Canadians' lack of financial confidence may be preventing them from getting the financial help they need, according to a survey commissioned by the Financial Planning Standards Council.

The research found that four-in-10 Canadians don't feel confident when speaking about their finances, and one-in-three don't ask for financial planning advice because they don't know what type of questions to ask. The FPSC notes that these results were even higher among younger respondents, those earning a lower income and those with children under 18 in the household.

The FPSC underlines that if seeking help, Canadians should check the qualifications of the person who is providing them with financial advice.

Lack of regulation

"As Financial Planning Week unfolds across Canada (Nov. 19-25), consumers really need to know one thing: In Canada, outside of Quebec, anyone can call themselves a financial planner without meeting any standards of competence, ethics or practice," said author, personal finance educator and FPSC's Consumer Advocate, Kelley Keehn. "This leaves people confused and at risk. In fact, previous FPSC research shows that half of Canadians think financial planners are regulated."

"In the absence of statutory or regulatory requirements for financial planners, the key is finding a qualified professional you can trust," says Keehn.

Key questions

She recommends asking some key questions of anyone who presents themselves as a financial planner: What experience do you have? Are you regulated by and accountable to any organizations? Do you follow a professional code of ethics requiring you to put my interests above all others? Can I have that in writing?