STEAM, an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics, is a common term used in education today. From the Wikipedia page on the subject, STEAM “…programs aim to teach students to think critically and have an engineering or design approach towards real-world problems…STEAM programs add Art to STEM curriculum by drawing on design principles and encouraging creative solutions…”
Certified Financial Planner®, professional Sean Ryder, utilizes a STEAM approach when he creates client-centric financial plans. “When it comes to financial planning, there are the optimal, scientific, financial decisions. There are also the optimal human decisions, the ones that tug at your heart strings instead of your rational investor’s mind. The art of clientcentric financial planning should address both,” Sean Ryder says.
As author, engineer, and Guinness World Record Holder, Paul van der Merwe, once said, “Money makes the world go ‘round; however, happiness greases the axle. Without this lubricant, life will seize.” Sean agrees. “Financial planning is not all technical charts and spreadsheets. It’s a lot of fun helping people optimize their money. Clients were dedicated enough to work with me and save, I get a kick out of watching them enjoy the fruits of their labour.”
“When making financial decisions, life is too precious to not consider everything - I lost my mom to cancer when she was 60 and I was 32. This is one of the reasons I do my best to educate clients about financial planning concepts such as using various insurance strategies to protect themselves and their families from all potential risks. I find the role of insurance is often not well understood by even the most sophisticated investors,” he adds.
Sean is committed to ensuring his children, and his clients’ children, are financially informed. In today’s on-demand environment, he believes it’s important to educate children on patience. The classic experiment of offering one marshmallow today, as opposed to two marshmallows tomorrow, is a simple way to demonstrate the impact of a complicated financial concept like compound growth. Children will learn that good things come to those who wait…and save!
Sean graduated from Western University with a Bio Chemistry degree. “Originally, I planned on being a dentist,” he says with a wide grin. But, business school beckoned and he switched his educational focus - with a Business Degree from the Richard Ivey School of Business where he found the tax courses the most fascinating and useful.
“It’s not how much you make, but how much you keep through effective tax planning,” he says emphatically. For eight years after graduation, Sean applied his tax knowledge personally and honed his business and interpersonal skills in a pharmaceutical sales and marketing role at GlaxoSmithKline.
“I wanted to be my own boss and to use my business skills to greater effect.” Sean decided that a financial services career would allow him to combine his people, communication and rapport building soft skills with his hard skills in investment and tax planning. The only thing potentially standing in the way of his career switch was his wife’s approval. Without that, he would have kept a corporate job. But, she believed in him 100%. He made the switch and hit the ground running in 2007.
Philosophy & Approach
“At Loreto Ryder & Associates, I help individuals and corporate clients achieve their financial goals and dreams by focusing on reducing their taxes, ensuring their money is working hard for them, and preparing them for retirement, while minimizing their risks through insurance. When all of these components are judiciously addressed, clients can pay off their mortgages sooner and comfortably prepare for retirement.”
Knowing what’s most important to clients is vital to success. Sean explains, “Discussions about money can, and often do get emotional. I’m non-judgmental and a good listener - people have always told me their deep dark secrets.” One client says, “Sean has been an extremely diligent and customer-focused financial planner. As a somewhat nervous investor, Sean has kept me updated and reassured during some rocky market times. I feel confident with Sean managing my family’s money.”
Sean quickly climbed the ranks to Division Director within the company where other established advisors took notice. Mario Loreto, a former engineer and successful Financial Advisor for more than a quarter century, and who built a large practice based on client service and personal attention, recognized himself in Sean’s sense of responsibility and integrity. They became business partners. Their shared commitment to running a service-oriented practice made their partnership flourish.
“We’ve earned a reputation for our availability and our responsiveness,” Sean says with pride. “Our clients are our priority, and we’re happy to answer phone calls, emails and texts outside of typical banker’s hours. We’ve had many cases where clients left us to pursue a cheaper option but returned because they didn’t receive the client service they had come to expect.”
“Our client retention is off the charts, largely due to our great client service. I attribute this to the philosophy Mario perfected with his client-centric approach,” Sean explains. “Segmenting is industry jargon for giving priority to clients with more money. We don’t do that. We believe in treating EVERY client with the same respect.”
In 2018, the carefully planned succession between Loreto and Ryder began. Today, their business model is being used by head office as a precedent on how to successfully transition a financial planning business.
Associate, Arash Jalali, an engineer with an MBA from Rotman, and three administration staff, complete the team at Loreto Ryder & Associates, where Mario and Sean continue to demonstrate the merits of a STEAM approach. “I am blessed to work with a team of very smart individuals. We all collaborate so clients can benefit from each of our proficiencies. We regularly consult specialists like portfolio managers, legal, accounting and insurance experts for a well-rounded, optimized financial plan.”
Sean believes there are only two ways to make money; you earn the money or your money earns the money. “The second option is far more relaxing and fun. But, you can’t make money without first making smart financial decisions along the way, and that’s where we come in.”
Up Close & Personal
Sean is committed to keeping his professional skills sharp. After earning his Chartered Life Underwriter designation in 2011, he received the top mark in the country on the Certified Financial Planner examination in 2012. Both industry-leading designations call for significant skill and knowledge maintenance with yearly course requirements.
Sean and his wife each have thriving professional careers and are parents to two healthy, happy and active children who keep them busy with homework, sports activities, and bedtime stories.
Never one to shy away from a challenge, Sean took up hockey later in life. If he is not playing men’s non-contact hockey on Monday nights, he dons his tool belt and looks for a construction project. He has already renovated the couple’s basement, garage and porch.
As a way of giving back to the profession that has been so good to him and his family, Sean has participated in the Advocis Financial Advisors Index™ (a collaboration between Advocis and Western University), the industry benchmark, every year since its inception in 2013. The Index measures Canadian advisor confidence, including client optimism about the state of the economy.
He also volunteers and financially supports Mélanie’s Way (www.melaniesway.com). The charity grants personalized “wishes” that will create unique, joyful experiences for women with metastatic or relapsed cancer to share with those they will leave behind.
As a last word, Sean says, “Everyone should live for today AND plan for tomorrow. Too many Canadians do one or the other, but not both. Although there is more financial technology out there for clients to use, when you work with a CFP® such as myself, you do both. We combine the science and technology of financial planning with the art of pulling it all together to personalize a financial plan for you and your family. Full STEAM ahead!”
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
Sean Ryder, CFP, CLU, HBA, HBSc
Senior Executive Financial Consultant
Loreto Ryder & Associates Private Wealth Management
145 King Street West, Suite 2800,
Toronto, Ontario, M5H 1J8
(416) 860 7501 Mobile (647) 221 0773