- GARY MILAKOVIC
ROXANN RITCHIE, Senior Consultant, IG Wealth Management, Investors Group Financial Services Inc.
"Shining Light on Darkest Day"
For Roxann Ritchie, Senior Consultant, IG Wealth Management financial planning isn’t a career; it’s a calling. Some years ago she found herself in a harrowing situation: financial difficulties, coupled with health challenges.
It’s something she never wants anyone else to face. It’s why she started in this industry.
“I know that if I’d had the right advice, planned better, and saved for these eventualities, I might not have struggled as much. I would’ve been a lot better off. I fell into a dark place, and it wasn’t until then that I realized there was so much help out there if you look for it. I found this career because it saved me on my darkest day, and I want to be that beacon of hope for others, so they never have to go through what I went through.”
Now, she provides stability for those facing difficult times, or looking to develop a plan that will help them prosper in the future.
Roxann grew up in a family of four kids. Her father worked nights, while working toward a Certificate of Management. He also read. A lot. On a variety of subjects, too. Business; history; science. He was curious and wanted to know more about almost everything.
It’s something the family noticed. It became a habit for them to read as well, whether it was for pure enjoyment, or to learn something new.
“My father always had a book in his hand. It’s a passion that he instilled in us from a very young age. That love of knowledge, of learning something new, of seeing worlds beyond my four walls, still benefits me even still. In our business, knowledge is power; the more you know, the better equipped you are to handle the unique situations you see every day.”
Roxann’s father also made sure to provide the skills his daughters would need to be successful. He taught them to ask questions, to be curious, and above all, to be self-reliant. He wanted them to stand on their own. It’s likely where Roxann found the entrepreneurial spirit that allowed her to build a successful business in a relatively short period of time.
He also gave her the confidence not to back down when something’s important; that the things she believed in were worth fighting for; that she could accomplish anything if she worked hard enough.
Roxann feels like she’s come full circle.
From a fraught financial position to a comprehensive understanding of planning and investment, she now can provide the advice that would have saved her a world of heartache during her dark times. The stabilizing effect of a good financial plan is life-changing; and Roxann knows it.
When she started in the business, she had limited experience with banking and investment. She learned huge amounts of information about the right way and the wrong way to approach financial problems (her passion for reading was a real benefit to her during her studies,) about how to treat clients, and about how to make positive changes in people’s lives for the better.
“Everything I learned came relatively quickly, to be honest. But there was something I struggled with; something I really had to learn: I didn’t have to know everything. Nobody expected me to have every answer at my fingertips…because it was impossible. In my previous jobs, I excelled because I learned my products intimately, and could tell you everything you needed to know. Now, however, you need to know a lot, but it’s just as important to know how to access the information you don’t have. It’s a real change.”
It’s a slightly different approach to business than her previous life, yes, but it aligns perfectly with her core values: honesty, transparency, and integrity.
What makes Roxann different, and what she’s learned through building her business, is that it’s okay to say, “I don’t know.” That simple phrase communicates immediately that Roxann is a straight shooter. She isn’t trying to be something she isn’t. She’s telling them the truth. She’d rather wait a day, or two, before answering, than reply quickly and later be proven wrong. It helps that Roxann is supported by a team of experts, ready to answer almost any question, or address any concern.
Leveraging their experience means that clients get the best possible result, because she’s had the best possible team working through the solutions.
Too many clients have already had negative experience with Advisors in the industry and she doesn’t want to compound that negativity; quick, ill-considered answers, pushing product, or not having the right team behind them are just a few of the challenges her clients have faced. Frankly, some of them have heard it all.
Roxann doesn’t operate that way. Honesty is at the core of Roxann’s business. She recognizes that trust is rarely given, it’s earned, and once lost, can never be fully recovered.
“When they first meet you, clients are guarded; they’re really on their toes. They don’t want a long, drawn-out, story. They’re expecting you to say what they want to hear, but what they really want is an honest assessment that you’ll stand behind. That’s what I give them.
Roxann’s been making a difference in people’s lives for almost 20 years.
Before she was guiding people toward a better financial future, steering them away from the dark days she herself endured, she was a volunteer firefighter, actively trying to make people’s worst days just a bit better.
She taught the elderly fire prevention, worked in search and rescue, and worked to address active fires when the calls came in.
When she started, she faced considerable challenges. Women weren’t common in the fire service; in face they still aren’t. Roxann was met with equal parts of skepticism and sexism. Some didn’t believe she could do the job…still others didn’t believe she belonged, whether she could do the job, or not.
But her father taught her to push through challenges and not back down. Roxann worked doubly hard, not just to make a difference to people in trouble, but to earn the respect of her colleagues, too.
In 2004, Roxann undertook a different challenge. She, and a team of female firefighters, competed in the World’s Firefighter Combat Challenge; and they won.
It was a stunning finish. Stunning because they became the first team of all volunteers to place in the top five finishers. Previously, the best finishes belonged to paid personnel only.
The competition was grueling, and the training was mentally taxing. Training for the games meant time away from the day to day of work and family; but it was worth it.
“Winning meant that I could compete with the best. It was a great feeling. But it also helped frame my world view, too. There weren’t a lot of people who thought we were front-runners. But days and days of dedicated preparation, and a singular focus on our goal, took a dream finish and made it reality. It proved that with the right team, a truckload of hard work, and the right goals, almost anything is possible.”
Never out of reach
Roxann works with clients from a diverse set of backgrounds. No two come from the same situation or have the same needs. She encourages them to believe in their dreams and focus on their goals.
Build the right team, ask the right questions, and formulate a plan that gets them where they want to go.
It may take more time than they’d hope, or less time than they’d think, but so much is possible. “You just need to start.”
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. Roxann Ritchie is solely responsible for its content. For more information on this topic or any other financial matter, please contact an Roxann. 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.”
ROXANN RITCHIE, Senior Consultant,
IG Wealth Management
Investors Group Financial Services Inc.
8927 Commercial St.,
New Minas, NS B4N 3E1
Tel 902-681-3754 Cell 902-385-9499