Nathan Garries, Edmonton-based Certified Financial Planner with Beyond Business Financial Solutions, possesses an approachability and ease that seems intrinsic to a few lucky people in the world. Or maybe it is not luck at all–perhaps it is testament to how he chooses to live and do business.
His lack of pretension makes no hint of the hard-earned “alphabet soup” behind his name: CFP®, EPC®, CIWM®, FCSI®.
Those letters denote years of intense study, in an effort to “keep progressing” and “earn all of those credentials and standings”, and always with the goal to be more effective and to do more for his clients. Nathan has always believed that further education improves his ability to implement solutions for wealth and risk security planning, tax reduction strategies and family succession planning.
Most recently, he became a Fellow of CSI, which is the highest credential offered by the Canadian Securities Institute.
With over two decades in the industry, Nathan started off achieving TD Canada Trust’s highest award of excellence for financial advisors–based on the criteria of exceptional customer service and sales. He accomplished this just two years after launching his career with TD Bank, before its merger with Canada Trust.
Nathan decided to leave TD Canada Trust and head to Freedom 55 Financial, a division of London Life, for the continuation of his family’s legacy. He represents the third generation of his family to work for the company.
He then built his clientele from scratch before fully stepping into entrepreneurship and helping launch BB Financial Solutions in 2005.
It Is All About Relationships
Nathan has continually believed that life, and business, are all about relationships. He is appreciative of all the innovation that surfaced during the pandemic that allowed for people to stay connected, and more specifically for him to remain connected with clients. While not the same as face-to-face interactions, the move to the virtual realm at least allows for him to see the familiar and friendly faces of clients that have become friends.
“I don’t have thousands of clients. Good advisors go about interviewing clients. I don't simply want to bring on anyone just because they have a certain amount of assets. I view our relationship as a partnership, that it is mutually beneficial,” Nathan explains. “I have clients who have a small portfolio with me and I adore them. And I have walked away from clients with large portfolios because I know we wouldn’t be a good fit.
“I enjoy interacting with my clients. That’s what I absolutely love. I am giving expert advice to friends.”
Financial Literacy is a Gift Everyone Should Give Their Children
Nathan believes that financial literacy is a gift that can – and should – be passed from generation to generation. It is an education he is capable of sharing with people and one he feels an obligation to provide. That is how it played-out in his own life. Due to his family’s generational background in finance – and his mother’s 35 years in the industry – he and his sister started investing when they were 18 years old.
It was a process of trial and error and learning that could not have been replaced by classroom time or YouTube videos.
He aims to help all of his clients’ children invest when they turn 18 and understands that they need to find opportunities that interest them.
“The biggest strategy is allowing them to test out the things they want to test out – if they want to buy that stock or buy that crypto…”. He notes that while his job is to be a voice of logic and to challenge the 18-year-olds of the world who have often researched investment “sometimes, the best way to gain knowledge is through their own experience.”
If they succeed, he is there to pat them on the back. If they fail, he is there to help pick up the pieces and help them carry on.
Just Like Getting an Annual Health Exam, It Is Wise To Get a Financial Check-up
Nathan views his work with clients as multi-faceted. He does not just look at the investments he manages, but at the full financial picture: he wants to help clients navigate quickly out of debt and is often a partner in big life decisions like purchasing a home, retiring early or dealing with an inheritance.
“They realize that my advice is not just about what is sitting on my shelf that I’m managing – it’s everything going on in their life. At times it’s helping them get out of their mortgage, sooner and the right way, ” he says. “I don’t know any financial planners that get fired because they got you your house paid off too fast.”
“There are so many people along the way who are paid to get you into debt. We are some of the few people paid to get you out of debt.”
Helping Clients Understand Risk
Nathan says it is his job to be “boring.” When clients want to push the accelerator with investments, it is sometimes his duty to suggest that they tap the brakes and think it through. A major misconception – or even a point of which most people are completely uneducated – is the concept of risk.
“People for the most part don’t understand risk,” Nathan says. He likes to perform a sort of risk assessment of different investments so that clients can understand the factors involved. In essence, he says there are two types of risk when it comes to financial planning: losing money and running out of money. One of the important aspects of his job is the ability to teach his clients and help them make wise decisions to navigate those risks.
The Bold Move to Transparency
In an effort to generate trust with clients, he has been practicing investment transparency with them for years. The disclosure of fees has now become a notable shift – and others in the industry are slowly catching up.
“I’ve always been proud to show my clients how and what I get paid. I think there are too many gray areas in this industry,” he says.
He believes those gray areas are often what make clients distrust financial advisors.
“Good financial planners and good advisors will come out of the shadows,” and explain how it all works, he says.
“A lot of people don’t realize that financial planners like myself have a vested interest in our clients’ financial success. I don’t get paid more by one investment company vs another, I am paid by the fees we negotiate together,” he explains. “If you make money, I make money.”
Nathan adds that, at its core, financial planning is not about perfection, it is about progress and is meant to be a collaborative, team effort between clients and their planners.
He aims to look after the financial health of every member of a family, not just the ones who have the most money.
“A lot of long term clients realize I’m not biased; I have their best interests in mind. We really are trying to look after the [entire] family,” he says.
He believes that a sound financial plan will help clients sleep at night as risks and potential shortfalls are identified, which better allows them to navigate the opportunities and challenges life can present. Using his knowledge and experience, Nathan strives to ensure those risks can be reduced– if not eliminated – through a step-by-step financial planning process.
“Plans should be as unique as the individuals they encompass,” he says.
Ellen Posner has spent over a decade in the field of news and media,
covering everything from business to pop culture and more.
Her passion for writing comes from asking the big questions that get to
the heart of every story.