My name is Wayne Rothe and I’m pleased to be a monthly contributor to Retire Happy, a terrific personal finance website run by my golfing buddy, Jim Yih. To be honest, we’ve only golfed together once. I’m a better writer and financial planner than a golfer, Jim.
A former journalist, I’ve spent over 20 years writing for and editing newspapers, magazines, newsletters and webpages. My own finances have always been well managed, so I had thought that one day I’d like to show others how to achieve success also. Eighteen years ago I decided to make my Plan B my Plan A, and a new career was born.
I enjoy what I do and am more successful than I’d dreamed. What I most like is getting to know my clients, creating and implementing a sound financial plan and seeing our relationship deepen over the years. I like to be my clients’ money coach.
My most satisfying testimonial came when one of my clients retired from an unsatisfying government job of over 30 years and told me, “Thank you for the guidance and help over the years. We wouldn’t have the lifestyle we enjoy now without you.”
My financial-services practice is in Spruce Grove, Alberta, near Edmonton.
I’m married to my assistant. No, it’s not what you think.
My wife left her teaching job and joined me in my business 12 years ago. Yes, we’re still happily married; I get that question often. I’m a dedicated community volunteer and have been, for 17 years, an elected city councillor. I wanted to help make my city better, just as I want to help my clients improve their lives.
My wife and I travel a lot, having done a Europe river cruise last summer. We’ve been to Africa, seeing temples, tombs and pyramids in Egypt and viewing wild animals on the plans of Kenya. I’m a scuba diver and motorcyclist (riding “a couch on wheels,” a Gold Wing).
What I believe
Karen and I have two adult children, who are financially intelligent. I believe in guiding children in managing money, including the example we all set. If your finances are lousy, don’t be surprised when theirs also founder. Talk to your kids about money, help them spend it and show a positive example and your kids will likely excel financially.
Saving and investing are fairly simple, yet many find this difficult to successfully implement. Living below your means is Job 1. Simple, yes, but very many people fail to do this.
You need to start with a written, goal-oriented plan, and all of your financial decisions need to be made with the plan in mind. Begin investing as early as possible (be honest; if you’re blowing through money, you can afford it), invest with your goals in mind, minimize your taxes (RRSPs and TFSAs are awesome), invest smartly and, unless you’re one of the very few who have the interest, time and aptitude to do this on your own, use a financial planner. He or she will be your financial mentor and must not be just a product pusher. If you have a salesman, you have the wrong person. Your planner should have a designation, such as the CFP, FMA and RFA.
Short of a true emergency, never, ever draw early on your retirement savings (the homebuyer’s or life-long learning plans may be exceptions). If you have such an emergency, then your plan isn’t working. A trip to Mexico is not an emergency!
Having clients make RRSP withdrawals for stupid reasons (buying a car for a child, that winter trip or a home reno) is one of my biggest frustrations.
I believe that, except in rare situations, we create our own future. People who are in horrible financial shape (the majority, I believe) often blame their money woes on external factors, such as bad luck. Of course, some people’s financial problems are due to factors such as health, disabilities and such, but for the other 95 per cent, it’s on you.
I don’t believe in bad luck. Wayne Gretzky said he makes his own luck. What works in hockey also works in our personal lives, including our finances. Good, well-reasoned decisions generally lead to good results; bad decisions lead to bad results.
As a former professional writer, I’ve been writing financial columns like this one for 16 years. I’ve chosen to theme this column By the Book. I’ll take a concept from a financial book and will discuss the concept in some detail. I hope you enjoy my writing style and that the ideas help you improve your finances. I welcome your comments.