Subscribe to Money & Life

Financial Planning

The two of us

10 May 2018

Close up of man and woman holding hands in front of a blue wall as they prepare to see their trusted financial adviser

Money & Life team

Money & Life contributors draw on their diverse range of experience to present you with insights and guidance that will help you manage your financial wellbeing, achieve your lifestyle goals and plan for your financial future.

Starting a new chapter in their lives as a married couple, Jamie and Tilly Brauer reached out to financial planner Murray Wilkinson for guidance in setting up their young family for a secure future. Hear their story and how their life has transformed thanks to his advice.

Tilly and Jamie

Tilly’s parents had been making a strong case for us to speak with Murray, saying they wish they’d had the benefit of his advice much earlier in their own lives. We’d barely reached our 30s and were less than a year married, so financial advice was something we were a little reluctant to be spending time and money on. But our first session with Murray was free so we decided to give it a try. We were surprised that the subject of money didn’t really come up in that first meeting as Murray just wanted to get to know about us, what we did for a living and what our perfect future together might look like.

It was easy to trust Murray from the start because of the relationship he already had with our family. But we could also tell he had our best interests at heart because the advice he gave us was exactly what we needed, and evolved as things changed. It started with making more from our income by using an offset account and streamlining bank accounts so we could better manage our cash flow. In the years to come we moved on to sorting out super, insurance and, more recently, our approach to building wealth. He’s careful not to overwhelm us with dealing with it all at once and yet we’ve gradually ended up in a financial position that’s really stable and never a source of stress.

Murray has also been an amazing sounding board when we’ve reached critical forks in the road. At a time when we thought our investment property was worth hanging on to — it was located right in the middle of a Brisbane hotspot for new infrastructure — Murray pointed out just how many apartments were being built nearby, increasing competition for tenants and driving rents and values down. Turns out he was right so we were smarter to have sold and cashed in when we did.

When it came to deciding whether to use money from the sale to buy a home, Murray suggested running an experiment to see if we could comfortably afford the expected repayments. This really opened our eyes to how hard it was going to be for us to budget for homeownership without Tilly returning to work full-time. Giving our kids the chance to have their Mum at home with them as much as possible wasn’t something we were prepared to give up. So with Murray’s guidance, we decided to invest the money in shares instead and have been able to build our wealth without compromising on valuable time with our kids while they’re still young.

In our relationship with Murray we’ve found he has great integrity and a high level of commitment to his clients. Recently we moved from Brisbane to Armidale so Jamie could move forward with his career in teaching. Tilly sought advice from Murray about continuing with her own job after the move. The support he offered as a sounding board for her ideas helped Tilly make the transition and carry on working remotely for her employer of 12 years.

Each year we review our net wealth position with Murray. Not only does it motivate us to keep doing what we’re doing with our budget, it’s also very comforting to know we’re building up our assets a little at a time. He’s helped us stay motivated to get things done with our finances without putting a lot of pressure on our lifestyle and relationship. Without Murray I doubt we would be in a position where we can have a large family, enjoy our life together now and prepare for a secure future.


Tilly’s parents had been clients of mine and the couple approached me to guide them with their finances not long after they were married. It’s been a great privilege to support them on their journey through career changes and parenthood in the last six years and I’m pretty confident in saying that financial advice has had quite an impact on the choices they’ve made in that time.

At the beginning, it was really a case of monitoring their cash flow so they could start to make informed decisions about how they spend their income. Financial wellbeing starts with all the small choices that, added together over the years, can really accelerate your wealth accumulation. It also got Jamie and Tilly in the habit of looking at their current and future finances and charting the course between the two scenarios in very real terms.

Their goals were simple and straightforward, but like everyone I advise, they had their own unique circumstances to make the best of. Working as a teacher in boarding schools, Jamie is very passionate about education and he and Tilly and the kids can enjoy the benefit of subsidised rent to lower their living costs. But his earning capacity in a teaching career has limits so it’s important to have a strategy for building wealth. This is particularly true when you’re planning to have more kids which puts more pressure on your income and cash flow.

By selling their investment property and putting off buying a family home for the time being, Jamie and Tilly have kept their financial commitments at a comfortable level. Achieving this has made it possible for them to meet two very important goals, one immediate and one longer-term. At a time when putting family first has been their top priority, Tilly has been able to work part-time after having their first two children. With a mortgage to pay this would have been unrealistic.

At the same time, we’ve allocated that surplus from their property sale to investing in a diversified Australian share portfolio which is growing nicely. They’re not under financial stress from a home loan, yet they’re several steps further along in their wealth building journey. So when we review their net financial position each year, they can feel secure in knowing all their choices to date are giving them what they need as a family: less stress on their time and income and an investment strategy that is on track to deliver enough wealth to meet their future needs.

Expert financial advice can bring you peace of mind about your future as well as adding value to your overall financial position. And if youre thinking about seeking advice from a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® professional, its important to find a planner thats right for you.

Murray Wilkinson AFSL No. 481112, ACL No. 482035

This article contains general financial advice only. It is provided by an Australian Financial Services licensee (AFS licensee) or the employee or authorised representative of an AFS licensee as identified in the article.

General financial advice does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs, and you should consider seeking professional financial advice before acting on the general advice provided.