Tag Archives: Financial Planning

Women & Retirement

Seeing there’s actually no fixed aged when you can retire, it’s really completely up to you.  What it does come down to usually is, can you fund it?

Most start thinking in their’s 50’s about how it’s all going to work, as entitlement to the Age Pension is somewhere between 65 and 67, depending on when you were born.

Often a gradual transition is the way to go, slowly cutting back on days at work, going part time before finally exiting the work force for good.  Other conditions to consider when approaching retirement and leaving the work force for good are the loss of social interaction provided by work and the mental stimulation that’s provided.

Do you have hobbies that can take the place of your usual schedule or will boredom quickly creep in?  Exiting slowly can help you keep a hand in, whilst transitioning slowly, giving you a taste for what lies beyond work.

Some may choose to continue working part-time towards their 70’s as life expectancy moves forward.  Others have always wanted to volunteer for a local school or charity and now enjoy giving back to their local community.

If you still have a partner, discussing expectations and plans for life after work is essential to ensuring you’re on the same page.  Suddenly being together 24/7 isn’t everyone’s ideal start to their retirement years.

For others, it’s time to buy that caravan or Harley (or both!) and join the multitudes of Grey Nomads touring the country!

For others it’s not so easy.  Forced retirement may be brought on by having to assist in caring for aging parents or unwell children or grandchildren.  This can seriously impact your ability to put away additional funds to help in your retirement years.

And still, financial considerations remain top of mind.  How much you’ll need in retirement is completely dependent on the lifestyle you’ll be living…  And what you have saved to boost your pension will often dictate that lifestyle.

You might want to sit down with your planner long before retirement is on the horizon and discuss strategies that may suit your circumstances.  If your debt is low, it may be time to give your superannuation funds a boost by implementing salary sacrifice strategies.  For those closer to retirement, it might be worth considering a Transition to Retirement strategy.  Those on a lower income may be able to take advantage of the Government’s Co-Contribution strategy.

Getting the right advice for your situation is likely the best investment you can make in your future.  So how does retirement look for you?

Mindset Matters

Mindset matters.  If I’ve learnt anything from my trips to Africa with The Hunger Project and helping people in abject poverty to turn their lives around, it’s the importance of our mindset.  Mindset drives every part of our lives from our wealth and happiness to achievements and relationships.

If the words ‘financial planning,’ ‘budget’ or ‘money and finances’ leave you feeling bored or disengaged, it’s time for a change of mindset.  You are the one who can change your financial future.  I’ve met many professional and successful people who put ‘money’ on the back burner and hope it’ll take care of itself somehow.

But, only you can decide to become interested in your finances.  It’s the first step in making any progress and can happen as quickly as you decide to become interested.

And it may not be suddenly being interested in ‘finances’ but again, working out what makes you happy.

If an annual holiday where you can ski, dive or relax with a good book in a hammock is really important to you, you will find ways to make it happen.  If paying down the mortgage or getting rid of credit card debt is important, then setting goals and taking an interest in their outcomes if the first step.

Goals based financial planning is much more effective as it’s tied to outcomes.  You’re getting to set the goals and constantly achieve them.  It’s much easier to give up a night on the town or drinks with your mates if you know that the $100 you spend now, will be a dive on your trip, or ski hire for a day.

Setting our intentions is paramount.  ‘I want to save $5, 000 for a week in Thailand or $10,000 for a driving trip down Highway 1 in the USA by this time next year means’ we have become very clear on what we want and when.  ‘Someday’ and ‘one day’ don’t cut it when planning.  Attention to detail helps us to reach our intentions.

Depending on our upbringing and thought patterns, money or the thought of it, can trigger emotions.  If the thought of doing a budget or having a certain amount set aside makes you happy, then great!  But if you are getting knots in the stomach at the thought of sitting down to examine your finances, it might be time to examine your thought patterns more closely.

If you do feel that you trigger a particular emotion when dealing when money or react to something when the subject comes up, take time out to examine your reaction.  Is what you think really true or could there be other possibilities?  Learning to insert ‘thoughts’ between triggers and emotions can take time.  Seek professional help if you’d like to understand more about your triggers and thought patterns and feelings.

Some are brought up to believe that ‘money is the root of evil’ yet the original text states that ‘the love of money is the root of evil.’  There’s a very clear distinction here between ‘having money’ and greed.  It may be worth examining some other strongly held views.

If debt is a problem, the same theory can apply.  “I want to eliminate my credit card debt entirely in the next two years” helps us to focus on an outcome that will make us happy and feel much more content.

What’s a goal that you’d like to start working towards today?  And when would you like to achieve it by? I’d love to hear from you!

Get it Together!

There’s so many things that fall into the too hard basket!  Life is busy and there’s so many other priorities!  Just making it through each day and falling into bed at night is a good day’s work for a lot of people.

But, when a tragedy befalls someone near and dear to us, we often see the fallout when people don’t have their sh*t together.  I’m often approached for insurances or to update beneficiaries of a super fund prompted by the life events that happened to ‘someone else.’

So what are the main areas to ‘get on top of’ when it’s time to get your act together?

Here’s my top tips!

  • Make sure your Will is current and reflects your wishes
  • Ensure you have appointed Powers of Attorney – Enduring and Medical
  • Make sure beneficiaries are nominated on Superannuation & Insurance Policies
  • Consolidate those Superannuation funds that you have lying around – or keep them if they have vital insurances
  • Ensure assets are owned correctly and your bank accounts are in order
  • Check over your Insurance Policies – especially Life, TPD, Trauma and Income Protection – are the levels of cover enough?
  • Bring the people who’ll be involved in sorting out your Estate up to date with your wishes
  • Ensure tax returns are up to date and completed annually – personally and for your business entities
  • If you have a partner or family, make them aware of what you’d like to happen
  • Let a couple of different people know where your important documents are stored in the event of the unexpected

Life changes.  Partners can come and go, children grow up and live their own lives, grandchildren arrive and significant people can waltz in and out of our lives.  It may be hassle to work through the list, and yes, some of it may be costly, but if you truly love those you’re leaving behind, one of the best gifts you can leave, is to have your sh*t together.

You really don’t want the crazy ex to benefit from your estate when your gorgeous new partner will be left destitute because you didn’t take the time to update your paperwork!

So, set a date to every year, ensure everything is just how you want it.  It could be on a birthday, an anniversary or at the turn of the calendar or financial year.  Get each area finalised then run an annual check to make sure they still reflect what you’d like to happen when you’re not there to arrange it.

I’ll bet there’s a few people who’ll be very thankful you did.

 

What does an Adviser really do?

The term financial adviser or financial planner has been around for a long while.

When I left school though, I’d never heard of a Financial Adviser and certainly didn’t know it was a career path, or that it was the one I would take.

I knew about Life Insurance Agents or Brokers, Accountants, Economists and not much else.  So if you’re like I was, and not really sure what a planner did, allow me to enlighten you…

Advisers are Authorised Representatives of an organisation that is licensed by ASIC (the Australian Securities and Investment Commission.)  Some choose to hold their own license, some are through non-aligned companies and others are through big corporates that you may recognise such as AMP, MLC (NAB) or ANZ.

The upshot is, you need to be licensed to give advice and that’s a role we take pretty seriously.  People pay us for what we know, meaning we’re in a very trusted position and one that we don’t take for granted.

When you initially meet or research an Adviser, chances are you’ll be provided with their Financial Services Guide and Adviser Profile.  This outlines what your Adviser is allowed to provide advice on.  Some are very limited and choose to specialise in a particular niche, such as Insurance or Self-Managed Super Funds (SMSF.)  Others are educated in many areas and are called ‘generalists.’  Additional accreditation may be achieved in areas such as Aged Care and SMSFs.

Most covered areas include investments, finances, budgeting, insurance, superannuation, retirement and pre-retirement planning, estate planning, risk management, business risk mitigation and taxation.  Advisers are usually only too happy to let you know the areas that they’re qualified in and can offer advice on.

Chances are, seeing an adviser can add value to your personal financial situation, so why not consider a meeting with a planner real soon!  Most offer their initial consultation at their own time and expense, so what have you got to lose?

Why chat with an Adviser?

With only around 20% of Australians thinking it’s worthwhile seeking professional financial advice, it begs the question – ‘what’s in it for me?’  ‘Why would I see a financial adviser?’

And I can give you 6 pretty good answers to that question!

Firstly, seeing an adviser can help you set and achieve personal financial goals.  Sure, you can do that on your own… but do you?   Most of us fare much better when we share our goals and feel accountable to someone for achieving them.  But then, some never think to set financial goals or have a clue about achieving them.  This is where an adviser can provide much value.

Secondly, we can help you make the most of your money.  Chances are, if your like most you live first and save last… if there’s anything left over.  Advisers can assist with salary packaging, planning, tax minimisation and ensuring you get paid and get to save.

We also know a bit about Centrelink, and have helped some who didn’t even know that they were entitled to the Pension or an Allowance to be able to claim what they’re entitled to.

One of my favourites tho is assisting you to feel more in control of your financial situation.  Knowing that you’ve got a plan, someone to keep you on track and that each year you can see that you’re getting ahead, is priceless!

We all make mistakes, it’s a part of living and learning.  But some of them can be extremely expensive.  Being able to run business, investment and financial deals past an expert who knows their numbers can potentially save hundreds or even thousands of dollars in expensive mistakes!

And finally, we know all about protection.  Having a brilliant financial plan is no good if all that you’ve already worked so hard for isn’t protected.  Ensuring that your own life and the wellbeing of your loved ones is taken care of means real peace of mind.

Now, aren’t they 6 good reasons to make an appointment today?

 

Financial Question Time

Does your money situation make you feel messy or clean?  Maybe it’s time to knuckle down and ask a few questions to help you get on top of your personal financial situation.  Try these on and see how well you go!

Can you easily locate where are your important financial papers are?

Are your tax returns all lodged and up to date?

Do you know what you have in your bank account/s at any given time?

Do you have a current and valid will and power/s of attorney?

Do you need to review your life insurance and protection strategies?

What can you do today to make some progress to get on top of your financial situation?

Can you duck out and purchase some folders or storage boxes to do some filing?

Do you need to ask for friendly help or professional assistance?

I’m sure you’ll find It’s amazing how much more in control you will feel when you’re on top of your organization!

These questions aren’t about having more money, just simply honoring what you do have in an orderly fashion.

Million Dollar Round Table Experience 2014 KL


Well, I’ve been back for a little while and am still trying to digest all the great information supplied by Keynote speakers and panelists at the MDRT Experience. @MDRtweet

The Million Dollar Round Table has two gatherings each year for professionals in life insurance and financial planning from around the globe.

Last year I was privileged to attend the annual conference in Philadelphia as a Qualifying member.  For the Experience, you don’t need to be a member and so it was a great opportunity to have my rookie team members hear from some international speakers with great ideas, sales tips and motivational stories.

I’d already stressed the importance of social media to the guys before heading off and we managed to connect with Colleen  Francis, a keynote speaker from Canada and her company Engage Selling prior to the meeting.

It was a treat to meet with her and Mike Hoffman, the ‘King of Whoo’ and self proclaimed Comic Ninja on one of the lunch breaks. 

Sanjay Tolani from the UAE kicked off the sessions by advocating that we find our Why.  Always great advice, especially in light of the re-branding journey we’re currently embarking on. From personal experience he showed that sometimes we just don’t have time on our side and we need to be the Doctors of Finances for many of our clients.  Show what we have in place and be advocates for our clients to get it right. @srtolani

Jack Uldrich was next, a futurist who proclaimed that the best way to predict the future, was to create it.  He also raised the idea of reverse mentoring where we hire someone younger and with less experience than ourselves so we can again see the world and our business or life through fresh eyes and learn from a new generation on how things are done. @jumpthecurve

The lovely Colleen Francis was next, urging us to make this our ‘best year yet!’  We have the power to affect families lives and are no longer in a sales process but partner with our clients in the buying process. Buyers engage because they have a need and we need to meet with them regularly. @EngageColleen

Bill Cates was next up on Referrals, telling us that Cold Calls are our punishment for not getting enough referrals.  He urged us to keep providing value and have a different mindset on referrals.  Ask ourselves: Do I give referrals?  Do I see asking for referrals is an extension of how I serve my clients? Have I made a decision to run my business by referrals? Am I fully committed to referrals?  Lots to consider here.  @Bill_Cates

Ryan Pinney assured us that ‘Insurance is bought by people of character who care more about someone else than their money.’ True that!  Our clients want value and we should be focused mainly on our existing clientele. @TheProAdviser

Day 2 kicked off with the huge energy supplied by Mike Hoffman, the King of Whoo and he had the whole room excited with his YouTube vid before he even walked out on stage for his own Igniting Performance.  He asked each of us if we were a one per center? Or wanted to be in that top category!   Apparently success is not genetic! We need Three things:  Learn, Adapt & Apply! Got it! @Hoffman_Mike

Sarah Kaelberra told us ‘It’s all in the questions,’ with the punchy “The more you ask, the more they tell, The more you listen, the more you sell” ringing in our ears at the end.

The band Roundabout played the breaks, all made up of MDRT members and it was great hearing how they’d all met, connected and what each had gotten out of their various years of attending MDRT conferences.

Duncan McPherson of Pareto Principals from Canada was up next and had lots to share on Practice Management, Relationship Management and how to Competitor proof your clients. @Duncan8020

Eric Feng from The Charisma Academy led another high energy talk highlighting that Life is a popularity game, where people buy people first, and quoting the popular phrase, ‘People may forget what you said or did, but never, how you made them feel’ by  Maya Angelou. @eric_feng

The entire executive committee ran through their own experiences over the years with MDRT and to wrap up Janine Shepherd, a fabulous Aussie inspired us with her story. From Olympic hopeful to waking up from a truck vs bike accident in the spinal ward, she moved us with how she found Rock Bottom was a great place to start moving on from. The clean slate headed her off in a new direction and she now flies and teaches acrobatic flights.  @janineshepherd

Aside from that, it was also great to realise I wasn’t the only Aussie girl in a room of over 5000!

So another conference wrapped, lots to reflect on and still a big year ahead…