How can a financial plan move you towards your life goals? Discover the steps Susan and Callum have taken to secure their future thanks to working on a Pronup with a CFP® professional.
Susan Mackay can’t recall a single argument about money with husband Callum Sexton during their 12-years relationship history. So why did they decide to get together with CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® professional Chris Giaouris, Principal Adviser from Chronos Private to work on a Pronup?
“We both come from hardworking families and appreciate the value of the dollars we spend so we’re not extravagant,” says Susan. “When we first got together our goals were pretty simple, just a good holiday once a year and saving to buy a house eventually. So our approach to money was pretty casual and we didn’t feel the need to budget carefully. And now we’ve got the house and mortgage to go with it! We’ve also managed to put money into shares and savings here and there, so money matters did get more complicated for us to manage as time went on.”
“Then kids come along and everything changes. They become your focus and you can’t take it for granted that you’ll have all the money you need to provide them with a good education and fabulous family holidays. Our first meeting with Chris came at the perfect time. We were just about to have our first child and needed a simpler, more effective way to manage money. And when you have this real little person to plan for, having a framework for your money goals becomes very important.”
Simplify to save more
To get their Pronup plan underway, Susan and Callum worked with Chris to take stock of their current financial position. The couple appreciated having someone to guide them towards simpler and more cost-effective arrangements for their savings and investments. “Callum used to do a lot of research into things, and I’d dive deep into all the details he’d found,” says Susan. “Then we’d discuss it all and make a decision. We made a pretty good team, but our best ideas started with tips from people we knew. As a knowledgeable professional, Chris has made recommendations that have simplified our investments and savings and saved us on fees.”
Getting clear on goals
As well as guiding the couple towards better options for their investment and savings dollars, Chris also shone a light on some important goals for their family. “It was always easy for Callum and I to agree on what our goals were,” says Susan. “But when we met with Chris we found that we actually had important financial goals that we hadn’t even considered. It was really useful to be clear on everything that we need to plan for – from buying a new car to going on holiday. In the past we’d meet these costs in a very ad hoc way. With this new approach to budgeting everything is covered and we know we’ll be able to afford it.”
Looking forward with confidence
Being an airline pilot, Callum is well provided for when it comes to insurance. “It’s an absolute essential for him with his job,” says Susan. “But personal insurance for me was something we hadn’t given much thought to. Chris made us aware of how much of an impact it would have on our family finances if something happened to me. By showing us forecasts for scenarios like this he clearly demonstrates good outcomes from the choices we’re making now. We can see what impact it will have if I change things, like increasing my working hours when both kids are in school. When something changes or we revisit our goals, it’s good to look at where we’re heading and the financial and family outcomes from decisions we’re making now.”
How a Pronup pays off
It’s not just getting on top of the numbers that has brought value to the Pronup experience for Susan and Callum. “Chris is certainly very thorough and organised,” says Susan. “If it wasn’t for him our finances wouldn’t be progressing, we’d have small amounts of money everywhere, which would be costing us more. Without his support and ideas, it would seem like too much work to make all these changes. But the value in seeing Chris goes well beyond getting our finances organised. Chris really listens to our ideas and feelings about money and the future and that comes through clearly in the advice he offers. So we know we can trust him to keep us on the right track, no matter how distracted we are by our busy lives.”
“It’s also good to have someone giving you the space and motivation to think about your goals. They’re really quite vague unless you’re asked to put them under the microscope. And yet it’s also really important to be clear about what our goals are and the consequences of not planning for them. We’re two hardworking people on good salaries. But without a plan to follow, we’d be facing a retirement that could put considerable strain on our finances, forcing us to choose between helping our kids or living out our own dreams for the future. So working with Chris has been an important way of protecting what we value most – our children and our relationship.”
Money & Life