How To Tell The Difference Between A Professional Financial Planner & A Salesperson

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Fee-Only Retirement Income Planners, Calgary

Have you watched the Oscar-winning movie, Parasite? Interesting Korean movie if you don't mind reading subtitles for 2 hours. At a low point in the movie, when the dad and his son are sleeping on the floor of a gym because their half basement-dwelling has been flooded. The son whispers to the dad, "what's your plan?" The dad asks in return, "do you know what the best plan is?" - to which he responds, "to have no plan, that way, you'll never be disappointed." The truth is, the dad wasn't much of a provider - or planner - this is why they were sleeping in a makeshift refugee shelter.

Mike Tyson once said, "Everyone has a plan until you get punched in the mouth". 

Most people are planners by nature. We plan birthdays, vacations, weddings, anniversaries, hikes, parties, game nights, and watching our favorite TV shows.

Is it worth it to pay for a fee-only Financial Planner? 

What is the value of free advice?.

How would you feel about a Lawyer, Doctor, Counselor, Psychologist, who works for free? Or, their advice was tied to buying their products? Most professionals will offer a free 30-45 minute consultation as they first need to assess how and if they can help you, but they are hoping to get you as a client. When it comes to getting advice, you want that advice to be objective and specific to you. Advice needs to be untangled from any financial products and a planner should follow a process.

The only way you can know for sure that the advice is objective is if you pay for it, otherwise, you will always have a voice in the back of your head asking, "Is this the right choice for me or are they telling me this because they want me to buy something?"

How can you tell the difference between a quality financial planner and a salesperson?

The professional planner will start with your goals and the values that are important to you and your family. Secondly, they will gather all of your financial documents and then build you a plan based on that information. The plan will cover the key areas of planning. Managing cash flow, debt repayment schedule, retirement planning, risk mitigation strategies, tax strategies, asset and investment management, and estate planning. This is comprehensive, and the plan will outline specific actionable recommendations for you to implement in order to reach your goals in a timeline that is reasonable for you. 

Once you have an "unbiased" plan, you can then choose how to implement your plan and start moving towards your goals. Any advisor who quickly jumps to product presentations before the planning is complete is a salesperson and not a trusted advisor. A salesperson is focused on selling you something - anything, as quickly as possible. They tend to talk a lot. They won't listen to you or take the time to understand your situation. There is no discovery or process. They offer "free consults" to get you in the door. A professional planner will meet with you to discuss the details of your situation and will never offer advice until they have fully analyzed your finances. They may offer a complimentary initial meeting, but will then provide you a quote for the work/planning required. They will also have a letter of engagement for you to sign before any work is started.

How confident are you in your current retirement plan? 

On a scale of 1 to 10, how do you feel about your financial house? Is it in perfect order? Are you making progress towards your goals? 

I'm a planner - a Certified Financial Planner. 

This designation is the most recognized and sought-after designation in the financial services industry. It’s a rigorous process that takes a minimum of 3 years to complete. A candidate must complete the required course work, pass 2 national exams that are 4 and 6 hours in length, and have 3 years of full-time work experience doing financial planning with clients. In addition to this, a CFP must adhere to a code of ethics where they always put the interest of their clients first and also complete 30 hours of ongoing continuing education every year.

Nancy and I are a husband and wife team dedicated to helping our clients 55+ make the best financial choices with their money, reach their goals, and live the life they have always imagined. Nancy has been a registered investment professional since 2005. She has worked in large bank-owned firms like CIBC Wood Gundy, BMO Nesbitt Burns, and TD Waterhouse. She has completed numerous courses and has a Certificate in Retirement Strategy.

I started Langford Financial Inc. in 2014 and Nancy joined me shortly after and we have worked diligently to build this business into the thriving retirement income planning practice it is today. We wanted to have a business we could work together in and be on the same schedule. We are empty-nesters, we have one son and daughter in law and we are proud grandparents since March 2019.


How do we help our clients?

The very first thing we do is create an actual retirement income plan for a flat fee which will answer the big 5 questions that most nearly or newly retired people want to know:


  • How much income can I generate from my portfolio?
  • Do I have enough money to retire?
  • Am I going to run out of money?
  • In what order should I take my income to pay the least in taxes?
  • When should I start my government pensions?


Because of our objective approach to planning we provide our clients with a boost of confidence to take the plunge and retire. Our initial plan is helpful in answering these questions and will provide immediate answers for the present time. The problem is, we live in a world where things are constantly changing. There are many variables like rates of return, inflation, taxation, and market volatility. We have realized that our clients need ongoing advice and planning throughout the year, every year, not just at the beginning of our relationship with them.

Here’s a detailed list of what we do for our clients: 

  1. ‚ÄčCreating an actual written retirement income plan with income projections and various scenarios.
  2. Determining the best time to start taking CPP and OAS.
  3. Incorporating our 21 unique planning strategies that are available in retirees.
  4. Taking income from the right source each year all through retirement.
  5. Maximizing tax brackets to save $1000’s in taxes.
  6. Qualifying for GIS and other government benefits.
  7. Investment planning and then ongoing management to select the best asset allocations each year.
  8. Analyzing investment funds and platforms that best suit each client’s needs.
  9. We complete a review of your estate planning needs and have ways to avoid probate and legal fees almost in their entirety.
  10. Risk management review to ensure you have the right insurances and are only paying for what you need, including home and auto, emergency travel coverage, health benefits, and life insurance.
  11. Pre-planning final expenses to save time and money.
  12. Review of your annual tax filing.
  13. Keeping track of your TFSA and RRSP contribution room with CRA access.
  14. Ensuring you get your tax credits and deductions.
  15. Progress meetings to review and update your plan several times per year.
  16. Seminars and workshops throughout the year are available to all clients.
  17. We will gladly meet with the adult children of our clients to provide planning and advice.


Learn more about our fee-only planning process to help you get your total financial house in order and keep it that way for life. We can ensure you have enough money to fund your current lifestyle, a plan in place that will ensure you reach your future goals, and the confidence to handle whatever comes your way.


Retirement Income, Investment, & Tax Planning,

Willis J Langford BA, MA, CFP

Nancy Langford CRS



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Latest Testimonial

Partnering up with Willis & Nancy for our retirement goals has been the best decision we have ever made.

Previous agents or companies only seemed interested in obtaining funds from us with no further support or contact.

Willis & Nancy have worked with us at least twice a year to make sure we are set up for success. They have been able to provide us with a visual picture of where we currently stand financially in order to determine if we are ready to retire or need a few more years. It has alleviated the stress we were feeling about retiring and having no idea of what that would look like.

For the first time, we feel confident that when we make that final decision we will be able to continue on and be financially and mentally prepared.

Deb & Garry

Debbie & Garry
Long-term Clients

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