Reasons Financial Independence is key to Self-Management and Happiness

Elke Rubach is the Principal and Founder of Rubach Wealth, a leading wealth management firm she founded in 2012. Her mission is to provide tax-efficient financial planning to help clients build multi-generational legacies. Drawing from her personal experience of facing an unexpected financial crisis, Elke has spent her career advising clients on wealth management, estate planning, and investing in ways that align with their values and goals.

Rubach Wealth is built on her vision that all clients, especially women, must be financially independent. She believes that conversations around financial planning need to be normalized and that it’s essential for clients to be responsible with their money.

Elke is also a sought-after speaker on wealth management, estate planning and philanthropy. She is the founder of Fashion Heals for SickKids, which has raised more than $450,000 for pediatric cancer care and research since 2015. As part of her philanthropic efforts, Elke gives back with board and volunteer commitments, including the Professional Advisory Council for SickKids Foundation, the Investment Committee at the Office of the Public Guardian, the Advisory Board for Transpod Inc, and the development committee of Ronald McDonald House.

Elke earned undergraduate and graduate degrees in law, the latter in banking and finance, on scholarship at the London School of Economics. Elke is fluent in English, Spanish, French, and German.

When did you start your career? And what was your motivation behind starting Rubach Wealth?

I started my journey as a lawyer, and I practiced for roughly 10 years. I transitioned into working at one of the big banks in several areas but ultimately in the Compliance Department, working directly with clients and addressing their concerns regarding their brokerage accounts. During my tenure there, I realized that people lead busy lives making financial decisions without having a clear plan or a long-term approach. Many products are sold and bought without true understanding and because they sound great at the time. As time goes by, people realize that what they have is a collection of possibly mismatching great instruments, and they barely remember why they bought them. This usually leads to inefficiencies, missed opportunities and confusion. This realization, coupled with my personal childhood experience of facing an unexpected financial crisis, resulted in the birth of Rubach Wealth. I strongly believe that it’s important for people to have a solid financial plan so that the family does not have to go through any undue stress or confusion when only one person in the household understands what’s happening. The plan doesn’t need to be complex. We need to normalize talking about money and succession.

As you believe that it’s essential for clients to be responsible with their money, what are the tips through which they can become more disciplined and empowered in that manner?

For clients to be responsible with their money, they need to understand their spending habits and having a budget is essential. They should be able to divide between discretionary and non-discretionary spending. Often enough, one discovers that certain changes to discretionary spending can make a big difference in the long run. Sticking to a financial plan and updating the plan regularly as goals are achieved or debts are paid is important. Another tip I would share is that clients need a tax-efficient will and the right type of insurance. As far as insurance is concerned, they need to understand how much coverage plays a role in their plan. They also need to have regular investment contributions to avoid trying to time the markets and have an understanding of how the different tax planning strategies work. Lastly, they need to diversify their investments across different asset classes and have a long-term investment approach.

What, according to you, are the ways that help us to approach the topic of money with loved ones? And how are the conversations related to financial planning normalized?

I believe that people should talk about it very normally with their loved ones. It can start with simple questions such as, do you know that we have X amount in our bank account and who the investment advisor is? It does not have to become the main topic for the entire family at every meal, making it too overwhelming for the family. One needs to be mindful that having these conversations on an ongoing basis makes a huge difference. If they don’t feel comfortable doing it themselves, we are happy to facilitate this and get them started.

Being a sought-after speaker on various topics, what important points you would like to share with the entrepreneurs when it comes to legacy planning?

For entrepreneurs, while they spend time growing their business, should never forget to keep their personal finances under control. It’s important for them to keep it simple because business owners have everything but time. If they have too many pieces to look after, it may render the task over clarity, making the control over finances very complicated. Hence, it’s essential not to neglect your financial plan and have a succession plan in place. It’s something they owe to their clients, family and business, plus keeping them honest. Furthermore, while building a business, entrepreneurs also need to consider the exit strategy – Do you keep it in the family? Do you sell? A combination of the two? Every case is different, and it’s key to get in front of it before the issue becomes a problem (e.g. death of the entrepreneur). These are just a few of the many issues that need to be addressed.

What were the challenges you faced on your entrepreneurial journey? Were you successful in overcoming them?

I think the main challenge I faced and continue to face (like most entrepreneurs) is juggling competing priorities. I have three children, and when I started my business, they were young (1-,3-and 5 years old), so I had to manage my time effectively. The journey of growing my business has been exciting. From finding the right team members to experiencing cash flow constraints and then dealing with Covid, it has been demanding but rewarding at the same time. Dealing with the unknown is a big part of being an entrepreneur, at the same time understanding the fact that uncertainty and change are constant.

Why do you think that financial independence and self-management should be a goal for every individual, especially women? And how are they benefitted from these goals?

It’s a very personal decision, but in my case, it’s a core value. I strongly believe that financial independence allows other types of independence and helps in making informed decisions (about business, career, relationships, etc. Plus, it also sets a great example for the next generation as our children are keenly watching how we are leading our lives and dealing with financial pressures. I want my kids to have a positive financial philosophy and learn from my experience.

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