October 28, 2021

#263 Anna Johnston and Michelle McKindlay – Transcript

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SUMMARY KEYWORDS

clients, people, business, advice, advisors, fee, bit, bank, licensed, thought, financial planners, michelle, anna, women, fantastic, good, office, financial planning, finance, support

SPEAKERS

Anna Johnston, Fraser Jack, Michelle McKindlay

 

Fraser Jack 

Welcome back to the xy advisor Podcast. I’m Fraser Jack and today I am joined by two people, the Women on Wealth Anna and Michelle, welcome.

 

Anna Johnston 

And thank you Fraser.

 

Fraser Jack 

Fantastic thank you to be here for being here. We’re recording this actually live in person because we live in Queensland we lucky. Well, tell us about Michelle, Why don’t you start, tell us about your business.

 

Michelle McKindlay 

Okay, so we started our business back in 2016. Actually, the company was registered about a year before that, but it took us I was waiting on someone to finish the long service leave period.

 

Fraser Jack 

Which which we’ll get into. Yeah, certainly. Well,

 

Michelle McKindlay 

so yeah, the business was started in 2016. We have an office in Madeira bar. We’re a boutique practice and self licensed, wonderful, and how many staff? So we’ve got three permanent staff. And then we have one casual staff, and then the two advisors.

 

Fraser Jack 

Wonderful. Now we might get back in time, we’ll start with you. Tell us about your story. How did you fall into into financial planning.

 

Anna Johnston 

And I arrived in Australia, on the Gold Coast when I was 23 years old. I was pregnant with twins at the time, and I saw the skyline or the high, you know, the high skyscrapers. And I’ve just finished my degree a commerce degree. We had majored in marketing. And I had finance as a sub major. Anyway, I saw the skyline. And I thought, well, here I am. These are office buildings, mockery will take off. And then I found out they were all hotels, there was no marketing at all on the Gold Coast. And after a few job interviews, I just happened to be employed by a company that dealt in financial advice or whatever that looked like at the time. And, and that’s how I started in it.

 

Fraser Jack 

Wonderful. So you got caught up in the bright lights, then then found yourself a job in what sort of was it banking or finance? Or

 

Anna Johnston 

no, no, it was a financial services company. I only stayed there for nine months. And they were, I suppose the typical kind of company, that all these reforms have come about to shut down, right. But you really got thrown into the deep end in terms of your learning curve. So I learned a lot very quickly decided this is not the company I want to work for so So I left and became an assistant and paraplanner to ally fee. And you know, one thing led to another eventually I went and worked for one of the big four banks as a as an advisor became a senior planner there and stayed there 14 years, literally to the day. Yep. And yeah, so that that’s how I fell into a six.

 

Fraser Jack 

So a good learning good, good grounding from the bank side of it some good yeah, no, 10 years in the bank and learning all the different parts of how that works.

 

Anna Johnston 

It was it was really, really good. The thing about the bankers, they were just so many clients, and you didn’t have to go looking for business you just learned as you went and they weren’t, there was a lot of support. You just needed to learn how to find it, because that wasn’t a given. But you made a lot of really good friends, a lot of good contacts, the other financial planners, it was a really tight knit group, we had each other’s back it was it was really, really good.

 

Fraser Jack 

Yeah, fantastic. And that’s obviously where you to meet. We’ll get to that part of the story. Shortly. Michelle, tell us about your story.

 

Michelle McKindlay 

So I came to Australia, at the ripe old age of 19. With my family from Scotland. I had very jobs when I got here, none of them are related to finance at the start. So as a stock controller, I used to sell space in an advertising directory. I ended up in the motor industry, where we did aftermarket seals. So I quickly sort of learned from the year that I wanted to get into finance because some of the guys that were in there, you know, were doing their car loans. And of course, it was the money that called me freeze it at that. And they were the ones that would in in the money and the dealerships at that time. So that’s how I fell into finance. And I was really good for people. So that was something that I I sort of found early on. People used to think maybe my accent would be a detractor. But I always found in a sales sort of environment that it worked well for me, and people just wanted to talk to me. So that was nice. And then from being in car finance, I ended up being a mortgage broker. When into home lending, that was back in 2005. By 2011, I’d gone through the GFC and all the lovely things that that brought to the lending industry ended up at St. George bank, when they originally as a lender became a branch manager, but did want to get into financial planning. They seem to have a much more glamorous life at St. George you know, they sort of come in and out of the branches and they went in the trenches so much so I thought well, you know that glamorous for me? Little did I know that was in 2014 which when you know when all the reforms had just been passed. So I think I get in just after all the clamor had left the industry.

 

Fraser Jack 

Fair enough. Fair enough. So you were in the bank as well. And that’s how you guys met? Absolutely. Tell us about that story.

 

Anna Johnston 

Well, I was working at Westpac bank, I’d been there for close to 10 years, and I kept on thinking are ready to it’s time to go, it’s time to go, I want to do this on my own. I don’t, you can only work for a bank for so long, I think and then it’s time to go anyway.

 

Fraser Jack 

So is that was that in your mind? Was that go and set up a practice of your own? Yep,

 

Anna Johnston 

yep. Or find maybe employment elsewhere. And I was tossing and turning, but I really thought no, become self employed. You’ve done this for a long time. You know what you’re doing, you enjoy the job you love. You know, the people the stories. That’s really what I wanted to do, that there was no question that that’s that I wanted to stay a financial planner. And my closest friend at the time, was working at St. George, she was a lender there. And she told me, there’s a there’s a financial planner that I’ve met at St. George, she’s sort of same age, also his kids looking to start her own business, you to really, really need to meet. And this went on for a few months. And then we did happen to meet because the St. George and Westpac were one company. And they put all their financial planners into some kind of office building together. So that we we met. And we found out when we met that our children were in the same class and had been for years we’d never met through the school.

 

Michelle McKindlay 

And working too hard. Donna, that’s why this

 

Anna Johnston 

is this is what we actually, you know, when everyone had gone home, and the two of us were still there every evening, you know, punching away at the keyboards, we kind of went, why aren’t we doing this not for ourselves, we release. So I think we met in March, and resigned from Westpac, I think it was the first of August or 32nd. Very quickly, within a few months of meeting with literally put out, you know that that sort of trust in each other was always there, which was lovely. And we just went

 

Fraser Jack 

all of those connections at first sight, sort of things, was it when you first got to when you first got to meet each other? Tell me about that? How long was it before you actually decided, Michelle, that you wanted to start a business together? Well,

 

Michelle McKindlay 

it was a bit of a whirlwind romance, I must say. And as my work wife, of course. So when we met? Well, we just had that immediate connection, we were both the same age, both married to Stuart, which was funny. Or children being in the same school, and or older children being in the same class. So it just seemed like all the stars were aligning. as Anna said, we were you know, I remember one night we were there at 10pm. And King, you know, at the commercial center there at Broad Beach and thinking what are we doing, we really need to move from here, I was in a position where I was I ended up being one of the last planners standing at St. George bank. So it wasn’t a great place for me to be at the time. But I loved the role. I absolutely love people. So, you know, dealing with clients and everything. So I knew this is what I wanted to keep on doing. It was really important to me to still be doing that. But that’s why I’d already kind of started concocting a plan of migrate escape from the bank. I guess the bank was never actually a long term plan for me. I went in there specifically to become a financial planner. A friend of mine gave me some advice about if I wanted to get into financial planning not to do a certain path through one of the majors that you’ll know what I’m talking about, like I discovered a tape program I can’t remember the name of it’s precisely. But he said to me going to the bank, you will get the best training there, you will see every client from every walk of life and you’ll learn really quickly. And so that’s what I did. And yeah, so that’s how Anna and I met and decided that we would do this together. So we just had an instant connection. We still have that we’re just we’re just an awesome team. We’ve got our strengths and weaknesses each of us. But we play to each other strengths. I think can Yeah, we’ve come a long way.

 

Fraser Jack 

Yeah, tell me about that moment. And when you started the business up it was obviously there’s a fair bit to to set up and business names to think about and structures and

 

Anna Johnston 

Michelle had actually already done all that she had a woman on wealth. She said Do I like it? I’m like Yep, let’s do this. Michelle had been self employed before as a broker. I hadn’t I’d never been self employed. So she was a little bit further down the road in terms of you know, a beans and companies and all sorts of things and I just jumped on board and off we went.

 

Fraser Jack 

Yeah, so no nerves or anything just straight. I

 

Anna Johnston 

mean, there’s nerves. Yeah, tremendous nerves. I had I’ve got five kids for still at school at the time when you know so the school fees the I was the main income earner and even a mess of mortgage just all the all the pressures involved in that. And but yet I just knew it was the right thing to do and wanted to do it for a while and it was just, you know, you read all the all the books and you go, yeah, you need to be courageous and you go well, yes, now now’s the time, it’s you don’t just read it, you

 

Fraser Jack 

do it, the moment of truth, that time to be courageous.

 

Anna Johnston 

So pretty much we waited until my 10 year anniversary at Westpac was done, I took a screenshot of my long service leave coming through because I thought, well, that’s a few months of cash flow that I don’t have to worry about. And then we resigned or are resigned. I was put on gardening leave straightaway. So that was great. Michelle was the only planner in St. George between I think Sydney and Ken’s. So they didn’t put her on gardening leave, she had to work the full month are painted our new office in the meantime, that was yeah, we just we just take teamed

 

Fraser Jack 

fantastic. And Michelle, tell me about the name you where they come from. And obviously it was a strategic move.

 

Michelle McKindlay 

Yes, it was because what I found in my time, not just doing the financial planning, but in the mortgage side of things before was that women liked a lot of confidence when it came to financial matters. And when I was at the bank, I actually found that a lot of female clients gravitated to me and told me how much they value to me being a woman. And that it was lovely dealing with me I’d you know, because I was sort of one of the last men standing at St. George, I did inherit a lot of clients. And, you know, some of my clients made comment that they might have had an experience before where people would just talk to them, talk at them, and use a whiteboard and make it all complicated. And they found it really very simple. When when I was explaining things to them, I could do it concisely and clearly in a way that they understood. And so I guess that’s where it came from was I thought I want to help women. I want to be known as you know, if people look up my business name, I want them to immediately know that we are women, that we help women, we don’t just help women, of course, as you’ll you’ll find out but I just wanted to be approachable. And you know, as I went through, I was actually doing my masters of financial planning at that point, because I’d started that as soon as I became a planner. And, you know, the statistics are pretty grim. And when they talk about the number of female financial planners, and and even the literacy of women, you know, financially financial literacy. So yeah, that’s where that came from. So that was something that I had in my mind when I was going to do that anyway. And then when I had the I didn’t really want to do it on my own. I wanted to do it with someone. And when Anna agreed that she was or told me that she was not wanting to go and business herself as well. I sort of ran the idea pastor, which was fantastic that she also agreed and really was quite excited about the whole concept of it

 

Fraser Jack 

yet. It’s an incredible one initiative or and story that goes with it. Tell us about your team that you’ve created over this over that time. Yeah, so

 

Michelle McKindlay 

we we are all women. And actually our newest staff member is a sheepadoodle. And she’s also a girl so she comes into the office every now and then. Yeah, so we are we are all female, we did actually have a meal Potter planet at one at one point. But in the office, we’re all female. It’s not that we wouldn’t employ any men. Can I just put that definitely not men heated at all. I’m very happily married and absolutely love my husband heaps are great meals in my life. It’s just the way it’s happened, I guess. Also, when we have advertised for staff, we mainly get women applying as you can imagine, not that many men probably want to work at women on wealth. So that might be a bit of it as well. But yeah, we’ve got a great team. We’re all very don’t air. We love a chat. We’re very supportive. So as everyone marks then we’re a very small business still at the moment. So we you know, Anna and I probably wear too many hats at the moment. Yeah, it’s just about getting supporting one another. We are all mums. So all of us are our moms and they’re of either children or pets. So we’ve all got responsibilities, we understand all those things. So yeah, that makes it a good working environment. And flexible. We all need to be flexible, because we’ve got earn other loves of our lives, which are not the business. So just making sure that we can work with one another and support one another to get things done, but have a good work life balance as well.

 

Fraser Jack 

Yeah, amazing. Now, tell us about that. That growth from the practice of just being the two of you to where you are now.

 

Anna Johnston 

Yes. So when we started we didn’t have a single client we literally opened The doors without a client and it was builded. And they will come. And they did. We had a number of clients contact us from the banks, which did not go down well with the bank. So we had to actually turn them away, even if they contacted us. But lots of referrals. More referrals probably came a lot from the contacts I’ve made in the banks, a lot of those people had left to start their own businesses. And to this day, I get referrals from them. Clients then refer. At one stage, we bought a book of clients from an advisor who was exiting the industry. So that certainly helped. And we’ve never advertised. I mean, we’ve got a website, but we don’t advertise. It’s all word of mouth. And I don’t know if that’s just Yes,

 

Fraser Jack 

but is it how many users have been five, five years? And what about the staff growth? Tell us about that?

 

Anna Johnston 

We said, we had one staff, we’ve had a few false starts. We’ve had some really good people. We’ve had people that have come in and then moved on because a few of them wanted to be financial planners. I don’t know why. Because we we can’t make it a

 

Michelle McKindlay 

good day. Yeah, very glamorous.

 

Anna Johnston 

There’s no frustration or swearing in our office ever at all. It’s just glamour.

 

Michelle McKindlay 

Your noises getting longer.

 

Fraser Jack 

Imagine it’s telling like it is Tuesday.

 

Anna Johnston 

Our office is right next door to another business called the Whiskey Bar. And let me tell you they are days that straight off to work out often. But you just need to

 

Fraser Jack 

say there’s the Whiskey Bar complain about the noise coming from you guys. Is that how it works?

 

Michelle McKindlay 

No. Luckily, they had actually closed most of the day and open just in time for the afternoon drink sounds

 

Fraser Jack 

like you guys could combine offices maybe share office space. Yeah,

 

Anna Johnston 

other neighbor is singing school for kids. So we in the afternoons, if your windows are open, you hit all kids warbling away. It’s it’s really funny. You hear them through the you know? Yes, it’s very, very sweet.

 

Fraser Jack 

So your office is in a in a shopping zone or a strip shopping center.

 

Anna Johnston 

At Demetri bar village, it’s lovely village you feel we just have the village green in winter, the local ladies knit tree warmers. They look like they go Miss for trees. There’s something about Madrid board. It’s it’s just lovely and friendly. And yeah, we love it.

 

Fraser Jack 

Making it sound really corporate. By the way,

 

Michelle McKindlay 

it’s definitely not core material. But I think that’s one of the reasons that we we fell in love with it. Actually, we didn’t go out looking for a space in Madrid bar, we actually came here to Robina funnily enough, we just couldn’t find the right space here. And a friend of mine owned a cafe over there. So after a long day of searching for premises, we thought we’ll go over more support heart business, and we’ll go and have a coffee and, you know, have a download and have a talk about the things we have seen. And when we were sitting there, there was a big for lease sale for lease sign across the road. And so we thought we’ll go in and have a look there and it was an X accountants office. So it was all set up, you know, with different offices already. So we didn’t have to do a lot of watching the paint job was about average. And a nice blue carpet, which we have no replaced. But yeah, it just seemed that that was meant to be and we thought, yeah, we’ll see how we go here. We did a three year lease on the place, we renewed it for another three years. We love it there we you know, we it’s it’s a bit unexpected that sometimes we actually get walkins. And I’ll just never would have expected that. But I think because we’ve been there for a long time now. People know that we’re there and they’re starting to get to know us. And it’s actually a really friendly little village, we absolutely love it.

 

Fraser Jack 

It’s an interesting having having a little shop front slash practices niche because people do walk past all the time, they will get familiar with it. And in the fact that you’ve been there for five odd years, that trust factor is built over time.

 

Michelle McKindlay 

And we get to know you know, we’ve we do some collections for some local women’s charities. And so we have little ladies walk echino walking and all the time and dropping things off. So she had the dignities one of the charities that we support there. And so we have little ladies come in and drop off handbags for like cosmetics and lotions and potions and you know women’s sanitary items, all the things that you know, some less privileged women don’t have access to. So that’s really important to us. And we hold events and things here. So we are quite known and the community now which is awesome.

 

Fraser Jack 

Yeah, fantastic. Now, tell us about your advice process. Where does it start? And how do you if a new client comes in, what’s the process they go through?

 

Michelle McKindlay 

It depends on where they’ve come from really. But normally, just normally, we would probably have a quick conversation on the phone to make sure that we are the right person for them. We get them into the office to have what we call Our financial planning discovery session. No, we used to do that for free that session. But we’ve learned over the years that we need to value ourselves and our service and you know, the information that we and guidance that we give to people. So we do charge an upfront fee for that now. And then of clients go on to advice from there, then we obviously agree on a plan fee, and we’ll actually deduct that first appointment fee from from that. Okay. So yeah, and from there, obviously, it’s the usual process, the research, the development, this preparation of the statement of advice.

 

Fraser Jack 

Yeah, fantastic. So I’ll just go back to that discovery meeting you’re in? So if a client, that’s 90 minutes, what what are you looking for in that meeting?

 

Anna Johnston 

Well, generally, before they come in, we’ll send them a fact find. So we’re not wasting time gathering data, we would have preferably received that fact fund first. So we’ve got a bit of an idea. And really, it’s, you know, why are you here, what’s important to you, just digging a little bit deeper, giving them some, maybe a few ideas that they haven’t considered, did you know that maybe you could do this, maybe you could do that. I think often people will leave with their feeling a little bit calmer, like they that there’s, you know, when you’ve been doing it for a while, you know that this solutions, and you can without jumping straight into solution mode, you can guide them so that they feel a little bit more secure, that they are things they can do to to secure themselves. So yeah, it’s just literally let them talk, I’ll find out try to talk not very much, and just let them talk as much as possible. To find out what, you know, find out their story, what’s important to them? What they’re all about, because money at the end of the I think money is it’s just money just supports, it’s just supports the life, what’s the life? What’s it, what’s important, and we’ll make the money for whatever it is that they you know,

 

Fraser Jack 

yep. And in that session, are you? Are you explaining your fee structure? And how you work? And how much you charge in that meeting? Or is it done? Is that done beforehand or online?

 

Anna Johnston 

I think generally, when people ask what the fee is, if they ask us beforehand, we don’t know how complex his situation is. So at the during the discovery meeting, towards the end of it, we’d have a good idea of how much work is involved. And we would just, you know, sign a few agreement with them, we have got a pricing structure, you know, in terms of minimums and so forth. And if things are more complex, we would price that in and get them to agree on to it at the time, we actually

 

Michelle McKindlay 

do send out an email when we book that discovery appointment, which obviously outlines the fee that we charge for the discovery appointment. And it does clearly state that if we go to personal advice after that meeting, that there are other other charges. And of course, we’ve attached our Financial Services Guide to that, which has a fixed fee agreement.

 

Fraser Jack 

Yep. Fantastic. And how did you come up with that? That fee range for all the different products? How did you go about

 

Anna Johnston 

just trial and error?

 

Michelle McKindlay 

We’ve were underpriced ourselves for way too long. So that’s how we came up with it

 

Fraser Jack 

sounds like the the way that most people have done it.

 

Michelle McKindlay 

Yeah. So we’ve gradually increased our fees over the years. Yeah, we were we under priced at the start. And I think that came from probably being in the bank where you get paid a salary. And they had a fee structure and you charge this tiny little plan fee. And then you would charge a big implementation fee. We just don’t do that anymore. We charge a larger plan fee and really, actually an implementation fee unless it’s really complex. So it’s all priced and the service for that initial advice.

 

Fraser Jack 

Yeah. Now the interesting thing for people is when you’ve been charging a fee, a lower fee, and then all of a sudden, now you’ve won or all sudden, but you’ve now increased it. Have you gone with those conversations with clients when you’ve decided that you were paying this but now we have to pay before

 

Michelle McKindlay 

no problem actually how it was more of a problem not for the client. But for Anna and I, we really had to be in I think this actually is a female thing as well, from the the research that I’ve read, as we don’t like to ask for money. And we certainly undervalue ourselves a lot. So I think the number one thing was actually getting our mindset, right, that we do a lot of work, and we do really good work. And so we should actually charge for that because it’s not just that time that the client is sitting in front of you, of course, it’s all the background work that you’ve done, as well. And all the work that comes after and all the education that you’ve done and the insurance and you know, all these guys listen this podcast or know where we’re coming from with that. So Anna, and I actually we made a little price menu. That’s how we actually overcame her fear. And so to make that conversation easier, we would bring out our little laminated menu of pricing You know, that had a base plan fee. And then if he added on extra strategies, blah, blah, blah. So the more work we had to do, the larger the price of the plan. I don’t use that myself anymore. And I don’t think Hannah does either. We know just a confident to do it. But that was how we got over that. And it was so funny because clients would just look at it and say, Oh, yep, yep, no, that’s fine. And so yeah, that was how we overcame interface barrier, it was more than overheads than the clients.

 

Fraser Jack 

Yeah, it’s a really good tip, isn’t it? The little comfort blanket to just say, here are the fees, and it doesn’t have to physically come out of your mouth immediately. Does it also help elevate the fact that the you could talk about this between each other, it wasn’t just you in the client trying to work this out?

 

Anna Johnston 

100% I think having a business partner to run ideas past, and we’re very different in lots of respects, we see things differently. So when we debate things, generally, we come into somewhere in the middle, and it’s and it’s never 100% Perfect, you know, it gets altered and modified as we go along. But I think having a business partner, you just, you know, you cost you need a little bit wider, you look at things that another person might not have seen. Yeah,

 

Fraser Jack 

yeah. Fantastic. And so we’ve been through the discovery process, what, how many other meetings? And what’s the time frame you spent with the client?

 

Anna Johnston 

Well, it really just depends. Sometimes you go straight from there to preparing the statement of advice and having an advice meeting. But sometimes, if it’s more complex or more research needs to be done all these you know, a few different strategies that you’re exploring, you might have an interim, you know, an interim meeting to go, Well, look, this is what I’ve come up with, here’s a few options, and developing the advice from there. So two to two to three meetings, or sorry, two to three meetings, all in all, and then we do you know, annual advice, agreements for clients who we see regularly, sometimes once a year, twice a year, depending on the client, depending on what’s important to them.

 

Fraser Jack 

Yep. Fantastic. And and with, with your demographic of clients, is there any specific demographic? Or have you purposely decided that you want to work with this particular type of client?

 

Michelle McKindlay 

No. So the clients that we have, mainly at the moment are retirees, pre retirees. That’s not our target market as such, that was because of the the book of business that we bought, and then the clients that we had, originally were mainly retirees and pre retirees. We’re actually aiming more for younger families now. And professionals. So that sir, I guess the market we are trying to attract now. But you know, really phrase it at the end of the day, we we actually love everyone. I think that’s the thing. And we’ve got such a varied. And to me, it keeps it interesting for me as well, if I’m not doing exactly the same thing every day. And I know, some people wouldn’t agree with that. And, you know, they think that you should specialize in one area, I wouldn’t find that all. I love the variety of dealing with people from all walks of life. So no clients or turn away client automatically to me, because they don’t take the right boxes.

 

Fraser Jack 

Yeah, I find when I’m talking to people that sometimes businesses are set up based on who might be the most profitable type of client in that particular marketplace. You know, you know, we’re working with retirees because, you know, there’s, there’s a lot of them, and we can make money off them. But then people tend to, to go towards their own values or their own, you know, demographic because people like yourselves.

 

Michelle McKindlay 

Well, I think, you know, Anna and I did say people, women of our age with families, you know, with commitments with careers, they’re people who relate really well to us, obviously, because we’re all in the same boat. And we are sort of getting to that age where you’re starting to think about retirement, and you know, it’s not so far away. So we are actually,

 

Anna Johnston 

Michelle, come on, oh, come on, come on.

 

Michelle McKindlay 

I live in the real world. Well, it depends what age you want to retire. And if you want to work till you’re 70 That’s okay. But

 

Fraser Jack 

also, I also wouldn’t hurt her clients said they enjoy drinking whiskey to be clients as well. Now, tell me about your licensing what you’re currently self licensed? Yes,

 

Anna Johnston 

we were when we left the banks and started we were licensed through one of the big charter really. And there were a lot of frustrations with being licensed through someone else because they do that just the level of red tape and it’s none of it makes sense. A lot of it doesn’t make sense. It’s actually unintended consequences and all the rest of it and there’s, I had a bit of a turning point. Michelle is actually the one that said we need to be self licensed, Michelle’s far more more adventurous than me business wise. So I’m a little bit more conservative and takes me a while but I had a client call me wanting to have to get some advice. And my licensee pretty much told me walk away from it, you’re not allowed to provide it. And it was just a young lady I had sold sold advised her on some insurance. A couple of years later, she found she was pregnant, she just was on maternity leave, she’d lost her job while she was on maternity leave, she was downsized, and she wanted to know what to do with her income protection. There is a feature in income protection products, which is you know, the holiday premium holiday while she was trying to work it out. And my licensee told me that because her circumstances had changed for me to tell her that there was this feature, I needed to do a statement of advice, a full statement of advice because of circumstances that changed. She was not unemployed, and she had a child. And obviously, I said, Well, I’m allowed to charge for that. And they said, Well, yes, you are. And I’m going well, you know, for me to charge her to do this advice is would cost more than the benefit than the benefit of not paying a premium for the next four months while she found her while she found a new job. So the benefit is $80 A month or whatever it is Tom’s performance, versus the amount of time it will take me to meet with her do a new fact farmers statement of advice. So it’s actually not in her best interest for me to give her advice. So they said, Well, you’ve got to walk away from it. So I’ve got a lady that’s on the other side of the phone crying because she doesn’t know what to do. And and Brett type dictates that, I’ll just say look phoned the insurance provider while I’m getting paid her ongoing premium, which and I thought this is just rubbish. This is this is not how humans should deal with each other. And so I think that that that was the turning point for me to be the master of my own fate or fantasy,

 

Fraser Jack 

there was the moment there was a single moment, tell me about setting up the license.

 

Michelle McKindlay 

So setting up the license was actually it was quite a seamless process. Really, we, we had a great agent who helped us with that. He helped us through a lot of the paperwork and everything, obviously, it’s not something that we do every day. So yeah, he was the expert in that area, and we paid him to help us get everything right and check all the boxes. And, you know, obviously, we are comprehensive advisors, so our qualifications and everything all stacked up for for ASIC. And, yeah, we’ve we really found it quite an easy process. It was about six weeks, there’s obviously a lot involved in it. But common, I mean, I do thank charter for the fact that we were so you know, on the ball with everything, they gave us a lot of opportunity when we started. So we, you know, we had all our compliance things in order, we knew what we had to be doing. So we were quite regimented about that kind of thing. So yeah, it was just more a case of getting the paperwork right for them. And we were a bit scared about doing it. There’s no doubt about it, because you don’t know what lies on the other side, you know, but there’s always one seeing that I always love towards everything you want is on the other side of fear. And I think it’s been the best move for us. We’ve we’re really flourishing, being self licensed, we can, you know, we talked to we’ve got a compliance team that we hire, so we don’t do on our own, we make sure that we’re keeping on top of things, and they really help us navigate through what are we allowed to do and what are we not allowed to do? And everyone talks about this thing about affordable and face. And I actually think that the the major licensees, they’re not the right fit for our group, because they would put so many layers on things that were probably unnecessary. And they were actually a barrier for us to providing affordable advice. And to me, that’s one of the most important things everyone should have advice. There’s so many studies out there that show how much better people perform financially in their lives when they have a bit of guidance. And the kind of red tape that Anna was talking about before. I mean, that’s just unacceptable. So yeah, the the being self licensed as without a doubt, the best move that we’ve made.

 

Fraser Jack 

Well, Fred story now, tell us about the future of the business, where to from here,

 

Anna Johnston 

we’re looking at a number of things. We’re looking specifically at maybe aged care advice and getting a little bit more involved in that we’ve got a client book that are aging. So that’s something we’ve started, you know, really educating ourselves on and we’re looking at getting some promotional things, then we’re also looking at doing some things online in terms of providing, I suppose more general advice, which is affordable. So it’s a piece piecemeal, I suppose you’d call it or on on more like coaching, coaching on certain topics. Yeah, more like a general education, educating people because you don’t know what you don’t know. So educating people so that they can become an ideal client, you know, So helping them from the ground up where they don’t have to pay us a fortune. And they can get on the right track. And, and actually, you know, there’s

 

Michelle McKindlay 

so many people doing some great things out there. In the last month, I’ve had several clients actually come from another advisors, sort of podcast and group, they’ve been educating themselves through podcasts. And they’ve obviously got advisors into state so they weren’t able to go there. So I’ve managed to pick up a couple of clients just coming in from things of hair done other advisors, podcasts, I think if we’re all in this together, we educate people the right way. And we give them the free resources instead of us seeming like, I guess, you know, I hate to use this expression, but I’m going to use a Stephan assert. If, if we don’t seem that way, and we’re more approachable, we’re going to get that younger demographic, and we can really make a difference to people and more of a difference, even more so of a difference when they’re younger, as we all know, so yeah, I just think there’s that. So for me, I’m actually really passionate about that part of it. I want to help younger people actually get in the door and not see it as, as mystical. And there’s been some great things we don’t all agree with all the teachings of, you know, some of the self help books and everything out there. However, if you get people talking about money, I think that’s the main thing and talking about getting your finances and your house in order and ensure your family’s protected and planning for the future. Because it’s gonna, it’s quite scary when you look at the statistics of what’s coming up for I think about my children, and, you know, the aging population? And what’s that that’s going to mean for my younger children and supporting more older people? And how are we actually going to manage that as an economy. And so I think if we do all these little tiny steps along the way, we can make the world a better place. As cliche as that may sound

 

Fraser Jack 

fantastic. I think we’re all on the same page. I love the concept of advisors having their own podcast and just getting information out there around the value of advice and how they help. And in some of those stories that happen, how are you planning on getting your message out?

 

Michelle McKindlay 

Well, first of all, I have to have some time, Fraser. But yeah, that’s why I was asking about the podcasts and things before, we do have a Facebook group. We also are looking at doing some just, you know more Follow the bouncing ball type, what books and things like that. But I think social media is definitely the way to go for the younger generation, if we’re looking for them. Search engines, maybe more. So for the aged care advice Anna was talking about in the aged care advice space that we want to go into as is mainly so that we can look after and service our own clients going forward. So yeah, just making sure that we’re there, we get everything from word of mouth referrals at the moment. So to expand our business and grow your business, I think we really need to adopt technology, which neither of us are actually that amazing with.

 

Fraser Jack 

So well. It’s like the like the saying goes on the other side of fear. Right?

 

Michelle McKindlay 

Yeah, that’s right. And I guess that’s you hire the people that that know how to use the tools, you don’t necessarily have to be an expert yourself.

 

Fraser Jack 

Do you absolutely know. So are you looking at more advisors over time,

 

Michelle McKindlay 

or? We’ve got not enough? What’s the expression? Me

 

Anna Johnston 

too many chiefs? We need more Indians?

 

Michelle McKindlay 

Except that’s a terrible question. Solitaire, we can. Okay, sorry. What she means is that it’s so it’s what she means as Yeah, we’ve got too many people that are advisors and not enough support staff at the moment. So we probably need to get more support staff before we actually look at more advisors, but absolutely 100% We would love to build our business. And one day, you know, I guess we won’t be doing the the grunt work. So that’s the that’s the phase for the business where we are more client facing. And the part that Anna and I both love the most is dealing with people. And when you’re stuck in a mountain of paperwork, we all know how much we love this. So we’re always exploring new ideas about how we can reduce that that larger and make things more seamless.

 

Anna Johnston 

And there’s also the fear that comes with employing someone who is client facing, you know, because it’s not just the two of us, and we trust each other. And we know that this is what we do. So again, it’s on the other side of that fear, but that will be a big step to actually put somebody in our business that does that.

 

Fraser Jack 

Yeah, but as you mentioned, you purchased a business earlier. Would that be something you do again?

 

Anna Johnston  

We’re considering

 

Michelle McKindlay 

it potentially. Quite actually was a lot of work. It was a lot of work and I’m not so sure Anna, Anna would like to do it again. We thought we’ll look it up. trinities Absolutely 100% I never, never say no to any opportunity, but I love new clients that we are starting the process with and you can do it the way you want to do it right from the start.

 

Fraser Jack 

Yep, start building that relationship. Well, thank you so much for coming on the podcast. Really appreciate you sharing your story. Tell us about how somebody can get hold of you or find out about you. If they wanted to continue the conversation.

 

Michelle McKindlay 

Yeah, well, we have a website www. Thought. W wealth.com.au. We’ve got Facebook page. Anyone’s welcome. Give us a call or contact us and reach out anytime where we’re always We love to chat.

 

Fraser Jack 

Fantastic. I have a whiskey. If you want to hit hit hit hit the Morocco whiskey. We know where to find you

 

Michelle McKindlay 

women on whiskey not Women on Wealth.

 

Fraser Jack 

there you go. We’ve just renamed the business. Yeah. Thank you so much. Thank you

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