Giving makes for good business for this alumna

Thursday, 27 August 2020

Adele Martin, Bachelor of Commerce 2002, is an award-winning financial adviser giving back to her community through the University of Newcastle’s Student Hardship Fund. By donating a percentage of her business’ profit to supporting the purchase of laptops for students in need, she is practising what she preaches and combining business with philanthropy.

Through her financial advice business, Adele helps people in their 20s and 30s take control of their finances and plan for their future. “I started in financial planning by accident. I was at university, doing a Bachelor of Commerce, and I remember after the first tutorial, I put my hand up and said, ‘Is the rest of accounting like this?’ I was told it was and I decided then and there I did not want to be an accountant.”

Despite her initial misgivings, Adele became an assistant for a financial advisor when she was 19.  “When my boss was talking to clients, I realised that financial planning had much more of a ‘people’ focus. And that’s how I fell into it - by accident. When I started, like most people in the industry, I was working with people who were retiring. While I loved working with my retirees, I found they were all saying, ‘I wish we saw you years ago, why didn’t we see you years ago?’

“I knew that if I wanted to really make a difference and help people, I needed to work with them much younger. So, six years ago, I started from scratch and began working with people well before retirement, because I wanted to help them master their money, and help them do more of what they love now. My clients don’t have to wait until retirement to start living.”

After building up her business, Adele is ready to give back through philanthropy. “I started to think about what is really important to me. I’m a massive fan of education. When I talk to people, yes, I talk about owning shares and property and all of those options but investing in yourself and your mind is also important.”

“I was very lucky when I started university, I was able to get a little scholarship from the Country Woman’s Association. I think it was about $500, and at the time I lived in a rural location, so I had to move away from home. For me that $500 just took a little bit of pressure off, and now I’m in a position to do something similar to help other people. And now they don’t have textbooks! [laughs] Everything’s online. I really like the idea of the Laptop Fund because I like to be able to say, ‘I have helped a student to buy a laptop this year, and really helped make starting university easy for them’.

“I grew up in a small town, and the University still has that small town feel while having exceptional facilities. I’ve made some lifelong friendships there. I’ve played soccer for the University. Coming from a small town to an experience like that and being able to make some life-long friendships from uni was amazing.”

“I do think philanthropy is a good business model for a variety of reasons. Most people think they should wait until they’re wealthy and have money until they give to charity. So, if you’ve ever thought ‘I’ll wait until I have money to start giving back’, I would encourage you to start now. How you manage $100,000 is the same as how you would manage a million dollars. The same principles and philosophies should apply.”

“And so, I give back for two reasons: it feels great to be able to contribute and support others, but I also think the next generation coming through – they actually want to do something, they want to make a difference. If you’re a business that’s listening, if you’re wanting to work with millennials or Gen Z, they want to work for a workplace that stands for something. That’s more important, often, than money – they want to be a part of something bigger, they want to make a difference. That helps you attract better quality team members.”

When you donate to the Student Hardship Fund, you are helping a student access equipment that is essential for their University degree. To donate any amount, please read more about making a gift here.

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