On a mission to educate, support and guide Kiwis into better retirement schemes, Ailsa Taylor, is using her background in finance to creating the best possible outcomes for her clients. As a mum of 3 daughters herself, it became apparent when talking to other parents that there were gaps in their knowledge when it came to saving for retirement and the benefits of Kiwisaver. At Retirement Taylor Made, she offers honest, informed advice to help you plan for your financial future.
The passion: What inspired you to set up your business?
Coffee and my kids!
In my pre-kids’ career I was working alongside Advisers at Booster in their Research Team, which was a dream job as I had always had an affinity for finance.
It wasn’t until I started my family that my priorities shifted. With three children in total, after the arrival of the twins, my family and immediate community came first. For several of the early years, I gave time freely to our community groups, be it the multiples, Montessori or Playcentre, because they were my support system and lifeline during that time. More so lately my time, energy and efforts have been to the girls’ schools, sporting clubs and Scouts.
I returned to my pre-kids’ career but found I was totally out of alignment with life’s demands and I struggled to make the transition back to corporate. I simply wanted different things. It became increasingly more important to be on the sidelines of a school netball tournament than in a meeting!
I kept recalling the random conversations that I had over coffee within my community, which showed consistent gaps in parent’s knowledge on saving for retirement, particularly the special benefits offered by KiwiSaver. I became a vocal contributor in my community to the discussion on educating mums and dads because I believe they shouldn’t be penalised on maternity leave and risk having no money for retirement. All because the pre-baby conversations had been focused on funding that fabulous pushchair, not ensuring the parent taking paternity leave is educated on the benefits of topping up their KiwiSaver to make sure they receive the full Government Contribution that year! Or not understanding what contributing to your KiwiSaver might mean when trying to buy that all important first home for your family.
These days, the regulations mean that you can’t just dole out friendly reminders about Government Contributions and other financial advice type suggestions, so realising there was a significant gap in the market, I decided to fill it. Never underestimate a busy mumma, her coffee conversations and her passion for a fair education on financial futures!
I started my business there and then.
My parents ran their own business and flexed fully around us kids in amazing ways, which I can truly appreciate now, and I wanted to give our girls a similar experience.
Working for myself, I certainly clock more than the 20-25 hours that I used to work in my corporate career, but I can be more flexible working around our family timetable. Don’t expect a client meeting before 9.30am! School holidays become a chance to meet clients out of Wellington, but expect to see my three assistants enjoying a hot-chocolate and reading quietly at a table away from us. Or off having an adventure with Dad whilst we chat.
The desire within me to help educate and empower families to take ownership of their ‘retirement’ is of the utmost importance to me, and I intend to change the way Kiwis choose to retire. Most have KiwiSaver but they don’t understand how to get what they deserve or desire out of these savings. It is my goal to bridge the gap in understanding your Government Contributions and your scheme, and to help you have a retirement that is tailor-made for you and the future you deserve!
The launch: How did you start out in the beginning?
With a neatly stacked pile of coins, $5.25 to be precise, a kind and generous heart and the faith of an eleven year old, my business began.
I was at home having moved from the provider side of the business into the Advisor side and I was processing the change. Initially, it had been one that I relished, being my own boss and having the flexibility I craved. On many occasions, I had happily declined the job offers and I had a fire in my belly to make this work, but on that one day I was having a moment. The reality that I was now in business, alone, was sinking in.
It’s amazing what our children observe because right in the moment when I could have just frozen, I found a note, next to a pile of coins from my daughter Jennifer simply written, “Can I be your first client Mum?”
The faith she put in me that day and the smile that went with it, changed me and my business forever. With the entire contents of her moneybox emptied, she became my first client, and I vowed to make her and every other Kiwi proud and empowered upon retirement.
Retirement Taylor Made was born, and is a play on my maiden name and a name I’d had in mind for years when I was merely dreaming of the day it might become a reality. Thanks to Jennifer that day was claimed, and I set about my first task to secure the all-important 0800 number. Well I just about fell off my phone when I was told I could have 0800-RETIRE! It was exactly the sign I needed to keep going and build Retirement Taylor Made.