The sun is shining, the days are getting longer, flowers are blooming, the department stores are bringing in their Christmas stuff… yes, spring is finally here. Everyone knows that spring is the season of fresh starts. Most people will take the opportunity to do a bit of spring cleaning, getting to all those pesky once-or-twice-a-year jobs around the house. But right now is also a great time of year to review your finances. Why now? Well, with the end of the last financial year and your tax return well behind you, you’ve got some great data to help you reset your goals and measure your progress by. You’ve also got a little breathing room before the end of the calendar year so hopefully you’ll be a little less pressed for time when you’re making some important decisions. It’ll also give you enough time to sustainably budget for bigger expenses in the new calendar year, from home improvements to holidays. Here’s how to get started.

 

Clear out the cobwebs

Take a minute to sit down and review your budget. Make sure you have all the relevant information from your bank statements, tax notice of assessment, budgeting app, etc. In the last twelve months, have you stuck to your spending and saving guidelines? If not, what patterns can you see that you’ll want to ‘clear out’ of your spending habits for the coming year? This is your chance to develop a plan for avoiding wasteful spending. For example, if you notice that you’ve spent a lot on takeaway meal delivery, perhaps you could try planning a week of meals or signing up for that cooking class you’ve always wanted to take.

 

Fix that safety net

Just like you fix all those broken hinges, cracked tiles and split frames around the house come spring, now’s a great time to fix your financial safety net – your insurance. The fact is, the various risks and liabilities in your life change all the time. Sometimes it’s a little more obvious, like welcoming a new baby, or moving house. But some of the risks you can insure against shift a little more subtly. For example, you may have made a few purchases that you should have included in your contents insurance, but didn’t add them individually at the time.

 

Plant seeds for the future

Herbs, fruits, veggies, flowers – all the best stuff is planted in spring for harvesting weeks or months down the track! While you’re in the ‘planning ahead’ mindset, have a think about your retirement income too. Chances are that by now, you’ll have received a statement from your super fund with the details of your contributions, returns, fees paid and more. Take this opportunity to review whether your super is on track according to your long term goals. Use the budget info you gathered earlier to see whether there’s room for you to make some extra contributions on a regular basis. If you do find that you’re on track, think about other ways to put your money to work for your financial future. For example, you may consider a type of investment that’s now right for your changed circumstances.

 

Reset and revamp

Working out whether you’re on track with your budget and goals is a great start. But when was the last time you thought about what those goals should look like? Everyone’s circumstances, desires and priorities change. It’s normal to not have the exact same financial goals from one year to the next. That’s why it’s a good idea to review your previous benchmarks, even if you don’t end up changing what you’re aiming for. Carve some time out of your schedule, sit down with your partner/family, and have a chat about your ideas of financial success or independence. Better still, make an appointment to come in and see us. We’ll help you get the fresh perspective you need for the coming year and beyond.

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Grace Kennedy

Grace joined the team as a broker support officer in 2024. After many years as a financial adviser’s assistant, working mainly in retirement planning, Grace is passionate about supporting clients in looking after their most important financial assets and realising their goals. Keen to expand on her experience in financial services, Grace is motivated by achieving the best outcome for clients.

Outside of work, Grace is kept busy by her 3 sporty kids and border collie. The family enjoys spending as much time as possible in the outdoors so you’ll find them on soccer pitches and carnivals across the south east or enjoying bushwalks and camping in our beautiful region.

Kodi Koina

Business Support Officer

Kodi joined Searle Financial as Bec’s assistant in August 2021, after completing her Bachelor of Business and Commerce through the University of Southern Queensland. 

You will find her working behind the scenes gathering information and managing Bec’s client applications all the way from submission to settlement, as well as completing reviews for existing clients to ensure they are on the most competitive rate possible. She enjoys liaising with clients and keeping them up to date throughout the entire application process.

You will often find Kodi catching up with friends and family in her spare time.

Michael Todd

Mortgage Advisor

Michael joined Searle Financial in 2022. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in Finance (with distinction) from the University of Southern Queensland and a Certificate IV in Finance and Mortgage Broking.
Michael’s combination of industry experience and tertiary studies in finance allow him to strategically assist a variety of clients from first home buyers through to complex self-employed business owners.

Michael has a client focused approach to his work and is continuously refining his process to ensure clients’ requirements & objectives are met and industry changes are incorporated. During the client journey Michael looks to communicate clearly with all stakeholders, allowing for settlements to occur smoothly.

In his spare time Michael enjoys all things outdoors with friends and family. He also has a genuine interest in the economic events of the world.

Melissa Hitchen

Business Support Officer

Melissa joined the Searle Financial Services team in July 2017, bringing with her several years of experience in a broker support role. Having completed both her Diploma and Certificate IV in finance and mortgage broking management, you’ll often find Melissa quietly working away in the background. Her role involves managing Andrew’s client applications, and ensuring the process is smooth and effortless. 

Whether the purchase of their first home, adding to an investment portfolio, or obtaining a more competitive rate on their mortgage, Melissa’s goal is always the same – to assist our clients to achieve their financial goals. 

Melissa is a mother to two gorgeous – and active – girls, so you’ll often find the family out and about looking for new adventures!

Michael Todd

Mortgage Advisor

michael@searlefinancial.com.au
0400 595 555

THIS BLURB NEEDS TO FEATURE MICHAEL! With a background in Financial Planning, Charmaine has now come full circle, rejoining our Mortgage team to ensure clients continue to enjoy competitive rates and service for the life of their loan. Charmaine enjoys the role of office manager, supporting the brokers and administration support staff in their varied roles.

Prior to her career in Finance, Charmaine worked across the ceramic and glass art industries, and still maintains her creative endeavours by actively nurturing her two artists-in-the-making – her children Hugo and Xanthe!

Julie Ikin

Business Support Officer

Having previously worked in banking for eight years, Julie joined the Searle Financial Services team in May 2018. She holds a Bachelor of Business through the University of Southern Queensland.

Julie gathers all the information for applications, reviews existing loan accounts and liaises with lenders – she is often found quietly working away in the background. Working in the mortgage broking industry offers Julie an opportunity to work across a vast variety of banks and financial institutions which brings competition to the finance industry, ultimately offering the best options for our clients.

When away from the office, you can find Julie relaxing with her two children, drinking coffee, lounging by the pool or cooking a mean barbeque!

Bec Faulks

Senior Mortgage Advisor

Bec has been with Searle Financial since 2019 & has been working in the mortgage broking industry since 2002. A second-generation mortgage broker, Bec’s father was a pioneer in the industry more than 20 years ago and we think lending is her blood! Bec is proud to be part of an industry that is constantly evolving to keep up with modern financial needs.

Bec enjoys a challenge and prides herself on listening to clients’ needs & goals, providing easy-to-understand solutions specific to them. As a part of her services, she offers ongoing reviews & continual support for the life of their loan as they move through the varied financial stages of their lives.

Bec and her husband are locals raising their two daughters in our beautiful regional city. In her spare time, she loves hiking and having adventures!

Suellen Heyman

Mortgage & Equipment Finance Advisor

Having commenced her career in finance in 1983, Suellen has worked in various roles across the financial industry, ranging from administration, collections, marketing and lending. Her many years within the industry brings an invaluable wealth of experience and understanding to our team. 

Having commenced with Searle Financial Services in 2018 as a mortgage advisor, Suellen is highly valued, working with our clients from the initial meeting, throughout the process of establishing a lending product and throughout the term of the loan. She has completed her Cert IV in finance and mortgage broking management and is a Commissioner for Declarations.

Suellen is often found out-and-about in our beautiful city of Toowoomba walking her two dogs, or relaxing at one of the many coffee spots around our town!

Andrew Searle

Managing Director

The founding member of Searle Financial Services, Andrew Searle first opened the doors of our organisation in 2004, after years of travel and work across the financial industry in both Australia and the UK.

Andrew holds a Master of Commerce with the University of Queensland and a Bachelor’s degree from Griffith University.  In addition, he holds a Diploma in Financial Services, is a full member of the Mortgage Finance Association of Australia and has the distinction of being Australia’s first finance broker to become licenced with ASIC. Just to round things out, Andrew is also a Justice of the Peace.

By far his proudest achievements are his son Hugo, and daughter Xanthe. When Andrew is not in the office, you can find Andrew pursuing his hobbies of mountain bike riding and trying to play golf. 

Andrew’s Australian Credit Licence Number (ACL) is 364362.