Three Ways to Cut Your Investment Fees with Cut The Crap Investing.

My hope is that this site will be a one-stop shop for Canadian investors so that they can find sensible low fee investments in concert with the financial and investment advice that they may need. When it comes to personal financial planning and investing, we are all snowflakes. Success will come by finding the approach and offering that’s right for you. Some folks need almost no advice, others can benefit greatly from a full financial plan. I provide the options in an unbiased fashion.

But as always, the key is to cut those fees. Don’t give away your investment wealth.


If you want an investment company to manage your portfolio – click on Managed Portfolio Solutions.

Those solutions page will include The Canadian Robo Advisors along with Mawer Investments and Steadyhand. Those two companies offer an extensive suite of advice and access to proprietary mutual funds offered at more sensible fee structures compared to the Canadian mutual fund average of 2.2%. Did I mention yet that Canadians pay the highest mutual fund fees in the developed world?

The Canadian robo advisors provide advice and investment recommendations and portfolio management with total fees in the range of .60% to 1.1%.

While they’re are called ‘robo advisors’ keep in mind that the robo’s all have their unique personalities and offerings. To find the robo that is ‘right for you’ it is important to understand the robo’s and what makes them unique. For over 5 years I was an advisor at Tangerine that created the first Canadian robo offering over 10 years ago. I kicked off my Canadian robo series with a look at the Tangerine Portfolios.

The robo’s can be a wonderful option for those who want that managed portfolio. Compared to typical Canadian mutual funds and using advisors who sell mutual funds, investors will be able to cut their fees in the range of 50%-75%. Imagine if I wrote that you could cut your car insurance or home insurance or Bell bill by 75% (while accessing a superior product or service), you might jump for joy and jump at the opportunity. Well I suggest you apply that same mindset to your investments. It might be more than life changing.

And don’t be afraid of the word “Robo”. The investment companies are all quite human.

roboAdvisorFee For Service Advisor 

Another route to get the advice you need is to access a fee for service advisor. In that option, a qualified financial advisor might allow you to pay for financial advice a la carte. That is, you can pay a one time fee for every session with your adviser. The advisor will set you up in a (low fee) investment portfolio and you will not have to pay that advisor an ongoing and perpetual fee drained from the assets of your portfolio.

Given that the advisor is paid directly by the investor in a transparent fashion, the advisor can provide unbiased investment recommendations. Some fee for service advisors do offer options where you would pay an annual fee based on assets, but once again, that fee structure and payment will be very transparent.

Here’s an example from Chalten Fee-Only Advisors from the Vancouver area.

Chalten Fee StructureWith a fee for service advisor you can access a complete and holistic family or personal financial plan that would take into account everything from your tax situation to estate planning. Obviously, these are more suitable for families and investors with more assets and more complicated financial situations.

To access a list that includes fee for service advisors I would invite you to visit this link on Jonathon Chevreau’s Findependence Hub. If you have any questions on finding a fee for service advisor in your area, feel free to send me a note at

Canadian ETF Model Portfolios 

If you have the confidence and knowledge to self-direct your portfolio you might consider these options on the ETF Model Portfolios page. This approach can be one of the most cost effective options for building a well diversified investment portfolio. You can create and manage a portfolio with annual fees in the range of .10%-.20%. That’s right, compared to a traditional high fee mutual fund approach, you can cut your fees by 90% or more.

I have been a self-directed investor for most of my investment ‘career’. I have never had a financial advisor. I embraced low fee index investing many decades ago. But I did  make mistakes. I had to learn on the fly, and at times it was costly. I will certainly be back with blog posts on my ‘Biggest Investment Mistakes’. But I think and hope that I’ve learned and I am happy to pass along that learning and experience. Hopefully I’ve already paid the tab on some of the investment knowledge that you might need to be a successful investor.

But before you hit the on ramp to that self-direct lane it is crucial is to ensure that you know what you’re doing. As I like to write …

If you don’t know what you’re doing, don’t do it.

To self-direct or not self-direct is a big hairy question. Hopefully this blog post will be of some service, Should You Create an ETF Portfolio, or go Robo with a Canadian Robo Advisor?

So, should you choose fee cutting Door #1? Door #2? Door #3? 

Once again, on this site, I cannot make that decision for you, but I may be able to offer ideas and information and contacts that can point you in the right direction. There is a whole community of financial professionals and bloggers and writers who have your best interests in mind. Trust me, ‘your bests interests in mind’ is not a staple approach or modus operandi in the investment community.

I can help you find the appropriate combination of advice and that managed portfolio. I can help in the education process that might allow you to become a self-directed investor.

Once again, please help your fellow Canadians and share this post with friends and family. Email works, or you can use those share buttons at the bottom of this post. You can hit the follow button as well – you will be notified when there is a new blog post.

Thanks for reading.

Click here for more about Dale and ‘how I might get paid’ disclosures. 

2 thoughts

  1. Thanks for the post. I don’t use any social media, and I didn’t see an email link so I’m letting you know about a typo here.

    The text reads: “annual fees in the range of .10%-20%.“

    I think it needs a period before the “2”.


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