Robert & Marlene Houlden
Robert has kindly written the article below on their working life, family, travels and their experiences with GFM Wealth Advisory since 1986 and GFM Gruchy Accounting. We much appreciate Robert’s contribution to Trade Secrets.
During her working life, Marlene was a primary teacher, teaching grades 1-3 and had several leadership roles during her teaching career. Marlene retired in 2013 after 33 years of employment, and in her “retirement” she is now a very active fibre artist using leaves from the Australian bush to transfer their patterns onto fabric. Marlene sells her work at several galleries around Melbourne, has an Etsy store, and conducts workshops and is very active on Instagram with over 2000 followers!
I am a formulation chemist. I had the great opportunity to work for the Nicholas Aspro Group straight out of university when they had a research lab at Burnham Beeches in Sherbrooke during the late ‘70s. Magnificent gardens, lyrebirds on the lawn and the occasional snowfall in the winter! For the last 30 years of my career, I have specialised in skincare working on sunscreens and dermatology products principally for the US market. I am proud to say that during my career, I have been acknowledged as an inventor on many Australian, US, EU and worldwide patents. Now retired, I enjoy volunteering one day a week at Puffing Billy in the museum where I am helping restore a guard’s van from the 1920s.
Fortunately, Marlene and I have had the opportunity to travel extensively, usually after a business conference but also during long service leave. We have travelled through Europe, 25 US States and visited such diverse places as Iceland and Vanuatu, recently making a train trip in the snow through Switzerland then onto Italy, Germany and Belgium.
We have two daughters; one is currently in Fremantle as she makes her way around Australia with her fiancé; our other daughter works as a graphic designer and live music photographer in Melbourne.
We became clients of GFM back in 1986 before starting our SMSF with GFM in 2007 as our superannuation balances grew and our focus on retirement intensified.
The reason we have been long term clients of GFM is that the team has actively listened to our goals and objectives. They collaboratively engage with our investment preferences, rather than other planners we considered who pushed their investments, thoughts and products.
Paul is our primary adviser, proactively working with our SMSF portfolio. We continue to have more wins than losses with his advice which is the way investing should work. You can never have 100% wins! His ability is confirmed by his multiple rankings as one of Australia’s top 50 Financial Advisers. This supports that we are with the right financial planning firm.
I started to use GFM Gruchy Accounting after they merged with GFM Wealth and found that to be a good option for us as they have access to all our financials. This made it a “one-stop-shop”, dramatically simplifying tax time.
My advice to others who have a super fund is to try to avoid checking the market or your super balance daily, which will inevitably lead to emotional decisions. The GFC and the drop due to COVID-19 earlier this year are a testament that the market does recover if you are a patient investor and you keep your nerve. We have regular meetings with GFM, and I feel this is necessary to make changes to the underlying balance in investments to suit any lifestyle changes.