Rachel is married to Stephen Hutchison and lives and works in the beautiful Twin Waters here on the Sunshine Coast. Together, they have two primary school-aged children – Emily and Thomas.
What prompted you to consider working with a financial planner?
We were doing our tax returns and had a couple of questions for our accountant regarding the best way to redirect some extra money we were trying to save, as well as the CPI increase in our salary. He recommended that we have a chat with Ellerfield as he realised that he was not able to answer some of our more involved questions and they were best qualified.
Why did you choose to work with the financial planner you selected?
We had several meetings with the Ellerfield team before any firm plan was implemented or any fees discussed. We felt that they wanted to get to know us on a personal level first and then on a professional level. We have made, and will continue to make all decisions together with their team – nothing is assumed, and everything is discussed at length to make sure that we are comfortable with their recommendations.
What were you hoping to achieve by working with a financial planner?
We knew that we could afford to repay our current mortgage, but it was probably going to take until we were approaching retirement the way we were going. We needed to consider how we were going to afford to retire and still live the great lifestyle we were used to. We also needed to look at being able to afford private schooling for our kids – this was always our dream, but we were not sure it was financially possible with such a short time frame as our oldest child was already in Year 6.
Has your financial planner helped you achieve these goals?
It is a work in progress but we are now able to see that all our goals are very possible. Ellerfield has been very proactive in showing us how we are going to be able to achieve our longer term goals in regards to a comfortable retirement, private schooling, and also how to have that overseas holiday we have dreamed about.
Could you explain how “ellerCentral cash flow management” has helped your family on a day to day basis?
We have always had a budget, and we follow budgets and forecasts at work, so we knew what they were. Ellerfield made us realise that unless you are constantly reviewing and following it, it is easy to just spend the extra cash in the bank account on a whim. I now know exactly where we spend our money on a weekly and monthly basis. We know that we are rapidly reducing our mortgage and also making more conscious and informed decisions on whether we really need that impulse buy. I still can go shopping and buy the clothes I like, the household bits and pieces, and the gifts I like to spurge on, but I also make sure that it fits the budget we have created.
Could you explain what the Ellerfield “MRP” is and why you chose to implement this strategy for your home mortgage?
Ellerfield’s Mortgage Reduction Plan is tailored for each client. For us, it meant small but important changes to how we could reduce our morgage quicker and more effectively without having to sacrifice. We had the standard variable rate home loan but changed it to a line of credit. We now have our salaries paid directly to our line of credit each week, which in turn reduces the interest calculated on a daily basis. Our day to day expenses are all paid for on our credit card which we pay in full at the end of the month. I also update our monthly budget regularly so I can see how much we have spent for the month and make sure we are not overspending. Simply by doing this for the past eight months we have already made big inroads into reducing our debt.
Has you financial planner been able to help you in any areas that you did not expect?
We had no life insurance, income protection insurance or serious illness insurance, so if anything had happened to either of us we would have had to sell our beautiful home just to keep going. Ellerfield is also about to help us with improving our superannuation situation – that is the next step.
Would you recommend your financial planner to friends and family?
Without hesitation! They have certainly made us feel more in control of our financial future and we are very much included in all the decision processes. They have the expertise to guide us, but we do not feel that they have taken over. We feel more in control of our finances and future than ever before.