Case Studies

Case Studies

Once upon a time there was a family with two incomes, a small mortgage, three married children and six grandchildren with two years until retirement...

The present, the future and beyond

Tell your full story to The Positive Investor and you can choose the happily ever after of your once upon a time.

Given the decisions we make in our 30s and 40s will have a substantial impact on the rest of our lives it’s very important to think ahead today

The present, the
future and beyond

Good money habits and forethought will pay their dividends when you really need them

Planning your financial future will save you from financial burdens as your future unfolds

The sooner you start planning your financial future the wealthier you’ll be in retirement

Select story

The present, the
future and beyond

Good money habits adopted in your 20s and 30s will reap untold rewards in the decades that follow


So a little bit of wisdom now will save you from financial regrets in the future

Case study
John McNamara

After many years of hard work John is now a successful business owner and enjoys a very comfortable lifestyle.



  • Over the years he has built up some cash savings, a variety of investments and a number of pensions with different companies. At this point John has no idea of the value of his current portfolio and hasn’t had it reviewed for several years.
  • John is 55 next year and feels that now is the time to “get serious” about sorting out his future but he’s uncertain as to how he should do this or where he should start.
  • With so little free time as it is, he finds it difficult find a moment to consider what’s truly important to him both now and in the future.
  • He feels swamped by financial paperwork that simply makes no sense to him.
  • John suspects that he isn’t making the most of the opportunities to secure his future income but, without proper financial advice, he is unsure where he may be missing out.

The Challenges

  • Clearly understand John’s current position and how he would like his future life to look.
  • Ascertain how John feels about investment risk and clarify the role his investments will play in shaping his future.
  • Build a bespoke investment strategy for John’s portfolio aimed at helping him enjoy the retirement he desires.
  • Consider how business assets and profits could be used to supplement his investment strategy.
  • Agree with John his ‘Number’ – the amount of money he will need to accumulate to maintain his ideal lifestyle in retirement.

What we did:

  • Over the course of several meetings we discussed with John his goals and plans for the future including his main priorities.
  • We collected John’s relevant personal and financial details to assess his current financial position – assets/liabilities and income/expenditure.
  • Based on the outcome of a risk profile questionnaire, we adjusted John’s portfolio into more appropriate low risk, low cost investment funds.
  • Investments and pensions were consolidated onto a single ‘platform’ to streamline monitoring and maintenance of the portfolio.
  • Using both personal and business assets we prepared a Financial Plan which clearly laid out how John could meet his objectives.
  • We used a lifetime cashflow projection to show John what he needed to invest, and what he could comfortably afford to spend, to secure the financial independence he sought.

The results?

  • John has greater sense of clarity, more control and confidence over what the future holds.
  • He has a feeling of being in charge of his own destiny.
  • He is more relaxed about his retirement and can refocus on his business with fresh enthusiasm.

Lorna, 62


"I have been working with Michael, on recommendation from my accountant, for over 10 years. He is now trusted by three generations of my family. He is old enough to know what needs to be known for my mother and I, and young enough to have a strong relationship with my adult sons.


I have never felt the need to second guess Michael and I am very impressed with the way he acts equally as my protector, and my sons’ guide, with regard to my financial health and their inheritance. He cares about the way I live now and he cares about the future for me, and my children."

Mother of two. Client 10+ years.

Case study
Frank & Liz

Frank 59 and Liz 62 are in the accumulation phase of their financial life-cycle and wanted to make sure they were doing the right thing with their existing savings/investments.

Loving aussie


  • They were in a similar position to a lot of people when they contacted FFS. They had reasonable superannuation and moderate investments with good intentions. However any advice they’d received in the past seemed only to confuse them and they found the piles of paperwork daunting. They were also concerned about the fees for financial advice.
  • One of Liz’s colleagues recommended that they meet with me for an obligation free consultation.
  • Frank and Liz asked me to review their financial position. After discovering their goals and views and fully understanding the family’s current financial situation I was able to outline a solution in jargon-free terms, and reassure them that coming to the right financial solution need not be time consuming and complicated, and would also represent value for money.
  • Frank and Liz believed their investments were either medium or low risk and although they were benefiting from tax efficiencies, my research told a different story. In fact I found the funds were not suitable and were a much higher risk than Frank and Liz had anticipated. The charges in the pension plans were no longer competitive either.
  • I designed and proposed a new retirement plan for the couple which involved transferring all of their pensions into one plan.
  • The new plan resulted in charge efficiencies and the correct funds to suit their risk profile. It would also simplify paperwork to one provider and one file – much easier to manage going forward.

Their Future...

Frank and Liz were so pleased with the proposal that they asked me to implement my recommendations, which will help them get closer to their retirement goals. With our regular reviews I will ensure Frank and Liz’s plans remain suitable for any change in future circumstances. At our first review I was delighted to inform them that the new pension funds had performed 8.6% better than the main fund they were invested in previously. The key to this relationship’s success has been for me to make their financial planning simple - looking at it in plain English and approaching it as a simple set of transactions

Bob, 62

"I wanted someone young and vibrant with fresh ideas and a decade on, I’m very grateful that I have Michael.

I like Michael because he’s a gentle and thoughtful young man who has proven over and over again to be as smart as a whippet. He is in step with all the latest trends and has his eye on the ball. Put simply, I trust Michael.



What has also impressed me enormously about Michael is that he backs himself by charging a transparent up front fee. He does not take any kick-backs or commissions. Since my retirement my financial life has been easier to manage and Michael has reflected this by decreasing his fees. I would recommend Michael to anyone who wants good reliable advice."

Client for over 10 years.

Case study
Chris & Mary

Christopher is now 57 and looking forward to retiring on his 60th birthday.

Heading towards


  • He’s always regarded himself as an astute investor but in the last few years there has been a sizeable fall in the value of his investments and pensions.
  • As his retirement date approaches Christopher is concerned that a further fall in his portfolio may delay his retirement.
  • He was looking forward to enjoying several holidays a year with his wife, Mary and spending more time with his grandchildren and is keen to ensure this still happens. Only he’s concerned about making a wrong move at this crucial time.
  • Also, after discussing the subject with his Accountant, Christopher was concerned about the Inheritance Tax (IHT) bill his family could be potentially faced with in the future.
  • They understand they can make gifts to reduce tax but are concerned about leaving themselves short of funds later in life. They would like to consider alternative options but are unsure what the correct solution is for them.

The Challenges

  • Gain a clear understanding of Pete and Mary’s income needs, both now and in retirement.
  • Determine their feeling about investment risk following their recent experiences of the investment markets.
  • Create an investment strategy aimed at delivering the returns they require to keep their retirement plan on track.
  • Balance the need to preserve income for Peter and Mary with the requirement to reduce their future potential IHT liability.
  • Agree with Christopher and Mary their ‘Number’ – the amount of money they will need to accumulate to allow them to maintain their ideal lifestyle in retirement.

What we did:

  • We discussed with Christopher and Mary their goals and aspirations with regard to their future.
  • We completed a risk profile questionnaire and calculated the annual ‘personal rate of return’ they would require from their portfolio to achieve their goals.
  • To avoid unnecessary risk the portfolio was moved into more suitable low risk, low cost investment funds.
  • With the use of suitable trust planning we reduced their potential IHT liability whilst providing access to income and capital.
  • We prepared a step-by-step Financial Plan which clearly demonstrated the actions they needed to take to meet their objectives.
  • We used a lifetime cash flow projection to show Christopher and Mary how their new strategy has been designed to ensure they never run short of money.

The results?

  • Christopher and Mary are relieved that their original retirement plans remain on track
  • They are reassured that by taking less risk, their future is more secure.
  • They are content that their IHT issue has been addressed and will be kept under review

Paul & Trish

"Michael is refreshingly old fashioned in terms of his respectful nature, yet he is ahead of his time in terms of his knowledge of everything financial.

Michael is very careful but not too careful with our money. He is conscious that living comfortably now is as important as it is in the future. He is very mindful of our suggestions, which he analyses thoroughly before giving us his opinion.



There are no words to really express how highly we feel about Michael except to say we hope he’s still around when we’re not anymore. We couldn’t imagine dealing with anyone other than Michael."

Paul & Trish,
Clients for 7 years.

Case study
Matthew Moris

When we met Matthew he was a single parent in his mid 40s with a 16 year old son. He was employed full time with an annual salary of $88,000 and owned his own home to the value of $600,000 with a mortgage of $100,000 remaining.

It's not
too late


Matthew was starting to think about his retirement and his son’s financial security. He wanted to start looking at ways to pay off his debt and accumulate growth to ensure that when it came time to considering retirement, he would have capital to assist him in meeting his goals.

As a result, we structured a strategy aimed at reducing his tax, utilising his existing cash flow in a way that met his multiple objectives. The strategy paid off his mortgage within five years, and he was able to save a lump sum for his son’s future, as well as reduce his tax position through salary sacrifice and increase his retirement savings.

Tom & Lyn

"Michael is easy to talk to and explains everything in plain English. He has always taken a genuine interest in our lives, both personal and professional. So over the years Michael has developed a very clear picture of where we’ve come from, our lifestyle requirements now, and where we’d like to be in the future.



Michael’s approach is very measured, and if we didn’t know better, we could easily think that we were Michael’s only client such is the attention and level of service he gives us."

Tom & Lyn,
Clients for over 10 years.

Case study
Patrick & Pauline

Patrick and Pauline were both in their thirties when they contacted FFS.


Consolidating debt
for education costs

Patrick was earning $180,000 and Pauline was a stay-at-home-mum, with a one year old and a five year old. The five year old was about to start school. Patrick and Pauline had decided that both children would attend public school for their primary education with private schooling for their secondary education. Patrick and Pauline wanted to put aside $20,000 per year for each child for each year of secondary school. They also had a $500,000 mortgage and $30,000 worth of personal debt. Their home was worth $800,000 and they were paying a relatively high interest rate.

During our ‘getting-to-know-you’ introduction, Patrick and Pauline told FFS that their goals were to pay off their home as soon as possible, Pauline wanted to start studying in four years’ time once their youngest started school, and they wanted to ensure they were on the right track financially. Another thing that they were concerned about was that Patrick had five different superannuation funds and Pauline had three from previous jobs.

To start with FFS assisted by consolidating their debt to reduce interest, helped them with their budget and established a regular investment plan suited to meeting their children’s education costs, as well as ensured that sufficient funds were kept aside for Pauline’s further study. FFS provided a number of optional strategies aimed at achieving their goals. We assisted in consolidating their superannuation funds for ease of management and invested in line with their risk tolerance. We also identified the need for insurances and established insurances relevant to their circumstances.

Today, Patrick and Pauline are very happy with their progress and have a clear path to achieving their goals.


"What I liked most about Michael from the start was that he sat on the same side of the table as my wife and I. He wanted to know about us as a couple, as a family, and what we hoped to achieve in our lifetime. He stressed that not all people focus on wealth for their personal enjoyment, but that some wanted the financial freedom to volunteer in third world countries etc. We knew then that this financial professional was different - in a good way.

Each investment Michael suggested rewarded us greatly and our trust of him grew and grew. We now depend on him for many things. He takes everything on board, does his research and responds promptly with educated and measured advice.



Michael doesn’t accept commissions from institutions. He charges a fee for his advice and guidance, and from our experience his fees are very reasonable. We know categorically that we’re paying for quality advice because our results are exceptional.

I have recommended Michael to my best friend and several colleagues, all of who are now clients. And I have no hesitation in recommending him to anyone wanting to improve his or her financial position."

Client for 11 years.

Case study
Katherine & Tom

Sadly Katherine and Tom are divorcing. Tom looked after the finances and had started a self-managed super fund (SMSF) soon after they married 12 years ago. They have two children, aged eight and five.


separate ways

  • Tom started a small business delivering spring water bottles to businesses Australia-wide which had been successful and provided them with an income of $120,000 after tax each year. Tom established the business through his self managed super fund. They have a house worth $1,500,000 with a mortgage of $500,000.
  • Katherine wasn’t sure what she was entitled to and Tom didn’t want to pay out her share of the business, as this would mean selling the business. She was also sceptical about getting financial advice in a divorce situation - surely financial questions like investments and loans were more relevant?.
  • Katherine spoke to us and we were able to talk her through her various options, reassuring her that financial advice was key to the situation she was in, and that we were experienced in dealing with these challenging times. We helped her work out her expected living expenses, as she wanted their children to live with her. We estimated she would need $600-$700 per week.

After consulting with her lawyer on the likely split of assets, we modeled a range of options and was able to show Katherine:

  • the difference in real terms of a 60/40 split compared with a 70/30 split
  • the impact of different ways of splitting the assets including selling the business
  • the impact of keeping the family home compared with downsizing
  • the impact of making different superannuation investment choices.

The advisor was able to highlight that by keeping a share in her husband’s business she was taking on more risk than she fully realised. By taking control of her super she could manage this money on her own terms.

Katherine felt better able to instruct her lawyer. Tom was able to keep the business and the SMSF. Katherine bough a new house and was able to keep looking after her children in their new home. And the divorce remained amicable.

Case study
20 something

It’s hard in your 20s or 30s to imagine being 60 or 70, but it happens and it happens all too quickly ask the majority of our clients.


Time is on
your side

In these uncertain economic times Australia is inheriting record debt levels and with rising inflation our living costs just keep rising. That’s why it’s more important than ever to plan for the future.