Behind the Screen: Meet Tea Nicola, Co-Founder & CEO
Tea Nicola is a dark elven cleric with outrageous ambitions, but only on Friday nights. That’s when she stops being CEO of WealthBar and gets down and fantastical in a game of Dungeons & Dragons (D&D).
“There are a few things that are non-negotiable in my life, and my Friday night D&D session is one of them,” said Tea.
At the moment, Tea is playing a dark elf who has chosen the path to goodness.
In a sense, Tea’s character in D&D isn’t so far off from the role she plays at WealthBar. She is the gatherer of staff, the overseer of customer experience, and the teacher of financial knowledge, which she’ll impart to you during an advisor call or free Lunch and Learn session.
More importantly, she wants to bring goodness and change to the investment industry for regular Canadians who have been nickel-and-dimed by fees for years.
But enough with the D&D references. Tea is a metallurgical engineer-turned-financial-advisor-turned-CEO of WealthBar. She can churn out some complex metal alloys and help you save and invest your money. A true modern-day woman.
Tea and her husband Chris Nicola came up with the idea of WealthBar after attending a financial seminar hosted by Chris’s brother that taught the ABC’s and 123’s of financial planning and investing. When the seminar was finished, the attendees were enthused and wanted to know where they could sign up for this bright financial future he was illustrating.
But there was nowhere for them to go.
“They told the attendees exactly what to do, but then told them that they have no idea where to send them or how to follow their advice with the limited money they had,” said Tea. “Unless you had over $1 million to invest, you were excluded from the best advice and investments. This is the reality for most Canadians who are then forced into high-cost mutual funds instead.”
So Tea and Chris forged their own solution. They created WealthBar with the concept that they could offer the same approach, investments, and services that wealthy investors get without pushing the minimums that keep most people out of the investment game.
Nearly 5 years of hard work and one child later, they both built the partnerships, technology and infrastructure to make it happen. And now thousands of clients later, Tea’s hopes of changing the investment industry for the better are becoming a reality.
Tea wants people who invest with WealthBar to be informed in all aspects of their finances, which is part of the reason she meets with clients and non-clients to teach the fundamentals of saving and investing during her Lunch and Learn sessions.
“An informed client is an empowered client, and we want everyone to feel in control of their own future,” she said. “We take an open-ended approach to our clients, and we let them tell us what they need, no matter where they’re at in their lives.”
While being CEO, advising clients, and raising a child have been the equivalent of three full-time jobs (and then some), she still strives to maintain a work-life balance, making time for D&D and a weekly mother-daughter trip to the farmers market.
“I try to set the tone at WealthBar and then get out of the way,” Tea says. “While we all work really hard, having work-life balance for everyone is really important to me. To accomplish that, I have to relinquish some control and allow people to grow. There’s no large business I know run by one person.”
Want to get to know WealthBar better? Why not sign up and see what we’ve been working so hard at building? Get a free financial review from an advisor when you do. Be sure to sign up for our newsletter, or sign your office up for a free lunch and learn!
Abby Wiseman is a journalist, writer and communications professional based out of Vancouver, BC. She’s written for publications from the Vancouver Sun, Metro Vancouver, and BCBusiness, to being an Associate Producer for CBC Radio One. Follow her on Twitter.