Meet Kerri Mendl, Specialist Lifestyle and Care Financial Adviser
Kerri Mendl joined Alteris Financial Group in 2019 and is today a key member of the Lifestyle & Care team. Kerri’s goal is to help families with a loved one who is transitioning into aged care or making plans for future care options.
“Too many people don’t know that advice is available at any stage in the process. Sometimes I’m working with families with a loved one needing care right now, but just as often I’m working with families who are thinking and planning ahead,” she explains.
Growing up, Kerri spent afternoons after school in the aged care home where her mother worked as a registered nurse. She would do her homework surrounded by those in care, so working closely with aged care homes feels very comfortable and familiar. Kerri has had personal experience within her own family when her father-in-law transitioned into care. She remembers all too clearly how poor the advice was at the time about the options, and how few experts understood the financial implications of a confusing system.
She brings this background surrounded by empathy and understanding to her role when working with families. “I take a very personal approach with my clients,” she says. “It’s important to check in with what’s going on personally and emotionally, particularly the loved one needing care. There is a lot of information to process. Often families feel overwhelmed. So, I focus on the immediate problem and help prioritise actions – not everything needs to be dealt with all at once”.
Kerri has found the relationships with aged care homes and other providers to be a real benefit to many of her clients. “It’s amazing to have such a strong network as it means I can concentrate on what I do best and connect my clients with others in my network to ensure they receive the best care and advice,” she adds.
Kerri’s average week naturally includes conducting in-person or video meetings with clients, addressing administration tasks in the office and talking with aged care homes. Sometimes this may also involve running a webinar or information session. One day each week sees Kerri out and about, meeting with admissions officers in aged care homes and also having appointments with clients in their homes, if they are not mobile. The rest of the week is taken up with crunching numbers and working with our team to ensure all is going smoothly for those who are undergoing their initial assessment or have changes underway such as the sale of their home.
“It’s important to check in with what’s going on personally and emotionally. There is a lot of information to process and often families feel overwhelmed. So I focus on the immediate problem and help prioritise actions – not everything needs to be dealt with all at once”.
Given her personal experience with her father-in-law, Kerri has a unique insight into the challenges that most will encounter when faced with an unexpected life event. “The first challenge is that people often are taken by surprise and are not prepared. Then, when they look for help, they don’t know where to go or who to approach,” she explains. The aged care system can be complicated and, for newcomers, it can feel incredibly daunting to be stepping into that world for the first time.
“You can’t know what you don’t know,” she says. “So, a large part of my role is education. I unpack what all the terms mean and help my clients realise the impact for their personal situation and then understand their options”.
After finishing school, Kerri embarked on a Bachelor of Business degree intending to become an accountant but quickly realised this was not an area that would be fulfilling. She knew she was good with numbers but she also loved personal interaction. At that stage, in the 1990s, financial planning wasn’t a separate career path so she initially worked in human resources. Once “financial planner” became a profession in its own right, she realised it was the perfect marriage of the two areas where she was most qualified and naturally talented – helping people and creating financial strategies.
“I love financial planning as it’s very much looking to the future and planning ahead, rather than accounting which is more about looking backwards,” she explains.
Kerri’s path to financial planning took her through a Diploma of Financial Planning and then she became a Certified Financial Planner. And because her initial degree was not recent, she has undertaken a number of bridging courses and additional study to remain at the top of her field.
Ongoing personal and professional development is a big focus for Kerri and she bravely undertook a public speaking course last year to tackle her dislike of public speaking and, this year, is pursuing a personal styling course. In the past she has enjoyed swimming with sharks, abseiling and sky diving to name just a few!
Kerri is active in her local community and no more so than during Covid when she and her husband would take long walks in their neighbourhood. She also organises fundraisers and undertakes regular volunteering work in the community.
Kerri is based at Alteris Brisbane office and she says she is blessed to have so much interaction with Kate Golder, who Kerri says is an absolute inspiration. In terms of the Alteris Women program, Kerri sees this playing out in real time both in the Brisbane office and throughout the business at all levels. “We are surrounded by women in the leadership team and it’s the women who build the culture of Alteris,” she says. “Everyone benefits from the culture and the approach the business takes to its employees. This breaks ground for everyone”.
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