Shawn Taylor grew up in Gilbert Plains and spent 17 years in the agricultural industry. But when he was asked to move, the thought of uprooting his family was just too much to consider. So he trained to become a financial advisor, and 11 years ago, along with business partner Shawna Jackson, he formed Taylor Jackson Financial Services Inc. The company focuses on financial planning, estate planning, retirement planning, life insurance, health insurance, disability insurance, and group benefit plans. » Colin Corneau / Brandon Sun (COLIN CORNEAU / BRANDON SUN)
How do you get interested in this? One would presume making money is high on all of our priority lists. But if you can make money for yourself and clients, is it a fascination with the process or the vagaries of the marketplace?
For me, it was really just getting into another career where I could deal with people — where I was my own boss and that had some flexibility that I wanted to have for my family and other things that I do.
You said ‘another career.’ What did you do prior to this?
I spent 17 years in the agricultural industry as a marketing manager, most of those with a fertilizer manufacturer. It was a position where they wanted us to move out west, and it was something we didn’t want to do — it wasn’t the right move for our family at the time. So I took Door Number 2. And it was a point where it was a time to find out ‘What I want to do when I grow up’ again.
So I set out some criteria as far as looking for a career that, as I said, I could control where I was going to be — I didn’t have to worry about somebody tapping me on the shoulder and saying ‘We want you to move’ again. And something that gave me the flexibility to be able to do stuff with my kids when they had school functions or extra-curricular functions — those kinds of things. I had all those things at the fertilizer company, but we just didn’t want to move — we didn’t want to leave Brandon.
Have you lived in Brandon your whole life?
No, I haven’t. We’ve only been in here since 1989. But we love it — this is home now.
What is it you love about Brandon?
I think it’s a larger city but it still has the small-town feel. You can kind of get anywhere you need to be in 10 minutes or less. And it still has a lot of the amenities. And you get to know most people — you still know a lot of people in town. And it’s a fantastic place to raise kids. I grew up in Gilbert Plains, and my wife, Robin, is from Regina, so it’s a good mesh between a city the size that she grew up in and my home town.
Financial planning — tough times the last little while? People a bit leery because of the way the markets have been?
It’s always like that, and everybody has different ideas. It depends on the clients you’re talking to and what their perspective is and when they’re looking at information and what information they’re looking to. The last little while has really been no different. We’ve seen that for years and years and years. I grew up with that in the ag business — you saw the fluctuations in grain pricing and all those kinds of things. This is really no different.
But do clients get spooked at all when they see things happening or read headlines that proclaim the end is near?
Oh, sure they do. But it’s really our task, then, to help walk them through that and explain what’s happening and make sure they’re comfortable in the scenario they’re in.
To change gears here a bit, you said you’re involved in extra-curricular activities. You’re president of the Brandon Curling Club, correct?
That’s right. I’m going on the third year of my term right now. I’ve been involved in the Curling Club Council for a number of years. I’ve also been involved with any of the major events that have been in Brandon since I moved here in ’89 — the World Curling, the Olympic Curling Trials, some of the major bonspiels that we have in town here. My wife says I have a problem saying no. I’ve been very heavily involved in minor ball in the past — I was president of minor ball at one point, I was president of the Simplot Millennium Ball Park that we have out there — a great facility. And again, I’ve been involved in some of the major kind of sporting events that we’ve had in town, particularly the curling ones.
Do you curl yourself? And skip?
Yes, depending on the team I’m playing with. But typically I’ve skipped a lot and played third a lot. But it’s a fantastic game. It’s a game you can play forever.
Were your kids involved with curling and baseball when they were growing up?
Yes — they all did that. We have three kids — 26, 24 and 23 now. But as they were growing up the boys were involved in ball during the summer, they curled all winter long. Our daughter was involved in gymnastics and club volleyball. It kept us busy and it was a lot of fun.
You’re a big Brandon booster, which is wonderful. Are you involved with any of the pro-Brandon committees that go on in town?
I haven’t been so far — kind of on the periphery. And that’s just simply because I don’t want to get overloaded. With what I’ve been doing with the Curling Club right now, the Tamarack committee — I’m on that committee as well. So between those, it keeps me busy. And I’m not one that wants to take on a bunch of stuff if I can’t do it properly. So although it is hard to say no, I do try to limit what I get involved in.
The financial business — what is it about it, besides the independence and flexibility, that you like? Is it challenging? Is it exciting for you? Is it nice to help people shape their futures?
You know what? It’s all of the above. And it’s nice to be able to see that you can make a difference in some people’s lives. And when you get clients coming in saying, ‘Thank you for helping us, thank you for doing this,’ it’s a great feeling. One of the things that I like about the business is we, out of our office here, do things for the clients and for the best of the clients. And that’s our main motto. And to know that we are doing the best we can for them and to do things that really help them out, both now and down the road, that’s a big plus. And that’s one of the motivators of what we do.
Are there any negatives associated with the job?
I think any occupation has its plusses and its minuses. But I think probably the biggest thing here — and I don’t think it’s any different than anyone else who has their own business — is you could spend 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at work. And the toughest part is trying to balance that with personal life.
But you’ve been able to?
Yeah — I think so. There’s days I don’t think I have. But for the most part we’ve been able to balance that off with personal life and business life.
So you plan to do this until you’re ready to retire?
Definitely. I’ve had a lot of people who have asked me, ‘When is your retirement date?’ And to me it’s simple — I guess when I quit having fun doing it.
Most of us have financial planning in order to be able to continue to live the life we live now once we’re in retirement. What are you retirement plans for either when you’re not having fun anymore or you decide to take advantage of what you’ve put aside?
I think it’ll be much like what I have discussions with our clients about. You turn retirement into doing what you want, when you want, and how you want it. And that can change. I could say one thing now and 15 years from now that could be totally different. But it’s really just doing more of what you enjoy. And I can see spending more time with my wife, time with the family — all those kinds of things.
We’re fairly fortunate right now where we do travel. So we’ll continue to do that — we do enjoy that. We’re not ones that, ‘We HAVE to leave — I’m fed up with winter, I’ve got to get out.’ No. We still enjoy winter. We enjoy all four seasons. And it’s really a matter of just taking things as they come and enjoying what you’re doing. That may even mean working a couple of days a week still. But I can see myself getting back involved again, or more involved, with the Curling Club or different things as well down the road.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition June 9, 2012