- NATALIE NOBLE
CHAD EKREN, CFP, Capital Concepts Group, iA Private Wealth, Senior Investment Advisor, Burnaby, BC
"Maximizing the Return on Life"
In a world so typically considered a numbers game, Chad Ekren, Certified Financial Planner and Portfolio Manager with Capital Concepts Group & iA Private Wealth, takes a more integrated, holistic approach to financial planning and wealth management. “I do the financial planning side for retirement, but I also focus on the non-financial side. In addition to getting my clients a strong return on their investments, I want to help them get the maximum return on their life,” says Chad.
Chad is all about purpose. “Life without purpose is meaningless,” he says. “We all desire to leave some form of legacy, financial or not. When it comes to finances, I try to help people see that they can have a bless-now form of legacy, not just a bless-later legacy where they leave a pile of money after they pass. Wouldn’t you love to help bless your loved ones and heartfelt causes now so you get to experience the positive impact it can make?”
It’s in that balanced spirit of living life in the moment while also preparing for a blessed future that Chad shies away from the word “retirement.” Instead, he prefers “Re-Tirement” as in a new set of tires to drive another 200,000 kms of good living.
Integrated holistic financial and retirement planning
Every service Chad and his team at Capital Concepts provides starts with a holistic retirement plan. “We manage people’s insurance, investments, tax returns, and assist in estate planning with a lawyer,” says Chad. “We’ve created a holistic, integrated planning approach where we educate and serve our clients all from our office. It’s a different approach in an industry that all too often tends to prioritize bringing in money with little focus on planning, integration, or consideration of non-financial priorities as well.”
Just what does Chad have in mind when he incorporates non-financials into his clients’ plans? One family understands it very well and appreciates it to this day. A blended family from both sides of the Canada-U.S. border, this couple were both in their second marriage with six children combined. “A few years after we started working together and they were coming up on their 25th wedding anniversary,” recalls Chad. “They were thinking about what they should do to celebrate, and we discussed a trip for them, their six children and spouses, and 12 grandchildren. They didn’t know if they could afford this, so I showed the possibility to them in their plan.”
The entire family escaped together to Club Med in Mexico where the couple had met. “It was one of their greatest times and everyone loved it,” says Chad. “Within a year, they lost one of their grandchildren in a car accident and they were so thankful the entire family had been together before this happened.”
Later, as the husband battled cancer Chad visited their home before his client passed. “He pulled me in saying, ‘promise me you’ll be there for my wife,’” says Chad. “I promised I would act as her ‘surrogate financial partner.’ It’s been six years now, she’s 91, and I’ve walked alongside her. I’ve been very involved with this family keeping my promise. I tell her how proud her husband would be of her for how she’s handling their finances and family situation. I’ve been helping her make substantial gifts to their children while she is alive allowing her to reap the joy in doing so.”
It’s this type of responsibility Chad takes to heart in his work. “It’s about being a good steward, that’s what I truly believe,” he says. “It’s trying to help people see they have the ability to steward their blessings and help others along the way. This isn’t just with money; it’s sharing our time and experiences.”
Capital Concepts Group: a family-focused family practice
As a youth, Chad was a high achiever in school and sports, and he eventually found great joy in earning and saving money while working at Save On Foods. He later took up his high school counselor’s suggestion that he try business school and pursue accounting at the University of British Columbia. “I soon realized my future wasn’t in accounting, but thankfully, I met my future wife Rose Mary in an accounting class,” says Chad.
For five years after graduation, Chad worked as a commercial mortgage broker helping developers and investors arrange their financing. “As good as I am with numbers, I realized I’m a real people person,” he says. “So, I moved into the residential side of mortgage brokering for the next three years, where I was able to help many more clients while enjoying interacting more on the personal side.”
Timing is everything and around this time Chad’s father, Ray, was laid off from the Credit Union. “He went to work as a financial planner and asked me to join him when I was 31 and he was 52,” says Chad. “I decided to join my dad after he agreed that we would attract new clients by becoming classroom instructors of the Financial Strategies for Successful Retirement seminar. From day one, I entered this business as a financial planner, not only as an investment advisor.”
The Ekrens brought in Chad’s insurance agent, Geoff Perrin, as a partner. “The three of us built this together and to this day, Geoff is still my business partner. My Dad retired at 71 eight years ago and Geoff’s son Dayne, now 35, joined our firm five years ago,” says Chad. “We are truly a family business with two generations of Ekrens and Perrins so far. I would love it if my son Nick joined our business one day, but meanwhile, I’m really enjoying mentoring Dayne. He has the ability to lead our business in the future.”
From 2000 to 2004, the father-son team hosted a live weekly radio talk show called Managing Your Wealth with Ray and Chad Ekren. Their assistant, and now Chad’s second business partner, Joe Goncalves, helped make this talk show a success. “We’ve essentially set up a family office for the mass affluent, like how the uber-wealthy have an in-house team of professionals working together to manage their wealth. At Capital Concepts, we’ve created a mini version of that team approach for the average Canadian,” says Chad.
“I plan to work into my 70s as I love what I do, and a big part of my work now is to provide the big picture education and planning along with mentoring our team. In addition to Dayne, I work closely with two outstanding, long-time Capital Concept’s associates, Steve Trellert and Stephen Chu. I’m not setting this practice up to make a bunch of money selling to someone who is not a steward. I’m building it so there will be new heirs who come in and their DNA will grow into what we’re already building,” Chad passionately shares.
In September of 2017, Chad’s eldest son Chris passed away in an off-road truck accident. “He had been married one year and five days and it was a devastating time in our lives,” says Chad. “I’ve learned over the years that when you serve and help others, it helps to lessen the focus on your own challenges. I love to teach, so I started conducting the Joyful Retirement Seminar at the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) four months after Chris’ death.”
Teaching was therapeutic for Chad. “We started helping several new families and it energized me,” he says. “I talked about my son at every seminar as well as the importance of proper planning and insurance, using my son as an example. I also started writing ‘Living in Faith Reflections’ https://www.capitalconceptsgroup.ca/who-we-are/senior- investment-advisors/chad-ekren with the hope that my experience could help others in their grieving of whatever challenge they may be, or one day will be, experiencing.”
When COVID-19 put a stop to in-person teaching in 2020, Chad created the Successful Retirement Academy, an online retirement education program, to share his passion with others.
“My goal is to be in my 80s talking to fellow clients of Capital Concepts Group, many of whom are close friends and family, informing them, ‘the CCG team is doing for me what they’re doing for you. I’ve put my money where my mouth is and built this practice to be ongoing for all of us,’” says Chad. “I want multi-generational advisors in our company who work with multigenerational families.”
Natalie Noble’s love of writing stems from her passion for hearing and sharing people’s stories. Over the years she has written for various business, real estate, and agriculture publications. At the heart of her work is a desire to continuously learn and connect.
Chad Ekren CIM, CFP©, B.Comm
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