SUZIE GRAHAM, CFP®
A triangular shape, also known as a perfect frame in physical structures, is exceptionally strong. A triangle is therefore an appropriate metaphor for building, maintaining and preserving wealth. “RSPs are only a part of your retirement picture. We synchronize your retirement goals with your IG Living Plan, including your RSPs, TFSAs, investments, and pension, so that you can see the whole golden triangle of wealth creation, management and preservation,” Suzie Graham, a 20-year financial services veteran says.
Interestingly, becoming a Financial Consultant was not her first career choice. Suzie’s first job was as a legal assistant but she, “Wasn’t in love with my role.” While she was exploring other career options, she took a temporary job as a receptionist in a financial services company. That was when she fell in love with the industry’s ability to change lives. She decided that having the opportunity to have such a profound impact on an individual, and his or her family, would be gratifying for everyone concerned.
The first thing she did was upgrade her academic credentials. Suzie studied for her mutual funds license and then her CFP®. The CFP® certification process is administered by FP Canada. The official recognition identifies to the public that those individuals who have been authorized to use the CFP® certification marks have met rigorous professional standards and have agreed to adhere to the principles of integrity, objectivity, competence, fairness, confidentiality, professionalism and diligence when dealing with clients.
After leaving the financial services firm, Suzie spent a number of years at the Royal Bank of Canada (3), and the Bank of Nova Scotia (8), but was of the opinion that the banks’ product quotas and financial goals did not always align with what the clients needed or wanted. Moreover, Suzie wanted to be associated with a firm that did full financial and tax planning.
When she joined IG in 2018 she was finally in a position to deliver the kind of holistic advice that she knew clients deserved. “Clients and I have access to an Advanced Financial Planning team including Portfolio Managers, Insurance and Estate Planning Specialists, even our Regional and Division Directors, if they are needed. I was finally home.”
Philosophy & Approach
“I love my job. I love learning about what’s important to our clients. It is very gratifying to be included in their circle of trust and to work with them on growing, maintaining and preserving their wealth. I spend a lot of time getting to know clients and all my recommendations are customized to help them achieve their stated goals, and this varies from client to client. I see clients as many times as is necessary to make sure they fully understand what’s going on in their financial lives. I’m often told that I explain complicated financial concepts in plain English.”
“I always book two hours for client meetings because inevitably, we spend the first hour catching up on what’s happening in our personal and professional lives. This, plus working with several generations from the same family, and watching clients achieve their financial goals, makes me fall more in love with my job every day.”
Receiving the right investment advice is a key part of managing your overall wealth, but it’s just a part of the bigger picture. High net worth clients may also require assistance and advice with their taxes and their finances, help planning their retirement, or guidance on how to structure their estate in a more tax-efficient manner.
Consists of growing assets for future goals such as retirement, or helping your children with their post-secondary education costs. “I often work with several generations from the same family. Inevitably, younger family members often do not understand the importance of developing good money management habits early on.”
“For example, when my eldest son got his first job I saw that he was blowing every penny he earned on video games. After a couple of weeks, we had a discussion on saving for the future. I recommended he put $100 from every pay into a savings account. He did so, and is now in a position to buy his first car. My son embodies the truth in Laozi’s statement, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” In other words, even the longest and most difficult ventures can start with something as simple as saving $100 from every pay.”
These aspects of managing wealth are all interconnected, and it is important to take a coordinated approach in the financial planning process. “I create a total wealth management strategy, in partnership with a client’s tax and legal advisors, to address the various financial concerns at each stage of life. I also provide access to several wealth management services such as financial planning and insurance strategies, as well as will and estate planning consultations.”
Creating a lasting legacy for your family or other beneficiaries, or for any charitable donation goals that you may have. Protecting wealth involves maintaining your assets to protect your financial well-being. “Many people would say that their home is their biggest asset. I disagree with this statement. Your ability to earn an income is your biggest asset, and we need to ensure that we protect your income. Disability and life insurance can be important tools to help protect your wealth and loved ones.
“I help walk you through every stage of your retirement journey and create an income for you from your investments in the most tax-efficient way possible. There are many tax-saving strategies that I incorporate into the financial plans that I prepare for clients. I will also help create your retirement “pay cheque” to make your transition into retirement as smooth and rewarding as possible.”
Up Close & Personal
Suzie is originally from Niagara Falls and moved to Oakville two years ago. Like most of us, she has dealt with the 4 D’s – disappointment, divorce, death, and disease. “I am a divorced, single mom, with two healthy sons, aged 17 and 12. We travel together as a family as much as possible – recent adventures included March break in Jamaica and cottaging on Sherkston Shores, in the Niagara Region.”
In her spare time Suzie works out, sews, and has just joined a book club, “So I get to read something other than financial books. The way I see it, the more I disclose about my own life and career journey, the more clients feel safe to share what’s really going on in theirs,” she explains.
Suzie also believes in lifelong learning. She is an active member of the Estate Planners Council of Halton and the Oakville Chamber of Commerce, and, “Tries to learn something new every day.” She is currently planning a series of seminars focusing on retirement income planning and tax saving strategies. If you are interested in finding out more or attending an upcoming seminar, please email her directly at Suzie.Graham@investorsgroup.com.
Suzie also believes in giving back to the community that has been so good to her. For example, between 2010 and 2016 she was on the parent council at her kids’ schools and in 2015 on the Board at Stamford Kiwanis. She is a past Board member of Zonta Club of Niagara Falls, Treasurer to Literacy Link Niagara and won the “40 under 40” Business Achievement Award – twice! On 25 May, 2019, Suzie will be participating in the IG Wealth Management Walk for Alzheimer’s http://www.alzgiving.ca/site/TR/WFA/WFA_ON_Brant-HalimandNorfolk-Hamilton-Halton?px=1290673&pg=personal&fr_id=2395.
As a last word Suzie says, “Today, good financial advice is more important than ever. A detailed plan, reviewed and updated regularly, will give you the financial resources to realize your goals and stay on track. Our synchronized approach to wealth considers the entire financial picture and is designed to improve every aspect of clients’ financial lives. It is the biggest honour of my life to be able to do this important work.”
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
Suzie Graham, CFP®
Financial Consultant, IG Wealth Management
100 - 1275 North Service Road West
Oakville, ON L6M 3G4
Cell: 905-329-0559 ~ Fax: 905-847-1062
Toll Free: 1-800-567-2276, ext. 305