We’re Back With You
As many of you may know Finance Women suffered a significant business disruption earlier this year. I thought I’d take the opportunity to update everyone on what’s been happening and where we are at. For those that love the detail, I’ve provided you with something bordering on a short essay. For those that just want the quick facts I’ve given you some bullet points of the most important things.
I hope you are all well and look forward to touching base with many of you in the very near future.
THE SHORT VERSION – for the vital facts
- We have fully and successfully transferred over to Interprac Financial Planning as our new AFSL, as such we have provided a link to our new Financial Services Guide.
- All services are back to normal and we are enjoying getting back to the business of helping women with their finances.
- We have introduced a set of Ongoing Service Packages as an option for clients, however we know that some people love the flexibility of Pay-As-You-Go, so we are definitely keeping that option available to you as well. Next time we see you, we can discuss which option suits you best. If you want to learn more you can read the Finance Women Pricing Guide.
- For those who are due for a review, we will be contacting you in the next couple of weeks to see if you are ready to update your advice. If not, we’ll get back in contact in another six months as per usual to check in.
- The middle of the year was a difficult period for our business, and not of our making. But we’ve made it through with a couple of scratches and a renewed sense of purpose and clarity.
- We are excited about the coming year, particularly taking the opportunity to introduce a new member of staff to you, we know you’ll love her. But rest assured, I’m not intending to go anywhere.
THE LONGER VERSION – for those who want the story
‘May you Live in Interesting Times’ – An ancient Chinese curse (or questionable origin).
This year has been nothing if not interesting.
I wrote to all my clients back in June to explain that we were going through a significant and quite unexpected business interruption. Without warning 4pm Friday afternoon over the Queen’s Birthday Long Weekend we were informed that we needed to stop providing financial advice immediately as the organisation that supplied us with our Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL) was ceasing business with immediate effect. While there was nothing wrong with the advice that I was providing, I was not legally permitted to practice until I had found another AFSL to work with.
This led to one of the longest long-weekends of my life. While I knew I would get through it, I didn’t quite yet know how. What was very quickly apparent was that I was not alone. There were around 400 other small businesses placed in the same untenable position. During the following weeks I forged many new professional relationships as we supported each other to sort through an unholy mess not of our own making.
I was very fortunate that I had the business model and professional reputation to be able to join a highly regarded AFSL called Interprac, an organisation who was born out of the National Tax and Accountants Association. They have been very supportive of my work and my vision for Finance Women. Those few months of transition were tough, and I do freely admit that there were times when I really wondered whether it was all worth it.
So many of you know what it’s like when an unexpected avalanche descends. Perhaps yours came in the form of a relationship breakdown, a financial event, a health emergency or a professional crisis. I have walked beside many of you as you navigated these events. Like you, I gathered my support crew around me. I focussed on what was really necessary and tried not to catastrophise. In those early weeks it was a case of putting one foot in front of the other. Dealing with today’s problems today, leaving tomorrow’s problems for tomorrow.
As time progressed, things started getting back to normal. Current and new clients who needed advice got in contact and I started to get my groove back. The process of sitting down to help people was not only good for them, it was also quite healing for me. I remembered again why I loved this job so much and why the business I originally envisaged was so important and worth fighting for.
I would not have chosen to go through an event like this and I have my share of bruises from the experience, but I have also gained a reaffirmed sense of purpose, a much greater appreciation of my own strength and resilience and a knowledge of the amazing network of people around me when the chips are down.
Throughout this time we have enjoyed continuing to publish our series on the 52 weeks of women, highlighting some inspiring and significant women from history. Continuing this venture has reminded us of the trials and tribulations of the women that came before us, that the path towards lasting achievement is often winding and rarely linear and obstacles and missteps does not mean failure. Some of my personal favourites would be Henrietta Dugdale, Lilian Gilbreth and Jemima Nichols.
At its essence our business has not changed. We still provide our clients with down-to-earth trust worthy advice about their finances. We don’t do commissions nor pay anyone to refer business to us. We know that our clients are smart women (and men), who need a trusted adviser to help them understand the options available and to make choices that are right for them. We focus on working with what you have, rather than don’t have. We help provide you with clarity and reassurance, taking the fear and panic out of your financial decisions. We understand that sometimes you need us to tell you things straight and sometimes you need the box of tissues. We are committed to treat you with respect and encouragement and that you are the one who keeps control of your finances.
We have linked you to our new Financial Services Guide, it outlines key information about Interprac Financial Planning, Finance Women and how your interests are protected as a client of Finance Women.
Our new AFSL Interprac Financial Planning supports our way of doing business. When we originally designed our business we took a long hard look at the way the industry operated and did our best to avoid the problems we could plainly see. While the Royal Commission has been shocking, I am sorry to say much of it was not surprising. While in the early days of the business it felt as though we were swimming against the tide, we are starting to see many businesses start to follow our lead and redesign how they do business.
One change I have made is the introduction of an Ongoing Service Package options for clients. There are clients who benefit from having a pre-set regular review appointments and the opportunity for a pre-purchased amount of adviser time. This time can be used for ad-hoc advice throughout the year, coaching, attending appointments with you. From a behavioural psychology perspective, we know that you are more likely to get your advice updated and reach your goals if you have committed to a specific place and time and have a more comprehensive structure to keep you on track. If you are interested in reading more about the different packages on offer then you can read the Finance Women Pricing Guide.
There will continue to be clients who will want to retain the pay-as-you-go model, that’s absolutely fine with me, we can continue to bill you for our time as and when you need it. When you next seek a review we can talk to you about which option suits you best.
Over the coming weeks I will reach out to those of you who may be due for a review. There is no pressure. If you need to see me, we’ll make a time, if not I’ll reset the invitation to give you a prompt in another six months. If you are desperately in need of getting some advice urgently then reply to this email and let me know.
We have exciting things planned in the coming year. I am getting ready to appoint a new adviser to work alongside me. When you meet her, I know you’ll love absolutely love her, she’s kind, practical, clear thinking and she has a warm presence that you’ll instantly feel comfortable with. I’ll still be here providing advice, but two heads will be better than one. I’m also looking forward to devoting a bit more time to writing and publishing articles. I love being able to share insights about the world of financial planning with you. My newsletter has not been published for some months now due the disruptions but with things settling down it looks like I’ll be able to get back into the swing of things. If you haven’t signed up for the newsletter then visit the Finance Women Blog and enter your email address.
On The Personal Front
I am very excited to be leading my fledgling cricket team into their second season. Who would have thought I would start a cricket team? I hate the sun, heat, balls flying at me and not really interested in watching the sport. But playing it is a different thing. If you are interested in our journey you can watch this little video about our first season playing or read the article that appeared last week in the local paper featuring how we have attracted a group of local mums to take up a new sport. My husband, James, is well, and for the most part enjoys being press-ganged into coaching the team.
We drag the three kids Ioan (11), Catrin (9) and Alys (5) along to all the games and I figure it is character building and humbling for them to attend my sporting matches for a change. Next year Alys will start school and I’m looking forward to having them all in the one place for a year, though I’m not sure that the school is ready for three Robinsons at once.
I hope you are all well, and I look forward to touching base with many of you in the not too distant future.