RICHARD JACKSON Richard Jackson & Associates / Financial Adviser

Alfreda was referred to me in 2011. At that stage her husband’s health was beginning to deteriorate so they needed to get their act together and prepare for that.

Ian had retired 13 years before, he’d been a steward with Qantas. Alfreda had previously been an air hostess herself – that’s how they met originally – and was working as a teacher.

I remember they came across as well-travelled, kind of gregarious and outgoing. They both had quite big personalities and clearly enjoyed life and loved entertaining. They’d had their ups and downs but were both really positive and had really well-rounded world views.

Everything evolved over a period of time. We reorganised Ian’s allocated pensions because they were expensive and performing poorly, and we sold some land that they owned up in the Hunter Valley. Alfreda was still teaching so we were able to build up her First State Super account, which we decided to keep as it’s quite well-run.

Ian eventually had to go into residential care so there were a lot of decision around all of that. Then Alfreda decided to sell the house she’d been living in for a long time and move into a retirement village, which gave us another opportunity to build up the super.

Ian’s illness was really aggressive, and he passed away in 2015. It was really hard on Alfreda. She retired a few years later, I think she was 75 by then.

I was around their place quite a lot all through that whole period. That type of circumstance draws you into the client’s life, you’re constantly making major life decisions. But that’s the type of relationship I look for as a planner; if you’re able to provide that extra dimension of help it goes beyond money and provides real value. As an adviser, that’s really gratifying.

She’s quite a character, Alfreda. I compare her to the actress, Joanna Lumley; she can be quite regal, you know, sailing the Nile and sipping champagne, but then she’s quite comfortable chatting with the garbageman.

ALFREDA WHITE Retired

I met Richard about ten years ago. My husband passed away four years ago from Parkinson’s with Lewy body dementia.

My husband had chosen an adviser years before who I was very uncomfortable with – not so much that he was doing anything wrong, but more so because he wasn’t doing anything. But from the very first time I had dealings with Richard I felt immediately confident that he would be competent enough to handle our affairs.

My husband was with Qantas for 36 years and retired due to family circumstances. He had all this superannuation that had been invested in mysterious ways by the previous adviser. The first thing Richard did was come up with a plan to reinvest it. Now, much of the science of investing eludes me, I must admit, but he gave us a plan that was understandable.

I always get a sensible line of advice from Richard, which I find very reassuring – especially since I’ve taken over the finances. I was once going to sell my car just before I was due to have hip surgery, and he suggested I hang onto it because I would have found it difficult to get used to a new car. That’s very practical and down to earth advice… nothing to do with finance, but he was right.

We’re both members of the Wahroonga Rotary club, so I do see him quite frequently – not in a professional way, just as passing ships at the club. He’s quite involved in it and I know that he goes overseas to Nepal and does all sorts of good work, which is further testament to the person he is.

There are no big band noises when Richard’s around, he’s very quiet and contained. He waits and digests your questions, then  gives considered answers. Richard just seems to have so much common sense, apart from anything else. The reliability factor is something I appreciate too.

He’s my best kept secret. I really like him as a person as well as in a professional capacity. He also has a lovely family, I just can’t think of a bad thing to say about him.

Tahn Sharpe is a Sydney-based financial services journalist with a background in financial planning. He writes on advice, superannuation, investment, banking and insurance issues, is a certified SMSF Adviser and holds an Advanced Diploma of Financial Planning.
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