Stories From the Trenches: What My Clients Have Taught Me

Each day, I work with clients who are at various stages of retirement planning. Over the years, I have learned a great deal from them. In this episode of the Women's Wealth Canada Podcast, I will share some of their stories and what they have taught me. Whether you are just starting to think about retirement or are already in retirement, these stories will be sure to provide some valuable insights.

Overcoming Financial Challenges: Hear from 3 Inspiring Women

Glory: Hard Rocker to Financial Advisor for Canadian Women

Robin: Breaking free from the home rental trap

Jenny: Be the CEO of your own life

Brenda: I had it all. Then my husband died.

One Last Story: Breaking free from an abusive relationship – A story of courage and hope

Overcoming Financial Challenges: Hear from Three Inspiring Women

Hi, everyone, I'm Glory Gray, and welcome to the Women's Wealth Canada Podcast.

Today, I thought I'd share with you some of the success stories I've seen from the clients I serve. These are often women who are undergoing a financial challenge or opportunity when they first meet me. And although my job is to help them work through these situations and help them get to the other side and achieve their goals, they still have to tackle many demons themselves during the process.

I'm always in awe of how my clients approach these challenges. With such grace! I hope you can learn something from their stories.

Glory: Hard Rocker to Financial Advisor for Canadian Women

The first story I should probably tell you, though, is my own. My first career was actually as a vocalist in a touring rock band. At one point, I had to choose whether to continue on that path or go to university and start a different career.

I chose to go to University, and I chose a Bachelor of Science degree in finance and investments. Because isn't that what all hard rock singers would choose? I mean, talk about another side of your brain.

After university, I became an investment banking analyst. That's someone who analyzes large companies to determine if the investment bank I worked for should lend money to them.

After I got married, we moved to a rural area where I could no longer do my job because that position was only available in big city centers. And that's when I became licensed to be a financial advisor. I realized that all my years of working closely with large companies gave me great insight into what makes companies, and therefore investments, profitable. I thought that skill could help me serve my clients.

What I didn't know then was how much I would learn from my clients, what a gift they would bring to me in showing how a life can be well lived. How money is just a tool, a tool to do something greater we want to accomplish for ourselves, our families, and our community.

So I'd like to share some of those stories with you. Now, I've changed the details and their names and I've combined some stories to maintain the confidentiality of my clients, but the life lessons remain. I hope you can see yourself in some of these stories.

Robin: Breaking free from the home rental trap

The first story is about Robin. Robin was a client who was a referral from a CPA. The CPA looked at her situation and thought she might need my help.

Robin was in her late 50s and had no home of her own at the time. She was at the mercy of a very tight rental market. She kept having to move because her landlords kept selling the homes that she lived in.

She was burnt out in a job she hated. She wanted to retire but she didn't have enough savings. She was not in a happy place in her life.

Robin and I had some deep discussions about what her future might be like, and she decided to do the hard work and get serious. She began to use a budgeting website to keep her spending in line. She started paying herself first with automatic deposits. And two years later, she was making progress.

When yet another landlord sold her home, she had to move. This time, she'd had enough.

We found the money for her to buy a home with her savings and the RRSP home buyers plan. It was a big step and she was thrilled with one less thing to worry about.

Then she lost her job. But she'd been saving enough money that she was able to take a year off to find the right job. And this time she had options.

She called me later to say she had two fabulous job offers. And she and I worked through the pros and cons of each. And she said to me, "Glory, this is the first time I can make a decision about a job with my heart instead of feeling the scarcity of taking the first job that comes along and only for the money."

Jenny: Be the CEO of your own life

Then there's Jenny. Jenny had just finalized her divorce and came to me because her husband had managed their investments in the past. It was time for her to learn how to manage her finances on her own. She had two young children and a successful business but was feeling very uncomfortable about being responsible for the large sum of money she had received in the divorce settlement.

I showed her how running her own finances was really the same as running her own business. She was used to taking the profits from her business and investing it back into her business in ways that would help her business grow.

With her money at home. It was the same thing. She was the CEO of her own life. She just needed to develop the confidence and understanding of how to take her own money and invest in things that would make it grow. And that I could help her with, by teaching her about investments as we went along. She was eventually able to pay off her mortgage. Her business grew. She became a published author, and even ran for government office.

I'm very proud of what Jenny has accomplished.

Brenda: I had it all. Then my husband died.

Brenda was a brilliant, successful professional, whose husband was a well-loved global celebrity. Unfortunately, he passed away. His death left Brenda comfortable financially but lost without the life guidance of her wise husband. He had always handled the finances, and Brenda was overwhelmed, not just with the details of handling his estate, but also the reality of starting a new life without him.

Brenda and I sat down, crunched some numbers and gave her a much better idea of how she would live going forward. We also began to work on some tax-saving strategies for her. Brenda knew I was on her side and would be with her on this new journey.

But what really helped Brenda was to meet other women who had gone through losing their spouse in this way. She needed to know that everything was going to be okay. And the best way for her to find that out was to seek out other women who not only had been through what she'd been through but had come out the other side with a new life that they loved.

One Last Story: Breaking free from an abusive relationship - A story of courage and hope

One more story before I go. It's about a woman I knew when I was growing up. She had three small children and a good job, which was rare for women back then.

Unfortunately, she was in an abusive relationship. Now, this was back in a time when there were no shelters or services available to women in her situation. It was very difficult to be a woman on her own raising children. The thing that scared her the most was that she and her children would starve, that she wouldn't be able to support them.

So, she stayed in that abusive relationship.

Finally, her children grew up and she was free to leave. She moved far away. Her career took off. She travelled and she bloomed. Unfortunately, this wonderful time in her life was short. She died of breast cancer at age 58.

That woman was my mother.

Fast forward. My life is very different. Certainly, my marriage is different. And I never take my happy marriage for granted.

But the difference is also education. I had the opportunity to go to university and learn about money and how to best use it in my life. I have the confidence of someone who has taken chances and made mistakes but has come through. That's how we build confidence; by coming through the other side. She didn't have that opportunity.

My mother's story is one of the reasons why I chose to help women. And the wonderful lessons my clients teach me every day inspire me to keep going.

It's why I do what I do.


This podcast is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice. It is not an offer to sell or buy or an endorsement, recommendation or sponsorship of any entity or security cited. Mutual funds offered through Portfolio Strategies Corporation. Other products and services provided through Glory Gray Wealth Solutions.

Listen to the entire podcast episode here.

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