To understand who I am and how I conduct my professional life, you only need to look back at my parents. My father worked for a quarter century developing crime prevention program for the solicitor general of Canada before taking an early retirement package. Not being able to sit still he went back to school to complete his Masters of Theology and started working as a palliative care ministers in the local hospital eventually teaching the art of spiritual care while working at street drop in centers. My mother spent many years raising my self and my two older sisters while completing her Bachelor of Education and started a teaching career of children with learning disabilities, many times developing her own programs to ensure her student’s successes. These strong social and moral values help to shape who I am.
So when I was ready to leave home and start my own career as a stock broker! – they must have wondered where they went wrong! They didn’t – while working as a stock broker for the next three years I had a very empty feeling about the work I was doing. I felt that I really wasn’t helping anyone (even though I was making good money). During these years I completed three financial planning designations (CFP, FMA, CIM) and decided that I needed to do something better with my life and for my clients.
After a short stint setting up an IT company that didn’t succeed, I firmly decided that I wanted to do financial planning and truly help people with one of the greatest causes of stress and anxiety in peoples lives. Thinking that the best way to do that would be to get a salaried job where I didn’t need to rely on selling a product and earning a commission to make my income. I felt this would be the best way to remain unbiased and provide proper advice to my clients.
Shortly after I start working at a major Canadian bank. I quickly learned that while I was being paid a salary and I was encouraged to offer the customer the best advice I could, I was only allowed to spend a very short amount of time with each customer. This was due to the fact that the day I started I was given a book of 600 households to service. I was quickly educated by my colleagues that if I was to survive I should service the immediate need and move on to the next household. After spending the next eight months fighting to see if it could be done better I lost the battle. I decided that there was a better way.
When I left the bank I decided to provide fee-for-advice financial planning. This is where clients would hire me on an hourly basis to prepare a comprehensive financial plan. They would then be responsible to take the plan and go off and implement it. To this day I believe this is the most effective way to get independent, unbiased, financial advice.
I had not anticipated the eventual problems that would arise. After turning over the comprehensive plan with detailed instruction on how to implement it, clients did one of three things:
- they would go out and implement it;
- they would stick it on their desk with the intent of implementing it but forget about it and not get around to doing anything;
- or they would look back at me after reviewing it with them and say “HELP!”.
This is when I realized that I could do the greatest financial plans in the world but if they weren’t implemented properly they were just an expensive piece of paper!
After working on a business plan that would see me create a company that would maintain the independent and unbiased through implementation of a plan I learned that it would take about $250,000 and 16 months to get off the ground. I decided that that was more risk than my wife or I were willing to take.
I began looking around the industry to see if there were other companies doing similar types of work. After four months I narrowed a list of 4000 financial services companies down to 32, I then spent the next three months investigating and interviewing the 32 companies until I had the list down to 3 and choose TriDelta Financial as the one that does it the best! Click here to read more about TriDelta.
Working with TriDelta Financial has been one of the most rewarding positions I have had in my career. The philosophy of the company and integrity of the people is second to none. As I transition my career once again to my own business of providing employee financial education I take with me a tremendous amount of new knowledge and a great experience.
Now on to the next adventure! John Wiley and Sons have just published my first personal finance book titled: How to Eat an Elephant: Achieving Financial Success One Bite at a Time. This book and the web tools to go with it form the base of the employee financial education program that I am currently offering.
In 2009, I submitted a proposal to the Federal Task Force on Financial Literacy to encourage the government to incentivize businesses through tax credits and monetary grants to deliver financial literacy programs in the workforce. This proposal resulted in me being ask to appear before the Task Force to discuss the idea and the proposal became recommendation number 6 in the 30 recommendation presented to the finance minister. I have since turned the proposal in to much friendlier to read white paper which you can download for free.
I have now launched my new company the Employee Financial Education Division. All we do is provide financial education for employees. We do not sell products or manage money. Independent, unbiased, accredited, experienced financial educators deliver comprehensive financial education to employees.