From gym sessions to retirement plans: Noni and Kate

March 26, 2021

Adviser Noni Crawford (left) and client Kate Long

Kate Long, semi-retired client

I met Noni in one of those high intensity, interval-type gym classes about three or four years ago if I remember correctly. I remember thinking it was funny that we both had the same the same last name at the time – I’m a Kate Long and she was a Noni Long before she got married, so everybody probably thought we were related.

Noni was just one of those people I warmed to straight away. The more we talked we kept finding these increased similarities like losing our parents early, but that wasn’t something we dwelled on. I think I was similar to Noni at her age in a lot of ways.

I was already with a financial adviser at the time, we’d set up an SMSF two years before. I had gotten some bad advice and ended up losing money in a corporate fund and then bought a property up in St Mary’s that will probably lose money. Now Noni has taken over management of my SMSF and she’s doing a much better job.

I retired from the IT industry about five years ago. I’d been doing that for about 35 years, but now I do some contract work for one of my clients and work in the gym, more just to keep busy than anything else.

My husband Don tends to back away from anything financial, he’s a truck driver on the cusp of retiring. Noni’s husband and Don are both into cars so that got them going.

When Covid came about a year ago and we had all that volatility I remember talking to Noni and she said just give it time. I’ve always been confident in the way she handles things so I just backed away and she was right, the next quarter it came back. She did some fiddling around the edges and we ended up in a good position.

Noni’s lovely, I think she’s a delightful, funny, beautiful lady with so much going for her. She’s been through some things and she deals with it all so well.

I’m not a financial person, I’m an IT person. But Noni expects it to be a discussion, she wants us to understand. She explains very clearly why she makes a decision and makes sure you’re happy with it.

Probably the best piece of advice she gave us is to just calm down, everything will get better. I like how she structures things, diversifies the investments and doesn’t lock anything into one area.

Even though she’s expanded now and has an assistant and more clients she still has lots of time for us. Don has a British pension which Noni’s handling and we’ve renegotiated our debt on the property – A planner like Noni really comes in handy with things like that, she’s a one-stop shop.

 

Noni Crawford, Financial Adviser at Hello Wealth in Newport, NSW

We first met at the gym, Kate was paired up with me as my training partner and she would really kick me into gear. We were friends for a good year before she became a client.

Like most clients, I got a distinct impression that Kate wanted to be heard. She already had an existing relationship with another adviser that I think she was trying to make work, but she wasn’t particularly happy.

I didn’t want to be unprofessional so there was no client poaching or badmouthing on my behalf, it was more just a case of trying to listen and uncover what she was getting, what she was really wanting and what I could offer. Essentially she and her husband Don were after a planner that was a bit more flexible with their advice options.

Don is a truck driver, close to retirement and works long hours. Kate was retired, she used to be in the IT space for years, now she’s working part-time at another gym.

Their plan needed a strategic approach. I had to look at it as a series of life stages; it was initially tweaking and perfecting their SMSF and property, while the second stage was about preparing what we could for their transition into retirement planning. Kate is 60 and Don’s 67, so they’re at the perfect age to benefit from receiving sound financial advice.

As their circumstances are changing the advice itself is now changing to suit, so we’ll be liquidating assets and reducing their tax bill while enabling government benefits. Initially, we were a little constrained because of the previous advice they received but I think they’re now we’re able to breathe a bit easier.

Kate takes advice well. We have a lot of trust, but in saying that she’s not someone who would go in blindly. She is quite active in learning the options, alternative strategies and what matters behind the recommendations. I can’t say we’ve had any disagreements over the years – which is humbling as she is the type of person that would disagree if she didn’t think something was right.

She’s a wonderful woman, I love her dry humour and how compassionate Kate is. Don is such a hard worker, he can be really headstrong but also light-hearted and friendly. At our annual review meetings, we go out for breakfast and enjoy a good chat before we get into all the goals, strategies and numbers.

I think they’ll be clients for life. When they relocate you can bet I’ll be hopping on a plane to see them – it will be one of the highlights of my yearly reviews.

Tahn Sharpe is a Sydney-based financial services journalist with a background in financial planning. He writes on advice, superannuation, investment, banking and insurance issues, is a certified SMSF Adviser and holds an Advanced Diploma of Financial Planning. Contact at [email protected]