Helena has kindly written the article below on her life, family and experiences as a client of GFM Wealth Advisory. We much appreciate Helena’s contribution to Trade Secrets.
In 2003, at the age of 47, my life changed in a way I never thought possible. My husband passed away within two months of being diagnosed with cancer. This was not supposed to happen, and it was not how I had planned my life. We were supposed to grow old together and enjoy a happy retirement. My daughter Jacinta was 16 at the time and going to the Australian Ballet School.
I was a stay at home mum and had been for six years. I didn’t have much to do with the financial side of things except making sure the bills were paid on time. I made no decisions about anything much at all, but that never worried me, I was happy to leave all of that to my husband. So when he passed away so suddenly, I needed to reassess everything.
In March 2004, a friend suggested I make an appointment to see GFM for advice on investments and financial planning. I had received some money from my husband’s life insurance policy, and I needed to make sure it was invested wisely. Thankfully our mortgage had been paid off a couple of years earlier, so at least I didn’t have to worry about that. By this time, I had already gone back to work part-time in my usual occupation as a Medical Receptionist.
A short time after investing with GFM, a young, blue-eyed Paul Nicol took over my portfolio. Paul and I would meet twice a year to review the investment portfolio. I enjoyed our meeting where Paul took a genuine interest in how we were doing and really got to know both Jacinta and myself over the years. When Jacinta joined the Australian Ballet and started earning a regular wage, he advised her on the importance of saving and investing and set up a small portfolio for her as well. We were both made to feel as though we were the most important clients at GFM.
The staff at GFM, in particular, Witi, Mai and Maree, are amazing! I have dealt with them consistently over the past 15 years or so. They are always friendly, caring and helpful, nothing is ever too much trouble, and anything that needs doing is done efficiently and with ease.
Other than the usual investment advice, there are two things, in particular, I have experienced with GFM that stand out for me. The first was about six years ago when I desperately needed a new car. It was a spur of the moment thing when I walked into the car dealership, found a car I wanted to buy. I had never done this on my own before. I remember calling GFM to speak with Paul to ask his advice. I explained to the girls what I needed, and later on, I received a call back from Paul. His help was invaluable in that I was able to go back in knowing precisely what I needed to do and most importantly, hold out for the best possible deal! I picked up my new car the very next day!
The second thing was four years ago when I decided to sell my home where we had lived for 29 years! Now, this was HUGE! I sat down and wrote a long email to Paul outlining my thoughts, feelings and reasons for selling, what I wanted to buy and the fact that I would most likely need to have a small mortgage. Paul’s advice was invaluable, not only about the financial side of things and what I could afford but also about the whole selling and buying process and what I should expect. I was even able to speak with Paul during the auction when I needed advice at a crucial moment in the bidding process. I sold my house for an excellent price, and I have now bought what I consider to be my dream home in a great area!
My goal has always been to ensure I can live my life in relative comfort, have enough money to pay my bills, go on a holiday every now and then and be able to retire in a good position. Along the journey, the team at GFM has undoubtedly helped me to achieve that goal. Now at 62 years of age, I continue to work part-time and hope to do that for quite a few years yet, but I am comfortable knowing that when I do eventually retire, I will be in the best position possible.