Few could have predicted the complete turmoil COVID-19 reigned on the world economy, and the financial casualties faced by households across the globe. Invest Blue clients Libby Smith and her partner Igor were one such couple thrown into disarray when the travel industry, within which Igor worked, was shuttered almost overnight.
The ability to provide meaningful support to someone when they are at their most vulnerable is a rare privilege. Invest Blue has been working with The Cancer Council for a number of years now to provide complimentary advice to cancer patients and their families, helping to ease the financial pressure during these difficult times.
We spoke with Tamworth Adviser Adam and Relationship Manager Bec about their experiences.
For Tamworth’s Belinda Butler, a highly-researched book writing project, the thrill of playing music, and the wonder of overseas travel were all beloved endeavours sacrificed after bad financial advice. For so many years financial stress had Belinda shackled, now thanks to Invest Blue she is once again able to find the joy in her pursuits, and there’s no doubt this hard-working talent is making up for the lost time.
Beth Sims* was hesitant about making the move from her large family home in Sydney to an assisted-living retirement village. Worried about affordability and leaving the home she loved, a reliable financial plan is all the confidence she needed to make the move.
Travel enthusiasts Darryl and Ann are living the retirement dream. Extensive financial planning has allowed them to travel the world, caravan around Australia and renovate the family home.
Thrown blow after blow, Christine and David have been plagued by financial stress. Never did they think that they would be able to live a comfortable, financially stress-free retirement. That was until they met with Invest Blue adviser, Luke Bowler.
A youthful dream to study midwifery in Edinburgh may have been sidelined when she began her family, but for Christine Durant, the urge to travel has remained strong throughout her life.
Under the spotlight in her sparkly gown, with her ornately styled hair and make-up, Robyn Masters has not a care in the world. Her focus is on ensuring she remembers her dance steps, and that they’re beautifully synchronised with those of her partner John, and the music. Married for just 12 years, the couple were embarking on the retirement they had worked hard for, Robyn as an office assistant and Darryl working in industrial mechanics. Together they engaged Invest Blue’s Rob Pollard, ten years ago, to ensure they had the correct structures in place to fulfil their main retirement goal, travel.
Melaine Robinson has spent her career selflessly caring for dogs, cats and a swag of other animals at the Melbourne Lost Dogs' Home, and now, as fate would have it, it is a guide dog that now cares for her.
No one likes to ponder the prospect of life’s journey veering off its projected course, but as Queenslander Dennis Robbemond reflects, it’s never too soon to start preparing for the unexpected.
Bustling Asian street markets, enjoying the beauty of the unspoilt Cook Islands, cultural and food experiences in Myanmar, an upcoming cruise up the Malacca Straights – for John Bliss and Elizabeth Brooks their retirement years are anything but dull.
For many, the opportunity for a young family to temporarily relocate internationally, dip its toes into a new culture and create lifelong memories, is nothing more than a fantasy. For Armidale Invest Blue Business Analytics Executive Manager David Gill and wife Sally, it’s a concept they longed for, and thanks to the progressive and flexible culture within the company, they are currently living their dream adventure in Ireland.
After a lifetime of ‘poking along’ depositing their savings directly into the bank, Bruce and Di O’Hara knew that when it came to retirement, their finances would need to work harder for them if they were to enjoy the lifestyle of their dreams.
The decision to sell a family farm is never an easy one, but for retired Biloela grazier Noel Kelly, once the resolve was made there was no stopping him embracing his next chapter.
In fact, literally, even the paperwork necessary for the sale of his property couldn’t detract him from hitting the road on his caravanning retirement dream.
When life blindsides you with something as serious as a cancer diagnosis, even the most routine everyday decisions can be overwhelming. Major plans surrounding significant issues such as finance can often represent the tipping point. Such was the case for Invest Blue Brisbane’s Debbie Rowe, whose husband Blair was diagnosed with cancer in 2016.
The at-times rigorous paperwork demands of Centrelink can be overwhelming for many, as was the case for Invest Blue client Rachel Smith. Rachel, who has been a client of Theo’s for several years, said it was his hands-on, practical support and service as a financial planner that set him apart from any others.
How financial advice supported this Doctor’s immigration from the UK to Australia and ensured her financial future is as bright as our big skies and sparkling beaches.
From financial shock to realising dreams and putting down firm roots, Christine has been on an extraordinary financial journey in the last 12 months. That is what a strong plan and great working relationship can do. No matter how you define success personally, feeling secure and living your dreams surely forms a big part! Learn how Christine has learned to own her success.
Angela White is the first to acknowledge her fierce independence, admitting she discovered early in life not to rely on others.
There are only certain things in life within our control, and when the Universe throws unexpected challenges, having systems in place to ease the load can make a world of difference.
No one knows what life has in store for them. For Peter, a large part of the answer to his problems lay in an unused insurance policy. With our help, we were able to make a big change in his life.
With their loan recently settled, Invest Blue client Gabrielle is busy making their new house a home. In the wake of their first major purchase, it seems Gabrielle may even be slightly financially inspired. This is their story.
Karl and Julie Graham, clients of Coffs Harbour Financial Planner Tom Merrick, currently have a residential status of ‘no fixed address’. After a lifetime of hard work, the Grafton natives are living their retirement dream, travelling across Australia in a caravan.
Chris Cull has been a long-term client of Invest Blue Financial Planner, Steve Sewell. The pair has been working together for many years and thanks to advice from Steve, Chris has been able to retire with financial security in a place he loves, and also continue his volunteer work.
After a lifetime of conservative spending and a rather frugal lifestyle, 73-year-old Clare is now able to enjoy her retirement super and just recently embarked on a remarkable journey to South America. Her "spend little and save more" mantra, alongside the help of her Invest Blue financial adviser Adam Penman, Clare can enjoy her love of travel knowing she has financial security.
After working in California for three years, Joel and Lauren decided it was time to move home to Sydney as they were expecting a baby girl. With help from long time friend, Invest Blue Credit Adviser Carol O’Shea, the couple were able to find a home and settle the loan with weeks to spare before their daughter arrived.
Invest Blue client, Ron Pearce understands all too well the importance of easing into retirement. It was always his plan to retire when he turned 60, and he was able to do so comfortably. However, he soon realised that he wasn’t quite ready for full-time retirement. Fortunately, he was able to take on some casual contract work that gave him flexibility and was a great way of winding down. He’s now enjoying full time retirement and doesn’t know how he ever had time to work!
Mel and Matt Neary moved from Brisbane to Armidale to fulfil a lifelong dream. With the help of Invest Blue advisers Geoff Murray and Anthony Lyons, the move was easy, considering it was during the Christmas period and they had a baby on the way!
Patricia felt she was stuck in a rut and falling behind in regards to her financial independence. With help of Toowoomba financial planner Craig Uys, she has increased her superannuation, refinanced an investment loan and fine-tuned her budget.
Ian considers himself conservative when it comes to spending. At 71, he and his wife, Kathy were recommended by Invest Blue Armidale adviser Steve Sewell to treat themselves and ‘spend up’. They have confidence in their financial situation now and for the rest of their retirement.
Caitlin’s financial plan helps her to live her dream of working internationally for a philanthropic cause, ensuring she has enough to get by, to study, and continue her meaningful work.
Craig and Sam have been client’s of Steve Fort since 2006. Whilst they have always valued their relationship with Steve, it wasn’t until Craig suffered a heart attack that they realised the true value of financial security that Steve had helped them to achieve.
Dr Sudhanshu Kumar and his fiancé, Maria made the move from England and have recently purchased their first home in Australia with help from their financial planner, Theo Holland and credit adviser, Carol O’Shea.
Shopping for a new bed led Eamonn to Moira. A long-standing friendship with Invest Blue Credit Adviser, Carol O’Shea led the the couple purchasing their ‘heaven on earth’.
Nicole and Alberto had been considering investing for some time. At 32, their years of full-time employment were paying off and they were in a good financial position to invest. Nicole and Alberto were guided through the process by Nicole’s colleague and Financial Adviser, Michael Craig.
Graeme and Julie dreamt of being able to provide their grandchildren with financial support, or rather, ‘a little bit of sunshine’.
For young parents Dwane and Charna, income protection insurance was a saviour after a snowboarding accident left Dwane unable to work.
Tim and Leonie Wrightson had a day of madness when they sold their home, bought a new one and settled all in one day. Their adviser Justin Beh was with them at every step, calmly reassuring them and alleviating much of the stress.
Since retiring in 2007, the Chaffeys have loved nothing more than setting off in the caravan to places unknown. Retirement has enabled them to pick up right where they left off so many years ago – exploring Australia.
Shane Winterton (47) would like nothing more than to rewind the clock and change the events of a working day that would dramatically impact his life. The years following the accident took Shane down a very bleak path. These days Shane is in a much better place mentally and emotionally and has made some important changes to his life, contributing part of his recovery and improved well-being to his financial planner, Ben Warren.
Ross and Pat Simshauser are very thankful that five years ago, they made the decision to seek financial advice with Invest Blue. In their own words, they ‘really turned a corner’ once Steve Sewell and Invest Blue began managing their finances. The Simhausers had instant results and have been able to enjoy the things they love in retirement with financial peace of mind. They’re particularly keen on travelling regularly within Australia and Ross has a great passion for landscape photography.
New Zealand born Michael Snelling continues to enjoy his retirement – it brings him the freedom to do what he finds pleasurable such as volunteering, travelling and spending time with his three adult children and six grandchildren who also reside in Sydney. Since retiring from the banking industry over a decade ago, Michael has been guided in his money matters by financial planner, Bernard ‘Bernie’ Fehon.
For Tim Vincent, farming cattle is in his blood and he's as passionate about it now as he was as a 12-year-old kid. Last year, with the support and encouragement of their Invest Blue financial advisor, Steve Sewell, Tim and Margaret purchased a nearby property so they could expand their business.
Erik and Margaret Dekkers of Manilla were struggling with a clear plan towards retirement. They had met with a few different advisers; but had not found one who seemed to understand their vision or provide a clear plan they felt comfortable with. Fortunately, over a decade ago, the Dekkers became clients of Steve Sewell and 17 years on from Erik’s retirement, their money continues to grow.
Cory and Brittany had been house hunting for a year without any luck when the ‘Private Sale’ sign appeared outside a charming, renovated Queenslander in a great location in the heart of Gladstone. Within a few days, the young couple had arranged to see through the home. And as they stood outside together, they looked at one another and knew they’d found ‘the one’.
In 2014, Sam was suddenly made redundant by his employer of 26 years. At 57, Sam didn't believe retirement was an option and felt daunted by what lay ahead; two of his daughters were soon to be married.
Sam and his wife, Karen were referred to Bernard Fehon from the Penrith Invest Blue office which led to many changes. Sam was able to retire with financial peace of mind, their mortgage was paid off late last year and in May, Karen fulfilled a childhood dream to visit Norway.
“He was tremendous and explained everything in layman’s terms. Bernie assessed our financial position and went away and did some research and when we caught up again, recommendations were made and he said we were in a position for me to retire."
Life was humming along for Lindsay and Tracy Diefenbach. They were settling in well to Armidale, even adapting to the cooler weather, having met and lived on the Sunshine Coast. Tragically though, their worlds would soon be turned upside down with the abdominal pains Lindsay had been experiencing hiding something more sinister – liver cancer. Heartbreakingly, in June 2014, at the age of 47, Lindsay passed away, leaving behind the girls he so adored.
Tracy wishes to share their story so that others may know the importance of being insured and having financial security when everything else in life is in complete turmoil.
With great determination and the help of a wonderful Financial Planner, Cliff and Lyn are able to cross of the items of their bucket list and look forward to their retirement in the future.
"I particularly like the fact that he encourages us to consider our finances longer-term but to also make the most of the way we live today.”
Without the help of Armidale Planner Steve Sewell, Bernadene would not have been able to follow her dream in establishing her own business. Together they have been able to strategise and plan, and Bernadene is now the proud new owner of Nundle Natural Skin Solutions and doesn't she have some plans!
With help from Coffs Harbour Financial Planner Ben Warren, the Lynch family have significantly reduced their debt, purchased a new car, had a holiday to Fiji and are working towards gaining the Deeds to their Home.
“Ben has an outstanding knowledge of financial matters, backed up by the many letters after his name. His advice and guidance has been fantastic. He is a genuine person who really takes ownership in seeing his clients succeed.”
In the midst of raising a young family, Brendan helped Paul and Candice along the way to achieve their goal of a new family home.
“At the moment, we’ve got what we set out for and are keen to sit back and enjoy it.”
Brisbane-based Sonia Guernieri has spent over thirty years looking after others. Since connecting with Invest Blue, she’s learned how to look after her own needs, too, with a growing love for worldwide wandering.
These days, Sonia has no mortgage and has paid off her investment property, too. “I am now feeling financially comfortable, so I can take more risks and dabble a bit more. In that sense, I have things in order.”
After working for many years as a special educator, it was Jenny’s dream to have an early retirement and travel the world. In 2007, Jenny met with Invest Blue and with the help of Armidale Financial Planner David Stephen, and more recently Robert Pollard, she was able to retire even earlier than expected.
“I know that I’ve been given the right professional advice to keep my finances in order. Invest Blue have given me the guidance to make my money work better.”
Winston and Yvonne love to travel. With advice from Brendan, they are able to stay in control of their finances and make every dream adventure possible.
“Whilst I’ve dealt with money all my life in the workplace, I couldn’t do what they do. We ask questions, Brendan makes recommendations and we go through everything together. And we always have a good time.”
Peter Madirazza is making strides, setting and achieving goals with his running and at times covering 40km a week. Peter and his wife Karen are also making some great strides financially by setting their family up for the longer-term with thanks to their fifteen year relationship with Invest Blue’s Steve Sewell.
“Apart from our shared appreciation of sport and cricket especially, we find Steve very reassuring. Thanks to Steve, we know we have all the facts when the time comes to making decisions. He gives us peace of mind that we’re doing the right thing for our longer-term financial future.”
Two years ago, Jennifer and Bruce Etienne were encouraged by a friend to set up a meeting with financial planner, David French from Invest Blue. The ‘Baby Boomers’ had long held a dream of escaping the pressures of city life for a sea change. At 63, Bruce was finding work challenging due to his rheumatoid arthritis and the couple still had a mortgage on their home of 20 years in the Campbelltown area of Sydney. They worried that the coastal dream was simply out of their grasp. Fortunately, Invest Blue were able to guide Jennifer and Bruce financially and the couple now delightedly call a beautiful pocket of the Central Coast home.
Besides visiting an active volcano, 34 year old Kelly Naylor describes embarking on the journey of getting financial advice as one of the scariest things she has ever done. Eighteen months on, we are pleased to report that she feels it is also one of the most rewarding and life-changing decisions she and her husband, Todd (37), have ever made.
Todd and Kelly continue to strive toward their long-term financial goals, whilst enjoying life along the way with their new boat and motor bike.
For Bernadene Hunt the financial planning journey she embarked on a number of years ago has not just helped her achieve her financial goals, it has helped her achieve total well being for her finances, her fitness and her lifestyle.
When Bernadene Hunt was widowed in 2002 she was faced with reassessing her finances and her goals as a single person. Bernadene knew what was important to her – she wanted to be financially and personally fit so she could take on this new life on her own. She also wanted to make sure she was catered for well in retirement.
Physiotherapist and avid rugby player Aaron Hardaker was very aware that injury was a real risk in the contact sport of rugby union. What he didn’t expect was that he would end up watching from the sideline of his favourite sports and his business due to a major injury sustained not on the rugby field, but in a social game of OzTag.
When Aaron sustained a major knee injury playing a social game of OzTag the result was two knee reconstruction operations and sixteen weeks of zero weight bearing on the affected leg. This meant Aaron could not work as a physiotherapist for this time. Sixteen weeks out of practicing in his physiotherapy business could have been debilitating for the business and Aaron’s financial situation.
After retiring at 58, Ron sought the help of a financial planner at 65 in 2010. Ron has worked with Bernie in Penrith for five years now and together they have worked out a plan to structure his super and assets and created an income stream that allowed him to live comfortably and do the work he loves.
For the past 9 years Ron has embraced the Christmas spirit dressing as Santa to help spread the seasons’ joy.