A bit about Pazit before we begin: Pazit and I met about two years ago – first on Facebook … and then then later for real. Pazit is a colleague in the field of financial counselling for families, and even though we work in very different ways, we always have a lot to talk about. I had great respect for Pazit before conducting this interview, and now after, even more so! Pazit lives in Givat Ada with her husband and their four children and has her own business where she consults families as well as single-parent families with different economic dilemmas and helps them find the way to financial freedom.
More about Pazit’s business here: www.facebook.com/nivutcalcali/
Pazit, thank you very much! Besides the fact that it is always good to meet, I’m sure that your story, experience and your world view can be an inspiration to many, and that is why I am really happy that you agreed to share it with us here.
The first time we met, you told me how you started your career at the bank. Maybe we could start from there?
Yes, that is right. When I finished my bachelor’s degree, I immediately began working at the bank. I was accepted into a Management Certificate course. That meant working in the branch, having to study and pass a lot of different courses, to receive a lot of training, get a license from the Securities Authority as well as doing an internship. I also completed my master’s degree while working at the bank.
The work at the bank was very ambivalent for me; on one hand I learned a lot professionally, I got a license to give investment advice, met a lot of people and learned a lot from the experience and wisdom of those who had already been years in the field, but on the other hand, I understood that the bank is a business entity that is aimed at increasing revenues and these revenues comes from the customers, meaning people like you and me. While being an employee at the bank, I often felt that what was good for the bank, was not always good for the costumer. For example, when the bank calls and offers you a savings plan, it is not because they have analyzed your financial situation, but because they want to meet the objectives of the branch managers and increase the revenues of the bank.
Today it is very popular to criticize the banks, but in those days when I worked there I felt that I wasn’t using my extensive knowledge in the right way, and that I could, in that way, cause economic damage, especially for those that do not have much. The difficulty of serving two masters – the bank on one hand and the customer on the other – grew over the years. I wanted to leave many times during those years, but could not. Among other things, I signed a contract for many years with certain obligations but there were other reasons as well. I had tenure, a good salary, travels, gifts and more. I was suffering a lot in those years but ultimately my “liberation” and my decision came from the fact that I was diagnosed with chronic arthritis.
An occupational physician approved that I could now work part-time job and get a full-time job compensation. I spent a month at home thinking and then decided that I was not coming back. I resigned and left the promised and safe career track without any guarantees or anything else.
I spent about a year trying to find myself. I was looking for what I wanted to do next. During that time, I was also pregnant and gave birth. I knew I wanted to be self-employed and my husband told me to “stay in the field that you’re good at it. You understand banking and can be a great help to others in this field.” But I could not. I think I just had to distance myself from it.
I joined another business in the field of childcare recruitment and placement. I worked and I learned to be self-employed while still looking for the thing I really wanted. I went through another pregnancy and childbirth and kept on searching. I started a real estate development business on a smaller scale with the purpose of buying and selling real estate for me and my family. I started to build a house for us, but as soon as I did that, my other business was officially dead as I did not have time to deal with it. Only when I finished to build the house, I again had time to move on.
I decided then to go back to what I am really good at; being an economic consultant. It’s something I really had been doing all along, just for free. I gave economic advice to all who cared to listen, family and friends, and to this day I am ready to do so, free of charge, if necessary. It’s a part of me and so it just became a profession. All the knowledge I gained at the bank, all target investments, real estate, pensions. I developed a method of my own. I going through the internet and checking out what others offers, I built my own system as a consultant. I took on some family members as a kind of internship to check out my method and gave them advise. That was 3 years ago and since them I am fine-tuning that method all the time.
I feel like I found myself again, what I’m good at, what I really love. It took me many years, as you can see (laughs).
Tell more about your method.
The expertise I bring to my business is my professionalism financially. I learned to be a banker and an investment adviser, but the added value that I am bringing, is the ability to see the whole picture. When I am with clients I look at all matters like banking, insurance, mortgages, pensions, everything. I look at the current as well as the future. Today a family begins the process with me with thousands of shekels in debt and end up with a safe back-up, with an organized plan for how to proceed now and in the future. When the solution is economic, I always find it and know that there is an economical solution for every family!
How did you feel when you got the news that you cannot continue to work full-time?
It was very hard at first and I found myself in kind of mourning. After that I jumped at the chance to quit and saw it as a real solution, my exit ticket. It was also kind of reassuring to finally receive a medical diagnosis after such a long period of pain, visits to the doctor and tests.
So, it was kind of a bad situation that resulted in some good things as well?
Today I say thank you for the disease, that it caused me to make the change. Because if not, I would have stayed on much longer. In the end I do think I would have left, because that it who I am, but not at that point. I suffered a lot!
It was a very difficult decision. Usually you are advised to prepare something before leaving your job, but I left with nothing. Although I knew a few months before I left that I was going to do it, I could not prepare as I was not available emotionally to think about what I wanted to do.
The change from being an employee to becoming self-employed was very difficult, but I had a lot of support from my husband! Many raised their eyebrows at the decision, but his support was enough. For me, the change of becoming self-employed was huge. It is leaving all that is safe behind and to stop to be cared for! Suddenly I have to worry about it all by myself; being the marketing person, the designer, the publisher, the graphic artist, the money collector and the bookkeeper. It is important to have both economic and emotional support!
Today, I work how I want to, when I want to. I am of course very attentive to my customers and their needs but the decision of how many hours I work, is mine. I built myself a work plan, a business plan, pricing, and using all this, I decided how many hours I work.
Every day I eat lunch with my kids and do after-school activities, I am responsible for the activities and the transportation, for things at school, I’m home with the kids when they’re sick and if I am sick I can give myself a sick day off. I volunteer a lot and believe that there is a lot of importance in giving and giving something back to the world. Now I also have time for that. Every day I rest in the afternoon, you have to write that! (laughs) Why? Because I decided that my body needs it. I that way I function better and so I cleared my schedule for it. In addition, I do not work when the children have holidays, and therefore in my annual business program, my income is based on 9 months of the year. That is financial planning!
I believe that everything can be done, we just need to figure out how! If you do not like what you do, then what is it worth? I cannot believe that all these years I sat under a fluorescent lamp and I was not satisfied! The thing is, that when we do not feel good in the situation we are in, we tend to take it home with us. I would get home after work without any energy left because I gave it all at work. Today, it can also be hard sometimes but still I have more energy left after I am done with everything else.
Today, I earn more than what I did as an employee. I earn from the business and the hours I put in, but beyond that I now have the time that allows me to generate a passive income as well, because I do so much more. I created this time for me and have decided that I will not work more than half-time in order to have time to take care of the money. Everything that we do is worth a salary which is also something that I try to explain to my clients. The income is for consumption and therefore we must also create an additional income. When I was an employee, I had no time for that.
Despite everything, I do not regret the years that I spent at the bank. At the age of twenty-something I was not prepared for what I do today. I think it is also important to be an employee for some time, to learn the trade from inside and to develop in the field. When thinking in those terms, the bank gave me a lot! Also, all the people that I met, they all taught me a lot. I learned to understand and communicate with many types of people. I would not give that up.
Today I have confidence in myself and in what I do and am not afraid to tell people what they should do, to give them advise. We have to have experience before we can do it alone. You have to understand that you do not know everything.
I think that is actually a very important point: for many there is a fear, apart from the money, how to begin and what about all those who know so much more than me?
Because of that, you should start out small and to try and find the best thing to do. When taking that into consideration, you should think about what is the appropriate service that can provide and support this? It’s not just what I like, we all like lot of things. We have to distinguish between a hobby a profession. We should think about what we love but also about what we are good at. What services can I provide in order to make a living from it?
It is possible to find such a thing! If you already have a profession, you may not have to work ten hours a day. It is not suitable for everyone, but for those that it is, it would be a shame not to try!
We should remember that we have the best resource, ourselves, and that is something that nobody can take from us. You can always try new things, to change direction. We are very locked in our current reality but there are also many other things that can be done. And often we even don’t have to stray a lot from what we already do. You can always find a solution if you think outside the box!
Pazit, thank you so much! Your story and experience was very inspirational to me and surely to others as well. I will be looking forward to our next talk J