A guide to money management: Who should handle your nest egg?

The Globe and Mail – By Dianne Maley

At age 59, Anne-Marie is at a turning point. She and her husband ran a business for decades before it closed, and he recently died. She sold the family house in the city to free up some cash, then moved to a small town and bought a condo.

With the house sale, her retirement savings amount to $1.1-million, and she wonders what to do with that sum.

Anne-Marie is a composite of a number of men and women who have written to The Globe and Mail’s Financial Facelift feature seeking advice.

Where should someone like Anne-Marie look for advice, and how much should she pay for it? Who should handle her nest egg and help her invest it? The options are many for those with larger sums of money, and they can be confusing. While a robo-advisor could work for her, older people can be less comfortable with technology and likely to need more in-depth financial planning.

Macdonald, Shymko & Co. Ltd. of Vancouver offers a similar service to a broad base of clients seeking independent, fee-only financial planning and optional portfolio management. Like Kerr, Macdonald, Shymko does not sell investment products.

“You’re paying for advice, not the product,” said Ian Black, a financial planner and portfolio manager. Macdonald, Shymko’s clients pay an hourly rate or a price determined in advance for a particular project, Mr. Black says. At $260 an hour, a retirement analysis like Anne-Marie needs would cost $1,500 to $2,500, he says.

Clients can take the plan to their own investment adviser or have Macdonald, Shymko manage the money for them. All in, the fee is about 1.2 per cent on $1-million, or $12,000 a year. Money is held by a separate custodian and invested mainly in exchange-traded funds (ETFs), Mr. Black says.

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