Letting someone into your financial life is one of the most intimidating things that many people do. Over the course of operating Summerhill Financial Solutions, many of my clients have become friends. I hope I can do the same with you.
I began Summerhill Financial Solutions out of a desire to use my financial knowledge to help clients realise their potential as individuals, not to just make money. I carefully select my clients to ensure that our goals are aligned.
I invite you to get to know more about my personal and professional background.
Memberships & Achievements
I am a Certified Financial Planner (CFP®), the highest financial planning designation worldwide, and hold the following professional memberships.
I am a member of the Network Financial Planner, an association dedicated to the development of skills in financial planning and the required qualifications in financial advice in Germany.
I have been nominated for several business and finance awards, including the 2012 AFA Female Excellence in Advice Award and the 2009 Telstra Business Awards, and have twice entered the Masterclass for Financial Planning exam, both times being named in the top 50 advisers within Australia. I am often quoted in financial, corporate and business media articles, relating to advisers using technology and appropriate training.
In a nutshell
In a nutshell, I coach you financially to make the most of your income and wealth.
What I do for each client is different because it depends on what individual clients want and need me to do. Some examples include developing a full strategic financial plan, right down to setting budgets, managing bank accounts and handling insurance.
What I do for you is only what we agree on. Once we agree, and we have a clear understanding in writing, then we can begin.
It’s very important to me that we both think we will work well together. A good financial plan is long term, so we will be working together for a long time and no one wants to spend a long time with people they neither like nor respect! I love what I do, so working with people whose company I enjoy is an important factor.
Because proper financial strategies do take time, I don’t have the reams of clients that large financial institutions have. I make sure that I have the time for each and every client. Without exception.
My first step is to understand why you want financial coaching and advice; what your life goals, values and interests are; and what money means to you.
So who uses a financial coach? And why?
A Financial Coach
Who uses a financial coach
People use a financial coach for all sorts of different reasons: from “not being good with money” right through to not having the time to plan properly – because it does take time. Some people are surprised that wealthy people who understand money also use a financial coach.
For all, it comes down to wanting to live the life they desire while creating what they want in the future. In much the same way as top athletes have a coach to take them to the next level, that’s exactly what I do for your finances.
It doesn’t mean existing on “bread and dripping” and never going out; it means creating a balance in your plan – and sticking to it. I help you do both. Using a financial coach means you don’t have to stress about money; you can spend your time on things you enjoy, not in trying to keep up-to-date with how to make the most of your income.
Getting to know you
Your financial goals & aspirations
Understanding you and your goals is vital in helping me to develop the best financial plan for you.
Below you’ll see a shortened example of some financial goals. This is an extract from a sample Financial Strategy (you can download a full one here as an example), which is one of the first things I do to better understand your financial position. After this, we go through your “personal balance sheet” together, which is your assets and your liabilities. It’s now I have the starting point for tracking your financial progress.
Sample financial goals
- Buy a new apartment or renovate your existing apartment at a net changeover cost of €350,000 (over the next two years)
- Provide your children with a private school education (€20,000 per child per year over the next 2-16 years)
- Enjoy your lifestyle, including travel (ongoing)
- Achieve financial independence (€1.3m by age 60)
How I Help You Succeed
There are two steps here: covering the basics and then getting the discipline right.
You can see the sample Financial Strategy looks at everything: your cash flow, wealth accumulation, debt management, tax planning, superannuation planning, investment management, risk management, estate planning, insurances and any other issues we need to discuss to make your goals reality. You’ll also see there’s a place for a summary of the next steps.
Under each of those areas is a series of action points, the reasons for those, the status (whether we need to discuss it, you need to find out some extra information, whether it needs to be implemented at a later date, or reviewed as part of another process) and notes from our meeting on those action points.
IT'S ABOUT CONTROL
Here is the part that makes your plan work: discipline.
Take the first action point under “cash flow” for our example clients: “use strong cash flow to build wealth and aim to save €900 per month for future apartment renovation/ changeover”. To make that happen, I might track their cash flow and assess their progress against agreed savings targets.
Moving through the action points in other areas, examples of what I do are:
ensure any debt you have is structured the most effective way for your circumstances and future ambitions
manage your retirement strategy so you have confidence as to whether you can retire when you want to
review your insurance so you and your family are financially protected
ensure your Wills and other estate planning documents, such as Powers of Attorney, are up to date and reflect your needs (I can work with your solicitor here)
provide specific investment recommendations
…and we also handle the administration for all these areas
how do we work together?
Whether we meet face-to-face or online, depends on location, time and what’s convenient for both of us. Online meetings aren’t just for different cities or countries, I often meet with clients online when we’re in the same city to save travel hassles and time.
The number of meetings and how often will depend on many factors, including your goals and your timeline. There is no “one size fits all”; each client is different. Together we will work out the best method, frequency and total number of meetings at the beginning.
While my main work is with expats to create financial plans; I also provide coaching to small business owners and professionals to help them set goals and be accountable in achieving them.
I coach in two areas:
- small business
- personal for professionals
small business coaching
Running a small business isn’t about “buying yourself a job”, neither is it just about making money. To be truly successful in your business, it must be aligned with your personal goals.
I founded Summerhill from the desire to use my financial expertise to help clients realise their potential as business owners and individuals, not just as money makers.
Having successfully met, then exceeded, the goals of my original business plan before the timeline I’d set, I began consulting to other planners in Australia, providing advice on developing and implementing their own processes – transforming from commission-based advice to fully independent financial advisers.
But you don’t have to be in finance for me to coach you: I work with a wide range of businesses, across many different industries. No matter the sector, every successful business needs the right structure, staff, clients and processes.
In business coaching, I will guide you through setting goals and making sure that the business is running to achieve those goals effectively. This also ties in personal and financial coaching, to make sure the business is aligned with your personal goals.
Some of the people I coach personally are small business owners, others are professionals who want to achieve certain things in their careers. In each case, we look at setting professional or personal goals – or both – and then setting the steps to achieve those goals. A big part of how I work is to hold you accountable. That doesn’t mean you have to be 100% perfect all the time. However, it does mean you realise I can’t do it for you, and that it is up to you. My role is to keep you on the path to achieve what you desire.
what if your goals change
Some people worry about if their goals change and what will happen. A goal is only worth pursuing if it is adding to your life. Doggedly sticking to a goal when your circumstances change because you “said you’d do it” is not serving you well. On the other hand, wanting to change a goal because it’s “getting hard” may be a lack of confidence and looking for an easy way out. I see both these occurrences, and have the objectivity of distance to point out the difference to you and guide you on the best decision.