Indigenous Peoples and Financial Planning

The recent news of gravesites being discovered on grounds associated with residential schools has caused many to reflect on the meaning of July 1, Canada Day. Despite growing up in Chilliwack, BC, where many of my secondary school classmates were from local First Nations, I had no idea of this history.


In my current career as a financial planner, I have periodically wondered what sort of role I can play in offering financial planning services to indigenous people. Is conventional financial planning – addressing issues regarding insurance, investing, planning for retirement, planning for one’s estate following death – even relevant, and if it is, what are some of the legal and other issues a planner needs to be aware of thanks to the legacy and ongoing effects of the Indian Act?


Recently, an article came to my attention that has helped me to think about these questions a bit more. Mike Carlson is a financial planner in the Toronto area and an indigenous person. He wrote an article that was published in the in-house magazine for Advocis, an organization for financial advisors in Canada. He has taught me things about which I had no idea. If you wonder why there are not more indigenous people participating in the mainstream of Canada’s economy, you are in for an eye-opener.


Although addressed to those in the financial services industry, Carlson’s article is well worth reading by anyone.




Truth & Reconciliation in Financial Planning

By Mike Carlson


As an Indigenous person who is also a QAFP, I feel alone. I believe that I am one of only a handful of Advocis members who self-identifies as Indigenous, and am further isolated because there is no demographic or race data on members, and no spaces I can go to meet other Indigenous planners like me. On this 21st of June, the summer solstice and National Indigenous Peoples Day – a day that is very important to me culturally – I feel the weight of that isolation the most.


But why does it seem like there are so few Financial Planners (and, for that matter, so few financial planning clients) who self-identify as Indigenous? Is it because there aren’t that many Indigenous people in Canada? Nope – 5% of the Canadian population is Indigenous, so on average, one out of twenty planners or clients should be an Indigenous person. Is it because Indigenous people live on reserves far away from where financial planning business happens? Nope – more than half of all Indigenous peoples live in urban cities like Toronto. Indigenous people are all around you, and you walk by them on the street all the time, but they are seemingly absent as planners and clients. So what gives?


Read more here.


This is the 105th blog post for Russ Writes.


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Disclaimer: This blog post is intended for general information and discussion purposes only. It should not be relied upon for investment, insurance, tax, or legal decisions.