By Robert Northcoat

Whether we like it or not, our childhood shapes us. The circumstances we lived through and the lessons we learned come together to make us who we are as adults. Looking back, it’s easy to see how experiences in my early years led me to become a financial adviser and spend my days helping others plan and maximise their finances.  

I was born in Auckland, New Zealand, the first child of a Scotsman and a Brit. My parents were young and seeking adventure, which is how we ended up in New Zealand. Unfortunately, the adventure took a turn when my father passed away when I was just 14 months old. Thankfully, we had a strong community, and I was raised, schooled, and kept in line by my mother, uncles, aunts, and cousins.

We didn’t have much in terms of money, but what we did have always seemed to be enough. My mother’s budgeting skills carried us through, and I started working after school and during school holidays as soon as I could. Now, as a financial adviser in Western Australia, I owe my success to this early appreciation of work, reward, and the value of money.

First Career Steps

Inspired by our family’s financial situation to increase my knowledge and help others manage their money, I started working for MLC, an institutional financial company offering investment and financial advice to various groups of clients. I quickly advanced through their financial planning department and eventually earned my Diploma in Financial Planning from Deakin University as well as my Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) designation.

About ten years into my career, self-managed super funds (SMSF) burst onto the scene. These were great; they were attractive in that they gave control back to the investors. I enrolled in any and every course I could find. I obtained the Specialist SMSF Adviser (SSA™) designation and, more recently, I earned a Graduate Certificate in SMSF from The University of Adelaide.

My Career Today

In between earning these credentials and expanding my knowledge and experience base, I said farewell to MLC and the institutional model of delivering financial advice. I saw that our clients wanted a more personal touch from their adviser, and I wanted to use my skills to fill that need.

In 2008, I branched out on my own to establish Echelon Wealth Management with the goal to provide “financial strategies that work”. From day one, Echelon has been a privately owned financial services firm dedicated to focusing on our clients and their needs. We are not held to quotas or limited to processes or compromised by the services we can offer, but instead, we provide personal advice and recommendations that genuinely benefit our clients. Our niche and expertise are in self-managed super funds; out of that, we offer a comprehensive suite of services to take care of all the details, including strategy, planning, compliance, and administration.

On a separate note, I have also been an active Justice of the Peace since 2010. When I get the chance, I sit in the Magistrates’ Court and assist with the witnessing and swearing in of legal documents, which is more fulfilling than you might think!

Hurdles And Triumphs

As with any job, there are challenges each day. In my case, I am a business owner as well as a financial adviser. To make sure we continue to offer unparalleled service, we make sure that we  have the right team members onboard, and use technology and efficient workflows. Bringing this all together can be challenging at times, but the reward is there, in the end, when we successfully design, build and implement strategies that better our clients’ financial positions.

As cliché as it might sound, “I work hard every day because of my clients. Their wealth and a healthy financial future are my focus”.

Ready For More?

If you’re ready to live life with more freedom, smart financial planning can help. To learn more about what we do and how we can make a difference for you, reach out to us today at 08 9022 7722, email, or book an appointment using our online calendar!

About Robert

Robert Northcoat is the founder of Echelon Wealth Management with over 30 years of industry experience. He specialises in providing advice on self-managed super funds and helping clients build sustainable income streams in retirement. Robert holds a Diploma in Financial Planning from Deakin University, a Graduate Certificate in SMSF from The University of Adelaide, as well as both the Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) and Specialist SMSF Adviser (SSA™) designations. Outside of the office, Robert loves a good rugby game, a good beer or wine and great company. Robert and his wife, Maree, spend their free time traveling to interesting places, sailing, scuba diving, and cycling. Together they have biked the Melbourne-to-Sydney and Adelaide-to-Melbourne routes as well as participated in many mountain biking challenges and events. Recently they sailed their yacht, Scarlet Ribbon, in the Fremantle-to-Bali yacht race and continued to sail a passage through Indonesia and Malaysia to Thailand. To learn more about Robert, connect with him on LinkedIn.