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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