Peeling back the onion on a career in financial planning

Spoiler alert: it’s not primarily math.

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This week, A Wealth of Women’s Stories host, Manjit Minhas welcomed the Head of Financial Planning at IG Wealth Management, Christine Van Cauwenberghe to the podcast, and the two had a revealing discussion on what it takes to be a successful financial planner.

“I love that,” says Manjit Minhas. “You don't have to be a math genius at calculus to be able to be a financial planner.”

“Absolutely,” says Van Cauwenberghe. “It's about listening, getting to know your clients, being empathetic, and then helping them solve their problems.”

Van Cauwenberghe practiced tax law for six years at a large firm in Winnipeg before jumping to a new opportunity at IG in a different profession.

“I thought to myself, this is a unique opportunity. If I don't take it, will I regret it?” says Van Cauwenberghe. “I think at a certain point, you need to go a little bit out of your comfort zone and say, ‘Okay, well am I actually going to do this one thing for my entire life? Or am I going to spread my wings a bit more?’”

Van Cauwenberghe says when she first started there weren’t as many women in the financial planning field.

“We sort of felt like, okay, we need to be twice as good as the men and just really understand every small little aspect of what we were doing to feel legitimate,” she said. “I think a lot of people think that financial planners, they sit around talking about stocks and bonds and it's basically high-end gambling. It's an old boys’ club type of thing.”

Van Cauwenberghe works to promote the financial planning profession and correct misperceptions about what a financial planner actually does.

“A lot of people confuse investment advisors with financial planning and they don't realize the difference,” say Van Cauwenberghe. “They think that I'm going to spend my day picking and choosing stocks and bonds. That's not what you do. You're advising clients. You're an advisor, and I'm hoping that more women come to understand what the opportunity is.”

Minhas agrees that there’s a need for more women to consider a career in financial planning. She cites a report that by 2026, women in Canada will control close to half of all the accumulated financial wealth, yet today only 23% of financial advisors in this country are women.

In addition to encouraging more women to consider a career in financial planning, Van Cauwenberghe says the key to success in the profession is giving clients the best possible advice. Both now and in the future.

“I'll read an article. It'll say, ‘People in the finance industry, good luck in the future because technology's going to take over your job and you're not going to be needed and that kind of stuff,’” says Van Cauwenberghe. “We couldn't be happier about the technology advancements because what technology is doing is it's accelerating our business and it's allowing us to take the mundane tasks off of our advisors’ desks. So yeah, if you just want to trade stocks and bonds, I would be a little bit worried about the future.”

“The role of the future is going to be doing all the things computers can't do, which is empathy and listening and making sure that people are taken care of,” she says. “So, our advisors are in more demand than ever.”

You can listen to the full episode here or on your favourite podcast streaming app.

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