Keeping busy with the bees

June 7th 2018

A bee keeper holds a beehive frame dripping with honey in the sunlight.

While being told to ‘spend up’ may sound like a dream come true, for Manilla retiree’s Ian and Kathy Sinclair, it’s a notion they admit they’re still getting their heads around.

At 71, and after a lifetime of hard work, raising four children and little discretionary spending, Ian admits that he’s not used to fancy holidays and spending sprees – but that’s exactly what his financial advice from Invest Blue Armidale adviser Steve Sewell recommends.

“We first saw Steve a number of years ago, we had some money put aside and realised that with retirement approaching, we really had to think about the best way to make that money work for us.”

With Ian originally from Sydney and Kathy from the USA, the couple spent 30 years farming pigs on their acreage, before purchasing a local school bus run, which they operated for ten years.

Like most country people, Ian describes his approach to spending as extremely conservative, believing there was enough risk in agriculture without being extravagant.

However now in retirement the couple is having to get used to some unexpected, yet well deserved, indulgences.

“Steve keeps telling us we have to have a holiday and go spend our money!”

Ian admits he knew little of superannuation or any ‘tricks of the trade’ until he met with Steve, who he credits with minimising their tax enormously and putting systems in place to ensure their funds work to their greatest advantage.

“The past eight years with Steve have obviously worked wonders, we were in a position where we weren’t sure what our retirement would look like, and now he keeps telling us to go and spend our money!”

A trip to Indonesia for their son’s wedding, a holiday in Samoa and an upcoming tour of Western Australia are all part of the Sinclair’s newfound agenda.

And the passionate beekeepers could perhaps be the region’s original hipsters, with trendsetters swarming to apiculture like bees to the honeypot.

Ian-and-Kathy-Sinclair-Invest Blue

Having kept bees for over 40 years Ian admits he’s not surprised apiculture has become such a popular backyard hobby.

“I studied at Hawkesbury Ag College and took a beekeeping subject over 50 years ago now, I’ve always found it fascinating, for several years I reared and sold queen bees to other beekeepers before the pigs took over my time – but I’m not often ahead of the trend!”

While Ian and Kathy retired two years ago, with 50 hives on their 70 acres the active couple show little sign of slowing down.

Yet, as clients of Invest Blue, Ian and Kathy are grateful that they can now afford a retirement with the freedom to pursue such a hobby.

“We sell our honey through three local suppliers, so make a bit of money out of it, but it’s nice not to have to rely on the income,” Ian admits.

Steve’s investment advice has ensured a steady retirement income for the couple, with any extra money made from beekeeping or the cattle the couple run considered an added bonus.

“It’s reassuring to know you have an income you can rely on, and it feels strange, but good, to actually spend it.”

“There’s always plenty to do and spend on, even on a small farm, and while once painting the house seemed indulgent, now we feel confident renovating and making improvements.”

Ian considers one of his greatest challenges for the future is deciding how much to spend and how much to give away, however Steve is currently working through a number of strategies with the couple surrounding this issue.

And while Ian acknowledges that his bees and honey require, at times, a significant workload, he’s grateful to have the freedom to pursue his passion.

“Now to just find the time to take these much-encouraged holidays,” Ian laughs.

Would you like to work with one of our advisers to plan your ideal retirement? Get in touch.

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