Lillian Jones from Queensland’s Ipswich region is delighted to have proven all the naysayers wrong – those who said that 16 was far too young to get married. 47 years on, life is great for Lillian and her husband Rick. They still make a great team, are proud parents and grandparents and are thoroughly enjoying their retirement years. We caught up with them to find out how crossing paths with Invest Blue Financial Planner, Shaun Akroyd helped them chart a new course…
In 2015, Rick and Lillian Jones went along out of curiosity to an information session on retirement.
They were both still working but had high hopes of buying a 4WD and travelling around Australia and didn’t want to put it off for too long. They had concerns, however, that overspending on such a trip would leave them short later on.
Despite being a few years off retirement (Lillian was 57 and Rick was 60), 2015 had delivered some curveballs that made ceasing work all the more appealing. Earlier in the year whilst travelling in New Zealand, Rick and Lillian had been involved in a car accident which resulted in a broken back for Lillian. She returned to work after nine months but even then, it was challenging.
For the better part of 30 years, Lillian had run a swim school from home. She estimates having taught an incredible 3,000 children how to swim. After the accident though, Lillian struggled to lift the kids as was often necessary in lessons and realized that it was time for a change. Rick, an employee of Australia Post for 45 years, was also suffering from chronic fatigue so the couple figured it was worth doing some sums to see if retirement was a viable option. And who better to ask than the bloke who had just delivered an informative talk on retirement living!
“Before that particular function, we’d never thought about talking to a financial adviser,” says Lillian.
“Rick and I were both very wary about trusting someone with our life savings, but Shaun had a very easy manner and was very likeable. For me, when I meet people, it’s often a gut feel, and I’d like to think I’m a good judge of character. Although we didn’t know him, my instincts told me I was right to put our trust in Shaun.”
Unsure if they could manage long-term on their existing savings, Rick and Lillian left it to the expert to do all the sums. Shaun weighs in, “We assisted Rick and Lillian with all the areas of advice and to ensure they could achieve this goal. We got everything in order and showed them the financial modelling of what their future lives would look like.”
“Shaun came back to us and said, ‘You’re all set, have fun!’ He gave us the reassurance we needed and in 2016, we retired,” says Lillian.
Shaun was pleased to be in a position to help then and several years on, the great working relationship continues.
“We’re coming up to our sixth year of being by Rick and Lillian’s side and we continue to keep them on track to ensure they can continue to enjoy life without financial worry,” he says.
During that time, Shaun, who specialises in financial advice for retirement living and aged care, also helped settle Rick’s mother into aged care. Lillian says that Shaun was incredibly helpful and supportive during this time and made everything so much easier.
“His expertise proved so beneficial because again, we were unsure about all of the processes involved.”
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Life in retirement has proven to be an absolute delight for Rick and Lillian. They’ve had quality time with their adult children, Adrian and Renee and their lovely partners as well as their four grandchildren who range in age from 26 to just four years of age. The Jones’ have experienced wonderful adventures in their caravan and met amazing people during their travels, many of whom they remain in contact with. They’ve also kept themselves busy, be it pottering in the garden or volunteering with the local church for Lillian or tinkering in the shed for Rick.
And when border restrictions ease, further travels are on the horizon. Once on the road again, their trusty sidekick, Milly the shoodle, will be by their side. In all the trips to date, Rick has been the driver, Milly the co-pilot and Lillian the navigator.
Lillian is incredibly proud of the life she and Rick have made together. “I’m pleased to have proven those wrong who were certain I was too young for our marriage to work. We’ve outlasted everyone! I think it takes a special couple to make a marriage work and we’re both very fortunate in that we’re on the same page which is great.”
The couple is also very proud to be debt-free. “We owe money to no one.” Lillian adds, “Shaun has taken our financial worries away and we have our trust in him to always do the right thing by us. We’re not kept up at night worrying about the nex dollar.
Sure, we appreciate that the market fluctuates from time to time, but we know we have money set aside each week and that is all we need. I would say we live quite frugally and take out the minimum amount but that is our choice and Shaun has said all we need to do is call him if we need access to more money. He is always very open and communicative.”
Lillian admits to being out of her depth with complex financial matters which is why she appreciates having a financial adviser. She says it is never too early to chat to an expert.
“Whatever stage in life you’re at, it’s worth biting the bullet and learning to trust.”
Lillian has referred her daughter Renee and her partner to Shaun as they too are eyeing off early retirement. Of course, Renee has seen her parents thrive since retiring and it’s no surprise that she would strive for the same thing.
Lillian laughs as she tells me, “In this household, we consider ‘work’ a dirty word these days…. but honestly, we both feel very lucky that we could retire when we did. We haven’t looked back since.”
It’s lovely to chat to someone – who, in her own words is ‘completely content’. For Lillian, friends and family bring great fulfilment, travels have been many and joyous but let’s not forget the importance of a long and happy marriage to that 19-year-old fella who first caught her eye over the counter during her shift at Woollies all those years ago…
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Connect with Shaun on LinkedIn here.
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