“I want to invest my money,” you say to yourself. It seems like a great idea – you’ve been saving because you want to buy a house, plan for your kids’ schooling. Maybe you just want to make sure your hard-earned cash is being put to good use.
There’s just one problem: you have no idea where to start.
Investment advisors (also called investment managers), wealth managers, portfolio managers, financial advisors and mutual fund dealers – they all sound the same to you. When you look at investment options, things get even murkier.
You’re not confident you can pick the right investments yourself, and when you think about getting professional help, you’re unsure about what the different titles mean, whether it’s worth paying for their services – or if it’s worth paying anyone at all.
There are an ever-growing number of options out there for investors, at every wealth level. From do-it yourself options, to robo advisors and full-service shops, there all sorts of professionals and services you can use to make the most of your investment choices.
If you only have a few thousand dollars to invest, you’re unlikely to hire a full service advisor, but you can talk to a financial planner to start educating yourself, make sure you have the right priorities in place, and begin investing through Tax-Free Savings Accounts or RRSPs. Maybe your best bet is simply to pay off debt.
When you reach a certain wealth level, tax strategies, estate planning and capital preservation become important questions – and that’s where money managers can prove to be invaluable.
It’s important to consider, however, that not all financial professionals are created equal. They will have different qualifications, titles and experience – and that will impact what they can do for you.
Below we break down the most common investment professionals, and how they can help: