buy LOW Sell HIGH.  In business it is Do more than the customer expects.I thought investing was way beyond my skill level.  But a collection of courses on stock investing, stock chart reading, Mutual funds, Real Estate Investing, and a small mountain of books later, I have found it fun.  Reading a book, or doing an online course, is more likely to bring me wealth, rather than watching the Kardashians.  Start small, and learn from each experience.  Then try the next level.  Next thing you know you’re an accomplished Investor.