James has kindly written the article below on his working life and experience with GFM Wealth Advisory. We greatly appreciate James’ contribution to Trade Secrets.
I met with Paul Nicol after much prompting from my parents (GFM are their advisors) as I had recently sold an investment property. We had a good conversation around the philosophy of GFM Wealth: its fee for service model, access to a broad range of investment options, and not being connected to a larger financial institution.
Before becoming a client, I did some due diligence, talking to other financial advisors. I was surprised at the limited investment options and compensation model, and after what we have seen from the banking Royal Commission, choosing GFM was an excellent decision.
GFM set up a personal investment portfolio in 2006, with some sound choices that helped with the tax implications of selling the property. Little did we know that just around the corner, the GFC loomed. In the aftermath of the GFC, Paul’s advice to stay in the market instead of selling and cementing losses meant that we caught the rebound. It’s not timing the market but time in the market that counts.
Since leaving university, I had been working for the same financial services company and was approaching 20 years of service. After poor returns from the default company super fund, the lack of transparency about the performance, without understanding why it occurred, was the tipping point for taking control of all my investments.
In 2016, after ten years of running a private investment portfolio, GFM made the process of creating and running an SMSF simple and painless; I have nothing but praise for the SMSF team at GFM. This wouldn’t have been possible to do on my own. The addition of the accounting services from GFM Gruchy has completely removed all the stress of managing my finances.
Since then, I have left the financial services company after nearly 22 years. I had a sabbatical, learning how to snowboard in Japan. I then joined a start-up in the aviation section, which pivoted into the health space at the start of the pandemic. Unlike some within my extended family, this year has been positive both financially and personally. Working from home is a great release from the commute, and I can’t see myself returning to old ways.
I have enjoyed the GFM webinars that started last year. Personally they are much easier to access than the in-person events, adding them to the queue and listening while cooking or out for a walk. I do hope they continue even as things start returning to a semblance of normalcy.
For the last few years, I have taken a stronger stance on investing, focusing on more environmental and sustainable funds and companies. Not only can you help by changing what you consume, but what investments you choose.
I look forward to continuing the long association and recommend GFM when asked who to approach for help with financial advice.