Client Profile: Peter & Maria Luisa Thompson
Peter and Maria Luisa have written the following article about their family, working life and their experience as clients of GFM Wealth Advisory.
Moving into retirement is a big step, and we took that step in 2010, and the transition has gone very smoothly.
Since retirement we have had several friends ask us as to how to compare the certainty of their past business life, their previous income and their present quality of life with their expectations for the future. The simple answer is there is no simple answer. Every individual selects their own goals, their own bucket list and their personal prerequisites to replace their work place of many years. You however would be a foolish person to ignore the necessity to have a sound financial plan.
I was born in Belfast and left Northern Ireland at 17 to work in England as an apprentice Chef. Unlike the culinary shows presently so popular on TV, life in a kitchen is anything but glamorous so after qualifying with a culinary diploma, a few years as a bartender and waiter followed. An opportunity to work in Bermuda was then followed by another move to Jamaica where I held minor management positions.
Meanwhile on the other side of the world Maria Luisa was born in Havana and lived there until she was 11, then moved to the US with her family and completed her education and returned to Cuba where her long held dream of becoming an airline stewardess was fulfilled when she joined Pan Am and moved to New York.
We met in Montego Bay in 1966. I was offered a job with Sheraton Hotels in New York City and we married in 1967 (50th Anniversary this year). This coincided with the expansion of international hotels and Sheraton took advantage of this opportunity. We moved to Boston where Maria Luisa brought her 11 years of flying with Pan Am to a conclusion. Next we moved to Atlanta where our daughter Vanessa was born.
We first came to Australia in 1977 after I had managed hotels in Malta, Bangkok and Honolulu. The new Sheraton Perth was our home for the next 5 years and then a move to Sydney for another 5 years where I was Sheraton’s Area Managing Director (South Pacific) and responsible for the Sheraton Wentworth Hotel.
We returned to Honolulu where Vanessa graduated from senior school, then went to the University of San Francisco followed by a backpacking adventure in South and Central America. In the meantime we had relocated to Tokyo and after 5 years an opportunity to return to Australia became available when Sheraton acquired a hotel on Melbourne’s Southbank. We decided that Australia would be our final home. A further move back to Sydney confirmed that this was the city that was a perfect site for our retirement. We bought an apartment in Elizabeth Bay and became Australian citizens.
In our case any form of planning was complicated by the fact that Sheraton kept transferring me around the world. We were living in Thailand when my 65th birthday was approaching and decisions could no longer be ignored. Fortunately at that time with over 40 years employment with Sheraton Hotels the opportunity to return to Australia and to continue my career for another 5 years was readily approved.
Back in Sydney to manage the Four Points Sheraton, we had to start planning for our eventual retirement. Several phone calls were made to old friends to identify someone who would possibly guide us through the necessary soul searching of selecting a Financial Advisor. One very trusted and respected financial executive provided GFM as a company that could provide the right level of expertise. From that first call in 2005 we have both been extremely comfortable with their guidance. They patiently outlined the advantages of a Self Managed Super Fund and the type of investments that would be required to produce the income to meet our requirements.
We were both impressed how all of the necessary administration was handled so smoothly by the GFM team. In the early days of our Self Managed Super Fund, GFM was always available to take our phone calls and respond to our questions on performance and the rule changes that seem to be constantly confronting the Superannuation Sector. Our Self Managed Super Fund was just over 2 years old and my retirement was on the horizon when the GFC hit. GFM gave us the sound advice not to panic and laid out the reasons why perfectly good company shares should not be jettisoned. We are both grateful for GFM’s firm hand in an era of uncertainty and for the valuable lesson he taught us about investing. More importantly this solidified our confidence in their judgement and this has allowed our investments to prosper.
We are always impressed with the detail provided on all our investments, we understand most of them quite well, and we hold many impressive investments that have done exceptionally well for us.
I retired in 2010 and loss of contact with the working community was high on our list of challenges. We overcame this by becoming volunteers at St Vincent’s Private Hospital.
I have also played golf from the age of six and have never ceased involvement in the game. At least two days a week you will find me on the links at The Australian Golf Club.
We are fortunate Vanessa came back to Australia. Matter of fact she received her citizenship before us, moved to the Byron Bay area 14 years ago and is married with one son. We have hopefully passed on to Vanessa our approach to life of enjoying the present but ever mindful of the future and several years ago she and her husband Steve met with GFM and have also started investing for their eventual retirement.
We have been absorbed by the many client stories relayed in “Trade Secrets”. The most compelling theme is the longevity of the relationship.
We have only been associated with GFM since 2005, yet in that short period of time we have felt fortunate to have become members of a unique family and recipients of advice that has made our lives free of the stress of financial management in retirement.