Helping you succeed in life's financial journey

Confessions of a Financial Planner - my own financial journey

31 March 2017

Written by:

Bonnie Timu - Authorised Financial Adviser - Financial Planning & Commercial Insurance

This is embarrassing, but before I started out as a Financial Planner, I thought I had it all sorted. With 10+ years in the complex world of insurance, I thought a Financial Plan wasn't going to apply to me. How wrong was I!

This is the story of my own personal experience in getting a Financial Plan at Cole Murray, not long before I started out as a Financial Planner and underwent my training to achieve Authorised Financial Adviser accreditation. I want to share my experience with you, as only through this financial journey (and a series of light-bulb moments) have I really understood and appreciated gaining my own financial freedom.

I hope this inspires you to take up the challenge of gaining back financial control over your hard-earned money and furthermore, I challenge you to push past your comfort zone and create a plan for you and your family to really achieve your financial dreams.

How did my partner & I start the process?

I started my plan with the mindset that I had my finances sorted - how could a plan actually make things easier? I felt that my family and I were in a financially good place as bills were paid and my kids were fed and happy. In hindsight, how naive I was!

My plan meeting was surprisingly easy; I was confident to answer all the questions on what I wanted and needed until my partner started to talk…. then I realised that we hadn’t had this type of talk at home, and we certainly were not on the same financial journey (as no way did I need a boat as one of my financial goals!). This was one of so many light-bulb moments in my plan, I realised right then that this plan was for me and my family, and each of our goals are important. So in our plan we will get a boat, and I am happy about that.

What did we learn along the way?

I had never had to sit down and think about what I would really like to achieve financially in a years’ time, let alone get my head around 2 to 6 years or beyond; but the more my partner and I talked, the more that came out. We as a family did have goals, my partner and I wanted to provide for our children, and with our Financial Planner we figured out that we want to save money for our children not just for home ownership or education, but for wherever life’s journey takes them. Another light-bulb moment right there - we needed to save for this and start now!

Our Cole Murray Financial Planner took the time to explain what a mortgage was - now I thought I had that one sorted, but was so very wrong. I know now what my mortgage truly is, how to make it work for me and more excitingly, how to structure my home loan so that I can pay it off faster with less interest. I had never really known what I have been doing with my mortgage, but now I have a plan to structure my mortgage and actually have a date that I will have my mortgage paid off.

My Financial Planner then said the most strangest thing to me…

“What are you going to do with your money when you have paid off all your debt?". To be honest, I had never considered this. As I had been in the cycle of debt payment for so many years, there was no light at the end of the tunnel. Then another light-bulb moment happened for me: "I am actually going to be debt free and have money, and I can do anything I like with that money as I will have financial freedom!". I am very excited for this now as I have a plan and this is going to happen - it’s not just something we say to each other and roll our eyes.

Things got pretty real there for a minute...

My plan then took a very dramatic turn for me, as my Financial Planner started to discuss Wills and Enduring Powers of Attorney. My Will had been in place for so many years, and was so out of date it’s not funny, so as it stood our family was in a bit of trouble.

If I were to die, my mother would get my house and all assets as my children are under-age. This is largely due to the fact that my partner and I are not married, I am the sole owner on the title and I had no Will that stipulates that he gets the house. To put that in a real-life scenario, if I were to die, my family could be homeless, and it would be the generosity of my mother that they would rely on.

Not only this, as my partner and I have separate bank accounts, if I were badly hurt he wouldn’t be able to continue paying the main bills in our home as he did not have an Enduring Power of Attorney for me, and the banks would not grant him access to my accounts. So again a real-life scenario: if I am very badly injured, not only would my family be stressed that they are caring for me during this bad time, but the mortgage can’t be paid and our family may lose our home.

Phew! We're now on track, and we didn't even know we needed it!

Since going through this massively enlightening process I now have a Financial Plan now to fix our situation, and how relieved am I! In hindsight I fully understand that I didn’t have things sorted and needed to start my plan right away to protect my family. Needless to say, I have completed all changes recommended in my Financial Plan and we are on track for financial freedom. I feel in control of our financial future and things are looking good for us.

I really believe we all need a Financial Plan, because how do you know that what you are doing is working for your family, if you don’t know what you don’t know?

If you are like I was and think you have it all sorted, well, perhaps you don't! There are a number of areas in life that are easy to overlook. If you don't know what you're looking for, and another set of eyes can make all the difference. I have completed over 50 successful financial plans now and love seeing my clients get their own light-bulb moments and make amazing changes in their lives. 

So, what about your plan?

I'd love to talk to you about making a plan. It's the way for you to actually know that you are looking after your family the best way you can.

Send us an enquiry!

You can also check out my personal profile here.

Good luck!

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