Joel Brennan is a HESTA Financial Planner in Melbourne.
It was a case of bad advice that saw Joel Brennan make a major career transition from hospitality to finance. “My parents told me about some financial advice they had received which didn’t cater to their needs. My mum was a part-time nurse and my dad worked for an electricity company and the advice they received was unnecessarily complicated,” says Joel.
“The idea of providing good advice to people like my parents, compared to the advice they had received, really appealed to me and led me to studying financial planning for four years when I lived in London.”
Joel started out at the finance coal face, working as a bank teller for six months before moving into the financial planning team. Joel has now been a financial planner since 2016. “The majority of the members that I get to see remind me of my parents, or other family and friends, and the chance to help these people is what gets me out of bed every day,” says Joel.
HESTA Financial Planner Joel Brennan
Why member education is important
Joel recognises that the super system can seem intimidating to members. “Working within the super industry it’s easy to lose sight of its complexity. By educating members we can ensure they understand the simple steps they can take to have a positive impact on their finances and their overall wellbeing. It can have such a huge impact on their peace of mind,” says Joel.
“Many members come in concerned about their future, and although they are looking forward to retirement, aren’t sure about if they can afford to retire or whether their money will last,” says Joel.
“By delving into a member’s life, we can really get to the heart of what is most important to them in terms of lifestyle and family, and how their finances interact with that.
“I get so much enjoyment out of showing people the way forward, the possibility that they can retire and their retirement is going to be everything they had always dreamt it would be,” says Joel.
Advice that makes a difference
For Joel, getting to the heart of what a member wants can ultimately lead to positive outcomes. “I recently met with a member who came in with her husband and son. She had suffered a stroke about 18 months ago, was receiving some income protection payments and had just been approved for funding through the NDIS and Centrelink.
“Her husband had been using all of his leave entitlements, which were quickly running out and they had no idea who would take care of her if he returned to work, or where they would get money from if he retired,” says Joel.
“Her husband and son were really concerned about their ability to stay in the family home as they still had a mortgage and thought they needed to downsize.
“What the member told me was that she really wanted to stay in her home. By exploring their financial situation, as well as educating them about how Centrelink will interact with their finances, I was able to find a way for her husband to retire and remain her full-time carer as well as have enough income to live on. Most importantly, the member and her family could stay in their home,” says Joel.
“Interacting with members like these, and seeing situations go from very stressful to much more relaxed is what makes my job a real pleasure to do every day.”