Tess Zigo of Emerge Wealth Strategies: “Value yourself”

Value yourself. If you don’t value your time, your services, and your experience no one else will. The COVID19 pandemic has disrupted all of our lives. But sometimes disruptions can be times of opportunity. Many people’s livelihoods have been hurt by the pandemic. But some saw this as an opportune time to take their lives in […]

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Value yourself. If you don’t value your time, your services, and your experience no one else will.

The COVID19 pandemic has disrupted all of our lives. But sometimes disruptions can be times of opportunity. Many people’s livelihoods have been hurt by the pandemic. But some saw this as an opportune time to take their lives in a new direction.

As a part of this series called “How I Was Able To Pivot To A New Exciting Opportunity Because Of The Pandemic”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Tess Zigo

Tess Zigo has a Bachelors in Finance, Masters in Accounting with her CPA and is a CFP® practitioner. She is an avid learner and has a passion for all things money: from being mindful about your spending, saving and investing responsibly in line with your goals and values. When she is not advising clients or getting her CFP® continuing education credits, you can find her traveling, spending time with family and having coffee with friends.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we start, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?

I grew up in Bulgaria in the 1980’s with my parents and older sister. We were an extremely close knit family and my grandparents practically lived with us to we had the opportunity to spend many hours with them hearing about their childhood which was drastically different from ours (my grandpa was sold as a herd boy to settle his dad’s debt to an uncle in the mountains of Bulgaria and somehow he still managed to go to school and become an engineer). There is so much power in stories. As a teenager my parents upended us and moved us to Botswana, Africa and that was a tough experience-we left everyone and everything that was familiar thousands of miles behind-it taught me grit, hard work and the power of coaching (I had an English tutor without whom I wouldn’t have survived moving to a country not knowing the language).

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago” Warren Buffet

In life and in investing you have to have perseverance-there will be twists and turns but you have to stick to your long term goal and work hard to get to where you want to go.

Is there a particular book, podcast, or film that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

The Stoning of Soraya M. (2008) really stands out-I remember seeing this as a young woman and recognizing how lucky I am to live in a society where women are not as highly oppressed but as part of that realizing that as global citizens we each have a part to play to end such atrocities towards other humans.

Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. Can you tell our readers about your career experience before the Pandemic began?

I’d say financial services is a field that is slower to change (due to the many regulating bodies that govern us) so my business was very much traditional in the sense that client meetings usually took place in my office either after work hours since my clients are mostly professionals or on weekends.

What did you do to pivot as a result of the Pandemic?

Once we were forced to shut down and work remote I realized that the only way to continue serving my clients was through technology and video calls. I have clients who prefer meeting in person but with Covid and the current environment we were all forced to adapt.

Can you tell us about the specific “Aha moment” that gave you the idea to start this new path?

Having tools such as zoom/webex and being able to see clients, share screen and still have productive conversations about my clients’ ever changing life, goals and financials made me realize that video meetings can be an important part of my practice- it makes it easier for my clients who no longer have to drive in traffic after their long work days and also helps me balance my work/life not having to drive to the office for meetings. I am saving many hours every week that I can spend on value added activities that I wouldn’t have had the time to do before-such as creating educational content to share financial strategies that could help someone.

How are things going with this new initiative?

I’d say even clients who weren’t fond of the video call idea have now become converts. While I envision some clients would love to come back into my office and have an in person meeting once a year I think many will be ok with shifting to a virtual meeting model.

Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

Cant think of one

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started in this new direction?

One of my clients moved to North Carolina because she no longer has to be close to her physical office and she was able to do a virtual tour of her new condo for me, I met all her pets and we had a glass of wine over zoom. It’s been wonderful to see clients in their own home, meet their pets, their kids in the background etc. I think they feel comfortable in their home and they can talk about money in a more relaxed manner.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started leading my organization” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

  1. You need to be patient-overnight success is rare.
  2. You need the support of your family -running a business is hard, you absolutely need your significant other’s support to have a fighting chance.
  3. Don’t be afraid to ask for help-from your spouse, your colleagues, coaches.
  4. Know your strengths and your weakness-if you aren’t good at something, outsource.
  5. Value yourself. If you don’t value your time, your services, and your experience no one else will.

So many of us have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. Can you share the strategies that you have used to optimize your mental wellness during this stressful period?

I bought a stationary bike when I could no longer hit the gym and try to build it into my schedule-I do a ton of continuing education webex classes so I hop on my bike and make my fitness my priority.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?

I think we all need to think about the kind of world we want to live in and take small, daily steps to create it.

For example, I took the pledge of supporting businesses that have a purpose this holiday season so I am actively looking to buy gifts from companies on a mission to support their communities, reduce climate change and do good.

Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have lunch with, and why? Maybe we can tag them and see what happens!

I’d love to have lunch with Oprah, I just appreciate her energy and the positive messages she brings to the world. My favorite is her message on “following your gut” and I think that’s an important message in business and your personal life.

How can our readers follow you online?

Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!


This interview is meant to be general, and it is not investment or financial advice or a recommendation of any kind. Please consult your financial advisor before making financial decisions. For more detailed information, contact Tess Zigo, a Financial Advisor with Waddell & Reed, Inc. at 630–864–1068

Securities and investment products and services offered through Waddell & Reed, Inc. (WRI), member FINRA/SIPC. Emerge Wealth Strategies is a separate entity from WRI.

Tess Zigo, CFP®

Financial Advisor

Emerge Wealth Strategies

4300 Commerce Ct., Ste 105, Lisle, IL 60532

Mobile: (630) 864–1068


Email: [email protected]

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