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From wishful hope to realised confidence, dreams can come true

Having found love later in life, Erica Steen and Lee Munn’s journey had all the makings of a Hollywood blockbuster – without the pre-retirement plan.

“It was amazing meeting Lee, we had both been in previous relationships and had adult children, and I guess in your 50’s you don’t necessarily expect to find another soul mate,” Erica reflects fondly. While the MacKay couple has been together 16 years, it was only in the past three that they started seriously considering their pre-retirement needs. And thus, with neither owning any property independently, and Erica having inherited a small sum from her elderly mother after she passed away, it was with slight trepidation the couple approached Invest Blue for a home loan.


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“It was our absolute dream to purchase a home together, but one we felt could be unrealistic given our age. We also fantasized about travelling overseas, but again didn’t like to get our hopes up.”

Yet, after an initial consultation with Invest Blue Gladstone’s Regina Taarnby, the couple’s ‘happily ever after’ storyline was suddenly in sight.

“I was immediately struck by Regina’s genuine interest in us, of what we wanted, how we could achieve it, and what were our ultimate hopes and dreams.”

To their delight, Invest Blue reconfigured their super plans to best service them through retirement, and the couple was successful in securing a home loan.

“Neither of us had given retirement a second thought, but as we are starting to approach the end of our working life we began to worry that we may not be able to afford the lifestyle we currently enjoy. We now have full confidence that our super is being managed for the best returns, but Invest Blue also facilitated the purchase of our first home together, which we didn’t think would be possible.”


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After years of renting, Erica said the feeling of owning their own home is indescribable.

“Truly, every day I wake up and am grateful this is ours. It’s been a long time since either of us owned a home, and it brings us great joy.” For Erica, it’s the small things that bring her the greatest pleasure. “Planting a garden, rather than maintaining pot plants to move from rental to rental, and hanging treasures such as the grandkids’ paintings on the walls are so special, and we can do it – because it’s ours!”

If they hadn’t visited Invest Blue three years ago, Erica admits they would have continued ‘plodding along, hoping things worked out’.

“Now we don’t hope, we know we have full confidence that we will have financial safety and security in our future retirement.”

And, as the icing on the cake, the couple even has their long dreamed of an overseas trip in the pipeline.  “My mother was English and I have some of her ashes to spread there, and Lee has Scottish ancestry – neither of us has traveled before, so this really will be a once in a lifetime trip for us. It’s a couple of years down the track for us financially, but it’s now a reality, which is a dream come true.”


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Meanwhile, Lee and Erica are busy juggling careers – Erica in childcare and Lee in hospitality retail management, with a DIY renovation on their beloved home.

“It’s been fun knocking down walls and painting– we’re now in the final stages and it’s been so satisfying making something we never thought possible, our own. Lee and I are so very grateful for the support and positive attitude, not just of Regina but everyone at Invest Blue – from the administration staff right through. Everyone is so caring and felt genuinely invested in our cause, it’s like we were all old friends.”

Likewise, Invest Blue advisor Regina Taarnby said it was a delight following Lee and Erica’s journey. “Their goal was to put in a pre-retirement plan and to purchase a house, but they were convinced they would never be homeowners. Fast forward just three years and they have their house which they have been renovating, many a weekend trip to Bunnings much to their delight and we have put a pre-retirement plan in place that allows them to build wealth for retirement, whilst taking advantage of TTR pensions/tax efficiencies.”

“Seeing their demeanour and financial habits change for the better over the past three years has been a joy for me to watch,” Regina smiles.


If this is a story you can relate to, it might be worth reaching out to one of our advisers. We are passionate about helping people and love the opportunity to work with couples to clarify their goals and figure out a plan to make the most important things happen.

Financial Planning can help you to live your best possible life now and in retirement. Contact us.

What you need to know

This information is provided by Invest Blue Pty Ltd (ABN 91 100 874 744). The information contained in this article is of general nature only and does not take into account the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular person. Therefore, before making any decision, you should consider the appropriateness of the advice with regards to those matters and seek personal financial, tax and/or legal advice prior to acting on this information. Read our Financial Services Guide for information about our services, including the fees and other benefits that AMP companies and their representatives may receive in relations to products and services provided to you.

These clients have agreed to share their story. Everyone’s situation is different, so their choices and outcomes will be different to yours. Consider your circumstances before deciding what’s right for you.