One of the great joys of running this blog is that I’ve been able to help so many Canadians take control of their finances and gain a greater understanding of their relationship with money. The blog comments, emails, and daily interactions on social media is what ultimately led to the start of my own fee-only financial planning business – to offer more comprehensive and personalized advice for Canadians at any stage of their financial journey.

The service has grown every year, and the majority of clients have been blog readers for many months, if not years. Still, not everyone is interested in, or even at the point in their lives when they’re ready for, a full comprehensive financial plan. Price can also be an obstacle, with a couples plan starting at $1,200.

Many readers and prospective clients are just looking to address one particular area of their finances, such as investing, cash flow management, debt management, estate planning, analyzing insurance needs, or running a retirement income projection.

I’ve wanted to create another service tier for some time to address these inquiries and help more people with their money decisions. Enter Money Gaps, an online financial planning platform developed by Preet Banerjee to bring low-cost, holistic financial advice to the masses.

With Money Gaps, prospective clients fill out a 15-question snapshot of their finances, and identify one area that is most important today (estate planning, life insurance, retirement planning, disability insurance, emergency fund, credit / debt, cash flow, education savings, investments, taxes, or more than one).

Money Gaps

You’ll get a free financial snapshot that highlights potential ‘gaps’ or areas that may need to be addressed. I’ll also receive a notification that you’ve completed the questionnaire and will be prompted to follow up and discuss the results. We’ll then analyze your money gaps and generate an easy-to-understand report card with a grade for different categories.

My plan is to use Money Gaps to offer a ‘light advice’ service for those looking to address one or two areas of their finances, but who don’t require a full financial plan. I haven’t come up with a price for this service yet, but expect it to be much lower than the full comprehensive plan.

That’s where you come in. I’d love to have 20 readers join me to test the Money Gaps platform. You’ll get a free financial snapshot and the opportunity to address one area of your finances with me. I’ll use the experience and your feedback to design a new tier of financial planning service to launch in the fall.

If you’d like to participate please leave a comment below. I’ll email the first 20 people who respond with a link to the Money Gaps questionnaire. Thanks in advance for your support!

This Week’s Recap:

I managed one post this week where I compared Vanguard’s VBAL to Mawer’s Balanced Fund in a battle of one-stop investing solutions.

I’ve written a series of posts that look at when to take CPP. Now I’m getting questions about when to take OAS. I plan to tackle that subject soon, along with a follow up to answer reader questions about CPP survivor benefits and drop-out years.

I also have a draft post looking at the growing niche of sustainable investing, plus an interview with a Wealthsimple advisor on how the robo-advisor handles retirement withdrawals. Stay tuned!

Promo of the Week:

Speaking of Wealthsimple, the company had one of the more clever marketing campaigns I’ve seen lately when it sponsored a tiny stadium the size of a caesar salad in front of the Scotiabank Arena in downtown Toronto. The point of this stunt was to highlight that stadium sponsorships are expensive – the Scotia deal is worth $800 million over 20 years – and the money being thrown around by big banks comes on the backs of their customers who pay high fees for banking and investment products.

The robo-advisor also studied the painfully slow (and expensive) process to transfer funds from one bank to another. Nearly half of Wealthsimple’s clients fund their accounts this way – a process I wrote about here with how to transfer your RRSP to Wealthsimple.

They found the average transfer time was 19 days and cost $135 in transfer-out fees. Wealthsimple helps ease that process by:

  • Promising to initiate transfers within 24 hours of receiving paperwork
  • Paying other institutions’ fees on all account transfers >$5K
  • Never charging fees to withdraw funds

Boomer & Echo readers get their first $10,000 managed free for one year when they open up a new Wealthsimple account.

Weekend Reading:

Another bit of marketing genius has been Questrade’s television commercials challenging investors to ask tough questions of their advisors. Dale Roberts takes a look at the industry response to these ads.

Why advice-only planner Shannon Lee Simmons offers no shame advice on getting rid of debt.

The Irrelevant Investor Michael Batnick tackles the topic of whether low interest rates are punishing savers. His take:

There are a lot of problems in this world, but the idea that savers are being robbed by lower interest rates, in my opinion, is not one of them. Here’s why:

  • Why should people be entitled to reward with no risk?

    What’s so great about high interest rates? Be careful what you wish for.

    Low rates are bad for risk-free investors, but they’re good for consumers.

    Who are these “savers” everyone keeps talking about anyway?

Batnick’s partner in crime Ben Carlson looks at different ways to be rich in 2019.

A financial planner and retirement expert shared an interesting post on Forbes: Will retirement turn you into a liar?

In his latest Common Sense Investing Video, PWL Capital’s Ben Felix examines Real Estate Investment Trusts:

Of Dollars and Data blogger Nick Magguilli looks at the seduction of above average and how we can trick ourselves into trying to beat the market.

A cautionary tale on TFSA withdrawals and how to avoid getting dinged with a penalty.

Finally, Stephen Weyman at Credit Card Genius shares how he earned 11,172 Air Miles in one year and how he plans to use those miles to get maximum value.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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105 Comments

  1. Nate on August 17, 2019 at 1:49 pm

    Mine is pretty straight forward but I would like to participate.

    • Frank Pelsoczi on August 17, 2019 at 2:43 pm

      I would like to try and participate.

  2. Randall on August 17, 2019 at 1:54 pm

    I would like to try money gaps thanks

    • Tom Andrasi on August 18, 2019 at 7:35 am

      Interested in Money Gaps participation.
      Getting close to retirement and would like to look at planning income from assets.

  3. Dennis on August 17, 2019 at 1:57 pm

    I would like to try Money Gaps.

    • Mark on August 17, 2019 at 2:51 pm

      I would like to participate, thanks.

  4. GYM on August 17, 2019 at 1:59 pm

    Thanks for the mention! Have a great weekend, can’t believe summer is almost over 🙁

  5. Deborah on August 17, 2019 at 2:18 pm

    Would love to try Money Gaps.

  6. David Mackey on August 17, 2019 at 2:24 pm

    I think you’re onto a great idea. Love to help out.

  7. Brenda Alexander-Archer on August 17, 2019 at 2:26 pm

    I would love to test drive this.

  8. Beth on August 17, 2019 at 2:28 pm

    Would love to test drive Money Gaps!

    • Jane Mackley on August 17, 2019 at 2:37 pm

      I would be happy to try Money Gaps.

  9. cheryl on August 17, 2019 at 2:30 pm

    Would like to try Money Gaps

  10. Alex Howell on August 17, 2019 at 2:31 pm

    I would live to try money gaps, thank you.

  11. Shiv on August 17, 2019 at 2:31 pm

    Thanks for the opportunity Robb, would love to give it a shot.

  12. Nicole on August 17, 2019 at 2:32 pm

    Interested to try money gaps

    • Hetty on August 17, 2019 at 2:36 pm

      Oh my, I’m so excited!!! Would love to be part of the test-drive!!

    • Jennifer on August 17, 2019 at 3:46 pm

      Hoping to enter retirement, within the next year. Would appreciate advice. Thanks for the opportunity to participate.

  13. Jim on August 17, 2019 at 2:34 pm

    I would like to offer to test it out.

  14. Ramona on August 17, 2019 at 2:35 pm

    I’d like to try Money Gaps. Thanks for the offer!

  15. Murray on August 17, 2019 at 2:35 pm

    I would also like to participate in Money Gaps trial

    • Ken on August 17, 2019 at 2:44 pm

      I would like to paricipate in the Money Gaps trial.

    • Matt on August 17, 2019 at 3:10 pm

      I would like to participate in the trial run. Thanks!

  16. Jennifer on August 17, 2019 at 2:37 pm

    Hi. I’m interested in seeing how Money Gaps works out. Would be interested in being a part of the testing. Thanks?

  17. herb kruizenga on August 17, 2019 at 2:39 pm

    I’ll give this a go. For sure!

    • Karen on August 17, 2019 at 6:39 pm

      I’d like to try Money Gaps!

  18. Alex on August 17, 2019 at 2:40 pm

    It would be great to try money gaps

  19. Joe Strasser on August 17, 2019 at 2:43 pm

    I would really appreciate trying money gaps

  20. John on August 17, 2019 at 2:45 pm

    Hi Robb, this would be something I would be very interested in. I was thinking about a full financial plan but there are too many uncertainties and variables, so a Gap questionnaire would be a great start. Count me in

  21. Bob Lin on August 17, 2019 at 2:46 pm

    I would like to test this app out. My finances are pretty sound, at least I think they are, I’m looking for a service I can direct friends and family to.

  22. Derek on August 17, 2019 at 2:46 pm

    Would like to give it a try.

  23. ann on August 17, 2019 at 2:48 pm

    Yes, please! Would love to participate!

  24. Bill gow on August 17, 2019 at 2:48 pm

    Would love to participate

  25. Ron on August 17, 2019 at 2:51 pm

    I would like to give it a go and be a part of your test panel.

  26. John on August 17, 2019 at 2:52 pm

    Happy to participate.

  27. Sheldon Gardner on August 17, 2019 at 2:52 pm

    I would love to try this out.

  28. Janet on August 17, 2019 at 2:53 pm

    Would love to learn more. I’m on the brink of retirement and would like to get a different perspective.

  29. Pawan Agrawal on August 17, 2019 at 2:55 pm

    I am interested in participating in Money Gap Test.

  30. MarcelinA on August 17, 2019 at 2:56 pm

    I’m interested in participating. Thanks for considering me!

    Marcelina

  31. Dan on August 17, 2019 at 2:58 pm

    Would love to help

    • Dan on August 18, 2019 at 7:49 pm

      Funny I was the 15th responder now it looks like I’m close to 30

  32. Bob Lin on August 17, 2019 at 3:00 pm

    Robb, re your future post about CPP, the subject I haven’t seen discussed anywhere is the impact of arriving in Canada in your mid 30s or later, and retiring at 60. Can the years prior to arriving in Canada be “dropped out”.

    Like I said, a potential subject for a future post.

  33. Kent on August 17, 2019 at 3:00 pm

    I’d like to venture into Money Gaps, please,

    • Rod on August 17, 2019 at 3:21 pm

      I would like to try Money Gaps

  34. Ian Barbour on August 17, 2019 at 3:01 pm

    Would be happy to try Money Gaps with you ………………

  35. Christine on August 17, 2019 at 3:03 pm

    I would love to try out Money Gaps.

  36. Bernie Carrier on August 17, 2019 at 3:04 pm

    I would like to participate

  37. Lisa on August 17, 2019 at 3:06 pm

    Sure, love to! I’m always learning, have used a few services and planners. Recently retired, need to check my situation regularly including when to go for CPP etc

  38. MarkF on August 17, 2019 at 3:07 pm

    Happy to be a guinea pig for your new service

  39. Nathan on August 17, 2019 at 3:08 pm

    What a great idea! I’d love to participate!

    • Nathan on August 27, 2019 at 10:10 am

      Any word on the money gaps trial? Still would love to be a part of it

      • Robb Engen on August 27, 2019 at 10:52 am

        Hey Nathan, I did respond above – I’ve emailed the first 20 commenters and have completed half the assessments already in the free trial. Unfortunately I couldn’t take everyone – even 20 at once is overwhelming – and there are more than 100 comments here.

        Stay tuned for a launch of the service in September and a discounted rate for Boomer & Echo readers.

        Many thanks,
        Robb

  40. Steve Graham on August 17, 2019 at 3:09 pm

    If you still have some room, I would be interested. I heard Preet Banerjee’s podcast and was intrigued.

  41. Lynn Hoyt on August 17, 2019 at 3:15 pm

    I too would like to give this a try. Looking forward to hearing from you.

  42. Beth on August 17, 2019 at 3:18 pm

    Great idea on Money Gaps – I’d love to try it.

  43. Robert Welsh on August 17, 2019 at 3:18 pm

    I’d love an opportunity to try Money gaps.

  44. Ryan on August 17, 2019 at 3:19 pm

    Love to try this out. Mid 30’s looking to retire early.

  45. Susan on August 17, 2019 at 3:19 pm

    Love to participate in money gap, thank you

  46. Peter on August 17, 2019 at 3:22 pm

    Would love to participate in money gaps!

  47. Chris Dowling on August 17, 2019 at 3:26 pm

    I would love the chance to find out how we should be withdrawing our savings now we are retired.
    Crossing my fingers.

    Chris

  48. Jim Campbell on August 17, 2019 at 3:28 pm

    Good afternoon,

    I would like to participate in money gaps if there is still a spot.

    Thank you.

  49. Tracey H on August 17, 2019 at 3:29 pm

    I have no idea if Money Gaps would work for a newly (really newly) retired couple or not. If so, we’d like to take part. We’ve saved for retirement, but need advice on how to spend the money we’ve saved (which vessels–RRSPs, TFSAs and non-registered accounts– to take out money from and how much from each). If it wouldn’t work for us, we understand you should skip to the next person asking.

  50. Rick Muir on August 17, 2019 at 3:34 pm

    I am interested in participating. I think that I have a good handle on our finances but I am sure there are opportunities to learn more. Thanks

  51. Brad on August 17, 2019 at 3:36 pm

    I’m interested. Responding with a link: https://moneygaps.com/

  52. Karen on August 17, 2019 at 3:39 pm

    I’m keen to help with Money Gaps

  53. Bryan on August 17, 2019 at 3:40 pm

    Would love to participate.

  54. Alicia Dubrawski on August 17, 2019 at 3:41 pm

    Yes I’d love the chance to participate as I have some concerns about retirement

    • Fay Hagel on August 18, 2019 at 6:53 am

      Would love to participate

  55. John on August 17, 2019 at 3:42 pm

    Hi

    I wound love to try money gaps

    John

  56. Jan on August 17, 2019 at 3:45 pm

    I would like to be a test candidate for your program. It sounds like an interesting exercise to undergo now that I am retired and looking at my investments in a different light. Thanks for your posts. I find them very interesting and they add to my knowledge base.

    • Darlene on August 22, 2019 at 2:59 pm

      Would also love to try the Money gaps pilot.

  57. Dan Orescanin on August 17, 2019 at 3:45 pm

    We’re retired also and would be interested in seeing if we have any Money Gaps.

  58. James W on August 17, 2019 at 3:45 pm

    I’d be interested in trying Money Gaps. Thanks 🙂

  59. Robb Engen on August 17, 2019 at 3:46 pm

    Hey all, thanks for the overwhelmingly positive response! Looks like I have 20 candidates, plus plenty on the waiting list.

    The first 20 – please watch your email for the link to the questionnaire.

    Thanks again – you guys are the best!

  60. Vonnie on August 17, 2019 at 3:53 pm

    I would like to try
    But I am already 63

  61. Robert on August 17, 2019 at 3:53 pm

    Hello, I would like to participate in Money Gaps

  62. Chris on August 17, 2019 at 3:57 pm

    I’m interested in testing out Money Gaps, thx

  63. J Curry on August 17, 2019 at 4:02 pm

    I would like to participate

  64. David Stewart on August 17, 2019 at 4:34 pm

    sounds like im too late but interested in the findings

  65. Geoff on August 17, 2019 at 4:46 pm

    I’ll try Money Gaps

  66. Anthony Elder on August 17, 2019 at 5:05 pm

    Evening
    Long time reader
    Recently retired
    Numerous income streams
    Need some unbiased advice
    Would like to participate in the Money Gaps introduction

  67. Sebolino on August 17, 2019 at 5:07 pm

    I want to try it. Thank you.

  68. Tony Newcombe on August 17, 2019 at 5:23 pm

    I’m 62, have put together a financial plan for my wife and myself to retire at 65, and cannot find anyone to review it; financial planners all want to write their own plans or require me to invest all my ETFs with them.

  69. Toby Stewart on August 17, 2019 at 5:27 pm

    Thanks Boomer;
    As a slow weekend reader (who by choice does not monitor email 24-7-365), I guess I’m not in your first 20 ‘free-loaders. Nontheless, I would be interested in trying this out… maybe as a ‘beta-tester’ for a few dollars more than the first folks.
    I passed your blog links on to my own ‘kids’… in their mid-40s… as worth their time to follow your posts.
    Cheers!

  70. Cathy on August 17, 2019 at 5:29 pm

    We would like to participate. Thank you.

  71. Francois on August 17, 2019 at 5:55 pm

    I would like to participate. Thank you.

  72. Dan Price on August 17, 2019 at 6:57 pm

    I would be interested in Money Gaps as well!

  73. Steve on August 17, 2019 at 7:04 pm

    Am probably too late for your first 20 candidates but if they don’t work out please consider me. I’m a perfect candidate in that I’m exactly the guy you’re reaching out to. Am near FIRE. A DIY kinda guy. Don’t want to spend huge money confirming what I already know with a financial plan. Long time reader/lurker. But interested in a second take on my projections and best route forward. Hope I intrigue you enough to make the cut!

  74. Karen Woods on August 17, 2019 at 7:21 pm

    Looks like you have quite a line-up of folks interested in participating in your Money Gaps test. I am one as well. Love reading your emails and have learned so much. Since it appears you are well past your requested 20 folks, I’d be interested in being one of Money Gaps first customers! Thanks!

  75. Crystal on August 17, 2019 at 7:22 pm

    I am so excited that you are offering another option that isn’t so comprehensive! I know I’m not one of your top 20 comments, but I can’t wait until you open this option up! Amazing!

  76. Tracey on August 17, 2019 at 8:10 pm

    Hi there! I’d love to be considered for Money Gaps… if there is room for me to join!
    Thanks!

  77. Sue Copeman on August 17, 2019 at 8:18 pm

    Would love to try money gaps.

  78. Brian So on August 18, 2019 at 12:36 am

    Money Gaps sounds like a great idea Robb. Not everybody needs the whole comprehensive financial plan. Some just need to see if they’re on track in a particular area of their financial plan. This is where bite-sized advice would serve these people better. You might be on to the start of something great here!

    • Ruth Hart on August 18, 2019 at 3:47 am

      I’m not in the first 20 people responding, but I would like to know more about Money Gaps and how it can be useful in the area of cash flow. Thank you
      Robb!

  79. Glen on August 18, 2019 at 5:56 am

    Looks like I didn’t crack the first 20, but would still be interested in participating in your Money Gaps. I think I have most gaps filled in, but am right on the edge of; can I retire early, or should I keep at the daily grind for a while longer?

  80. Blaise on August 18, 2019 at 6:06 am

    Love to try it! 🙂

  81. Glen on August 18, 2019 at 11:57 am

    Hi Robb. Absolutely interested in helping out!

  82. Grace on August 18, 2019 at 7:46 pm

    I realize you have your twenty but I would be interested in participating. My husband and I have been retired for twenty years although this might not meet the requirements you have.

  83. Ben on August 19, 2019 at 7:52 am

    Interested in testing!

  84. Tsering on August 19, 2019 at 10:37 am

    If there are still any spots – I’d be very interested in being part of the Money Gaps platform test. We’ve been discussing about getting some fee only support from you, but find the cost to be a little high and although we may get value for money, currently we need advice in investing and retirement planning.

  85. Steve Bridge on August 19, 2019 at 1:21 pm

    Wow, what a response Robb! Congratulations – it is a reflection of your huge following as well as how many people could use independent unbiased advice.

    I find it interesting that investing is the #1 thing people want help with, yet in actuality, it is down at #4, 5 or 6 in importance for financial security. I think it’s because investing is the ‘sexiest’ aspect of financial planning and also it’s because where over 99% of advisors/banks make their money, so it has been pushed up in importance.

    Cash flow, tax planning, net worth and a whole lot of other questions need to be answered before the investing question even comes into it.

    Keep up the awesome work!

    Steve B.

  86. phil on August 20, 2019 at 11:25 am

    Would also like to test out moneygaps. Preet Banerjee redirected me to you when I ask to be a beta tester.

    My financial situation is little unique because of having a Federal government pension and other factors. If you want a challenge tester, that would be me.

  87. Phil on August 20, 2019 at 11:46 am

    very exciting opportunity…. I would also love to have discussions (money gaps) towards investing as I reach closer to retirement

  88. Will on August 24, 2019 at 12:23 pm

    I would like to try money gaps

  89. Darby on August 25, 2019 at 8:34 am

    In your posting you mentioned 6 different areas that the Money Gaps would be able to address. In your testing, I would think, it would be nice to have people from each of these areas. I am late to the table but would be interested in testing with respect to Estate Planning.

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