Lisa Barber of Hillross Aspire tells ifa about how a personal loss inspired her to help improve the financial situation of other women.
When Lisa Barber’s father passed away in 1989, with no will and no insurance, it had a significant effect on her family and led to her desiring to help others avoid having to experience a similar plight.
“There were four children at home, we had debt and a mortgage and mum was the primary income earner, so it had a profound impact on us,” she says.
“From then on it was a natural calling for me to work in financial services and try to provide financial security to women; I wanted to work to provide financial security and awareness,” she says.
“One of the things I really value about being a financial adviser is being able to provide that sense of security for people.”
Barber says that not only do women live longer, but due also to a clear gender-based pay gap, they have relatively fewer funds for their retirement than men. Her client base is currently made up predominantly of women between the ages of 35 and 45.
She recalls one defining moment in her career, from around 10 years ago: “There was a lady that came into my office that had just lost her husband and she didn’t manage the financial situation at home,” she says. “Not only was she grieving at losing her husband, she also felt vulnerable about her financial future.
“For us to be able to sit there and work with her and help her know she had a secure financial future… I instantly saw in her body language and her face [that] her whole demeanour changed. That to me is the power of financial advice.”
Barber says she wants to provide that type of security to everyone she can.
“I’m not a doctor so I can’t help them medically; I’m not a psychologist so I can’t help them mentally; but I am a financial adviser and I can help them financially,” she says.
Barber was fortunate enough to enter financial services at a young age, starting work at Toowoomba, Queensland, at an AMP firm – well before the Financial Services Reform Act was conceived.
“I stayed there for seven years,” she says. “I stayed right at the coalface. It was a multi-agency; I worked with a number of advisers and had an alliance with an accountant.”
According to Barber, it was an invaluable experience being able to work with a number of aligned partners before making the transition to agent. “I then became a proper authority holder and that has led to me owning my own financial planning business,” she says.
“It’s definitely liberating to have your own business. I spent five years in the corporate side of AMP as well, and that experience was invaluable in enabling me to set up my own practice.”
Barber says that after experiencing being self-employed, having full control of her own destiny is quite liberating. “I can’t imagine ever going back,” she says.
Her main goal now is to continue to empower people financially –predominantly women, although not exclusively.
“I’d also like to be able to help families to manage their financial circumstances. It’s what you don’t know that you don’t know – that’s where, if you can tap into that, that’s where the magic is.”
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