Happiest clients: Finding the root of the problem

Principal and Weatlh Managers at Yellow Brick Road Sutherland, Todd Francis and Stephen Goodwin, tell a story of how they helped their client (a young family with three kids) identify their debt problems and work them through a solution that ultimately saved the family $20,800 per year. 

First meeting
Francis and Goodwin first met the distressed family a few years ago. Both parents were holding down full time jobs, bringing in a combined income of around $170K. The pair were worried as their bank had declined them a personal loan to consolidate some personal debts and credit cards and they were seeking an alternative solution.

"Having seen many others in this type of situation over the years, we understood there was more behind the story we were initially being told," said Francis and Goodwin. "With some hand-holding and guidance, we were finally able to uncover the whole picture and the level of desperation the family were facing."

Digging deeper
"The client had 13 credit cards with a combined unsecured debt of almost $70,000, and rates from 13.5% to 29.99%," they said. "The short-term nature of these debts and repayments combined with their home loan of $420K was crippling their monthly cashflow."

The family had an average interest rate in excess of 10% across all their debts. "On top of this, many cards had become delinquent, with the credit limits cancelled and moving to payment plans."

Francis and Goodwin discovered that the client also had:

  • A default recorded on their credit file over an outstanding mobile bill
  • Outstanding rates bill of $3,500
  • Outstanding school fees of $5,000
  • No income or disability insurances leading to concern about what would happen to their kids

"Having spent time with the clients to uncover all this, the initial embarrassment they had felt about their situation started to lift," they said. "When we advised that we could devise a workable solution for them, the relief they both felt was palpable."

Problem solved 
Francis and Goodwin outlined the following two-step solution that would help lift the family out of their current predicament: 

Step 1 – For the first year, refinance & consolidate debts via a specialist lender 

  • Clients’ total debts were consolidated into a home loan with one repayment
  • All credit cards except 1 were destroyed and facilities cancelled
  • Interest saving to client was almost $12,000
  • Reduction in repayments was $17,300

Step 2 – After 12 months client credit history was clear – refinanced to normal lender

  • Further interest savings to client $6,250 pa
  • Further reduction in minimum $5,850
  • This saving allowed our clients to implement full insurance coverage for their income and debts. Just as importantly, it lifted a huge weight off their minds as they had personally experienced the premature death of three close friends.
  • Further savings were achieved via consolidation of multiple super accounts to one with reduced fees and multi-policy discounts on insurances.


Interest $18,250 pa
Super Savings $1,200 pa
Insurance Savings $ 1,350 pa

Total: $20,800

Stephen Goodwin and Todd Francis are both principals and wealth managers at Yellow Brick Road Sutherland.

In MPA’s happiest client short story series we show-case stand out ‘client success stories’ from brokers and discover what they learnt along the way. Leaving aside the details of the deal, we explore the human side of the story and how brokers really make an impact in people’s lives. If you have a client story you would like to share please email the editor.

Related stories:
Happiest clients: A tentative FHB transformed
Happiest clients: Sprung from the debt trap
Happiest clients: Turning a life around entirely

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