Nicola Schneider, Financial Adviser, Robina Financial Solutions and 2019 AFA Female Excellence in Advice Award Finalist reveals why the whole process of becoming a finalist is her great ‘high-five’ moment, why she is most proud of her distinguished academic achievements and why nothing beats fun in the sun in the Greek Isles!
1. Why financial advice?
Confronted with the impacts of family changes in my teens, the importance of financial security has been built into my psyche. The impact advice has to positively effect not just people’s financial situation, but also their personal lives and levels of stress, was a driver for me to become an adviser.
2. What are you most proud of?
My academic achievements. I say that because I was never a high achiever at school and dropped out early, I had no inclination of ever going to university. However, now not only have I completed a Bachelor of Commerce, but earlier this year I was awarded my Masters of Financial Planning with Distinction, after receiving the Griffith University Award for Academic Excellence in both 2017 and 2018 (placing me in the top 5% of all Griffith students) and was invited to join the Golden Key International Honours Society (the top 15% of students globally).
It took an incredible amount of hard work and sacrifice, but I still have to pinch myself that I was capable of achieving those results.
3. Who inspires you?
This sounds cliché but it’s actually my mum. She has been self-employed for over 30 years and is the most resilient, hard-working, determined person I have ever known. She never dwells on setbacks and not surprisingly has accomplished everything she ever dreamed of, while also sharing her success to make the lives of others better.
4. What advice would you give to your younger self?
Expand yourself, never ever stop asking questions about how the world works. Learn something totally unrelated to your passion. Visit a place you wouldn’t normally go. A flexible mind and attitude will take you far and allow you to handle the uncertainties in life.
Whatever you do, believe in yourself. You have untapped potential, and you can accomplish anything you set your mind to. No one has the right to tell you can’t do something great in your life.
5. Your most recent ‘high-five’ moment?
Making it through the process of being selected as a finalist in the AFA Excellence in Education award last month. Throughout the process of being nominated and selected, I was pushed so far out of my comfort zone, but the entire experience demonstrated to me how powerful it can be to stop and recognise the great work going on all around.
6. Favourite holiday destination?
I have two and they are very opposite! The Greek Islands, particularly Santorini for fun in the sun, and Queenstown in New Zealand holds a special place in my heart, especially snowboarding in winter but it is a gorgeous place to visit any time of the year.
7. Where will you be in ten years?
The financial sector is rapidly changing in many ways, and with change comes opportunity. I have only been in the advice industry for just over 8 years, so you could say I am early into my career. In 10 years I would like to still be doing what I am doing, continuing to make a meaningful and positive difference in my clients lives, and hopefully within a successful business of my own.