TRACEY CURTIS, CFP®, CIM®,FEA™, Wealth Advisor, Investment Advisor, Richardson Wealth
“I’ve always been driven to help people, and that’s just who I am.”
There’s a theory that people often exhibit the tendency to either run into, or away from, a fire. Tracey Curtis, Wealth Advisor, Investment Advisor with Richardson Wealth at the Curtis Tenpenny Wealth Management Group, runs in. “I’ve always been driven to help people, and that’s just who I am,” says Tracey.
It’s a defining characteristic that runs deep in her comprehensive financial planning and advising practice today. She believes it takes a blend of being great with numbers, strong strategic problem solving, and a nurturing approach meant to help people beyond their finances.
As she originally envisioned a career in nursing or social work, a wise high school teacher recognized Tracey’s knack for numbers, encouraging her to consider the business track. “I took an accounting course and entered into business school, but that calling to help people from a health and wellness perspective stayed with me,” says Tracey.
Thankfully, through her coursework, Tracey discovered personal finance. As a discipline, it matched her belief that there’s a health and well-being piece to the financial big picture. “I love the act of pulling everything together and stepping in as a trusted person to help people through difficult situations, especially when they’re most vulnerable,” she says. “I really feel honoured and blessed to do what I do for a living.”
Entering the financial advising world in 1991, Tracey’s path eventually led her to build a practice that pulls all her passions together. In 2008, she joined forces with partner Patrick Tenpenny, creating Curtis Tenpenny Wealth Management Group. The partners have similar values. They share the belief that a person’s most valuable assets in life are their loved ones. They’re also dedicated to handling every step of their client families’ financial lives through a hands-on, highly personalized approach. Beyond that, they have complementary differences that also benefit their clients. “It’s wonderful working together because we have complete opposite personalities,” says Tracey. “We have each other’s backs and trust each other implicitly. We both work on all our files together so there are two different brains working with each client.”
Putting those great minds together, the duo created the “Prepare to Prosper Process” to support clients in reaching their retirement goals. The process includes full financial planning, personalized investment planning, and transparent tracking so clients always know where they’re at as they work towards their goals. Above all, it’s the personal touch clients appreciate. “It’s important to us to stick to a limited number of clients so we really get to know them well,” says Tracey. “When they call, I know their voice right when I pick up and I’m well aware of their situation. I’m able to provide a really high level of attention to all the details that come together to create a fully-rounded approach to their personal finances and their peace of mind.”
Tracey’s clients tend to have complex planning needs, especially around the transfer of their wealth through multiple generations. “I’ll be their quarterback supporting them to reach their goals and pull all the strategies together,” she says. “I make sure I’m involved in the conversations with their third-party professionals to understand what each is saying. We then bring it all back together around the dining room table with the client, work through how everything applies to them and ensure we are all on the same page.”
It’s that dining room table approach Tracey is looking forward to as pandemic restrictions lift. “I tend to visit my client’s homes and work with them at the dinner table,” says Tracey. “Recently, I was finally able to meet in-person with a client in a retirement home for the first time since the pandemic. She’s a person who gives me big hugs and tells me she loves me when I leave. It’s so important to me to stay connected, especially those who are retired and alone.”
Which brings up another key stage in her clients’ lives she’s there for them beyond their finances – when they lose a spouse. “It’s such a vulnerable time for them,” says Tracey. “We can step up to ensure they’re not being taken advantage of and that they have all the resources and support they need. We work very hard to eliminate any aspect of stress or worry for them.”
Tracey also enjoys working with women, who can feel unheard in many financial conversations. “We listen, we hear them clearly, and we follow their lead around what their needs are,” she says. “When and if their needs or circumstances change, we can adapt very quickly as well.”
These women are often the heart of the family and Tracey understands how deep their loss can run. When a car accident suddenly took a family friend’s Aunt after she’d lost her husband a few years prior, she unexpectedly left two dependent young adults behind. True to her nature, Tracey quickly stepped in. “We completely organized the kids’ financial situations. Just as importantly, I stepped in to help guide them in a more motherly role as they dealt with this difficult situation,” says Tracey. “They had inherited wealth and didn’t really know what that meant. We spent a lot of time educating them, being by their side, advocating for them and making sure they weren’t taken advantage of.”
Today, one of those teens remains a client and has their own children. “It’s one of those situations where we realize the role we can fill for people,” says Tracey. “It’s not just about investing money and protecting assets, it’s so much bigger than all of that. Our job is a combination of all of the other ways we can protect a family too, listening and filling in voids wherever it’s needed. Our personal touch here is very high.”
The educational component Tracey brings to her clients is a theme that’s carried through her career from that first career pursuit pivot in high school, through her devotion to professional development and to the educational seminars she presents to share her passion for financial wellbeing with others.
“Continued education is critical in this business,” says Tracey, who earned her Chartered Investment Manager (CIM®) earlier this year after earning her Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) designation back in 2003. She is also a certified Family Enterprise Advisor (FEA™). “My education and coursework focus on family succession. That includes excellent communication for families and good governance so when they transition wealth, we ensure all family members are heard. These designations have been wonderful and provided a valuable foundational knowledge.”
Tracey is also dedicated to her clients’ education. While the pandemic inhibited face-to-face time with her clients, it opened more opportunities for her workshops. “I’m excited about running our educational workshops and building that platform out,” says Tracey. “As we all became more comfortable with virtual meetings, it’s been so much easier to reach people anywhere, anytime. People can click on at night with their glass of wine and gain some great information. I love connecting people in this way.”
The workshops cover everything from teaching children good financial habits, financial literacy for youth, the art of negotiation in large purchases and women’s brain health. “Education is something we’re working hard to deliver to both our clients and the community,” says Tracey.
Her community is also a priority. Tracey sits on the Board for the Foundation of Guelph General Hospital. “I consider my community work to be a hobby, it doesn’t feel like work,” she says. A proud Rotarian, Tracey served as her Club’s past president and is currently assistant district governor for the Clubs in her region. “We are an international organization truly focused on service to our communities and the world at large. We are a network of like-minded people who care and want to help.”
Tracey’s generosity in her spare time toward non-profit work relates to her early childhood living in Africa. “It definitely molded who I am today and I feel called to help out wherever I can,” says Tracey. She’s been actively involved with Bracelet of Hope since 2013, serving as Chair today. “We engage Canadians to help in the fight against HIV and Aids in Lesotho, Africa. We currently have 41 foster children and run a mobile health unit there. I’ve visited several times on various initiatives and was there for the launch of the health unit in March of 2020, unfortunately having to return home early due to the pandemic.”
No doubt Tracey left against her instinct to run into the fire, but returning home to her fiancé Scott, a Chef, and two sons on their own post-secondary career journeys likely soothed the frustration. She’s also looking forward to seeing her clients in-person more frequently. “I absolutely love what I do,” says Tracey. “I cherish the relationships I have and I feel very connected with our clients and their families.”
Natalie Noble’s love of writing stems from her passion for hearing and sharing people’s stories. Over the years she has written for various business, real estate, and agriculture publications. At the heart of her work is a desire to continuously learn and connect.
Tracey Curtis, CIM®, CFP®, FEA
Wealth Advisor • Curtis Tenpenny Wealth Management Group
Richardson Wealth Limited
5500 North Service Road (Suite 500)
Burlington, ON, L7L 6W6
T: (888) 291-3861
P: (289) 288-2427
M: (519) 835-5808