Real Hillross Client Series – Meet Jacci Pirouet

May 3, 2018

We’re very pleased and humbled to introduce you to one of our valued Hillross Horsham clients, Jacci Pirouet.

What was your financial situation like prior to contacting Hillross Horsham?

Jacci and her husband

I’ve previously worked in a financial institution and had also commenced my Diploma of Financial Planning studies, and worked as a financial planning assistant.  Naturally as part of my role in the banking industry and financial planning fields, I had a duty of care to ensure our customers were as financially viable and sound as possible, and covered by insurances for a range of things including houses, cars, loans and their income. So the topic of insurance was very front of mind.  Being conscious of the importance of insurances, I had actually seen a financial adviser in the bank in my younger days and did in fact have some insurances in place.  I absolutely hate debt, and even though we don’t live in a perfect world and cannot live totally debt free, I felt I was in a good place with all my ducks in a row and my debt being managed well on the income I was currently bringing in.

Why did you decide to speak to a financial adviser?

I was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer in July 2017, totally out of the blue and a total shock to myself and family.  Silly as it sounds when you are diagnosed with a serious illness, but my ONLY initial thought was work, and how I was going to continue to pay the bills, keep the mortgage going and put food on the table, as well as fitting in this new health challenge in my life around my nursing shifts. To be honest my head was spinning for a few weeks, maybe a month, before the dust settled and I realised I was going to need to stop working and focus on me and my health and all that this entailed.  It was at this point that I contacted Alisha Cameron at Hillross Horsham, most likely in a state of panic, to discuss applying for access to my income protection insurance.

It’s been some time since you put the Hillross advice in place – how has it assisted you between then and now?

Alisha was, and has continued to be absolutely amazing and thorough in all the investigations into finding the options available to me.  While I mentioned that I had insurances in place from some time earlier, I did only think I had life insurance, and income protection.  One of those set and forget things I guess, where I knew I was paying for something each month but was vague on exactly what it was.  As is generally the case, income protection insurance has a three month waiting period and a mountain of paperwork to plough through to even qualify, however Alisha was there every step of the way helping me with all this, as by this stage I had been through three surgeries in 7 weeks and by giving Alisha authorisation, she was able to get a lot of the information, and paperwork collected and sorted on my behalf.

Fortunately I had in place (that I had forgotten about) critical illness insurance (also known as trauma cover) and this involved a lump sum payout which was approved and paid out to me within a few weeks.  This was a godsend as this took some financial pressure of us while I waited for the income protection insurance.  We were able to pay out some loans and the credit cards which had accumulated over the months with medical and surgical fees, and have used the remainder to help prop us up while I am now off work with no holiday or sick leave left.

What advice and support has your Hillross Horsham adviser provided along the way?

Alisha has been amazingly supportive and understanding of my situation, and taken a lot of pressure off me, right where I don’t need it, by being able to deal with lots of the incessant questions, emails and paperwork that the insurance companies require on a monthly basis.

She has advised me to “let go, and let her deal with it”.  After all, she’s the professional who deals with this on a regular basis, and it can be very overwhelming to someone, especially when they are so already overwhelmed by a medical condition. She has copies of everything on file so she can easily answer and respond on my behalf.  Once the fog lifted, and I finally got an income stream happening, she then investigated a little further and found that I had an additional super fund, which has income protection in it, so she has helped me tap into that as well, giving me a little bit more income each month as well.

Alisha has also been able to structure my portfolio so that some of the insurance premiums are funded through my super fund, which has alleviated the need for cashflow to fund these insurances.  It has been an amazing experience working with Alisha as every step of the way she has offered new ways to improve my situation, which I was not aware of previously.

Where would you have been without the advice from your Hillross Horsham adviser?

Even though we were able to reduce our debt level with the critical illness insurance, running a household is still expensive.  The bills keep coming, the hungry kids still need feeding, fuel is still required in the car to run me to Ballarat for all my treatment.  Yes, we’ve had to tighten our belts a little, but without the advice and support received from my financial adviser, I would not be surviving this journey as I am now.

I think it has been a massive realisation that we are not all invincible and this is exactly why insurances of any type are so important.  As mentioned earlier, mine had been put in place years ago, and even though I have a regular review with Hillross to ensure things are still on track to meet my life goals, I guess I never thought I would be in a situation to call on it at all. Forever grateful!

And, of course, what’s your idea of financial freedom?

My idea of financial freedom is to be debt free, and to be able to have the ample savings behind us to enjoy a very comfortable retirement and continue to enjoy the good things in life when we do retire.  And after the experience my family have just been through, it’s so important to not let my insurances lapse and to have regular contact and advice from my financial planner.

Jacci and her kids