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Rachael Bursell

Master of Financial Planning

I’ve never regretted a single day of study I do because I love my job. We empower our people on a regular basis, it’s an incredible industry and I’m so proud to be a part of it.

Most financial advisers will concede the most rewarding aspect of their role is witnessing the impact that they have on people’s lives. Changing the course of their client’s financial future for the better becomes a passion rather than a responsibility. However, progressing as a professional in a competitive field can be incredibly challenging and demanding.

Respected financial adviser and 2018 AFA Rising Star Nominee Rachael Bursell has over 20 years’ experience in the financial services industry. After completing her Diploma of Financial Planning, Rachael moved into an advice role and Kaplan Professional’s integrated pathway has enabled her to continue on to postgraduate education, where she completed a Master of Financial Planning. Rachael’s ambition to enter the field has been a testament to her driven nature and dedication to becoming an agent for positive change. “I decided to become a financial adviser when I became more aware of the financial imbalances that women can experience,” she said. “I realised the only way to create a change was to be in a position to action the change.”


Education is the gateway

Navigating through a career in financial planning is challenging yet rewarding. The upcoming year will introduce a new era of professional standards that’ll require advisers to take action. Those that make a strategic effort to further themselves through education and the other professional standards will reap the benefits of investing in their future.

Bursell insists keeping up with industry change is a necessary component of her position. Choosing an education provider that will keep up with industry change is critical.

“I just don’t understand how existing advisers could keep up with the change without Kaplan Professional,” she said. “The changes that have been introduced, they had to happen – we have to be seen as a profession and not an industry. We can all manage it, it’s really all about staying ahead because when you’re not on top of that change, that’s when you begin to face issues.”

“I chose to study with Kaplan Professional because of their reputation as leaders in financial planning education. I liked the flexibility to study online with multiple intakes each year, unlike traditional universities,” Rachael said.

Despite the demanding lifestyles and day-to-day schedules that advisers manage, gaining further qualifications while working full-time has become achievable through online study. “Kaplan Professional’s flexible study options allowed me to study at my own pace. The student support, online forums and tutor webinars have been invaluable,” she said.

“If I can do it while taking care of two kids, trying to build a business and working full-time, then anybody can,” Bursell said. “I’m not superwoman; I just have a really strong plan in place and that’s all that you need to have. Use the flexibility that Kaplan Professional provides. For example, take advantage of the two-week early release and you’ll be ahead of the flock really.”

In addition, Rachael believes that making the most of your educational journey boils down to your approach. “Enjoy the learning process! The invaluable information you learn will help you be the best financial adviser you can. Commit to the study and the results will follow,” she said.


An adviser with a difference

Focusing on a niche audience and client base can be the point of difference that makes you shine brighter than the rest. When it comes to establishing strong and trusted relationships with clients, Rachael says understanding your audience can act as fuel for client base growth. “It’s really about taking a different approach, because if every adviser in the industry is doing the same thing, you want to make a conscious effort to stand out,” she said.

Bursell’s approach has been focused around empowering women and improving gender equality. “I work with a lot of women that are going through a divorce or career change and require that support,” she said. “I have families that I advise too but my clients are mostly single, or are getting remarried, yet successful in their chosen fields. They appreciate the impact that having a trusted adviser on their side can have on their financial situation.”


Rachael’s hot tip for reaching your client base

Smart financial advising extends beyond how advisers build relationships in consultations and encompasses how they go about building a foundation of trust throughout the client experience. In a new age of technology, information and communication, Rachael uses social media to make relationships more personal and establish an online presence.

“Utilising social media has been huge for me,” she said. “Advisers have generally been slow on the uptake, but I find for women, they get to know me through my profiles. I put myself out there through my channels and that creates this basis where they feel as if they already know me. As this rapport has already been built, it makes the process so much easier when they come in for their first appointment.”

When it comes to communicating through social marketing, adjusting your tone and messaging can be powerful tactics. Bursell’s Facebook cover photo reads ‘did you know that on average women retire with 47% less superannuation than men?’, while her Instagram content incudes posts such as ‘are you honest with your money journey?’

According to Rachael, “most of our leads come through social media too, which makes a huge difference for me.”


Remember your purpose

As the old saying goes, when you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life. “I’d love to become a leader in the provision of female-centric financial advice, an advocate for financial equality, and empowerment for women. In my first year as an adviser, I was named a finalist in the AFA Rising Star of the Year award, which has helped reinforce the notion that I’m on the right track.”

Looking towards long term goals and planning for the future will encourage you to flourish. Every successful adviser started their career journey for a reason and that eagerness to excel is what establishes them as a leader in their field.

“I’ve never regretted a single day of study I do because I love my job. We empower our people on a regular basis, it’s an incredible industry and I’m so proud to be a part of it.”

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