I’m inviting you to join the phenomenal conversation I have with my guest today, financial planner Jillian Vukovich. Wherever you are, join us as we talk frankly about money, navigating friendships as colleagues and clients, and how being human and mental health fit into business. There’s a lot to learn.
Jillian shares the very personal story of how she got into the finance industry. It’s not a place she ever imagined ending up but the way she came to it is beautiful. And who needs a financial advisor? I ask her that million-dollar question and she answers honestly. She has advice for all of us at whatever level of business we’re in.
How should we teach our kids about money? What did our parents teach us? Does being vulnerable help or hinder a business relationship? These are just some of the questions Jillian and I tackle together as we discuss the ins and outs of being an entrepreneur, a woman, a business owner, and dealing with finance.
15:20 Money is fluid and psychology plays a big part in finance
22:33 The pros and cons of generational financial advice
38:15 Being human in business
- What the one-third/one-third/one-third piece of advice is all about
- What’s the best way to manage client relationships that have also become friendships?
- Mental health and how it drives success and understanding
About Jillian Vukovich:
Jillian has been in the financial services industry since 2011, beginning her personal practice in 2016. Jillian specializes in assisting business owners and incorporated professionals with the growth and preservation of assets, as well as the legacy of their estate.
Jillian holds the RRC and CFP designations.
Resources discussed in this episode:
Contact Kari Lotzien | Be the Anchor:
Contact Jillian Vukovich | IG Private Wealth Management:
Kari Lotzien: [00:00:01] Welcome to Be the Anchor, the podcast. I’m your host, business and leadership coach Kari Lotzien. When the seas of life get stormy, and they always will, it is not up to us, to captain anyone else’s ship or to try to calm the waters of the ocean. It’s up to us to set our own destination for what we really want and to learn how to navigate those waves of life together while finding that place of security and stability with others. I call this being an anchor. If you are a dreamer, a visionary, an entrepreneur, whether you have an idea big or small, that you think might just make the world a little bit better, kinder, gentler place, you are in the right spot, my friend. We are going to talk about everything from big ideas to mindset and strategy and sometimes just how to get through the day. I don’t want you to miss an episode, so be sure to follow and subscribe to the podcast so that we can stay connected and keep doing this journey of life together. Thanks so much.
Kari Lotzien: [00:01:10] Hello my friends. So here’s how I’m picturing this is that you’re headed to work. You’re commuting. Maybe you’re dropping your kids off or you’re taking some time to just go for a walk. Well, today, I want you to invite Jillian and I to come along with you. We have recorded, I think, a phenomenal episode around business. We talk about money. We talk about navigating friendships as clients and colleagues and doing all of the the messy work in between. We talk about what it means to be human and mental health in business. I want to just invite you to listen as if you are part of the conversation. And let’s just hang out together and go for a walk. So glad you’re here.
Kari Lotzien: [00:01:57] All right. Welcome to Be the Anchor, the podcast. I’m your host, business leadership coach Kari Lotzien. I am so excited to introduce my inaugural guest for the podcast. I want to introduce you to Jillian Vukovich. She is the owner of a financial planning practice, and in the last episode I talked about my advisory board, my personal advisory board, and Jillian is one of these people that holds the integrator role. We’ve become very close friends over the last few years, and I’m just so excited for you to meet her. Jillian, welcome. I want to start off by just letting you introduce yourself. Talk to us about your story. What kind of got you interested in owning a financial planning practice? Was there like a personal experience or a story that you can share?
Jillian Vukovich: [00:02:52] Yeah. Awesome. Thanks. First and foremost for having me. This is so exciting. I’m so happy for you and for this step, this is awesome. So I never in a million years thought that I would end up in finance ever. Never. I could have told you a thousand things I would have done first. My background’s in psychology. That’s what I went to school for, and I had all of the big wishes and dreams of doing something in that side of things. And I honestly fell into financial planning totally by accident when we started using one, my husband and I, and when we spoke to our financial planner, I just saw a lot of things that I really liked and a lot of gaps. And I took it away and I thought about it for a while and realized that I’d have to say an awful lot of money is psychology. And I was like, Wait a minute, there could actually be a big opportunity in this world for this. And so as I was mulling it over and trying to decide if this was something I wanted to do in life, my dad got sick. He was diagnosed with stage four throat cancer. And my whole life, my parents had good jobs and earned well and everything seemed peachy and really, really quickly after his diagnosis and treatment, he ended up losing his business. He was a solopreneur. He was the only one. He was the guy. And when he couldn’t do it, the business basically closed with him, and my mom ended up leaving her job to care for him. And it really just showed me the value of financial planning because they unfortunately didn’t have a super solid plan in place. The plan was keep earning good money, keep spending good money, keep living a good life, you know, which I find so many people do, right? We get to a certain point in time and we earn enough and we make enough in life feels good. And you kind of forget that there could be a different side to this coin. So that came in and one thing led to another. And so I started my education boat to financial planning. So I got my my Master’s in financial planning and have been just kind of constantly working on and upgrading education as time goes by to just become more and more educated in specific categories.
Kari Lotzien: [00:05:08] I love the connection to your dad. So that entrepreneur idea, you grew up with. But then I think a lot of solopreneurs that I work with too, it’s that idea of we don’t even dream that we’ll ever get kind of knocked off our business game.
Jillian Vukovich: [00:05:27] No, and I think so many of us like you develop this mindset that like, well, I am my business and so long as I’m here, which I’m going to be obviously every day, then I’m fine. And look at what I’m capable of and look at how much I’ve created and look at how awesome I am. And we get stuck in this, like things are great, things are great, things are great. And even if it’s a lot, it still feels really positive. And I think not many people stop to say like, okay, but what happens if it stopped tomorrow? It’s done. What does that look like? You know, and I think if people took a second to think of that, it’s a pretty intimidating thought.
Kari Lotzien: [00:06:05] Well, and you also referred that it wasn’t just that he stopped working and then your mom could keep working, but he needed her to be a caregiver and to help, you know, look after him and what that looked, you know, just the stress that that puts on a family, including yourself as a daughter. And, you know, it sounded like by that point you had a partner and a spouse and, you know, you’re building your own and that, you know, it really impacts more than just your business and yourself. But it really has such a a trickle down effect to your family and the people who really care about you.
Jillian Vukovich: [00:06:38] Yeah, well, 100%. And I mean, skip forward. He’s still alive. Hallelujah. But, you know, they ended up living with us for a while and it did, it just changed our, like, our demographic totally. And again, that idea of, like, money and what does it look like? And even for them, are there two of us? Is it just one of us. Do we have like two CPPs? Is there just one? Like, you know, these small questions that you normally wouldn’t even think twice about that makes such a huge difference if you don’t have a strong plan or background in place.
Kari Lotzien: [00:07:10] You know what we’re going to talk about? I can hear your little one in the background and that’s part of it. It’s, you know, like you just talked about, we don’t just get to divide ourselves into business and parents and all of this. And I know that, you know, I just appreciate that we’re going to bring all of this today. So hearing your little one in the background, not even an issue at all. This is what we’re here for. We’re here for it all.
Jillian Vukovich: [00:07:34] She just likes to say hi.
Kari Lotzien: [00:07:36] Of course. Of course. She’s like, hey, give me that microphone.
Jillian Vukovich: [00:07:39] Yeah, I want to say hi to everybody.
Kari Lotzien: [00:07:42] So when I think of someone who owns a financial planning practice and you said, you know, this wasn’t something that your parents had really had a well-developed plan. It wasn’t something that you had grown up with, but that it was something that you and your husband initiated when you got married. What do you think some of the myths are of who needs a financial planner? Is it only the people who have, you know, big businesses and and lots of money to invest? Who needs one?
Jillian Vukovich: [00:08:10] Yeah, my honest answer is I think everybody, most people, in some capacity. Now, your financial planner doesn’t always need to necessarily be a human. A financial plan could be developed through, you know, some reading and some education and some understanding all the way up to, yeah, I mean fairly complex situations you absolutely need a person to be there and advocating for you and in the background. So it’s a big question because there’s a lot of kind of hype and like negativity around financial planners right now and like, Oh, you’re still using Dad’s guy. Thanks Questrade like, you know, and so sometimes it isn’t needed. Sometimes if you have an idea of like tax brackets and what’s happening in your plan and what the pros and cons of saving in certain places are and you’re saving regularly and you’re, you know, not afraid of the markets and you’re investing properly, you can run your own finances. And there are absolutely people that do that. I would argue that the majority of us aren’t coming home from a long day at work and kicking off our shoes and pouring a glass of wine and turning on CNN and seeing what’s happening in the world that day.
Kari Lotzien: [00:09:18] I’m not.
Jillian Vukovich: [00:09:20] I’m not. And it’s my job. So, you know, if you need more of a hands off approach, if you don’t understand the pros and cons to any of the like, technically, we have three different places in Canada to save money.nIf you don’t know that or the difference between them, it’s probably good to get some advice. And then when you’re seeking advice, there’s multiple different levels at which you can receive it. So more and more financial planners are niching into certain markets and so dependent on what your need is as a client, you would find a specific planner for you, for yourself. And so, you know, the big thing I would say is don’t just pick the closest person that you see or the first person you talk to. Like you really need to make sure that there’s a very strong relationship there. This is a long time relationship. This is a pretty private and intimate relationship. And if you and or you and your partner are not both feeling equally comfortable with someone, it might not be the right person, which is fine. It’s okay to try people on. Like this is one of those industries that you definitely want to make sure, much like your business coach, that you’ve got one that you feel comfortable with, that you trust the advice that you’re receiving and you, dare I say, get excited about those meetings. Like, I get super jacked up about money meetings and I would love if my clients came in and were also like excited to have those conversations, right?
Kari Lotzien: [00:10:35] Oh, you know, you got me thinking about those days, especially early in my business, when I would dread. So the only time I ever talked about money was at year end, and it was when the accountant would go through my books and tell me how much I owed in corporate tax and how much, you know, money we had made and what our profit margins are. And it always came, you know, you talk about getting jacked and getting excited about a financial meeting. I know at the beginning at least I never felt that way. I never felt like it was something I could get excited to talk about. So I mean just that in itself. And what I hear, even as you’re talking about books and just educating yourselves, I think so many of us have been raised to not talk about money, right? It’s rude. You shouldn’t ask how much someone makes. It’s like asking a woman how old she is. Right? We kind of like we’ve been raised with this idea that you just don’t talk about it whether you have it or you don’t. And I would even argue to say it’s sometimes easier for people to talk about not having it. It’s easier to talk about being broke. It’s easier to talk about how hard things are and the prices are going up and everything else. But having that proactive approach and kind of educating yourself and knowing what you’re doing, I think is such a big piece.
Jillian Vukovich: [00:11:50] Think about it. Like, as far as I’m concerned, it rings true with everybody. Like if there’s something that you don’t understand or you don’t know, I would argue that most of us just avoid it, right? If don’t know how to use the weed whacker, I’m not going to use it, if it scares me to use it or I don’t understand how the spool comes out, I’m not going to weed whack, even though it’s probably fine for me to go and weed whack, you know? And it’s just, it’s the same idea. If you don’t understand finance, if you don’t understand what’s happening, it’s just so much easier to avoid it. But, you know, if that’s the position you’re in is in avoidance, it’s probably good to find someone or something to educate you. And again, if it’s as simple as, you know, you listen to a good podcast or read a good book, in such, you need to understand that those will always be very blanket statements, I mean they’re not going to say, Hey, Jillian, specifically, you need to do this. They’re going to say, Hey, did you know that this platform does this? And then you need to figure out if that works or not. But it’s what I see time and time again. The people who are uncomfortable talking about it are the people who don’t understand it. And it’s just easier to put some blinders on and be like, You know what? I’ll be fine. I’m just going to keep going. And if I keep going, I’ll be fine.
Kari Lotzien: [00:13:03] Yeah. It’s like I’ll try to earn as much as I can, and then I just hope that that lasts me long enough.
Jillian Vukovich: [00:13:09] 100%, hope and a prayer.
Kari Lotzien: [00:13:10] I’ll get to my death and maybe leave a little bit behind for others. Right? So I want to go a little bit deeper. I want to like peel back the layers of the onion. And if I was to, you know, we don’t get to be in those meetings. We don’t get the behind the scenes look at kind of what happens in one of these meetings. But what do you think would be something, without sharing confidential information about clients or anything like that, I know that that’s something you would never do, but what do you think would surprise us about the meetings that you have as you’re talking about finances and whether that is with a big corporation, whether that is with someone who’s, you know, maybe just starting out like you and your husband, what might surprise us?
Jillian Vukovich: [00:13:53] Two things came to mind. So one is the amount of people who have wealth, a lot of wealth, and have absolutely no idea what it’s doing. So, you know, we assume that people who are wealthy or who have been successful in primarily – so I work with primarily business owners and incorporated professionals. So, you know, I’ve done well, my business has done well. And from the outside looking in, you think like, oh, well, they’ve got it all together. Like they fully understand and they know everything. And you know, these people will come in and be like, I have no clue, I have no idea. We just have done well in business. And the flip side of that is the amount of people that aren’t open to sharing that, hey, even though I have wealth, I don’t fully know what I’m doing. You know, I’ve accumulated money, but I’m not sure. And now I have either so much or I’m a certain age and I’m almost embarrassed to ask now. Like it’s easy for a 20 year old to be like, Hey, I don’t know what I’m doing to save. It’s much harder for a 60 year old to say, Hey, I don’t know what I’m doing. I, you know, I’ve come all this time and I’ve just done the best I can and it’s actually done fairly well. But I don’t understand what these steps are. So that’s a big part of it, is just this common misconception that, you know, just because someone’s accumulated wealth that they have, like all the inner workings and the knowledge of of money and how it works. And that you can’t ask, like it’s never… Money is so fluid. The investment structure, the tax structure, everything that’s happening changes so often that there’s no shame in not understanding. Like I have a full time job because it changes so often. And I need to understand, right? There’s no way you can expect that you would also know that on top of whatever it is you’re an expert at. The other part is just how much of it is psychology, you know, and it came back to that for me. It’s the emotions behind it. I spend very, very, very little time talking about like the fundamentals of finance and interest rates and rates of all kinds. And I spend an awful lot of time talking about how do you feel about this? Do you understand what it means? Are you sleeping at night? You know, what are your goals? What are your dreams? What are the big things you’re trying to achieve? Why are you working so hard every day? Right? And this is the question I ask myself all the time.
Jillian Vukovich: [00:16:14] Why? Why are you working so hard every day? And when I have my big goals and my visions and I know and I understand and I understand monetarily what it takes to get there, then I can match my emotional energy with that and say, okay, I know I have to do these things so that I can achieve these goals that I’m pushing for, but now I have a nominal value to it, which a lot of people I find, that’s where the disconnect comes. So yes, I want to buy a cottage for my kids or I want to make sure that they can be in that best hockey camp that exists or that we go on big family vacations every year, or that I’m leaving an estate and they don’t have to worry about it. But very few people understand like, okay, but what’s that number? What does that look like? So you just keep going and going and going and maybe you’re working too much, maybe you’re aiming too high, maybe not. Maybe you could have taken a rest three weeks ago instead of like, you know, continuing to go. So a lot of it is just coaching to the emotional side of things and knowing that not everybody reacts the same way. So it’s really common for me in my practice to see that partners don’t align perfectly with their finances and their financial vehicles, I’ll say.
Jillian Vukovich: [00:17:26] Not the goals. They’ll have the same goal in mind. So let’s say like Mason and I, we want the same end goal. I happen to be very aggressive in the ways I’m going to take to get there because I understand it and I like it and I’m just a risk taker naturally, he’s pretty conservative. And so we can do two different things and our money can work different ways and we can invest different ways and we can do different things. But we know that we’re working towards the same end goal. And that’s a lot of the conversation too, because a lot of times, you know, clients butt heads over money. It’s one of the most common reasons why we get divorced, right? Is money arguments. And so it’s often a disconnect in well, why? Why are we doing this? What are we working towards? What are we trying to achieve from this? And if can facilitate that conversation and add just some hopefully fairly simple tips and tricks to achieve it, I hope that that can alleviate a lot of stress in a relationship to just focus on the cool end goal that we want and and take some steps to get there.
Kari Lotzien: [00:18:24] You know, it’s interesting. I have just been having this thought that with so many of our arguments being about money, and I was listening to a podcast just last week and I had a bit of a tense moment when I was listening to it because it was a podcast around building wealth. And they said the number one thing that you can do if you want to build wealth is marry well. And he went on to actually say, if you are a spender and you marry a spender, you are headed for demise. That you will not be wealthy, that if you are a spender, you need to actively look for a partner who is more of a saver so that you can balance each other out. And I remember thinking like, Well, shouldn’t we just marry for love? Shouldn’t we just. But no.
Kari Lotzien: [00:19:14] As I’m listening to you talk, I’m like, oh, my goodness. It makes sense because this the psychology of it and how we react to money, what it means in our lives, how we spend it, how we save. It says so much more than just about a financial plan, but it really is about that relationship and what we believe about ourselves. And it got me also reflecting, as you were talking about. Whether it’s partners or. The time of life that we’re living in. You know, you talk about what do I want my my money to give to me? What do I want to leave? What do I want to have it contribute to my life? And I think in my own life, when I think about my grandparents who lived through the Great Depression, who, you know, they were in the war times.
Kari Lotzien: [00:20:03] I remember almost teasing my grandfather because he would straighten nails when they were renovating their basement. He spent hours doing it and he would save seeds from his garden for the next year. You know, he was just he was very frugal. And we would kind of almost tease him about it, not understanding that that wasn’t something that he took lightly at all. He was designed to be a saver because he knew what it was like to go without. And then when I think of my parents being raised by the generation that literally didn’t have enough, they really had to scrimp and save. They were kind of the generation that went okay, like make sure you get a job that has benefits and make sure you have, you know, stability and you have your RRSPs and your your financial plan is set up for security, not risk. And I think that there’s this kind of generational pattern. And now that my kids, I hate to admit it, but they’re getting to be young adults. And when I look back and I think, okay, so I don’t manage money the same way that my grandparents or my parents did. The way that my husband’s grandparents or parents did. You know, we’re doing it a little bit differently, but now I’m starting to think about, okay, so what are the money beliefs that I’m passing on to my kids that might not suit them either? And I’m curious if you were to think of like just some basic money habits that you would suggest for this next generation of 20 somethings of just developing good habits, what would you tell them?
Jillian Vukovich: [00:21:46] Yeah, I mean, it’s interesting just to take your note away, just a small second, is like it is, it’s, you know, our grandparents lived through the Great Depression. Like, if you didn’t have money, you didn’t have money. Our parents were introduced to debt for the first time, and all of a sudden you could have all this free money, like you could just borrow whatever, you know, and for the first time ever. And then we’ve taken that on to say, okay, but how do I not over borrow, but also not, you know, just squander away what I have. And now and again, like I said earlier, I mean, money’s changing so fast. Like once upon a time, not all that long ago, I took my paycheck to the bank and cashed it and took money away. And now kids, like, literally, I can give an allowance on my phone by tapping like a ding button for things getting done. Like money is changing so fast. So my first piece of advice is, and this is a hard one to say, but don’t always listen to your parents or the seniors in your life because it’s just different, right? It’s different than it was. And not to say that they don’t have your best interests in mind, but the way money works has changed an awful lot. And the availability and the kind of investments that are there now are so different from 5 years ago, let alone 15, 20, 30, 50.
Jillian Vukovich: [00:23:04] So, you know, some of the fundamentals might still be there. Don’t spend more than you make, probably good you know. You know, don’t get yourself up to your eyeballs in debt probably a good one. But when it comes to the like bones of what investing looks like, I find it really beneficial to speak to my peers about it, to speak to my friends, to speak to people. And it goes back to your point before like, Oh, we don’t talk about money. It’s so important to talk about money because we’re all living the same thing, right? Like we’re doing it in the same time the same way. So I just think it’s really interesting. But yeah, I mean, some of the takeaways for kids, um, it’s getting easier for, I don’t know how to say this the right way, for kids to make money in weird to us ways. So you can just start like a YouTube channel and make $1 million when you’re 12. Like it just is mind blowing. Or you can record yourself playing video games and make like literally hundreds of thousands of dollars a month. So there are more and more avenues for children to make money. Don’t stifle those, right? Like this is, I don’t understand it, I don’t understand it for a second and I don’t know why it would ever be. And I’m not saying like, set your kid up with a TikTok and make them famous, but these are jobs now. These are ways to make money. And then when they start making money, like kids are making money a lot younger now, you know, just getting jobs in different ways, just teach them some of the fundamentals for it. So like a good rule that I like to follow, especially with with younger folk, is so like a third, a third, a third. So I save a third for something that I want later. I have a third to spend on stuff I want now, and a third is for any kind of like debt servicing or whatnot. So I can’t get a car or a home or a loan or anything that is going to cost more than my third of my income. Sorry, I should have said that. So when I make a certain amount of money, a third, a third, a third. And so if we can start that even just young. So if, you know, if our kids are getting $100 allowance, I don’t know what allowance goes for these days, but let’s just say it’s 100 bucks.
Kari Lotzien: [00:25:09] That’s a good allowance.
Jillian Vukovich: [00:25:10] Is that a good allowance? I was like, I’m probably being really cheap.
Kari Lotzien: [00:25:13] I guess it depends if it’s like weekly or monthly or, you know.
Jillian Vukovich: [00:25:17] Who knows, right? So, you know, if you then take that and say, okay, I’m going to put $33 towards whatever I owe or something I intend to owe on, like I want a car or my tuition or sports teams like that’s expensive. Don’t just depend on your parents for that, right? Like, if you want to be in it, be in it. And to be honest with you, from the other side of things, I see RRSPs and kids going to school all the time and the children who make the most of it, just as a generalization, are kids who also had to put their money into their own education. So when you get a free ride through school, you don’t take it as seriously because you didn’t pay for it. Right? So it’s easier to, you know, maybe not take it as seriously or do the full four years of something that you hate because, well, whatever, you know, it’s being paid for anyways versus when some of their money’s in it, I mean, that’s their money. There’s no messing around, right? This is, it changes the dynamic a lot. And so I say the same for sports.
Jillian Vukovich: [00:26:16] I mean, if kids are in a $10,000 a year sport, put some skin in the game, even if it’s a bit. Buy your own skates, buy your own sticks, whatever the case is, but put some skin in the game to show like how serious you are about it because it’s also part of what life looks like when you’re an adult. If I want something, I’m ponying up for it, right? And I think parents carry a lot of guilt about like, oh, I have to provide everything for my kid. No, you don’t. You know, life’s expensive and yes, is it nice? Yes, it’s lovely. And is it a terrible thing to do? No. I don’t want to talk anybody out of it. I’m just saying I see it time and time and time again where kids get further when they are also monetarily involved with it because they’ve had to bust their butt to get whatever that $500 stick costs like that was two weeks of work. Maybe I’m not going to just throw it in the garage when I get home haphazardly, right?
Kari Lotzien: [00:27:07] Yeah, I’m having a moment because I love how we shine light on our own beliefs and I love talking to people who think differently than I do because it allows me to kind of look at things differently. I just realized as you were talking that I had a belief that the only time that kids ever contribute to their own education, to their own sports, to their own clothing, whatever it is, is when the family is struggling. It’s an old belief. But now what I hear and as I’m listening to you talk, I’m like, oh my gosh, we are setting up future entrepreneurs and business owners because one of the things we know about entrepreneurship is the most successful people are the ones who can delay gratification. So when we’re taking that third and saying, I’m going to save this even if I don’t have current debt. But I want it for the future. So I’m going to save towards the car, the tuition, the, you know, the business launch. When we introduce that mindset when they’re really young and they start to understand that, I’m developing these habits, because I think so often we think that, Oh, the kids who have their education paid for, Oh, the kids who get all the best opportunities at the private schools and the great sports teams, and they get all of these things because they come from wealth, that they have a step up. And what I hear you saying is, no, no, it actually has nothing to do with money. It has to do with what is the mindset behind it in how you utilize the money to create the life that you want.
Jillian Vukovich: [00:28:44] And I mean taking away some of the entitlement of it. Right? And it’s what life is. The second you’re an adult, if you want something, you have to pay for it. So why would you not integrate that young? I mean, how much more successful can you make your child than teaching them from a really young age that if we want something, we have to pay for it and I’ll match your 20% with 80%, but there’s got to be something, right? And then there’s more responsibility, pride of ownership, you know, just care given towards these things when it happens that way. Like I remember very openly, my parents bought me my first car. It was a 1990 hatchback Civic, leaked oil everywhere. And like it was good. I drove it hard. I was tough on that vehicle. And then the next one I bought, you better believe I did like ten kilometers an hour. And I buffed it every weekend. And it was the cleanest thing you could imagine. It was my car. I bought that. Right? And so if from a young age we can just show the value in it and how good it feels to have these things because you worked for it, right? And then, yes, we’re raising the next generation of entrepreneurs and adults that are responsible with money. And then, dare I say you add a tiny touch of like philanthropy into that saying, hey, we’re probably also very fortunate. So what happens if we gave a little bit away? What does that do? What does that look like? And, you know, add that into the mix and you’re creating a really, really well rounded financial situation from a very young age.
Kari Lotzien: [00:30:20] This almost ties in to where I want to where I want to lead for the next part of the conversation. When I first met you, I remember so clearly. So we met, Jillian and I met at a networking event and I was feeling a little bit out of my element. These were all people that I didn’t know, walked into this room, listened to her speak, and she spoke just like she is today. She’s confident. She’s got it together. She’s just this image of what a successful woman in business looks like. And I thought, Ooh, I want to know her. But I was a little bit intimidated. And I think very quickly, I think maybe even in that same meeting, you talked as eloquently about some of the projects that you were giving back to, how you were contributing huge not only financial resources, but huge time and energy to creating events to help support the homeless in your community and I know that you give back to multiple different organizations, women who are getting back into the business world and having resources, clothing, to just be able to go to those interviews and feel confident. I just see this really beautiful blend. And one of the things that has driven my business and wanting to support especially females in entrepreneurship, is that I believe that when good people who have incredible values, who want to make the world a better place, when they are successful in business we all benefit. That there’s this sense of I am not only going to develop my own wealth, but I’m going to develop more wealth in my community and more stability. And I just, I love how you have described that even with our kids and how you’re building that in so young. Can you talk a little bit is that how you were raised? Was that a part of your background? Is that something you’ve developed over time? Like how did how did that come to you?
Jillian Vukovich: [00:32:32] 100% I was raised that way. So my dad was from a very, very poor family when he was young, and so he was homeless for a while. And he taught me from a really young age the value of money and the value of treating people the same regardless of money. So it was a really big lesson. And not just like said it once or twice, like my dad lived it. He turned our garage into a food bank, like our car garage into a food bank, and people were able to come and take food from it. And I’m from Toronto originally, and every every winter he would take coats and mittens and hats and and warmers packages out to homeless, and he would just hand them out on the streets. And, you know, it’s just when you’re fortunate, you just you have to give back in some capacity. And I’m not saying everybody needs to be, you know, Saint Terry like my dad. But, you know, taking some time to recognize, like sometimes things are hard and it doesn’t feel good and you’re stressed out and life’s challenging. But when you take that step away to recognize like, boy, am I fortunate and then reengage, right? And how good does it feel to just give back? Buy the person in line behind you their coffee, like, you know, it doesn’t need to be big things but like it feels good. It feels good to do. And then you go into your day a different way. And even if you just wake up with some gratitude and you go to bed with some gratitude, like running a business is hard. Life is hard. Kids are hard, Family is hard. Like it’s hard. And we can get caught up in that pretty quickly.
Jillian Vukovich: [00:34:05] Or you can recognize how fortunate we are to live in a country that we can run our business, that we’re women that can run businesses, that can have freedom of speech, that can, you know, like 50 years ago in finance, I’d get laughed out of a room, right? Like it wouldn’t have happened. Fast forward to now. And I mean, it’s just common place, right? So just being fortunate that or grateful for the fortune that we have and and teaching, you know, ourselves, our families, our communities just a little bit, you know, and it’s you hear these things like, well, I’m just one person, how much can I do? Well, imagine every person, every person in the whole world did one thing, one thing. Imagine that change, right? Like and so that’s how I just have to think about it. What’s the one thing I can do today? And even though I’m beat down and I’m tired and I’m running behind and I’ve had 17 meetings, who can I do something nice for? And it could be a message. It could be a text saying, Hey, Kari, I think you’re awesome, you know? And how does that change my day and how does that change your day? And I think it’s just, it’s something that’s so important to integrate into life. And then honestly, one of the easier ways to do it is with money. It’s quick, it’s easy. Drop some money in the Salvation Army thing at Christmas, adopt a family or mustard seed school lunch program. I mean, there’s so many ways to give back that take no longer than you spend going through Instagram to see whatever cool trends are happening today. Right?
Kari Lotzien: [00:35:34] Yeah. Two things I think about when you talk about that is, one, I’ve often said I think that service is one of the most selfish acts because it boomerangs so quickly. You can be having that rotten day. You can be feeling kind of down in the dumps and as soon as you send that text message, as soon as you think about someone else and consciously make an action to make their life better. It rebounds back to you and you feel better almost instantly. And I think we just have to get in the habit of that. The other thing that I wanted to draw attention to is, as you talk about your story and I think of that first time that I saw you in the networking meeting and I see this, you know, just well put together, very successful woman who just portrays confidence. And I think that so often, especially as women in business, you talk about being relatively new to the game, right, as a female in a financial planning industry that we kind of just got here. And to take our space at the table, I think a lot of times as women we tend to put on this like I’ve got it all together mask. We do our hair, we wear the clothes, but we don’t often allow the more vulnerable side.
Kari Lotzien: [00:36:59] We don’t talk about where we came from. We don’t talk about our background or the fact that, you know, our kid was throwing up this morning and then we had to try and find childcare because we had that really important contract to land and that we’re juggling all of the things. I think we tend to kind of compartmentalize and I think it’s hurting us. I remember in our friendship developing how there was this awkwardness and it almost feels like you’re dating for the first time. But there was a piece of me that knew like I had my friends from, you know, my childhood, my young adult friends, and most of them don’t own businesses. And then I had kind of my business friends who were clients and colleagues and, you know, and I didn’t know how to move from business relationship to could we potentially be friends and what might that look like and how awkward that is? And I think that this is something I just want to dive into the conversation with you about. How have you found that as someone who is kind of perceived as being successful in your industry, how has that affected your friendships? Or is this something you’ve just like mastered?
Jillian Vukovich: [00:38:13] No. I mean, the one thing I would say is I’m just I’m always a very open book. You know, I tried it first because I was really intimidated about being a female in this industry, and, you know, the judgment and whatnot would come and and I have to say, about 90% of it was in my head and 10% of it was legitimate. There’s still definitely some some room to grow. But I thought I had to just like be this really poised, perfect, like show up like a total boss. And that’s what would, you know, get me further and gain respect and do whatever. And then honestly, it was when my dad got sick, I was like, I’m a human being struggling to, you know, deal with a dying family member and a business and a life and all of this stuff. And I just started telling the truth and I just started sharing and I started being me and my business exploded. Because I was no longer this, like, intimidating, poised, must be nice being perfect gal. I was a human who has knowledge in a specific area, and as soon as I approach friendships that way, much like with you, I just am open to it. Right? I’m just, I’m a human, here’s my story, this is what I like, this is what I suck at. Also, I’m really good with money, you know? And then I find you and you’re like, I’m awesome, I’m a great coach, everything’s good. But we click and we’re good. And I think so long as you have that mutual respect of understanding, like, yes, I have a business, and for you and I, yes, we do business together, but there’s also an outside of that and making sure that we just have the mutual respect of the human side.
Jillian Vukovich: [00:40:01] Yes, I’m a human and not every day is going to be perfect. But you know that I will show up with everything I have. You know, that’s what you know. And even if it’s not perfect, you know me as that. And so I think it’s really important to just be real and I was sharing with you the other day a story, if I can, quickly. So we have a bunch of different partners with my practice and I had a lovely young woman come in who’s like a portfolio wizard. She’s through Western Canada and she’s like, If you don’t know something about the actual like, specifics to a financial portfolio, she knows everything. So she was coming in to my office, first time meeting her and was like, Oh, I’m kind of, you know, intimidated by this woman. Like she knows so much and there’s so much that I don’t know. And, you know, do I ask the dumb questions and yada, yada, yada. So she comes in, she sits down and we’re talking for a few minutes. And I keep seeing that she’s like like winking, kind of flitting her eye and was like, I mean, do I say something? Do I not? And, you know, I finally said like, hey, if you like, if you need a minute, I’m like, sorry, but like, if you have a contact out of place or something in your eye, like you can take a minute because she’s trying to like talk through this twitch happening, right? And so–.
Kari Lotzien: [00:41:12] Because we’ve all been there, right?
Jillian Vukovich: [00:41:13] Yeah. And I’m trying to stay, like, perfect. Like, just be perfect. Just be perfect. Right? And so she was like, gosh, I’m so sorry. Like, so embarrassing. I’ve had this, like, pain in my eye. And so we just talked. We just talked about like, being a human being for a few minutes and talked about like, health and how we neglect our health because why would we take care of ourselves as women in business and all of the things? And it just completely eased the situation. And then our business conversation was awesome because we just, in a short period of time, we just built the trust and we built the relationship as people, as people just caring about each other and just having an honest and vulnerable conversation. And then it made the rest of it really easy. And I asked the stupid questions without feeling stupid because we built that bond and it was short. But I mean, imagine that that’s just what we did in life.
Kari Lotzien: [00:42:10] You know, I think this is something even with you and I, like I do think it’s different, because we’re not only business colleagues and friends, but we’re also clients of each other. And we often have conversations where we’ve just opened that up to say, okay, so I’m going to open up my financials to you, but then I’ll give you that little bit of so the little voice inside of my head is saying, I’m not of the caliber that, you know, I don’t have enough to be working with you or, you know, why would I take advice from a business coach who, you know, is running her own finances like that? Right? All those little – and I’m not even saying that that’s the truth – but those doubts in my own mind and how, you know, we’ve done that both ways where we’ve said, okay, so I’m not actually sure, is this a business conversation or is this a friend conversation? And there’s times where we’ll even as we’re, you know, texting each other or calling each other, where we’ll just highlight that, I’m not sure where this should go. Should I be paying for this conversation? Should we be booking an official meeting and going through my portfolio or should we be, you know, cutting out some time to talk about the specific challenge at work? And I think that it almost just gives space or shines light on, Okay. I’m not really sure how to do this part because it seems kind of messy and then we sort it out together.
Jillian Vukovich: [00:43:33] Yeah. And I think, again, it comes back to open communication, right? Like, I don’t know the amount of times that I’ll like text or call and say, Hey, business question, I need a coach, I need my coach versus like, Hey, I need my friend versus, Hey, I’m calling you as your advisor, you know, and just titling it and knowing that that’s okay. It’s okay to have titles. It’s okay that you and I have three different roles to one another, and we’re really blessed and fortunate that we can interwork those, but we both understand it and respect it. So like, I’m never going to call you on the weekend with a coaching problem and you’ll never call me on the weekend with a financials problem, but I might call you on the weekend as a friend and be like, Hey, do you want to go for a coffee? Right? And so just understanding, like, the boundaries, setting those boundaries and being honest about those boundaries with one another, right? And just saying, Hey, this is when I take business stuff and it stresses me out to do it on the weekend. And you’d be like, Cool, I will not contact you. Or vice versa. So, you know, just I think it’s a unique thing to have those friendships. But if you can find them and you can label the different sections of it and then just stay in your lane, right, of what that is at that point in time.
Kari Lotzien: [00:44:41] Yeah, I’d love to say I don’t think it’s always quite that clean either. Like I think to highlight this is something we’ve really worked at over time. And in different friendships to say, okay, you know, how are we navigating this or this certain project that we’re working on together? Or what does that look like? And I think it also takes huge investment. It’s like a marriage. You need to be able to kind of sit in it and give voice to how you’re feeling and kind of where the messy parts are and to navigate that together. Because I think the other thing that I want to just highlight, I don’t know, I want to say that it happens more in female friendships, but I’m not sure. I have heard that your clients will become your friends far faster than your friends will become your clients. That our friends almost like want to put us in this particular box and they almost maybe feel, I don’t know if it’s they feel threatened, they feel that there’s not going to be that confidentiality or I don’t know what it is, but it can be really difficult, especially because I think as a start up business, when you’re kind of hoping or relying on your friends becoming your clients because you need somebody to believe in you or someone to support you, and when that doesn’t happen, it can, I think, damage friendships and relationships because then you don’t feel supported in your business. I don’t know. Can you talk about like just how have you experienced that? Is that?
Jillian Vukovich: [00:46:09] Yeah. No, I agree with you 100%. And honestly, you and I were even the same way. We worked together and then became friends because of it. And that’s way easier, right? We like each other. But it wasn’t that we liked each other that caused business to happen. I saw a lot of value in you as a coach and I said, Okay, well, this is someone I need. I’ve had a coach of some capacity for the better part of a decade and I saw a really great fit with you. And then it developed from there, right? And so I think it’s the same. I mean, I remember I started my practice again almost a decade ago and, you know, yeah, you’re leaning into those people, but it’s like it is, it’s the what ifs in your head. Well, what if, like, if I show her my cards, like, what does that look like? And is there judgment and is it shared and all of this stuff. And what I would say is go back to my previous comment of I’m really vulnerable in those meetings, too. I’m really vulnerable in those places. I share a lot, probably too much, you know, but what I’m doing is saying I’m no better or worse. You’re no better or worse. We’re people getting through this journey together and I have a specific knowledge that will help you and you have a specific knowledge that helps me, and that’s that.
Jillian Vukovich: [00:47:22] And so I think it’s when you’re sitting with someone where that comfort isn’t necessarily there the same way, or you’re trying to just be the perfect put together, everything’s awesome, I’m great. And then they’re like, also my money situation is terrible and I think I’m going to leave my partner. And you’re like, Oh, you know, it’s, that’s tough. And most people will avoid that. But if you can share, I mean, I tell the story about my dad all the time, with their permission, that was huge for like so many reasons. That was a massive family event. And as soon as you share something about yourself, people, it’s calm, right? It’s at ease. It’s more of a conversation than like, spill your dirty secrets. And so, you know, when we’re first starting in business, we want to come across as the I have it all together, I know it all. But I truly do believe that there is a lot of power in vulnerability. And just saying, you know, I’m also struggling or I have struggled with this or this is a challenge for me or, you know, can I share my story with you? And then you just build relationship in it from truth.
Kari Lotzien: [00:48:28] It’s wild. You know, when you think about just like we have to practice being human. We have to practice just not putting on the brave face all the time and projecting that image of perfection that makes us really unapproachable.
Jillian Vukovich: [00:48:42] Well, and think about the world we’re in right now, right? Like, I don’t open my Instagram up and put what I look like at 7 a.m. I put my oh, here I am in my suit and my perfect day and my perfect world. You don’t see the other side of it. This is what we’re conditioned to do right now, unfortunately, in our society. And so I think the strongest way to build a relationship and to build trust is to get that out and just say, hey, I’m also just a human. I’m just here. I’m here for the ride. And again, I know something you don’t, you know something I don’t, that doesn’t make anybody any better or worse. It’s just we’ve learned different things.
Kari Lotzien: [00:49:16] You know, and tying into that, I think that in my experience, I’ve been in this entrepreneur journey for a while now. And for me, I mean, I’m just pushing past two decades and I think there are stages to this too, that I think at the beginning you need that kind of hustle and grind and you push and you try to put your best foot forward and, you know, fake it till you make it kind of idea. But I think that something that I’m really seeing is that entrepreneurs who have achieved a certain level of success, they’ve done the grit, the grind. They’ve they’ve gone through life experiences, you know, whether it’s having kids or being worried about loved ones or going through huge financial shifts, roller coasters in the industry, that when you’ve been through that, there’s a certain level of just wisdom I think, that comes with it, where you can show up in a place that isn’t oversharing, it’s not, you know, projecting the perfection. But you can sit in this dance in the middle where you’re approachable, but there’s almost a sense of trust. And now I know that I can open up to you because you’ve been there. And something that I’ve seen online in my groups of people who are incredibly successful, right? So I mean they’re running multi-billion dollar businesses that we’re starting to see more people in business open up about mental health, about anxiety and different diagnoses to say, you know, I can be all of this and also have this other side to me.
Kari Lotzien: [00:50:54] And I know for myself something that I have felt has been both my weakness and my strength, I’ve lived with anxiety my whole life. I really care about what other people think. I overthink sometimes to a fault and I’ll get in my own way. And I think that when I was leading a team, especially, I would hide that because I would think, well, if I’m anxious and I’m leading a team that’s going to make them anxious, so I shall lock that up and never show them. And it wasn’t until, you know, later on where I kind of went, okay, I can start to show my cards, as you would talk about. But you and I have also had a lot of conversations about what this has been in your life as well. And do you want to kind of chat about that a little bit?
Jillian Vukovich: [00:51:39] Yeah, no, I’m good. So I’m probably a month into an ADHD diagnosis, which now that I know what it is, makes perfect sense. Perfect sense, you know? And so it was something I really didn’t know about. It wasn’t on my radar. It had never been suspected before. My family was really surprised about it, like it just kind of a left fielder. But when I started to understand what it was, I was like, Yeah, this is everything. And then I went into full panic, full panic mode because I was like, Oh my God, am I only successful because of this? Because I can multitask everything because I’m bing, bing, bing, bing, bing, bing, bing, bing, bing all over the place. Right? And then I went into panic being like, what happens if I fix, fix, quote unquote this? Or then, like, my step further being like, well, then who am I? Like, who am I fundamentally, if I thought this was who I was, I thought I was this hyper achiever, I thought I was all this stuff. So I’m, like I said, about a month into some just like big, deep discovery. And so one of the things that my doctor had me do was an Enneagram personality test, which I thought was really neat and just kind of get to the core of like, who are you? Who are you? What are your fundamentals like? Where do you show up in the world? And then on top of that mix in, you know, a brain that’s kind of here, there and everywhere.
Jillian Vukovich: [00:52:59] And how is that a detriment and how is it a benefit and what does this look like for you? So it’s been really interesting to to learn about. And then open up about. I mean, again, I’m an open book with people and I instantly shared. I shared because it’s my way of coping. I shared because it’s my way of learning. You know, that was the biggest thing with my dad’s cancer. The second I started talking about it, everybody has cancer, like everybody has a cancer story somehow, somewhere. Right? And it wasn’t anything negative or – you know what I mean, it’s not, of course it’s negative – but like, you bond with people through this, through this disease or through whatever, right? So I was like, well, I have ADHD and threw my hand up in the air and instantly had multiple women in my circle be like, Yep. And so we’re business owners. We’re moms. You know, we’re just go, go, go, go, go, go, go. And all of us are fairly recently diagnosed, whether it’s trending or they’re paying attention or it’s just coming out at this point in time, who knows? But to all of a sudden have this circle where I can sit and be like, I can’t finish a thing without doing 17 other things that I probably also don’t finish and have somebody else say like, Yep, gotcha.
Jillian Vukovich: [00:54:19] And know that, right, because it’s challenging. Like, like in your previous podcast, you have to have a cheerleader. My husband’s my cheerleader all day, all day, everything I do, he’s my guy. Until I half job something, and I’ve been half job Jill for ten years to him because he doesn’t understand. He doesn’t know. So he can’t be my cheerleader for this because he does not understand what I’m dealing with and what I’m going through. And that’s okay because he’s supportive of it. He just doesn’t understand it. So now I’m regrouping this pile of friends who are very similar in what we believe in and what we’re doing and what our lives look like. But we also have this challenge and learning how to navigate this challenge together. And it’s been awesome. It’s been like the most amazing learning experience and, again, bettering relationships, bettering my situation in myself and my family and my community and my business, because I understand and I know I’m not alone in it.
Kari Lotzien: [00:55:17] Mm hmm. Oh, that’s beautiful. And the reason I bring it up is not just to Hey, Jillian, let’s talk about your ADHD diagnosis. But what I wanted my listeners to hear is that you have achieved what we would call that proverbial level of success. You are a kind person who is giving back and who has such huge empathy. And this is a part of your life the same way that I used to think that my anxiety was just such a detriment. And it was something that I felt like I battled. I wanted to just get rid of it. I wish, you know, who would I be if I didn’t have this tagging along beside me? And I heard a quote from Liz Gilbert who wrote Big Magic, I don’t know if you’ve read that book, but she talked about that idea of conquering. So she talked about, you know, someone who said to her, How did you conquer your fear? How did you overcome it? And she said, Oh, I didn’t conquer it. I didn’t battle it. Right? So you’re not battling ADHD. I’m not battling my anxiety or conquering my anxiety. She said, I took it by the hand and I walk with it and I go, okay, okay. So I hear you, I see that you are getting very worked up right now, you are very worried. But we’re just going to a lunch. These are probably going to be nice people. And I imagine now just how I would talk to a child who is really anxious, I wouldn’t be so nasty. I wouldn’t say, you know, come on, you need to overcome that. You need to battle it, let’s go. This same way you’re walking with, you know, this way that your brain works that allows you to be very, you know, focused on a lot of opportunities and allows you to be really engaged with things, but sometimes also means that things don’t get done that you have the greatest intention to do. And instead of beating yourself up or conquering it.
Jillian Vukovich: [00:57:23] 100% and just having the grace with yourself in whatever that situation is, right? To just be like, okay, this is happening. And like it or not, this is the way today is going to go. So I can be mad about it or I can just go with it, you know? And yeah, from day one, I never ever saw it as a negative. I can definitely see why some people would think it was a negative, but it’s just such a normal part of my life that was always like, I’m okay. It explains a lot, an awful lot and it helps me understand an awful lot. And now there’s definitely a lot of literature and science that can lean into to continue to develop and grow, which is kind of cool because I just thought that, I just thought everybody thought this way. I just thought that this is the way people thought and that my husband was lazy. You know, it’s literally like–
Kari Lotzien: [00:58:15] We’ve had this conversation.
Jillian Vukovich: [00:58:17] Yeah. I’m like, you just suck.
Kari Lotzien: [00:58:19] Why do you go so slow?
Jillian Vukovich: [00:58:21] Yeah, like, go, go, go, go, go, go, go. Why can’t we all go, like, always be achieving, always be doing. And he’s like, Why can’t you sit and read a book? And it’s like, because I want to scratch my skin off if I sit for 30 minutes. I can’t, right, until I learned why. And so it’s yeah, it’s been a really honestly magical journey to just understand, to open up a whole new network of people who are in the same shoes, who understand the same way, who I can send a one-off text to, to be like, Hey, I did this today or whatever, right? And like, we can laugh about it and go on because you can’t change it and you can’t fight it, you can’t conquer it, so you might as well embrace it. This is a part of who you are, good, bad and different, and use it as your superpower. Right? You can use these things to grow. You can use this to push and become the absolute best version of yourself. And I would hate to see myself without ADHD, honestly. It’s just hard sometimes.
Kari Lotzien: [00:59:17] Yeah, you can’t just separate it out or medicate it out, right? That’s not quite how it works.
Jillian Vukovich: [00:59:22] Yeah.
Kari Lotzien: [00:59:23] Thank you so much for having this conversation with me. I have just enjoyed every minute. I like to close my podcasts with just one question. When you think about all the things that you are building in your life, your dreams, your goals, your family, all of the things. How do you stay anchored? What makes you feel focused, calm, stable?
Jillian Vukovich: [00:59:50] My first answer is you. Which I’m sure wasn’t meant to be a plug.
Kari Lotzien: [00:59:54] I honestly didn’t plan that, guys. I didn’t, there’s no money being passed or bribes.
Jillian Vukovich: [01:00:02] I’ll take my $20 later. No, it is, it’s having strong resources in my life, and you are honestly one of them. And having those people that no matter what’s going on that day or how I’m showing up, I know I can lean into to just be authentically myself. That’s what keeps me going. That’s what keeps me pushing every day. Some days are really easy and some days are really hard. But knowing that I have, you know, a handful of people in my life that regardless of how I show up, are there for me, is my motivator. It’s what pushes me and allows me to keep going. And so absolutely, it’s just having a tribe. Right?
Kari Lotzien: [01:00:46] Thank you so much for being here. I have just so enjoyed this podcast. If you want to contact Jillian, you can find her contact information in the show notes. Be sure to reach out and don’t forget to like and subscribe to the podcast so that you don’t miss an episode. Thanks for being here.