Team Spirit profile: Cameron
Born and raised in Launceston in northern Tasmania, Spirit Super Superannuation Adviser Cameron started his working life as a baker. With a passion for numbers and a strong desire to help people, he decided on a career change in his mid-20s.
How did you make the big move from baking to finance?
As much as I enjoyed baking, I really didn’t like the hours and lifestyle. I’d always been interested in investing and finance, so in my mid-20s I decided to head to uni and do a business degree majoring in economics and finance.
When I finished my degree, I worked as a paraplanner. I enjoyed it, but I was on a computer all day and had very little face-to-face time with people. Ideally, what I wanted was to meet with clients and help them achieve their financial goals.
When did you begin working for Spirit Super?
A bit over 18 months ago, a friend alerted me to a Superannuation Adviser position in Spirit Super’s Launceston office. It involved meeting face-to-face with people and helping them reach their financial goals – exactly what I’d been wanting to do! I applied, had an interview, and the rest is history.
What does it mean to be a Superannuation Adviser?
Put simply, it’s about helping members get on track to meet their financial goals. I see my role as an educational one, really. Everyone learns differently, and members come to me with different levels of financial literacy. One member might understand a concept immediately, whereas the next might benefit from a more detailed explanation or a diagram.
Why do you enjoy working for Spirit Super?
I enjoy providing advice to members without having to charge them an additional fee. I also enjoy the fact that there’s no financial incentive for me to recommend a particular product or service to a member.
What are some common misconceptions that members have about super?
There’s a perception by a lot of members that if their account balance drops, there must be a problem. For example, a member might see their balance has dropped $2,000 and panic. But then if you look at their account over a six-month timeframe, they may have gained $5,000 over that time. Or, that $2,000 might represent a very small percentage of their overall balance.
We always remind members that super is a long-term investment and to stick to their long-term investment plan. It’s important to make sure that their current level of risk is appropriate for their stage of life. If a member is nearing retirement and they’re worried about their balance, then we might suggest that they switch to a low-risk investment option. But if they’re younger, they have time on their side to ride out short-term fluctuations.
What’s the one thing you wish all members knew?
A lot of people don’t understand the importance of nominating their beneficiaries. If a member passes away and they have valid nominations in place, it makes things a lot less stressful for their loved ones who they leave behind. It only takes minutes to set up.
When should members meet with a Superannuation Adviser?
Most members who come to see us are very close to retirement. That’s great, but it would be really good to see more young people come in. Your 20s and 30s are a great time to make sure your super’s on track to build up over your working life. Coming in and spending just an hour with us can set you up for a better financial future. The earlier you sort your super, the better.
What sort of things can you help members with?
We can look at their investment options and make sure they’re in the right option for them. This is different for everyone and depends on your age and individual tolerance to risk. Getting into the right investment option at the right time is really important, which is why it would be good to see more younger members.
Because there are different ways to contribute to super, people are often confused and don’t know the best option for them. So, we can look at their circumstances and give them advice to make sure they’re contributing the best way for them.
When members turn 60 years old, transition to retirement becomes particularly relevant. There are significant tax savings members can achieve by setting up a transition to retirement strategy. It can be a pretty abstract concept for people to understand, but basically it involves salary sacrificing your wage to reduce the tax you pay. Sometimes members don’t believe you when they first hear it – it can sound too good to be true! So, I work through it with them, sometimes using diagrams which can be a great way to show members the movement of their money and where the benefit comes from.
Get in touch today
Whether you’re new to the workforce, heading towards retirement or somewhere in between, a chat with a super expert like Cameron can help you feel more confident about the decisions you’re making about your super. Give us a call on 1800 005 166.