- Suzen Fromstein
LAURA BISHOP, CONSULTANT, RRC INVESTORS GROUP FINANCIAL SERVICES INC., WINNIPEG
"Your Financial Life Plan Doesn’t Define You – You Define The Plan"
Laura Bishop believes that Wealth Management involves more than just investment advice, and should encompass all aspects of a client’s well-being. She has been with IG Wealth Management for the past 13 years in various Head Office roles before becoming a Consultant. Prior to joining IG, Laura ran a successful event planning company.
Her financial advisory practice focuses on professionals, business owners, farmers, pre-retirees and retirees and is based on a client centric approach that puts the clients’ specific goals and concerns first. Laura takes a holistic and comprehensive approach to financial planning and believes that the client’s financial life plan, “Doesn't define the client. Rather, the client defines the plan. I love finding solutions that are tailored to fit clients’ needs and lives,” Registered Retirement Consultant, Laura Bishop, says.
“I think of my relationships with my clients as more of a team effort and a partnership – clients provide context and data about their current financial picture, their priorities, their values, and their hopes and dreams, and I provide the roadmap and act as a coach on the way to achieving them, ” Laura adds.
“It’s important to know everything before I can recommend the tools, the strategies and the techniques that will address the client’s personal style, ideas, and priorities. We can’t provide a comprehensive analysis on just one half of the picture. If, for example, one of the client’s goals was to learn to paint like Gauguin, he or she would need a canvas, paint, wax, brushes, a charcoal pencil, and a palette. The painting could not begin if the only available tool was a beret.”
Creating a customized IG Living Plan and doing a comprehensive financial review is just the first step in the client discovery process. “We don’t just put you in an investment and hope for the best. We want to know where you are right now, and where you see yourself ten, twenty, even thirty years down the road. If we were to miss this important first step, what we create won’t be accurate. We also believe your financial plan should be flexible enough to change, adapt, and keep you open to opportunities,” Laura explains.
Philosophy & Approach
According to Laura, every decision made in one area may highlight opportunities or present challenges in others. Only when the clients’ financial needs are synchronized, can they have the confidence that they are truly maximizing their financial potential.
Laura also has access to advanced financial planning experts and regional specialists. Each member of her region and Head Office team of accountants, tax and estate lawyers, pension experts, insurance planning specialists, and more, have the credentials, depth of knowledge and experience required to help address even the most complex of situations.
Laura takes a deep dive into the totality of each client’s current financial situation. The first meeting is to discuss the client’s goals and concerns, to take a current financial snapshot, and to explore if the client is on track to meet their next financial goal, be it retirement, buying their first house, or purchasing that dream cottage. The initial meeting also establishes fit for both the client and Laura’s practice. “We can’t provide a comprehensive analysis on just one half of the picture. We need to know everything before we can recommend the tools, the strategies and the techniques that will address your personal style, ideas, and priorities.”
The next meeting is spent discussing and tweaking the Living Plan. “We provide a binder which we encourage clients to bring to all of our meetings. It keeps all relevant information in one place and includes hard copies of documents like investment statements, pension information, insurance policies, credit/debt information, estate information, and of course, the Living Plan.”
Laura also encourages clients to contact her if anything changes in their lives – new/lost job, marriage/divorce/2nd marriage, children, inheritance, lottery win, health challenges, etc. “Our biggest asset is our ability to earn an income. Should a client lose his or her job or if he or she is involved in an accident, I want the client to be able to focus on finding another job or getting well, not on financial survival.”
One client said, “In September 2017, I found myself in the ER and was told I had a heart attack. My children…begged me to retire. I told them there was no way I could afford to. My son knew Laura and asked her to take a look and see if there was a way I could comfortably retire...We went over everything I had. She even accompanied me to the Superannuation Board. Laura put her all into providing me with many options. Once we had everything decided, I was able to move up my retirement by two full years. Not only did Laura go out of her way and provide excellent customer service, but she gave me peace of mind…I was so happy I recommended Laura to two of my co-workers that were also thinking of retiring. One had planned to retire in two years with me, but he also moved his date up once he met with Laura…”
To better serve her clients, Laura continuously expands her knowledge through various licensing and education programs. She is a Registered Retirement Consultant (RRC®) and is actively pursuing her Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) designation. She is on track to complete her studies in mid 2019. She has already completed the Life License Qualification Program (LLQP) and the Canadian Investment Funds Course (CIFC) and is Mutual Funds licensed in Manitoba and Ontario and Insurance licenced in Manitoba.
Laura believes that women have unique financial needs and often hosts a series of intimate (12-person maximum), “Women and Money” educational seminars. Modules include: Empowering Women, Working With Financial Literacy, Investing 101, Understanding Your Pension, and Estate Planning. “Like our Living Plans, our seminars are always customized to suit the needs of the people sitting in front of me.” Please visit her Facebook page (@laurabishop15 or LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/ellebishop/ ) to learn more or to register for an upcoming seminar.
As another way of giving back, Laura often speaks about a variety of financial literacy subjects to grades 11 and 12 students. “Unfortunately, in many cases, kids are not taught this information in schools, and often make mistakes that, with a little bit of education, can be avoided.” She is also environmentally conscious, and to the extent allowed by regulators, operates a green practice.
Up Close & Personal
One of Laura’s key values is a commitment to family and community. Her husband, two sons and an American bulldog keep her grounded and purposeful. Over the years, she has been involved in many charitable activities including the parents’ counsel at her kids’ schools. She currently sits on the Alzheimer’s Gala Board as well as the IG Wealth Management Walk for Alzheimer’s. She also fundraises for charities that help victims of domestic violence.
As a last word, Laura says, “It is so rewarding to be there when clients’ have saved enough money for their first house or to pay for their kids’ continuing education, or when they have enough money saved to retire comfortably. Becoming a financial advisor is also a wonderful career choice for a woman seeking to maintain work/life balance.”
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