How to build wealth in a tough economy: PureFacts experts share their tips

How to build wealth in a tough economy: PureFacts experts share their tips

Robert Madej and Gerard Daniels want to help everyday Canadians get on top of their finances — and change the way business is done.

PureFacts CEO Robert Madej is on a mission to do business differently. While the company he founded provides software solutions for some of the world’s top financial-services firms, Madej’s main goal isn’t to make the rich even richer. He wants PureFacts to provide as many people as possible with wealth-building opportunities that can make a difference. With that in mind, the company has launched corporate citizenship initiatives where employees give back to communities, mentor students and provide scholarships. The inspiration? His mom.

“My mom is my hero,” Madej says. “She went back to college to become a nurse while raising four kids by herself. And she was a prolific budgeter and saver.” When Madej attended the University of Waterloo to study mathematics, his mom joined him to pursue her own dream of studying math. They both received their bachelor’s degrees on the same day in 1992.

Inspired by his mom’s work ethic, Madej and his brother Craig launched a software company in 1997. Many of their clients were financial services firms that needed help with billing and revenue management. In 2010, they decided to focus the entire business on solving those issues using advanced mathematics, data analytics and artificial intelligence, and they spun out PureFacts as a new venture.

Gerard Daniels, PureFacts CFO and head of corporate development, explains, “We help our clients calculate and collect their revenue and simplify the process of billing for their own clients.”

In 2020, PureFacts acquired Quartal Financial Solutions. It now employs 112 people and operates in North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific.

Here, Madej and Daniels share their reasons for giving back to the community, helpful budgeting tips, and what’s better than a trip to the Caribbean.

In addition to helping corporate clients, why is it important for you to help everyday Canadians build wealth?

Madej: I grew up with a single mom and Gerard’s family immigrated to Canada from South Africa in 1979. We know that growing wealth is difficult and there are few avenues available to Canadians. That’s why this company and its mission are so dear to Gerard and me. We believe that everybody can learn to save a little better, invest a bit more long-term, and grow wealthier. And wealth creates opportunity.

PureFacts gets employees involved in the community, which is a refreshing alternative to “forced fun” types of team-building activities. Why is that such a priority?

Daniels: It’s in the company’s DNA: We’ve all been given opportunities and we want to lift others up along the way. So, we started a program around three pillars: food and shelter, support in education and meaningful employment. We have 36 employees who volunteer. They’ve worked with The Daily Bread Food Bank, raised $10,000 in support of Ukraine and partnered with LIGA Foundations in Lisbon, a non-profit institution that trains people in situations of vulnerability. In 2021, we began providing $132,000 worth of scholarships for more than 30 students over five years, working with the University of Toronto, the University of Waterloo and the University of Guelph. And we offer mentorship, networking opportunities and interview preparation assistance and internship opportunities. We have seen great success with this.

Why is it important for employees to mentor students?

Madej: We decided to set up scholarships for first-year students who were in the situation I was in, where you deserve to be at university but can’t really afford it. We wanted to do more than just give money, we also wanted to say, ‘As you think about your career, what are the options?’ Or maybe you’re preparing for a job interview, and you can ask your mentor how that goes. Our staff has absolutely loved it.

What advice do you have for Canadians who are struggling financially right now?

Madej: Every bear market in history has been followed by a bull market. It feels really bad now, but there is going to be an upswing later. We don’t know when, but it makes sense to stay invested, keep saving and make deposits where you can, even if it’s half of what you used to be able to save. That discipline will pay off in the long run.
Daniels: When Canadians work with a financial advisor, they will be better off — partly because they think about your long-term goals, not just from a monetary perspective, but around how you want to live your life and what matters to you. Then, they put a financial plan in place to help you achieve that, including how to help you navigate through economic ups and downs.

Any takeaway lessons from your mother you could share?

Madej: Budget a little tighter, cook at home instead of ordering in, and remember that the most important things in life aren’t about money. Go for a walk with the kids, play a game, share some moments together. You don’t have to visit an all-inclusive resort in the Caribbean to have a good holiday with your family.

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Photo: PureFacts CEO Robert Madej, left, and Gerard Daniels, the company’s CFO and head of corporate development. Courtesy of PureFacts.