There’s nothing quite like a global pandemic that grounds your industry to a complete halt to prompt a closer look at your financial position. This was the situation travel agent Mandy Patterson found herself in in early 2020.
Fortunately, Mandy and her husband Gary had financial planner David French on their side to help them through this challenging period. These days, Mandy is back doing what she does best and she’s embracing being busy again. She loves getting her clients back in the air and off on their grand adventures. We spoke to Mandy to find out more…
Sydneysiders Mandy Patterson (60) and Gary Henderson (72) have been clients of David French for a few years now. Prior to connecting with David, they had sought financial advice elsewhere, but Mandy grew tired of always feeling like a small fish in a big pond. Another frustration with that same company was that their financial adviser kept changing. Mandy asked one of her clients who worked in the financial sector for a referral.
“When my client told me, ‘David is the person I’ll put my money with when I retire’ that was a terrific endorsement and we followed up.”
Mandy and Gary have a great working relationship with David French and Sydney’s Norwest Baulkham Hills team. After 30 years in the travel industry, Mandy knows well the importance of establishing strong personal relationships.
“I’ve learnt that people prefer doing business with someone they know, like and trust. That’s what we have with David and Invest Blue and we really value that.”
Mandy adds, “David is terrific. He’s chilled and approachable as well as being honest and transparent.”
Honesty, Mandy says, is a hugely important value of hers in both business and in life. ‘I respect people with the backbone to communicate honestly with others. I value knowing the bad and the good – understanding the full picture is vital.”
That honesty has come to the fore in recent years as the couple found themselves in unfamiliar territory with regard to their long-term corporate careers.
“From a financial standpoint, David has helped us through some unexpected challenges such as Gary being let go from a senior management position at short notice due to a business restructure.”
This change, like the pandemic, was unforeseen and certainly not part of the couple’s strategic plan for Gary’s retirement. David was able to guide the couple through the transition. Gary is now semi-retired, and an allocated pension has been established.
The next curveball was of course, COVID-19. Mandy’s livelihood as a self-employed business owner disappeared overnight. “Having been in the industry for a long time and having worked for QANTAS for many years, I’d obviously experienced the industry’s ups and down such as the GFC, 9/11 and the Bali Bombings but this was completely different. Previously, major disruptions to travel had a shelf life and people resumed travel but the pandemic just went on and on with no sign of our international border reopening. The cancellations just kept coming.”
Fortunately, Mandy’s superannuation served as a safety net, and she was able to draw funds from there. Again, David’s support and the financial strategies in place proved to be a lifeline.
Mandy is delighted that people are travelling once more. “From what I’m seeing, people feel that they have missed out on two years of their lives, and many are planning or heading off on those big bucket list trips.”
And when it comes to Mandy and Gary and their own bucket list, that’s looking great, too.
“Thanks to David, we have all of our ducks in a row, and we have a strategy for where we want to go and how we want to live.”
In the next few years, Mandy and Gary will sell their home and downsize. This will provide even more financial freedom. The couple also very much look forward to more travel. Naturally, Mandy can put together some spectacular trips. There are plans to head off to East Africa for a luxury safari – a belated 70th birthday celebration for Gary. It would certainly beat the very low-key lockdown gathering of last year! Antarctica is on the agenda for early 2024 and this year, the pair will return to Fiji’s Vomo Island, a resort they first visited in the early days of their romance 12 years ago.
Financial independence and being able to make the most of life while they are still healthy and mobile means so much to these two. ‘It’s time to seize the day and make the best of your life while you can,” says Mandy. And if that doesn’t sound like someone living their best possible life, we don’t know what does!
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