Growing up, Patricia Garcia admits she was astute when it came to finances – preferring to save the pocket money her parents gave her rather than spend it.
While these good money habits followed her into adulthood, she had initially thought a career in science was the right career path for her. She graduated from the University of Queensland with honors in biotechnology under her belt, but admits she wasn’t sure she had made the right decision.
In a radical move that changed the course of her life, Patricia owned up to the fact that the prospect of spending the rest of her life in a laboratory didn’t appeal to her. This led her to take a leap of faith and change careers one year after graduating.
She started out in a client services role with WB Financial in 2010 and knew straight away it was a career better suited to her. She hoped that one day she would be able to have her own financial advice firm and has worked hard to achieve this goal.
At the time she joined, the aftershocks of the GFC were still being felt by Australians, which taught her how to have tough conversations with clients about their financial decisions. She has since completed the Diploma of Financial Planning, the Advanced Diploma of Financial Planning and the Certified Financial Planner designation.
Patricia went on to buy the business she joined back in 2010, which is now known as Your Vision Financial Services, from the retiring founder six years ago. “We were already pretty ahead of our time, charging fees from direct debits back then, well before most advisers did, and I could see the potential to take the business into a new era,” Garcia tells me. Professional Planner.
Most of her meetings are with clients seeking help to navigate a financially complex part of their life, such as investing or planning for retirement, which is hugely rewarding.
“Our main focus has always been to look after a client’s entire financial affairs, using budgeting software to help track their incomings and outgoings and providing advice in all areas that are relevant, such as investment, debt management, superannuation, retirement and personal insurances, Garcia says.
“We also coordinate with other professionals such as solicitors and accountants to ensure that their estate planning and tax affairs are being taken care of.”
She’s enjoyed watching on as the advice industry has gained greater recognition post-Hayne Royal Commission.
“We’re now in a position where we’re starting to be recognized as professionals more in the realm of accountants and solicitors,” Garcia says.
“We’re in a much better position now in terms of the respect in the profession, and I’m very excited about some of the changes that have been made to ensure quality of advice.”
Garcia is active in the broader financial planning community and has been on the board of the Association of Financial Advisers for four years.
Patricia also provides pro bono advice to the Cancer Council and the Pro Bono Financial Advice Network.
Her advice to others contemplating joining the financial planning profession or business ownership is simple. “Lean in,” she says.
“With everything we’ve gone through as an industry, we’re attracting far less graduates, while legislative changes have made it harder for people to become advisers. But those who lean in and make the most of the opportunities in financial advice will be richly rewarded.”