Here are some answers.
Have a different question? Email me and I'll be happy to help!

What is a financial counsellor and what is a financial planner?

Financial Counsellors have skills to teach and assist people with the complex process of financial decision-making, including:

  • Educating clients in sound financial principles
     
  • Assisting clients in the process of overcoming financial indebtedness
     
  • Helping clients identify and modify ineffective money management behaviours
     
  • Guiding clients in developing successful strategies for achieving financial goals
     
  • Supporting clients as they work through financial challenges and opportunities
     
  • Helping clients develop new perspectives on the dynamics of money in relation to family, friends, and self-esteem

Financial Counsellors are equipped to navigate through financial crises such as credit and debt issues, bankruptcy, and foreclosure, as well as work with clients to develop and implement effective spending plans, eliminate debt, build savings, and create meaningful solutions to maintain financial stability and reach the client’s financial goals. 

Financial Counselling focuses on the complexity of day-to-day decisions and behaviours that contribute to short and long-term financial well-being, as well as helping individuals understand a range of options for developing resources for today and tomorrow.

Financial Planning focuses on making the most of resources already acquired. Financial Planning can look at: insurance and benefits, investments and securities, income and other taxes, asset protection, retirement, and estate planning. 

I'm currently completing my Accredited Financial Counsellor - Canada® designation through the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education® and the Ontario Association of Credit Counselling Services, as well as my Certified Financial Planner® designation through the Canadian Institute of Financial Planning / Financial Planning Standards Council and George Brown College. Both certifications require substantial study and examination, as well as practical experience working with clients like you!


What can you help me with specifically and how are your services different from what they offer at my bank?

I can help you create a fulsome plan that addresses your personal goals and and maps out strategies to align your behaviours and actions towards achieving those goals. I can also provide information about the array of financial services and products available that you may want to consider in your plan. With that information, you will have greater confidence as you evaluate the products and services your bank (or other financial service providers) are trying to sell to you, and you'll know what to ask to make sure you understand 1) what you're getting and 2) what they are getting from  you in return. In many ways financial education is like developing an understanding of how cars work, knowing how models generally compare and what options there are for purchasing a car before you walk onto the used-car lot.  


What information will I need to bring to an Individual Session to make the most of our time?

When you confirm an Individual Session, you will receive a simple document outlining the information you should find and jot down in advance of our session. You will be entirely in charge of the content of what we talk about and you can bring any information you want to the session – or bring estimates that you can refine later when you are using the tools at home. Most people bring the details of their basic and regular income and expenses and some specifics about decisions they are trying to make – and we use that as a starting place.


What level of financial knowledge do I need to benefit from working with you?

If you are managing your day-to-day finances, making choices about how to spend your income, and grappling with financial questions, you have all the expertise you need to get started. Most people have much of their financial picture already in their heads – knowing what bills need to be paid when and how much you need in your bank account at various times of the month – and the difficulty comes from being overwhelmed by all of our needs and options. I'll meet you where you're at: we will take all the bits and pieces you know, organize them in a way that makes it much easier to see what’s going on, and help you make decisions about what you’d like to see happening in the future.


My finances are a mess and stress me out. I don't want to feel worse. Will you be nice about it?

I will totally be nice about it! Our work very quickly brings clarity and order to create a picture of what’s going on with your finances. Many clients comment on how much they were afraid to see what was happening with their accounts, but when they see it laid out they feel relief, clarity and control over moving forwards. Our process is customized to where you’re at, what you’re trying to work through, and what pace you're comfortable with. I'm here to help you.


Can you tell me more about this Excel worksheet? I'm not an expert in Excel.

You don’t need to know anything about Excel to learn to use the Smart Money tools – you just need access to a version of Excel 2010 or later (Google spreadsheets, Numbers, or older versions of Excel will not work).  I will help you navigate the templates and get you started. They are designed so that you can quickly learn where to put in your details and then the program does all the math and organization work for you. With basic computer skills, you will catch on quickly!


Do you work evenings or weekends? I have a 9-5 job.

I offer a wide range meeting and workshop times including mornings, lunches, evenings, and on weekends.


Where are you located?

I meet with clients and teach workshops at a wide range of locations in Toronto. I have many sessions at Artscape Youngplace, 180 Shaw Street, in the Queen and Ossington area. 


What if I have to re-schedule a session?

Cancellations and rescheduling are possible up to 72 hours / 3 days in advance of a session. After that time a 50% cancellation fee will apply.


Do I have to pay upfront? How do I pay you?

You are required to provide a credit card to secure your appointment, but you are not charged until after your session. You can pay with the credit card provided, with another card, or by cash, cheque or debit. 


Is there a minimum or maximum number of participants required for Group Workshops?

All Group Workshops are customized for the host and there is no minimum enrolment. The structure of the workshop will shift depending on the number of participants and time available. 


Do you offer any public Group Workshops?

Yes, I have offered a number of public workshops in partnership with arts organizations. I promote upcoming workshops open for public registration on the Tips section of the website and on my social media pages.


What types of organizations do you do Group Workshops for?

Group workshops can be customized for a wide range of arts service organizations, arts and culture organizations and companies, universities and other training programs.