manda Cassar is a self-professed adventure junkie with her sights set on more adventurous activities in the future. Next year she plans to ski, skydive, and jetboat across New Zealand.
Her adventurous spirit, however, extends beyond travel and adrenaline sports. Amanda is actively working to improve the world through finance, whether through her charitable efforts with The Hunger Project and Hands Across the Water, the training program she developed with Standards International for financial advisers to combat economic abuse or her work as a panelist and speaker at conferences and events.
It should be no surprise that Amanda believes in the power of education to change lives and actively seeks learning opportunities for herself.
“I like to educate clients about market cycles and how to expect them from the beginning, and I make it clear that I am not in control of market conditions”.
Life isn't one-size-fits-all, and neither is Amanda's approach to her clients, with lifestyle a key focus in her personal investment philosophy.
Amanda shares her go-to funds, personal investments she uses for her lifestyle, the big questions for aged care finances and her plans for the 'Festivus of 50' in this Meet the Adviser profile.
How did Amanda become a financial adviser?
“I was chosen by my profession. Like many others, I became involved in financial planning. I began working as a secretary for a Life Insurance adviser who was a friend of my father's almost immediately after graduating from high school. After having my children, I returned to work part-time, earning my Diploma of Financial Planning, Advanced Diploma, and Master's degrees before purchasing my former employer out completely as a succession plan in 2014.”
Describing personal investment philosophy
“My personal investment philosophy most likely puts lifestyle decisions first. Most of us consider our home our most valuable asset, which is certainly true for my family. Over the last four years, we have faced obstacle after obstacle in our largest and most difficult build to date.”
What was the most disastrous investment?
“I hadn't done much research into Crypto, so I decided to take a small risk with a small amount when BetaShares released their CRYP ETF; naturally, due to Murphy's Law, it's tanked since then, now down more than 75%!
I added a little more after it halved and will now just wait. I'm not too concerned because it's a small holding that I can afford to hold for the long term. I went in knowing how volatile cryptocurrency was, so that's my fault!”
Client success stories
“We recently had an older couple approach us, and despite being in their late 70s and early 80s, they are still very active. The husband's main concern was that if he died, his wife would be okay, and the SMSF would continue to help her. They hadn't reviewed their trust deed in years, and the fund had no investment strategy or formal estate planning arrangements.
We were able to set up a new Deed, SMSF Wills, an Investment Strategy, and a Corporate Trustee and ensure that the portfolio was streamlined and easily manageable for them. They've been extremely pleased and will gladly allow us to assist them with their personal portfolio as well.”
There appear to be more discussions taking place in the Aged Care sector. Some circumstances make the transition easy, while others can be terrifying, and any advice is always welcome. During periods of high volatility, investors frequently wonder how long this will last and how it will affect their portfolio.
“I like to educate clients about market cycles and how to expect them from the start, and I make it clear that I am not in control of market conditions.”
Most people have gone through a few cycles and understand how things work.
Some clients have been disengaged for some time and are unsure where their money is invested. They can sometimes be quite conservative and invest in high-growth funds, or the opposite can be true. It emphasizes the importance of conducting regular portfolio reviews and staying on top of things.
“One of the worst portfolios I reviewed came from clients who were double geared into failed products. They knew they had taken out additional mortgage payments to cover payments, but they were unaware of how highly leveraged the products were until they failed during the GFC. It emphasizes the importance of education and always placing clients in products that both we and they can understand.”
Amanda’s passion or ambition in the future
“I'm a bit of an adventure junkie who enjoys traveling and discovering new places. I enjoy learning and spend much money on coaching and conferences.”
“I have a motorcycle license and a PADI Open Water Dive certification. My husband and I turn 50 one week apart next year, so we're planning the 'Festivus of 50.' I'd love to go to Queenstown and plan all sorts of adventures for the week. I've never been on skis, snowboarded, skydived, or taken a jet boat ride, so I'd love to do so.”