Published by The Pacific Business Hub | By Cecilia Sagote of Seki Media
George Tofa of Melbourne understands first hand how Pacific culture can play a significant part in families finances.
The 33-year-old Samoan whose parents are from Saipipi, Savai’i and Vailuutai has been running his Liberty broker business for four years and has a growing portfolio of diverse clients.
As he services people’s financial needs as well getting them into their first homes, the certified finance and mortgage broker has one rule of thumb when building his Pasifika clientele in particular.
“I want people to feel empowered and to ‘go against the grain,’” he says.
“A lot of our people think working in a comfortable job or becoming a footy player are our only options which is great but I also encourage them to look beyond the status quo because I know a lot of ‘over qualified’ people in their respective industries but are comfortable where they are.”
He is a big believer that Pacific families will benefit greatly if financial literacy is taught in the home especially from an early age.
“Finances are not always talked about openly in some families and not everyone gets a say."
“When I was growing up, the usual family meeting was called and we discussed things like fa'alavelave. But a common old school mentality is this hierarchy. For example, the dad says something and everyone else listens rather than going around the table.”
He says democracy in family decision-making is key.
“I want the new generation to have a different approach. Start conversations with mum and dad and openly talk about money. Yes we have the standard emergencies from Samoa and there’s nothing we can do about it, but it doesn’t have to be a negative thing. We can still make good decisions on the amounts we give, set goals and work around these.”
Surprisingly Covid-19 has been a blessing in disguise financially for some Pacific families in Australia who have managed to access superannuation funds and spend more time with their families, however George admits he is missing the human interaction with clients.
“Building rapport in person is easier than building rapport over the phone or on zoom,” he laughs. But for the father of two, it’s an opportunity for him to manage work and family life even better.
He outsources marketing tasks to a specialist so that his social media posts are frequent, informative and relevant.
Like any other business, his first year of operation came with it’s challenges such as building partnerships and a network of referral partners - trying to obtain business from them as well as from his own clients.
Four years on and he has established himself as the ‘go-to’ Pacific broker in Melbourne’s West and continues to sign on delighted clients and even sponsor local Pacific events.
His easy-going personality and a genuine interest in helping people better their situation plays a big part in his business going from strength to strength.
“I help people who are knocked back from their banks and as a broker I am able to offer them a whole lot more options and a personalised approach.”
Contact George to discuss your financial needs:
Melbourne: 0432 725 244