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My Planswell Journey by Leisse Wilcox

If you had told me five years ago that I’d be writing a guest blog post for a FinTech startup, I would have actually laughed in your face. Not a cute and subtle snicker, but a full tilt, nearly choke, spit-out-my-drink-through-my-nose laugh.

“Money? Me? Are you insane?”

Five years ago I was a stay at home mom of three, blissfully ignoring the cost of running our house, our life, our future. Whenever the dreaded spreadsheet came out as a monthly check-in to review what was coming in and what was going out, it felt like nails on the chalkboard of my brain, and I would dreamily tune out to think about something, anything else, till it was over and we could go back to binge watching The Wire.

And then life changed, in the same way it changes for an estimated 40% of Canadians: my marriage ended.

If you are included in that whopper of a statistic, you’ll know that when a marriage ends, an entire chapter of your life ends with it. And it’s incredibly hard. If you have the courage to dig deep and see the big picture, you know that it also means an entirely new chapter is just about to begin. Which is lovely.

For me, one of the central themes of that new chapter was a complete redefinition of how I related to money, and how I let it relate to me.

I went from being a stay at home mom of three who loved tacos and karaoke, to the founder of a boutique branding agency turned coaching practice, writer, intention-driven social media influencer, public speaker, insurance buyer, home and car owner, garbage taker outer – all on my own. Still with those three superlative kids in tow, and yes, still loving tacos and karaoke.

Needless to say, things got pretty real, pretty fast. It became abundantly clear, almost over night, that I needed to understand a lot more about my own financial picture than I did, and I needed it now. And although I’d always had enough money, I’d never had enough of an appreciation or awareness of the language and practice of money.

I remember going into my local bank one day, early into “Life 2.0,” and seeing the vulturous look that came across the face of the person “helping” me, as she directed me into a room in which a representative tried to push me into making financial decisions about my family and future that I openly was not ready to make.

I remember calling in the assistance of a friend who was herself a financial planner, for her to take over the money and investments I’d accrued in the divorce, and finding out a year later that while yes, she’d opened the account for me, no one had actually done anything with the money in it. Not a thing.

And then I remember meeting one of the Planswell team at a client event I’d attended, and knowing that I needed to know a lot more about them. Why? Because (yes, he was charming, and) suddenly I felt like I had stumbled across something that was more than a bank or an advisory – this was an intention-driven company and brand designed to help me – and hundreds of thousands of Canadians – get a hold of my financial wellness, in an easy and accessible way.

I went to an event at Planswell HQ, and was immediately drawn to the culture: smart, playful, attentive, driven, and friendly people, just like me, but on hover-boards. Music and pizza optional. I was drawn to hearing the mysteries and myths behind the financial systems as we’ve known them, revealed by their CEO, and feeling for the first time that I had a better handle on what the financial landscape truly looked like, and who it was truly designed to serve.

Fast forward a few months, and I had quickly and easily moved everything I could from a traditional bank, to my new favourite brand crush. The process was smooth, safe, guided,  hand held, and done in a way that felt completely catered to what I needed in that moment. I’ve since purchased insurance via Planswell as well, and can say with confidence that that process too was smooth, safe, and enjoyable – and yes, I am describing insurance. I can say too that every client and friend I’ve referred has described the same process, with the feeling of being heard, held, and attended to.

Am I a financial expert now? Ha! Heck no. But I am now someone who actually opens and reads her monthly statements, enjoys watching the little squirrel carrying over the one as he adjusts my plan and investments, and very much looks forward to a Planswell Christmas party invitation – especially if it involves tacos and karaoke.

Planswell has played a formative role in me feeling safe and secure in taking some power back in my own financial present and future, and has become a very happy part of my own life story I’m writing every day. The mental shift that has unfolded, simply by starting the conversation with them has had ripple effects on my family, friends, and clients, and has supported my next-level confidence and independence found in starting over.

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