SUSAN BROWN, FEA, CFP®, RRC®, CIM®
Propel Financial Life Management and Propel Insurance and Advisory Inc. were both founded by Susan J.Brown. These companies provide specialized advisory services for entrepreneurs and family owned businesses.
“We are a family-owned boutique business working with entrepreneurs and other family-owned businesses. This directly relevant experience gives us insight into the interpersonal dynamics and the unique challenges faced by this client group.
Our goal is to provide a framework that families can use to foster a sense of stability and shared vision to ensure that every financial decision is consistent with the best interests, stated goals, and vision of the family business. I follow a set of guiding principles and core values in every interaction,” says Susan Brown, Founder, Propel Life Management and Propel Insurance and Advisory Inc.
Clients appreciate this specialization. “We run a family business and feel that Susan can take care of all our needs and truly understands the challenges we face. It is nice to be able to come to one place where we can get everything taken care of. We now feel peace of mind that we no longer have to make our financial decisions by ourselves.”
Susan began her financial services career over 25 years ago, first at a major Canadian bank, and later at another boutique financial planning firm in Calgary. She is committed to lifelong learning and holds a number of professional designations. These include CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER®, Chartered Investment Manager (CIM®), Registered Retirement Consultant (RRC®) designations. As well, Susan is a Family Enterprise Advisor™ certificant and participated in the Strategic Coach program out of L.A. for three years.
She is also licensed with the Alberta Insurance Council to sell life and personal accident and sickness insurance for both corporate and personal needs, and is currently working on her Chartered Life Underwriter® (CLU®) designation. Susan also holds a position on the local board of the Family Enterprise Xchange in Calgary.
Philosophy & Approach
Susan doesn’t rush into making recommendations right away. “I take a step back and get you organized first. From there, we determine what services and planning are right for you and your family.” The Entrepreneurs Planning Model (EPM™) illustrates the four quadrants of planning recommended for entrepreneurs and their families. “Our proprietary processes have been designed to develop accountability, trust and efficiency.”
Susan believes the entire family should be involved in the planning process. Families can and do break apart over money, unvoiced frustrations, and unmet needs, especially continuity planning is needed. Susan agrees with Walt Disney, who once said, “A strong family builds a strong business,” and not the other way around.
The Financial Management services Susan provides focus on the individual family values and goals. By knowing what each family wants and needs from the business, success planning for the business is smoother. The service includes customized financial planning and ongoing portfolio development and oversight that is integrated with the business planning and structure.
The Insurance Management program essentially aligns both individual and corporate insurance needs with the goals and risks present in the family and the business. Susan has found that this is an area that is often missed since running the business is the priority.
“People have insurance policies but don’t know what’s in them, never look at them, or may not even have any coverage at all. Let’s face it, people don’t like paying for insurance. But, when they understand how it fits into their financial plan, having insurance can provide clarity and peace of mind, especially when it comes to providing a smoother transition of the business and family wealth upon the death of an owner or key person Your insurance decisions should be made with continuity of the family and the business in mind.”
The Family Business Consulting services Susan provides promote open discussion about the business with the entire family. It can give each family member the chance to share what the business means to them and what they feel is impacting continuity. Susan believes that the family business system is made up of three groups, namely, the family, the business, and the ownership. “In the family business, it is quite common to have these boundaries crossed which can, and often does, create conflict.”
The EPM™ model also involves the Financial Education of your children and grandchildren. “As parents, we all want our children to grow into financially responsible adults. The importance of this is magnified when you own a business.” Susan believes that not only does financial education help children manage the wealth they will eventually inherit, it increases the likelihood they will take an interest in, and provide a meaningful contribution to, the business. “To do this effectively, we need to start building new money mindsets, starting as young as possible.” To redress this knowledge gap, she has models and programs available for parents and children starting as young as the age of 5.
Susan also believes that other professional advisors (accountants, lawyers, realtors, business coaches, etc.) are invaluable to the overall success of the clients’ Financial Life Management Plans. She works closely with these professionals to ensure her clients receive comprehensive advice.
Susan believes in empowering children to take control of their futures. To increase the likelihood of making this happen, she built the C.O.R.E.™ model. The model exposes children, at an early age, to four key concepts. These are confidence in their abilities, objectives/goal setting, resources, and education in financial matters. Susan also uses the C.O.R.E.™ model in her volunteer programming in local schools.
Susan is in the process of publishing her first children’s book to start conversations around money at home and in schools. This five part book series is aimed at 6-9 year old children. The first book, “The Magic Wand That Fell Into The Pond,” was inspired by her 10-year old daughter, and is scheduled for release later this year.
Up Close & Personal
Susan and her husband Steven are loving parents to daughter, Hayley, (10), and a cat named Mittens. “Hayley is a big part of what I do and how I do it. I wanted to do something meaningful, to set a good example for my daughter, and to make learning fun.”
As a final word, Susan says, “American poet, singer, and civil rights activist, Maya Angelou, challenged all of us to pursue the things we love doing and then to do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off us. I’ve never been motivated by how much money I can make, but rather, on how much of a difference I can make. And, I love creating new ways to inspire families and their children to use their money to get the most out of their lives today, and in the future.”
This information has been written by Suzen Fromstein based on information provided by Susan J. Brown who is an Investment and Insurance Advisor for HollisWealth®. Opinions expressed in this article are those of the Investment Advisor only and do not necessarily reflect those of HollisWealth. HollisWealth® is a division of Industrial Alliance Securities Inc., a member of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund and the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada. Insurance products provided through Hollis Insurance.
Suzen Fromstein is the author of Suits and Ladders, Ten Proven Ways to Keep Your Job Safe - with a few jokes thrown in. Suits and Ladders was an Amazon Best Selling Book in the Career Guides Category