Lesley Isaacs


Operational specialist




early 40s

I’ve been investing:

since I was 19

I plan to retire:

the year when I’ve saved enough; raising a family makes the process longer. But, when I’m mortgage-free, I’ll feel closer.

Investable assets:

less than $250,000

I’ve Been with my advisor:

more than 18 years

Everyone else is doing it

When I was 19, my stepfather died and left me money. His advisor became my advisor, but I wanted to prove myself as an adult, so I started investing on my own at my bank. I knew what to invest in: tech firms. And like many other people, I also invested in Bre-X. My boyfriend suggested I invest in RIM. I couldn’t distinguish good advice from bad. When my advisor at the bank recommended metals, I thought it was the strangest advice—tech was the thing! Then the tech bubble burst, and I decided to take charge of my investments using solid research.

Breaking up and making up

A few friends and I created an investment club. Advisors came to speak to us, and one caught my eye with his slick presentation. Most of us had little discretionary income, and we were thrilled when he offered to manage our investments. I asked him to handle my RRSP, and then he promptly headed to the U.S. to sail luxury yachts—indefinitely—while my portfolio languished. I closed my RRSP account with his company and went back to my advisor at the bank. I’d made a lot of mistakes, and I wanted someone knowledgeable by my side. Over the years, I’ve come to appreciate how well my advisor understands me: he knows I want to learn, but that I can be blinded by what’s trendy. He takes the emotion out of my decisions by clearly explaining my actions’ consequences. He educates me about the industry, on dividend-paying mutual funds, my portfolio and finding money for special projects.

Sharing the wealth

I’ve taught my children (9, 7 ½ and 6) my 10-10-10 money management philosophy: 10% goes to investing, 10% to our church and 10% to those in need. When they’re older, I’ll teach them how to invest and how to tell when their investments make money. For now, they’re learning that spending money on the latest gadget means less money goes toward our current goal: our vacation jar. Connecting their actions with a cost teaches them to use resources wisely and delay gratification.

by Michelle Schriver, a Toronto-based editor and writer

Originally published in Advisor's Edge

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