Interview with Janea Dieno by My on December 1, 2014

The Value of Advice A seasoned expert in the financial planning industry, Janea Dieno of Brightrock Financial assists clients of all ages and circumstances in creating a strategy for lasting financial security. With a focus on building long term relationships, Janea advises her clients in the areas of risk management, investments, and financial planning. We sat down with Janea to discuss how her industry works and the benefits of dealing with a financial planner. Read on as Janea sheds light on common misconceptions and shares some great advice for achieving financial stability.


Why did you decide to become a financial planner?

I had been working for a large hotel chain, and while I enjoyed my job the learning curve had plateaued. I was looking for something different. I was doing financial planning for myself already, and I always knew I wanted to run my own business. I have an uncle who has been in the financial planning industry for 35 years, and he encouraged me to get into it. As soon as I started taking the courses, I knew I loved it. It was scary quitting my day job to start my own business, but I am so happy I did it. I have fabulous clients, and I love what I do.


Do your clients fall into a particular demographic?

I have a wide range of clients. Many come to me because they don’t know what they are doing or where to start when it comes to their finances. Some people just want to get ahold of their finances, and others want to start saving for retirement but aren’t sure how. Many of my clients just got married or just had a baby, and want to look at getting life insurance. Others have investments but aren’t sure what they are supposed to be doing with them. I see people from all walks of life, from young families to people on the verge of retirement and everyone in between.


What are the different facets of financial planning?

The three big ones are insurance, financial plans, and investments. Insurance is commonly referred to as risk management, and it is intended to protect your ability to make an income should something happen to you. With financial planning, I help my clients to determine their financial goals and timeline and advise on where they should start and how much they should start with. A big part of my job is helping my clients with retirement planning, short term savings planning, and education planning for children. I help my clients put the plan together first, and then we’ll go out and find the best investments to meet their needs. I assist my clients with tax planning by looking at the options in terms of tax credits we can take advantage of, and I can advise on legal issues as well.


How are you different from an advisor at a bank?

I am a Certified Financial Planner, which is a highly recognized international designation. In order to have a CFP designation, you have to complete three years of work experience, you have to go through two national exams, and you are held accountable by some of the highest ethical standards. A person in my position at a bank is typically only working with high net-worth clients. I have clients of all calibre, whether they are just starting out or planning to retire. You don’t have to have a certain dollar value in assets in order to deal with me. Access to products is another big difference between myself and a bank. Banks can only provide products offered by that specific bank. I own my own business and am independent, so I can pull from all sources. I have access to all bank products, all independent products, and I also have access to insurance companies. You mentioned ethical standards.


What are the ethical issues in your industry?

Primarily, it has to do with keeping the best interests of the client at the highest level of importance. Financial Planners are paid with commissions, so it can be an issue for planners to recommend products that earn them the highest commission. This is why its very important to find a financial planner that you trust, and that is held accountable through a designation like CFP. I’ll put a financial plan together for you and then recommend investments and insurance to help you with your goals, but I always keep your best interests at heart.


So your clients don’t pay you?

No client pays me directly for my services, which is a common misconception. Many people assume that working with a financial planner is expensive. How I get paid is strictly through commissions and Management Expense Ratio Fees which are automatically embedded into investments, whether you use a financial planner or not. The fees are unavoidable, and with a financial planner you pay the exact same fees, but you also get tax planning, insurance planning, estate planning, and investment planning all wrapped into it.


Do you have financial advice for people in their late 20s or early 30s?

My advice is to start now. You don’t have to have a huge income in order to start getting your finances in order. If you invest $100 a month starting at age 30 versus $250 a month starting at age 40, even though you’ve invested less since age 30, you’ll have more for retirement. A recent report stated that people who work with a financial planner have two times the amount saved in their investments than people who don’t have a planner. People without financial planners may be saving, but just by reallocating their investments differently they could be earning a much higher percentage. A lot of people struggle with debt these days.


How do you help your clients in that regard?

I can assist people in formulating a plan by looking at their cashflow and helping them to determine where they need to cut spending and where they need to allocate income. I’m all about living paycheque to paycheque as long as that paycheque is allocated correctly. There should be an emergency fund, a spending fund, debt allocation, and a retirement fund. Its all about taking that paycheque and making sure its allocated in the appropriate ways while still being able to live. I definitely understand living. I still want to shop and go on trips!


What is your recommendation to people who are looking for a financial planner?

The most important thing is finding an advisor that you trust and that you have a good relationship with. Typically when I meet a new client, I tell them to interview a few of us before making a decision. I’m looking for clients who want a long term relationship. I tell people to trust their gut, and that they’ll know when they have a good feeling about an advisor. There are a lot of us out there, and anyone in Canada can call themselves a financial advisor. Its important to look at what credentials that person has that holds them to ethical standards.


We ask everyone this question: What do you love about Saskatoon?

I’ve lived here for most of my life, and I love it. I really like how Saskatoon has big city amenities, but it gives you that small town feeling.


Unsure of how to approach paying off debt, or what to do with your savings?

Whether you are looking to get your finances in order, are on the verge of retirement, or anywhere in between, Janea Dieno can help you to formulate and manage a financial plan that will set you up for success. Janea Dieno is an active supporter of READ Saskatoon.