- APRIL POTTER
Marylou Heenan, CCS, RRC Financial Advisor, Assante Capital Management Ltd.
“Simplify And Enhance Your Life”
FINANCIAL ADVISOR Marylou Heenan understands what it takes to achieve goals and pursue dreams. A Toronto native, one of 7 children, Marylou left to follow her dream of travelling Europe after graduating from high school. While living abroad she became fluent in multiple languages. Today, Marylou is as well-versed in the lexicon of financial planning as she is in Spanish and French.
“When I returned to Canada after spending three years in Europe,” explains Marylou. “I was fluent in both French and Spanish. So, I completed my degree in languages at the University of Toronto and decided to open a language school. I started teaching French to professionals and soon added ESL. The school was small to begin with, but I expanded to bring 1500 international students to Canada every year.”
Eventually one language school grew into two. Marylou ran her schools as an independent entrepreneur for the next 30 years, developing a passion for money management over time. Seeking a better work-life balance for herself, Marylou opted for a career change in 2013.
“I was more than just a passive investor,” says Marylou. “As an entrepreneur I knew that I wouldn’t have a company pension to rely on when I retire. I had to learn about money management to run my business and I had to learn how to save and invest for retirement for myself. I always wanted to learn more about different types of investing, so I worked with a few different Advisors and Planners. Around 2010 I realized I had built up my retirement savings and had a financial plan that was going to work well for both myself and my daughter. I was ready to do something else and went back to school to take courses. I began working for Assante Capital Management seven years ago.”
Empathy, Entrepreneurship and Education
As an Assante Financial Advisor, Marylou believes that a financial plan is about more than just crunching numbers. Marylou helps her clients fulfill retirement dreams, meet important financial goals and celebrate money milestones.
“My personal background as an entrepreneur is different from many Advisors in the business who have been working in the industry since graduating University,” says Marylou. “I’ve faced all of the same challenges that entrepreneurs do. I think it’s because of this that I have a passion for financial education. I’m empathetic and that’s what makes me a good financial coach and Advisor.”
Marylou’s ability to relate to clients makes it easy for her to spot opportunities to educate others in financial matters. For example, the pandemic has led her to fulfill an educational gap by providing financial literacy resources that can be accessed virtually. In May of 2020 she was inspired to create Yourmoneyforlife.ca. The website’s goal is to provide financial literacy educational resources to as many Canadians as possible.
“One of the things I discovered shortly after becoming an Advisor, is that my strong interest in financial matters was not typical of most of the people I spoke with,” explains Marylou. “Many people just hope things will work out somehow or other and there isn’t much financial education taught in public school. I wanted to provide a place where people could easily access financial literacy resources.”
Marylou provides seminars and webinars to organizations who want to support employees and their families to succeed financially. Her experience with cash flow planning is essential to her approach with all of her clients.
“I discovered the Certified Cash Flow Specialist program in 2015 and decided to pursue the designation,” says Marylou. “I’ve learned how to show people the different ways they can manage their take home pay and ensure that they’ve got a good plan in place to control their expenses. I’m sure all Advisors discuss cash flow with their clients, but a Designated Cash Flow Specialist provides reports that forecast how sticking to a plan works in five or ten years. One of my clients came to me after seeing a different Advisor. She was told she needed to save a certain amount of money before she could retire but she wasn’t told how. With strategic cash flow planning, I was able to show her how to do more with the money she already had to meet her goal. In the end it’s not really about how much we earn, it’s about what we do with what we earn that matters most.”
Retiring with Peace of Mind – Get More Life Out of Money You Already Have
Marylou knows that managing wealth can be complex and time-consuming. Addressing all aspects of financial well-being and providing the support of trusted professionals helps make financial decision making easier. However, once established, it doesn’t take much to make people question their retirement plan. The pandemic has raised concerns for many investors. Lockdowns, closures, and fluctuating markets have disturbed the peace for many people.
“No one expected the pandemic to happen,” says Marylou. “I think people have had their confidence in the future shaken. People are wondering if they are still on target to reach their financial goals. Even younger people are worried that anything can happen to throw them off course or make it impossible to retire when they want to. It’s another reason that I think bringing financial literacy and retirement planning education to people is more important than ever. Retiring with peace of mind can still be possible if people have strategies they stick to.”
In 2019 Marylou completed her Registered Retirement Consultant designation. She wanted to make sure that she had the right skills and information to help all of her clients as they approach retirement.
Working with Assante Wealth Capital Management Ltd.
Marylou works with Assante Capital Management Ltd. because of the financial planning options that she can offer to her clients. At Assante she can also offer clients holistic planning and options that would not be available at a bank or credit union.
“Clients and prospects can have a financial snapshot prepared for them,” explains Marylou. “A high-level financial report is prepared that answers questions like “do I have enough” or “will I have enough” to retire by a certain date? And if not, what options do I have? While the report doesn’t go into the full details of a financial plan, it is a valuable tool.”
Outside of the Office
Marylou is an avid reader and an active member of more than one book club. She spends some of her time outside of office hours volunteering for the networking group Canadian Association of Women Executives and Entrepreneurs (CAWEE). As Secretary Treasurer for CAWEE in 2020-21, she entered her third year of volunteering on their board of directors.
Marylou also participates in Assante’s “Be Well Advised” program. The program began during the pandemic as an opportunity for Canadians who do not typically have access to a financial advisor or advice about financial planning.
“I was keen to volunteer,” says Marylou. “I wanted to offer my experience and help people with their cash flow issues. I know that when people are worried about themselves and their families, they tend to be less productive at work because they’re distracted. Getting some financial advice can make a really positive difference in their lives.”
Ultimately, Marylou never really left her role as an educator; her subject has shifted from languages to finance – but she’s found her purpose and is always imparting pearls of wisdom.
“I’ve come full circle and come back to being an educator again,” says Marylou. “My daughter recently turned 28. She has the same travel bug that I had when I was younger, and she has moved to Australia. Thank goodness we have Zoom and Skype. I encouraged her to travel because I believe it’s very important to travel outside of your own borders to see what the rest of the world is like. When you come back, you really appreciate the fantastic life that we have here in Canada. And I do hope she can come back soon, even if it is just for a visit.”
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.
Marylou Heenan CCS, RRC
Assante Capital Management Ltd.
905-707-5220 x28 Cell: 416-518-1332