Latest blog posts

  • 12 August 2016

    Strata Schemes Development Act 2015 - Another stake through the heart of strata living

    It seems that the NSW state government has a way of getting legislation enacted that has a very sharp beneficial focus, while selling the enormous broad community benefits at large. And they are believed.

    In the same vein as the ethanol legislation, the Strata Schemes Development Act 2015 came into force in May of this year, with narry a whimper. While the ethanol legislation was so on the nose [no pun intended] that it almost required all government members to be literally whipped into submission to get it through... the SSDA 2015 seemed to sail through with flying colours.

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  • 8 August 2016

    Patrick Stewart with a very amusing take on Brexit

    An amusing Guardian contribution to the whole Brexit debacle. Language Warning - for sensitive ears, right at the end.

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  • 5 August 2016

    Does anyone actually know what 'robo advice' is?? Most importantly... do clients know what it actually is? Apart from an industry buzzword that dresses up a spreadsheet and three questions as some incredible bleeding edge hyper-intelligence. Does it or should it extend to every facet of someone’s financial life?

    In Scott’s recent article in IFA, he raises the point that the owners of new robo-advice platforms are more focused on the value of the information they collect from clients, than the monetisation of advice provision. He references Deloitte’s report, The Advice Based World.

    Deloitte Assurance & Advisory Chief Operating Officer and National Advisory Leader, Phil Hardy, said robo-advisers have a “different value realisation” from monetary gain.

    Mr Hardy said robo-advisers will look to capitalise on ‘mining’ and storing the data of clients who use the digital platforms, rather than looking to profit from the advice they provide.

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  • 4 August 2016

    August 2016 - Monthly Update

    At their August meeting the Reserve Bank announced yet another drop in the cash rate. It now stands at an ALL TIME historical low of just 1.50%.

    Even thought the banks have been slow to pass on the entire reduction, the overall ongoing trend in home loan interest rates over the last few years has been down.

    A recent report revealed 45% of homeowners have never refinanced their home loan. This could be a costly ommission on their part.

    The question remains...Why?

    There may be a few reasons - and a lower rate shouldn't be your only criteria when considering refinancing. However, for many homeowners this could allow them to access a massive saving.

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  • 26 July 2016

    At a time where both candidates for the US presidential election are reportedly the most unpopular ever... anything is possible. Just consider the Republican National Convention - John Oliver did.

    At times like this it's easy to think the world's gone just a little crazy. Many at the Democratic convention are vowing to not vote for Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee. Sanders is booed when he throws his support behind Clinton.

    Whilst entirely understandable that people who have been such vocal supporters of on candidate should not be thrilled at putting their weight behind someone they wouldn’t choose, the upshot of their actively voting against her, or simply abstaining from voting at all in protest [in a country where they notoriously struggle to get voting participation] could be catastrophic.

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  • 21 July 2016

    If you want some light relief and a wee chuckle... then check out Jordan Watson and his beautifuol daughter Alba.

    As an expat living abroad for a long time, the Kiwi inventiveness and sense of humour still raise a smile.

    Jordan Watson works with his liitle girl Alba to coach new Dads in some really important Kiwi life skills.

    Trapping prey with a cardboard box and a piece of string, fishing, sprinting in jandals. These are the foundational life skills that every young Kiwi will use to make their way in the world.

    So take a moment out of your manic day to just relax... and smile... and rejoice that the very simple [and somewhat silly] things can amuse us and lighten our day.

    Read the story in The NZ Herald

    Check out a couple of Jordan's videos below.

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  • 13 July 2016

    On her first day in No 10, the new PM’s in-tray will be packed with problems: on the EU, Trident, schools, the NHS and more

    David cameron having scored one the most appallingly obvious own goals [entirely selfy inflicted and predictable] then passes the parcel to Theresa May, after Johnson, Farage et al have headed to the moors with their tails between their legs. Whilst there is no seeming end to the complete lack of political awareness form Cameron around the whole exercise, he will surely being giving a massive sigh of relief to be exiting No 10 and passing all of the headaches on to someone else.

    May will find a confluence of very pressing and complex matters in her in-tray on her first day in No 10 – and not just about how Britain will leave the EU.

    From universal credit to junior doctors’ strikes, school academisation and farmers’ subsidies, she will inherit many challenges from David Cameron’s administration.

    May frequently says simply - Brexit means Brexit, but this leaves all the relevant questions unanswered.

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  • 12 July 2016

    How difficult do you find it to be still... to do nothing? Our lives are usually flat out with every waking minute.

    What about the last time you did absolutely nothing for 10 whole minutes? Not texting, talking or even thinking?

    Mindfulness expert Andy Puddicombe describes the transformative power of doing just that: Refreshing your mind for 10 minutes a day, simply by being mindful and experiencing the present moment. (No need for incense or sitting in uncomfortable positions.)

    He wants to make meditation accessible to everybody: for a happier, healthier you.

    Watch Andy's TED Talk below.

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  • 12 July 2016

    It’s interesting when you look at it, the experiences you gain through life that are completely disparate but nonetheless evidence synchronicity.

    My father wouldn’t have known absolute return if it jumped up and bit him on the bum, yet he was an expert at it. He would have revelled in the ‘new world’ of Absolute Return.

    I’m afraid any fund manager who takes comfort in the fact that their fund/portfolio is performing well because they beat the index by 4, when the index is down 12, is a fool looking for an audience who cares. Fund managers, money managers, investment managers are paid money [and generally a not an inconsequential amount of it] to make money. Not to lose a little less than someone else. Explain that logic to a self funded retiree watching their life's earnings being frittered away.

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  • 12 July 2016

    It’s interesting the things you learn throughout life that you don’t realise. Some important, others perhaps less so, but it’s the amalgam of all of these lessons and experiences that shapes the person you are... and forms the basis of your understanding.

    Growing up in the country, city, the beach… all have a powerful effect on senses and moods, hunger, thirst, even long hidden memories. Sometimes it is those experiences that mean you can simply make sense of things that others can’t. An intuitive understanding of certain things and perhaps what to do in certain situations.

    For me, there’s many things experienced growing up that still have a profound and immediate effect, many years later.

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I'm not ready to be wealthy...

What is the defining factor, the catalyst, that causes someone to take stock?

When is the right time, why are people happy to be stuck in a rut.

People's financial lives, like businesses tend to go through economic cycles: growth, plateau, decline, nadir. But unlike businesses the approach tends to be far more laissez faire.

Pay off your mortgage in your sleep - #1

Getting rid of your mortgage is a function of four things:

  • Income
  • Cashflow
  • Structure, and
  • Focus

The same is true for any debt. Seems obvious but if you don't or can't get in front of it, then you have a challenge. And for many people that first step seems insurmountable, unimaginable.

The good news is that most people have ample space to manage it—it just doesn't seem like it. And everything just gets lost in the detritus of life.

How much money can I borrow?

The question asked most often about mortgages or home loans, is "How much money can I borrow?". There are many answers to that question, but the reality is only one is correct.

There are two critical 'affordability' calculations that are similar with any lender. One is Loan to Valuation Ratio or LVR, the other is Debt Serviceability Ratio [or a range of other similar terms] or DSR.

The biggest loser – an interesting study in human behaviour

Want a window into the world of people struggling with issues – try The Biggest Loser. The Australian version. Like so many of those program formats [expert helping subject who needs help] it is always fascinating the difficulty the subject has in accepting the reality/truth/facts.

They enter a competition to go on the program, they go through a rigorous vetting process, they get picked because one can only assume losing their excess weight is the single most important thing to them. The money doesn’t hurt, but it’s clear they are broken spirits and want to regain their life.

Is there an 'app' for it?

It's interesting how we look for assistance in strange places. We look for health advice from someone who is often inherently unhealthy; we seek sharemarket tips from some person we got chatting to at a bar; but the strangest phenomenon has to be the search for a phone app for everything.

The weather, traffic, the next bus, the news, a phone number from the other side of the world, the time on the other side of the world — all valid and interesting bits of information.

Games, music, videos... again amusing ways to pass some idle time.