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31-year-old Ben Hopkins is the first to admit he didn’t have a lot of financial knowledge when he first met Julie Nipperess.
“There are things you don’t learn and you don’t know as a young adult, that make a big difference to your life.
I wanted to make sure I had all my financial stuff done right. It turns out I didn’t. They don’t teach you about superannuation at school, and I’d already bought my first home, but was using my redraw facility as a savings account.”
“…and the level of care just wasn’t there. I was just plodding along, and my finances were one of those things I didn’t worry about. It was an ‘adult thing’ I didn’t need to think about.
Julie changed the way I thought about money … and from the first meeting, she put me at ease.”
Ben’s job has him working away from home in the gas mines 90% of the year. It’s a tough gig. He works 13 days on, 12 hours a day, 1 day off. It’s an unstable environment, and his income and job could change at any moment.
“In my line of work, I could be terminated on the spot, so I’m always looking for new ideas for business and investment. I always run them by Julie; she’s part of every decision I make.”
Ben needed to make certain his financial obligations would be met and his financial future secure, should anything change in his employment.
“And again, it comes down to stuff you just don’t know. I didn’t know that your premiums increase on disability insurance and income protection insurance every year if you don’t lock it in. If I had waited, it would have been a lot more expensive.”
When Ben first met Julie, he had a sizeable existing debt on a home he had purchased. As part of the overall strategy and structure of the financial plan, Ben’s mortgage, savings accounts, insurances, superannuation and investments were overhauled, in a big way.
“Julie sorted out every aspect of my financial life … I’m proud that I’ve done everything she’s asked, and I’ve taken every piece of advice she’s given and run with it. We set goals … one in particular seemed unachievable…”
Not long after Ben started seeing Julie, he purchased two additional investment properties. Julie worked with the team involved in the purchase (the buyer’s agent and mortgage broker) and made the process simple and easy.
When Ben first started seeing Julie, his super was sitting somewhere around the 30k mark.
Capitalising on the maximum super salary sacrifice cap, Ben has been able to grow his super substantially, to well over 100k in just a few years.
It’s intensely rewarding for him to watch his retirement grow closer. But as a 31-year-old, surely retirement isn’t on the cards yet?
“I’d like to retire between 40 and 45, and I’m on track to achieve this. We’ve also diversified into shares and we do an annual review to see where I am versus where my plan says I should be. We also look at my risk profile, and how much risk I want my super exposed to.”
Julie has Ben’s plan mapped out all the way until retirement, which for Ben isn’t too far off. With a little bit of planning, a lot of hard work and some amazing people around him, Ben’s financial future looks extremely healthy.
And that seemingly unreachable goal they set all those years ago? Just last month, Julie called Ben to tell him they’d achieved it.
But no rest for the wicked. Ben is straight back to work and looking to the next big goal. He’s got to get through a few more long long days in the gas mines until then!