“Wealth” means “abundance”—and not merely of material goods. Susan Latremoille, a wealth advisor for more than 35 years, understands that term in all its complexity. She’s also the author of The RichLife: Managing Wealth and Purpose. The book’s mantra, as she describes it, is: “live well, give back, leave a legacy.” For more than a decade, Susan has supported FINCA because it helps her to follow that roadmap.
As a professional, Susan helps clients plan their financial futures: “We help people manage their wealth and to plan for retirement and all sorts of life transitions where money is involved.” Susan leads the Latremoille Begg Group with Richardson GMP, but she has also worked with Merrill Lynch and RBC Dominion Securities and has written three books on wealth management. Despite her impressive résumé, she insists that she “just fell into wealth management” as a vocation. “I had my own consulting business and I liked being independent. But I also liked the camaraderie of a large company, and wealth management seemed to offer both. I really enjoy working with, helping, and guiding people through important financial decisions,” she says.
Her book, The RichLife, led her to FINCA. “I was invited to a tea. The hostess wanted to raise $5,000 to start a FINCA village bank, and she asked me to speak about my book,” says Susan. “At the time, I knew nothing about FINCA, but after speaking, I stayed around to learn more. I immediately thought that FINCA was a great model and I could really see myself getting more involved.”
I was drawn to the entrepreneurial nature of FINCA’s mission. It empowers people to build sustainable livelihoods. And I really liked the concept of organizing people into small groups and making them accountable for each other; peer pressure and peer support are both important. And leadership is encouraged in village banks. Of course, not everyone can be a leader, but the FINCA model of cooperative groups allows those with talent—no matter how few resources they have—to realize their potential. The model promotes not just asset or income growth, but self-growth.
Susan recalls one FINCA client whom she met on a trip to Guatemala. “I remember we went to a village bank meeting. The group leader was in the business of selling fish. She had used her FINCA loan to purchase a freezer, so she could have fish available to her customers all week. This woman kept her two daughters, 12 and 14, out of school for the day so that they could observe the village bank in action. They also got to observe their mother as a committed entrepreneur and as leader of the group. I’ve seen statistics that show that daughters of mothers who work outside the home end up earning more than those with stay-at-home mothers. Self-made entrepreneurs, such as this woman in Guatemala, can be very inspiring for the next generation of women.”
Susan is concerned about the next generation of philanthropists, too. She supports FINCA through a donor-advised fund with the Toronto Foundation: the Susan, Sarah and Nicholas Latremoille Family Fund, named for herself and her two children. “I’m an advocate of strategic philanthropy. I don’t believe in simply responding when charities ask for support. I say, for example, ‘I’m going to set aside this much for charitable purposes this year, and I’m going to fund it through capital gains in my investment portfolio’. I wanted my children to be acquainted with philanthropy at an early age and to learn how to approach it strategically. That’s why I set up the family fund.”
Susan also enjoys the sense of community at FINCA Canada: “I love working with the board and staff; they are all doing great work. And I really trust the senior leadership and have high regard for the professionalism of the organization.” So Susan recently took on an added level of responsibility; she will serve as an ambassador for FINCA’s OppHERtunity Campaign, spreading the word about FINCA and financial inclusion through talks, events, media outreach and trips to the field.
But what return on investment has Susan realized for all her efforts on behalf of FINCA?
FINCA has given me the opportunity to put my money where my heart is: to support financial inclusion and to encourage entrepreneurs to build their businesses. It allows me to carry out my beliefs.
It also allows her to demonstrate that living a rich life involves enthusiasm, generosity and giving back.
Have questions about deepening your involvement? Email Leah at [email protected].
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