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"Running the Financial Goals Marathon

with Lisa-Marie Winning, CIWM, IG Wealth Management"

Financial planning is a marathon, not a sprint. That’s why Lisa-Marie Winning doesn’t expect to retire. The running enthusiast is a Certified International Wealth Manager with Investors Group Financial Services Inc.who works primarily with 40 to 65 year-olds, as well as with small and mid-size business owners. The clients she works with expect her to be there over the long haul.

“This is my next thirty years,” Lisa-Marie says, “not because I need to work for another thirty years, but because I want to. When I started to build my practice, I knew that both clients and I were looking at multi-decades long relationships.”

Building a portfolio, managing the tax implications of those investments, assisting recent retirees in converting investments to annuities and other forms of income, and estate planning are all processes that demand support for the length of an entire adulthood.

“For many clients, I will be there to support their kids when it comes time to settle their estates,” Lisa-Marie explains. “It’s a huge responsibility that I take seriously, but it is also a huge privilege and I am proud of the true friendships I’ve built through my work.”

That work concerns making people’s lives easier now, so they don’t have to worry about the future and the life changes that are inevitable.

“It’s my goal to create processes where clients only have to think about their professional lives and their family lives, not about aligning their wills with their financial plans,” Lisa-Marie says. “Every time I can take one more thing off a clients’ plates during those transitions, while they settle their parents’ estates, for example, I feel like I have been successful with my preparation for them. I want them to always feel taken care of.”

It’s deep and important work that takes commitment. It demands on-going training and education. Lisa-Marie just completed a program in Advanced Financial Planning and Behaviour Finance at the Wharton Business School through the University of Pennsylvania. The program was one more tool in her unique kit of knowledge and skills. Conventional wisdom says that it takes a mature outlook to be able to articulate and plan for all of life’s eventualities, not to mention any accidents that may come along on the way. Lisa-Marie’s own experience does not reflect that conventional wisdom. She was something of a maturity prodigy.

“When I was in high school I was searching for a co-op position and I knew I was good at accounting, I was good with systems,” Lisa-Marie remembers. “My mother approached our neighbor who was an investment adviser and asked him if he’d consider taking me on for the semester.”

After accepting Lisa-Marie mother’s gentle push, the neighbor learned just how valuable that co-op student’s contribution would be to his practice.

“Of course they gave me 3 months’ worth of filing to do!” Lisa-Marie laughs. “They thought I would do the boring work and stay out of the way. I went in one weekend, finished it all and re-designed their entire filing system to make it more efficient. After that, I could ask them for some real work to do. They took my initiative seriously and started to teach me.”

Two months later, Lisa-Marie was one of the youngest people to ever be enrolled in the Canadian Securities course.

22 years later, Lisa-Marie is still the “ultra-process oriented person” who re-organized an entire filing system over a weekend.

“I started out working on a very large team working under one of the top investment advisers in Canada,” she recalls. “My initial exposure was to the ultrahigh net worth market. I was very young and the natural market is within ten years of your own age, so it wasn’t considered the usual fit, but the knowledge base and complexity of those investment situations demanded more of me. I dealt with those challenges by ‘lettering up’ and focused on building out my credentials and developing an aptitude for all the areas of financial planning. I’ve been able to leverage those credentials into the rest of my career.”

Lisa-Marie now holds three of the most senior designations in her industry. She is a Financial Management Advisor (FMA), a Fellow of the Canadian Securities Institute (FCSI) and a Certified International Wealth Manager (CIWM). While she works primarily out of her boutique practice’s office in downtown Burlington, Ontario, she is also licensed to work in Alberta, British Columbia and Quebec. The multiple licenses came about so that Lisa-Marie could continue to support clients who moved from Ontario for personal or professional reasons. Even with multiple qualifications and licenses under her belt, Lisa-Marie isn’t slowing the pace in her practice.

“Every year we review all of our practice processes,” Lisa-Marie explains. We’ve spent years creating the kind of client experience we want clients to have and focused on how it has been built out and how it can be refined. What’s important to us is the consistency, first and foremost, we want the knowledge level to be high, comprehensive and reliable. That consistency isn’t just important to clients, but also for regulatory bodies and ensuring all of us are compliant.”

As a result, Lisa-Marie’s team has well-defined steps that determine how many times a plan is reviewed and why. The established rolling three- year game plan has no surprises and that is reassuring to clients.

“With consistency and follow through on our part, then clients don’t have to worry about their investments,” Lisa-Marie says. “It is very rewarding to give them freedom by taking this off their plate.”

Reducing that stress for clients means listening carefully and making a plan that is realistic.

“When clients describe their ideal retirement lifestyle to me, whether that means taking times to ride a bike along the Mediterranean Coast, or moving to the cottage, or traveling Europe while staying in high-end hotels, they have precise ideas about what that day-to-day lifestyle looks like,” Lisa-Marie says. “It’s my job to come up with a price tag for that, but we balance those future plans with enjoying life now while put their goals in place. A lot of people come to see us worried because they have the idea that we will make them save every dollar. The retirement years don’t have to come at the expense of enjoying life with their families now.”

It’s a situation Lisa-Marie can relate to in her own life.

“That’s the big differentiator between me and everyone else,” Lisa-Marie says. “I have to find that balance too. With three teenagers at home, family time is precious because soon they will all be away at school, then grown up with lives of their own. We want to enjoy this moment together. Investments are about planning for the future, but they are also about living now. There is a way that you can have both.”

Kate Baggott's technology and business journalism has appeared in the Technology Review at MIT, the Globe and Mail, Canada Computes, the Vancouver Sun, and on the Business to Business News Network

This is a general source of information only. It is not intended to provide personalized tax, legal or investment advice, and is not intended as a solicitation to purchase securities. Lisa-Marie Winning is solely responsible for its content. For more information on this topic or any other financial matter, please contact an Investors Group Consultant.

Lisa-Marie Winning, BA, FMA, RRC®, FCSI®,

Certified International Wealth Manager (CIWM™)

Senior Consultant

Winning Wealth Management | IG Wealth Management

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