How to thrive as a mother and wealth advisor

Second-generation woman advisor speaks out on her experience as a new mom, and why work-life balance can't be done solo

How to thrive as a mother and wealth advisor

As many women advisors have experienced, breaking into the wealth industry can be a daunting challenge. But as a second-generation advisor and new mom at her practice, Kaylin Fitzsimons fortunately had a role model to provide support and inspiration.

“I work with my mom, Laura, and our business partner Tim,” says Fitzsimons, who is a partner and insurance advisor at Lifecycle Wealth, and an investment advisor with Mandeville Private Client. “We focus mainly on helping business owners reduce their tax exposure through insurance and investment planning.”

As Fitzsimons tells it, business owners make up 95% of Lifecycle Wealth’s client base of affluent individuals. Their insurance planning strategies incorporate life, disability, and critical illness policies, while their investment planning leverages high-quality private investments and alternatives on the Mandeville platform.

‘She gave me confidence that it can be done’

Traditionally, motherhood has tended to be a setback for women’s career and professional advancement in the wealth industry, with some evidence indicating it can lead to lower pay and other gaps relative to their male peers over time. But for Fitzsimons personally, it wasn’t a concern.

“I can see, unfortunately, that it’s like that in many different industries,” she says. “But growing up, I remember my mom was a great role model and example of how to run a successful practice, while raising children as well. … She gave me confidence that it can be done.”

At their practice, Fitzsimons can also rely on the support of a strong advisory team. With her mother and their longtime business partner, Tim Leonard, she has backup from two experienced professionals, which she also provides for them as needed.

“I feel it's vitally important to have a team to rely on,” she says. “I'm not too sure how a female advisor can do it all on her own with no help, when you have to step back for motherhood for those couple of months up to a year.”

There are still challenges, to be sure. For Fitzsimons, the transition to motherhood has been a process of organizing and managing her time more efficiently to accommodate new priorities.

While she’d rather complete tasks and take the lead on client files herself, she’s learning to give up some control as she has fewer hours to work with on any given day. On days in the office when she’s away from her son, Fitzsimons also occasionally has to grapple with the emotional difficulty of mom guilt.

“As a working mom, you really do wear so many different hats in one day, and I do even hear that from our female clients as well who are business owners and parents,” she says. “Sometimes clients are flexible … They understand time is limited, so they don't mind meeting with you virtually.”

Aside from Teams, Zoom, and phone calls, Fitzsimons says she’s able to lean on technological resources provided by Mandeville to work with clients remotely. While clients would have to open investment accounts in person in the past, for example, Docusign has made it possible to do virtually.

But at a higher strategic level, Fitzsimons says their key strategy to maintain work-life balance has been to proactively plan – making sure to address important items before they become urgent – for each stage of their affluent business owner clients’ lives.

Work, life, success – how to have it all

Beyond balancing her time between life and work, Fitzsimons has been recognized among Mandeville’s Chairman’s Club for two years in a row. That achievement, she says, wouldn’t be possible without the continued support of centres of influence and the clients they guide on their journey to build wealth and achieve their financial dreams.

For other women advisors looking to succeed while navigating work and life as a new mom, Fitzsimons has several pieces of advice.

“Always remember your why. During the tough days, think about why you do what you do,” she says. “My why is protecting my clients through insurance, achieving their retirement goals through investments, and helping to provide them with a roadmap with the lifecycle wealth plan. … That’s always at the back of my mind.”

Concentrating on a specific client niche is also crucial, she says, as having a clear point of focus can help in navigating life and career transitions.

Beyond that, Fitzsimons stresses the importance of working with a dealer firm that supports women advisors. During one of the Mandeville Chairman’s Club retreats she attended in Jamaica, she fondly recalls how the firm allowed her to bring her six-month-old son along. During that trip, she says Michael Lee Chin came to her and shared his own experience of being raised by a working mom.

“He talked about how he’d watch his mother work hard growing up, and she’d take him to work every day. He said it was the best thing for him to witness,” Fitzsimons says. “I felt that was great positive reinforcement, and I hope I’m doing the same for my son as well.”