Despite a 33 year career in finance, Steve Rich found it wasn’t too late to rethink their retirement investment strategy - just at the right time
Steve’s super wasn’t working hard enough
Working for one of the big four banks for 33 years has its advantages – you acquire a whole lot of financial knowledge along the way. But it also can mean you are a little careless about your future and what you are investing in, putting blind faith in a bank super fund that may not be performing to the best of its abilities.
“Our super fund wasn’t doing badly, we were just preparing for retirement and there was a lot we didn’t know.”
So he decided to do something about it
So when a colleague recommended Steve Rich go and see Ben Rossi from First Financial, Steve decided to go, listen to what Ben had to say and decide whether he wanted to move from the safety of his bank owned superannuation policy, to a newer, more strategic and personalised fund. And he has never been happier.
Confidence from the beginning
“In the first hour of the first meeting, they talked about structure and I was very comfortable. I had confidence from the start that they had my best interests at heart.
First Financial made sure I understood what was going on, every step of the way. They set everything up for us, and made sure we took advantage of all the tax breaks we were eligible for.
They provide good financial advice and give us good advice on what to invest in. Unlike my previous super fund, I know exactly what I’m invested in. It gives me comfort and security.”
A surprising opportunity
Steve had planned his retirement to kick in when he was 64 or 65. But things don’t always go to plan, and after 33 years at the bank, Steve was made redundant. It was far from bad news. The money he had planned to save towards his retirement in his final working years came gifted in the form of a redundancy payout, and his retirement kicked in at 61.
“Right now, we’re having a ball.”
Proves it’s never too late to plan
Steve and Debi came to a financial adviser quite late in life – partially due to the fact that as a bank employee, Steve was across financial matters every day, and partially because they’d been previously burned by a bad experience.
“We went to a financial adviser a few years ago but all he did was sell me insurance policies and tell me to top up my super.
It wasn’t what I was looking for.
I was looking for someone to help us build for our retirement.”
Get the right information, every time
It’s never too early to start planning for your retirement.
The critical part as a pre-retiree, or retiree, is that your adviser is on top of all the complex and ever-changing legislation around superannuation, pensions and taxation laws.
First Financial have a dedicated team for this.
“Working in finance for so long means I’ve got a good understanding of shares and investments. First Financial always let us know what their recommendations are, if something is good or bad, or share prices go down. Their communication is very good.”
It comes down to trust
Steve found out quickly that he needed to trust the advisers to do their job properly.
“There were probably a few investments that they recommended initially that I wasn’t 100% sure of, but we did go with their recommendations and that’s proved to be the right way to go.
I was a little cautious about whether that share was heading in the right direction. Their advice was let’s do it and see how it goes.”
Steve’s not too proud to admit that he was wrong; those shares he had misgivings about have done very well.
It really does come down to trust – and experience.
“We quickly found out that they know their stuff … they’re very good at what they do. They have a great team behind them, and they’re keeping an eye on what our investments are doing as well.”
Transparent and proactive
What Steve also appreciates is that First Financial are transparent and proactive.
“They are more transparent and open than we’re used to. It’s incredible to know what you’ve got and where it’s going.
And they are very proactive and involved; always communicating information that’s relevant to what we’re doing.
We deal exclusively with Ben Rossi and Stef Costa – they’re the face of the company for us. We find them great, they’re very friendly – but what I really appreciate is that it’s not just all about finance.
They’re interested in what we’re doing on the personal side. We’re always chatting about what we’re doing, where we are, our plans.”
Certainty for the rest of their lives
As self-funded retirees now, Steve and Debi Rich literally haven’t got a care in the world.
“Based on the plan First Financial have for us, we will have an adequate income and live comfortably for the rest of our lives.
We’re not pulling huge amounts out, but we have enough to live on, and if we require funds for bigger purchases like overseas trips, or a new car, they make the funds available.
As far as we’re concerned, if everything goes to plan, we’ll be comfortable for the rest of our lives. And probably won’t ever see any money from the government at all.”
Which is exactly the kind of retirement they were hoping for.
“We’re travelling for 12 months. In our retirement we decided we’d sell our house and we’ve invested that money so we don’t even touch that. We bought a caravan, travelled for six months and plan to head back to Melbourne for Christmas and back out again early next year until the end of next year at least. We’ve been up the centre and east coast, Melbourne to Adelaide, Alice Springs and to Queensland. We’re heading west next year. As I said, we’re having a ball.”