Financial hardship has been a stress Christine Hornby lived with throughout much of her adult life, causing many tears and sleepless nights. Living day to day, Christine admits that preparing for retirement was given very little consideration.
Never then, could this hard-working mother of two have imaged that after just one meeting with Invest Blue adviser, Luke Bowler, she and husband David could consider living a comfortable, financially stress-free retirement well beyond anything they ever dreamed of.
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After her first marriage broke down Christine was left with nothing. The family home and business were lost and her credit-rating was affected by her ex-husband’s gambling problem. When she met David, whose own wealth had been split due to divorce, she was ‘stone broke’ and just grateful that his modest two-bedroom villa provided a roof over their heads.
“We were so broke we’d sit back and laugh about it, joking that clearly we didn’t love each other for our money!”
Yet it was hard to laugh off the stress-induced amnesia Christine suffered two years ago, her sudden memory loss so severe she ended up in a hospital. Working 12 hours a day, six days a week, David and her two sons decided something needed to give, and with her illness coinciding with an exciting new job opportunity for David, Christine, at 62, retired.
With a company car and a significant pay rise, David was able to support the couple while Christine recuperated. Whilst the couple still had a mortgage, Christine said they were able to relax and enjoy their newfound lifestyle – until things turned sour. A bad turn of events at work saw David’s blood pressure rise and his mental health deteriorate, and he was eventually offered a redundancy.
At 59, and having worked in a highly physical gardening role, David was realistic that employment options were slim at his age. And with seven more years left before he could receive the pension, the couple’s financial woes returned.
“We didn’t even know where to start, it was a shocking time, and again we were suddenly under an enormous amount of financial, and physical, stress.”
However, something clicked for Christine, a comment her now late brother had said to her when she went through her divorce, years prior. He had suggested she visit his adviser, Luke Bowler of Invest Blue. Christine and David admit they weren’t sure what to expect upon their initial meeting with a financial adviser, however, it proved far more than they could ever have imagined.
Having collated and reviewed all their super from over their years, Luke delivered to them the magic words Christine and David never thought they’d hear.
“He just looked at us and smiled, and said ‘David, you can retire now if you like, everything is in place’ – we just looked at each other in shock, we couldn’t even talk!” Christine laughs.
David had been collecting super since his first job at 16, and Christine had been picking up bits and pieces during her working life from a number of different jobs, some in her previous married name, and some in her current name.
“It was our own fault we’d never investigated our super, we both worked such long hours, and we just kept putting it off.”
David had previously sold an investment property to pay out their mortgage and debts, and having assessed their financials Luke assured the couple they could live off the savings from this sale, while he invested their super.
“It was quite incredible really, Luke was able to look into our super and finances and work out a retirement plan for us, all whilst we had no idea we were even in a position to retire!”
Luke was also invaluable helping Christine access her pension, and she admitted that without his help she found the process rigorous, time-consuming and difficult.
“I’d applied to Centrelink online about six times but kept getting rejected, Luke literally had it done in five minutes and was able to organise me a full pension.”
With David’s redundancy payment Luke encouraged the couple to undertake a home renovation they had long dreamed of.
A new kitchen, bathroom, flooring and paint throughout has given their ‘modest’ villa an overhaul that they can enjoy.
“For years we had been living on concrete flooring after pulling up mouldy carpet, we couldn’t afford the carpet – but now the whole place looks amazing.”
With this major expense now out of the way, next on the agenda is travel, with Luke suggesting the pair to take a trip – although with David a self-confessed homebody, Chris admits it may take a while.
Slowly settling into their new routine, the couple is excited about the future, and Chris laughs that if they were able to maintain a happy relationship before, imagine how happy they will be now with their money worries behind them.
“Luke and Invest Blue literally took all our worries away, we never imagined we would be able to retire this early, or this comfortably – I can’t even begin to imagine what may have happened if not for Luke.”
Planning for retirement can seem daunting, and it can be hard to know where to start. But you don’t have to do it alone. Working with a professional financial planner can make it a whole lot easier and stress-free, and your first meeting is complimentary. Contact us today to get started.
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