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Kristine Beese gets the frustration women experience when trying to find someone to help them to understand money better.

The founder and chief executive officer of Untangle Money in Toronto says her new Untangle MINI program targets women who don’t need a full-fledged financial plan, but rather need a few pointers to get established in the right direction.

Ms. Beese notes that most advisors only work with high-net-worth individuals and have an account minimum of at least $250,000 to $500,000, so women who don’t fall in that category don’t have many options.

Globe Advisor spoke with Ms. Beese recently to get her thoughts on her program and what it can be like for women dealing with a traditional advisor.

What has been your personal experience dealing with advisors in the past?

Women have different needs than men when it comes to how and why we spend our money. When I worked as a waitress, I once went to an investment advisor. He saw my manicure and said, “You don’t need to spend money to get your nails done.” But I served people food with my hands and my contract stated that I had to maintain a certain level of appearance. That was a priority for me. This is one of many examples of the misalignment and lack of understanding that women may have different priorities for their money.

Describe how the Untangle MINI program will work.

I created Untangle MINI to focus on regular middle-income Canadian women. The aim was to provide something that didn’t cost $2,500, which is the average cost of a fee-for-service financial plan. Untangle MINI is $499 (a one-time price) and the women have access to one hour of live one-on-one personalized financial coaching, access to our web algorithm, and an actionable approach to thinking about their money. It’s strictly focused on learning about money. We don’t sell insurance or investment products, so our guidance is unbiased.

How does the program differ from other financial coaching programs in the marketplace?

Traditional questions posed by advisors don’t adapt to how women typically think about money. The first question is usually, “What is your financial goal?” but I’ve found that most women don’t think about money in terms of goals. They instead want to know what they can afford, and if they will be okay in the future. We focus on two actionable numbers – how much you can afford to spend for every hour that you work, and how much you need to invest monthly at a certain rate of return to be on track for the retirement you select. We really concentrate on how much you have to work with because the average person just doesn’t have the money to do it all as much wealthier Canadians do.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

– Deanne Gage, Globe Advisor reporter

Must-reads from Globe Advisor this week

Why it’s important to update key financial and legal documents before travelling

Travel by Canadians to other countries reached almost two-thirds (63 per cent) of pre-pandemic 2019 levels in July and August of 2022, according to Statistics Canada. This summer, it’s likely those numbers will push higher. In turn, some experts suggest advisors should use the opportunity when clients talk about their travel plans to remind them about the importance of updating financial and legal paperwork. Erin Bury, co-founder and chief executive officer of do-it-yourself online will platform Willful in Toronto, says surveys of customers over the years put travel among the top five reasons people create a will. Yet, recent research her firm commissioned from Angus Reid revealed only 22 percent of Canadian parents would update legal documents, including wills, before taking a trip without their kids. Alison MacAlpine provides more details.

Here are 12 stocks money managers think you should own for the long term

For some investors, owning stocks is a long-term commitment. Some hang on to a stock (or fund) longer than they do a car or a job. In some cases, the holding might even outlast their marriage. Investors can potentially see huge gains when they stick with a security long-term, through market ups and downs. The trick is to choose the right investments and, of course, there are no guarantees. Globe Advisor asked a dozen Canadian money managers to list one stock (or fund) they own and recommend investors hold for at least the next 10 years as part of their broader portfolio mix. Brenda Bouw reports.

How to avoid becoming a victim of financial scams

One glance at a list of unopened e-mails and some are likely to be some sort of investment or financial scheme. But what if the sender’s name was an advisor’s, asking the client for a deposit? According to the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA), there has been an increase in scammers impersonating legitimate financial advisors and financial planners. Mark McGrath, certified financial planner and wealth advisor with Sweeney Bride Strategic Wealth Advisory at Wellington-Altus Private Wealth Inc., says the issue of someone posing as him is not something that has come up with clients, but concedes that perhaps it should. After all, he has never met most of his clients in person. He has clients residing in several provinces, while he works out of his home office in Squamish, B.C., and books 99 per cent virtual meetings. Deanne Gage outlines some tips on prevention.

Also see:

Why passing down valuable artwork requires careful tax and estate planning

Why natural gas investments are a good buy amid the energy transition

How to clear the fog around financial planning for dementia

Another Bank of Canada interest rate hike in the cards in this week’s Advisor Lookahead

What you and your clients need to know

High interest rates mean the new normal in vehicle buying is a monthly payment in the $1,000 range

The average new vehicle loan payment is about $880 per month and almost 30 per cent of buyers who finance their purchase are paying $1,000 or more. The effect of high interest rates on houses and groceries has been talked about a lot, but what’s happening in the driveways of the nation is equally dramatic. As depicted by data analysis company J.D. Power, new vehicle affordability has blown a gasket. Rob Carrick has more on the trend of rising automotive prices.

Laurentian Bank puts itself up for sale, hires advisors to approach other Canadian lenders

Laurentian Bank of Canada is up for sale, with larger rivals now circling the country’s ninth-largest lender in pursuit of a deal that would continue a trend toward consolidation in financial services, sources say. Laurentian’s board of directors recently hired financial and legal advisers to shop the Montreal-based bank to potential buyers quietly, according to four sources with knowledge of the process. Two of those sources said Laurentian is believed to have received a bid from an undisclosed rival bank that helped spur the sale process. Andrew Willis, Stefanie Marotta and James Bradshaw have the scoop.

New CEO of First Nations Bank plans to expand wealth-management services for Indigenous clients

The new head of First Nations Bank of Canada (FNBC) plans to expand into wealth management, a move meant to ensure the Indigenous-owned lender offers the services its clients need to be in charge of their own money. The Saskatoon-based bank recruited Goldman Sachs Group Inc. veteran Bill Lomax earlier this year as its chief executive officer, succeeding founding CEO Keith Martell. In one of his first interviews since taking the job in May – while in Ottawa to meet with federal Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland – Mr. Lomax outlined a strategy aimed at doubling FNBC’s size and reach over the next three to five years. Andrew Willis spoke to Mr. Lomax about his vision.

The cost of keeping your independence in retirement could be $3,500 a month

The work of retirement planning keeps getting harder. High interest rates and inflation are soaking up money for retirement savings in some households, and longer lifespans require people to save more or cut back on living expenses as a retiree. Now comes one more complication: We’re living longer, but not healthier. Health issues can be managed so that you have a good quality of life, but the expense is potentially massive. Reckoning with this cost is best done in the retirement planning stage as opposed to in your 80s or 90s, when your options are more limited. You need to answer this question before you retire: If I need extensive care in retirement, how will I afford it? Rob Carrick has some suggestions.

– Globe Advisor Staff


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