This TD Senior Private Banker Became Financially Literate at a Young Age — Today, She Helps Others Achieve Their Financial Goals
Marina Austin shares why she is so passionate about helping others
By Sarah Kelsey
Marina Austin, Senior Private Banker Healthcare at TD Wealth, was taught how to manage her finances at a very young age, but she knows that doesn’t happen for everyone — including healthcare professionals, a group she now specializes in helping.
“My dad was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) around the time my youngest brother was born, and his goal was to have no mortgage by the time he could no longer work — he succeeded,” she says of her upbringing in Alberta.
Though she initially began to pursue a career in fashion, she eventually landed in finance because it suited the skills she had had her whole life. “My parents taught me many financial lessons, especially around earning money, saving, and insurance. What I learned came from a place of risk aversion — given my dad’s health — and wanting to make sure I was always protected financially.”
It’s the latter that Marina says she spends most of her time focusing on with her physician and dental clients — how to help them navigate the financial complexities their careers bring. She notes most come to her with a lot of student debt (“their schooling is long and expensive”), yet, at a time when their earnings go through the roof. They have an expectation of the life they want to be living but need some guidance on how to get all of their assets in order.
Many come to Marina thinking they know what’s right for them, given that healthcare professionals tend to crowd-source solutions to their common financial questions with professional peers (“there’s a private Facebook group where many share information about their experiences”).
“I really have to help them evaluate their personal circumstances and to work with them to develop a plan based on their needs,” she says. “What works for one healthcare professional — even a peer — may not work for another, simply because they’re in the same profession. People have different lived experiences.”
This, she adds, is particularly true for women who have unique financial needs. Not only do they live longer, they have to plan for gaps in employment (maternity leave) and, depending on the culture, may be expected to use their income to support family members. Marina says they also often come in with an “I can do this myself” attitude because they’ve been taught (through school or certain life experiences) that they are on their own.
“They’ve come so far in all they do — they’re very driven — and often don’t get the level of support they need because they’re so high-functioning,” she says. “My goal, then, is to help show them that I’m here to help, that TD Bank Group (TD) is here to help, and that we have specialized products and services that will benefit them given the challenges they face.”
Marina’s approach to helping clients is relatively straightforward. She starts by asking them about their immediate needs (“I like to get that off the table”). This could include wanting to pay off debt or buy a car. Then, she’ll chat with them about the mid-term — what they want in the next two to three years and where they want to be or what they want their life to look like. Once that’s been broached, she broadens the conversation to 10 years and long-term planning. That will include the bigger conversations about opening their own medical practice and retirement.
Critical to what Marina does — in all of these conversations — is to make it clear that what she can do for healthcare professionals goes above and beyond the transactional. She can help with things like account openings, but the real benefit of what she can offer in her role at TD is to help build a long-lasting relationship that can help someone get from point A to point Z and through all of the bumps in the middle.
“I work hard to help ensure my clients are well-prepared for various possible future events and that the plans we have in place for them are malleable. The world changes and life changes. Preparation is critical; so is building a supportive relationship,” she says, noting this is where healthcare professionals will see the most value. “I encourage clients to build a long-term relationship with us — me — because we go beyond the portfolio; we deal with the person, and if they have questions I can’t answer, I’ll get the right person available to help.”
She adds: “I like to think I’m a part of a client’s team. I’m proud of the trust they impart in me and how I can help build their financial literacy, so they can accomplish all they want in life. There’s so much value in being able to do that for someone.”