Managing risk

Droster patrols wealth management moguls.

From the pages of In Business magazine.

While attending UW–Stevens Point, Lauri Droster considered becoming an architect until she found it to be more “artsy” than she anticipated. “Creativity and art really aren’t my thing,” the 51-year-old admits.

Had Droster, branch director and senior vice president at RBC Wealth Management, just listened to her younger self, she would have recalled the excitement she experienced as a child in the 1970s whenever she visited the bank. Granted, interest rates were much higher back then, but Droster loved seeing interest add to her passbook savings account each month. “Really? The bank pays me? I thought that was the coolest thing!” she says.

So in lieu of architecture, Droster graduated with a degree in mathematics and a desire to work in a bank. Initially, she found employment in the securities department at First Wisconsin. For someone who had never taken a business course in her life, that opportunity proved both priceless and fortuitous in her career.

IB: What interested you about banking?
I was always interested in saving, and while employed in operations at the bank I learned about settling trades, I reregistered stock certificates, I handled reorganizations when companies changed names or changed hands. It was all very interesting to me. Then I got involved in financial planning, which entailed a lot of math and was right up my alley!

IB: Recently, you were named branch director of RBC’s Madison office. Have things changed for you?
It means I need to work on my time management! It was all very overwhelming at first, learning the business of the entire office, but I’ve been getting the hang of it. Luckily I have a great team to help me with that.

IB: What are some of the most common mistakes people make in regard to saving?
Not saving enough. People either tend to be way too conservative in their 401(k)s or way too aggressive. They need to better manage their investments.

IB: What other advice can you give someone planning for retirement?
First, $1 million isn’t as much money as it once was.

Second, health care costs are a huge consideration. For many people, age 65 is still the magic number for Medicare but you still need to plan for a Medicare supplement, as well.

And third, health care powers of attorney. One of the biggest costs of Medicare pertains to end-of-life care and doctors working to keep people alive. I’m guessing most people don’t have a health care power of attorney to direct their end-of-life wishes, just as most don’t have wills in place, yet they’re so important.



IB: What are you most proud of?
I’m proud to succeed in an industry where 85% of financial advisors are men, and of the 15% who are women, only 5% are branch managers. There are plenty of women in supporting roles, but that’s why I also enjoy mentoring women and encouraging them to become financial advisors.

IB: Why do you think women are so scarce?
Maybe because it’s typically a commission-based job, it’s entrepreneurial, and you’re taking a risk to be 100% commission. But there’s also flexibility in the job, which makes it a great career choice for women. It’s much more about relationships, and women are usually great at developing relationships.

IB: Who was your mentor?
Maryann Bast, a certified financial planner. She was a pioneer in the industry herself, and one of the first really successful women at Dain Bosworth, which is now RBC. I started as one of her assistants and now she’s a client of mine.

IB: read anything interesting lately?
Yes! A Curious Mind: The Secret to a Bigger Life by Brian Grazer, a producer who has worked with director Ron Howard.

IB: Other interests?
I can’t live without snow skiing! My husband and I met in the first aid class for ski patrol, and we just finished our 26th year on ski patrol at Devil’s Head.

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