Adversity and perseverance in every day life

In December, we Bec blog Jan 2016at Income Solutions held our End of Year Event in Geelong and Melbourne to say “thank you” to our wonderful clients. Every year we have a theme and this time it was “Adversity and Perseverance”. What does that have to do with Financial Planning? Well, in terms of “hanging in there”, quite a lot really.

In a complex world with billions of inhabitants, we often find ourselves needing to be tough in order to get by – and some have it much harder than others. One of our guest speakers at the event was Moira Kelly; an amazing humanitarian who thinks nothing of entering a war torn country to help sick and injured children receive adequate medical care and a warm bed. Her list of achievements and awards from 1986 onwards would make most of us feel incredibly guilty for complaining about a bad hair day or not having a nice enough car.

Moira is one of those special people with a very interesting psyche that not all of us are born with. As a little girl, she wanted to work with Mother Theresa to help those in need. At the age of 18, her wish came true. However, Moira made it happen. She willed it to happen, but also planned and took the necessary steps to make her dream a reality.

A timely example of this level of perseverance is Mr David Bowie and his rise to fame. This week I watched a documentary on his journey to creating the Ziggy Stardust character. I like to think I’m quite knowledgeable about music artists, as my preferred literary genre is the music biography. However, I wasn’t entirely aware of just how long it took Bowie to score a hit single and sell a decent amount of records. As David Jones, he formed his first band at 15, at 20 he released a strange novelty single that flopped, followed by a string of unsuccessful singles. It took Bowie ten years to become the huge star and incredible artist we know and love (and mourn) today. The level of belief in himself and his talent is what eventually made him one of the most influential music artists of all time. Most musicians would have given up during that ten year period.

So how does adversity and perseverance apply to you and I, in our everyday lives? We don’t need to be a Moira Kelly or a David Bowie to reach our goals. However, if we want to live a fulfilling life and do the things we love, we have to “hang in there” sometimes. Are you in the right job? Do you even like it, let alone love it? Would you consider going back to study to get a job you really want? Are you currently earning what you deserve? In terms of finances, is your money working for you? How (if at all) is your money and super invested?

So many questions to ask ourselves! Sometimes we have to change a few things in our lives to get on the path we should be on. Some of us will face adversity, most of us will need to persevere – but we only get one shot at life. At Income Solutions, we’re more than just financial planners – we believe that investing in yourself and doing what you love is the key to a happy and fulfilling life; and we talk to our clients about this every day.

Are you just starting out and want to find out about putting a plan in place to secure your financial future? Perhaps you just want to learn more about how your hard earned cash can be better invested? We have a range of free information sessions held in our Geelong and Melbourne offices which cater for everyone. It doesn’t matter how much you earn, or where you are in life, you can make some informed decisions and sensible choices to help design yourself a life that you can be passionate and excited about. So, get in touch!

Rebecca Lee, Marketing Manager

Myth #4: My Adviser should get me the best returns

SN blog 2016With recent market sentiment being all negative, oil price concerns, China devaluing the Yuan and Australian Share markets at a 2 ½ year low earlier this week, it’s timely that I post the 4th Financial Planning myth of the series; My Adviser should get me the best returns.

A good Financial Adviser, in fact, should be brave enough to admit that they’re unable to control markets and manipulate your portfolio to time markets and ‘buy low and sell high.’ Likewise, adding value by ‘picking’ individual stocks or Fund Managers is elusive.

As John Bogle, Founder and former CEO of Vanguard puts it, ‘Successful Investing is all about common sense.’ ‘Simple arithmetic suggests, and history confirms, that the winning strategy is to own all of the nation’s publicly held businesses at very low cost.’

“So what does a Financial Adviser do, then?”

A truly great Adviser should assist you to build a capital base that produces enough income to enjoy the lifestyle you want to live in the future; all whilst juggling your short term goals such as building a family, educating said loved ones, paying for travel to give your family great experiences along the way, covering contingencies (in case life doesn’t go as planned) and allowing you work-life balance – so you can enjoy the spoils of your hard work.

Indeed, there are many roles an Adviser should play in your life; including educating you to make sound decisions with money, reassuring you during tough times, giving you recognition for your efforts and achievements, providing you with peace of mind, and offering a sounding board to bounce ideas off.

My favourite description is ‘an unreasonable friend’. As a coach and a friend, your Adviser will be someone in your life who gets behind you and can give you a nudge beyond the normal limits you have set for yourself in order to help you reach for something greater. Someone who will not simply tell you what you want to hear, but rather what you need to hear, and always put your interests in front of theirs. It sounds simple, but that is often very difficult to find.

To book an appointment with an Income Solutions Adviser, visit our website now!

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

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

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

 

 

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

Mini money management

Aug blogOne Saturday morning whilst having a coffee, my mind wandered back to my childhood. I remember my sister and I often asked our parents for money, to which the usual response was, “Do you think money grows on trees?” If we persisted though, we usually had our way.

Looking back now, I realise this was probably not the most effective method of teaching us money management. My parents must have done something right though, as I grew up with a great sense that money is in limited supply and I must to be careful managing it.

Teaching children to manage their own money is very important. The Government’s Money Smart program provides some great school-based resources to assist children with managing their money. There are also some terrific ideas for around the home.

Here are my top 3 tips for children:

1. Start Early
Always remember it is never too early to start teaching your children about money. Show them how much they can buy with a small amount of money by taking them to the shop to buy the newspaper. Talk to them about the difference between ‘a need’ and ‘a want’.

2. Encourage Them To Save
Sit down with your children and write a list of what they what to buy. Discuss with them how much pocket money they need to set aside each week, and how long it will take for them to have enough money for the item on their list.

There are two ways this can be done:
• Encourage them to put their savings into a clear jar, so they can see their savings grow.
• Open a savings account for them and take them in to the bank to deposit their money.

3. Budgeting
Budgeting is an important skill for everybody to learn. It doesn’t mean you need to draw up a formal budget. Some tips given by Money Smart include:

• When giving children pocket money, give a combination of coins and notes. This will assist them in learning how to handle different sums of money, and will also allow them to put some coins toward their savings straight away.

• Give them a small amount of money at the shop counter and let them check if the change is correct.
• When they are a bit older, tell them what you need, send them to the shop with a set amount of money and let them keep the change. This will make them consider different brands, prices and, in some cases, bulk buying.

Money Smart also has many great tools and calculators to assist in teaching your children about saving and budgeting. It doesn’t matter which method you choose to teach your children about money management, the important thing is to start early. Like many things, looking after money becomes a habit, and once learnt it is not forgotten.

By Ash Irwin, Associate Financial Planner

Please note: The advice in this article 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.

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