Client Profile: Leslie O’brien
Leslie has kindly written the article below on her family, working life, retirement and the relationship she has had with our company since 2013. We greatly appreciate Leslie’s contribution to Trade Secrets.
A dear friend and eminent economist recommended GFM Wealth to me, and I have been a satisfied client since May 2013.
After a misspent (or well spent) youth enjoying a series of incredible adventures in wonderful places I entered academia. My teaching, theoretical and research interests centred on socio-economic change especially colonialism, industrialisation and development. My appointments during my ‘first career’ included a Lectureship at Flinders University, a Fellowship at Universiti Sains Malaysia, a Fulbright Post-doctoral Fellowship at Stanford University and a Research Fellowship at the Australian National University. During this period I spent a considerable amount of time carrying out field research in Southeast Asia.
The demands of developing and maintaining an international academic career were taking a toll on my two young sons, so I decided to create a more stable lifestyle for my family. My ‘second career’ was headquartered in Canberra and included work on Australia’s international science and technology relations, an appointment to a special project in Commonwealth Treasury and time with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. I worked in many positions in DFAT, most related to North Asia – the 21st century’s centre of the world. This experience was such a privilege. I woke every morning looking forward to going to work. I worked with amazing young men and women and some noteworthy politicians. Eventually though, I found myself staying up half the night to read and re-engage with issues of earlier intellectual interest. It was time for me to move on.
So what of my life now? I recently engaged in a ‘brisk’ conversation with my younger son after he referred to me as ‘retired’. I prefer to see my time now as my ‘third career’. I remain fully engaged in the wider world and intend to stay this way for as long as I can. I travel quite frequently and like my travel to be ‘outcomes related’. I do pro bono and some paid editorial work related to Korea. I occasionally deliver a guest lecture in Malaysia or Korea. I write and edit a newsletter for a major private school. I have been spending quite some time in France and now study French every morning (then forget most of it overnight)! I am also deeply engaged in learning more about the causes and consequences of WW1 and my own family’s engagement in that “war to end all wars”. My micro-level research has focused on my grandfather’s brother Alexander who enlisted in August 1914 and was killed in action in June 1918. Alexander’s story is much more than his chronology, so I am currently researching and writing his biography. I recently took part in commemorative activities in France associated with Alexander’s service, and I delivered a short speech – in French!
We cannot control the world around us, but we can reduce risk and maximise financial security through diversification. Diversification is fundamental to the way I approach my finances. My family’s SMSF is both a means of diversifying and also allows diverse investments across a range of markets. Since the fund’s inception, GFM Wealth has provided me with sound financial advice and administrative support. I am routinely supplied with just enough gentle reminders not to ‘set and forget’. Having financial planning and accounting services under the one roof enables seamless handling of its regulatory and reporting aspects. Staff at all levels are personable and responsive. The words that come to mind when I think of key interlocutors are ‘informed’ and ‘sincere’.