Who uses a financial planner?
Our clients come from all sorts of backgrounds, with all sorts of different aspirations, and a vast range of experience in managing money. Some are very wealthy professionals, some are not. Some are excellent at managing their money, some - are not.
However, all of them want expert guidance in building their wealth and choose to receive financial advice because they have neither the expertise, time nor desire to manage their personal finances themselves. They want to spend their time on pursuits and activities they enjoy, rather than using up their free time trying to keep up-to-date with what they should be doing to make the most of their income and investments.
What do we do?
We provide you with financial coaching to make the most of your income and wealth. We want you to have the time to do the things you want to do now, as well as making sure you are on track financially to continue to live the life you want to in the future.
Many people get the general idea of what “financial advice” is, but have no detailed understanding of how it all works. Some people have wondered if we set them a budget? Or buy shares for them? Or take over managing their bank accounts? Handle their insurance? And so on.
What we do for every client is what that client wants us to do and what we agree on. So firstly, we want to understand why you want to seek advice, and then our role is to keep you on track to make sure you get there.
Want to increase your wealth?
The average increase in net investment wealth for our clients focused on wealth building, was 74% (average timeframe 3.5 years). For those on a formalised quarterly savings plan, net investment wealth had increased by a higher margin - 106%.
Getting to know you
Your financial goals and aspirations
Take a look at the (shortened) example financial goals listed here. In it, you’ll see an (example) clients’ goals and the timeframe in which they want to achieve those. This is an extract from a sample Financial Strategy — one of the first things we do to better understand your financial position.
After we understand your financial goals, we then go through your 'personal balance sheet' — your assets and your liabilities. And now we have our starting point for tracking your financial progress.
Sample financial goals
Buy a new home or renovate your existing home at a net changeover cost of $600,000 (over the next three years)
Provide your children with a private school education ($25,000 per child per year over the next 8 years)
Repay investment debt of $300,000 (over the next thirteen years)
Enjoy your lifestyle including travel (Ongoing)
Build an investment asset base to achieve financial independence to support living costs of $120,000 pa (including travel) to maintain current lifestyle ($2,200,000 by age 55, then work part-time for five years)
Excerpt of a personal projection based off sample financial goals
As you work through our sample Financial Strategy, you’ll see we look at everything: your cash flow, wealth accumulation, debt management, tax planning, superannuation planning, investment management, risk management, estate planning, insurances and any other issues we need to discuss to make your goals reality. You’ll also see there’s a place for a summary of the next steps.
Under each of those areas is a series of action points, the reasons for those, the status — i.e., whether we need to discuss it, you need to find out some extra information, whether it needs to be implemented at a later date, or reviewed as part of another process — and notes from our meeting on those action points.
Because financial advice is different for everybody, and there’s no such thing as 'one size fits all', it’s important for us — and you — to know what you’re expecting from it. So you’ll also see a list of areas that our example clients noted as needing to 'happen to call our relationship a success five years from now'.
Think you'll never buy a house?
Our clients were a couple in their early 30's, living day to day and without financial goals. After a little over 2 years, they had a sizeable house deposit and purchased their new home. They had increased their wealth by an extra $221,000, plus they still enjoyed annual international travel, not missing out on life. They just needed a plan.
It's about control
Take the first action point under 'cash flow' for our example clients: we’ll "use strong cash flow to build wealth and aim to save $1,500 per month for future home renovation/ changeover". To make that happen, we might track their cash flow and assess their progress against agreed savings targets.
Moving through the action points in other areas, examples of what we do are:
ensure any debt you have is structured the most effective way for your circumstances and future ambitions
manage your superannuation strategy so you’re making appropriate contributions, which are invested suitably
review your insurance so you and your family are financially protected
ensure your Wills and other estate planning documents, such as Powers of Attorney, are up to date and reflect your needs (we can work with your solicitor here)
provide specific investment recommendations
…and we also handle the administration for all these areas
We’re sometimes asked if we do tax or provide accounting services. We don’t: we purely offer financial planning and financial coaching services.
However, we will work with your accountant where we need to, and the same goes for any other specialist service you may require — legal, insurance, stock broking and so on. If you don’t have someone you like to work with in those areas, we can refer you to a specialist.
For clients who are looking for a tax adviser as well, we can refer Summerhill Financial Management for integrated tax and financial planning services.
Like a personal trainer for your finances
We regularly review your goals together, because these may change as your life changes, so we adjust and update as necessary. We find this also helps you maintain your commitment to meeting your financial goals.
As a single woman entering retirement I feel Alexander has given me clear and honest advice about investments and managing my money in general. I have complete trust in him and know he diligently researches the latest financial developments. He is always prompt in replying and gives thoughtful personal attention.
How do we help you succeed?
All of our meetings are held virtually and have been for years — via web conferencing, Skype or Google Hangouts. We do this so Alex can be available to clients regardless of where they are that week. Virtual meetings also have the great benefit of allowing meetings outside ‘normal’ work hours.
The method of catching up doesn’t matter, touching base is the most important thing because it allows us to continue giving you a personal and tailored service for your needs.
We keep our clients updated via our online community. We provide information via video updates, articles and other information, on market conditions, important events and useful strategies for managing your money.
Tools to succeed
As well as our regular meetings and video updates, we also provide you with a range of tools you can use to manage your finances between meetings. These include our client logins, as well as many others.
My.Summerhill is another tool we use with our clients, which is our free membership community. It's how we help clients stay up to date, educated and informed via relevant articles, video updates, guest interviews and the ability to chat personally.
Join our waiting list
We only choose to work with clients who are looking for a long-term partnership. We have a waiting list for new clients, and, given we want to maintain the boutique nature of our business, we choose clients we'll enjoy working with over time.
We also expect our clients to be engaged with their finances: yes, it's our role to provide you with the information on which to base your financial decisions, but this is your money and your life, and we expect our clients to engage with us.
One of the rewards of providing financial advice in this way is seeing the tangible improvement in a client's financial position, which gives them more choices than they would have had otherwise. However, if you would like access to a professionally managed investment portfolio rather than full financial advice, you may wish to become a client of online investment solution. You can learn more about Summerhill Invest here.
You'll find our Financial Services Guide here. It outlines the services we can provide, how we're remunerated, details of any arrangements that may influence our advice, details of our internal and external complaints-handling procedures and how we collect and use your personal information.
You don't need to do it alone, we've got a community to support you.
We understand that taking the step to invest and be more financially aware, can be both confusing and daunting. We want to empower you to navigate wealth creation successfully and intelligently, so we created an online membership to help support you.
Our membership will give you:
- Online updates by our advice coaches
- The opportunity to ask questions of our team
- Videos on technical concepts, as well as investment updates
And it's all free. Helpful financial education tips, so you can make more empowered decisions in life.
Having Caroline as our financial advisor has been like having a life coach. For over ten years she has helped us shape our life goals and turn them into reality with effective wealth creation and retirement planning strategies.
Randy and Brenda
Some feedback from our clients
I feel very confident with the advice Alex provides my husband and I. He is always available to answer all our questions while responding quickly. I feel very safe with Alex's suggestions and they're always the right fit for us!
For over 10 years, we’ve had complete trust in Caroline’s expertise to grow our assets and keep our long term interests at heart. She has an amazing ability to make investment strategy seem simple, and take the worry out of making your money work for you.
Sean and Teresa
Alex is extremely professional, trustworthy, knowledgeable and highly ethical. Alex is very proactive and keeps me on track with my goals and objectives. Alex manages my investment portfolio, providing regular investment & portfolio advice and maintains my insurance policies. I highly recommend Alex.
Why we'd love you to choose to work with us...
Experienced team, passionate about creating wealth.
You can access your investments 24/7 and watch it grow.
Chat to our team when you need to, so you're not alone.
We give you access to sustainable investing options.
We love travel, so we understand goal setting.