Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA) and cash flow specialist

Do you want money? Do you want to help people at a meaningful time in their lives?    – Welcome to Angela Mercier- our December Mentor of the Month!

Mrs. Mercier is an inspirational woman who has chosen to use her life experiences to help others with their financial health in a relatively burgeoning field of work! 

Read on to learn more about this months’ Mentor of the Month!

Angela.MercierIf you would’ve told Angela Mercier when she graduated from the University of Saskatchewan with an advanced BA majoring in Psychology, that she’d acquire 15 years of professional business experience working within the automotive industry, and then make a successful transition into Financial Services, she might have been surprised.

She may have been equally surprised if you would have told her at the beginning of her career in the automotive industry that she would rise through the male-dominated business to become General Manager for a dealership in Dartmouth.

As General Manager, she helped the dealership improve profits and reduce their expenses, all while helping to boost employee morale. The job wasn’t without its challenges but Angela was known for her perseverance, especially after she was presented with the highest customer service awards in the area.

While working extremely hard for the owners, Angela achieved great success, but there were trade-offs. Shortly after leaving the dealership, marriage.broken she realized her marriage was over. After becoming a single parent, Angela knew she couldn’t work the long hours she was used to. There were some hard decisions to be made. Rather than leave the industry completely, Angela spent some time working for companies that supplied products to automotive finance departments. This helped improve her B2B sales skills and allowed her to travel throughout the Atlantic Provinces.

In 2005, Angela took a huge leap of faith and left the automotive world for the unfamiliar world of mortgage lending.  She knew that her knowledge and experience with lenders in the automotive industry would complement her move.

In 2006, Angela remarried and had her fourth child. The baby represented a new chapter as Angela’s oldest was going into grade 12, her next daughter was almost 14, and her youngest daughter was 12 years old. At least it will be easier, she thought, with all this help around. Well, it turned out to be a little more complicated than it had seemed. Angela and her husband Jason decided the best thing for their family would be for her to stay home.

It was during Angela’s time at home that she realized she wanted to do more than just mortgages. The financial crisis of 2008 changed the way the financial industry worked and made it clear she would not be returning to the mortgage industry anyway.

Angela knew she wanted to stay in the financial industry; she had always loved working in finance, she appreciated the power of numbers, and she loved helping people succeed. Angela went back to school and she wrote her Mutual Fund license and full Life Insurance exams in 2010 and passed both with high marks.

Angela realized that her role in finance was more than just crunching numbers, her life experiences—education, career, divorce, single-parent, at-home mom, successful business leader—gave her great insight into how to help others.

divorceIn early 2011, Angela came across an article about a successful certified divorce financial analyst in the States and how she really made a difference in people’s lives. Angela knew she had made some poor financial decisions when she went through her own divorce, despite her business sense.  After doing some research, Angela found that Certified Divorce Financial Analyst is a recognized designation in Canada. She quickly enrolled in the program.

The Institute for Divorce Financial Analyst allows participants up to two years to complete the program. Angela didn’t waste any time—she had her CDFA designation in 9 months. The course touched on aspects of divorce law, but concentrated primarily on the financial aspects of divorce.

CDFA’s do not discuss nor review the legal aspects of someone’s case, just like a lawyer does not give financial advice. Instead, the role of a certified divorce financial analyst is to educate clients and empower them to make sound financial decisions.

There are a lot of financial decisions to be made when going through divorce: Should they keep the house?  What is an asset and a liability? What is debt? How do you budget? What does spousal support look like over time? What do child support payments look like?  What activities will the kids keep going to?  Who will pay for those activities?

Those are just a few of the financial topics that s CDFA reviews with the clients, lawyers, mediators etc… The sad reality is that over 40% of Canadians will find themselves faced with a breakdown of a marriage and that the number will be even higher for those who have been married a second or third time.  The two main causes for breakdown of marriages in North America are financial and parenting.   There are other stressors that play a role in the breakup of marriages such as infidelity and mental health.

Even though Angela is busy as a CDFA and cash flow specialist, money she continues to explore her passion for education through conducting seminars and workshops. She strongly believes that education brings knowledge and can empower people to do great things. She regularly conducts Financial Wellness workshops and seminars.

For example, she created and facilitated “Divorce Workshop 101 for Women”, a full day workshop that takes the participants through the legal, financial and emotional aspects of divorce. Angela brings in keynote co- presenters, for her divorce workshop: a psychologist, collaborative lawyer and a family law lawyer.  Other popular seminars Angela conducts include, “Control Your Cash Flow, Control Your Life”, “Understanding Credit and its Impact on Your Buying Power.” Angela also does continuing education seminars for the Nova Scotia Bar Society for family law lawyers.

Angela has a website www.angelamercier.ca where you can get a list of her upcoming workshops and seminars.