The Advanced Financial Planner

Episode 3

David Miller with guest, Pat Weir

On today’s episode, we will be interviewing Pat Weir, R.F.P., from LP Financial Planning Services on how she discovered financial planning, women in the industry, and her client-first approach.



David Miller 0:03
And thank you very much for joining us. Today we have an extra special guest, we have Patricia, Pat, Weir do you go by Patricia? Pat? Thank you very much. Thank you very much for joining us today. Very excited to have you. And obviously you have over 42 years at the leeton partners is that I pronounce it.

Pat Weir 0:30
It’s actually LP financial planning services.

David Miller 0:33
LP, right. 28 years is what I calculated your own practice, and then the last two years you’ve been semi retired. But obviously, what I’d like to do is have you tell us a little bit about your history. The first question is really how and why did you become a financial planner?

Pat Weir 0:52
Well, I kind of came about it in a little bit different manner. I graduated in 1977, with my Bachelor of Commerce, and was trying to figure out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. And I happened to meet a fellow who was a commodities broker. And so was chatting about that. And then I said, Well, what do stockbrokers do? And so we talked about that, and I thought, that’s what I want to do. So I was 21 years old. my degree in hand, I couldn’t even get an interview, no places. In fact, one guy that I did get an interview with at one of the big brokerages, threw my resume back across the table at me and told me to go take the Canadian securities course and sell shoes or something, come back with some experience. I was fortunate enough that I was hired by a firm called Pemberton, securities, I just had dinner with my, my first boss there the other day and in Edmonton, and he’s still on the right side of the grass and still as smart as ever. And I worked as what we refer to as the IDA side, IIROC side, till … Well, I worked at Edmonton, and then I decided I wanted to live in Vancouver. So I went out there for a while. And then I came back to Saskatchewan, with a firm that hired me to open an office in my hometown called Prince Albert. Yep. And all went well there until the crash of 87. They closed all their offices fired a husband. And so and it was interesting at that time, the banks didn’t even want, you know, they, we need an investment person for a credit union for about the same. And so I partnered up with a guy in the insurance industry. And that’s when I discovered financial planning.

David Miller 2:53
Discovered I love the way you say that.

Pat Weir 2:55
Yeah, cuz I mean, back in the old days, you know, I mean, it was always about making money on a stock or whatever. And, you know, there was never, I guess the first time when he showed me some financial planning software, where you plugged in what you had and what you would say, and it tells you whether or not you could afford to retire. And I went, well, this is amazing. You don’t have to take big risks. You just you don’t you just fall

David Miller 3:26
we take for granted these days.

Pat Weir 3:27
Yeah. And so I got my insurance license. And then I also then I just have my mutual fund license. Right. And because there was no firm here to work on the IDA side. And then I spent a number of years on the board of the Saskatchewan Pension Plan when it first came out, which is the largest defined contribution pension plan in Canada now, yeah. And I learned a lot about manage money. Right. So, you know, combining, you know, the insurance with mutual funds, which back then was manage money, but there was like five mutual fees back then. And, yeah, and I loved it. And then I started going to the IAFP conferences, right. And all these great people. One of the things that made me feel really at home was the percentage of women in the financial planning business as opposed to the IIROC side. Yeah. That made me feel great. And I really felt at home. Yeah.

David Miller 4:40
So I got the whole history there. I got the how and but maybe the Why could you focus on that or why did you focus more on security first, and then getting into planning I love that part.

Pat Weir 4:55
Ah, well, that’s the nature of the beast back then. You know, it was sales, sales, sales, you know, it was who’s got the best idea of the day. And it hadn’t evolved into kind of portfolio management and that sort of stuff. And I also realized, too, you know, sitting in Prince Albert Saskatchewan, which most people would think was nowhere, still Canada, you know, and by myself, the ideas and all that sort of stuff. At that point in time, I was ready to pass that responsibility on to CFAs. And managers and that sort of stuff, especially after I’d spent some time in the pension industry, and, you know, realized that there was more to it than somebody telling you, this was the idea of the day.

David Miller 5:48
So you were selling in stocks, basically, for a better word, you recognize that they’re more qualified people to do that part for you. And you decided, Hey, I can focus on these soft skills, the financial planning aspect,

Pat Weir 6:04
yeah. And probably help people more by, you know, developing those skills. So that’s why it was important for me to get my RFP. So I had some recognition that I knew how to use those tools to in order to help people.

David Miller 6:18
Yeah, tell me a little bit about that. When did you get your? Did you get CFP first and then the RFP?

Pat Weir 6:24
No, I had I had all at that point in time, the highest you could get in the security side was the fellow the cute securities Institute. So I have that, right. And I found with a lot of the CFP course at that point in time was a lot of repetition of that. Um, so anyways, I just when I discovered financial planning, and I found out this RFP existed, I thought I want to do that. And so I, you know, I think I started my own practice in mid 1992. And I had my RFP by the end of that year.

David Miller 7:03
Yeah. So you see, you really saw the RFP as a distinguishing feature of your new practice. Can you tell me why you thought that was so important?

Pat Weir 7:13
Because I you know, it was it involved a lot like it wasn’t a piece of cake the get. Yeah, cuz I, I took well, as I mentioned earlier to you I did they had the RFP track at the IAFP at that those years at the convention. That was my six little six month, six week old baby by my side and then wrote the exam that October. Yeah, it was, I was very happy to pass and to show the world that, you know, I did have some accreditation in this new industry, which is basically what it was back then.

David Miller 7:53
Right. So why is it still important for you to be active today with the IAFP.

Pat Weir 8:00
I love the conferences. And it’s a way for me to get together with a lot of my colleagues and old friends and that sort of stuff that I don’t normally see living in Saskatchewan. And, yeah, and I think they do great work. And I’ve got a lot of respect for people in the business.

David Miller 8:20
Yeah. And you said, you started your own practice in 92. That was just by yourself. Yep. And that’s,

Pat Weir 8:28
yeah, I had a fellow that we used to work at a another firm that kind of came in, we shared rent sort of thing. And I come from a family of entrepreneurs. I never, never did make a great employee. You know, having my own business, which you’re allowed to do in the financial planning area, as opposed to the IIROC area back then. I really was my thing. You know, it was my practice. I was proud of it and, and, you know, the buck stops stopped with me, you know?

David Miller 9:07
Yeah. And when, as an independent, did you find yourself to be successful and what led what was the main thing that led to that success? Um,

Pat Weir 9:19
well, for you know, focusing on on people in my town, as part of the big problem in, you know, a city of 45,000 people, especially back in the late 90s. When or the 90s when I started was, it was serviced by people have a Saskatoon and they serve as a heck of a somebody until they established that practice and then you’d never see them again. And that would be the complaint. I’d always hear from people. And, you know, so they were happy that there was somebody that was here that was established in the community that wasn’t going anywhere. Family and both my husband and I are very involved with with the community. And, you know, I think that gave people comfort after being, you know, dumped a few times by, by advisors over the years from Saskatoon, you know, or in this industry, the failure rate is fairly high, you know, so there does tend to be a fair bit of turnover. And, you know, I think I showed people that, you know, I was a member of the community love my community, and I, you know, wanted to give back and I did that.

David Miller 10:31
And was there any mentorship that you experienced kind of going through that? Oh,

Pat Weir 10:36
yeah. You know, Merv Sutton, I he’s not involved anymore. He’s long retired, he was in Prince Albert, and he was the one that really helped me get involved with the IAFP. And then Cecile, Wyat, Chet Brothers out of Regina. we’ve all gotten to be really good friends over the years and terms of sharing ideas and that sort of stuff.

David Miller 11:00
So yeah, this is a consistent key, whoever I talked to within the IAFP really, mentorship is such an important aspect. And it sounds like you’re also mentoring, I think you have or had three other women on on your staff?

Pat Weir 11:17
Yeah, yeah. And two of them purchased my practice a couple of years ago. And, you know, they, as far as I could see, are still continuing to, to follow the same principles that that I lead by. And, yeah,

David Miller 11:36
so it’s, uh, what are you most passionate about in the planning industry right now.

Pat Weir 11:44
Ah, what I’m most passionate about, and probably what I’ve always been passionate about is the women that are in this business. And it the the pressure isn’t there, like it is on the IIROC side. And women are very empathetic, and they want to help people and stuff like that. And as I always say, you know, if you look after your clients, the rest of everything else will come. Absolutely. And you know, it’s, it’s, it’s scary, sometimes starting out on your own and that sort of stuff. But again, client first, you accept you have a fiduciary responsibility, you will be successful, may take a little longer than the hard sales guy that’s out there selling insurance or selling mutual funds or whatever. But if you’re really focusing on what’s right for the client, you will be successful.

David Miller 12:43
Yeah, so you’re seeing you said, empathetic women being a little more empathetic, I gonna say to the guys who are also empathetic planners, in general, are considered to be empathetic, you have to have that empathetic nature to be a financial planner, in my opinion. But certainly, that leads to maybe a better career than the sales or is that what you are,

Pat Weir 13:09
like, I mean, so much of the investment industry, and that is, you know, focused on sales and, you know, what your commissions are and this and that, and that sort of stuff. And, you know, when, when you’re in practice for yourself, you’re in charge of that, you know, you’re setting your own, your own goals, what you’re comfortable with, what you can manage, and, and all that sort of stuff. And, and I think one of the reasons why I decided to step back and semi retire was, you know, you just kept having to hire more staff. And, you know, being a boss is not fun for me. I like to work, I like dealing with clients. And yeah, so

David Miller 13:57
You got too busy, is what happened

Pat Weir 13:58
to busy and, you know, I’m getting older, I’m, I wear out at the end of the day, and I don’t want to work weekends anymore, and, and that sort of stuff. So it’s but you know, if I have any, I’ve spoken to a number of women’s groups and that sort of stuff. And, and if I had any regrets sort of thing, was working too hard in the beginning, you know, because you’re terrified that you’re not going to be successful. If you follow the recipe of just looking after your clients, you will be successful, and you can have that time to, you know, with my kids, you know, they’d be doing their little thing at school and, you know, being in a smaller center, I could knock off for an hour go see them do their little poem or whatever it was that they were going to do and I could be back on my desk and you know, huge,

David Miller 14:46
huge flexibility with that.

Pat Weir 14:48
Yeah, didn’t have to take a day off or pick my boss for a moment or two. And, you know, I always tried to make my my office mother friendly. or daughter friendly. We all have parents that are aging, they all have kids that are a little bit get measles and mumps, and we’re hopefully not if they’ve been vaccinated but back of it, you know, you need that flexibility. And I think if there’s anything that’s come from COVID is like a more and more bosses are realizing that people can function from home. And, you know, I have today if I have a sick grandchild, and I had to stay at home, and I still had something to do, I could get it done with my laptop, and all that sort of stuff. I don’t have to be at the office. And I think if any good comes out of this, that could be one thing, you know, which makes life easier for women.

David Miller 15:43
Yeah, more of the balance. And that’s completely lacking in the careers of a lot of people. So that’s really, really important. So it sounds, my next question was really about your best advice to new planners coming up. And you’ve already stated it is caring for clients and showing that you care. But any new planner even coming out of school, what would you be? What would your advice be to them?

Pat Weir 16:09
It’s a different ball game coming into the business now, because there’s no deferred sales charges, you know, I mean, if it wouldn’t have been for deferred sales charges, I wouldn’t have made it, you know, that’s, I mean, I switched over to front end load 0%, probably about five years after I became a planner like with IAFP. And, you know, because I could afford to do that I had built up my practice, but I built my practice up on different sales,

David Miller 16:43
which are now outlawed

Pat Weir 16:45
there now a lot, but you know, at the time, it really, you know, I could pay my bills, you know, I can reinvest in my business and that sort of stuff. So it helped to get me established. I think if you’re starting out today, you’ve got to partner up with with an established person and bustle gray haired zone out there that are looking for, you know, hoping to retire someday, but you’ve got to find those people that are, you know, that you trust to take over your, your practice, believe in the same ways of dealing with people that you do, and the client come first and all that sort of stuff. So it’s, it’s be a bit like a marriage in terms of trying to find a practice where you can find a fit there that, you know, you can be part of the succession plan.

David Miller 17:39
Yeah, that’s key is finding the right fit, finding the, if you hold on to your own belief, and what’s important to you, again, caring for clients, putting them first, as you say, will be successful, but you still have to have a mentor. Yeah, that is so so important. So anything else you’d like to bring up as being really important?

Pat Weir 18:04
Well, I just think it’s more and more important that people, you know, have the services of a financial planner to help them get through everything, there’s so much on the do it yourself out there. You know, at the end of the day, after I’ve worked and stuff like that, the last thing that I want to do is, you know, sit down and check my investments out, and you know, am I doing this, right? If I do that, right, you need to partner up with somebody, it’s just like, I don’t, you know, I depend on my accountant, you know, for for a lot of stuff. I believe in in, I appreciate other professionals and what they bring to the table, I’m not trying to do their job, I’m hoping they’re not trying to do my job, and then we could work together for you know, for the best outcome for the, the mutual client sort of stuff. So it’s really important to, you know, meet up with people that are professionals within your community. And, you know, really be there be there for your client, especially when disaster strikes, you know, there’s a death or a disability or something like that, and everybody needs to work together for the best outcome. And everybody has different specialties and that sort of stuff. But you know, to me, I like bringing everybody together so that the client feels better about that.

David Miller 19:33
That’s right. I was gonna say the financial literacy in this country is so so poor, that everybody should look to a professional advisor, not a professional salesperson for the correct advice, my own opinion, but maybe comment on that.

Pat Weir 19:57
Yeah, I mean, if you go in there and You know, a client or a prospect goes in, and the first thing they’re, you know, somebody does is, you know, start talking product. To me it’s run. Like, that’s way down the road in terms of the planning planning process, and I’d like to see our industry talk a bit more about that, you know, it’s not all about returns, it’s not about fees, it’s about the, you know, your ultimate goals. So, you know, what is it that you want to accomplish, and, you know, help somebody map it out to get there. And, you know, that that, to me is my role is getting them from point A to point B. And in lots of ways, you know, when you run into somebody, that’s just after the sales, it’s so short term thinking. It’s not, you know, talking about long term and your ultimate goals. And maybe you don’t have to take that higher risk in your portfolio. Maybe get there be by being conservative and go,

David Miller 21:07
How do you know, unless you do the plan,

Pat Weir 21:09
unless you do a plan, you know? Yeah. And so you’re semi retired now. So how often are you doing comprehensive plans? And who are you helping right now?

Oh, they’re basically people that I’ve been dealing with for years, lots of family, close friends, that sort of stuff. So the plans are in place, and it’s just a matter of checking out. something comes up with you know, death, divorce disability, whatever, then, you know, we need to deal with with that. And, and, you know, I have a handful of very, you know, old, much older clients that, you know, I just felt a responsibility that I needed to see it see them through.

David Miller 21:48
So are you taking on any new clients at this point? That doesn’t sound like your window is open? They’re no doors open, I should say. And from a mentorship perspective, what of financial planners, upcoming financial planners want to reach out to you is that something just

Pat Weir 22:03
popped me off an email, telephone, I’m more than happy to, to talk to talk to anybody.

David Miller 22:11
Yeah, what’s the best way for people to find you?

Pat Weir 22:13
Probably an email, because we kind of share our time between here and Kenmore, in the wintertime we’re avid skiers. I’m kind of laid up right now, because I’m sitting here waiting for a new hip, but we’ll have lots of time.

David Miller 22:32
All right. Um, well, again, thank you very much. I didn’t have any other questions. I should really expand upon this podcast include things like books or other ideas. But if you have any other ideas you want to send my way, please feel free. Are you going to be joining the symposium this year?

Pat Weir 22:51
I am.

David Miller 22:52
And that will be at the end of September. And we’re all looking forward to that it is virtual this year.

Pat Weir 22:57
Yeah, again.

David Miller 22:59
So. Yeah, maybe next year, we’ll all see each other in Ottawa. Right.

Pat Weir 23:03
Yeah, I sure hope so. Well have more gray hair

David Miller 23:10
It’s amazing with long term stress. Pat, thank you very much for this conversation. A great advice for people coming up is really good to hear your story. Thank you and take care.

Pat Weir 23:23
Thank you.