This TD Executive is passionate about helping women build confidence around financial literacy and wealth planning
Jody Beaupre, Assistant Region Head for TD Private Wealth Management (PWM) & Executive Sponsor, PWM Metro East, TD Wealth for Women Program, gives sage advice.
By Hailey Eisen
Jody Beaupre grew up in a family of bankers — her mother and grandmother worked in the bank — and she was taught financial discipline from a very young age. “I fondly remember my first piggy bank and then graduating to a real bank account with a passbook,” says the Assistant Region Head for TD Private Wealth Management in the GTA. “Every year, we’d take the money I had saved in my account and use it to purchase a Canada Savings Bond. As I grew older, we diversified into mutual funds.”
All of the early financial literacy she acquired as a child, she passed along to her own daughter who is now 19 in and in her second year of university. “She has excellent savings habits and a really good nest egg because of the work we did,” Jody explains proudly.
Having financial discipline does take work, Jody says, but it certainly doesn’t mean never having fun. “I’m good at treating myself to something designer,” she says, “but the key is to plan accordingly.”
Jody got her start in the bank when she was in university, working as a part-time teller and today, she leads a team of Wealth Professionals in the GTA who provide holistic advice, planning and expertise to high net worth clients and their families. “Even though I’ve been in the industry for so long, it’s been a continuous learning journey for me,” she says. “As a curious person I’m always upgrading my knowledge and learning new ways to support and advise others.”
When it comes to working with women, Jody is extremely passionate. She has a lot of knowledge to impart and believes strongly in the adage, knowledge is power. “I want all women to feel comfortable talking about money, to have knowledge of their personal financial situations, and to never be afraid to ask questions,” she says.
Jody is also eager to discuss the importance of women maintaining financial independence even though marriage, “I had been fortunate to build a considerable net worth prior to meeting my husband and before getting married 20 years ago, we agreed to a prenuptial agreement.” The reality is, she says, “a significant percentage of marriages won’t survive, and I always believe women should be realistic and pragmatic when it comes to protecting what matters.”
When it comes to women and money matters, the stats are quite striking. Over the past several decades, Canadian women have made significant progress in achieving financial independence and pay parity. Today, Canadian women make up 48 percent of the workforce, are responsible for two thirds of consumer spending, and control almost $2 trillion in financial assets. “Despite significant advances in the workforce, however, many women still struggle to balance the competing demands of family, careers, and finances,” Jody says. “And, women feel less confident about money, despite being highly educated and highly proficient in their areas of expertise.”
A 2020 survey from McKinsey found that just 25 percent of affluent women say they are comfortable making investments and savings related decisions on their own — 15 percent lower than their male counterparts. “We are also seeing reports that indicate that the majority of women are unhappy with the financial services industry. One reason for this may be that advisors tend to naturally engage with one partner and exclude the other from the conversation,” she says.
Jody is working hard to change that. “Given that 80 percent of women will become the sole decision maker over their finances at some point in their lifetime, it’s incredibly important that they take charge of their financial future and get on the path to confidence early,” she advises.
Studies have shown that the majority of women will switch their advisor following the death of a spouse1. “This is why it’s so important that advisors engage with both members of a couple and provide information in a way that’s relevant and accessible to everyone,” Jody says. “At TD, we are committed to supporting women investors and providing a differentiated experience. We have more than 250 Wealth Professionals across Canada who are part of our TD Wealth for Women program. These Women Champions are focused on helping women build financial confidence by providing holistic advice to build their net worth, implement tax efficient strategies, protect what matters, and leave a legacy.”
When advisors take the time to really get to know their clients, they can offer support and guidance around all areas of a woman’s life and life stages. “It’s all about forging a good connection, understanding their wealth personality – and how that influences their financial and investing decisions, and providing advice that’s in line with their unique goals and aspirations.”
“In one scenario, one of our TD Wealth Investment Advisors actually guided a client to discover an illness she didn’t realize she had,” Jody explains. “The advisor had been impressing the importance of life insurance on this client for some time, unfortunately it’s a conversation many people would rather avoid. When the client did finally agree to move forward, she had a health exam before qualifying, and ended up finding an early-stage Cancer she may not have caught otherwise.” Now cancer free, the client credits her Investment Advisor with engaging in this holistic planning conversation that most likely saved her life.
When asked to share her advice for women when it comes to wealth planning and financial literacy, Jody jumps at the opportunity to impart wisdom. “I have so much information to share and I think it’s so important that women feel confident talking about money and taking control of their finances whenever possible.”
First, she says, women should know their finances and start building their net worth. “You must understand where you are today before you’re ready to create a road map for tomorrow,” she says. “You don’t need to be an expert in all things financial, but you should know enough to make informed spending, saving, and investing decisions. Your financial future is too important to simply delegate to your spouse or partner or to simply ignore.”
Second, when you don’t know something — ask! “Build knowledge, talk with friends and family; make ‘money talk’ something that isn’t a taboo subject. In doing so, you’ll build your confidence and find you’re more comfortable with making your own decisions.”
Third, she advises, working with a trusted advisor to set goals and create a financial plan. “You’ll want to find an advisor who you feel comfortable with, who listens to you, and explains things in a way that makes sense,” she says. “Studies have shown that investors who receive advice may build more savings over time. Advised investors have on average 3.9 times more assets after 15 years than similar investors without advice.”
She also suggests that women who own their own businesses or are thinking of starting a business consider finding an advisor who will support that aspect of their financial life as well. “Our Women in Enterprise Business Banking Program provides women-owned and women-led businesses with financial advice and banking solutions and helps remove barriers for women, challenge stereotypes and helps create conditions where gender equity can become a reality. It also partners with our TD Wealth for Women program internally and externally to provide holistic support and guidance.”
Fourth, Jody says, ensure estate preparation is part of the planning conversation, because thinking about the future is as important as planning for the present. “People often want to avoid difficult conversations around healthcare, aging, guardianship of children, etc. because it can be really uncomfortable to talk about,” she says. “Estate planning conversations are critically important when it comes to protecting what matters and leaving a legacy, and having these conversations and setting plans in place provides huge peace of mind.”
Finally, you’ll want to ensure you’re actively adjusting and updating your plan as needed. “I always suggest clients meet with their advisor at least once a year to review your plans, ensure you’re on track with your goals, and make any changes necessary to ensure long-term success.”
No matter where you’re at on your financial journey, there’s always something to learn. Jody would love to see more women talking about finances at dinner parties, over coffee, and as frequently as they share tips and advice about other topics. “Let’s normalize these conversations,” she says. “Feeling in control of your finances and your financial future can be incredibly empowering.”