Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA) and cash flow specialist
Welcome back to Angela Mercier, an inspirational woman and December’s Mentor of the Month!
What I enjoy most about my work is the ability to empower people to make informed decisions about their own finances. Because I work with clients as a financial planner and as a Certified Divorce Financial analyst my main goal is to educate them in making informed decisions about their finances.
2. What do you enjoy least about your work?
My number one pet peeve is when clients do not take their finances seriously and do not listen to what I am trying to teach them about their financial situation.
3. What have your biggest challenges been working in a
One of my biggest challenges working in a male dominated business is to be taken seriously, in reality I had to learn more than my male counterparts because I was always being tested about what I knew. For example when I was parts manager, many times the person calling in for parts refused to tell me what they were looking for because they thought my job was to answer the phones.
4. How did you handle these challenges?
I learned that if I wanted to succeed I would have to prove them wrong. When I was parts manager I went off-site with the outside salesman and visited every account we had and introduced myself and explained what I could do for them etc… Eventually I won most of them over others decided not to give me a chance. I believe that it is their own personal issues and I am not willing to let someone else’s prejudges hold me back.
5. What advice would you give to other women going into male dominated fields?
My advice to other women going into male dominated fields is lean in. Meaning do not sit on the side lines afraid of voicing your opinions. Many times I bit my tongue afraid that I would come across as aggressive or bitchy, where my male counter parts would be seen as assertive. I now believe that if you know your idea is the right one then rise up.
6. Do you think it would be the same today? If not, how do you think things are different now?
Well, as a mother of 3 daughters ranging in age from 24, 21 & 19, I hope it is different but after reading the statistics things seem to be relatively the same as it was when I first started in the automotive industry in 1988. A great book that talks about where women are today in the corporate world is “Lean In”, by Sheryl Sandberg . Sheryl examines why women’s progress in achieving leadership roles has stalled, explains the root causes and some helpful tips. I believe that all women of all ages should read this book. I gave this book to my 3 daughters and told them that they had to read it before entering the work force and finding a life partner. ( So far the oldest has read it, and it is now her book of inspiration when it comes to career etc…)
No to both questions, the majority of financial planners are not wealthy when they start their business but with proper planning and having clients that are serious about financial goals they can become very successful. Getting tips would be illegal and that is called insider trading, we have to do our own research and really listen to the fund companies that we do business with to keep on top of the financial markets etc…
8. How are Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA) viewed by lawyers? Are you welcomed or perceived as intruding on their clientele.
Well, I can honestly say that it has not been easy building my practice as a CDFA here in Nova Scotia. Many lawyers do not understand my role so they are not giving me an opportunity to show them how I assist lawyers with the financial implications of divorce. And yes some lawyers are afraid I will intrude on their clientele, which is completely wrong. I only work with clients that have had already met with a lawyer so that they know their legal rights. Once they have met with their lawyer we can start working together on the financial issues of divorce.
9. How do you find participants for your workshops? How do you find your target audience to advertise to?
All my participants that attend my workshops are through referrals and through social media. The advertising I do is usually on Facebook, LinkedIn and Kijiji. I do not have a very big marketing budget so I have to rely on word of mouth.
10. What do you wish someone had told you before your journey began?
Don’t be afraid to think outside your box, do not second guess yourself. Be the best version of yourself and never give up on your dreams. I wish I had gone back to do my MBA when I had the opportunity, but at the time I had 3 small little girls and was working long hours at the dealership.
I agree that we all have choice points in our lives where we may have conflicting values, that is when we have to prioritize in a way that we feel we can wake up, look in the mirror and still be proud of our choices 20 years later. Thank you so much to Angela for answering all of your questions!
1. She is hosting a “Divorce Workshop for Women”, January 24, 2014 (at Mount Saint Vincent University, 9:30 am- 2:30 pm, $30 including lunch and parking)
This workshop is for: women thinking of getting a divorce, women in the middle of negotiating terms, women struggling to make sense of what is happening to their families, women wondering how to financially or psychologically restructure their lives.
2. Mrs. Mercier also created the” Independent Women Forum” for women regardless of age ,career or marital status. It’s mission is to bring women together in a safe environment to empower them with education about different subjects. Each event includes finances, health and a theme. The events are held at Platform Space off of Larry Uteck and it is a wine , cheese and chocolate event. The cost is $20.00. See www.angelamercier.ca for details.
3. Angela is involved with the Women’s Wellbeing Expo, held May 23,24,25, 2014. See www.womenswellbeingexpo.com for details.
Thanks again to Angela for all the incredible work