September 23, 2021

#253 Amanda Cassar – Transcript

Share :

LinkedIn
Twitter

SUMMARY KEYWORDS

stories, people, advisor, abuse, person, money, carer, client, financial, cases, elder abuse, australia, parents, book, client base, partner, life, feel, questions, teach

SPEAKERS

Amanda Cassar, Fraser Jack

 

Fraser Jack 

Welcome back to the xy advisor podcast. I’m Fraser Jack and today I’m joined by Amanda Kassar. Welcome.

 

Amanda Cassar 

Thank you for having me.

 

Fraser Jack 

Thank you for hanging out in the same room as me in the Gold Coast. Sorry to say that rest of the country that are in lockdown, but we are still allowed to communicate in person

 

Amanda Cassar 

we are and it’s the Gold Coast show Day holiday. And it’s the only show that’s happening in all of Australia. So how lucky are we

 

Fraser Jack 

and everyone else is just rolling their eyes? Pretty much pretty much. Hey, thanks for catching up. It’s been some time since you were on the XY advisor podcast. But look, tell us though, let’s get back. Let’s quickly go back a step. Tell us about you your career, your journey. How did you become a financial planner?

 

Amanda Cassar 

Well, like everybody, I fell into it. So you didn’t leave school going. That’s what I want to do. I actually don’t even think I’d ever heard of the word financial advisor when I was at school. So I ended up working for a friend of my dad’s who was an old lifee. He sold insurance and super it was with MLC became his secretary. And overtime, somehow, we just turned into personal assistants to a financial advisor instead of a secretary to ally fee. So it that started in about 9192, pretty much straight out of high school, stopped, got married, having kids came back and was qualified as an advisor in January 2001. So I’ve just hit my 20 year anniversary.

 

Fraser Jack 

Wow. Wow. And you’re one of the few that decided to go and get their master’s earlier on before all the fancy stuff came in.

 

Amanda Cassar 

Yeah, well look like it had been talked about since I joined, you know, one day, we would have to have a degree. So I just went, you know, what, how about I go early? And when everyone’s scrambling, um, done. It worked, worked.

 

Fraser Jack 

Yeah, a little bit of forethought goes in there. Now, look, you’ve obviously run your practice. As you said, for a long time here on the Gold Coast, you’ve got a fairly substantial business here. You’ve taken on advisors over time your kids have ended up in the business. Yeah,

 

Amanda Cassar 

we’re very much a family business. My son is an advisor. He’s 25 soon, and my daughter’s my client service manager. So

 

Fraser Jack 

yep. Wow, real, real family business. What? What made them want to get involved? Well, they

 

Amanda Cassar 

both swore to me blind, they would never work with me. So at high school, I said, Look, you know, mom’s got a business if you’re ever interested. So my son went, yeah, no, thanks. I’ll become a mechanic. And my daughter went, yeah, no, thanks. I’ll become a makeup artist, like every other girl on the go. And after a couple of years, I think Mitch just decided he was going to have, you know, dirty fingernails and probably not earn more than 50 grand a year for the rest of his life. You know, sometimes things just don’t turn out the way you think. So he turned up one day and said, Look, can I start doing my course? My Diploma of financial planning back then? And I said, Well, yeah, but you’re halfway through an apprenticeship. I’d really love you to finish that. And yeah, he didn’t. Yeah, but he’s got his graduate diploma now. So he’s finished his bridging and courses don’t

 

Fraser Jack 

brilliant here. And it’s funny because they knew, then you get to live with them. And then also take them to work and work with them as well. So

 

Amanda Cassar 

thankfully, he moved out five years ago, one day.

 

Fraser Jack 

Fair enough. So look, tell us as you’ve come through, and one of the things I really wanted to talk to you today about was some of the stuff you’ve been doing recently in the financial abuse space. But before we get to that, let’s go back and tell us sort of about how that began, which really began with you writing a book.

 

Amanda Cassar 

Yeah, did I, you know, like everyone, you sort of kick around, I’d love to write a book one day, and I knew I didn’t want it to be about how to do a budget, you know, the boring stuff. So it’s sort of had a few incarnations before it happened. And I’d got really fascinated hearing about people’s stories about growing up, and what was family life like? And what lessons did your parents teach you about money? So I sort of developed a series of questions to work through and find out what motivated people did they believe those stories, whether they were spoken or unspoken, that their parents taught them, you know, things like money doesn’t grow on trees, or, you know, it takes money to make money. And there was one particular story when I did those 18 interviews, that just blew me away about a lady whose husband had taken financial advantage of her she was an award winning investigative journalist who walked in owning property money in the bank trust funds, and came away completely broken. She ended up having a stroke or adult onset epilepsy. She’d been stealing money from the groceries to put aside in food vouchers so that when her and her daughter could finally flee, she’d have money for food for a few months. So it was so unlike anything I’d ever heard of before. You know, I’ve been married for 100 years, respectful relationship, parents, you know, and it was very 1950s. Our parents, you know, the dad was the breadwinner. My mother worked part time. But never heard of anything like that. So it just fascinated me. And I thought, well, why haven’t I heard more about this? Does this happen much or is this guy just a one off freak and I suppose the more I looked into it, the more I uncovered, and the more I was horrified, and started speaking about it on the international platform with mdrt. And it also piqued the interest of Michelle hoskin, who I know is a friend of the x y podcast has appeared, Little Miss well, and even she sort of thought, look, there’s more to Who this advisers need to know about this not just, you know, in customers on how to get out. So we sort of put our heads together between the US and the UK and Australia on our visits and came up with the idea of doing a specialist accreditation.

 

Fraser Jack 

Yeah, no, that’s that we probably fast forward a little bit into this. You’re exactly right. This is an amazing story. And we want to uncover this. Before we before we dive into this particular story and how that happened. I just want to go back to the book compensation. So to start with, why did you want to write a book?

 

Amanda Cassar 

I think, look, I was actually more interested in writing a badass busting romance. But don’t maybe I get one credibility, like about finance that I actually knew about. So that was the motivate, look, I’m, I’m an avid reader, I can’t go to sleep at night without reading. I read close to 100 books a year. And you know, it just made sense to me that one day, I’d have my name on one. So but yeah, just wanted it to be a bit different to the run of the mill style

 

Fraser Jack 

contests and money stories is something that comes naturally to you as as an advisor, asking questions about you know, people’s upbringing. It’s sort of like the basis of every financial plan you’ve ever written. Right? What? What are people’s beliefs around money? What do what are their their? One of the things that are holding them back? What are the what are the obstacles they need to overcome? You know, what are all the things that their parents taught them as a kid that may be wrong, and they need to then relearn and re educate? So there’s this conversation around having these many conversations is nothing new to any of the financial advisors? Oh, tell me about some of the questioning and thoughts around what what were some of those questions that you went into when you want to know how to elicit that money story out of a human? Well, it

 

Amanda Cassar 

was more about what did your parents teach you about money? And often you just hit this blank stare going? Nothing. You know, they didn’t teach me anything. So then you have to go a bit deeper and go, what were some of those unspoken stories? You know? Was it about getting a good job working hard? Was it about you know, doing the nine to five? Or was it B being entrepreneurial? Because your parents were so then they sort of would open up and go, Oh, yeah, actually, dad was a really hard worker, he was a builder, or, you know, mom was a stay at home. So it would just opened up the stories about their lives. And what was really interesting was the intergenerational stories that came back. I mean, you and I are Gen X, I think so. Our parents are baby boomers. So they grew up post war. So that generation came from a very scarcity mindset, you know, post war they had to you know, you hear the stories from grandma Great Grandma about living on the bread and dripping and making your shoe leather last and, you know, so they came from this reduce, reuse, recycle kind of life, you know, my father was an avid composter and everything had to last and you wouldn’t buy anything until it wore out. So, those kind of stories played through in generations, which was really interesting, too. But then we come down to Gen Y and our children who’ve never had hardship, you know, there has been this world of abundance for 5060 years, they haven’t been through a war that’s impacted them, they’ve never not knowing that will if it breaks, I’ll throw it away and buy a new one. That’s just how it works. So that even opened up stories about young children going well dead, my iPads broken, do you just go where I’ll get you a new one? Or do you have to then teach them the value or the time factor that it takes to earn that so some parents are all over that going look, I can’t just run out and do that this is what it will take you have to earn it and others are just like no, no, you know, I’ll just just supply it so it’s very interesting people’s responses to those questions and what it brought out Yeah, there’s

 

Fraser Jack 

there’s certainly a lot of first world problems when it comes to the next generation of course running out of internet and Wi Fi is the end of the world and we know that but but look Yeah, this is really interesting these many stories I like the concept that we’re just a ball of emotion and and past experience and you know, all all of we’ve seen not necessarily been officially taught but all of we’ve seen has justified this thing inside our brains as to how we treat and believe and then think about money. So with the book you put that together you then When interviewed was 18 people and in how did that go with it with your How did you go about that? Just interviewing did taking notes were what was the process?

 

Amanda Cassar 

Look, it was probably zoom. before its time, there was people who are surviving on Centrelink and government pensions, right through to multi millionaire, award winning business owners, someone who’s open to global charity. So I wanted the whole spectrum. You know, how do you make ends meet living on your $700 a fortnight or $900 a fortnight to What’s life like for you when money isn’t a problem. And sometimes, the money stories were scarier at the top than the bottom end. And in the meantime, I think I’d also been doing my trips with the Hunger Project to Uganda, India, Malawi, and seeing people survive at you know, in Malawi is one of the 10 poorest countries on Earth. So to see these people scrambling to make a living, it it gives You much different perspective on life as well and problems? And you know, what really is an issue? Like you said, Well, what if I was a bit slow? Like, it’s, it’s not that big a deal. So it was just fascinating to draw people out and hear and people, I mean, you’re asking them about their favorite subject themselves. So, you know, it’s it’s very easy to listen and understand. Only one person came back to me and went, you know what, now that I’ve had this conversation with you, I’m actually really uncomfortable. And I don’t want you to include my story in the book, which is fair enough, so that that one got dropped. But it was, it was a privilege that people would open up to me and share. And some had gone completely the opposite from what their parents had taught them, you know, they’d come from a scarcity mindset. And they’re just like, I don’t want to live like that. I don’t want to be looking over my shoulder at every dollar I spend, and where does it go. And you know, they’ve discovered abundance, and you know, they’ve turned their lives into this mindset of abundance. So it doesn’t mean whatever story we’ve learned or been told has to be our final story, which was also fascinating to uncover.

 

Fraser Jack 

It’s interesting Is it because that’s the moment when somebody makes a conscious decision, whereas everybody else is just going with the unconscious decision of I’m gonna continue because I haven’t actually had the time to think about it. And sometimes that story and getting it out into the book, or having a conversation with you about it, allows them to be able to go, I didn’t even think about that was my story. I didn’t realize it was my story. But now that I do, I can actually make a decision to what do I think about what my future story is going to be?

 

Amanda Cassar 

Well, that lady I spoke to with the financial abuse her stories growing up, like they drive past nice houses, and a father and say things like, they must be drug dealers, you have to be a bad person to get ahead in this world. So and she’s still to this day, you know, she’s in her 40s has to control that when that pops into her head that someone who’s doing well must be a bad guy. Because it is so engrained questioning,

 

Fraser Jack 

I guess the other thing too, when you’re writing a book is, you know, content, and it you know, 18 stories, 18 different term chapters, if you like, but it’s endless, isn’t it? Because everyone, every single person has a story?

 

Amanda Cassar 

Yeah, exactly. Exactly. And I just didn’t want it to be one type. So there’s stories from advisors as well, how they became advisors. So what are their top tips for their clients? What did they learn growing up from their parents? How did they end up as an advisor because like I said, none of us leave school going, I’m going to be a financial advisor when I grow up. So, you know, we all came into it from fell into it from some other means, whether it was bank tellers or stockbrokers. So it was fascinating, you know, discovering their motivation and stories to and what they like to share with their clients. And this, you know, some very basic themes that that come through it all,

 

Fraser Jack 

exactly. They all falling into, I fell into it from a life of being a chef, your son fell into it from the luck of being a mechanic. So not all bankers, a stockbroker,

 

Amanda Cassar 

one of the guys in the books a drummer. Yeah.

 

Fraser Jack 

Yeah, talk to me about the book, because evolution of the book has been obviously published a few years back. Now, you’re turning that into a podcast?

 

Amanda Cassar 

Yes, I am. It should be released in the next couple of weeks. So pretty much going back to those that same group of people and asking those questions again. And most of that, look, it’s it was three or four years ago. So their stories have moved on since then, as well. And even interviewing Michelle, who’s worked with financial advisors all alive, she turned around and said, you know, nobody’s ever asked me that stuff. And now I have to think about what I’m going to teach Ruby. Because I haven’t thought about consciously teaching her things. So even inviting those stories, you know, then makes for Well, okay, I got taught, I think, what am I going to teach my kids?

 

Fraser Jack 

So the evolution of the story continues. So the podcast that you’re doing, have done is the series of the 18 stories. Yes. But then I think it’s probably going to now that we’ve discovered, as you said, one of the stories led you down a new pathway towards the financial abuse, conversation, and peace. Tell me about that. Evolution. We sort of mentioned it before, though that started. But then where does that lead you to?

 

Amanda Cassar 

Well, I think I mentioned putting together the course. We figured that if I hadn’t heard of it after being in advice pretty much all my life what other advisors hasn’t. So I started asking those questions. Got them, no ziana. Advisors. Have you heard about financial abuse? Have you ever seen a case? You know, all these people in the UK guy, what are you talking about Amanda? And mostly the answer was no. Haven’t seen it don’t know what you’re talking about. But there were two or three advisors who

 

Fraser Jack 

say, yeah, it hasn’t seen it, or hasn’t noticed it.

 

Amanda Cassar 

They wouldn’t know what the red flags are to identify. So yeah, probably should go back to them once they, once they understand but look more elder abuse cases, they were with their elderly clients were being abused by children. So if you had uncovered that, and look, elder abuse is just a very small part of economic abuse as a whole.

 

Fraser Jack 

Yeah. Okay. So if we talk about economic abuse and elder abuse being a subset, what are the other subsets?

 

Amanda Cassar 

partner abuse is is the main one and look I’m generalized But it’s usually the woman because she isn’t always a breadwinner, she might be taking time off to care for young people or elderly people. So her partner is in a position of control for one of a better word. And finances is the easiest way out of all of them to control someone I know, they did a survey in the States, and found that 99% of all domestic violence cases include financial abuse over there. And I think that stat is in the low 90s here in Australia. So it’s certainly widespread and part of a bigger issue. Yeah,

 

Fraser Jack 

it makes sense, doesn’t it? I guess it’s, it’s a horrible thing to think about. But I’m surprised it’s not 100% law as in pretty much as I guess, in the UK, and I’m surprised it’s not high here. The concept of you know, domestic violence or domestic abuse, also, including, you know, the finances.

 

Amanda Cassar 

Yep. So there’s the emotional as well, as you know, this, it just comes down to so many parts. And I’ve also found that minority groups are very, very prone to it. So in Australia, that would be people in the lesbian and gay community, it’s quite rampant there people were English as a second language, and also where societies are a patriarchy, it’s very, very common in those societies to

 

Fraser Jack 

that because it’s harder for people to reach out if they’re being abused.

 

Amanda Cassar 

Definitely. So the immigrant community, it is difficult if they don’t have a support network. If English isn’t their first language, or they, they’re very hard, it’s hard to express themselves to be understood. And it can also be quite traditional for them. So they don’t know any different as well. So there’s cases where people actually haven’t realized they’re being financially.

 

Fraser Jack 

This is interesting point. So it’s not just that it’s not just a black or white, you know, on or off switch. This is a spectrum between somewhere along the line

 

Amanda Cassar 

of Yeah, stealing $20, from the nightstand, all the

 

Fraser Jack 

way through to some horrific stories, I would imagine. So talk to us about that spectrum, then where that lies, and what what I guess because to me, I think that the idea of talking about it, and understanding what it might look like, will help people then recognize it in in others, or it could recognize in some of the stuff that they’re doing themselves.

 

Amanda Cassar 

Yeah, sure. And I know an advisor uncovered a story recently where he met with a husband and wife, and in the course of their conversation uncovered that the wife was the breadwinner. But the husband had made her put all his all her earnings into his bank account, she did have, she had no bank account of her own. And, as it turns out, when I was approached to, you know, offer some feedback on the situation, in the state of Victoria, coercive control is now a crime. And they are looking at doing that in other states of Australia. So that was a bit of a win. But that’s just one form of financial abuse, the other red flags can be anything from, you know, elderly parents not being taken seriously. You know, I know I had that other term deposit, and I can’t find my paperwork, I don’t know where that’s gone. Making a single person, a power of attorney can easily lead to abuse because that person has all the power. And it’s not always convenient to have a second person, but boy, it can protect you. So and like I said, you know, stealing money off the nightstand or out of your wallet, to you know, making forcibly changing documents like wills and powers of attorney, fraudulent insurance claims in your name that they get you to sign off on, might ask you to sign documents, if you don’t know what you’re signing, that can be loans in your name, so that the spectrum is huge.

 

Fraser Jack 

I feel like everybody’s on the spectrum. At some point, as in as an every single client might have a look, if it’s a part, if it’s a if it’s two people, there might be one person who’s more interested in the finances than the other. So they sort of take charge of the finances in a way and there’ll be like, I’ll pay the bills and make sure the money’s coming in, we’ll put the money over there and do that. And the other person in the in the relationship goes, Oh, that’s great. You know, they’re doing that. But then how does that not be classed as financial abuse, I guess, if the,

 

Amanda Cassar 

if you’re working with to a common goal, if you know, and most people do have someone who just abdicates that role, they just don’t want to be part of it don’t want to be involved. It’s not their forte, and they’re happy to just go you know what you take care of it. And the hope is that it will be in your joint best interests. So while it is in your best interest, the bills being paid, there’s food on the table, you’re working towards joint goals of whether that’s buying a house or going on a holiday or having children, you know, it’s working. So the person isn’t undermining you. They’re not stripping you of your you know, you’re not put on a budget of you know, you can only do groceries $50 a week or you know, you can’t go and earn a living for yourself, or I forbid you from doing these types of roles or getting extra education. So even little things like that are part of the control.

 

Fraser Jack 

So how can advisors work with their clients to then say that they understand the advisor understands that, that that that relationship is working well, and that person is not feeling like they’re left in the dark?

 

Amanda Cassar 

It’s questions. You know, we sometimes we get that gut feeling when we’re sitting there and it may be that every time we ask a question directly of the wife, the husband talks over the top of doesn’t allow her to answer or she seems very withdrawn and willing to contribute. And like I said, I’m generalizing. But it can work both ways. So it’s just being aware of those little signs. And sometimes it might just be, look, I just make a phone out of that, I don’t think I need to take it any further just yet. But if there’s a pattern over time, it might be then worth, you know, making a bigger deal of it,

 

Fraser Jack 

seeing if you can get the attention of the person who is non dominant. Now, I guess there’s something I’ve spoken to you in the past four years, you said it’s often in the male female relationship, that the female ends up in that role where they’re not involved, or they don’t feel like they’re involved. But it could be the other way. It’s, it’s more to me, it feels more like an alpha, dominant alpha personality, personality type. Or, as you said, before, the word controlling somebody feels like they need to control that section. Because it might be a way of them controlling part of the relationship. Absolutely. So going back to the advisor, recognizing that drone trying to find a way in or a conversation with a non dominant person to make sure that they are okay and happy.

 

Amanda Cassar 

Yeah, there’s, there’s a formula that psychologists use, and I know I’ve mentioned it for before, where you use the formula, I feel when because, say you’re not going Look, my I think your partner’s all over you, you know, you need to get this sorted, it can be, I feel really uncomfortable, when I hear that bill won’t let you have that new pair of shoes, or the grocery money or whatever it is, because I understand that that’s a form of control. So that, you know, I feel whatever you feel angry, upset, hurt mad. When whatever the situation was that triggered you. Because so what you’re doing is you’re talking about your own feelings. So it’s very hard for the person to come around and go, how dare you feel that, you know, it’s, it’s not going on the attack, it’s it’s the softly softly approach. And that might even give you an idea of whether the person is afraid of their partner and go Look, just let it be, you know, in a domestic violence case, we certainly don’t want you know that the partner is going to go home and belt the, you know, the partner, and you know, you’ve you’ve been in a situation where you’ve caused something like that. So the softly softly approach is, you know, I think that just takes the sting out of the start. And look, if you’ve got a situation where you’re worried about that, then of course, you need extra help.

 

Fraser Jack 

Yep. And what about advisors? Who are, you know, just predominately deal with one person in the relationship?

 

Amanda Cassar 

Well, then you just don’t know. Yeah, and look, there’s plenty of times where, you know, we’ve just dealt with the one person but you know, it’s really nice to think I look, I’d love to meet your partner, you know, can they come in on the next interview, you know, I’m happy to sit back after hours and do a zoom with you both, if you know, it’s hard with his work time. So just that you, you’re putting your own mind at ease then. And I think sometimes with the advice that you’re getting, as well, you know, when you’re putting it together, if it’s in the best interest of a couple or not, it’s not like they come into, you know, someone comes and says, Look, I don’t want my partner to know about these, or, you know, I’ve got an X and she doesn’t need to know about this money. People tell you things. It’s pretty obvious sometimes when they’re out to do something dodgy

 

Fraser Jack 

listening, listening between the words as well. Tell me about the, in this scenario, because you’ve shared lots of stories with me every time and we’re probably gonna draw some of those out on the podcast. Talk to me about some of the state’s around elder you know, elder abuse, we’re talking about, you know, maybe aged care clients, those sorts of things. Because often a difficult scenario for an advisor to be in with with an edge case scenario, who’s the client, who’s, who’s the other client, you know, yeah, there’s intergenerational, you’ve got both the care end. And the person that needs the help as the client talk to me about those some of the stories of who they are.

 

Amanda Cassar 

For me personally, when I’m giving aged care advice, the advice is always for the client entering care, but they are the client and look probably seven out of 10 times I will never meet that client. They’re either already in care, they have dementia and can’t take care of their own affairs. We have to get copies of the powers of attorney keep those on file. I haven’t come across a case where the children turn up to me and they’re trying to help mom and dad where I think they’re doing the wrong thing. I have when I’ve gone on to radio shows and talked about elder abuse or granny dumping or you know, these phenomenons that then people ring me with their stories, and they’re the ones that are heartbreaking, because, you know, they might have given the daughter in law, the power of attorney, and she’s changed the, you know, dva pension into her bank account left the state and they’ve got no money to you know, pay their own bills. So it’s horrific, some of the stuff that comes out. I remember, one afternoon I was on for CRB and they didn’t they pre recorded so I didn’t know when the story was going to air. But Geez, I knew that afternoon, I office got probably half a dozen phone calls with people just going Oh, sweetie, I think I’m I’m being abused. What do I do? And what’s worse is when they’ve lost capacity, so if they can’t revoke a power of attorney and change it, you know that that’s really really heartbreaking. So

 

Fraser Jack 

yeah, that is that is an absolutely crazy thing to think to actually think about. You know, the fact that if you have signed over a power of attorney to somebody anyway, What’s the capacity then? That’s the person forever? Oh,

 

Amanda Cassar 

yeah. Well, unless you can go to a lawyer and somehow get that overturned or somebody can be appointed as you know, a guardian instead then yeah, it’s it’s very difficult.

 

Fraser Jack 

They just mentioned granny doping, which sounds horrific. What does that mean?

 

Amanda Cassar  

Granny dumping is this incredible phenomenon that actually does happen in Australia, as well as pretty much every country around the world. And it’s brought on most often out of desperation by carers when they are just at their wit’s end, they need help, they can’t get it, they can no longer you know, support, the person that they’re supposed to be caring for, and they get dumped so often at a hospital in holiday season would be the highest form where they, you know, turn up an emergency, Dad needs help, I’ll just go park the car and don’t come back. Some of them will come back after the holidays because they just needed the break, but haven’t organized, you know, proper respite or something like that. One of the worst cases in the world was an American man and his partner took his elderly father to the UK, put him in all new clothes, took all his identification, and left him at a bus stop and arranged for a friend to basically raise the alarm and say, Look, I just found this poor gentleman. He has dementia, we don’t know where he belongs or who he is. And I ended up tracking down the people who done this and it was prosecuted. So it was probably one of the most prominent cases of granny dumping out there.

 

Fraser Jack 

Oh my god. That’s rific talk to me. Yeah, you mentioned during the holidays is that just because you know a carer doesn’t get any time off in ever once you’re a carer your full time periods 20 473 65 days

 

Amanda Cassar 

pretty much and look granny dumping. It’s it sounds horrible, and it is horrible, but often it can be done more out of desperation than malice. And I think families need to be a whole lot more aware and prepared to help out because if someone is a full time carer, they do need a break. You know, often you’ll hear of the person who’s the carer in a partnership dying long before the person they’re caring for because they’re exhausted. They’re just so worn out and want a break. Yeah, get the permanent sleep. So it’s good for families to kick in and go right? Can we help out with pop over the holidays? Or can you know, can we get two weeks of respite for Nan so that you can have two weeks just to be with your own family or do nothing or read a book or go on holiday? Whatever it is. So being aware of caring for carers is really important.

 

Fraser Jack 

I think it’s about Yeah, absolutely in for financial advisors listening to this and thinking about their client base. If somebody is a carer, then they need to be aware of that scenario, because, again, pushes people to the absolute limit. And look,

 

Amanda Cassar 

we’re living in the middle of a pandemic with half the country in lockdown. So if you weren’t driven to the limit before, things are pretty bloody tough now. So you know, just a care package or a phone call might be all that’s needed to lift someone spirits and Pioneer on for a bit longer.

 

Fraser Jack 

You know, you mentioned elder abuse. You’ve spoken before about the concept of gaslighting, can you can you tell me about that?

 

Amanda Cassar 

Yeah, gaslighting the word was coined from an old movie where the woman was basically made to feel like she was going crazy, you know, her partner would question everything she’d done undermine everything she’d done, lie and deny you know things in the relationship until she thought she was mad. And that can happen in relationships to as part of emotional and financial abuse. So there’s so much complexity in and it to me, it’s I suppose so far out of my own personal nature and the people I know that they would do this kind of thing that it’s hard to believe that there are people out there that do that. And look, in the last two weeks I’ve had two single recently separated clients walk into my office both moving on from a narcissist. So you know, there’s these new stories out there now about these narcissistic relationships as well. And gaslighting is a big part of the narcissist, you know, and control again,

 

Fraser Jack 

for making people think that they crazy, pretty much Well, God, no, okay, so you’ve written, you’ve written all this, this has helped you explore a lot of different areas. And it gives, the more you look, the more you find, as you mentioned before you’ve written some work or done some work with them, standards International, and creating a course on this.

 

Amanda Cassar 

Yep, and next will be the book and the book.

 

Fraser Jack 

Tell us about the course.

 

Amanda Cassar 

So the course is designed pretty much purely for advisors, but we’re also getting a lot of interest from other people in legal professions and that just want to know a bit more about it. So look, please don’t think we’re gonna go in and, you know, explain the mental health concepts and all that as well. You know, we’re about advisors. So what the first thing it does is uncover, you know, what’s the definition? What are the red flags? So what are the things you should be looking for? Washington advisor care, you know, what, what’s in it for us, basically? And then what what are the options because this certainly isn’t something that has a cookie cutter approach where you go, right, I’ll just follow these three steps. And bingo, we’re getting wackadoo we’re all done. So It goes through how to approach things. And then also masses of resources. So for Australian clients, there’s toolkits and elder abuse hotline, numbers and organizations and communities that can help. We’ve done that, for every country that’s involved. So the US, UK, Canada, South Africa, so we’ve put all the resources for you locally, together. And the idea is that, basically, you come out with your own toolkit or policy for your business. So that if you then come across this, or you’re someone who specializes in single professional women, or divorced women, or whatever your niche is, it’s just this other, I suppose, you know, arrow in your quiver that you’ve got, where you can go, right. I don’t know what I’m doing here. I’m out of my depth, what can I do, but having that, you know, policy in place that you go, right, I’ve done this. I’ve put my hand all over, it can help out? Yeah, it seems

 

Fraser Jack 

to me like it should be. Well, for larger practices, there should be somebody in the practice needs to step into this so that they can look at it throughout the entire practice. But it

 

Amanda Cassar 

doesn’t have to be an advisor. So there are some practices that we’re putting admin staff through, right.

 

Fraser Jack 

Yep. And it also, it also provides a lot of content for to talk about to actually get out there into the community, to local community into the client base, all those sorts of things to start having those conversations, I think it’s a good area, I mean, obviously, part of what I do is produce content. So it’s, it’s, it’s rich with content to be able to produce to get out to your own community.

 

Amanda Cassar 

Absolutely. So we’ve interviewed people who were victims of financial abuse, and come out the other side with their stories, we’ve interviewed advisors who’ve witnessed it and how they’ve handled it, what they’ve done. And I’ve even got a family lawyer in there who’s looked at it from their side as they go through the separation and and what we can do with the whole, I suppose upshot of the course is what can we do as advisors when we come across it? Because I think the traditional response would be, this is too hard. I’m going to excuse myself, I’m not qualified to do this. And now that we’ve got best interest duty, you know, are we meeting best interest by going on walking away? And look, maybe something? Some cases we are? But it could be? Or can I find someone who knows what they’re talking about and say, Look, I think you’ll be in better hands with the financial abuse specialist, and I’m gonna pass it to that person. So it’s the same as you know, if I can’t do aged care, you give it to a specialist. If I can’t do risk, I’ll do that. So this is will be another area where we can go look, we want to refer to people who are all over.

 

Fraser Jack 

Fantastic. Now, I would say it’s a global standards certification. So it’s, of course, no certification. From standards International, which is a UK based but it’s obviously it comes early. So even though most of its been written in Australia, it’s it’s a it’s global.

 

Amanda Cassar 

It is Yeah. And like the IFA have awarded eight points at this stage. Having said that, I’ve put so much more content in to get it racist. But yeah, look, it’s relevant wherever you are in the world that you know, the, the red flags don’t change, the behaviors don’t change. We’re all people wherever you find us. So it’s designed to help everywhere.

 

Fraser Jack 

Yeah, it’s interesting is that the financial side of it, whilst we all have different products in different countries, it doesn’t really matter when it comes to this. Fantastic. How can people find out more about that or go to the website.

 

Amanda Cassar 

So the website is standards international co.uk, they have a tab up the top called causes, you can find financial abuse specialist under that, or either reach out to myself or Michelle hoskin. We’re both on Twitter, LinkedIn where you can find us on any social you

 

Fraser Jack 

need ever You mean, pretty much. So this is obviously not finished. There’s another piece that you’ve just created in that same scene. It sounds to me You’re it feels to me, like you’re going to be coming across a whole lot of more stories and cases and things that don’t cover.

 

Amanda Cassar 

Yeah, we’re actually arranging that okay, even if you get the international certification upfront, every year, we want you to do a refresher because things do change. And, you know, at the moment, the big story is britney spears and conservatorship. So we don’t really have conservatorship here. But we do have people who are guardians, or you know, they’ve been given this power of attorney over person and look, lover or hater as an artist, you know, does anyone deserve to be, you know, 1112 1314 years, where she has zero control over her own Korea and life, her earnings? You know, is it fair? Will she ever get out of it? You know, the laws in California for this pretty much show that it’s unlikely. And it went on to to another case, the old Peter Falk, who played Columbo, his second wife had a conservatorship over him and even stopped him seeing his own children. So it’s not something that just affects you know, Mr. Mrs. block down the street or the immigrant community, you know, there’s these celebrities are caught up in this, as well. And there’s some fascinating cases of both financial and economic abuse in celebrity land, Paul Stanley, who we all love from the Marvel movies was taken for a ride as well. So it’s been really interesting delving into the cases that you know, like from the stories I saw You know, sitting in a mud hut in Malawi, three to these, you know, multimillionaires, you know that we’ve all heard of that are household names. It just doesn’t discriminate.

 

Fraser Jack 

No, exactly right. And the celebrity stories are the ones that are brought to light. But I guess within the client base of, of a financial advisors business, there’s probably there’s probably a couple of stories in each one where you can start looking for.

 

Amanda Cassar 

Yeah, absolutely. And I think just having that understanding of right, I’m not comfortable with this, what do I do? And look, whether it’s make a file note or call the cops, you need to know. So, and unfortunately, I think the pandemic is going to see a lot more cases, we’ve already seen the divorce rate go up since the pandemic from 40 to 47%. So, you know, there will be a lot more economic abuse in no stories. So it’s it’s not something that’s that’s hidden anymore. I mean, that’s only half the country is that situation.

 

Fraser Jack 

As you said, the lockdown has just amplified, the speed of that white, but that might be coming to light. So look fantastic. Thanks, Amanda, for coming on the podcast and chatting about that. Obviously, this is a moving piece. And we look forward to keeping up with where we’re at heads to in this direction and how it evolves from here. But, you know, I would encourage everybody to start now thinking and looking at noticing that within their own client base or their own communities around them. So thank you so much for hanging out.

 

Amanda Cassar 

No worries. Thanks for having me. been great.

Listen to the podcast on the links below or on your favourite platform

General disclaimer for this podcast and all XY Education podcasts
https://www.xyadviser.com/disclaimer/

DISCLAIMER: The XY Adviser website and all content contained on the website is limited to general information. It does not constitute legal, financial or other professional advice. XY Adviser does not hold an AFS licence and does not provide any financial services. Nothing on this website should be interpreted as financial advice. Before making any investment decision, XY Adviser recommends obtaining financial advice from a qualified financial adviser.