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self reflection

Reflections of a Septuagenarian

John Hewison
Founder and Director
29 Aug 2017

Apologies up front. This is a very self-indulgent blog but as I enter my 71st year I figure I am entitled. I have been reflecting on life and where I am at this stage of my life and it has been an interesting experience. I am a positive person – some say overly optimistic – but it beats the alternative. 

But when reflecting on the past one tends to drift into dark territory recalling all the stuff you got wrong or regret. I find myself shaking my head and telling myself to snap out of it and concentrate on the positives – you can’t change what’s done. So, that is my focus.

My life falls into three categories – family, profession and self.


My family is my absolute priority. My obsession. Nothing gets in the way of my love and commitment to my family and anything I can do to make their life better and remain involved. I am lucky to have such a close family who enjoy each other’s company and spend a lot of time together.

Our beautiful daughter Sarah sadly lost her husband Steve a couple of years ago, and left her to raise her two boys Jack and Harry. Whilst as tragic as it is, the family just simply rallied together and made the best of it in supporting them in any way we can. The boys keep me young – I ‘m sure they think their Pa is a bit of a loony but that’s okay. It is also a motivation for me which I will touch on later.

Our son Andrew and his gorgeous wife Jo are expecting their first child soon and that is the source of more excitement and anticipation. We share the passion of CrossFit and various other sporting activities and spend a lot of time together. Jo is a dietician and oversees my life change, which I will touch on later. 

Profession / Business

When I left the big corporate world and created Hewson Private Wealth more than 30 years ago we had a specific set of core beliefs and objectives around excellence, integrity, innovation and a special kind of client service. We wanted to create something unique that would survive us and that others would want to sustain. We wanted to create an environment where people could be nurtured to achieve their potential and share in the dream.

Reflecting on where we are now, we have achieved and exceeded all our dreams and typically ambitious goals. Moreover, we have seen the creation of a culture that is infectious and exciting. It is a joy to come to work and immediately get wrapped up in the daily atmosphere of driving to exceed expectations and improve people’s lives. I just love it. The fact that our 30 plus year old company has a dedicated team with an average age of around 35 years speaks volumes to me. The combination of tradition and longevity with youth and vitality is a powerful recipe.   

My son Andrew has taken over as MD of the business and we have five equity partners / financial advisers who work in the business and share the management load. Our daughter Sarah is Head of our Client Service department. So apart from our closeness away from work we certainly see a lot of each other.

My passion for the financial planning profession and the work we do at HPW is huge. I love that our work is about making people’s lives better. I love that we are in some ways protectors of peoples’ wellbeing in a world full of opportunists and profiteering. My colleagues and I often grin at the revelations of the financial services industry that manages to stumble from one financial markets disaster to another through trend driven practices that are tarnished with the needs of corporatisation, standardisation and commoditisation. 

At Hewison Private Wealth we have always based our financial advice on client goals. But the big difference is the passion and personal commitment to the client and dedication to the task. That is, it is all about the relationship, not just the technical application. Our clients are all like family. When they visit our office, it is like old home week – much chatter and excitement all around – enjoying and savouring the relationship. This is something you cannot commoditise or corporatise. It is a culture that takes personal buy-in. That is the passion I share with my colleagues. 


Turning 70 doesn’t worry me at all. I don’t feel 70, I am as fit as I have ever been and managing to de-stress. I am bit like a rip current – calm on the surface but a stress ball and turbulent under the surface. 

I am in a good place now. I have removed myself from the management of the company but I retain the passion and involvement with a few clients and on the strategic side of the business. I am always willing to give advice when asked and resist the temptation to give advice voluntarily. I love the energy and innovation that’s happening. Luckily for me, I have always been a fan of change and innovation so there isn’t a trace of resistance. 

So I am concentrating on shifting my focus to self rather than business and other things, which is a bit of a revelation for me. 

I have recently made some significant life changes in terms of focussing on my physical wellbeing and changing some lifestyle choices. I am determined to get my body in the best shape it can be. My motives are largely selfish but as I mentioned earlier, another part of my motivation is to be fit enough to do the active things I need to do with Jack and Harry – and any future additions. I am ramping up my CrossFit training and changing my eating and drinking habits. Neither of these too drastic but it is about focus. It is all about controlling the input – what I put into my body and driving the output – the amount of effort I put into strength and conditioning. 

I haven’t lost one ounce of the drive for achieving my goals. I have just changed the focus of the goals. I took up art about 18 months ago and have great ambitions to improve my skills. I am playing regular golf and, for once, putting some serious work into improving my game. I plan to spend some time with my mates at Gunnamatta SLSC and get out my old Malibu and have a surf – at a much calmer venue. I plan to do some writing and reinvigorate my love for cooking.

So apart from my ramblings, what’s this blog all about?

As I see it, it is about mind set, attitude and retaining the passion and drive. I don’t feel any different than I did as a 30 year old in that regard, I have simply charged to priorities. My message is simple. You only get one go at life so don’t waste a minute.   

John Hewison is the Founder & Chairman of Hewison Private Wealth.

Hewison Private Wealth is a Melbourne based independent financial planning firm. Our financial advisers are highly qualified wealth managers and specialise in self managed super funds (SMSF), financial planning, retirement planning advice and investment portfolio management. If you would like to speak to a financial adviser on how you can secure your financial future please contact us 03 8548 4800, email info@hewison.com.au or visit www.hewison.com.auPlease note: The advice provided above is general information only and individuals should seek specialised advice from a qualified financial advisor. The views in this blog are those of the individual and may not represent the general opinion of the firm. Please contact Hewison Private Wealth for more information.