When he finished school, little did Peter know that he would make a career out of delivering such a sleep elixir. “I originally wanted to be an Accountant, so I headed off to Deakin Uni in Geelong and began a commerce degree. After a few semesters I realised Accounting wasn’t a good career fit, but luckily I was able to side-step into a Financial Planning major and I immediately felt like that was where I belonged.”
A fortuitous side-step it was with Peter now approaching 20 years in the industry.
It hasn’t been easy though. After working as a paraplanner, he started advising in 2007 just before the GFC hit which was certainly challenging, but it provided the experience needed for the market down turns to come, particularly the pandemic which sent markets into freefall in March 2020.
“The phone was running hot in March last year as Covid-19 took hold and the markets started to react.”
“There were common questions being asked - What should I do now? Should I switch to cash? A lot of my ongoing clients from previous discussions knew they shouldn’t panic, that we had prepared for such a downturn, however most just needed to check in and get the reassurance that it would be ok” says Peter.
Having these previous relationships meant that clients could trust his experience when investment markets dropped dramatically, their lifestyles were affected, and their spending habits changed. By working with ongoing advice service clients to build different ‘risk buckets’ into their portfolio, Peter assisted them with limiting any potential long-term negative market impacts, and most were not forced to withdraw from options heavily exposed to the downturn. “The most important thing I was telling clients was to maintain their long-term view. While we don’t expect that type of market fall in a short space of time, we had planned for this type of event and now it was coming to fruition.”
Staying strong during a downturn is easier said than done though.
Until you are in the middle of a situation, you don’t know how you will react. “This is where a client needs to find balance—the balance between how you are going to achieve your financial goals and the level of risk you can tolerate. They don’t always line up.” But regular conversations with people to clarify objectives and priorities as their circumstances change can help to find this equilibrium.
So how do you build great relationships as a financial planner?
You need to be part investigator, part educator but mainly it’s the ability to talk through priorities and real-life situations, and not just the numbers. “It’s not just about asking “what’s in the bank account”, and “this is the benefit of investing in your super fund”. It’s about drilling into what’s important, what lifestyle people want and if/how this might be achievable. Having open conversations to work through where and what they would like to be doing in the future is the most important part.”
To be a good financial planner, you also need to find a balance between yourself and your job.
This is why outside of work, when he’s not being Dad to his 4 and 6 year old boys, you can find Peter involved with his second great passion, music. “I’ve played saxophone in almost every style of music possible from old style rock and roll, modern alternative, to big band to symphonic pieces. I’m a life member of the Geelong Concert Band where I’ve played for 23 years now.”
Advice options for members
As a TelstraSuper member you can get general and simple personal financial advice about contribution strategies, and investment options over the phone, as part of your membership.
To speak with a Financial Planner like Peter about more comprehensive personal advice, you can make an appointment with TelstraSuper Financial Planning. They have a range of advice options available for a competitive fee and the first appointment is complimentary.
To get started, simply give us a call on 1300 033 166 or request a call back.
Any general advice on this website has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before you act on any general advice on this website, you should consider whether it is appropriate to your individual circumstances. Before making any investment decision, you should obtain and read the relevant product disclosure statement which is available on the Website or by calling 1300 033 166 between 8.30 am and 5.30 pm (AEST) Monday to Friday. You may wish to consult an Adviser before you make any decisions relating to your financial affairs. To speak with an Adviser from TelstraSuper Financial Planning call 1300 033 166.