Debbie Styles, CFP, is the owner and founder of dts lifeStyles, an independent financial planning and wealth management firm based in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The acronym “dts” stands for “demystify, transparency, sufficiency,” three things that Ms. Styles strives to help her clients achieve. Through her work, she offers clients the emotional well-being and positive energy that comes from developing a secure financial plan (termed a Jubilation Plan at dts lifeStyles). Her goal is to help clients appreciate what they have and utilize resources to best fund a joyful life, unlearning that more is better.
Ms. Styles’ approach to financial advice can be summarized by the four steps of the “grow” philosophy; gather/reflect/outsource/worrier to warrior. The first step is to gather people and information, seeking to evaluate whether a prospective client would be a good fit for her approach. The next step is to reflect, which manifests itself as a pause in the process. Can she help you connect with your desires and wants, then set out to achieve them? The third step, outsource, represents Ms. Styles’ intention of taking stress away from her clients, freeing energy for clients to focus on their personal and professional success. The final step is a transformative one, turning worriers into warriors.
By the time Ms. Styles has completed the fourth step of “grow,” clients gain a renewed sense of confidence in their financial future, and they also learn the skills needed to make informed and proactive choices today. She notes that, “warriors make good decisions, whereas worriers are derailed by the distractions.”
In Ms. Styles’ opinion, “wealth means nothing without health,” so she encourages her clients to focus on their physical and mental well-being in addition to their finances. The benefits gained by a healthy lifestyle far exceed any rewards that can be measured on a balance sheet.
Ms. Styles attended the Asper School of Business at the University of Manitoba and completed her bachelor’s degree with honors in 1991. With the recommendation of her father, she initially intended to become an accountant and began her career working for Deloitte. While studying for her CPA exam, she started to feel disengaged with the material and disconnected from her work, ultimately realizing that she wasn’t enjoying her studies.
A meeting with her father’s financial advisor served as the catalyst that Ms. Styles needed to transition into a client advisory role. The advisor became her mentor and brought her into a position with Great West Life, now Canada Life. Ms. Styles thrived as a financial advisor, finding freedom in the ability to work directly with clients. She achieved great success by merging her talent for financial management with her natural ability to connect with clients.
Ms. Styles established her firm in 1996, originally known as DTS Financial Services. When her mentor retired in 2016, she purchased his business, leading to the creation of dts lifeStyles. In the coming years, she hopes to bring new financial advisors into her firm and help mentor other early-career professionals to eventually succeed her.
For more than 25 years, Ms. Styles has found success as an independent advisor and entrepreneur, and she is proud to be a woman in the male-dominated field of finance. She was inspired by Dr. Gigi Osler, former president of the Canadian Medical Association, who said, “women’s health will improve as we have more women physicians.” Ms. Styles feels that these words ring true for all fields, not only medicine, and she strives each day to be living proof of that. Today, Ms. Styles works alongside an all-woman team at dts lifeStyles.
When Ms. Styles helps a client grow their business, her business also benefits, which turns the client/coach relationship into a team dynamic. The ability to share in others’ successes is the biggest motivator. Most recently a widow used her finances to help “fund a joyful life” by giving her adult daughter the choice to stay home with her young children. Situations like this truly define Ms. Styles’ “worrier to warrior” philosophy.