Working with couples and individuals to craft a customized financial future based on the Income and Expense Model™ process

Many decisions of a financial nature require careful consideration of the facts and analysis of the specific circumstances. Here are some examples of this type of decision:

    • Pension survivorship options
    • Paying down debt vs. investing
    • Use of tax shelters
    • Savings vs. spending
    • Use of leverage (borrowing to invest)
    • RSP vs. non-registered saving

It is very important to find an expert in the field; someone whose experience you can lean on. A professional will rely on knowledge gained through education, through personal experience, and vicariously through situations they have worked through with their clients. This level of experience allows them to steer you in the right direction.

People often talk to their accountant or lawyer regarding financial matters. These professionals can frequently provide a good second opinion. For specific financial matters however, not all accountants or lawyers have the expertise necessary to deal with the questions asked. When you work with someone who truly specializes in financial planning, you ensure that dealing with this type of questions is their primary focus.

Good advisors make the best interests of the client their top priority. They work with the client to set financial objectives and to structure a plan to reach those objectives. Along the way they assist the client in dealing with the many financial decisions that are required; only some of which involve financial products. We refer to this way of working with clients as the consultative approach. This approach has more to do with understanding the needs of the client than it does with the sale of product.

What is it like when your advisor uses the consultative approach?

1. Your sessions with the advisor should focus on you.

The focus of discussions is based on your needs, and your goals. Product related matters are secondary.

2. Negatives and alternatives to any course of action are discussed

Discussions include identification of the things that can go wrong with the strategy being recommended. Many situations are not straightforward and a number of alternatives need to be laid out with all information disclosed in a relatively easy to understand manner.

3. Advisor compensation is fully disclosed.

There are many good advisors who sell products including: GICs, mortgages, life insurance, and mutual funds. All of these products have commissions and fees associated with them. A good advisor will provide complete disclosure of all compensation they receive. Although these amounts are often hidden within the products themselves and are not paid directly by the client, disclosure allows the consumer to make an informed decision taking into consideration:

The amount of advisor compensation
The value provided by the advisor
The potential that good advice may improve their financial situation down the road

If the client feels comfortable with these considerations, the compensation paid will be well worth it. Consider this, if you are working with an accountant or a lawyer, all of this is disclosed upfront during the engagement; the amount you will be charged per hour, and the approximate number of hours involved with the case. The relationship with your advisor should be no different.

Whenever you purchase a financial product or service, someone is making money on that product or service. A certain amount of skepticism is healthy because there is certainly the potential for a conflict of interest. In our opinion however, as long as pricing is competitive, it makes sense to buy that product or service from an advisor that focuses on client needs and provides the highest level of client service.



Working with couples and individuals to craft a customized financial future based on the Income and Expense Model™ process

John Armstrong, CFP®
Nick Hirst, Investment Advisor
Joe Shumka, Investment Advisor
John Armstrong, CFP®

John is a true financial practitioner with over 30 years in the industry dealing with thousands of individuals and couples.  John has developed what he calls "clinical experience."

Nick Hirst, Investment Advisor

Nick is excited about entering the financial services industry. Nick has made large strides so far and will continue to do so as his eagerness to learn and assist others is unrivalled.

Joe Shumka, Investment Advisor

Joe has been working in the industry since 2001 originally in the mutual funds department with a Waterloo based company and then later in 2002 started with the John Armstrong team.

We take the time to understand your situation and we deliver personalized customized solutions.

We would love to hear from you and see how we can help



Our Location:

279 Weber St. N., Lwr, Suite 3
Waterloo, ON N2J 3H8

Toll Free:





Mutual funds provided through Sterling Mutuals Inc.

John Armstrong, CFP®

John Armstrong, CFP®

Financial planning office is unique experience because you open your financial life to someone.   John takes that situation seriously and treats that tender financial situation with confidentiality and respect.  Johns clinical, financial experience has taught him what works for individuals/couples and families.  It takes time.  The only way it can happen is to build an individual model to research people’s future.  That model must be tailored specifically to each individual, couple, and/or family.

We work hard to get the answer to the ultimate financial question which is “Am I/we going to be OK? If not what do I/we need to do?”

In John’s office you will get the answer to that question

Joe Shumka, Investment Advisor

Joe Shumka

The experience and time working through the Income and Expense Model™ process with clients is cherished.  Many clients appreciate the structured approach to decision making; to make better decisions for themselves and family.

In his spare time Joe enjoys hockey, skiing, bicycling, and golf.  His passion is finding new ways to make his daughter Gracie and son Brandon smile, even though it’s usually the other way around.


CFP®, Certified Financial Planner® CFP Logo and are trademarks owned by Financial Planning Standards Board Ltd. (FPSB) and used under license. All other trademarks are those of FP Canada™. Copyright © 2019 FP Canada™. All rights reserved.


Sterling Mutuals Inc. Privacy Policy

As of January 1, 2004, organizations in Canada that collect, use or disclose personal information in the course of commercial activities will have to comply with the federal Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (“PIPEDA”). As required by the legislation, Sterling Mutuals Inc. (Sterling) has put in place policies and procedures to effectively safeguard any confidential information that we have on file or collect going forward. These apply to all of the operating companies within the Sterling group, including Sterling Insurance Inc. To meet our obligations, we closely follow the ten fundamental principles set out under PIPEDA.

1. Accountability

Sterling has designated a Chief Privacy Officer (“CPO”). The CPO is ultimately responsible for personal information under the control of Sterling and is accountable for compliance with the terms and procedures of this Privacy Policy. Any individual that wishes to challenge Sterling’s procedures, or wishes to make a complaint about Sterling’s personal-information handling practices they should contact the CPO at 1-800-354-4956 or by email at Contact information is set out below. Every complaint will be investigated and where a complaint is found to be justified, Sterling will take appropriate measures, including amending our policies and practices, when necessary.

2. Purpose of Collecting Personal Information

Sterling will identify the purposes for which it collects the personal information before or when we ask for the information. We will not use or disclose this information for any other purpose other than those for which it was collected. We collect personal information to ensure that we have all information:

to operate an account
to provide additional services requested by the client
to properly report account status back to the client
to provide all required tax reporting
to properly discharge our regulatory responsibilities with respect to suitability assessment and other securities rules
to properly discharge our obligations under federal anti-money laundering and suppression of terrorism legislation
to meet our obligations as a member of various self-regulatory organizations

For regulatory purposes, self regulatory organizations, including the Mutual Fund Dealers Association of Canada, and the Canadian Investor Protection Fund (collectively, “SROs”) require access to personal information of current and former clients, employees, agents, directors, officers, partners and others that has been collected or used by Regulated Persons. SROs collect, use or disclose such personal information obtained from Regulated Persons for regulatory purposes, including:

Surveillance of trading-related activity
Sales, financial compliance, trade desk review and other regulatory audits
Investigation of potential regulatory and statutory violations
Regulatory databases
Enforcement or disciplinary proceedings
Reporting to securities regulators
Information-sharing with securities regulatory authorities, regulated marketplaces, other self-regulatory organizations and law enforcement agencies in any jurisdiction in connection with any of the foregoing.

3. Client Consent

Our consent form is contained in our New Client Application Form. Consent may also be required (when our clients use a product or service subsequent to account opening. An authorized representative of the client (such as a legal guardian or a person having power of attorney) can give consent. A client may withdraw consent at any time, subject to legal or contractual restrictions and reasonable notice. The implications of withdrawal are set out in the applicable sections of the New Client Application Form.

4. Limiting Collection

We collect personal information only to the extent that is necessary for the purposes identified above. The personal information is collected using policies and procedures that are fair and lawful.

5. Limiting Use, Disclosure and Retention

Sterling will use or disclose personal information only for the reasons it was collected, unless a client provides consent to use or disclose it for another reason, or law requires it. Client information on file will be kept for the standard period of seven years from the final closing of the client file, or the date the last service was provided to the client. The type of information we collect is limited to the following:

the fundamental “know your client” information contained in the Sterling New Client Application Form
information required for tax reporting purposes
information required to meet anti-money laundering and suppression of terrorism requirements
other information required to meet obligations imposed by securities regulations, SRO rules or other laws

This information may be made available to related companies or third-party service providers to fulfil the purposes for which it has been collected. The information may also be disclosed to SROs, which may use the information to review, monitor, audit or investigate Sterling’s compliance with securities rules. The information provided to the SROs may, in turn, be reported to other securities regulators, regulated marketplaces, other SROs or law enforcement agencies.

6. Keeping Information Accurate

Sterling has a responsibility to ensure that all personal information on file is accurate, complete and up-to-date. Clients may, in writing, request that their personal information be amended as appropriate.

7. Safeguarding Personal Information

Security safeguards are in place to protect personal information against loss or theft, as well as unauthorized access, disclosure, copying, use, or modification regardless of the format in which it is held. Sterling’s safeguards vary depending on the sensitivity of the personal information. The highest level of protection is given to the most sensitive personal information.

8. Openness

Sterling ensures that clients have access to information regarding the policies and practices we use to manage their personal information. This information is made available in a variety of formats so it is readily available and easy to understand.

9. Access

Clients may request in writing access to their personal information. Sterling will inform the client whether the organization holds personal information and provide an account of the use that has been made of this information, as well as identify any third parties to which the information has been disclosed. When a client demonstrates the inaccuracy or incompleteness of personal information, the information will be amended as required.
10. Complaints and Suggestions

If you would like to make an inquiry, suggestion or complaint regarding Sterling’s personal information practices, please contact our Chief Privacy Officer at 1-800-354-4956 or by e-mail at


Client Complaint Procedures

Sterling Mutuals Inc. (“Sterling”) takes client complaints, written or verbal, very seriously. If you have concerns regarding your account(s), your Sterling Advisor and/or one of our staff, we have developed the following detailed complaint procedures in order for us to address your concerns in a timely manner.

Step 1 – Submission of Your Complaint

When submitting a complaint, written or verbal, to Sterling it is important to include a few important items regarding your account information such as:

Name of your Sterling Advisor or name of applicable Staff
Your account number(s)
The details of your complaint and all applicable supporting documentation
Your contact information

You can submit your complaint:

Via mail Sterling Mutuals Inc. (Attention: Nelson Cheng, Chief Executive Officer)
1090 University Ave. West
2nd Floor
Windsor, Ontario
Via email
Via fax 519-256-9730
Via phone 1-800-354-4956

Step 2 – Acknowledgement of Your Complaint

Upon receiving your complaint, Sterling will issue a letter to you acknowledging receipt within 5 business days. This Acknowledgement Letter will provide a summary of our investigation procedures and the name and contact information of the senior Compliance person assigned to investigate your concerns and will include an industry brochure that outlines alternate methods of dispute resolution available to you.

Step 3 – Handling of Complaints

Our internal complaint handling process includes a thorough review of your complaint including reviewing all relevant supporting documentation, meeting notes and logs, and may also include an interview with you and the advisor/staff member to determine if any breach of internal or regulatory policies occurred. This review will be conducted by an appropriately qualified member of our Compliance team and may take up to 90 days to complete.

Step 4 – Release of Our Findings

Upon completion of our review, Sterling will release to you a detailed substantive response letter of our findings. As required by industry regulators, our response will be released within 90 calendar days after receipt of the complaint which may include an offer to resolve or deny your complaint with reasons. You will be provided an industry brochure with our substantive response letter that outlines alternate methods of dispute resolution available to you if you are not satisfied with our response. If a delay occurs and we are not able to provide a substantive response within 90 days, we will provide you with a written explanation for the delay and an expected date of completion.

Mutual Fund Dealers Association of Canada
Client Complaint Information Form

Clients of a mutual fund dealer who are not satisfied with a financial product or service have a right to make a complaint and to seek resolution of the problem. MFDA Member dealers have a responsibility to their clients to ensure that all complaints are dealt with fairly and promptly. If you have a complaint, these are some of the steps you can take:

Contact your mutual fund dealer. Member firms are responsible to you, the investor, for monitoring the actions of their representatives to ensure that they are in compliance with by-laws, rules and policies governing their activities. The firm will investigate any complaint that you initiate and respond back to you with the results of their investigation within the time period expected of a Member acting diligently in the circumstances, in most cases within three months of receipt of the complaint. It is helpful if your complaint is in writing.
Contact the Mutual Fund Dealers Association of Canada (“MFDA”), which is the self-regulatory organization in Canada to which your mutual fund dealer belongs. The MFDA investigates complaints about mutual fund dealers and their representatives, and takes enforcement action where appropriate. You may make a complaint to the MFDA at any time, whether or not you have complained to your mutual fund dealer. The MFDA can be contacted:
By completing the on-line complaint form at
By telephone in Toronto at (416) 361-6332, or toll free at 1-888-466-6332
By e-mail at **
In writing by mail to 121 King Street West, Suite 1000, Toronto, ON M5H 3T9 or by fax at (416) 361-9073

** You may wish to consider issues of internet security when sending sensitive information by standard e-mail. **

The MFDA does not order compensation or restitution to clients of Members. The MFDA exists to regulate the operations, standards of practice and business conduct of its Members and their representatives with a mandate to enhance investor protection and strengthen public confidence in the Canadian mutual fund industry. If you are seeking compensation, you may consider the following:

Ombudsman for Banking Services and Investments (“OBSI”): After the dealer’s Compliance Department has responded to your complaint, you may contact OBSI. You may also contact OBSI if the dealer’s Compliance Department has not responded within 90 days of the date you complained. OBSI provides an independent and impartial process for the investigation and resolution of complaints about the provision of financial services to clients. OBSI can make a non-binding recommendation that your firm compensate you (up to $350,000) if it determines that you have been treated unfairly, taking into account the criteria of good financial services and business practice, relevant codes of practice or conduct, industry regulation and the law. The OBSI process is free of charge and is confidential. OBSI can be contacted:
By telephone in Toronto at (416) 287-2877, or toll free at 1-888-451-4519
By e-mail at
Legal Assistance: You may consider retaining a lawyer to assist with the complaint. You should be aware that there are legal time limits for taking civil action. A lawyer can advise you of your options and recourses. Once the applicable limitation period expires, you may lose rights to pursue some claims.
Manitoba, New Brunswick and Saskatchewan: Securities regulatory authorities in these provinces have the power to, in appropriate cases, order that a person or company that has contravened securities laws in their province pay compensation to a claimant. The claimant is then able to enforce such an order as if it were a judgment of the superior court in that province. For more information, please visit:
New Brunswick:
Quebec: The Autorite des marches financiers (“AMF”) pays indemnities to victims of fraud, fraudulent tactics or embezzlement where those responsible are individuals or firms authorized to practice under the legislation governing the provision of financial services in Quebec. It also rules on the eligibility of claims and sets the amount of the indemnities to be paid to victims. Consumers can thus be compensated to a maximum of $200,000 per claim, through funds accumulated in a financial services compensation fund. For more information, please visit


The Income and Expense Model ™ process is best described as researching your future. Sophisticated planning software plays a big role in understanding the path you are on and where current spending habits and savings habits will take you.  If you do not like where your current path is leading, small changes in behavior can often make a big difference over time. The brilliant graphical interface provided by the planning software dovetailed with years of experience allows people to understand their own financial situation. If the future is not to your liking, the behavior changes needed are much easier to achieve over time with consistent advice and the Income and Expense Model ™ process.

Nick Hirst, Investment Advisor

Nick Hirst, Investment Advisor

“Becoming a part of this office has been an excellent experience so far. I am looking forward to what the future has in store and meeting and working with the clientele of the Sterling Mutuals Waterloo Office.”

Outside of the office, Nick enjoys playing hockey, golf and spending time with friends and family. He also likes travelling the world and discovering new cultures and experiences.