It is all about the look on their faces December 2020


After watching her parents lose money on their investments during the GFC, partly due to poor financial advice, Nicola Chaffe made the decision to shift from accounting to private wealth and financial planning. She also made the tree change from central Melbourne to Bendigo Victoria around the same time, and hasn’t looked back. She is now a director at Venture Financial Advisers and loves working with numbers and people.

Can you share with us your path to becoming a financial adviser?

I grew up in a small country town near Bonny Doon in northeast Victoria. I went to University in Melbourne and was a public accountant in Melbourne before I made a tree change.

Back in Jan 2008 my parents retired and they saw a financial adviser, then in September that year I was doing their tax return and saw that they were actually really invested in the share market [when they had told the financial planner they didn’t want to be] and they ended up losing a lot of money.

At the time I was actually studying a CPA unit on financial planning and superannuation and doing really well in it. So I ended up changing paths to go down that private wealth side. I moved to Bendigo …and within a couple of years here I had my ticket to be a financial planner.

What do you like about being a financial planner?

I love that moment on their face when they realise they don’t have to work any more, you can choose to but you don’t have to, and the weight that lifts.

I kind of consider that the reason financial advice works for me is I’m good with numbers and I like people.

What is the one thing you would like all your clients to understand?

Everybody is different. You don’t need to live by anybody’s ideal. The whole BBQ discussion on things, that doesn’t mean you need to keep up with the joneses.

What do you think is the biggest challenge in the financial advice space at the moment?

Stigma I think would be the biggest challenge. There were numerous financial advisers who were salesman as such and it’s trying to convince the public that’s actually not our job. We should be looking at the strategy of it, rather than selling a product. That’s a stigma that is very hard for people to get over. It’s just trying to convince them that there is a very big difference.

What advice would you give to somebody wanting to become a financial adviser?

I think the biggest thing is to be yourself around your clients. I think where a lot of young planners fall down is they try and pretend they are too smart to try and impress the client. Our relationship is so trusted, sometimes the best thing you can do is say I don’t know the answer to that. Be authentic and be honest.

Where do you think you will be in the next five to 10 years?

At the moment we’ve got a very young group of advisers coming though and where I see myself is being more in that mentoring coaching sort of role. My passion is really to bring that next generation through. We’re seeing a massive outflow of financial advisers and … there needs to be quite a large next generation coming through to facilitate the advice gap.

View Nicola Chaffe's profile