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Jason Harwood – Reflections on five years at Lifewealth

By August 13, 2019 No Comments

I was reminded earlier this week that August marks five years since I joined the Lifewealth team. Generally speaking, I tend to be someone focused on the future and on building upon what has gone before, but this reminder gave me pause to reflect on Lifewealth since late 2014.

It is an honour for me to come to this place every day and build on the ideals of Lifewealth and help us chase our vision to be better – better as an employer, better as a solution provider for our clients, and better as a business that takes seriously its responsibility to add value to our community and the broader world.

There have been many business achievements during this period that I will outline below, however, it is the personal milestones of people associated with Lifewealth that bring the most joy. Examples include our clients who have transitioned into retirement and are now enjoying the next stage of their life; or the young professional athletes whose financial strategies ensure that all their hard work will provide a comfortable lifestyle once they retire from their respective sport. It is the parents, now confident in the knowledge that their children’s education is fully funded, and it is those clients who explain that they can sleep at night and not worry about their money, secure in the knowledge that the Lifewealth team “has their back”.

The personal milestones amongst the Lifewealth team have been many in the last five years and include, by my estimation:

  • five new babies and two more on the way any day now, as well as our first grandchild
  • seven engagements and/or weddings
  • a couple of first homes

Professionally, we have watched the group achieve:

  • four new Certified Financial Planners
  • two new MBAs
  • five newly qualified financial advisers

Our people are crucial to a successful Lifewealth future. Apart from Directors Paul McKernan, James Vandeloo and Bianca Dowdell, the remaining 27 team members have joined us since 2015.

Every single person has added so much to us as a group and to what we stand for. We are a better business as we approach the end of the decade because of our people; we firmly believe that our succession planning strategy is well-positioned – the future leaders of Lifewealth are already here, living our values and demonstrating their leadership capabilities every day.

We know we still have more to learn as a group, but we embrace this and look to the future positively. This desire for constant improvement from the Lifewealth team continues to encourage me to grow professionally, and, in turn, has supported my own personal growth. My development and evolution as a leader must continue to ensure that we build an environment supporting the career goals of our people.

Business Growth
We have established two new offices; moving to our new and improved head office at 99 William Street in 2016, after the better part of twenty years in Bourke Street. We were also very excited to open our office in Geelong almost four years ago, with Terry Barber arriving as a director, followed by Mark Henry a couple of years later.

Through our focus to deliver tailored solutions that underpin the goals of our clients, we have grown our funds under management to half a billion dollars. We actively work to maintain personal relationships and a deep understanding of our client needs, whilst more than doubling the size of Lifewealth over the last five years.

Our accounting business has grown by over 65% during this period and in recent times, our business advisory capability has expanded significantly with Mark Abbott and Robert Nisi bringing their outstanding skills to Lifewealth. This has also enabled us to establish our Digital offering, building on the success of Rob and Mark’s own business over the last five years.

Lifewealth Digital allows us to provide a much wider set of solutions for our clients, from bespoke online systems to digital marketing, amongst other elements. It is our ability to offer all three advisory components – financial planning, accounting and digital – that enables us to solve problems for our wide range of existing clients, as well as support the establishment and growth of businesses for new clients in an ever expanding range of industries.

Our growth has been built on another fundamental Lifewealth belief – if we continue to be good people with an openness to working with other quality professionals to find great solutions for our respective customers, we will be successful. We are extremely pleased with the business partnerships we have today, confident that we are surrounded by excellent businesses, and business people, who share our values and goals.

Twenty years and beyond
In 2017, I was privileged to be involved in celebrating our twentieth anniversary. It was a joy for all our people to share the night, and the event, with so many of our clients with whom we share a history. Whilst I have never forgotten, it served to further confirm my responsibility, for the next two decades and beyond, to hold Lifewealth true to the values upon which it was founded by Paul McKernan and Phil Ellis.

To ensure we never forget those values, we confirmed our mission at the time of the twentieth anniversary – a statement that is not only on our wall at 99 William Street, but also ever-present in our collective thoughts each day.

Lifewealth exists to achieve peace of mind and happiness for its clients, people and communities by understanding what matters most to them.

It is through living our mission that we enable all involved with Lifewealth, client and team member alike, to establish strategies that allow them to build on the fruits of their labour.

I’m also proud to share Lifewealth’s vision; the aspiration on where we want to evolve to as a group to deliver for our clients, our people and our communities:

We have created positive change for our Clients’ experience through our willingness to innovate. When clients find us, they find solutions and they tell their family and friends. We are a loved employer across the country and people are lining up to join us. You’ve heard of us; We’re Lifewealth.

I look forward to the next five years and beyond at Lifewealth and the many milestones that we will help each other achieve.

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