Cathy’s Financial Resolutions with Colleen O’Connell-Campbell

It is the time of year when many of us take stock of what we have accomplished and what we have yet to accomplish. Some of us make resolutions that last a few hours or a few days. Some of us make resolutions that last a few months. Keeping in mind that a resolution, by definition, is a firm decision to begin doing something or to stop doing something. We often feel like we have failed if we don’t stand by the resolution.

So you say, “What does this have to do with Cathy Whitney and her Ottawa Makeover Project journey?”. Frankly, why be constrained by the commercialism of the holiday season and the standard calendar? Your resolutions do not have to be tied to the start of a new year, you have the power to invoke positive change in your life at any time – so why not right now?

It is easy to make the decision to change but much more difficult to make it stick. So, you call on coaches, consultants, cheerleaders, and fans to support your decision, the subsequent journey, and all the ups and downs along the way. That – in a nutshell – is precisely what the Ottawa Makeover Project is all about.

Cathy has given me the green light – without hesitation – to share some of the financial parts of her Ottawa Makeover Project journey. So, while still respecting her personal privacy, I am going to highlight what we have uncovered thus far.

During our very first encounter, Cathy repeatedly apologized for her previous lack of investment and financial planning. We had to set some ground rules right away… No more apologizing! We cannot change the past but we can develop an understanding of ourselves, look to the future, and look to uncover how and why we made particular choices.

While we worked together to explore Cathy’s financial position, I directed her to prioritize her financial goals and used a wheel to illustrate, on a scale of 1 to 10, how close she was to achieving those goals. This exercise allowed us to begin to see Cathy’s financial “big picture” and our plan began to form.

I gave Cathy some homework to do. She needed to gather all the details about her assets and liabilities (i.e. her net worth), income and expenses (i.e. her personal cash flow) so we could establish her current financial “State of the Nation”, giving us a clear picture of what her financial situation looks like now, so we can plot a course for her future.

Now we know where we stand and where we want to be. We will work together to build a better understanding of what money represents for Cathy and define the ways in which she will honour what she values most. Cathy wants to plan a trip to Disney and she has her sights set on a thriving independent business and financial security. We can get there and though it might now seem like we are at the base of Mount Everest, getting to the top and to those goals is really just about the planning, the training, and the doing.

We have more work ahead on our journey together and I am looking forward to experiencing the positive shifts with Cathy as she transforms from version 1.0 to 2.0. With any luck, Cathy will be empowered to make more confident decisions about how she spends, saves, and shares her wealth – wealth defined not simply as financial abundance but also of humour, talent, and time.

– Colleen

Colleen O’Connell-Campbell is a Senior Wealth Advisory with Scotia Wealth Management. Learn more about Colleen and her team at