Inspirational Woman: Rebecca Robertson | Founder & Director, Evolution Financial Planning

Rebecca Robertson

I’m Rebecca Robertson and I’ve worked in financial services for 21 years.

I started working as a temporary cashier in Alliance and Leicester when I was 19. At that point I’d never had a bank account, and I hadn’t really worked or done anything in financial services at all. At the time I didn’t even really understand what a bank account was. And because I’m a people’s person, I soon grew to become Head Cashier, and then a Savers Advisor and then a Mortgage Advisor, and then I was training other members of staff and other trainers.

I went on to cover bank managers, and by the time I was 28 I was a regional sales manager of a team of mortgage brokers and financial advisors. Then ten years ago, I started my own business. I’m the Director and Founder of Evolution Financial Planning, and I’m also an IFA (Independent Financial Advisor). I help women in particular with advice around their finances, their money and inheritance bonuses, and help them look after their pensions. Ever since I was little, I wanted a horse and a few years ago, I bought one called Goose and he’s five. I have two children, and I pretty much spend my time looking after all of them whilst horse riding.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

No, never. Aside from I was going to be a vet, and then my teachers told me I wasn’t clever enough, so I wanted to be a veterinary nurse instead, and I still received a funny look, and the response was, I was probably more likely to be a receptionist.

And then with my career in financial services, I just kept going up the ladder with promotion after promotion. And then everything changed when I was made redundant when I was about 28 as I was also pregnant with my first child.

That’s when I decided to set up by myself and I’ve never looked back.

Have you faced any challenges along the way?

I think the biggest challenge was when I was made redundant.

And it was around the time when the recession hit, and there were no jobs. I went for job interviews in banks, doing cashier kind of roles all over again and I was walking out crying after the interviews, even though I was previously holding senior roles. My confidence was completely shot to pieces.

I also found it challenging to take financial exams when I was 21. I’ve never been academic, so taking those was a real struggle and I think I might be dyslexic so I can see why I struggled with them so much but I once I found my own way of studying, I realised that I could actually do it. It was possible.

Other challenges whilst being a business owner for 10 years, it comes with many challenges. You push yourself forward, but there are always times when you question are you good enough and am I capable of doing this whilst juggling family life and children? That initial pressure of making it work and making the business a success – that’s tough.

What has been your biggest achievement to date?

I’m writing my book, and financial advisor of the year, and more recently I’ve been       shortlisted as wealth manager of the year, so I don’t know all of those are pretty big, really. I’ve also delivered a TEDx talk, and that’s right up there, so I can’t really pick one.

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?

I’m very driven to achieve more to leave a legacy. And what I mean by that is that so little was expected of me, that I have a real drive to prove people wrong. It doesn’t matter where you come from, what you have done, or your career or qualifications. You can achieve anything if you put your mind to it.

Then from there, it’s also about wanting to have a comfortable life and achieve certain levels of financial success in terms of, you know, being financially comfortable, and having an impact on people’s lives helping as many of them as possible.

How do you feel about mentoring? Have you mentored anyone or are you someone’s mentee?

I’ve taught a lot of my team, and I’ve grown my team at different points of the business. So I’ve mentored them, and I also have people that I sort of take under my wing on occasion when necessary, but I’ve had mentors like marketing mentors, sales mentors, personal life coaches that kind of thing.

And I think it’s really, really valuable to have somebody in your life like that at the time that you need them, and often you can outgrow them. Hopefully that’s the goal. And then you would move on to somebody else that would maybe help you with something else, or what you need at that time. So, I very much agree with mentoring, and finding a mentor that suits you, and where you are at that time.

There is a stigma/stereotype that women are bad with finances – what can we do to change these perspectives?

It’s actually not true. I’d say it’s more of a stereotype. It’s not that women are bad with finances, it’s, that they are quite risk adverse, so they don’t tend to invest, and they have gaps in their employment, gaps in their pensions, because often they’re earning less.But in regards to how they spend, they often spend more in an emotional sense so that’s either mostly what their needs are at the time, or the needs of their family at that time, so they don’t always think things through. And then there are those women when they’re at certain points of their life like I was when I was 21, I got into a lot of debt because I had a car accident and was in a lot of pain and spending the money made me feel good. So, as women we go through phases of our life where we have these moments, but equally they can also happen to men and you hear a lot of men getting into gambling debts.

If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self what would it be?

Only you have the opportunity to make things change and be different. Or just carry on doing what you’re doing but know that you 100% have your own back and it’s okay to be vulnerable and it’s okay to ask for help.

What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?

My book is launching this week, and I’m hoping it will become a bestseller, and I’m hoping over the next year to three years to grow and have more female financial advisors employed by the firm so that we can help support more women to become financially independent.

The reason that’s a challenge is because it means I need to scale the business further. On a personal level, I’d like to win a hunter class with my horse and for my family to be happy and healthy because at the end of the day that’s all that’s important.

Rebecca Robertson’s book, Ten Ways to Accelerate Your Wealth – How to Align Your Finances for an Abundant Life is available on Amazon and in all good bookstores. www.evolutionfinancialplanning.co.uk

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