Sydneysider Lyn Morrison became a single mum to two young kids in her early thirties and worked tirelessly for years to ensure that the family could afford to stay in their existing home and that her children were provided for. It often meant having to take on two jobs at once. Now, at the age of 71, Lyn is living in a wonderful lifestyle village for the over-fifties that is home to a vibrant and supportive community. She is a proud grandmother and feels blessed to have the financial freedom to retire comfortably and simply enjoy life. Not to mention, looking forward to a rescheduled Alaskan trip (postponed due to Covid-19) and other great travel adventures with friends.
Some of the best decisions in life are the ones you can’t possibly plan for. That’s certainly been the case for Lyn. The first time was about 30 years ago when a teenage friend of her son came into her life and ended up being adopted by Lyn. Her three adult children (two daughters and a son) now have nine kids between them aged between 8 and 19, all of whom Lyn dotes on.
The other unexpected decision is a more recent one. Lyn wanted to be there for moral support when a friend was looking to buy a home a few years ago in a stylish estate designed specifically for the over-fifties. Lyn and her friend both loved what they saw and on a bit of a whim, Lyn made an offer on a home of her own. And with on-site facilities such as a café, swimming pool, cinema, gym and clubhouse, it’s easy to see the appeal. The village is home to a close-knit community and between movies, dinners, choir practice, dancing, book club and travels with fellow residents, Lyn is a busy retiree…
Helping Lyn to make the most of these golden years is Michael Craig from Invest Blue’s Penrith office in Western Sydney.
“Michael really knows his stuff. As well as being very knowledgeable, he’s a lovely person. He explains everything in layman’s terms and never talks down to me.
I consider myself pretty cluey but there are still some things that are beyond me, for example, I find the Centrelink stuff a nightmare! Michael’s always more than willing to help.
He’s an all-around good guy, hence the reason I’ve introduced others to him with the confidence that they will be well looked after. I had one particular friend who needed a lot of hand-holding in regard to their finances and Michael was terrific.”
And what does having a financial expert in her life mean? I ask.
“It brings complete peace of mind. Absolutely. I know that what I have will last me to my demise,” Lyn says with a laugh…
Even all these years on, those periods of financial hardship and the challenges of raising her children alone remain very vivid for Lyn.
“Back then it was financially scary to be a single mum. I never thought I would find myself in that position. I wondered if I could keep the house and provide for my kids. I had to refinance the original mortgage. That’s how I kept our heads above water for those first several years. We were so broke when the kids were little that I said to myself, ‘When I’m rich, I’m going to have good toilet paper and nice soap. In those days, we had to get the cheapest of both and they were horrible.“
Lyn worked incredibly hard to achieve financial independence. She had fulfilling jobs in finance and the motor industry and was earning well. Lyn has owned investment properties and businesses but as she got older and less money was coming in, Lyn lost confidence in handling her own financial matters. That was her motivation in seeking expert advice from a financial planner.
Lyn has certainly come a long way and has much to be proud of.
“I’m a very strong, resilient and independent person but I didn’t feel any of those things when the marriage broke down.”
Longevity in busy, well-paid roles meant being able to support the family but Lyn also took the opportunity to reward herself and those she loves along the way. “When the kids were younger, it was important to me that they experience life and see other cultures. For example, trekking in the Himalayas together was a wonderful and memorable trip.
And just last year, my 70th birthday present to myself and the entire family was a holiday in Fiji.
There were 17 of us in all. We were so lucky to go in January before the international border closed.”
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Lyn feels fortunate to be in a position to spoil the family. They are her greatest achievement. ‘When it comes to what makes me proud, it is family – first, second and third.” She says they even jokingly call her ‘Nannabank’. “When the nine grandchildren were born, I put something away so that when they turn 21, they’ll get a certain amount of money. Of course, I would hope they would be sensible in what they choose to do with it, but a gift is a gift, and I can’t tell them how to spend their money.”
Lyn is content in the here and now.
Those days of chasing opportunities so that she could stand on her own two feet are long behind her. “I’m not goal-driven anymore,” she says.
“I feel like I’ve done all the things I was supposed to do as far as providing for my family and in relation to my own fulfilment, too. I’m where I’m meant to be.” And, just as Lyn always hoped, she has the lovely soft toilet paper and quality soap to prove it!
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