FMA, FCSI, CIWM
Financial Advisor, Portfolio Strategies Corporation
In the business
Edge At our first meeting, I always ask: “Think five years from now. What would I have done for you to say I was a great advisor?” Their responses help me customize their services. For example, a client told me he doesn’t want generic emails or newsletters. He’d be happy meeting twice a year, and would rather receive phone calls.
I make sure not to put him on my mailing lists. Another client said she’d like me to meet with her children, to review their financial plans as well. I now do that annually. In my last client satisfaction survey, one client said he was so impressed with my approach to managing client expectations that he implemented it in his own business.
Bull’s eye I’ve segmented my book into different life stages, and target my seminars and newsletters accordingly. For the newsletters, I focus on one segment a week, and compile related stories and news feeds from various media sources. For clients expecting children, I send articles on RESPs and life insurance. For people in their 50s, I send out a list of variables (ailing parents, children moving back home, critical illness, etc.) that might impact their retirement plans. I also send newsletters to my female clients with articles and seminars on issues they may face in their current life stages (life after divorce, death of a partner, outliving their money).
Give back Since 2006, I’ve been teaching a free, 12-week financial planning course at the Calgary Drop-In and Rehab Centre (Canada’s largest homeless shelter). Every participant gets a personalized financial plan at the end. For most participants, I emphasize cash flow management, budgeting, paying down debt, filing outstanding taxes (sometimes going back 10 years), and saving enough for the first month’s rent and damage deposit.
One of my students was a 50-year-old who’d been homeless or behind bars since age 16. After taking my course twice, he got himself an apartment and met a girlfriend. In 2011, this work helped get me nominated for the Prime Minister’s Award. The fact that many people now know me and refer me is just a nice by-product of my giving back.
by Kanupriya Vashisht, a Toronto-based financial writer.