BY: DELLIA RISMAY
“Make sure you save money for a rainy day.” It’s advice everyone has heard before, but not necessarily advice that everyone follows. Most people know the pitfalls of having no savings: the stresses of living paycheque to paycheque, an uncertain future, no extra funds to fall back on for an emergency, let alone a vacation. Though the message seems to have reached most Canadians, one-third of the population still has no retirement savings. To make matters worse, those that do aren’t always saving wisely. Many Canadians simply aren’t putting away enough money to last them through retirement, which would likely mean they would have to cut back on the quality of life they’d like to enjoy in their later years. World Financial Group strives to help Canadians improve both their present-day finances, and ensure they’re prepared for the future.
Originally from Trinidad, Kimberlei Lowrie moved to Canada 11 years ago, with a background in math and computer science. Her interest in numbers eventually lead her to a position in financial services, and today, Kimberlei and her husband, Afolabi Lowrie, are both independent contractors for WFG. Although Kimberlei did not have a background in financial services before she began working with the brokerage, she realized that she needed to educate herself about her own personal finances and made the decision to join the industry when she realized there was a need to educate others about money matters. “I started to learn about my own personal financial situation, and then from there, I saw the concepts that I learned and realized that not many people know them. So, I decided to go to the business side of things,” Kimberlei says. She was introduced to the company by a co-worker, who invited her out to an educational seminar. “Some of the things that I learned completely blew my mind!” From that moment, Kimberlei knew that she had found something extremely valuable, not only for her own life but for the lives of others.
At World Financial Group, clients have access to everything from mortgages to life insurance. While the same goes for all major financial institutions such as banks and credit unions, Kimberlei says WFG has one major difference: a focus on client education. “We’re not just trying to give you a product for the sake of giving you one, but really how it could work for someone’s situation,” she says. At most traditional financial institutions, the focus isn’t necessarily on financial education: it’s on the client receiving a product or solution of some sort that is relevant to their financial needs. In other words, the client is matched to the product. At WFG, it’s the other way around. Kimberlei, Afolabi and other WFG representatives match the solution to the client.
When a client comes in to meet with a WFG representative, the approach is totally customized to them. “When we sit with someone, we actually look at six different steps, and that is part of our unique education process. We look at cash flow, debt management, building an emergency fund, proper protection in terms of insurance, building wealth for retirement, and we also look at estate planning,” Kimberlei explains. Rather than focusing on one single area, WFG takes all the elements of someone’s financial profile. Covering all of these bases ensures that the client is financially protected on every possible front.
While WFG delves into all aspects of a person’s finances, Kimberlei says that many clients have one financial concern at the forefront of their minds: debt. “Canada is the most indebted nation in the world right now. Every dollar that someone earns, they actually owe $1.71. So, debt is a huge concern.” Of course, being in debt puts several constraints onto a person. Their inability to save for the future because any cash they do have goes towards paying off debt is one, but there is also the emotional burden. Feeling hopeless about debt can lead to stress, which can lead to countless health problems. When a client comes to WFG with concerns about their debt load, they proactively work with the client to come up with solutions to reduce this burden.
A common concern for would-be savers is “how can I save when I don’t have much money to save in the first place?” Kimberlei says that contrary to popular belief, you do not need to be rich to start planning for your future. “Saving is not necessarily having a lot of money, to begin with. It’s really more of the habit. So even if you can start off with $15 a month, $20 a month, it’s really just having the habit.” WFG helps clients determine which savings vehicle is the best one for them so that no matter how much or how little they decide to start saving with, their dollars will go as far as possible.
When asked what she wishes people would focus more on when it comes to their finances, without hesitation, Kimberlei says life insurance. “It’s actually one of the least understood aspects of financial planning. People think ‘oh, I have to die!’ so it’s very morbid. People don’t like to think about it. But you can actually use life insurance in so many ways—to save, as well.” Ensuring a client’s loved ones have peace of mind when they pass is of utmost importance. Being able to utilize life insurance as a savings vehicle makes it something that is accessible in the more immediate future.
Canada’s big five banks are usually the first ones to come to mind when one thinks of financial planning, but Kimberlei hopes to change that narrative with her work at WFG. “When you go into the bank, the people there are wonderful, but they actually work for the bank. So, their primary focus is to sell—and there’s a lot of articles recently in the news about that. Our focus, because we work with so many banks and insurance companies, we actually work for our clients instead, so you’re getting that unbiased advice.”
To take the first steps towards financial success with WFG, contact Kimberlei at (905) 605-1427.