“Success is a team sport.”
Liz Leckie, RRC, Senior Consultant, IG Wealth Management, is a person who’s always made a splash. First, as a 36-time Canadian Champion, international competitor, and coach in the sport of sprint kayak, and now as a successful Wealth Consultant at IG Wealth Management.
“As an athlete, we devote ourselves entirely to our sport: mind, body, and soul. We dedicate ourselves to constant improvement because hard work is just the day to day for us. You have to stay focused on the things you can control, do everything with integrity, and to the best of your ability,” said Liz.
At first glance, there may seem to be little connecting high-performance sport and the world of high finance, but there is. There’s a lot.
Liz benefits from the work ethic she developed as she pushed herself to the absolute limit, and then further still. There is always more to do, always more to learn. It’s why as an athlete, and now as a consultant, she is constantly seeking ways to improve personally and professionally.
“Confidence comes from putting in the work. You can’t do it any other way. You might be able to fake it (for a while), but it all adds up on race day. You have to know that you’ve put in more work than your competitors to be sure you’re in the best position to win the race. It’s the same in financial planning.”
It also helps that Liz is a part of a great team at IG Wealth Management.
Her practice is unique because it includes not only her regional IG Team of experts and specialists, each of whom cover different areas of the wide range of services IG provides, but also outside local financial professionals in a co-operative workspace. It gives Liz a competitive edge, and provides a better client experience, because Liz can often get quick answers from leaders in their fields. “Getting the right answers from the right professionals at the right time,” is how Liz describes their workflow.
Liz often refers to herself as the quarterback of a client’s financial team; an important contributor, but not the only one. “I rely heavily on input from my team of specialists in the office, much like coaches on a bench, or the sidelines, who are close to the action and have in-depth insights on what’s happening. But to keep the game moving forward, it sometimes requires input from professionals with a broader perspective, like lawyers or accountants. They are like the coaches who are watching the game from above and seeing it from a different angle. The more input and information you have from relevant experts, the better the quality of decision making or advice we can provide.”
No missing pieces
As an athlete, so much of one’s success comes from comprehensive planning. You need the right goals and the desire to achieve them; spend time at the gym and eat well; work on your mental preparation; work tirelessly at technique and your efficiency; really focus on the small things that can give you an edge. If any of these elements were missing it could result in failure because the weakest link in the chain breaks.
Finance is the same.
“The better prepared you are, the more confidence you can have in your financial plan. You can have a solid goal in mind for your finances, but if your tax, insurance, or estate planning are weak, for example, you may not be able to weather significant changes in your life. You can’t control everything, but if you focus on the things you can, and get all those things right, you are in a much better position to weather volatility or unexpected events.”
Having a Consultant you trust, helps. A lot. There needs to be a personality fit between a client and a consultant otherwise things could never work; comfort is king.
“In many instances we are asking people to come in on our first ‘date’ together and tell us everything, and almost without fail, no matter how well a client has done or is doing, people don’t feel comfortable talking about it.”
Liz believes that working from a position of vulnerability and transparency helps clients open up to her. She’s willing to share her own personal experiences with clients, because being open first often gives them the level of comfort needed to do the same. “People are often embarrassed or uncomfortable about their lack of knowledge or understanding of their own financial situation, especially if they are high performing in their own fields. Those meetings always start with: ‘you’re not supposed to know this, I can’t do your job either.’ Instantly people smile and nod. It’s a perspective we often forget.”
No one’s ever going to do it perfectly, especially if it’s not your field. Education is a huge part of her practice. She wants clients to understand not just what their plan is doing, but why too.
"While the strategies we put in place can be complex, I want clients to understand, to be engaged, and to learn through the process as well. I often say that if I’ve done my job correctly, clients should be able to explain what we did and why to someone else. That’s the level of understanding I want them to have, and it helps build a relationship with confidence." Understanding the why is one thing in coaching and in planning that is often overlooked. As an athlete I needed to know why what I was doing was going to make me better as much as a client needs to know why we did something to better their situation or outcome.”
More than just money
Liz recognizes that she’s fortunate. She’s built successful careers in two fields she loves and she’s keen to pay that good fortune forward. In fact, it’s how she defines career success. “How much you’re able to give back. That’s how I define success. In my practice, I contribute a certain amount of my salary back to the community, no matter what I earn. No one holds me to it, it’s a deal I made with myself and will continue throughout my career. I’m extremely motivated to give back to meaningful causes, community projects or teams and to those less fortunate. Financial planning is a really great platform to do it.”
Supportive of many worthwhile causes, it’s difficult to comprehend where she finds the time, especially with a toddler at home. But she does, and many of these causes have come to rely on her ability to find solutions to difficult problems.
“I took over Seniors’ Christmas in Georgetown about four years ago. It connects community members to local seniors who may not have family, or family with the ability to visit during the holidays. When I came on board, they were having a really challenging time getting donations. So, I got to work and had only 18 days to pull it off. I’d seen something where each senior was ‘adopted’ and had a small wish list granted. It really connected people and I thought I could have the same success.”
Liz leveraged her contacts in the community, local businesses, Facebook groups, restaurants, and more. They took on 210 seniors in their first year. Each senior was adopted by a community member, received a gift and a visit from a local kid over the holidays. “The community we live in never ceases to amaze me. They jump in to help, coming together for those who need it, giving generously; the whole thing truly makes you believe in magic! And it’s our community members and business owners bringing it to life.”
The warmth Liz and the team created for these seniors was priceless.
But, if you knew Liz, you’d know she wouldn’t stop at 210. Every year the program became more popular, and more people wanted to be involved. Last year they provided gifts to 620 seniors over the holidays, many of whom struggled throughout the year because of COVID.
Today, every nearby long-term care facility in Halton Hills is fully covered by this program. “The best part is that it’s full circle for all the generations in our community and it’s so feel-good for everyone involved.”
Always a creative problem-solver, Liz has received some interesting requests over the years, which she’s met! “One year a senior asked for a handsome man. She didn’t specify age, so I sent my husband, my 6- month-old, a firefighter calendar, chocolates, and roses and gave the instruction to ‘be as charming as you can be.’ It’s just the coolest thing.”
Seniors’ Christmas isn’t her only charitable endeavour, of course. Liz will forever support Canadian athletes. It’s in her blood. She’s participated in multiple fundraisers with the Canadian Athletes Now Fund to get more and more athletes a card that’s worth $6,000 of direct support. “$6,000 may not sound like a lot in the grand scheme of things, but to an athlete it could be the difference between an exceptional year and one that falls short.”
It could mean the difference between needing a part time job and dedicating themselves fully to their training. And that’s huge.
Liz was given the opportunity to visit the athletes in Florida and personally deliver funding cards to twelve of them, totaling $72,000. “It’s one of the coolest things I’ve ever gotten to do. Some of the surprise cheques I got to deliver were to old teammates and training partners! I know first-hand how hard they’ve worked, what they’ve had to overcome, and how deserving they were of this support.”
The funding came in early 2020, right at the beginning of the COVID-19 Pandemic. It couldn’t have been timelier: it allowed these athletes the funding they needed to weather a difficult year, giving many the chance to qualify for the postponed Olympics that happened this summer.
“It’s such a powerful impact because this money goes directly to Canadian athletes. There’s no filter. It’s thrilling to be able to make that investment. And, ultimately, that’s what success means to me.”
Do the work. If you put in the work, more often than not, you’ll be rewarded. Her work ethic, born of early morning training sessions and intense competition, is one of the things that sets Liz apart. She does the continuing education, she makes the effort, she asks the questions so she can best provide for clients.
“Be committed to finding the right answers. Do things with integrity. Don’t let anyone outwork you and use your team whenever possible to better the outcome. In life, sometimes it seems like every challenge can be the end of the world. But nobody makes the best decisions every time. The best baseball hitters fail six of every 10 at-bats, gymnasts fall more than they land, and investments will inevitably go up and down. But if you do the work, if you make the adjustments, if you focus on the things you can control and get those right, and if you put in your best effort, you’ll always be in the best position for things to work out.”
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. Liz Leckie is solely responsible for its content. For more information on this topic or any other financial matter, please contact an IG Wealth Management Consultant.Trademarks, including IG Wealth Management, are owned by IGM Financial Inc. and licensed to its subsidiary corporations.
Gary Milakovic is a veteran writer with more than a decade in the public sector and corporate communications. He has covered a wide spectrum of topics and his work has been featured by large and small organizations across Canada. Gary is passionate about communication, his writing often focuses on uncovering the “story behind the story.”
Liz Leckie, RRC®
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