CHARLINA WESTBYE, CONSULTANT, IG WEALTH MANAGEMENT, INVESTORS GROUP FINANCIAL SERVICES INC.
“Can We Just Talk?”
“Fighting over family assets is usually about far more than that. Money is often how we keep a tally of love, approval and fairness,” says journalist Kerry Hanon in a November 6, 2019 New York Times article. “…Parents or grandparents often never spend any time preparing adult children for what is coming ahead. This is usually built upon fear. Fear of entitlement. Fear of demotivating a beneficiary…”
“But,” Consultant, Charlina Westbye says, “It doesn’t have to be that way. I encourage and facilitate discussions about personal finance. Money impacts everyone in the family. When these things are openly discussed, everyone is better off.”
Charlina has more than twenty years of commercial lending experience, first as Business Development Manager for Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), then as Commercial Account Manager at local Credit Union, and most recently, as a Consultant with IG Wealth Management.
“My mother, who was my best friend, and personal and business coach, referred me to BDC. I worked in the commercial financing industry for over 15 years. I loved the challenge of finding answers to difficult questions, and to solving complicated problems. I would need all of these skills in my career as a Financial Consultant. When my mother died from cancer in 2013, it was a personal wakeup call and ignited a compulsion to reassess all aspects of my life, including my career. It also gave me the knowledge and experience to know the true power of planning ahead,” Charlina says
“I attended a meeting of the local Women’s Business Network. I sat with Betty, a Division Director at IG Wealth Management, who at my age, had also successfully transitioned careers. That single conversation kickstarted my career reinvention journey. I have never regretted my choice for even a day. Wasn’t it Mark Twain who said, ‘Find a job that you enjoy doing and you’ll never work another day in your life?’ He captured exactly how I feel about the important work I’m doing now.”
Philosophy & Approach
A conversation starter, Charlina believes in educating people first. “I never assume everyone wants to disclose everything about themselves right away, so I educate them about me, my family, and IG Wealth Management. By asking open ended questions, and listening to their life stories I can figure out their level of financial and self-knowledge. This information is necessary as it drives our further discussions,” Charlina explains.
She also believes there are no sacred cows in financial planning. This attitude of openness makes it safe to talk to Charlina about anything, especially those uncomfortable, elephant-in-the room types of questions Kerry Hanon discusses in her New York Times article. Step One may take several meetings. Only after she has a deep understanding of what is important to the client does Charlina turn her attention to Financial Planning.
One satisfied client says, "Charlina not only cares about clients' finances; she cares about each client. As a recent widow, I was in great need of financial guidance….as I told her about my situation, she was professional yet sensitive and empathetic. She cared. Our subsequent meetings have included Charlina clearly presenting options, advice and expertise which has allowed me to make the best decisions for myself...”
To Charlina, financial planning is more than a comprehensive review of clients’ financial statements. She categorizes, and simplifies everything she has heard. A financial plan doesn’t have to be 30 pages long to be effective. Where appropriate, Charlina introduces the idea of a family meeting. This breaks the taboo related to the family money conversations, which gets family members onto the same page in the same book.
Another satisfied client says, "Charlina has a way of putting your mind at ease and making you feel comfortable…she is very knowledgeable and is able to explain financial concepts in a way that is easy to comprehend…Charlina handled my mom's difficult situation with a great deal of empathy and compassion…Charlina was also able to help me and my partner plan for both our short- and long-term financial goals…It is very apparent that she truly cares about clients and takes the time to understand the individual needs of each person she works with.”
“As a Financial Advisor, as the Chief Financial Officer for the fFamily, it is my job to manage financial risk, financial paperwork and statements including wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and the like. Whether someone operates a successful business or is CEO of his or her family they probably don’t have the time or the interest to keep up with tax laws or disclosure requirements. Working with me provides peace of mind and gives clients the space to focus on what’s important to them.”
Charlina encourages clients to contact her for advice on anything, such as how they are going to pay for their home renovations, recreational property, or grandkids’ post-secondary education. She is also a connector with an extensive network of other professionals in different disciplines. “Clients call me if they need a referral to a reliable plumber or electrician, a landscaper, an accountant, realtor, or even a babysitter,” she says with a smile.
Up Close & Personal
She is married to her high school sweetheart, Dave. Charlina and Dave have two school-aged children – son, Toby (12), and daughter, Heidi (10) - and a dog named Charlie, a lab/boxer mix. This active family loves to go to the family cottage in the summer and ski together in the winter. Because she loves what she does, Charlina spends her downtime reading economic reports and financial updates which, “Helps me make sense of the markets and what’s happening globally.”
She is a very animated and confident speaker and is often asked to address members of her local Chamber of Commerce, as well as students of Peterborough Alternative and Continuing Education (PACE), where young mothers pursuing their GED get answers to anything financial they want to talk about. She also sits on the Board of Community Futures Peterborough. Charlina and IG are always planning something educational and fun, like Synchronized financial planning for women , and Financial planning for small business seminars. If you are interested in attending an upcoming financial workshop as her guest simply email her at Charlina.Westbye@investorsgroup.com.
As a last word, Charlina says, “I consider my family, my client relationships, and my ability to make people feel they are worthy as three of my greatest achievements. Everyone can expect honest feedback and personal advice. I strive to have open, honest, long-term relationships, because that’s where I can add the most value to the people and the clients that are sharing this journey with me.”
This is a general source of information only. It is not intended to provide personalized tax, legal or investment advice, and is not intended as a solicitation to purchase securities. Charlina Westbye is solely responsible for its content. For more information on this topic or any other financial matter, please contact Charlina Westby
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
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