Meet Danni Dixon, Financial Adviser, Lifestyle and Care
Tell us about yourself
I’m based in Sydney and joined the team in 2009. I was a founding member of our Lifestyle and Care team. I have a background in financial services and regularly saw that until we worked through the emotional and lifestyle aspects of aged care decisions, it was hard for families to effectively make financial decisions.
I love that we now have a dedicated team for Lifestyle and Care. The aged care system is complicated and regulations are constantly changing. Centrelink and care provider forms and processes can be confusing. By specialising, we are able to offer the most up to date information and assist our clients with the practical aspects of choosing how and when to transition themselves or their loved one into a care facility. We can work closely with a client’s financial adviser and accountant to make sure that strategies are aligned.
I’m really passionate about this industry and our role in helping families. We know from our own experiences and the recent Royal Commission into Aged Care that most Australians find our system very hard to navigate and quite overwhelming. That’s where we can help. People want to know their options and there is never one right answer that applies to everyone.
I love being able to connect with amazing women from all different backgrounds. Whether they are other Alteris coworkers or women who choose us as their advisers, hearing their stories inspires me and reminds me why I am here in the first place – to build great relationships, support others and lean on them for support when I need it.
Decisions like whether to sell the family home, the type of facilities they will need now and in the future and what impact a move will have on Centrelink or DVA pensions are some of the most common questions we get and there is no single answer. I see our role as investigating and presenting the options and helping our clients understand the pros and cons of each so they can make their aged care decisions with absolute confidence.
You were a Next Gen Ambassador with LASA weren’t you?
Yes, I was really excited to be asked by our peak body, Leading Age Services Australia, to be one of their NSW/ACT ambassadors.
The demands on aged care services are growing faster than ever before and there are big shifts in the expectations of new retirees particularly around how and where they live and what they spend their money on. As part of their member feedback, LASA realised that more needed to be done to get younger people into the industry and support their education and growth. Through the Next Gen program I was able to connect with other young members and those interested in joining the industry. We were also involved with Innovation Think Tanks and shared our own experiences. As they say, if you can’t see it, you can’t be it.
I am lucky to have some great mentors in my career and feel fortunate to have the opportunity to give back.
Can you give us some examples of the types of things you help clients with?
Sure. One of the most common questions I get is around the RAD and the DAP. There are so many acronyms in our industry! RAD is the Refundable Accommodation Deposit and the DAP is the Daily Accommodation Payment. If you move into a care facility, these are two of the fees that you’ll pay. The amount of each can vary enormously between facilities so it’s important to understand what you will pay and what you will get at a particular location.
There are many factors that will impact the fee. There are the ones you’d expect like the location, the number and quality of services provided and the level of care you need. Others seem more confusing, particularly if you’ve only ever owned or rented in the mainstream property market. You can have two people move into the same type of room at the same facility and their fees can be very different depending on things like whether they still own their own home, if they have partners or other financial dependants, whether they are receiving other Government benefits and their overall assets and income.
And if that isn’t confusing enough, you then need to look at the broader impact, for example if there is a need to move to a higher level of care, if there is a spouse who is still living at home, how decisions will affect estate planning and so on.
Our clients tell us that the best way we can support them is to provide information, guidance and support so that is what we focus on. Help understanding the options, help filling out all those forms and help to share their options and decisions with family members and other professional advisers. We believe in education and relationships.
So do you just work with clients at the beginning of their aged care journey?
No we are there for our clients the whole way through. We helped x when her husband needed to move into a care facility due to illness while she remained at home. Over the years he required higher levels of care which meant that decisions around his needs were reviewed and the cost of care changed. When Y passed away we were able to support x with practical help like what she needed to do with the care facility arrangements, organisations that might be able to offer emotional or counselling assistance and which Government departments she may need to inform about y’s passing.
Finally, what’s your favourite thing about being an Alteris Woman?
Definitely being able to connect with amazing women from all different backgrounds. Whether they are other Alteris coworkers or women who choose us as their advisers, hearing their stories inspires me and reminds me why I am here in the first place – to build great relationships, support others and lean on them for support when I need it.
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