Mary Hagerman helps people develop a healthy relationship with their money.
For more than 30 years, Mary has worked as a discretionary money manager—meaning, she systematically creates her own portfolios, then places her clients in different funds based on their specific risk tolerance.
She’s been fascinated by financial wellbeing since she was a teenager.
As a young girl growing up in Ontario, she saw friends from wealthier families going to Europe for finishing school, where they learned multiple languages and travelled around the continent.
Mary’s family couldn’t afford the same luxuries.
“Money makes the world go ‘round. So much of what people do and think about is related to money. As a teenager, watching other girls ship out for finishing school was my first realization of the disparity between the haves and the have nots.”
Ever since then, Mary’s wanted to ensure that neither her clients nor their children have to feel ostracized because of money.
“When my kids ask me what I do, I tell them people give me their money so I can give them back more in return. I help them have the best financial future possible—not only for themselves, but for the people they love, too.”
After decades of helping people, Mary noticed a consistent pattern: people rarely treated their financial wellbeing with the same discipline as their physical wellness.
She was consistently disappointed and surprised to find that people spent so much time thinking about and working on their physical health without integrating finance into their wellness equation.
“I work with a lot of people who do CrossFit, run marathons, or eat vegetarian. Yet most of them aren’t happy with their financial situation. Why couldn’t they devote that same discipline and focus to money?”
After working through the same fears and sticking points with many clients over the course of decades, Mary decided to share her formula for financial success with the world.
She wanted more people outside her sphere of influence to get healthy financially, but to achieve her goal, she’d have to figure out a way to leverage her knowledge.
Mary researched every financial book she could get her hands on, and she found a gap: the current literature was mostly focused on the logistics of investing, how to build a portfolio, and financial tools.
Mary, on the other hand, wanted to focus more on people’s relationship with money.
“I wanted to write a clear statement of my investment philosophy, which included my personal story.”
She needed a way to help guide people through her financial wellness framework without working with her directly, so she decided to write a book.
Mary found an idyllic spot in the mountains—in her cottage overlooking a lake—to set out on her writing journey.
Mary’s book-writing process started positively. She wrote every day and felt great about the material.
But she quickly ran into problems with the details.
“I didn’t know if I should write in first person or third person. I had all these quotes from philosophers, Bruce Lee, and Warren Buffett, but I didn’t know how to weave them in. I knew my framework, and I knew my content. I just didn’t know what the heck to do with all of it or how to actually make it a book.”
Mary finally sought outside help to tie her material together in a cohesive and instructive book.
Mary has a very serious day job and clients she truly cares about, so she couldn’t spend the better part of a year sequestered in a remote Canadian cabin.
That’s when she heard Tucker Max talking on Lewis Howes’s The School of Greatness Podcast. Tucker talked about how many people had books in their heads but never got their ideas into the world. He then mentioned his company, Scribe, which helped people write their nonfiction books in less than a year.
“I said, ‘Holy crap! This is exactly what I need.’ They had a framework to get ideas out of people’s heads and into a book. I’m a business person, so it irritates me to do something myself that could be done quicker and better by somebody else.”
She knew Scribe could help her, but she still had nerves about the process. Mary knew that their book-writing process was based on her talking through the ideas of her book. She wondered if they would simply take her spoken words and put the transcript directly on the page.
“Are they just going to write down everything I say? How professional will that sound? Will it sound like me?”
Once she started on her book, she saw her fears were unfounded.
From the beginning of her outlining process to the end of edits, Mary’s writing experience was the perfect mix of helpful guidance and creative freedom. She felt much more prepared to share her ideas with the world than she did when she wrote in her secluded cottage.
“My scribe jumped into my socks and made my story and my teaching points come to life through every chapter. I never would have finished my book without Scribe. Everyone from my scribe to my publishing manager was always so upbeat and encouraging.”
After all of her hard work, the most emotional part of the process for Mary was when she held her first copy of the book.
“I’ve had three kids, and I love them with all my heart. Holding my book for the first time felt like holding my fourth baby.”
Mary finished the book and shared her knowledge with her friends, family, and even celebrity author Stedman Graham.
Mary first launched The Black Belt Investor in front of nearly 100 people—including family and friends—in her beautiful office in Montreal.
“We’d just had a snowstorm in the area, and some friends had driven five hours to be there. It was such an incredible moment. I told my husband, ‘I don’t know if I can talk about my book—this is too emotional.’”
Mary delivered a riveting talk. Afterwards, her friends approached her in droves, all eager to share their love and support. What surprised her most about the evening was a recurring piece of feedback she’d never expected: people gushed about her being an inspiration for women of all ages.
That evening cemented in Mary’s mind once and for all that she was a published author and a role model. But she still had no idea how successful her book would become.
Since that evening, Mary has been featured in major English and French publications such as The Suburban, Finance et Investissement, Wealth Professional Canada, and others. Mary was also interviewed about The Black Belt Investor on CTV News.
She has spoken at and moderated for multiple conferences, including the 2018 ETF Forum in Toronto and the Desjardins Securities Conference for women in the financial industry.
While at the ETF Forum, Mary shared her book with author and speaker Stedman Graham.
It was a huge moment for Mary—she had joined the tradition of influential women in the same vein as Stedman’s partner, Oprah Winfrey.
“There is a real need for women speakers, especially in the financial world. I still can’t believe it when people come up to me and say I’m a role model for women everywhere. I just want young girls and families everywhere to have the opportunities I never did.”