Carly Nikolic (left), with Helen Baker

HELEN BAKER, On Your Own Two Feet / Founder and Principal

Carly heard me speak at a seminar for the Women in Mining Association, and she just asked some questions and we went from there. They’ve been with us for more than five years now.

Because Carly and her husband have both been in the mining industry they’ve earned really good money and the question was about what to do with it. They wanted to do the right thing at the right time with the right structure, so we tidied up a few different elements for them, got them to maximise what they had and then plan for the future as well.

They are very intelligent people, but of course we had to carve out some perceptions they had about what they should or shouldn’t be doing and understand what their personal goals were, what their values were. Then we looked at estate planning and insurances as well as the wealth creation side of things.

There was a change in plan when they had a year off to go travelling and just have some time out. Some things happened that made them re-assess the importance of doing long hours and they wanted time with the kids and each other, so rather than wait until they retired they went to see a bit of Australia and have a rest basically. I think it was good for them.

They’re both really funny. Over the years they’ve been really kind and invited me to their Christmas parties and different things. You’ve got to watch the line between being a client and a friend, but I think we balance it really well. I can go to some of their functions and we have a good time, but it’s still very much professional.

One of their parties was a 70’s dress-up. Carly’s husband, Adrian, went all out with the disco lights and the music, and Carly is a really good dancer. They also had a party to raise money for farmers in the drought and we all dressed up in farming gear and did some line dancing, it was so much fun.

They are really genuine people. Really honest, full of integrity, respectful and kind. They’re really great and great clients.



I was working in the mining industry and attended a ‘Women in Mining’ conference in Brisbane where Helen was a speaker on financial planning. I asked some challenging questions from the audience and she answered them with absolute professionalism. She came across as approachable, knowledgeable, and had a really empathetic quality and tone about her. Afterwards I approached her for more details.

We had just had a baby and I was going back into the workforce, so we started seeing Helen to help understand our financial situation and how to make the most of it.

Helens’ knowledge and her ability to connect made it a really good experience. It was tailored to us. We realised we needed to not only sort out our day-to-day finances but also get estate planning in place, making sure that our wills and insurances were up to date so we’re protected on lots of different levels. We also wanted to make the money we had do work for us.

Something we really appreciated was Helen’s understanding that one size doesn’t fit all. Every person’s financial situation is unique and it needs to be treated that way. She’s empowered us to make informed decisions and tailor our financial situation without comparing it to anyone else’s. I believe the more empowered and informed you are, the better decisions you can make, and through a good financial planner those decisions can be guided. I actually think everyone has a need for financial planning, whether we want to acknowledge it or not.

We’ve been clients for a few years now. My husband and I are casual but we are also quite focused and know what our goals are. Helen keeps us up to date on what’s happened in the past 12 months, re-checks in with our financial goals, asks us what’s changed. And obviously a few jokes are cracked as well. Helen has a sense of humour and is a great personality, she really knows how to put people at ease and she makes it acceptable to talk about money, because we grew up not talking about politics or money.

It’s a bit like going on a date, you know? You’ve got to make sure you connect with a person who’s going to know the ins and outs of your financial situation.

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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