KEITH MCCONKEY, PFP, RIS Consultant | Creator of the Life Simplified System™ | IG Wealth Management
“Your business, your life, your legacy – your financial plan – simplified.”
Consultant Keith McConkey has done his homework. Since beginning his career in financial services, he has obtained the Personal Financial Planner (PFP) and Responsible Investment Specialist (RIS) designations and in 2020 created the Life Simplified System™ to empower clients. Keith is deeply invested in making financial planning easier for the business owners and individuals who seek his help. A Niagara native of more than 35 years, Keith joined IG Wealth Management in January 2020; bringing a fresh, unique, wealth management perspective to IG clients in the Niagara region.
Keith first joined the financial services world nine years ago. Prior to working in wealth management, he spent six seasons immersed in the world of professional baseball, employed as a Minor League Umpire. Since 2007 he’s been a Baseball Canada Master Course Conductor, training and developing amateur umpires in Ontario. Keith has represented Canada internationally, umpiring a world championship, the PanAm games, and a qualifier for the Tokyo Olympics.
“People find it interesting that I’m not one of those guys who started in business right out of university,” says Keith. “My goals were a little bit different than they are today – I wanted to become an umpire for Major League Baseball.”
Keith attended Brock University before moving to Florida to enroll at the Harry Wendelstedt School for Umpires.
“I worked in the minor leagues for six seasons, travelling all over the United States, including a four-month trip to Venezuela to work their winter league,” explains Keith. “Eventually I was faced with either moving up to the major leagues or moving on. Similarly, to players, I found myself in a position where there wasn’t a spot for me in MLB and was released after the 2005 season. I was 29 years old and looking for career number two, so I quickly found a job to pay my bills. I took on a leadership role in a call centre, I was also an air traffic controller in Toronto, but it wasn’t a great job fit for me.”
At the time, Keith’s roots were in Niagara, as were his house, dog, and girlfriend (who would later become his wife). He couldn’t imagine commuting to Toronto for the rest of his career and began searching for a job with long-term possibilities closer to home.
Modular Planning – Life Simplified
Keith initially found his way to financial services via a junior role with CIBC. While studying to obtain his Personal Financial Planning designation, he worked as a licensed Financial Advisor and became Branch Manager of a local credit union. During this time Keith refined his modular planning process and coaching skills.
“I place an emphasis on modular planning to help clients best comprehend each aspect of their finances,” explains Keith. “Similar to how a teacher or coach would use scaffolding to help build on knowledge base, I coach families and business owners on debt management, savings, estate planning, wealth protection and tax minimization strategies.”
Keith developed and has fine-tuned his Life Simplified System™ over the past 9 years. Through experience, he has identified that there are gaps in the ways that an advisor can communicate with clients.
“Sometimes, the financial industry just makes the process way too complicated for people to understand,” Keith adds. “I'm proud of the time that I've put into simplifying the process for clients. I provide modular planning, step-by-step, we discuss what's important – and the why behind it. Industry jargon can’t always be avoided, but I try to use simple language to explain complex things. I simplify the process and make decisions easier for clients – that’s why they come to me.”
Keith’s goal is to fully engage clients in the planning process. His system relies heavily on the “why” behind decision making to better help people contextualize their situation. He believes perspective is an important part of financial planning.
“I can’t produce a plan without information - it helps me understand a client’s perspective going in,” says Keith. “Every financial planner has some sort of checklist or document to help collect data. A couple of years ago I began rethinking this step. I realized that planners could be making this part of the process unnecessarily cumbersome; with clients becoming disengaged before we even started. I wanted to focus on the most important question – the why. Focusing on why and any pre-existing biases, provides insight and are valuable tools when you’re trying to help someone with money management.”
Relationship Building and Covering All Bases
Keith’s quest for information starts the moment he begins a conversation with a potential client. To create the most successful plans, he places an emphasis on “good fit” relationships that will last long-term.
“If we’re a good fit to work together, I’ll present them with a plan and a call to action,” says Keith. “I’m looking to work with people who share similar values to my own. I’m a family man, husband and father of two – who is also a local business owner with roots in our community. In my experience, building relationships with likeminded people leads to a greater chance of success and produces better results. Happy clients become advocates for the work that I do and that leads to my own business and financial success.”
If shared values are the foundation for Keith’s relationships, dependability is the glue that holds everything together. Keith’s experience tells him that it’s crucial for clients to have someone dependable who they can go to for advice about all financial concerns. Covering “all financial bases” for clients, brokers the trust required to help implement and meet their long-term financial goals.
“Money management is about building trust with professionals who will provide recommendations that will put you in a position to be successful,” says Keith. “When I was on the baseball field, especially at the professional level, I was always thinking of the next possible thing that could happen. The game moves fast at that level so an umpire must know where a play is going before it happens, to get the call right. In financial planning we do the same thing – focus on possible outcomes and adjust to the changes that life brings. We make sure that you’re in the best position for the best results. I help clients put things in place where they may not see the benefit right now, but in 20 to 30 years they will see the lifelong impact.”
Making the Right Call, Joining IG Wealth Management
For Keith, knowing where his next play was going, led to answering the call to switch to a forward-thinking, innovative wealth management firm. Keith teamed up with IG Wealth Management and was welcomed by a supportive firm who believes in putting clients first.
“I’d contemplated running my own business for a long time and after meeting with IG Wealth Management I knew I’d found the most progressive firm to help with the transition,” explains Keith. “I have life experience on my side, very clear goals, and I want to grow my practice. I’ve incorporated business planning tools, insights and experience into my approach. I’ve been able to offer business owners a fresh perspective – and it helps that we also use some pretty cool techniques to combine retirement and insurance planning at IG.”
Retirement Planning, Insurance Planning, and Saving Time in a Judgement-Free Zone
Keith understands that retirement and insurance planning can be a time-cost for people who may have little time to spare. Streamlining the process is the first step in saving some of the time a client will spend attending to their financial plan. Keith’s experiences in larger financial institutions have demonstrated that accessibility is another important time-saving necessity.
“It’s important to have time for people,” Keith says. “When my phone rings, I answer as long as I’m not in the middle of something very important. I don’t punch a clock; this means I can be available when clients need me the most. For my business owner clients, saving time is essential, so they can focus on running their business.”
Expediency also requires that Keith provide “judgement free” tailor-made advice that meets the unique needs of the individual he’s coaching. He acknowledges that making the “right call” for one client may not be (and very likely won’t be) the same as it is for someone else.
“While financial planning has its rules, much of what we do is make judgement calls – but without judgement,” explains Keith. “Knowledge is powerful but applying it to real world scenarios is always up for interpretation. For example, when I’m creating a financial plan, I may see debt that needs to be cleared up. The books will tell you to pay off the highest interest debt first, but I would argue that in some cases you should pay the smallest balances off first. The human element comes into play – paying off small balance debts can inspire and excite someone to stick to their plan because it’s working. Small victories add up in the real world.
In the end it all comes back to Keith’s Life Simplified System™ – finding the best ways to capture interest and meaningfully engage with the clients he helps.
“Sometimes it’s about helping people organize their thoughts or changing a perception and finding an easier way to accomplish a goal,” adds Keith. “I’m bringing you advice from a place of complete objectivity and zero biases – and I think that when it comes to simplifying your life – that adds a ton of value.”
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. Keith McConkey is solely responsible for its content. For more information on this topic or any other financial matter, please contact Keith McConkey.
April Potter is a veteran writer with expertise in financial services including nearly 15 years in debt restructuring. April has written for multiple online publications on a variety of subjects and offers a range of social media. Also a painter, her background in finance is balanced by her artistic endeavors.
Keith McConkey, PFP®, RIS®
75 Lincoln St., Suite 3,
Welland, ON L3C 5J3
Tel 905.788.1356 | Mobile 905-347-2251
Investors Group Financial Services Inc.