As Canada’s population ages, debt levels continue to ascend at the fastest rate we’ve ever seen. But with discipline, planning and the professional guidance from a financial advisor, Canadians can become educated, confident savers.

“Canadians are living beyond their means and need more of a reality check with respect to where they are at in their financial lives,” says Greg Pollock, President & CEO, Advocis. Seeking out a financial advisor is essential when planning for short or long-term goals. The role and responsibilities of an industry professional includes more than just assessing your financial health and finding solutions to those challenges, an advisor can also provide you with peace of mind and the comfort of knowing that you have a trusted source and plan in place for the betterment of your future.

"With discipline, planning and the professional guidance from a financial advisor, Canadians can become educated, confident savers."

Find the perfect fit

There are specific qualities and credentials that you should look out for when searching for assistance. It is recommended that you hire a licensed professional, however, it is not absolutely necessary. The most important indicator of a qualified advisor is a recognized designation within the financial services area. Secondly, you want to look for someone who is a member of a professional association, because often times those individuals hold themselves to a higher standard. Last but not least, your advisor must maintain ongoing education to stay up-to-date with changes in the industry. “You have to find someone who is the right fit. Does this person strike you as knowledgeable? Do they strike you as trustworthy? Do you feel comfortable with them? Frankly, if you say no to any of those questions, you should walk away,” Pollock continues. “You have to find someone who you can work with, I mean after all, this person is going to be pursuing some fairly intimate discussions with you about money.”

"The reality is, nothing in life is guaranteed and if you don’t have a financial plan in place then you are setting yourself up for disappointment."

Reap the benefits

The reality is, nothing in life is guaranteed and if you don’t have a financial plan in place then you are setting yourself up for disappointment. One of the biggest fears and concerns Canadians have is outliving their money and not having enough to live comfortably in retirement. “There seems to be a common misconception out there that you have to have a lot of money to have a financial advisor, you can start early, you can start saving today,” states Pollock. “If you start early then over the next 30 to 40 years, on average, you are going to be much better prepared and likely fully-prepared to address all of your financial challenges. Making a life change isn’t easy, but it’s worth it. The goal is to achieve financial health one step at a time.