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Al Jones, A. Jones Wealth & Estate Planning Inc., Barrie, Ont.Handout

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When veteran financial advisor Al Jones joined the investment industry 27 years ago, he didn’t know any other Canadian Black advisors and had no role models who looked like him. One of his first conferences was attended by more than 500 delegates, and just two, including Mr. Jones, were Black.

In commemoration of Black History Month, Globe Advisor spoke with Mr. Jones, president and certified financial planner at A. Jones Wealth & Estate Planning Inc. in Barrie, Ont. He reflected on his career’s beginnings and where he’s at today.

Describe your early days as an advisor.

At the time, I was the only Black person in my office and region in Bradford, Ont. When I would arrive for appointments, some people expected to see a white man as Al Jones is a typical white Canadian name. They weren’t used to seeing a Black person in their community in financial services. Some asked my manager to send another advisor.

Fortunately, I started serving a neighbourhood of another ethnic community, Portuguese. They saw themselves as outsiders in Bradford, and they welcomed me as one of their own. We were able to find a commonality and they felt I was cut from the same cloth.

What keeps you going in this industry?

The ongoing desire to help people. I presented myself honestly, by showing genuine concern for individuals and being a good listener.

Most of the retention is the amount of hard work that goes into building your practice and the amount of financial sacrifice. Some people come into the industry and see advisors generating good incomes and lifestyles, but what’s forgotten is the amount of work to get there. Recruiters need to say, “This is what you can earn, but realistically, you’re not going to see that income for a little bit. You have to get over that three- to five-year hump and then things will start getting easier.”

I started with families. They may not have been high net worth but if you work with them and create that relationship, you will grow with them.

What makes this a great industry for Black professionals to join?

When you work for yourself, once you get grounded, you have a lot more latitude and flexibility in your lifestyle, and more balance.

What Black advisors need to do in the industry, myself included, is the job itself. Blacks need to see there are professionals who look like them and are doing well.

The Black community is an untapped market. Recent Black immigrants are also untapped. They’re going to need the skills that an advisor or financial planner brings to the table to understand investing, tax and learn how to keep more of their money in their pocket. Some don’t know how to do that.

– Deanne Gage, Globe Advisor reporter

This interview has been edited and condensed.

Must-reads from Globe Advisor this week

How an RRSP contribution can protect income-tested benefits and credits

When Canadians think about the near-term advantages of contributing to their registered retirement savings plan (RRSP), they likely focus on the potential for a tax refund. But there’s another important way an RRSP contribution can give them additional cash flow: by reducing their net family income to a level that preserves income-tested benefits and credits. “We can’t do anything about inflation. We can’t do anything about interest rates. But we actually can do something about the amount of taxes we pay and we can increase refundable tax credits proactively with an RRSP contribution,” says tax expert Evelyn Jacks, president of Knowledge Bureau Inc. in Winnipeg. Alison MacAlpine has more.

Why this money manager has been buying Colgate and trimming Novo Nordisk

While many investors are betting the economy will sidestep a severe downtown, money manager Katherine Owen remains cautious. “I think current expectations might be a little too optimistic. There’s still risk in the global economy,” says Ms. Owen, a portfolio manager at Mackenzie Investments in Toronto, who helps oversee about $18-billion in assets with the firm’s global equity and income team, including the $5.5-billion Mackenzie Global Dividend Fund, led by Darren McKiernan. “We’re respectful of consensus expectations,” Ms. Owen adds, “but we don’t want to make big macro calls when managing portfolios. Instead, we focus on stock picking. We try to hedge our bets by being defensive and offensive in what we own.” Brenda Bouw asks what she’s been buying and selling.

Why these Canadians waited until 70 to collect their CPP benefits

It’s often said that good things come to those who wait. For Canadians eligible for the Canadian Pension Plan (CPP) or Quebec Pension Plan, the “good thing” is more money. Canadians who hold off until 70 to collect their CPP benefits receive 42 per cent more than if they took it at 65, which is considered the traditional age to start – even though many more take it sooner. This is the latest in a continuing series that explores the decisions behind the timing of when to take CPP benefits and reviews different aspects of the beloved and often-debated government-sponsored pension plan. Brenda Bouw spoke with four Canadians who waited to collect CPP.

Your CPP questions answered: Can I stop making contributions?

Globe Advisor invited readers to ask questions about their Canada Pension Plan (CPP) benefits that we can pose to experts to answer. This week, we asked Jamie Golombek, managing director of tax and estate planning at CIBC Private Wealth in Toronto, to answer three related questions. See more here.

Also see:

This reluctant retiree turned to painting and odd jobs to stay busy and engaged

How mahjong sessions foster business connections and cultural roots

Six small-cap stocks for deal-seeking investors

Why advisors need to focus their technology lens on data integration, automation

Why there will be an oil and natural gas supercycle this year

What you and your clients need to know

Be aware of the key changes that could affect your 2023 tax filings

People who cheat on their taxes should be ashamed. There’s no excuse for lying on a tax return – but it’s common today. This is not the kind of world I want to raise my 23 tax-deductible dependents in. Granted, some of the inaccuracies on a tax return can be the result of not knowing the rules or understanding what’s changed. As tax season is drawing near, let’s look at what’s new for taxpayers as we all prepare to file our 2023 tax returns. Tim Cestnick has more.

OSC head Grant Vingoe plans to ‘act fast and act harder’ on enforcement matters

Canada’s chief market watchdog says he will use his newly extended mandate to “act faster and act harder” against financial crimes. The Ontario Securities Commission is set to announce Tuesday that chief executive officer Grant Vingoe will have his term extended for five years to December, 2029. Mr. Vingoe, 66, has been with the OSC in various capacities since 2015 and became its first dedicated CEO in April, 2022, when the chair and CEO roles were separated. Mr. Vingoe says he will use the time to implement an “ambitious” six-year strategic plan. While the exact details of the plan remain months away from public release, he said the primary goal is to make the regulator more efficient. Jameson Berkow explains.

Need an accountant? It may be hard to find one this tax season

Tax experts are warning it may be tough for Canadians who don’t already rely on an accountant to find one this tax season. Several factors are contributing to a mismatch between the demand for professional tax advice and the supply of it, with new filing requirements for trusts being the latest development that’s exacerbating the trend, according to Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada, which represents the profession across the country. Erica Alini reports.

A tax hater’s guide to choosing between TFSAs and RRSPs

If you want to build a powerful brand in personal finance, try using the phrase “tax-free.” Submitted as evidence: The impressive and mostly justified popularity of the tax-free savings account (TFSA), which is drawing ever more money in contributions each year than registered retirement savings plans. This is happening even though the contribution limit this year is $7,000 for TFSAs and as much as $31,560 for RRSPs. The popularity of TFSAs was summed up well by an advisor who got in touch recently. He said the bottom line is TFSAs are funded by after-tax dollars and, as a result, have no strings attached. With RRSPs, you get a tax deduction when you contribute and then pay taxes on withdrawals. Rob Carrick has more.

– Globe Advisor Staff

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