It’s Father’s Day! Today, we celebrate the wonderful fathers, father figures and mentors in our lives.
One of our many amazing fathers at Trilogy is Chief Operating Officer, Justin Smart. Justin’s role extends past an executive team member. He is a mentor, a friend, and one of our biggest supporters. Justin strives to create a culture where employees at Trilogy feel valued and thrive.
Justin is also a proud father of Emily and Cole. As a dad, and as an integral member of the leadership team, today, we celebrate Justin.
We sat down with Justin to discuss work, life, and being a dad. Here’s what he said…
Happy Father’s Day!
Justin: Thank you!
1. Tell us a little about yourself and your role at Trilogy.
Justin: I’ve been the Chief Operating Officer at Trilogy Funds for over 13 years now. I’m responsible for Trilogy’s day-to-day operations and my focus is centred around process improvement and automation to provide a high-quality service and experience to stakeholders. I’ve worked in the finance industry for 28 years, predominantly in financial services, insurance, technology, information and auditing.
On a personal level, I’ve been living in Brisbane for 13 years with my lovely wife, Darlene, and two kids, Emily and Cole.
2. How do you balance your career at Trilogy and family commitments?
Justin: I must admit, it’s difficult trying to juggle the demands of work and family, but it is so important. One habit I’ve tried to maintain is mentally switching off when I leave the office. My weekends are reserved for my family so I can be present and enjoy time with my wife and kids. That’s something I’ve done for years. Since COVID-19, Trilogy has also made changes to working hours which has allowed me to spend even more quality time with my family.
3. What is your biggest achievement to date – personal or professional?
Justin: It’s funny, but I’d say learning to kite surf. I live in Sandgate, which is a suburb north of Brisbane along Moreton Bay. It also happens to be one of the top 10 places to learn to kite surf. We’d always go for walks as a family along the waterfront and I’d be fascinated watching all the kites skipping across the water. One day my wife booked me a lesson and from that day on I was hooked. It’s something special I do with my son, and we really enjoy getting out on the water.
4. What is your favourite part about working at Trilogy?
Justin: The people. I’ve worked at several companies around Australia and overseas, but what I found at Trilogy was unique. Trilogy isn’t your typical top-down, hierarchical company. We have a collaborative, positive and supportive culture. At Trilogy, I’m able to be myself. Younger employees can also have a direct relationship with, and learn from, the Directors and Executives. I really like that. It’s certainly a great place to work.
5. How has being a dad helped you in your role at Trilogy?
Justin: I try to set a good example, work hard and be honest with my work colleagues.
6. Dads are mentors, role models and guides for their children. In an investment sense, do you have someone you can turn to for advice?
Justin: Honestly, it’s our Managing Director and Trilogy’s co-founder, Philip Ryan. I’m very lucky to work with someone who has such a wealth of experience and knowledge; and who is so willing to educate about investing. Investing can be a stressful and complicated process, but it makes it much easier having someone you can speak with who has firsthand experience in the field. There’s not a day that goes by where I don’t ask Phil for advice – about work or on a personal level. I encourage everyone at Trilogy to spend time with him.
7. Now that you have your own children, how important do you think financial education is?
Justin: It’s so important – proper financial education will change your life. It’s a shame this isn’t taught in school. My wife and I are both accountants and we decided to educate our kids about investing as young adults. Under my guidance, my daughter began investing at the age of 15. By the time she was 17, she had saved enough to buy her first car. Likewise, my son invested in shares and doubled his investment over three years.
8. What lessons do you hope to pass on to your children regarding the importance of investing?
Justin: The power of compound interest, leverage and ‘good’ debt – that is, using debt to generate long-term wealth creation. Learn more about the difference between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ debt on the Trilogy blog.
9. Are there any overlapping qualities that you need to be both a great dad and a sound investor?
Justin: My advice would be to understand what you’re investing in and don’t make decisions based on emotion. If you look at what happened with COVID-19, many investors panicked and made decisions which affected the value of their income as well as the value of their investment. Our best decisions are often those made with a clear, rational and informed approach. Leave emotions out of investing.
Thanks for your time Justin and enjoy Father’s Day!
This article has been prepared by Trilogy Funds Management Limited (Trilogy) ABN 59 080 383 679 AFSL 261425. This advice is general advice only and does not consider your objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider whether the advice is suitable for you and your personal circumstances and we recommend that you seek personal financial product advice on your objectives, financial situation or needs and obtain and read the relevant product disclosure statement before making any investment decision.