Why advisor's side gig is a note-perfect way to unwind

Other Life: whether markets are up or down, singing at charity events and weddings helps Aaron Ruston de-stress

Why advisor's side gig is a note-perfect way to unwind

This is our new Friday online feature, called Other Life, which focuses on what financial professionals do when not at their desks serving clients and managing portfolios. If you have a hobby, interest, or achievement that you'd like to share, please email [email protected]

Aaron Ruston, president and financial advisor for Purposed Financial Corp. in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, likes music and cars – but he most enjoys the balance that his music side-career brings to his financial work life.

“It’s a great mental health break, that’s for sure,” he told Wealth Professional.

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Ruston began his singing career at age four, when he said, “my mom forced me to sing” in front of people, which he didn’t enjoy. But his dad –a farmer and CN Rail foreman – was also a great musician and played fiddle for many polka bands. Ruston went on gigs with him and thought people were having so much fun. He also enjoyed listening to his older brother’s music.

“That’s what really got me into it,” he said, noting that he used to play keyboards, but then heeded his dad’s advice to let others do what they did well. “Then, I got out front for the vocal side.”

“I have always been enraptured by melodies and harmonies, and just being around very gifted people,” he added. “They just seem to have a magic ability to create these wonderful sounds from their instruments. I thought that was pretty cool, so by age 11 or 12, I thought, ‘this is all right’.”

Although he’s always done music, Ruston’s side-career picked up in 2003, after he returned from Kelowna. He sang gospel, but loved rock and roll, and now does vocals for three local bands, playing corporate gigs, charitable events, and weddings.

“I never imagined myself as a wedding singer,” he chuckled, citing Adam Sandler’s movie.

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Ruston has been singing with The New Montagues, a nine-piece horn band, for seven of its 19 years. He was then asked to join the Uncoolas (a popular 60s classic rock and country band) and, this year, Frogsback, whose lead singer had died. Together, he said, they have 14 gigs until year-end.

“It takes time, but I always look at it as a mental health break,” said Ruston, noting how much he loves working with his bandmates. “This financial industry is one of ups and downs, so it can often be very stressful. But I find the music is truly uplifting for me, regardless of whether I’m singing gospel, rock, or country.

“I love watching people’s faces. I’ve seen them come in looking like they were carrying a thousand-pound weight on their shoulders and, boy, not too far in, you can see the change on their faces and the weight is gone or, at least, they’re forgetting about it. I like to say we’re taking people on a musical trip back in time. So, hopefully, that brings joy to them. It’s worth the time that we put into it. That’s for sure.””