A family tragedy
When Sue and Geoff Browne left the Northern Territory in 2008 to travel around Australia in their caravan, they were looking forward to the adventure of a lifetime. But things took a distressing turn early on, when Geoff was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer soon after they’d reached Perth. Former pilot Geoff was in his late 50s, and had always been fit and healthy.
During their marriage, it was mainly Geoff who managed the family’s finances. Geoff also fancied himself as a do-it-yourself investor, and by the time he passed away in 2010, the Browne family had over 60 direct shareholdings and further investments in 15 managed funds.
Although these investments amounted to a decent capital sum, they were mainly speculative, in small parcels and not aligned to any specific purpose. For schoolteacher Sue who didn’t have much investment experience, it was a real headache.
“Before Geoff passed away, he thought I’d be able to carry on managing the portfolio, and he’d tied up some of the loose ends to simplify it for me,” Sue recalled. “But even though I tried to educate myself by doing an investment course, it really wasn’t my thing. I was worried I might do something wrong with the investments, which meant I was reluctant to do anything at all.”
Simpler and smarter investing
Unsure of what steps to take, Sue decided it was time to get some professional financial advice from Brendan Stone. Geoff, who was originally from Queensland, had previously been advised about his super by Brendan, and Sue knew how happy Geoff had been with the advice experience.
Over the next three years, Brendan helped Sue refine her investments by selling her managed funds and reducing her portfolio to 15 high-quality stocks. Under Brendan’s management, the new arrangements now meet Sue’s needs for capital growth and a tax-effective income. As part of the strategy, Brendan also arranged an insurance bond investment plus annual concessional super contributions.
“Brendan’s strategy has been to prune the portfolio down to a more manageable size and get rid of any dead wood, and he also lets me know if there are any better options for me to invest in,” Sue said. “He knows I struggle with these things, so he explains it all in language I understand.”
Today Sue still lives in Perth, with her and Geoff’s three adult children. Now that she’s in a good financial position thanks to Brendan’s advice, Sue recently enjoyed a holiday to Italy, and she’s looking forward to upgrading her car and having some home maintenance done.
“Working with Brendan has given me peace of mind because I don’t have to worry anymore about what’s invested where,” said Sue. “I know that Brendan has his eye on it all, and he’ll make sure nothing falls through the cracks.”
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