Community When to Break Up with Your Financial Adviser

    When to Break Up with Your Financial Adviser


    When it comes to your financial advisor, breaking up can be hard to do. We all want to be successful at the finish line. But, as runners, we know it can be hard. 

    You may only hear from your advisor when they want to execute a buy or sell order on your portfolio. If you find yourself listening to other financial advice, or looking at your advisor report with a critical eye, you’re probably ready to make a break.

    Financial advisors are in place to help people manage their money and reach their financial goals. They are like coaches who provide a plan so that you can reach that ultimate goal of not only finishing a race—but to help you execute the perfect race plan to be your best on race day. As we all know, the finish line with your investments is retirement. 

    Ben Kaplan after crossing the finish line during Tartan Ottawa International Marathon. (Photo by Richard A. Whittaker/

    We can’t keep moving the finish line.

    Financial advisors can provide a range of financial planning services, from money management and budgeting guidance to investment management. Some financial advisors (like running coaches) have additional certifications or expertise that allow them to help with complex financial topics—such as estate planning, insurance needs or tax preparation. 

    Finding the right financial advisor for your situation is key—doing so means you won’t end up working with an advisor who isn’t a good fit for your financial goals. I liken this to having the right coach who can create a race plan to reach your goal: If you’re training for a 5K, would you run a marathon first?

    Before you start looking for the right advisor, reflect on what you’re hoping to get out of that relationship and decide if you are receiving this service already. 

    If not, it may be time to change financial advisors as they provide a wide range of services. 

    It’s a good idea to know what you need help with before you begin your search. 

    Some advisors may specialize in particular areas of finance, or investment advice, while others may provide holistic help, guiding you on everything from savings goals to retirement and estate planning. The best advisors are in this area—full circle—as the holistic approach makes the most sense when we are talking about life.

    Identify why you’re looking for financial help by asking the following questions:

    •       Do you need help with a budget?
    •       Do you want help investing?
    •       Would you like to create a financial plan?
    •       Do you have savings goals you need help reaching?
    •       Do you need to get your estate plan in order or create a trust?
    •       Do you need tax help?
    •     Are you interested in holistic financial management?

    Changing financial advisors can feel shameful as it can be seen as a failure on your part to understand the inner workings of your finances. While performance of your retirement savings over time is an obvious metric by which to judge your financial advisor, the relationship often ends for more emotional reasons. If the end result of changing advisors will create a better future for you—and investments moving forward—then you should make a change.

    I’ve done this for 25 years. About the same amount of time I’ve been running and focussing on health and wellness. If you want a confidential, free assessment, reach out anytime.

    I’ve seen so many runner’s lives change. 

    Winston Cook offers financial advice and planning and is a fixture at Canadian road races. For more information, click here.