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After financial struggles growing up, Elke Rubach of Rubach Wealth is teaching her kids the value of money, hard work and financial discipline.Supplied

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In Behind the Advice, we ask advisors about their relationship with money from a young age, lessons learned over the years, and how those experiences influence the advice they give clients today.

Elke Rubach, principal at Rubach Wealth Holistic Family Advisors in Toronto, discusses her family’s financial troubles after her father’s sudden death, how they influenced her career trajectory, and why being an advisor is a “massive responsibility.”

Describe your early experiences with money.

I was born and raised in Mexico, the second youngest of four kids. My parents put us in private school, which is common in Mexico because the public schools aren’t very good. When I was 13 years old, my father died suddenly. My mom didn’t work. We had two houses and she decided to sell one to help pay the bills. However, with four kids to feed and put through school, the money quickly ran out. Eventually, she sold the second house and we started renting. My mother also started working, but it wasn’t enough to cover all of the family expenses. One day, when I was 16, I was pulled out of class and sent to the principal’s office. I didn’t do anything wrong; it was because my mother could no longer afford the tuition. Of course, kids are kids, and my classmates made fun of me. From that day forward, I decided I would never be financially dependent on anyone. Financial independence was key.

How did those early experiences influence your money habits later in life?

I realized that to become financially independent, I needed a well-paying job. I loved psychology but chose to study law, which I also liked, because I saw it as a more stable career. I later went to the London School of Economics on a scholarship before working as a lawyer with McCarthy Tetrault LLP in London, U.K., and Toronto. I then worked in compliance at the Bank of Nova Scotia before founding my firm, Rubach Wealth, in 2012.

What decision around money and investing made the greatest impact on your life?

It’s a work in progress, but I bought my office property in 2017 in Toronto near Bay and Bloor Streets. Will that fund my retirement? I hope at least partly, but it depends on how the market performs. I believe in the value of a long-term diversified portfolio and have included real estate in my mix.

What do you worry about?

Fortunately, I don’t have to worry about money like my mother had to. I’m more focused on teaching my kids the value of money, hard work and financial discipline.

What are you best at when it comes to your finances?

I’m very disciplined. I set a budget and stick to it. I set annual goals and nothing gets in the way of me achieving them. As I said before, I deeply fear being financially dependent on anyone.

What advice do you have for people who want to become an advisor?

It’s a massive responsibility. Financial advice is the foundation that allows people to pay for and manage many different areas of their lives. Being an advisor isn’t just about building wealth but also providing peace of mind and helping people keep things as simple as possible.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

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