Rebecca Howarth has been running Hills Financial for 13 years, and believes that there has never been a more important time to get finances in order. Read her story and take advantage of her most generous offer.

Hills Financial opened for business in 2007, just prior to the GFC and pregnant with my first daughter after a long fertility treatment journey. Who would have thought this would be an easier time to be a small business owner than in 2020! This year was supposed to be my year to push through my own insecurities and really put myself out there in an industry I have loved and been in for 20 years. Instead it gave me an excuse to keep hiding away!

I run a financial planning business which helps every day people get their finances on track, to lay strong foundations you can build on, achieve financial goals and ultimately retire without the stress of not having enough income to live on. Getting the right advice with your budgets, debts, personal insurances and superannuation has always been important, but post COVID19 having a solid financial plan is crucial to avoid the same pressures should another contingency event occur.

COVID19 didn’t really affect my business at first. I have always operated as a mobile business, where most of the back-office work is done from a home studio here in Kalamunda and face to face appointments at the homes of my clients or a local coffee shop. So I was well set up from home and used to a quiet, somewhat isolated work environment.

I felt like one of the lucky ones when the lockdowns started, although I had a few new client appointments cancel, I had work from previous months that kept me busy during March / April when the harshest restrictions were in place. My husband who contracts town planning drafting services to a Sydney based business was also still receiving jobs through. At this time, the biggest challenge was having Miss Year 5 and Miss Year 6 home with us and the guilt that I wasn’t running my home learning classes with the same degree of Instagram style as the other mums I followed on Facebook. I joined all the learning resource groups and wrote list after list but couldn’t make everything fit into the day. I never got to practice my sourdough making skills or binge watch Netflix!

There were a lot of calls, mostly about the early release of superannuation and whether income protection covered unemployment, as many of my past clients were facing job losses or businesses that couldn’t operate and were scared about where their future income was going to come from. It really did feel like we were in a warzone, watching from our own front windows, with people’s livelihoods being taken away so swiftly.

The one positive I took from COVID19 was that it reiterated just how important financial planning was, especially to those clients who were in the thick of life, with a decent mortgage, school fees, juggling work and kids.The panic of not having a regular income set in very quickly for people in this life stage. It became apparent that many of us do not have an emergency fund, are not in front with mortgage repayments, don’t spend less than we earn.

Recently, I was reading the recent Chamber blog by Lee-Anne from Travel Associates in Kalamunda and boy did I spare a thought for her. It really hit a nerve. We know the travel industry has been severely impacted and will be for the foreseeable future, but it isn’t until you hear the honest personal stories that you realise just what it means for travel agents such as Lee-Anne.

I felt so bad that I didn’t think about this myself when I have booked travel in the past – because the same problem applies to my business! I am qualified to provide the same advice and services that you may seek direct with banks, online or through large corporates, but getting your business means everything to keeping my doors open. I truly believe that the personal approach I have always worked so hard on is invaluable, but now that lockdowns have lifted and life in WA is returning to a new normal, I am struggling to reach out to new clients.

When you are looking to get a mortgage, refinance, consolidate debts, you could go to your bank or to a large franchise broker, or online…..or you can support a small business, such as Hills Financial. The service is at no cost to you and I can guarantee your business will make a difference!

It’s not an exciting subject, insurance, but if you are realising you need more, better or possibly cheaper cover for life, total and permanent disability, income protection or trauma insurance, then I’m your person. I’m not one to boast but I am an expert in finding the best policies and premiums for my clients and I work really hard in getting my client’s applications through with the best outcomes possible. This service or a review of your current policies is also at no cost to you!

I understand that for many families the concept of seeking financial advice or having a financial plan prepared can seem daunting and cost is a worry. Wherever there is a fee involved for our financial advice this is always quoted upfront. In many cases financial advice fees can be partially or fully paid from your superannuation fund. If not, a benefit of working with a small business owner is flexibility – I am open to payment plans. There is a greater cost in not getting good financial advice if you need it.

The City of Kalamunda community have always been strong advocates of supporting local businesses and shopping locally. Our Chamber works hard to provide resources to help our local businesses thrive and network. Hills Financial wants to help contribute to making a difference and support the local Hills communities that we live in and love. To do this we want to pay it forward, so from now any new business that comes through our door we will thank that client with a $150 voucher to spend at a local business, like Lee-Anne’s

I am so lucky that my business can survive COVID19, but please reach out, support Hills Financial and give me the opportunity to share my good fortune to support other local hills businesses.

Rebecca Howarth

Hills Financial

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