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Stuart Westhoff from WFS comments

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

If you think “those” types of things only happen to other people, be warned.

In late 2007 the All Ordinaries index was over 6,500 points, my youngest daughter was only a few weeks and life could not have been better.

Two things were about to happen that had a devastating effect on my financial and personal life.

The first event some of you may have already guessed. The Global Financial Crisis hit. By mid-2008 the All Ordinaries had dropped 25% to about 5,000 points. There was more pain to come for the stockmarket but at that time the second event hit me. My wife was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Now in 2016 the stockmarket is hovering around 5,000 points again. It has recovered from its GFC low of around 3,300. My wife and I have not recovered. We are not together and I am still trying to re-build financially.

Financial stress places enormous strain on any relationship, be it personal or business.

Losses such as those experienced during the GFC are magnified by gearing, which is using borrowed funds. Financial losses from a traumatic illness add another layer of pain and when it happens during the GFC well…. as one client put it to me, “You’ve just gone through the perfect storm.”

These circumstances are not planned but do happen and it’s important to discuss the “what if’s” when putting any financial plans together. The things that can go wrong are not comfortable to talk about and that’s why it’s often easier to outsource these things to professionals who can talk through and plan for contingencies.

Please do not hesitate to review all your plans and contact us if you would like help.             

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