Let your head rule your investment decisions

SPECIAL FEATUREI’ve been watching the news with a heavy heart lately, as I’m sure the majority of people have.  The terrorist attacks in Paris have been shocking and the imagery of people being killed or injured going about their everyday lives, lives not so dissimilar to our own, really strikes fear in your heart.  We start asking ourselves whether we should start changing the way we live.  Questioning ourselves about attending large events.  Asking ourselves how normal life can go on.

The reality is we really don’t know what tomorrow will bring.  But one thing that I firmly believe is that life does go on.  History has shown us that no matter what terrible event happens in the world, normal life continues, the world keeps on turning.  Being part of a financial planning firm, we see people take hold of this fear and uncertainty in world events and they extend this fear to investment markets.  Sentiments like “markets are going to drop” and “the world’s in crisis, so investments will collapse” come to the surface at times like these.  As I said, nobody knows what tomorrow will bring.

The only thing we can do is look at the past and see how financial markets have previously behaved in times of trouble.  When we look at past investment market performance, we can see bumps in the road connected to various world events but in the long term we really don’t see any lasting impact.  If you are investing in the share market you are investing in the companies that we use on a daily basis.  What happened this week in Paris is horrific, just as the attack on the Twin Towers in New York was horrific and the London Bombings were horrific.  Even so, we are still using electricity each day, buying groceries, filling our cars up with petrol – life’s normal consumption of goods goes on.   The normal life that sustains the investment markets.

It’s my birthday today and being a child of the 70’s I grew up loving reggae music.  Bob Marley has a song called “So Much Trouble In the World”.  He wrote the song in 1979.  Clearly the song was written because, in Bob Marley’s opinion, there was a lot of trouble in the world in 1979.  In some respect I guess not much has changed.  One thing I know for sure though – I wouldn’t want to have let world troubles stop me from investing in the share market in 1979.   $100,000 invested in the industrial index in 1979 would be worth approximately $1.7m today and the dividends would be providing me with an income in excess of $70,000 pa.  World trouble can see you experience a whole range of negative emotions but let your head, not your heart, rule your investment decisions…and long live world peace!

Alison Adams, Business Development Manager

Myth #3: Financial Planning is all about Investing and Retirement

Steven Myth 3 blogThere 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.

Steven Nickelson, Financial Planner

Why Income Solutions?

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?

Ash Irwin, Associate Financial Planner

MYTH #2: I CAN DO IT MYSELF

Steven Myth 2With 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.

 

BRIDGING THE GAP – FINANCIAL EQUALITY

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:

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.

Alison Adams, Business Development Manager

Myth #1: Financial Planning is only for ‘Rich’ people

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.

Steven Nickelson, Financial Planner

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