There is a common misperception that Financial Planning is all about Investments and Retirement Planning. Sure, the investment of surplus funds (spending less than you earn in case that is a foreign concept!) and Superannuation is a big part of what we do. However, a good Financial Planning relationship should extend well beyond simply advising on Investment and Superannuation products and strategies.
For example, your trusted Adviser should challenge you to get the best out of yourself in your career or business (what we affectionately refer to as your Purple Box here at Income Solutions) and push you to get outside your comfort zone (much the way a Personal Trainer does).
A solid Financial Planning Relationship is built on not just Trust, but importantly on a process of education. You don’t need to become an expert, but there is no doubt the better understanding you have, the more successful your outcomes. At Income Solutions, we run Information Sessions (including Common Sense Investing, Common Sense Estate Planning and First Steps to Financial Success) to assist you to gain knowledge in all things Financial Planning.
A good Adviser will also give you encouragement and the confidence to spend your Income on the things you’re passionate about; saving for a boat? Wanting the freedom to work part-time and travel more? Far too often Advisers get fixated on assisting their clients to accrue wealth, often at the expense of the very reason you sought advice in the first place, to be in a position to ‘live the life you want to live.’
Last but certainly not least, even when your Finances are in order and you are well educated, your Adviser should assist to facilitate the transfer of wealth to the next generation, embracing the responsibility to educate future generations to ensure the benefits of your hard work is reaped for generations to come, and not cashed in and spent in a heartbeat.
To learn more about the specific areas of advice we provide, find out more about our services here.
Even as a young child I was quite good at putting aside money and saving for things rather than, as most children do, getting my pocket money and spending it on lollies or other sweets.
Throughout my primary and secondary school years I enjoyed maths and problem solving. When I was in year 11 and starting my VCE studies, as one of my electives I chose to study accounting. I also started part time night studies to complete a Diploma of Financial Services, at The Gordon (TAFE). Once I completed VCE studies, I changed to full time at TAFE and before I knew it my Diploma was complete.
I was having trouble finding a job when a friend suggested to me that I give my resume to David Ramsay at Income Solutions. I was a bit unsure of giving a resume to them, as I had not done much study in Financial Planning. However I was lucky and was asked to come in for an interview. It was my first job interview and was very nervous, but David took me ‘under his wing’ and provided me with the opportunity to study a Diploma of Financial Planning. With the assistance of David and the Team at Income Solutions I successfully completed the Diploma.
Even though I’ve always been a good saver, I have learned so much from working here. Income Solutions taught me to invest in myself through study and hard work. I am also building my wealth and on my way to securing a financially stable future. Income Solutions can also do this for you. I know how much effort our staff put into helping clients reach their financial goals and how important it is to provide a valuable ongoing education to our clients. So, why Income Solutions? We think that this “ongoing education” is what sets us apart from other Financial Planning firms in Geelong and Melbourne.
Want to find out more about us and how we can help you? We hold regular information sessions every month – so head to our website and register for one of those, or book in for a free appointment with one of our fantastic Financial Planners.
Are you looking for a job or know someone who is? Why not have a look at our careers section?
A friend came to me the other day asking about shares and to look into a new ‘share trading’ app he had seen advertised on Facebook. He explained that by investing in shares he could turn $250 (the minimum deposit requirement) into $900 in a matter of hours!
This had me thinking, do many people my age see investing in shares as a get rich quick scheme or a way to make a quick buck? From various conversation with friends and family members it seems that they do.
I believe this is the wrong way to think. Shares should be seen as an investment which is held for the long term, providing regular dividends and long term capital growth. We, as young adults, don’t need to find the next speculative stock which share price may double tomorrow.
We have so many years ahead of us that we should be more concerned about creating good saving habits, establishing a sound financial strategy and investing in the right kind of shares. These ‘right kind of shares’ will grow in the background without the need to regularly log onto a share trading app to see if your investment has double (or halved in value) and then quickly sell at the right time. These ‘share trading’ apps sound a bit like gambling to me!
We should be buying the right kind of stocks, holding them for the long term and reaping the rewards of compounding. The information evening that we host at Income Solutions every month (called Common Sense Investing) is a great place to start your long term journey and perhaps hear a new point of view.
With the seemingly endless amount of information available on the web, there is a distinct sense of “I can do it myself” creeping into the human mentality. Whilst this might be true for certain tasks, like replacing an iPhone screen or baking a cake (although the results may not always be as intended ), your finances are one task which you should not attempt to D.I.Y. You should seriously consider taking financial guidance from an expert, like your trusted Adviser.
I use the word ‘expert’ sparingly; a topic Financial Adviser Gareth Daniels explored some time ago here , where Qualifications, Experience, Reputation, Detail and Availability were all postulated to be the fundamental facets of an exceptional Financial Adviser.
Even when you gain confidence in your ability to understand finance, or have sufficient time on your hands to thoroughly research your options, your Adviser should still be your robust foundation, and your voice of reason. Would a Cardiac Surgeon perform his own treatment? We all know a builder with a half-renovated house, right?
The Online Applications process and its reliance on ‘robots’ means that you can now obtain products at the touch of a button – need Life Insurance? Sure. Want a loan for a house? Easy. But what about impartial advice? Does the Policy meet your needs? Who exactly is guiding you through the Claims process in the event things do go wrong?
Finding an Adviser you trust is key to your financial success; a fee-for-advice relationship is a great way to ensure you’re getting advice in your interests and holds your Adviser accountable to adding value all the time. Good advice is worth paying for, or as Benjamin Franklin famously put it, ‘An investment in Knowledge pays the best dividends.’
Book a free appointment today with a Financial Planner at our Melbourne, Geelong, or Colac office.
Recently our very own Alison Adams wrote the below article for RUBY magazine. The message is just too important so we thought the article should also feature as blog post:
I get riled, it irks me, it makes me cringe. Do we really need events specifically targeted at women?
As a woman, I have had a successful career which has allowed me flexibility and choices and sees me treated with respect in my workplace – I’m treated the same as any male counterparts in an industry that has traditionally been male dominated. As a mother of two young girls I don’t feel like there are any limitations or restrictions to their future just because they are female.
So if this is how I feel, why is it that:
Women remain behind men in the pay scale, earning an average annual gross income of $67,000 compared to men who are paid about $82,500 per year.
The Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia tell us that in 2011-12 average super balances were $82,615 for men and $44,866 for women.
I feel equal but these statistics don’t feel equal. Combine this with the fact that:
Women have a longer life expectancy than men.
Women are more likely to have breaks in employment or work part time, either caring for children or elderly parents.
Women could spend 30+ years in retirement. Put another way, on average a 65 year old woman will spend 25% of her life in retirement.
OK, I don’t like to generalise, however we have noticed a trend where women have a tendency to avoid seeking financial advice. This trend doesn’t seem to discriminate – it applies to single women, women in relationships, divorced women, professional women and stay at home Mums. Women are great at being busy. We juggle a lot of roles. We also tend to be competent at managing our households – we definitely seem to have day to day finances under control. The same can’t be said for long term planning – and it’s long term planning that can make the world of difference.
All of these factors seem quite grim. So I’m going to earn less, save less and need to fund a longer retirement. On top of that I’m going to ignore the situation and not seek advice. Situation hopeless, right? Wrong.
In direct response to these issues Income Solutions have developed a targeted presentation for women, helping to break down the issues and provide solutions. There are so many things that can be done to bridge this gap. Every woman should feel empowered to take control and make a difference to their future financial fitness. I’m going to quote on of our advisers, Gareth Daniels “It doesn’t matter how much you earn, it doesn’t matter where you are in life – you can make some informed decisions and sensible choices. You really can design a lifestyle that you are passionate and excited about”. Gareth’s comment wasn’t particularly female focused but boy, his message hits the nail on the head! Ivana Trump once famously said “Don’t get mad, get even”. She was of course talking about making her soon to be ex-husband pay dearly in their divorce. Think about it though – getting even is exactly what we want to achieve. Financial equality…….and we can show women how they can create it themselves without the need to marry and then divorce the rich husband!
How can women get started if they don’t know where to start and are not likely to seek help? In developing Income Solutions for Women, we’ve made sure the presentation is portable. We know Geelong is full of great businesses and inside these great business are owners and managers that care about their employees and their future. After all, that’s just smart business. Our philosophy at Income Solutions has always centred around education – it is the key to empowerment. As a result Income Solutions for Women is now available as a work place session. Come on employers, its history in the making! To book a session or to talk about Income Solutions for Women or any of the other information sessions in our range, give us a call on 03 5229 0577, drop us a line to [email protected], or visit our website.
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?
Find a Financial Planner who understands you as an individual
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!
Work at having a “buffer” amount in your bank account at all times
Work with your Financial Planner to invest your super to help it grow
Get the right insurance in place to protect yourself
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 Womenin 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!
I was recently speaking with long-time friends of mine who are about to have their first child – their Mortgage Broker suggested they consider some Personal Insurances now that it’s not all about them, with the pending birth of their daughter and a Mortgage hanging over their heads – great advice I might add, and he handed them the business card of a Financial Planner he deals with – ‘hang on,’ they said, ‘our close friend is a Financial Planner!’ When we first spoke, they confessed, ‘we thought you only dealt with people with tonnes of money.’ ‘We didn’t know you helped with Income Protection and Life Insurances.’
There are two very valuable lessons here:
1)- Let me be clear that Financial Planning is for everyone; whether you’re single and mortgage free, becoming new parents or buying your first home, planning your wedding (a topical subject at the moment for same sex couples with the Government considering sending Same-Sex Marriage to a referendum after the next election, the CEO of an ASX200 company, or starting to ponder what retirement might look like for you. You might just find it’s not as expensive as you thought, and Income Solutions 4 Step Process (go to: www.incomesolutions.com.au & scroll to Our Process) allows you to check out how we can help you before making any commitment to pay anything whatsoever.
2)- If you’re in an occupation that involves services that are beneficial to your family and friends, don’t assume they know everything you do. The example above drove home this point to me starkly – what if my friends had continued on uninsured and the unthinkable had happened? How would I feel about the situation and the difference I could have made? This is often an uncomfortable conversation, as you don’t want to come across as ‘pushy’ or ‘salesy.’ Thankfully, in today’s environment, a subtle hyperlink like this on a Blog or Social Media post can be a good way to break the ice.
In July, we offered an internship opportunity to Deakin Commerce student Danny Archer. This week we’ve said goodbye to him after seven weeks with us. The Income Solutions team in Geelong enjoyed having a new face in the office, and we were very impressed by Danny’s enthusiasm and how quickly he learned the “ropes”. We took the opportunity to ask him a few questions about his experience as an intern with Income Solutions. (We’ll be advertising more internships soon, details at the end of this post!).
How did you find out about internships at Income Solutions?
I sent an expression of interest e-mail directly to Income Solutions explaining my situation at University, and my desire to obtain an internship with the purpose of gaining an advantage over my co-students by having real, professional experience in my penultimate year of studies.
Take us through the process of applying and being accepted.
Mason replied to my e-mail via a phone call advising me that Income Solutions were impressed with my informal application, and would like to organize a meeting to discuss the matter on a more formal basis. David (CEO) and Mason (Operations Manager) were present at my interview which I was made to feel very comfortable and welcomed in. We discussed my career-objectives, what I wanted out of an internship, what role they were prepared to offer as an internship and also my University layout moving forward.
What was your first impression of the office itself?
I particularly liked the open-plan design of the bottom level offices, giving the firm a tight-knit feel. The most impressive aspect of the Geelong office is the 75-seat Auditorium. A great initiative by David, I attended one of the Common Sense Investing Information Evenings which was held in the Auditorium, and it really reinforced how beneficial it is to the firm.
What was your first impression of the staff?
Meeting the staff was the part of the Internship I was initially most frightened about. I wasn’t sure how they would take to having an Intern in the office, as I am the first, or how they would react to my inevitably repetitious questions about how to complete certain tasks and duties. During my initial tour of the office, every staff member I met welcomed me with a great smile and warm personalities, instantly minimizing the nerves I was feeling and making me feel comfortable from the beginning. Having this support from the staff, particularly the Associates with whom I worked closest with, eradicated any nerves I had about making mistakes on work as I knew help was always there when needed.
What kind of work have you been doing during the internship?
I began completing documents for client review meetings, Unit Calculation spread sheets, Share Dividend spreadsheets, Fee Disclosure Statements (FDS) and preparing the client(s) Portfolio Review files. I found this task very enjoyable and informative as I was able to learn a lot about Superannuation and Pension funds, share dividends and their distribution methods and also different types of insurances available to individuals and families. I was also able to sit in on a client review meeting with Dan, one of the Advisors, and an individual client, which was an experience I had looked forward to throughout the Internship. I really enjoyed being exposed to how an advisor-client meeting is held, and was also able to write the File-Note at its conclusion.
Have you been able to apply what you have learned from your Commerce degree during the internship?
I have been able to apply a considerable amount of knowledge learned throughout my Commerce degree into my Internship. The classes undertaken as part of my Financial Planning major obviously helped having a fundamental understanding of shares, property, cash, insurances, assets, liabilities and estate planning, which I was able to build on significantly during my time at Income Solutions. My Accounting classes also helped, in particular with my understanding of taxation in Australia which is a core component of Financial Planning.
The Advisers at Income Solutions are impeccably professional and have a very strong belief in the investment strategy used at the firm. My outlook on investing in either of the three asset classes has drastically changed due to constant teaching from the Advisers here. I tried to make use of their knowledge as much as possible and asked many different questions about what investment strategy would be best in many different scenarios..
Would you recommend us to other students who want to undertake an internship?
I would definitely recommend Income Solutions as a firm for any student to complete an internship at. The professional development I have been lucky enough to achieve here has exceeded all expectations I had prior to commencing the Internship, and is an invaluable asset I now have as I endeavor to complete my degree and apply for full-time positions post-grad.
Want to be the next intern at Income Solutions? Visit our Careers page and apply. Interview rounds begin in October.