Here I am again, harping on about retirement investments. Get used to it. I’m not retiring anytime soon and I’ll have a lot to say in the years ahead.
I’ve always been a good saver, but I’ve been lazy about managing my investments and it has cost me.
Now, I’m taking responsibility. I wish I’d done it a decade ago.
Twenty years ago, I set up a LIRA (locked-in retirement account) with a now-defunct investment firm. I also added an RRSP (registered retirement savings plan) and invested the maximum every year. The money manager moved on to a different firm and took me with him. Until he dumped me because I wasn’t wealthy enough for his time.
This guy also discouraged me from buying back seven years of service in a defined benefit (DB) pension plan in favour of keeping my money with him in RSPs. Stupidly, I failed to research his advice properly and it stands as my worst financial decision ever. Defined benefit pensions (mine is with a Canadian crown corporation and therefore solid) trump RSPs.
Other account managers have come and gone (without any notification other than seeing a new name on my monthly statement), but I think I’ve done okay. My newly-hired independent money coach looked at the management fees and determined they were reasonable.
Still, I’m dumping them before the end of the year. They may have managed my money reasonably well, (am I ‘richer than I think?’) but the customer service is non-existent. They’ve never contacted me to offer paperless statements and emails frequently go unanswered. And, this is a national firm with a swanky office in downtown Vancouver. Admittedly, I’ve not hounded them for service, preferring to let them do their thing.
I was happy as long as the statement amounts were heading in the right direction. Occasionally, the new account manager would call to discuss my investment mix and suggest we meet. I didn’t bother. My instructions were always the same: “XX is my current age. I’m retiring at 65. I’ll take some risk in favour of growth. Make me as much money as you can.”
Last week, I met for 90 minutes with a new firm. I liked them very much. They walked me through their investment philosophy and the way they approach customer service. Most importantly, they didn’t make me feel undeserving of service because I don’t have millions to invest.
What’s more, they spoke very favourably about the other investment firm I’m meeting with later this week. A class act, indeed.
In the coming weeks, I’ll be deciding which company to invest my money with. One or maybe both. I’ll keep you posted.
I’m also firing a chartered Canadian bank holding some of my investments. They’ve been VERY naughty and greedy with management fees. I’ll outline this in a future post.