Client Profile: Andrew & Veronica Schoenmaekers
We first became clients of GFM back in December 1980, both aged 23 at the time, we had only recently been married and bought our first modest home. We were children of Dutch and Swiss migrant parents, raised in Highett and Keysborough, and our family became involved in clubs and hotels, which provided good part time and full time work in our early years.
We started our own family at a young age (firstborn in 1983), ending up with three children, so Veronica was a full time mum, and I continued to work and study, completing business and accounting degrees, which lead to a long career as a corporate accountant.
Most of my working life has been the 28 years in the global corporate world with Bristol Myer Squibb, finishing as the Interim Director Finance Australia. Prior to that I had a stint with Guild Insurance, and then earlier than that, working in the hospitality industry, full time and part time on behalf of my parents.
I met with GFM in 1980 at the golf club I was working at, and they cottoned onto the fact that I was recently married and had a mortgage, and started to tell me about life insurance and superannuation. We started out as very young clients, and on GFM’s advice, we set up periodical debits to make contributions for superannuation and life insurance, which was manageable, and after a while, we hardly noticed the monthly payment, which helped us build up a good base. It was hard at the time, but we are glad that we started as young as we did.
I was lucky enough to have recently received a redundancy package from my employer, and that brought forward our retirement aspirations, to which I now only work three days a week in our own business, helping people in small business with their accounting, finance and tax, and building up our tax return practice. Working only three days gives us a four-day weekend, and we love touring in our caravan, playing golf, and spending time with our three children and three grandchildren, as often as we can.
As we moved into this new position in our lives, we were able to set up our own SMSF, and the team at GFM made this a seamless process, with a high level of professional proficiency that we had become used to over many years. They were then able to support us in our estate planning needs, consulting with our solicitor to make sure everything was correct, and we are very satisfied that all of the proper plans are now in place. We are active users of the GFM website which helps us keep up to date on our superannuation portfolio, and we certainly enjoy the comprehensive quarterly updates.
The GFM team gives us the confidence that we need, the paperwork and administration is handled very efficiently, and we agree with their investment philosophies. The senior team members are highly qualified and experienced, and it makes it easy to speak with several of the senior members who not only understand our situation well, and it’s good to be able to speak to many different people in their team that know what we are on about. We enjoy the ongoing reviews of our SMSF and the support given to us by the team, it gives us a much better understanding of our financial position, and they make us aware of good investment opportunities from time to time, and this gives us a lot of comfort.
We have moved into a Transition to Retirement programme, and with reduced working hours and reduced income, ongoing monthly pension payments out of our SMSF continues to support our lifestyle, and the investments in our SMSF seems very sensible for the position that we are in.
In our small business, accounting and tax, we refer many of our clients on to GFM, because we have confidence and trust in their service offering and investment skills. To date, all have thanked us for the referral, and the service provided, whether large or small.
We are constantly surprised on how little some of our tax clients have planned for their future, perhaps feeling uncomfortable with the concept of dealing with a financial planner, or have had bad experiences in the past. The information we gain gives us some insight to recommend GFM to guide and advise them. It gives us a sense of comfort that they can at least have some professional financial planning advice as an add-on to the accounting, finance and tax services that we provide.
It has always been a pleasure to work with GFM over the last 33 years, and we congratulate them on 40 years of great personal, professional service and support.