When people say, “I’ll have to ask my money guy” — I’m that money guy, at least for a lot of my friends and family.

Being a “money guy” doesn’t mean memorizing income tax brackets or being able to pick stocks.  Instead, it’s mostly about the ability to break down unfamiliar terms and concepts into digestible chunks so that people can understand how their finances work.

To that end, I’ve been trying for years to explain to my friends and family that the traditional mutual fund model for investing in Canada is incredibly expensive, and not a great way to build wealth. I tried every trick in the book when it came to explaining how to get set up online to buy your own stocks, bonds, and ETFs. I highlighted how much money they would save on investing fees, and why index investing was so simple and easy… and then looked on as nothing changed.

DIY investing is an excellent deal, and is still how I invest, but a lot of my friends just don’t want to buy and sell their own ETFs or stocks. Here’s why I’ve started recommending Canada’s robo-advisors:

  • It’s the simplest way to get money from a paycheque to an investment portfolio!
  • Very low fees relative to Canada’s average mutual fund.
  • Their index investing principles are simple, effective, and easy to understand.
  • Convenient, user-friendly online access.
  • Automatic rebalancing and asset allocation based on your risk tolerance and investment goals.
  • Robo-advisors in Canada are considered quite safe, as they are governed by IIROC and have a legal fiduciary duty that protects clients’ best interests.
  • They help with understanding everyday questions such as “RRSP vs TFSA” and “isn’t the stock market risky right now?”

The biggest reason that I now recommend robo-advisors to most of my friends is that they work. Getting started and paying slightly more in fees than a DIY portfolio beats not getting started at all by a huge margin!

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