When Les McGuire was 22, ‘bullet-proof’ and full of ambition, he was struck by a 10-tonne truck that was travelling 87km an hour.
“I was out walking and the truck threw me 37 metres,” he says. “I clinically died three times, but was revived by ambulance and again later at the hospital.”
McGuire ended up in a coma on life support, and was given zero chance of pulling through, due to the serious brain injury he suffered.
“What was really strange was that I remember having lunch with my dad two weeks before I was hit and I was reading a story about a local kid with a brain injury and I said, ‘Dad if I ever end up on life support with a brain injury, I want you to turn it off.’ So that is what Dad, rightly, wanted to do, but Mum wouldn’t let them turn it off, and she believed in her gut that I would be OK.”
In the end, McGuire was OK, eventually emerging out of the coma; nevertheless, doctors told him he would never be the same.
“I was told I would never walk again, I would never have a proper job and I would need semi-permanent care for the rest of my life,” he says. “But through pure will and determination, I forced myself to walk again, and have a career. I finished my master’s and have received a number of awards.
“I went on to achieve a lot of things I was told that I would never be able to do.”
McGuire’s list of achievements since the accident in 1999 is impressive. He is part of the Most Trusted Adviser Network, was named in Barron’s List of Australia’s Top 50 Financial Advisers for 2018, and was AMP Australian Adviser of the Year.
He has also gained an MBA and was named Most Successful Graduate at the AMP Horizons specialist financial planning academy.
“One of the main reasons I went into financial planning was because I just want to change people’s lives, I just want to make a difference,” he says.
“When you have been to the depths of despair, when you’ve been in a wheelchair or you’ve been told you can’t walk again or play sport or have a job again, it’s easy to accept that and get used to the wheelchair, but my view was, ‘I’m not going to be beaten.’ ”
McGuire went on to run his own two beauty salons in Brisbane. He was also chief executive of Dick White Bus and Motorhomes and, later, group chief executive of Skintech International.
He was then invited to join the AMP Horizons Financial Planning Academy, and the rest is history.
He joined Future Proof Financial in Ballina, in northern NSW, and a decade later, he fully owns the business, with about $290 million in funds under management, 15 staff, and a broad client list.
“I’ve always had a belief that everyone is equal regardless of money, everyone deserves the same respect,” he says. “This business has been designed to cater for most people’s needs.”
As a result, McGuire has done much pro bono work for the Cancer Council, for people who are terminally ill, and has worked with executive clients in Sydney and Melbourne.
“After the accident, I wanted to help people, so I started studying medical science for a while, but dropped out because I realised doctors don’t have enough time these days to give to patients,” he says. “So I said to myself, ‘If medicine isn’t the best way to help people, well, the next biggest thing that contributes to people’s stresses is money.
“And I thought, ‘How can I be a part of helping people with that?’ ”
Name of firm: Future Proof Financial Planning
Name of licensee: AMP Financial Planning
Time in the industry (previous jobs?): 12 years (chief executive of Dick White Bus and Motorhomes; group chief executive of Skintech International
Academic qualifications: advanced diploma of financial services; MBA
Professional association memberships: Association of Financial Advisers; Finance Brokers Association of Australia; AMP Financial Planners’ Association
Other memberships and awards: AMP Horizons specialist Financial Planning Academy – Most Successful Graduate; Most Trusted Adviser Network; Barron’s Top 50 2018 List of Australia’s Top 50 Financial Advisers; Most Outstanding Business Leader, Chamber of Commerce; AMP Australian Adviser of the Year