“Taking on the day-to-day so you can follow your passion”
Evan Riddell has a couple of core beliefs. One: change can be hard, and nobody should have to go it alone when they’re making a transition from one stage of life to the next.
Another: Life is short. So people should spend more time doing what they’re passionate about, instead of struggling with more tedious and complex matters, like managing taxes, for example.
Evan is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER professional at Riddell Private Wealth Management, a part of IG Wealth Management in Victoria, B.C.
Working with his team of three dedicated professionals, Evan offers expertise in all areas of client’s finances, but where he really excels is in complex areas like tax strategies and corporate planning. That expertise, combined with Evan’s honest desire to help people retire comfortably, means a growing number of clients have confidence in him managing the day-to-day complexities of their finances, while they focus on what they’re passionate about.
Evan’s interest in helping people with their finances started early. “I had a lot of experiences in childhood where I saw people around me making bad financial decisions and seeing repercussions from those decisions,” says Evan. “It seemed like people were left on their own. There wasn’t someone to speak the language and it all seemed so foreign. I wanted to be the person who could help people.”
Connecting with people on their level
Evan’s initial foray into finance was as an economist with the B.C. government, right out of university. He initially thought he’d found his dream job – one where he could earn a living using his love for diving deep into data and numbers. But he soon realized something was missing. “I didn’t get a chance to connect with people,” says Evan. “It was eye-opening. I realized I needed the autonomy to make a true impact with people, and I also wanted to work with people day in and day out.”
Evan started his career in the finance industry with IG, turning his wish to work with people into a reality. The timing, however, was interesting. It was 2008, the markets had crashed, and clients had just gone through the worst financial event in their lives. For a planner just starting out, it was trial by fire. But it was also a valuable learning experience, and Evan credits that time for teaching him how to speak to clients on their level, to calm them in a crisis, and coach them toward their goals, no matter the ups and downs of the market.
Effective communication is a cornerstone of his practice and is at the root of his approach in helping clients transition through their milestones. “It’s very important to us to be able to communicate clearly with our clients. We’re very proactive, very organized, streamlined, and we’re focused on having strong communication with our clients on a regular basis,” says Evan.
A good plan means a successful transition
Evan and his team dive deep with all new or prospective clients, learning what’s most important to them, what keeps them up at night, and what their aspirations are. They also take an in-depth look at all aspects of their financial life, like tax returns and existing investment plans. Using all of that information, Evan comes back with a detailed, easy-to-understand, and step-by-step process on how they can achieve their goals.
“We lay it out for people so they can make an informed decision. People can take the plan, run with it themselves, or go through it with someone else,” says Evan. “If we think we are a good fit, we can be the ones to implement the plan for you. Even if the person never becomes a client, they’re going to walk away with great value. This is more in-depth than anything anyone else has done. And it is in plain English.”
Evan’s team includes himself, director of operations Mona Kazakoff (who is moving into a licensed role in the new year) and administrative assistant Tracey Albert. He describes them as a strong, lean, and mean three-person team, with access to top professionals across the financial spectrum who can support clients in all areas of their finances.
Transition is the area Evan’s team truly specializes in, whether it’s helping a client move into retirement, or supporting business owners as they shut down, sell, or move into a new business.
“Everyone’s situation is unique. But selling a business is hard. First, try to find a buyer and make sure you’re going to get the best dollar for it. Also, having sold the business, how do you get that money in your hands to fund your retirement, and support your family,” says Evan. “And how do you keep as much of that as possible without it all going to taxes? You need to handle that correctly.”
It’s not just about the money
When it comes to retirement, Evan knows it’s a massive transition for everyone; not just financially, but emotionally. “We really want to make sure individuals and couples are able to make that transition and it’s enjoyable,” says Evan.
“They’ve been told their entire life to save, save, save. And suddenly, they have no more money coming in and have to draw on their investments. It’s a scary thing. A lot of people worry they’ll do the wrong thing and will be destitute in 10, or 20 years. Am I doing the right thing? That’s where we really shine.”
Evan’s team excels in helping clients make decisions that are right for them and that ensure their financial security for the long term. They look at managing clients’ taxable income while they’re working and managing income from different sources when they’re no longer earning a work income. “We want to make sure we’re doing the smart thing today so we don’t have a difficult situation in the future. We want to make sure we’re not overpaying taxes today or overpaying down the road.”
Evan knows that life is not all about money. That’s why he ensures his meetings with clients are not only about charts and numbers. “We really want to focus our meetings on working towards a successful transition to retirement. It’s not just, you have money and this is what you’re going to do it, it’s also about how you’re going to live your passion going forward.”
Evan’s commitment to excellence has caught the attention of the industry. In 2021, he was recognized as the highest-producing practice in Western Canada within IG Wealth Management, was ranked 13th best in the country, earning IG’s President’s Council Award, and was also named Victoria’s Financial Planner of the Year. In 2023, Evan was named among the top 40 under-40 Financial Planners in Canada by Wealth Professional.
Better than the awards, says Evan, is seeing clients’ a-ha moments. “You see it in their face or they audibly say ‘a-ha!’ The understanding and clarity is crystallized. They realize that everything they’ve been working towards, raising a family and running a business, finally they’re at the stage where they are actually financially independent. They don’t have to keep pushing so hard anymore unless they want to.”
Making life better
Evan has a long career ahead of him. That makes him happy, not only because he loves what he does and he loves working with clients, but also because it allows him to be the person he wants to be in his own life. That means being a very active and present father to two children, Alicia, five, and Clayton, who is two. It also means trying to keep up with his wife Sarah, who’s either running for office or running ultra marathons. Together, they’re also very active in their community in central Saanich in Victoria. “We love where we live and we want to see the community be stronger and healthier going forward,” he says.
Being better is a theme for Evan, personally and professionally. And he’s on an ongoing quest to improve upon, well, everything.
“Constant never-ending improvement is a theme I live by. Whatever we’re doing, we ask, what can we do more? What can we do better for clients? How can we support them more, save them more time, save them more on taxes, give them more security, communicate better?”
“If we’re focusing our expertise on tax planning, or corporate planning integration, or longevity of income planning, successful transition to retirement, multi-generational estate planning…anything we do, we want to make sure we as an individual, team, or practice are striving to constantly improve, doing more, and providing greater value to our clients.
Janice Tuff is a professional writer and communicator who got her start in radio copywriting.
Three decades later, she continues to draw upon the valuable lessons learned in her radio days: grab your audience’s attention quickly and always tell an engaging tale.
Certified Financial Planner
Riddell Private Wealth Management
IG Private Wealth Management Investors Group Securities Inc.
101-4400 Chatterton Way
Victoria, BC V8X 5J2