Stacey He considers herself a work-in-progress when it comes to achieving a work-life balance, and it’s no wonder: On top of offering financial planning services, she’s also the co-founder of Good Financial Choice and President of FemCity Toronto

Elevator Pitch: Describe your job in a nutshell.
While my role as a financial planner is diverse, the most important job I have is to take care of my clients financially and to empower my generation to take control of their finances. It is my job to help clients avoid costly mistakes, and to find the most suitable solutions to help them achieve their financial goals. My career is a wonderful blend of logic and emotions. My clients tell me I am like their family doctor – someone who knows their medical history, who can diagnose problems and find solutions.

 

Why did you start working at your company? What was the inspiration for this career route?
I get to help families and change lives. This career is not just about dollars and cents, it’s about knowing how I helped a single mother save enough money so she can take her son to Disney World. Or knowing I helped a young professional purchase their first home three years ahead of schedule.

What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?
The best part about what I do is waking up every morning and knowing I get to help people. I’m a quarterback to my clients. My clients give their worries and problems to me, and I get to work and solve them. The most challenging part about my job is making the difficult choices for my clients. Difficult choices are not always the most popular, but I know they are the right ones.

I don’t think being a financial planner will ever be easy because this career deals with human emotions, desires, fears and people’s money. But as a financial planner, if we are empathetic and patient, and always put ourselves in our clients’ shoes, then we will always know what’s best for them.

What is one sign that you’ve seen over the years to suggest that your work/life balance is off?
I used to say I have a work/work balance not work/life balance. When I just started out in this career, for a very long time I didn’t see daylight. It was common for me to work 15 hour days. I’m quite sure I’m a workaholic. Even with a team behind me, instead of delegating I try to do everything myself. I’m slowly learning to have a better work/life balance, but I have to say I am still a work-in-progress.

Where do you see yourself in five years?
My passion has always been to educate, but most importantly to empower young professionals to make better financial choices. I am the co-founder of the organization Good Financial Choice. The organization is dedicated to helping professionals make smart financial choices. The organization is in its infancy stage and has a few hundred members. In the next five years, I hope to grow Good Financial Choice exponentially. I want to be able to spread financial literacy to as many Canadians as possible through speaking, workshops, seminars, and video series.

What is one major challenge that you’ve had to overcome in your career? How did you overcome it?
I think there is a lot of misunderstanding and confusion about the financial planning industry. And there is also a lack of awareness from the public about what good financial planning is. One of my missions is to teach people what to expect from a good financial planner. I think the biggest misconception about financial planning is when people think they don’t need it, or that only people with wealth need it. That’s not the case.

What does success look like to you? Does money = happiness?
Success means I am able to make a significant and positive impact on people. Success means I can go to bed every night knowing I gave the best financial advice to families and knowing they are well taken care of after working together and knowing their financial troubles are gone. Money just can’t define happiness. My happiness and value comes from how many lives I’ve changed.

What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
The most memorable milestone in my career thus far was the day when I co-founded Good Financial Choice. My vision for GFC was to inspire a movement among young professionals to get smart about their money. I think the financial landscape Gen Y professionals are operating in today is very different from what the baby boomers experienced. Housing prices are through the roof, investment returns are at an all-time low, and defined benefit plans are disappearing. This is why I formed GFC, to teach and guide my generation on how to successfully navigate today’s financial landscape and, most importantly, to empower more Gen Ys to live a financially secure life. 

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