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© Copyright In Your Interest Financial Planning Pty Ltd 2016 unless stated otherwise. Photos by Dean Whitling of www.allislight.com.au.

The information on this website is general in nature and readers should seek professional advice specific to their circumstances. 


In Your Interest Financial Planning Pty Ltd, ABN 28 094 300 464  is Authorised Representative. No 308161, Credit Representative. No 402819 of FYG Planners Pty Ltd AFSL/ACL No 224543. Whilst based in the Goonellabah, Lismore, Ballina, Byron Bay region of Northern NSW, In Your Interest Financial Planning has clients Australia wide.

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Featured Press

Below are a series of published articles written by or featuring Christoph Schnelle and Nicola Lessing with some articles reaching back to 1998.

Style Magazine 

Christoph Schnelle's article in the Apr / May 2016 

When you think about money and your partner together, does your heart sink or do you feel reassured?
 
Scientific research shows that disagreements over finances are almost always cited as one of the top two reasons for divorce.
 
Money can be a source of great pain or great support in a relationship.
 
If we trust our partner with our money, it provides for a strong foundation and can support us with working through other issues.

Northern Star

Hamish Broome's interview with Christoph Schnelle on 9th March 2016
 
Following shocking evidence of dodgy conduct at one of the country's biggest life insurers, CommInsure, a Northern Rivers insurance broker has provided some valuable advice on how to navigate the pitfall-prone life insurance industry.

Goonellabah life insurance broker and financial planner Christoph Schnelle said the $14 billion industry was incredibly complex and always changing - potentially leaving unwitting consumers with false expectations.

Even more complex and more important than death cover is total injury and permanent disability (TPD) insurance, which is usually triggered two to three times more often.

=>Read article online at The Northern Star

Christoph Schnelle Northern Star
Style Magazine 

Christoph Schnelle's article in the Feb / Mar 2016


​Should I buy a property or should I rent?​
 
For many of us, this is a silly question. OF COURSE you should … and then some of us will say with conviction BUY and some of us will say RENT!

Why is this not a silly answer?

Because both answers are true. For some people buying is a much better choice, for others renting is clearly the best choice.


 

Christoph Schnelle Style Article
Style Magazine 

Christoph Schnelle's article in the Apr / May 2016 

When you think about money and your partner together, does your heart sink or do you feel reassured?
 
Scientific research shows that disagreements over finances are almost always cited as one of the top two reasons for divorce.
 
Money can be a source of great pain or great support in a relationship.
 
If we trust our partner with our money, it provides for a strong foundation and can support us with working through other issues.

Christoph Schnelle Style Article
Style Magazine 

Christoph Schnelle's article in the Oct / Nov 2015

In a famous Sex in the City episode Sarah Jessica Parker’s character Carrie has the opportunity to buy her apartment. She needs a $40,000 deposit - which she doesn’t have. Her friend Miranda calculates that she has spent $40,000 on Manolo Blahnik shoes in the past. 

This might seem outrageous behaviour, or it might seem like a way to live and enjoy life. When we first earn money, there is nothing wrong with enjoying it and doing things like buying expensive, good-looking shoes. 

At some stage though, we will realise that this type of behaviour can limit what we are able to do with opportunities that come along, just like in Carrie’s situation. Or we may want to start saving for a big expense like a holiday, a car or a home deposit. 

But how do we do that?

Christoph Schnelle Financial Adviser Lismore
Northern Star

Commenting on Treasurer Joe Hockey's idea to allow people to dip into their super for a first home - both published 17/03/2015

The article on the left is written by Helen Hawkes and extensively quotes Christoph.

The article on the right is written by Christoph, generally in favour of the idea but the details would be absolutely crucial so it didn’t become a rort or trap.

Why are women better investors than men?

My wife (Nicola Lessing) and I built a business in the 90s and in 1998 received a spectacular multi-million dollar one-off offer for that business. Nicola wanted to take the offer but I prevailed – we had some technology that had the chance of making us even richer.

Once the offer was gone I realised we could have sold the business and developed the technology ourselves and we would have had the best of both worlds, something Nicola knew intuitively.

Our business developed and received millions in Venture Capital loans and R&D grants, but taking that earlier offer would, with hindsight have been a much better choice.

Why does this show that women are better investors than men? 

I learnt that whilst I was brilliant with numbers and generally considered something of a mathematical genius, Nicola at that time, had a much better feeling for and understanding of the value of money.

There are numerous studies showing that women as a group have higher long term investment returns than men and the underlying reason is always the same: women invest more cautiously and with more care. Men trade more and take bigger risks. Sometimes the latter pays off spectacularly but often slow and steady wins the race.

Another interesting observation is that whilst in many cases women are better investors, very often they lack confidence and do not appreciate their own abilities. Once they gain perspective and confidence they become even better investors and enjoy it more.

Of course many men understand the value of money and roles can be reversed. Where couples are involved it is often very beneficial for both parties to respect the wisdom the other one contributes. Together many couples do even better than either would alone.

In summary, understanding the value of money is an important key to investing.

Northern Rivers Echo

We were featured in the local paper a few months after moving to Goonellabah.

The full text of the article is below:

Financial health is peace of mind

IMAGINE how well you’d sleep if your money worries were to disappear. You don’t need to win the lottery. Rather, organising your finances so that you know where you are, and where you’re heading, is the key to financial and mental health. 

“Bringing understanding to your relationship with money can make a big difference,” says Nicola Lessing, Director of In Your Interest Financial Planning.

“Many people are overwhelmed with life’s demands and do not take the time to see the big picture.” 
But money is like life energy, says financial advisor Christoph Schnelle, and needs to be treated with the same respect. 

Christoph and Nicola previously founded and ran a multimillion dollar company in Sydney and, between them bought and sold 31 investment properties. 

Today they offer financial planning services to everyone from single women and mums and dads to cashed-up investors, professionals and tradies. 

Christoph and Nicola own In Your Interest Financial Planning and are not employed by or affiliated to any bank or financial institution. They are however members of a likeminded group of self-owned advisers with $2 billion under management which allows them to offer excellent service and rates. 

“That allows us to use all banks and many other providers, depending on which one best suits our clients’ individual needs.” 

The first meeting is always free and there are no fees unless clients accept a quote for investment or management services. 

“Our business is all about people,” says Christoph, who adds that most clients come to them through word-of-mouth.

“We only take on clients if we consider it well worth their while.” 

Financial Standard - 2012

Reproduction of interview with Christoph published in Financial Standard August 2012

Dangers of hybrid securities 

By Linda Hausken  |  In Investment - Link to web version
                                                   
Hybrid securities poses great dangers for investors as they become more like shares as opposed to being more bond-like in the past, according to a financial adviser. 

Hybrid securities are one way for companies to borrow money from investors, while paying interest in return and blending some of the features of debt and equity.

"If investors don't realise that hybrid securities have changed their 'spots' they may accept bond-like returns for share like danger," said Christoph Schnelle, principal at In Your Interest Financial Planning.

While older hybrids issued by banks were mostly good as they were more bond-like, he said the newer ones are more share-like and far more dangerous.

Schnelle said these complex products are too expensive for the risk they represent and the market is yet to fully recognise the associated dangers.

Worst case scenario with holding bank or non-bank hybrids, he added, is that investors get treated like shareholders, which means they have very few rights.

"I expect there would be a lot of unhappy people out there as a result of investing in these products."

In terms of determining the risks of these products, he said the best way is to "open up a fixed interest account with a broker and start reading their research."

"If I want to determine the risks of hybrids for my client that's how I proceed, but if you want to be on the safe you need to stay away from them altogether."

A safer investment option, suggested Schnelle would be to advise clients to put their money in the Vanguard Dimensional Total Bond Fund or buy over the counter bonds from a fixed interest broker.

Bay FM Radio Interview 

In this live radio interview, Christoph Schnelle shares his wisdom and experience with Gayle Cue on Bay FM 99.9 Radio. It is a great listen and not boring at all!

Bay FM Radio Interview - Christoph Schnelle and Gayle Cue
00:00 / 00:00
Sunday Morning Herald (SMH) - 2011

Christoph was interviewed for the money section of the SMH in August 2011 about the roller-coaster ride of the Global Financial Crisis. Below is an excerpt from the interview:

Greed defies logic in a bull market, just as fear overwhelms it in a bear market. An owner of In Your Interest Financial Planning, Christoph Schnelle, says there's no one correct decision during times such as these. Whether you sell, buy or hold depends on individual circumstances.

It's OK to do any of those things as long as your decision is based on honest reflection, rather than being a kneejerk reaction. Schnelle says he finds a client's gut reaction to a falling market can be particularly telling.

''If people have a strong emotional reaction, there's a strong likelihood that there was a serious error in the decision to invest in the first place,'' he says. ''It's a strong alarm signal that something is wrong and you need to find out what's going on.

''People will always feel bad if the market falls but if they're able to respond rationally rather than just reacting - if they're able to make a considered decision - then that's a good sign.''

 

Your Money - The West Australian 2011

This was an article in The West Australian where Christoph is quoted extensively on financial literacy and understanding what money is all about.

Australian Property Investors Magazine
October 2009

In October 2009, Australian Property Investor magazine ran a six page feature on Christoph and his large investment property portfolio.

Around this time Nicola who was also a property investor made a guest appearance on Alan Kohler’s ABC TV’s Inside Business TV Show to discuss their property portfolio.

Christoph and Nicola no longer choose to have a large property portfolio but have had fun and gained a lot of experience along the way which they share with their friends and clients. 

Professional Planner Magazine - 2010

This three page article published in an industry journal showcases (with permission) a financial plan Christoph wrote for clients of his living in Byron Bay. 

When these clients first approached Christoph they were both anxious about their financial position and also had a conflict in their relationship in terms of their mutual attitude to money.

Following on from Christoph's advice they gained respect for each other, improved their communication, ceased being anxious and had a 42.96 improvement in their finances - an excellent result! 

An excerpt from the article:

"While their financial position wasn’t as dire as their anxiety levels would have suggested, what the Cunninghams lacked most, Schnelle says, was both clarity and a tangible road map that would deliver on stated retirement goals. 

Christoph Schnelle Financial Adviser Lismore

“It became clear very quickly that 90 per cent of the Cunninghams’ solution was more about clarity and guidance than hitching their fortunes to any particular product,” says Schnelle. He also knew how important it was for Joy and Tony to keep things simple. Not only did Tony want to keep working, adds Schnelle, but it was the most obvious way of maintaining their required income of around $75,000 annually. “The transparency of knowing where they were financially gave Tony and Joy a new lease of life, and this improved their overall emotional and physical wellbeing,” recalls Schnelle.

The Australian Immigration Book - 2010

Christoph Schenelle wrote this article for the Australian Immigration Handbook which is provided to new migrants arriving in Australia. 

 

It is friendly article, giving a short background to what to expect when moving to Australia, and a very brief introduction to the financial world.

Business Class Magazine

In November 1998, Nicola Lessing who at the time was a Sydney based CEO and entrepreneur was featured on the Front Cover of Business Class magazine under the banner “introducing digital women - the new leaders of the cyber-revolution". 

The other “digital” woman on the front cover of that issue is Gail Burke who at the time was responsible for one of the largest ever Change Programs undertaken by Macquarie Bank.

The write up states that “touting common sense as her most significant attribute, in just four years Nicola took on the multinationals and built a business which today represents 50% of the electronic legislation publishing market in Australia and had just won the right to supply the legislation of five jurisdictions to 20,000 Australian Tax Office terminals around Australia.”

It then goes on to talk about how Nicola did the above using world's best practice and forced the others to bring their prices down.

In 1998, Business Review Weekly featured on their front cover an article under the heading: “Future Leaders - They’re young, they’re smart and they could make you a fortune”.

Christoph Schnelle who in 1998 was the CEO of his own Information Services Company was one of the featured “young talent at the top”. He had recently won a project to put 15 million pages of AMP documentation onto a searchable intranet. 

In the photograph below Christoph is shown together with Mark Bouris who founded Wizard Home Loans in 1996 and sold it to GE Money for $500 million in 2004.

Business Sydney

In October 1998, Nicola Lessing was featured on the front cover of Business Sydney and within in an article about how her start-up legal publisher was providing serious competition to CCH, Thompson and Butterworths, the big three multinationals who previously had the market sewn up.

The other two people appearing on that front cover were John Howard who at that time was Prime Minister of Australia and Kim Beazley who was the leader of the opposition.