Gillian Stovel Rivers, MA, CFP, CEASenior Wealth Advisor at Surround Wealth Advisors (Assante Financial Management Ltd.)
It is Gillian’s earliest memory of money. And she felt guilty about it for years.
As a child, she and her family were on vacation in Florida. Her great-grandmother gave her a $20 bill. It was an absolute fortune. Gillian put it in her little red purse – and then lost it. She forgot it in the rental car when the family had to exchange it.
Two very early lessons were learned. First, it’s not fun to lose something. Second, money has emotion tied to it. Decades later, and after more than 17 years as a wealth advisor, this second realization has matured into a core belief that wealth is about more than money: ultimately, it’s how you feel about it, and your life overall, that really counts.
As Gillian says, “We have to keep our money and grow it, but money in itself is not the end game. Instead, wealth is all of the crucial things that money can impact. Things like health and wellness, lifestyle, relationships and something I am especially passionate about, family harmony – because great communication around money is great for families.”
At least two other personality traits quite possibly originated from the formative experience with the $20: Gillian is very tuned-in to what other people are feeling about money, and she sees every day as an opportunity to learn from and build on the day before. A competitive masters CrossFit athlete in her free time, she is described as famously nice by her friends and also, owing to her ever-tougher training, as “a machine.”
She shares this focus on kindness, efficiency and speed with the entire team at Surround, where the experience includes meticulous listening and the fact that every advisor is regularly brought up to speed on every client account.
“What gets me out of bed is the pursuit of being a well-adjusted, healthy, efficient, perceptive, responsive, joy-based machine. And the better I operate the machine, the better partner, parent, sister, daughter, coach and advisor I become. To me, this is what wealth is all about. This is me walking the walk.”