À conversa com Jason Pereira

À conversa com Jason Pereira

Jason Pereira began his career in the financial industry in 1997 in the brokerage business and has been with Woodgate Financial since 2007. Committed to the betterment of the industry, volunteer with the Financial Planning Standards Council, lecture at the Schulich School of Business at York University, and has mentored several entrepreneurs.
During the course of his career, Jason received multiple awards. His commitment to the industry has been recognized both nationally and internationally. In the last few years, he was named Winner of the Global Financial Planning Award (2015, 2017 & 2018), Top Multi Service Advisor in Canada (2018), The Top Insurance Advisor in Canada (2016), A finalist for the Canadian Financial Planning Award (2016-2017), One of the Top 50 Financial Advisors in Canada (2015-2017) and One of the most influential people in wealth management (2016).
Specializes in Financial Investment, Financial Insurance, Tax & Estate Planning and Corporate Wealth Management.
Jason Pereira is the author of the podcast “Fintech Impact” and collaborates regularly with specialty publications and newspapers, like The Globe and Mail and the portuguese-canadian newspaper Milénio Stadium.
Let’s meet the Portuguese descendant Jason Pereira.

“I have to think that out there are a lot of very bright people in our community that are not using their full potential because whatever support system they have isn’t pushing them enough to achieve as much as they can”

Revista Amar: Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Jason Pereira: I was born here. My parents are both Portuguese emigrants. My mother is from near Fátima and came with the age of 6 or 8. My father is from near Pombal and came over with 16. I’m married and have 2 children and 1 dog…

R. A.: Do you speak Portuguese and what is your connection with Portugal?
J. P.: É pobre… but I understand. It’s like a muscle that I haven’t work out. There were various points in my life where I was absolutely fluent. It was probably the first language in the house. I was very fluent in Portuguese up until my early teens when it died off and then it got much better in my early twenties, and it kind of died off again… every time I go back, I’m usually okay after about a week or two. So, it just takes a little work, but not the same kind of street talk that everybody else can do… however, I do understand almost all of it; I just can’t reciprocate in the same way. My first trip to Portugal, I think, I was only months old, my grandparents brought me over to meet my other grandparents, and I think probably every summer until I was about 6 or 8 years old I went over and spent time between such amazing grandparents. As I got older I started to want to do stuff here in Canada with friends, and going to Portugal became every couple of years and then significant gaps, as I grew older, I grew to appreciate going to Portugal more. I try to make an effort to go back to Portugal every couple of years now, and my last trip was about 2 years ago, it was my wife’s first time there, and my son was only 6 months old at the time. And I told her that she had to understand that as long my grandfather is alive, who’s 90 this year, we have to travel in the summer, as I want to make an effort to go, and I want my children to have an understanding where their grandparents came from.

R. A.: Do you teach Portuguese to your children?
J. P.: My son is 3 years old, and he knows a couple of words. He refers to his grandparents “vovó” and “vovô,” and of course he will always do that. From an early age, he was very stubborn, and my wife had this vision of him being francophone as well, but when he was 2, and every time my wife tried to speak with him in a different dialect, he would cover her mouth with his hands and say no. There will be an encouragement for him to understand where he came from, there will be people in his life whom I encourage to speak to him in such a manner, so hopefully, he picks some of it up and if he has the desire he will pick even more of it up.

R. A.: Were you ever active in the community? If not, why?
J. P.: My exposure to the community diminished so much. I grew up in the Davenport area where my father had a business. Eventually, we moved to Etobicoke, and that took me physically out of the community, because of this I would say that my life, my exposure to the community was more diminished even more. At one point in my career, I did work in an Investment Practice that was predominant in the community, that was 4 to 5 years, and that kept me involved, but since then I don’t have much involvement. As for why I’m not active, it’s not that I don’t care, because I do care, especially when I see the rate at which Portuguese students drop-out in Toronto it breaks my heart. And I see this because I teach in universities and have yet had a single Portuguese student in my classes, I have had Brazilians in exchange.

R. A.: How do you see the development of community in the past 20 years?
J. P.: I think we have held on to our identity quite well and I think that’s great because many people lose that. I hope it stays as strong as today in 20 years from now, if not better.

R. A.: Do you think the Portuguese community has a future if it stays the way it is or should changes be made?
J. P.: We have a future, the question is what kind of future do we have, right? And the future that we have right now is not one of much influence, and that is a problem. I’m going to go back to the Portuguese Drop-Out Rates, I do not want to at any point despise the quality or the trades that are being performed right now. I worked in construction I know its hard work, we don’t have a work problem in the community whatsoever. We don’t have a place of leadership in this country the way we should. Recently, we had Charles Sousa, the first Portuguese person to serve in a position as high as he did and I’m glad for that. At one point we were happy and proud to say that the Provincial Finance Minister for both Ontario and Quebec were Portuguese citizens; I hope that these examples inspire more people. I see the statistics on the other side, and I worry about that. Every now and then I get referred to young professionals to kind of give them some career guidance, mentorship. Recently I had one that said to me: “I never worked with someone that was Portuguese before” and my heart breaks every time I hear that because it happens a couple of times per year where I meet people, young professionals that said, “I never dealt with our own kind.” What other community says that? I don’t get that! I don’t see the Italians, Chinese, Jewish saying that. They came here, and they pushed their kids to go beyond what they have done, I don’t feel we are doing the same thing, and that’s where I worry because we are leaving ourselves out of those decisions regarding directions of the nation, government, business, medicine, and technology. That saddens me.

R. A.: The time came to look into the future. When did you find out that you wanted to be a Financial Planner?
J. P.: In High School, when I was in grade 11 I realized I didn’t have it figured out, I only knew I didn’t want to work with my hands because I had tried that already and I was not too fond of it. I didn’t like to get up at 5 a.m., but I’m still getting up at 5 a.m. now, it’s funny though. So I took co-op a few times to figure out what I wanted to do instead of going to university and blow money on something I will never use. I thought that the stock market and advertising were cool, the kind of things that maybe appeal to a teenage boy. I was lucky enough to be placed with one of the largest brokers of this country, and it was a summer co-op job, and I started by only filling random work, and one thing I always knew about work is you do it and don’t complain about it. Something I learned was to ask questions to get the job done that was given to you, that’s it. I don’t know if they weren’t used to having someone like me, but this was enough to get me to be the only co-op student hired back for the summers. I stayed for the summer, and that became an invitation to come back whenever I had time off school, future summers, and to keep in contact and maybe do some work from home while I was in school. It was great because essentially, I got to see that side of the Brokerage world of a major bank and I stayed there till after I finished my undergraduate degree, I stayed there for little less than a year. I learned so much there; I did stock research, financial plans, investments and any random tasks, including marketing when the people who did the administration didn’t have time for it. It was a great experience, but by the end, I was miserable, because I started to understand what the industry was predominately about, and it was about basically selling to the client and to make money for the institution that. Base on my education I knew what was right and I didn’t see the clients going anywhere. Base on my education I knew that it wasn’t right and I didn’t want to see clients going anywhere. Meanwhile, I also was doing financial plans and saw much value, and if I could reorganize a client’s financial life around, they could make investments in different ways they could save. So I left and got this opportunity to help start a small community-based practice. I did lots of research and learned everything from other advisors, and after 5 years I knew exactly what I wanted to build.

R.A.: You are with Woodgate Financial since 2007, only 10 years after you started your career. Is that common?
J. P.: It’s very uncommon. People in my age bracket, on the independent side, are a rarity but are becoming more common.

R. A.: What does it mean to be an “Independent Financial Planning Firm”?
J. P.: It means that we are not tied to any major bank firm or owned by one, but we have the same regulations, the same insurance, and the same protections. It’s our practice, and we don’t have any sells pressure and we are in a better position to do what is better for our client. Our work is very much financial planning focused. We reorganize and create an entire picture, on how we are going to make all these things work together, after that we propose the investments. It’s a process that needs time.

R. A.: Today you are one of the main partners along with Kathleen Peace and James Collins. Is this a “dream come true”?
J. P.: I think so. I believe that a good team is stronger than anyone being an individual, and I couldn’t wish for two better partners.

R. A.: How is the Canadian economy? In good health?
J. P.: The economy is one of those things that you, unfortunately, can’t predict. Is it good? Everything is good today, but I have many concerns about a lot of things. I have lots of concerns base on personal debt levels and new inflated real estate prices.

R. A.: Is this the right moment to invest?
J. P.: No one knows for sure, but what is the right time to invest? If you have same goal then you have to start planning.

R. A.: People often don’t like to invest. Why do you think “Investments” are still mistrusted?
J. P.: They’re afraid. There is an entire field of physiology around money it’s called “behavioral finance” and it’s straightforward, it’s a loss of control of your money, put it in the hands of a person and put faith that this person will deliver something, and they don’t want to lose what they have.

R. A.: You have been named one of the Top 50 Advisors in Canada for three years (2015/2016/2017), Winner of the Global Financial Planning Award (2015, 2017 & 2018), The Top Insurance Advisor in Canada (2016), Finalist for the Canadian Financial Planning Award (2016-2017-2018), One of the most influential people in wealth management (2016) and many more, most recently Top Multi Service Advisor in Canada and Global Financial Planning Award (2018), all this in such a young age. What is/are the secrets for these achievements in a 3 year period?
J. P.: It’s an overnight success that I’m working towards to build since I was 17. I have got a couple of things right in my life. I was born in a great country, I was born into a fantastic family, and very early on I identified something I wanted to focus on and all of my education since then have been directed towards it. Not many people start leading their education towards one goal at the age of 17. I have just been a student my entire life. It’s just work, devotion, and passion for what I do. There is no secret for success it’s just work.

R.A.: Education was always a problem in the Portuguese community, with young people leaving school to start working and make a living at early ages. Do you think this is changing?
J. P.: No, sadly not yet. I mean I have heard from people that they have seen better results and that is great. I have to think that out there are a lot of very bright people in our community that are not using their full potential because whatever support system they have isn’t pushing them enough to achieve as much as they can.

R. A.: As a successful Luso-Canadian that pursued his dreams, what kind of advice would you give to young generations?
J. P.: As I said, there aren’t secrets for success. If you want something you can achieve it, but you have to make an effort. The only advice that I have is to love your work.

R. A.: Doug Ford has been doing some changes in the last 4 months. Are his moves the right ones for the families in Ontario?
J. P.: No, there is one in particular, the bill about reforming the financial services industry in general and there are lots of things in the bill that we have been waiting for a long time to see it happen, but it has other things that I disagree with because I think they got it wrong. Its clear intent is that the bill was for a large part to protect Canadian consumers. Canada, believe it or not, is probably one of the most backward in financial services in the world, we are way behind of Australia, UK, USA, in certain ways South Africa and India. It’s shameful, that this bill was the promise of reform progress.

R. A.: John Tory was re-elected. What are your thoughts about the Elections 2018 results?
J. P.: I think anyone who raced against him was crazy. I think he had been a good steward of the city; I don’t agree with everything he has done, because overall politician are a little bit concerned about being liked. We have now an interesting contrast between Tory and Ford. I think many politicians are too afraid to govern, sometimes it means what’s best for the city is to upset people, and unfortunately, our Premier is too eager to upset people. I don’t believe in extremes; there has to be a middle ground in everything. In general, I’m happy with the result of the Mayoral election.

R. A.: Ana Bailão was also re-elected, in the new Ward 9. Being yourself Luso-Canadian, do you think it’s important to have Luso-Canadian politicians?
J. P.: Yes, I think it’s very important that our community has a voice.

R. A.: We have seen some ethnicities playing a major role in Canadian society, Chinese, Indian, etc. Do you think financial institutions and politicians look at the Portuguese community the same way?
J. P.: Financial institutions only care about one thing, it’s numbers. Frankly, if you have the money they don’t care where you are from, that’s the honest truth. I know enough, I don’t believe in those biases.

R.A.: Can the Portuguese community, in the future, play a major role in the Canadian society in terms of investments, job creation, scientific investigation, etc.? What would be the biggest challenges to achieve this?
J. P.: Directing our desires, our visions, our effort and our work ethic in those areas.

R.A.: You have collaborated with some media like The Global & Mail, Advisor.ca, Business News Network, Advisor’s Edge, Milénio Stadium, etc.? Is this it important for you?
J.P.: Depends on the subject, but I think it’s important. Sometimes changes happen in the industry. The content that is informative to help build better advisers, practices or consultants is what really matters to me.

R. A.: How did your collaboration with Milénio Sadium started?
J. P.: I was blessed at one point of my life to have some business dealings with Manuel DaCosta that evolved into a friendship, and I respect him to a greater degree for many reasons, he has offered advice in business, unsolicited in the past, and I have founded to be very appropriated and helpful… and I never take nothing that comes from his mouth for granted. When he asked me if I was interested in helping, I said for him, of course. For him I have always time to help. That’s how it started and I see just how much he cares about the community.

R.A.: What are your thoughts about the Portuguese community media?
J. P.: I don’t take enough of it. I’m glad that we have a voice within our own community. It’s important for the community to have its voice heard and to reinforce itself.

“I say to the parents to encourage their kids and make them work on school, even if they don’t want to”

R. A.: Would you like to leave a message to the Portuguese community?
J. P.: We are not a cultural with lack of effort, bravery or anything whatsoever. We have a proud heritage. If we are going to carve the future in this country the way we want to, we have not done that yet. I say to the parents to encourage their kids and make them work on school, even if they don’t want to, I mean we all had a “chapada” and a “chinelada” and that should be as great as well, my friends. As for the kids, look for role models, mentors or people that have done it before, know that it’s possible.

Fotografia: Carmo Monteiro/Jason Pereira

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