An Interview with Serge Robichaud, Financial Planning Professional 

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Have you been thinking about a career in finance? We put a few questions out to Serge Robichaud, a successful financial advisor with a wealth of experience. You’ll find his insights quite helpful in deciding if a career in finance is right for you.

Q: What drew you to a career in the world of finance?

SERGE ROBICHAUD: I think there were a few things.  As a kid, if you had asked me what I would do when I grew up, I probably would have told you that I would be a fisherman. But I think part of it was becoming fascinated with Warren Buffet as a kid. Specifically, once I started learning about how he made his money, I unlocked a world I never thought about before. As I got older, my interest in things like finance and wealth management only increased to the point where I was hooked when I started studying at the University of Moncton. I looked at financial concepts as puzzles, and I soon started to see the various financial markets and economic conditions as puzzle pieces.  That kind of galvanized me in wanting to work in finance.

Q: What tips can you provide for someone who’s thinking of starting a career in financial/investment management?

SERGE ROBICHAUD: For starters, I can’t stress enough how important education is. I don’t just mean in terms of one’s post-secondary education, either. I’ve been working in finance for almost two decades now, and let me tell you, you should never stop learning. Several years into my career, I completed the Professional Financial Planning Course. I still routinely attend various seminars and conferences to ensure I am always up on the latest regulations and trends.  So you will never, or shouldn’t, reach a point in your career where you’ll think, “I know all I need to know about financial planning/investments; my learning days are done!” Because you’d be doing a disservice to yourself and your clients. 

Q: What was something that surprised you about working in finance?

SERGE ROBICHAUD: As funny as it may sound, I wasn’t prepared for just how much of a people business this is. What I mean is that the numbers are cold and, hopefully, exact. But these numbers can have life-changing effects for my clients. In many cases, these people trust me with their financial future. Each client I deal with is very different; some might be very knowledgeable about things like market trends, while others have almost no idea. They might not even know the correct questions to ask. However, all of my clients have one commonality: they want to secure their financial future. 

Q: What would you say is the ideal way to work with clients?

SERGE ROBICHAUD: I know this might sound like a cliche, but my goal is really to provide the same level of service to a client that I would expect for myself if I were in their position. From there, it’s really a matter of getting to know my client.  What are their needs, their goals, and their dreams? This kind of goes back to the continued education thing, but the more I am able to learn about my clients, the better I can help guide them toward their goals. The fact is, my clients aren’t just names on a spreadsheet; they are real people, and they came to me to help them.

I’m acutely aware that every decision I make is in my client’s best interests and can impact their future or their family’s future for years or decades to come. I think people underestimate the amount of courage it takes for the average person to admit, “I don’t understand this thing; I need help,” and then actually seek it out.  If you’re privileged enough to be in a position where someone asks you for help in any capacity, even if it’s just someone asking for directions, take it seriously and be sincere in your willingness to help. Again, offer the level of help you would hope for if you ask for help. 

Q: After almost twenty years into your career, what has kept you going?

SERGE ROBICHAUD: Coffee and lots of it. I’m mostly joking, of course, but honestly, it’s a few things. Patience, for one. Being patient with the markets, being patient with my clients. I never know when I’ll speak to a client on the worst day of their lives, so I always make sure I make the time to listen to their concerns and that I don’t rush to find a solution.

I’m also a big believer in balance. I’m lucky enough to live somewhere where I’m surrounded by nature. So, I’ve always loved the outdoors. And I consider nature to be kind of the Ying, to my business side yang if you will. I always make it a point to take some time away from the office, away from technology, and do some hiking or fishing. Not only is exercise a great counterbalance to sitting in my desk chair all day, but I also found that it’s great for my mental health. I realize that there are things in the world bigger than myself and even the world of finance. It also allows me to be refreshed when I am back at work.  

I also try to take that balanced approach to my investments. Balance is and will always be universal, just like darkness can’t exist without light; I believe that someone in financial/wealth management can’t survive without a bit of downtime. Otherwise, no matter how much you love it, you risk burnout. Then everyone loses.

Serge Robichaud is a Canadian financial advisor with Canada Life & Quadrus Investments, where he provides financial planning advice and manages client investments and insurance policies

Ms. Career Girl

Ms. Career Girl was started in 2008 to help ambitious young professional women figure out who they are, what they want and how to get it.

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