When Sam Robinson was growing up in Toowoomba, she watched her mum wrestle with her finances.
“She was a single mum and was in a constant battle to get ahead, until the day she went and saw a financial adviser who turned her life around,” Robinson says. “I saw the difference that made to my mother’s life and our life, and I think that was where the desire to become a planner came from.
“She was wealth-stricken until that moment, and it was really moving to see her get that control back in her life.”
Robinson could see the potential for money to be truly liberating – it could give you the lifestyle you want and the freedom to pursue what you love doing.
But, as she looked around her, she was aware that most people either stuck their head in the sand when it came to money or lived beyond their means.
“I saw lots of negative attitudes towards money,” she says. “Money is a real taboo topic and no one wants to ask for help. Many people often don’t have enough money and they don’t know why they don’t have enough money, they can’t work out where it goes.
“Money can also be a very confusing topic for a lot of people and they’re afraid to admit they don’t know what a managed fund is or that they don’t understand stocks.
“I have had very smart people in my office confused about why they’re paying interest and how it works in relation to their mortgage. And it’s because we’re not educated in financial literacy as we grow up.”
The good news, Robinson says, is that she hasn’t met a person whose financial mess she hasn’t been able to fix.
“If someone is motivated enough to see an adviser, then they are motivated enough to put in the steps required to get back on track,” Robinson says. “But financial advice isn’t just for people in a hole, it’s also for those who want to take an already healthy financial situation to the next level.”
Given Robinson’s passion for personal finance, it’s little surprise that she followed her nose to a planning career.
A graduate of the AMP Horizons program, she dealt with numerous retiree and pre-retiree clients before establishing her own practice, Pursue Wealth, with partner Josh Wingrove in April 2015.
Three years on, Pursue Wealth has carved out a niche catering to Millennials keen to get their financial house in order.
“We have found that Millennials are incredibly receptive to advice and that they are willing to pay for it,” Robinson says.
In 2017, they added a property-lending arm to the business to cater to the vast number of clients who were keen to buy a house.
“We do it properly and ensure our clients aren’t geared too much,” Robinson says.
“It made sense to add a mortgage-broking service because, for our demographic, home ownership is a big deal.
“Having said that, we have a lot of ‘rentvestors’: people who are renting in the areas they wish to live in and buying elsewhere to get their foot on the ladder.”
The main focus of the business is providing holistic advice, an approach that goes down well with their clients.
“With Millennials, everything is about lifestyle,” she says. “They can smell rubbish a mile off and it’s important to not give them the hard sell.
“They want to travel, plan for a family, and buy a property. They also want to give back and will often ask about investments in environmentally friendly companies.
“It’s a very rewarding space, and a lot more advisers are starting to see the potential of working with younger people.”
Name of firm/business: Pursue Wealth
Name of licensee: Consultum Financial Advisers
Time in the industry: 10 years, including three as a paraplanner/compliance manager and seven as an adviser
Academic qualifications: Advanced diploma in financial planning
Accreditations: Fellow Chartered Financial Practitioner
Professional association memberships: AFA Victorian state director
Other memberships: Adviser Ratings site