Michael Russell
Michael Russell

Financial Adviser


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How professional financial planning can help you follow your passion

Most people believe there is a right time to seek financial advice – close to ‘retirement age,’ with a good amount of money to invest and an estate to plan. However, how do you know when it’s the right age to retire? And how do you judge how much money is enough to invest with meaningful returns?

Over the past 15 years, we’ve surprised more than a few clients by telling them, after a careful analysis of their finances and circumstances, that they are ready for retirement far sooner than they’d hoped. If you have an income or some money put away and want to achieve certain goals but find yourself putting it off, then you should seek advice. You could learn about new avenues to achieve your goals effectively and invest your time, money and talents in activities that bring you joy.

Our clients, Dawn Harper, Elvio DiZane and Fiona and Philip Beggs, are doing just that.

Dawn Harper: From business consultant to community work champion

Two years ago, FMD client Dawn Harper gave up her career as a business consultant in the banking and finance sector to focus on community work. After caring for aging parents and completing a master’s degree in recent years, Dawn could have made several career-moves, but with a new grandson to enjoy, she chose greater flexibility and more meaningful work. “It’s something I always wanted to do,” said Dawn.

“When we first met our Adviser David Batchelor in 2001, I asked what I needed to do to start working part-time by age 55? Our goals were always to be mortgage-free, travel and do more community work. David gave us the advice and financial strategies we needed to make it happen.”

When Dawn sat down with the volunteer coordinator at her local council she was struck by the sheer number of volunteering opportunities. Now she tutors intellectually disabled adults through Inclusion Melbourne, runs mobility and driver education at Hawthorn Community House, and co-ordinates the Camcare fresh food program where she meets people from all walks of life. “It’s the worst I’ve ever been paid in my life and I love it!” says Dawn. “Last week I met a professor, a doctor from Iraq and a mum with four kids doing it tough. I also did some transport education for a woman in a wheelchair who hadn’t been able to go out independently. At the end of the course, she was so happy because now she can get on a bus with confidence. When you get an outcome like that you think: Why wouldn’t I want to do this if I can?! I feel very lucky.”

Elvio DiZane: Finding the financial opportunity in redundancy

Elvio’s story is an example of one of life’s unexpected financial events presenting a wonderful opportunity. In 2014 Elvio was a regional manager for a leading national retailer when the company went into administration and his role was suddenly made redundant. Firmly believing that when one door closes, three others open, Elvio started his own consulting and mentoring business with the advice and support of Martin Hawkins in our Brisbane office.

Soon after, he met the team at Healthy Land and Water who were looking to bring some commercial expertise into the ‘refillable water revolution’ delivered through their Go2zone water stations and bottles. The social enterprise believes chilled drinking water should be freely available through water stations in public places like workplaces, universities and hospitals. Elvio was moved to join the effort when he realised the impact plastic waste is having on local waterways and oceans around the world. He says, “I’ve become passionate about solving this problem and knowing all the proceeds go back into the clean-up effort. Australians consume 9 billion single-use water bottles every year and only a quarter are recycled. That’s not sustainable and it’s rewarding to spend this stage of my life doing something about it.”

Fiona & Philip Beggs: From teaching in Australia to building classrooms in Nepal

In late 2014, Philip and Fiona Beggs found themselves at a crossroads. After long and fulfilling teaching careers, and in their late 50s, Philip was considering applying for the role of Principal at the primary school where he worked. It would have meant another five-year work commitment, so instead the couple decided to retire and turn their attention to other interests. They wanted to spend more time with their aging parents, teach voluntary English classes to assist asylum seekers and pursue Philip’s passion for writing and performing folk music.

Fiona’s sister recommended they visit Michael Russell at FMD to get some advice on making the most of their superannuation to fund their plans. Soon after this meeting and inspired by the experiences of their 21-year-old daughter who had been caught up in Nepal’s major earthquake in 2015, the Beggs’ and a group of 12 volunteers visited Nepal to help rebuild a classroom in the poor village of Phulkharka. Disaster struck on the first day when there was an accident on the site. The concrete roof of a classroom collapsed, trapping several people. The injured were evacuated by helicopter to Kathmandu and while they eventually recovered, the project was put on hold while an investigation took place. In July 2016 the site was cleared in preparation for a completely new earthquake-resistant building. Three new classrooms are near completion and eighteen months later, Philip and Fiona feel the timing of their retirement was perfect.

How an FMD Financial adviser can help

Our experienced advisers will take the time to understand your financial circumstances and help you figure out if you’re on track for a future that is frugal, comfortable or no compromises. There are many ways to get more money into your retirement fund sooner – salary sacrificing, investing with your superannuation, debt recycling, and many more. Our advisers will help you get more money behind you earlier.

You may find out that you’re already ready for retirement. Or you may find out that you need a few strategic changes to your lifestyle to get there. Either way, if you’re ready to live a life of passion and don’t want to keep putting off your goals, book a 1-hour consultation with one of our advisers. The first meeting is on us so that we can have a chat and see if we’re the right fit for each other.

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General advice disclaimer: This article has been prepared by FMD Financial and is intended to be a general overview of the subject matter. The information in this article is not intended to be comprehensive and should not be relied upon as such. In preparing this article we have not taken into account the individual objectives or circumstances of any person. Legal, financial and other professional advice should be sought prior to applying the information contained on this article to particular circumstances. FMD Financial, its officers and employees will not be liable for any loss or damage sustained by any person acting in reliance on the information contained on this article. FMD Group Pty Ltd ABN 99 103 115 591 trading as FMD Financial is a Corporate Authorised Representative of FMD Advisory Services Pty Ltd AFSL 232977. The FMD advisers are Authorised Representatives of FMD Advisory Services Pty Ltd AFSL 232977.