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There are many things in life that cause tension, from trying to succeed in your career to dealing with interpersonal relationships. However, when asked what causes them the most stress, 41 percent of Canadians surveyed by the Financial Planning Standards Council (FPSC) responded that money tops them all.
RewardExpert spoke with Kelley Keehn, the FPSC’s consumer advocate, about the results of the Financial Stress Survey and where worried Canadians can go for help assuaging their financial fears.
Have you ever said to yourself, “I’m too young to worry about investing for retirement.” Or maybe it was, “I’m too old for investing to make any difference.” Perhaps you’ve even thought, “I don’t have enough extra cash to invest right now.”
Whatever excuse you’re using to avoid making a financial plan for the future, it’s time to cast it aside. You only need $1 (and a mere five minutes) to open an investment account at Wealthsimple, an online investment management company that was designed to make smart, automated investing available to everyone regardless of age, income or net worth.
Filling a Hole in the Investment Management Market
“Our CEO, Mike Katchen, and the other Wealthsimple co-founders, came into a little bit of money for the first time when they sold their previous Silicon Valley company,” Rachael Factor, Wealthsimple’s communications director, told RewardExpert about the organization’s beginnings. “Mike had been investing since he was a teenager, so the rest of the team turned to him for advice.”
“In the process, they all discovered that there wasn’t really a great way to invest in a smart, simple way,” Factor continued. “On the one hand, there was the DIY approach of purchasing individual funds through a brokerage and rebalancing them yourself. On the other, you could turn to full service advisors who were charging high fees. There wasn’t really anything for a regular person who wanted to invest.”
Katchen and his co-founders created Wealthsimple to fill this hole in the market with an online service that combines user-friendly digital tools with personal financial advice, low fees and no minimum account size.
Customized, Hands-Free Investing
Since its launch in September 2014, Wealthsimple has grown to manage over $1.5 billion for more than 75,000 clients in the U.S., U.K. and Canada. Factor noted that the service has been popular with investors of all ages.
“Our oldest client is 102 and our youngest is 18,” she said. “But about 80 percent of our clients are 45 years old or younger.”
Getting started with Wealthsimple is exactly what the company’s name implies: simple. “You can sign up for an account on your computer or your smartphone,” Factor explained. “Answer a few questions about your goals, time horizon, investment experience and appetite for risk, and we’ll suggest a custom diversified portfolio. Then we do the rest for you with automatic rebalancing, dividend reinvesting and tax-loss harvesting.”
Wealthsimple Basic investors with less than $100,000 in their account will pay 0.5 percent in management fees. Once your account balance reaches $100,000, your management fees drop to 0.4 percent as you’re upgraded to Wealthsimple Black.
“Any client, no matter how much or how little they have invested with us, can access real advice from a licensed financial advisor at any time,” Factor added.
Short- and Medium-Term Savings Solutions
But Wealthsimple isn’t just for long-term investing. Earlier this year, the company launched the Wealthsimple Smart Savings account to help its clients save for short- and medium-term goals as well. As with the investment accounts, the new Wealthsimple Smart Savings account doesn’t have an account minimum or maximum. It offers a 1 percent interest rate and carries zero additional fees—you can even transfer and withdraw as often as you want for free.
“We have a really great solution to help people meet their long-term goals like retirement and such,” Factor said, “but investment isn’t appropriate for short-term goals—like that vacation you want to go on in six months—because markets can go down in the short term. Clients were asking us for a product that would help them with this type of savings as well. That was the impetus for us to create Wealthsimple Smart Savings.”
Factor said that Wealthsimple asks clients to name their savings accounts upon setup and has identified three general categories of short-term goals as a result. “One is emergency funds,” she explained. “Then there are savings accounts for major life expenses such as a down payment on a home or wedding fund. Finally, there are all the fun things. We have a client with a savings account for a kid’s surprise Christmas vacation in Florida. There’s another saving for a New Zealand trip and one for a Chanel double-flap.”
Wealthsimple Smart Savings accounts integrate seamlessly with Wealthsimple Basic or Wealthsimple Black investment accounts. Deposits to the savings account count towards your total investments with the company as well, making it easier to earn Wealthsimple Black bonus benefits including VIP airline lounge access and dedicated financial planning.
To learn more about Wealthsimple and how its services can help you invest in your financial future, visit www.wealthsimple.com.