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Isabelle Inherited Part of the Family Business at 19 — Here’s How She’s Set Herself Up for the Future.

With help from an advisor at BMO Private Wealth, Isabelle has a plan to achieve her goals.

By Sarah Kelsey


A trained accountant, Isabelle is someone who understood the value of money at a young age. 

As a child, she watched her father manage a successful tool manufacturing business for the woodworking industry and often witnessed conversations about sales, costs, and the risks of being an entrepreneur. The exposure to certain business operations helped Isabelle and her brother run the company after their father unexpectedly passed away when she was just 19. 

But even with her knowledge of budgets, balance sheets, and a wealth of support from family members and business advisors, when it came time to sell the family’s company after 10 years of running it, she realized she needed some expert-level help. 

“Accountant and financial advisor are two very different jobs,” Isabelle says. “With the sale of the company, my financial focus shifted away from making decisions for the business toward investing in my personal and familial future outcomes.” 

She was introduced to Catherine Laurin, CFA, Senior Portfolio Manager and Investment Advisor with BMO, by a family member. The two started talking about Isabelle’s situation and goals and began a trusted money management partnership that has lasted over a decade. 

Catherine’s first step in helping Isabelle was to establish a financial plan that would meet her overall objectives and needs. “We put in place planning strategies that would protect and maximize her wealth on an after-tax basis,” explains Catherine. She also offered counsel on how to best weather turbulent financial storms. “Staying the course has served Isabelle well,” she says. 

“Catherine is very frank with me,” Isabelle says, “and she needs to be. If something isn’t working in the short-term then I know she’ll tell me. We have chemistry and I’m at ease when talking to her about my dreams and aspirations. There’s trust, and over time, our professional relationship has become a personal one, too. She’s gotten to know my kids.”

“You need to properly understand what’s happening. Understanding will lead to trust, which is key to long-term success.”

Catherine says that the relationship between an advisor and their client is a partnership. “It’s important you find a person that has the competence to address your needs and support you.”

She also notes that a client should feel comfortable asking their advisor questions. “These should be welcomed. You need to properly understand what’s happening. Understanding will lead to trust, which is key to long-term success.”

Today, Isabelle says she’s working with Catherine to achieve her long-term goals and relies on a variety of BMO resources — like investment management services — to facilitate the growth of her portfolio. 

With many more work years ahead of her, she is hoping to focus on accomplishing something that makes a difference. Longer-term, her aim is to ensure her family is taken care of. That includes educating her children on how to make their own financial decisions by introducing them to money management, and specifically the approach she’s learned by working with BMO. 

“Through my experience with BMO, I’ve been introduced to a different way of managing my money. It’s a holistic investment approach, and it differs from traditional portfolio management where you get reports every few months from someone at an investment firm,” Isabelle adds. “Here, you’re more integrated into the process and work with a team to develop the best strategy to approach your finances.” 

Catherine says many people may feel reluctant to reach out to someone for financial advice after a life-changing circumstance (be that a business sale, divorce, or the loss of a job), but says there’s no need to feel overwhelmed because she and other BMO advisors are there to help. 

“To be supported and guided through this process can really lift a lot of pressure on an individual going through a difficult time,” she notes. “To know you are not alone and will be walked through the process step-by-step usually helps lift a tremendous amount of pressure. We want to be in the position to provide unbiased advice to our clients to meet their needs.”

When it comes to your finances, good advice pays off. Interested in speaking to a BMO advisor? Connect with a Private Wealth Professional today.