Benefits of Advice

Lee Nickelson is an Authorised Representative, GWM Adviser Services Limited, Australian Financial Services Licensee

In the wake of the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuating and Financial Services Industry, it is important that we continue to focus on the benefits of receiving expert Financial Advice.

SunSuper commissioned CoreData to investigate the benefits of advice in their 2017 Value of Advice report which produced some interesting results. Overwhelmingly, those surveyed who receive financial advice are more ”well” in life.  They are better equipped to deal with unexpected expenses, more prepared for retirement and have more confidence in making financial decisions (1).

80% of those currently advised believe advice has given them more confidence in making financial decisions

Financial literacy is an important benefit and outcome of an advice relationship. Whilst we don’t expect clients to follow the movements of the NASDAQ, having an understanding of investment characteristics such as income versus capital values, the importance of asset allocation and investing for the long term gives clients greater confidence when making financial decisions.  This in turn brings a greater sense of financial security and less worrying about money.  After all, our definition of wealth is an absence of financial worry.

79% of those currently advised believe advice has given them more control over their financial position

Planning for the future is so important as it gives you confidence you can achieve your immediate and future financial goals.  Whether it is setting aside funds for a rainy day, increasing your savings, or contributing to a retirement plan, having an advice relationship allows you to map out your own path to financial freedom.

77% of those currently advised believe advice has helped them feel prepared for retirement

Many of us think that retirement is so far away that it doesn’t warrant planning now – this couldn’t be further from the truth.  Einstein’s 8th wonder of the world is compounding returns, earning interest on your interest, so paying attention to your retirement nest egg early, no matter how small, is well worth while.

67% of those currently advised feel advice has made them more equipped to handle sudden, one off costs

Through accountability, information and support, receiving financial advice can help people establish contingency plans, insurance and debt management strategies to deal with unexpected events and life’s twists and turns.

80% of those currently advised believe advice has given them more peace of mind.

Financial security is important for everyone, to know we are on the right track and not borrowing from our future to live the life we are currently.  A staggering statistic from the report is 39% of those unadvised felt they had enough money to pay for recreational activities compared to 79% who were advised.

Financial stress affects people’s lives in quantifiable ways.  It can affect your health, relationships at home, and both your productivity and attendance at work.  This is why we continue to believe in the value of financial advice; knowing that it improves lifestyle outcomes and overall wellbeing.

If you are interested in your own financial health check, please don’t hesitate to contact an Financial Adviser at Income Solutions.

 

Any advice in this publication is of a general nature only and has not been tailored to your personal circumstances. Please seek personal advice prior to acting on this information. The information in this document reflects our understanding of existing legislation, proposed legislation, rulings etc as at the date of issue. In some cases the information has been provided to us by third parties. While it is believed the information is accurate and reliable, this is not guaranteed in any way. Opinions constitute our judgement at the time of issue and are subject to change. Neither, the Licensee or any of the National Australia group of companies, nor their employees or directors give any warranty of accuracy, nor accept any responsibility for errors or omissions in this document. Before making a decision to acquire a financial product, you should obtain and read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) relating to that product. Past performance is not a reliable guide to future returns. The information in this document reflects our understanding of existing legislation, proposed legislation, rulings etc as at the date of issue. In some cases the information has been provided to us by third parties. While it is believed the information is accurate and reliable, this is not guaranteed in any way.
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Managing Family and Finances

Elise Ryan is an Authorised Representative, GWM Adviser Services Limited, Australian Financial Services Licensee

Everyone leads a busy life, but it’s important to take time out to think about your current finances and your financial future.

When you are planning or have a young family, there are a lot of important tasks that are on your mind. It is easy to let every day things like managing your finances fall to the wayside.

Paying the bills is quick and easy, but thinking about the big picture in 10, 20 or 30 years down the track can feel like a daunting task. Many people think retirement is so far away and that they have plenty of time before they need to start looking at planning for that phase of their lives. There is also the belief that it will just work itself out.

But you are reading this, so take the time now to think about your life in 30 years’ time.

You don’t want to regret not planning for your future.

By engaging an advisor, it forces you to take time out once or twice a year to chat about your goals and strategy and make adjustment where needed. This helps you to not only be aware but also re-evaluate what’s important to you and what your goals are year to year.

Research shows that by writing down your goals, you are more likely to plan and work towards achieving them.

By having a trusted financial advisor to look at your goals and create a tailored strategy, you will have to spend less time thinking about your financial future, and you will be in a much better position in the future.

At Income Solutions, we place a lot of time educating our clients on our investment philosophy so that they walk out of their meetings with complete understanding of what their strategy will be and how it will help them reach their financial goals.

It’s never too late to re-assess your financial position and change your strategy, and it’s never too early for your teenage children to start understanding their finances.

We run 4 events each month that will help you start making a plan, no matter what stage you are in for planning your finances:

Common Sense Investing

Common Sense Estate Planning

Kickstart: Your Financial Future

Pivot: Choose Your Financial Direction

We urge you to have a look at our website – www.incomesolutions.com.au/events or have a chat to one of our financial advisors to see which event would help you to achieve your goals, for you and your family.

 

Any advice in this publication is of a general nature only and has not been tailored to your personal circumstances. Please seek personal advice prior to acting on this information. The information in this document reflects our understanding of existing legislation, proposed legislation, rulings etc as at the date of issue. In some cases the information has been provided to us by third parties. While it is believed the information is accurate and reliable, this is not guaranteed in any way. Opinions constitute our judgement at the time of issue and are subject to change. Neither, the Licensee or any of the National Australia group of companies, nor their employees or directors give any warranty of accuracy, nor accept any responsibility for errors or omissions in this document. Before making a decision to acquire a financial product, you should obtain and read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) relating to that product. Past performance is not a reliable guide to future returns. The information in this document reflects our understanding of existing legislation, proposed legislation, rulings etc as at the date of issue. In some cases the information has been provided to us by third parties. While it is believed the information is accurate and reliable, this is not guaranteed in any way
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Success: A Relative Term

How often have you been asked what you want to get out of life? How many times has the answer been something like ‘I want to be successful in…’

Let’s take the word success and break it down, shall we? The Oxford Dictionary defines success as an accomplishment of an aim or purpose¹. I Like the last 3 words in that definition; aim or purpose. In fact, I think we perceive the term success to mean something entirely different to the Oxford Dictionary definition, with is wrong and unfair. Too often we seem to measure our own success against somebody else’s. We forget the true way to be successful is to accomplish an aim or purpose. Our own aim or purpose, not somebody else’s.

Let’s look at a broad example. Take 2 Real Estate Agents. Agent A has sold 50 properties in the financial year at an average price of $500,000. Agent B has sold 25 at the same average price. Who would you deem more successful? At first thought, you could be forgiven for saying Agent A. However, we do not know what either agent’s aim or purpose was. If Agent A had aimed to sell 70 properties at $500,000 average, and Agent B had aimed to sell 20, which agent would be deemed more successful? One did not meet their aim, and one not only accomplished their aim, they managed to exceed it by 25%. I would say Agent B would have had a more successful year because they accomplished their own personal aim.

The clearest way to know whether you are successful is to have distinct KPI’s to meet. Your own KPI’s. If you aim to earn $100,000 in a year, this will be easily measured; you have cracked the tonne or you haven’t. If you don’t and your mate did, it is imperative not to consider that year unsuccessful because we do not know what your mates aim was. They may have earned $50,000 under budget. All we know is that your own KPI was not met, and rather than stew on it, the pragmatic approach is to put in place provisions to increase your chances of accomplishing your goal the next year.

Humans are notorious for comparing themselves against their peers. It is in our nature. A lot of us attempt to achieve certain goals that are not organic, and the main reason we want to achieve them is because ‘that is what we are meant to do’ or ‘so and so are doing it, why shouldn’t I?’

That is the first mistake.

Attempting to achieve something that is not organic, and you are not passionate about is setting yourself up for failure before you have even started. If you fail attempting to achieve something you are passionate about, you will have learned from the experience and will be better in the long run. Even the most widely ‘successful’ people in the world have failed along the way², most say they would not have achieved what they have without failing along the way. It keeps them grounded.

At Income Solutions, we regularly help our clients articulate what it is they truly want to accomplish. This forms part of your Purple Box; your goals. An individual’s own goals should be used as the main barometer to measure their success. Everybody is different. Everybody has different reasons. Most people want to retire financially secure, which again, has a different meaning for everybody. It is your personal goals that need to be drilled down upon and identified.

These accomplishments almost always deliver far greater satisfaction, and more often then not, will lead to the common goal of financial security.

Personally, I do not really care if I am the wealthiest person in my friendship group when I retire. I will not measure my success using this metric.

A good client of our has a great saying: “I do not want to be the wealthiest man in the nursing home, or the cemetery.’ He and his wife managed to retire at an age most would consider quite young, now they have a wonderful life accomplishing the retirement goals they are passionate about, not somebody else’s. Therefore, I would call them very successful.

I have numerous personal goals I would like to accomplish; living abroad, continued charity donation, living on a modest acreage, the list goes on and on and will be different for everybody. My main goal or aim I am striving to accomplish is being able to choose whether or not I need to go to work or not by the age of 55 – or earlier – and donate my time to a couple of charities I hold dear, as well as ticking off some international destinations. At this point, I will need a capital base invested soundly enough to provide me with a passive income stream that will support mine and my family’s lifestyle, without earning a paycheck.

We can help you with understanding what this capital base should look like at Income Solutions!

The income stream that I deem enough will be decided by me, and I will not compare this income stream to any one else’s when determining it. If I use the various personal goals I have as stepping stones to reach my ultimate goal, I will be comfortable enough to call myself relatively successful.

 

1. https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/success
2. https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/295312

 

Any advice in this publication is of a general nature only and has not been tailored to your personal circumstances. Please seek personal advice prior to acting on this information. The information in this document reflects our understanding of existing legislation, proposed legislation, rulings etc as at the date of issue. In some cases the information has been provided to us by third parties. While it is believed the information is accurate and reliable, this is not guaranteed in any way. Opinions constitute our judgement at the time of issue and are subject to change. Neither, the Licensee or any of the National Australia group of companies, nor their employees or directors give any warranty of accuracy, nor accept any responsibility for errors or omissions in this document. Before making a decision to acquire a financial product, you should obtain and read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) relating to that product. Past performance is not a reliable guide to future returns. The information in this document reflects our understanding of existing legislation, proposed legislation, rulings etc as at the date of issue. In some cases the information has been provided to us by third parties. While it is believed the information is accurate and reliable, this is not guaranteed in any way.
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Capital VS Income – Which is more valuable?

When we ponder our wealth, most of us immediately jump to the capital value of our assets. We believe that if we own things that are worth more than what our neighbour owns, we are wealthier. But are we?

 

Firstly, most of us believe our house is our greatest asset, therefore representing the bulk of our asset base. There is a stark distinction between a financial asset and a personal or lifestyle asset. Centrelink does not assess the homes we live in as financial assets because by definition, our house is a lifestyle asset. This is mainly due to the simple fact that our house costs us money rather than making it for us. Yes, if you use your equity wisely, you can purchase a financial asset, but more on that another day.

I want to focus on comparing capital and income.

Australian’s believe simply owning as many financial assets as possible is the key to wealth creation. The more they’re worth, the wealthier they are. I challenge this theory. Imagine I owned a financial asset base in retirement worth $1million, and this generated around $25,000 of income a year. You own a financial asset base in retirement worth $800,000,¹ which produces income of around $35,000 a year. I am $200,000 wealthier than you in capital perspective, however you’re $10,000 worth of annual income wealthier than me. Who is the wealthier person?

Let’s say our ideal retirement income is $35,000pa. I would need around another $400,000² worth of the financial assets I own, just to generate that much income. You only need $800,000. My balance sheet might have a higher bottom line, however, your income statement is stronger again. Which is more valuable? An asset base that you would need to slowly drawdown on to reach your ideal income level? Or an asset base which produces your ideal income level without needing to sell any of it? And, you did not need to save as hard for it.

If you need to sell portions of your capital base in retirement just to breakeven, you bring in avoidable and unnecessary risk you just do not need. You might hypothetically own a parcel of shares, that historically have failed to pay regular dividends, and thus, to make your $35,000 you need to sell some. What if this happens on the same day President Trump puts out a ridiculous Tweet, and in a knee-jerk reaction from the public, the market drops? (In reality I would tell you to buy more shares, because in this situation I like to say that they’re on special so stock up, similar to bananas at Coles) What if this also happens on the same day the RBA raise the cash rate by 50 basis points so the offer to buy your investment property gets revoked? You cannot chip off a couple of bricks or sell the spare room to pay for your annual flights to Bali. Not to mention that whenever you sell shares or a property, you have to fork out relatively high transactional costs and in the case of property, wait around 90 days to see the cash in your account. And once you do sell your shares or property, you do not want to leave too much of the net sale proceeds in the bank, because 2% interest rates are not helping your income situation too much.

Income is spending power and spending power enables us to do the things we want to do. We do not want to see the retirement finish line on the horizon, to suddenly realize we are riding a truck full of assets, but are income poor. At income solutions, our definition of wealth is an absence of financial worry, an income stream you cannot outlive, and a meaningful legacy for those whom you love. This definition is deliberately ambiguous enough for anyone to apply his or her own situation to it.

I now ask you if the financial asset base you are slowly building meets this definition?

If you would like to organize an informal discussion about you and your financial situation, please do not hesitate to contact me at danny.archer@incomesolutions.com.au or alternatively at 03 5229 0577.

 

Any advice in this publication is of a general nature only and has not been tailored to your personal circumstances. Please seek personal advice prior to acting on this information. The information in this document reflects our understanding of existing legislation, proposed legislation, rulings etc as at the date of issue. In some cases the information has been provided to us by third parties. While it is believed the information is accurate and reliable, this is not guaranteed in any way. Opinions constitute our judgement at the time of issue and are subject to change. Neither, the Licensee or any of the National Australia group of companies, nor their employees or directors give any warranty of accuracy, nor accept any responsibility for errors or omissions in this document. Before making a decision to acquire a financial product, you should obtain and read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) relating to that product.
¹Assuming a growth asset base earning 4.35%
²Assuming an asset base of cash, earning 2.5%
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Solutions to the Gender Gap in Retirement Savings

Lee Nickelson is an Authorised Representative, GWM Adviser Services Limited, Australian Financial Services Licensee

Women in Australia face specific issues when it comes to securing their financial future. Women have significantly less money saved for their retirement – the current average superannuation payout for women is 1/3 that of the payout for men [2]. This results in many women who are retiring on their own facing the possibility of doing so in poverty.
Why is this occurring and how can we help solve this issue?
Lack of superannuation savings can arise from a number of scenarios. Women are more likely to work part time to allow them to perform unpaid work such as caring for family members as well as managing the majority of domestic work at home – whilst the majority of men work full time performing less of these duties.
Women’s employment also tends to congregate in low paid areas such as retail, front line financial services as well as health care and social assistance. Women also often find they sacrifice income for flexibility in working arrangements to allow for their caring obligations.
So how can we address the issue of low super balances?
In my view, one of the ways we can drive cultural change is for both men and women to push for flexible working arrangements. This means challenging the traditional view that men should maintain full time employment whilst women drop to part time employment to raise their young children. If both men and women have access to flexible work hours, then it becomes easier to juggle the caring requirements of young children. This in turn should allow women to work additional hours and build larger superannuation balances in their own right.
What can we do from a practical sense in the mean time?
As a financial planner, we have a number of superannuation strategies we utilise for our clients, each with various benefits. Please seek advice to determine whether these strategies will suit your personal situation.
Contribution Splitting: In certain circumstances, an individual can split up to 85% of their previous years concessional (employer) super contributions with their spouse. This strategy has significant planning benefits including:
• Managing equalisation of superannuation account balances between spouses given the new $1.6 mill cap. Where one client is on track to build a large superannuation balance close to the new $1.6 mill cap, splitting up to 85% of contributions each year can allow the spouse with the lower balance to take full advantage of their cap.
• Where spouses have an age difference, there may be a difference in the years where superannuation can be accessed. Splitting contributions to the older spouse means superannuation benefits that would otherwise not be eligible to be accessed due to age restrictions, will become accessible to the elder spouse earlier under the low-rate tax threshold.
• Where spouses have an age difference, there may be Age Pension planning benefits to split contributions to the younger spouse. This is because superannuation only becomes an assessable asset once you become eligible for the Age Pension.

Leanne is 57 and is planning on retiring in the near future. Her husband John is 47 and earns $100,000 p.a. as a contractor. During the year, John contributes $25,000 into his super, reducing his taxable income to $75,000. Then in August, John opts to split $18,750 into Leanne’s super. These contributions will boost Leanne’s balance and become available for her to withdraw from super tax free under the low-rate tax threshold when she retires – effectively allowing John to reduce his income tax whilst not locking away the funds until John retires.

Spouse Contributions and tax offset: In certain circumstances, if an individual has an assessable income (plus reportable employer super contributions and reportable fringe benefits) of $37,000 or less, their spouse can make a contribution of $3,000 into the low-income spouse’s super account and receive a tax offset of up to $540. This will boost the super balance of the spouse whilst saving tax for the high-income earner.
Tony currently earns $90,000 p.a. and is married to Sophie, who works part time earning $30,000 p.a. Tony receives a bonus and opts to contribute $3,000 into Sophie’s super fund. By doing this, Tony receives a rebate in his tax return which reduces the tax he will pay by $540.
So, if you would like to hear more about these strategies and how they can help you, please contact Income Solutions for a catch up.

[2] Ross Clare, ‘Are retirement savings on track?’ (The Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia Limited 2007).
Any advice in this publication is of a general nature only and has not been tailored to your personal circumstances. Please seek personal advice prior to acting on this information. The information in this document reflects our understanding of existing legislation, proposed legislation, rulings etc as at the date of issue. In some cases the information has been provided to us by third parties. While it is believed the information is accurate and reliable, this is not guaranteed in any way. Opinions constitute our judgement at the time of issue and are subject to change. Neither, the Licensee or any of the National Australia group of companies, nor their employees or directors give any warranty of accuracy, nor accept any responsibility for errors or omissions in this document. Before making a decision to acquire a financial product, you should obtain and read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) relating to that product.
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OPENING UP TO A NEW WORLD

Before I started working at Income Solutions in January of this year, I had absolutely no idea that I could invest my superannuation in shares, or that having a Financial Planner could help me in the slightest – when I had almost nothing in the bank. My super sat in a “cash hub” for years as I happily watched it slowly grow every time my employer made a contribution. For a few years I worked at universities, where I enjoyed 17% super contributions, and I remember thinking “how great is that, 17%?” It was pretty good, but it would have been even better if I had been educated on how to invest it.

According to mainstream society I should be married with a couple of children, have a mortgage, be taking the kids to music lessons or sporting games, and be drinking wine with other mothers reminiscing about the 1990s and how great it was in our 20s.

But what if you find yourself (happily I might add) single, childless, living alone with two cats, with just a little in the bank, and with a history of being a terrible saver and a serial mover? In the past twenty years, I’ve lived in almost ten cities and have started over again more times than the average person my age. I never paid much attention to saving money and I didn’t think about my super and how living overseas for 10 years would affect it.  I also didn’t think about getting old; retirement was so far away that there wasn’t much point giving it a second thought.

What I’ve learned in the past nine months from working at Income Solutions is that you can be any age, with a little or a lot of money, with some knowledge of Financial Planning or none at all – and you will still benefit from professional, expert advice that can get you on the path to saving money, growing your super, and investing for the future. There is also no need to feel guilty for not owning your own home. In fact, it’s actually not the right path to take for everyone and you could be better off investing in other ways. Wow. Now I feel better – because I previously felt the pressure to get that home loan.

So what does a woman like myself need to do to get her finances in shape?

  1. Find a Financial Planner who understands you as an individual
  2. Make sure you have a bank account with a “money tracking” facility to help you budget simply and effectively – it’s actually empowering to discover where your money goes!
  3. Work at having a “buffer” amount in your bank account at all times
  4. Work with your Financial Planner to invest your super to help it grow
  5. Get the right insurance in place to protect yourself
  6. Listen and take on board the advice you receive from your Financial Planner – you’ll most likely learn much more than you thought you would

So, whether or not I’m a gypsy or a “crazy cat lady” (or both), I am now on my way to securing my financial future and feel safe in the knowledge that I will retire in 25 years or so with more than enough money to live on. When I stop working and wish to travel some more (or move interstate), I most certainly can – but much more comfortably than before.

Want to learn more about what Income Solutions has to offer women? We run free workplace information sessions called Income Solutions for Women in the Geelong region. We’ll come to you. Tell your colleagues, boss, or HR manager about us and book a group session via our website. Coming soon to this blog section – a fabulous article (recently featured in RUBY magazine) by our Business Development Manager Alison Adams. You’ll learn how statistics show that we can be disadvantaged due to breaks in employment and lower super balances – but luckily there are ways to fix this!

Rebecca Lee, Marketing Manager

 

 

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Nick Cooper – we’ll miss you – mostly ;)

Nick Cooper blogWe had BIG news in June.  When you work in the world of financial planning, the media is always making news BIG …..generally BIGGER than it needs to be and normally peppered with their special brand of doom & gloom spin.  So, BIG news is nothing out of the ordinary.  This time, however the news was closer to home.  Very close in fact because Nick Cooper, announced his retirement!

We must admit it didn’t come as a huge shock – Nick was already “semi-retired”, working 2 days a week.  I have worked with Nick for 25 years and when he finally made his decision to retire it prompted me to think about the things I will miss about him when he’s gone.  And some things I won’t miss.

I WILL miss Nick’s company.

I WON’T miss him hanging over the side of my desk to tell me EVERY “important” thing he can think of.  Let me tell you, there’s a lot of “important” stuff happening in the world of Nick Cooper!  And telling him to “go away” doesn’t even work!

I WILL miss Nick’s reliability and sense of duty – if something needs to be done, investigated or followed up, he’s the man to go to.  Big or little job.  Hard or easy job.  He even normally does it without complaining.

I WON’T miss Nick’s singing and dancing.  How does that man know the lyrics to every song that’s played on the radio?  Worst still when he used to play the Moody Blues at ear splitting volume and sing along to that.  Painful memories there for sure.

All jokes aside, Nick and I have worked together for a very long time and the thing I will probably miss the most is the ease of relationship you have when you’ve worked with someone for that long.  We can’t offend each other – we’ve tried and it’s like water off a ducks back.  We can have tantrums with each other and we don’t even have to apologise afterwards.  We’ve built up a form of unspoken language where one look can say much more than words ever could.  As Nick would say, “he’d get less for murder” or even worse “it’s like he’s got two wives, both telling him what to do”.

Amazingly, Nick has only ever had two jobs:  starting as a young cadet in the RAF before transferring to the RAAF and achieving the rank of Flight Lieutenant; and financial planning, where humble Nick won’t give you any clues but he did achieve quite a few accolades along the way.  Nick decided to start studying while he was in the RAAF and completed a Bachelor of Business, majoring in Accounting.  Not too long after his studies were completed, he decided to leave the RAAF and try his hand at financial planning.  Nick took a position as a junior planner at a planning firm in Dandenong, where he was taken under the wing of planner Dilip Dutt, with whom he remains firm friends to this day.  Nick then decided that a tree change to Geelong was in order and took up a partnership opportunity with Geoff Peach in Lara (at this time he made the best business decision of his career by hiring me!).  There has been a few business reincarnations along the way, eventually leading where he is today at Income Solutions.   And it has been a ride with a few twists and turns – probably the biggest challenge being Nick’s horrific accident.  Sometimes from bad things, good things can shine – Nick generally understates the severity of that accident but he was lucky to survive it.  He displayed so many of his positive traits to get through that time – determination, strength of character, perseverance.  Plus he proved what we all knew – his tough head was no match for a car windscreen!  As he’ll readily tell you – he won that battle, not the car.

I know it’s with great pride that Nick will tell you that many of his original clients are still his clients today and they are the reason he’s stuck around for so long. While he’s sad to say goodbye, he’s confident he’s left them in good hands.  All good things to come to an end and I’m glad Nick’s decided it’s time to do some things for himself.  He’s going to tick off some bucket list items – a couple of cruises around this beautiful world we live in and if you’re travelling on the roads look out for the old bikie putt putting past you on his motorbike!  Give him a wave when you see him.

Alison_Adams

By Alison Adams, Business Development Manager

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