Tree Change, Sea Change Checklist for Success

Diving CairnsYes You Can, Start Living Your Dream, Sea Change, Tree Change.

The following checklist is essential for your success.

Have you ever visited a place, enjoyed the people, the activities, conveniences and surrounds so much, that you felt yourself saying "this is the place, where I can truly live my ideal life?'

In fact living the dream thanks to improvements in communication and technology, is much easier than you think.

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Hope is not a plan

action always beats intentionI’m a glass half full kind of guy. I like hope. I often sit around and rely on hope. I hope to be healthier. I hope to be financially successful. I hope to get a promotion. I hope to have good relationships. I hope to travel overseas in 2022 😊.

However, sitting around and hoping for a better outcome is not a plan. It’s expecting somebody else to do something and do the work for us.

Yes, we might hope we are making the right decision, but the reality is that we all need to decide and follow this through with action, so that our decisions today become our hoped-for reality.

The truth is that if we want to have more certainty in our lives and give ourselves a better chance of success, we need more than just hope, we need to do the work.

From personal experience I accept that yes change can happen in a moment, however coming to this decision of change and doing it, can take years if not decades, if all we have done in the past is hope.

The good news is that we are not our past, and every day we have an opportunity to make better choices and do the work needed, to bring us closer to experiencing our ideal life.


I remember reading a Tony Robbins quote that has stuck with me ever since “Success is simple, but not easy. We need to know specifically what we want, know how much it will cost us, then pay the price for it. Not  just willing to pay the price, but actually paying for it”.

On the 25th of May 1961, J.F.K. announced the goal of landing on the moon, but it would cost $28 billion dollars ($280 billion in today’s dollars adjusted for inflation), 400,000 workers and only became a reality, eight years later, on the 20th of July 1969.

My point is, achieving a goal comes at a price. The bigger the goal the greater the cost.

So, if I want to be healthier, I must pay the price of denying myself an unhealth lifestyle, unhealthy relationships, then begin doing the work to become healthier.

If I want to have greater financial security, I must save and invest, instead of continuing to spend my money on wasteful expenses.

And if I want that promotion, then not only do I need to take 100% ownership of my responsibilities, I need to provide evidence of why I should be promoted along with reassuring others of why they can be confident in their decission to promote me. i.e., can we be trusted? Read more about Trust here... Character & Competence.

However, when we take action having hope is also required, because hope empowers us and a give us a moral boost to act.23031485 1502432453166465 5770211316128348742 n

Furthermore, when we fail (learn a better way) along the way to achieving our goals, it’s the hope in our actions, that keeps us going in the face of uncertainty.

When a reporter asked, Thomas Edison "How did it feel to fail 1,000 times?" Edison replied, "I didn't fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps." "Great success is built on failure, frustration, even catastrophe."

In life there are many things outside of our control. The events of the economy, governments, legislation, others’ opinions, the past etc, all to a great extent are all out of our control. However, the choices, behaviour, and habits we choose today, pay forward successes we experience tomorrow.

Hope is important but hope alone is a foolish plan.

The past is be dry cement, however my hope is that the weight of your past is not weighing you down but my hope alone is no help in itself. This is why I have acted on my hope by investing my time and writing this blog for you. To empower you to act. To do something that you and those important to you get to personally benefit from.

Now it’s time for you to get on the field.

Run Forrest Run

The whistle of life has blown, and the ball of life is now in your hands. Your coach, support crew, cheerleaders and crowd can only but watch from the sidelines. Now is the time for you to put into action all you desire, have studied, and practised. Now ‘Run Forrest Run!” 

If you’re still stuck in a funk or you’re lost in a cloud of complexity, feel free to contact me. Most often in life we just need someone to talk things through and to lighten our load a little. The following articles may also be of help.

The Price of Success

Are You In the Way of Your Own Success?

Wholeness versus Happiness

From Little Things Big Things Grow

This post was written by Peter Horsfield, as such they are his personal views. Peter helps you to focus on what’s most important, the right strategies at the right time. To learn more about How to become Financially Independent visit Peter Horsfield Smart Advice

About Peter Horsfield

Peter Horsfield in an Authorised Representative and Investsure Holdings Pty Ltd ABN 16 050 286 630 as trustee for Horsfield Family Trust ABN 55 609 068 513 is a Corporate Authorised Representative of Infocus Securities Australia Pty Ltd ABN 47 097 797 049 AFSL and Australian Credit Licence No. 236523.

Good Fast Cheap. Pick Two.

P1000113A while ago I was stuck.

I’d heard the saying “Money always flows to where it finds the most value” and I’d built my business around this philosophy, finding the best outcomes at the lowest cost for clients with great success.

But at the same time my own costs were increasing, and I was either going to have to pass these costs on to my clients or go broke helping them. Added to this pressure, new players (robot advisers, wealth coaches etc..) had entered the space of financial services offering even lower cost advice products (albeit with less services) and in all honesty I couldn’t compete.

My choices were:

  1. Buy/merge become a bigger business, then seek to find and implement efficiencies, competitiveness and scale, so to remain profitable. Something that really wasn’t desirable to me if I was to be true to myself and clients, read more The Fisherman and the Banker.
  2. Compete with these lower cost competitors; however, this would be a race to the bottom, with no winners and increased compliance risks, read more Extraordinary You
  3. Sell out. Also, not an option because I love helping others, and I think I’m pretty darn good at delivering on my promise to help people achieve financial independence and living their ideal lives with greater confidence, read more Why Your Legacy is Greater than Your Currency

So, I was dumping this dilemma and woes on my friend David, when he said “Good, Fast, Cheap, Pick Two”. “What do you mean?” I asked.

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He repeated, “You can only pick two”, smiling back at me. “Good & Cheap but won’t be Fast. Fast & Good but won’t be Cheap, and Cheap & Fast, but it won’t be Good”.

“That’s gold” I replied, and also quietly I thought “what if I could deliver on all these” i.e., Good, Fast & Cheap.

Since then, I’ve been constantly processing and trying to solve this conundrum, whist experiencing even more profound realisations.

Finding the solution has kept me up at night, helped me revaluate my choices and improve my self-confidence when dealing with difficult people. But I found it!

The solution is Trust. Trust to paraphrase Dennis Denuto in the Castle, “it’s just the vibe of it”.

vibe 300x237

It’s shared in every single individual, relationship, family, team, company, economy, country and nation. It’s the one thing, that if removed will destroy the most powerful governments, successful business, greatest friendships and the deepest love. On the other hand, if developed and leveraged trust has the potential to create unparalleled success and prosperity in every dimension life has to offer.

And what makes trust, you may be asking? It’s simple, but not easy. Trust requires equal parts character and competence delivered in equal parts, character (what we do) & competence (how we do it), and maintaining focus of the three qualities of Good, Fast and Cheap simultaneously, and delivering greater value, every single time.  

Better still, greater trust = lower costs/ cheapness, because the greater the trust the more effecient the process and the ability to reduce costs, for everyone.

And this is our mission, our value proposition, our crusade and goal. To be come the trusted advisor for everyone we work with; our clients, staff, colleagues, and industry participants whilst at the same time holding our own mirror up to ourselves.

Helping others make smarter choices about their money, for the reasons important to them, so to improve their quality of life, is a bold statement, however its also the best call to action, because an inch of action will always move a further forward than our miles of good intentions.

Moving forward I realised that the solution to my stuckness, was to be better, not bigger, and the currency of trust is far more valuable, certain and appealing than trying to compete on price alone.

Better still I had found my solution to staying in business and continue doing what I love i.e., helping others achieve financial independence and improving their quality of life.

So, if you’re stuck like I was, start by asking yourself what’s important to you, and why? And trust within yourself that you already have the answer, you just may need to ask yourself a better question, because by doing so your results will be more certain, empowering and add more value to others lives too.

If you’re still stuck in a funk or you’re lost in a cloud of complexity, feel free to contact me. Most often in life we just need someone to talk things through and to lighten our load a little. The following articles may also be of help.

10 Easy hacks to Start Living Your Ideal Life

Be More You

Finding Your Sweet Spot

Decision Paralysis. Who, How, What, When, Where and Why?

This post was written by Peter Horsfield, as such they are his personal views. Peter helps you to focus on what’s most important, the right strategies at the right time. To learn more about How to become Financially Independent visit Peter Horsfield Smart Advice

About Peter Horsfield

Peter Horsfield in an Authorised Representative and Investsure Holdings Pty Ltd ABN 16 050 286 630 as trustee for Horsfield Family Trust ABN 55 609 068 513 is a Corporate Authorised Representative of Infocus Securities Australia Pty Ltd ABN 47 097 797 049 AFSL and Australian Credit Licence No. 236523.

2021 Benchmarking Success

Well friends, 2021 is now dry cement. Yeah!!!!!!!

ChristmasHowever, before we embark on our plans for 2022, I’d like to share the ups and downs, successes and failures of the 2021 that was.

I do this to keep myself accountable and inspired on this journey called life. As a reference point click the 2020 Benchmarking Success link and a link to previous years here.

The past maybe dry cement, but I believe it’s also important to also celebrate how far we’ve come, reflect on where we could have done better and put myself out there publicly as a form of motivation to do the work, I need to do in making my plans a reality.

I hope that you find my wins, stumbles, and insights help you on your own journey to getting the most out of your life.

Each year I ask, and I answer three basic questions.

  1. What went well?
  2. What didn’t go well?
  3. What to do better?

Feel free to apply a similar format and use for your own journal.





The Good. What went well in 2021?

Milsons PointAs I like to begin on a positive let’s cover the wins of 2021. Here’s what went well in the year that was.

Asset Appreciation

Property prices and shares. Wow! Who would have thought prices were to go up as much as they did? With our properties in Sydney and Cairns appreciating over 20%, as well as similar returns in our share and superannuation portfolios.

While the realist in me still believes this recent spike in value is going to end in tears; especially for those with significant borrowings, the optimist in me, is both humble and grateful for the growth windfall, and the possibilities it may bring.     

(Picture.  Balcony View from our home in. Milsons Point. Sydney) 



Business: 2021 was another standout year.

Done, Awards, and Returns.

IMG 6740 12021 was always going to continue being difficult for every financial planning business in Australia. Additional regulations, higher education standards, and difficult conversations with clients, due to the increased cost of regulations when providing financial advice being just a few of the challenges that we faced.

Still, we achieved success in 2021. We were acknowledged as the Best Advisory Business in Cairns by Top 3, Finalist by IFA (Independent Financial Advisor) Regional Advisor, Australian Small Business Champion, Financial Services Finalist, and a 5 Star Rating for Professional Standards with Infocus Money management.

Our clients also experienced significant appreciation in their assets. For some this brought forward their early retirement plans, while others achieved debt free home ownership and for our retiree’s it meant they became even more financially secure in their retirement.

We also achieved balance. Meaning, we now invest all our time and resources helping our existing clients. No more marketing, no more non-ideal clients, and more time to deepen our existing relationships. A win-win-win for all.




Significant Personal Milestone

A 50th Birthday celebrated with lifelong friends and family.

Wow!!!! I turned fifty and I’m still pinching myself. By the grace of God, I’m still here and looking back, blessed that the NSW & QLD boarders opened (albeit for a very short window) and we were able to celebrate this significant milestone ‘in person’.

Kings SchoolThis group of handsome lads not only shaped who I am today, they are also the most humble, genuine, uber successful and driven individuals you will ever meet. In this list (but not in the photo) includes my parents, brother, extended family and friends.

They comprise of CEO’s, a Chief Commissioner, a Dato’s, Doctors, Entrepreneurs, teachers and more. All who motivate and inspire me to ‘we’ll simply do my best so I can keep up with them and their success’, better yet, we’re still all the same jokers as we were back in high school and can pop a fat head should any of us start feeling too important about ourselves and our successes.

(Picture. 50th Birthday with TKS 1989 Lad's)




Cairns: Lifestyle City of Australia.

Corona, Delta and now Omicron has had a significant impact on all our lives for nearly 2 years now. Fortunately living in Cairns (so far) we escaped the severe lockdowns, with only three days of mask wearing throughout the entire time of this pandemic. Just let that sink in. Only 3 days! That’s incredible.

76c4bb2b 5f97 4e66 ada8 d908bc170a8eWhile we are still not able to travel overseas and since April unable to travel interstate, life pretty much carried on unchanged for us up here in Cairns.

Added to this were the advances in technology and their boarder acceptance that have helped us to maintain and deepen our existing client relationships as well as free up even more time and even more efficient ways to communicate and assist our clients.

I may change my mind after spending a second full summer here. Today is 35c and 90% humidity and we’ll continue living in air-conditioning for the next few months.

(Picture. Sunset Sailing. Port Douglas)

At least we have wild mangos, jack fruit, lychees, coconuts and more to make our tropical delight cocktails and help us through the summer heat.



The biggest positive to come out of the current purgatory of Covid-19 has been the luxury of time we have had to reflect, experience gratitude, peace, and awe of nature in the tropics.

(Picture. Rosalind Sunset Magnetic Island)

WholenessHaving time to rediscover, what is important and what’s not important, whilst reminded of how fast time passes and how little time we have left, to still do the important things that we value.

Experiencing the travel plans we’d made dashed time and time again, has helped us to simplify our lives, be more present and at least make small steps moving forward with grace and ease, instead of believing we are in control of all things at all times.

We are so grateful we are living here in Cairns, the lifestyle, our clients, our friends, and the abundance of opportunities surrounding us. And the special time we shared with family and friends when back in Sydney wells up within an immense gratitude and love. 



The Bad. What didn’t go so well in 2021?

Where do I start?

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  • International Travel = None. Never simple interstate travel if at all.
  • Health = Yo-Yo weight and comfort food.
  • Financial Services Regulation =  Frustration. Additional studies and inefficient business process.
  • Tenants = Ahhhhhh! Don't mention the war!
  • Family = Shock, Anger, Sadness, Grief & Love.

I could write about each point in more detail, however your and my time is more important. We all know why and how it affected each of our lives and how we dealt with our challenges.                    (Picture: Why the cost of advice has increased)



Soon KiangSadly, Rosalind's sister sadly passed away earlier this year. You will forever be in our hearts Sis Kiang.

Life is short, and the time we spend with each other is precious. Love one another. Support each other, especially during these challenging times and what feels like during this current purgatory annus horribilis,

And because of what we have all experienced in 2021, my hope is that kindness, consideration, and love go ahead of you, and that we all can better appreciate the true joys of life and sharing our moments (good, bad, richer, poorer, sickness and health) with those most important to us,

Looking back, at the events of 2021 and trying to process all that we have had to endure, the challenges we’re dealt and experiencing grief in isolation. With all your being, know that ‘You’ simply getting through the last 24 months ‘You” are a champion, an anchor in the storm, hope to the broken hearted, YOU ARE IMPORTANT and just being ‘You’ makes the world is a better place.







The Ugly. What am I going to do better in 2022?

Working, it ain’t never pretty, hence the ugly!

And there’s a lot of work a head in 2022.

We have home renovations to start and complete, additional studies to be finished, on boarding a new staff in the business, travel overseas to reunite with Ros’s family, and several other plans that I’m keeping close to my chest, so not to jinx their success.

While 2021 was more wait and see, 2022 will be one of, no looking back.

There will be time’s I fail, but I know I will be doing so falling forward. The past is dry cement, but the future is not. One step at a time, do the work, and trust the process, will be my mantra.

Deepening my spiritual connection and putting my gratitude for the blessings I have received into action will also be my top priority. As they say ‘An inch of action will take you further than miles of good intentions, every time’.

We have built a great business with wonderful clients. We’re going to keep it that way and continue to deepen our relationship with our existing clients.

My passion helping others achieve and live their own ideal lives has never been stronger. The challenge for me is maintaining the balance when I enjoy giving so much of my life to my clients and staff.

Bring on 2022.

Why do I do this?

The value of sharing my success, failures and intentions is layered.

Airlie Beach Rum BarFirstly, it holds a mirror up to my recent successes and failures. It also reveals to me the repeating patterns of my successes and failures. It also helps me to clarify my wanted future goals, if they are wishes or are they truly important enough to me to become lifelong habits.

Secondly my hope is that sharing with you my past years successes, failures and future goals also helps you on your own journey toward achieving a better future for yourself and those important to you.

Do the work: Success comes from the commitment to do the work i.e., small, regular, repeatable actions, simply doing the work, increases our probability of success. Nothing more, nothing less.

Enjoy the process: In short; enjoy doing the work, trust the process and let go of the outcome.

It also means turning up, and not giving up. Maintaining focus on the task at hand and not being distracted by the noise of others airing their frustrations and fears.

Let go of the past successes and failures and be more present, so that you will be in a better place, state of mind and readiness to face the future. (Picture Rum Bar. Airlie Beach)

Value you more: As the famous John West add says ‘it’s the fish that John West rejects, that makes John West the best”.  Keep what helps you and let go of the things that hold you back.




Be Better not Bigger: Since 2014.

fitzroy featureIf these experiences and aspirations of mine help you realise a better quality of life and go on to help others, then we’ve both done our part in making the world a better place. This may sound cheesy, however it’s the lens I choose to see life through. 

And so draws the close on 2021. Thank you for reading my posts throughout the past year and I look forward to sharing more of what I have learnt along the way throughout 2022.

Have a fantastic year ahead.

This post was written by Peter Horsfield, as such they are his personal views. Peter helps you to focus on what’s most important, the right strategies at the right time. To learn more about How to become Financially Independent visit Peter Horsfield Smart Advice

About Peter Horsfield

Peter Horsfield in an Authorised Representative and Investsure Holdings Pty Ltd ABN 16 050 286 630 as trustee for Horsfield Family Trust ABN 55 609 068 513 is a Corporate Authorised Representative of Infocus Securities Australia Pty Ltd ABN 47 097 797 049 AFSL and Australian Credit Licence No. 236523.

20 Things That Will Matter to You Less in 20 Years’ Time

Love OneI love this quote.

"Too many people are buying things they can't afford, with money that they don't have. To impress people that they don't like". Anonymous.

So..... Stop doing it!

All too often when making big decisions we get stuck. We make short term emotional choices whilst remaining blind to fullfilling our true core values and the values of our future selves.

So, with the clarity of hindsight and  self-reflection, I give you my list of "20 Things That Will Matter to You Less in 20 Years’ Time". 

20 Things That Will Matter to You Less in 20 Years’ Time 

1. Having more than you really need.

2. Winning at everything.

3. Needing to know everything.

4. Your job.

5. Fancy stuff.

6. Shallow relationships & toxic people.

7. The approval and opinions of others.

8. Being busy, all the time.

9. Taking shortcuts.

10. Endlessly embarking on new fad diets.

11. Perfectionism.

12. Holding onto your failures.

13. Choosing cheapness over quality.

14. Keeping up with the Jones’s.

15. Delaying ones self-gratification.

16. Worrying about things outside our control.

17. Valuing sex more than deeper connections.

18. D.I.Y. versus outsourcing.

19. Gray hairs and character wrinkles.

20. Death.

If you are stuck in a funk or you’re lost in a cloud of complexity, feel free to contact me. Most often in life we just need someone to talk things through and to lighten our load a little. The following articles may also be of help.

10 Easy hacks to Start Living Your Ideal Life

Be More You

Finding Your Sweet Spot

How Much are You Worth?

This post was written by Peter Horsfield, as such they are his personal views. Peter helps you to focus on what’s most important, the right strategies at the right time. To learn more about How to become Financially Independent visit Peter Horsfield Smart Advice

About Peter Horsfield

Peter Horsfield in an Authorised Representative and Investsure Holdings Pty Ltd ABN 16 050 286 630 as trustee for Horsfield Family Trust ABN 55 609 068 513 is a Corporate Authorised Representative of Infocus Securities Australia Pty Ltd ABN 47 097 797 049 AFSL and Australian Credit Licence No. 236523.

10 Revealing Questions About You and Your Money!

Picture 457When it comes to our choice and money, we always make emotional decisions and then rationalise them according to our values. I have created the following 10 questions, to ask yourself about money, make better choices about our money, and achieve a better outcome for both ourselves and those important to us.

  • Do I feel poor?
  • Do I feel worthy?
  • Are the opinions of others hindering me from following through on choices that inspire me?
  • What is my enough number?
  • If I could change one thing about my finances, what would it be?
  • What is important about money to me and why?
  • What is the biggest risk to me achieving my financial goals?
  • How do I want to be remembered?
  • Are my financial choices and actions in alignment with my core values & what is important to me
  • What is my wealth philosophy?

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Getting sh#t done!

Yes You CanOh man. It’s happening again !!!!!!

Another rule change to implement and this on top of another change in regulation, another additional education requirement, another change to how we work and having to do all this just to keep pace with the changes to our profession we aspire to be great at, so we can continue to do what we love i.e., help our clients.

It doesn’t blindside me. It’s more like a mix of groundhog day and being a frog slowly boiled, “grenouilles bouille” for the Francofiles, “yudegaeru” to the Japanese and “rana hervida” to the Spanish speakers among us.

But then it happens.

Burnout, exhaustion, apathy whatever you call it; the bottom line is that it all gets too hard. Everything that is outside my control and that I wrongly thought was in my control gets the better of me. these feeling not only undermine even what I know is in my control but just can’t do anything, anymore.

I know it’s wrong, but to take my mind off my guilt, I'll start checking on my social media accounts. Obviously, this makes me feel worse and at best distracted and even guiltier. Making me feel even more worthless and sapped of energy, because I'm not out there slaying dragons and conquering the world.

Enter the spiral down of self-loathing aided by procrastination, search for soothing industry news wanting to hear others complain (soothing to see it’s not only me), junk food and motivational Youtube videos. 

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The 10 Important things about personal finance, someone without a finacial background needs to know.

photo6Whether you've just started out on your journey to achieving financial independence or you're well on your way, but feeling a bit lost.

The following are some nuggets of gold I've discovered along the way that has helped and encouraged me too.

1. Investing in yourself will be the most valuable and highest returning investment you will ever make.

2. Aligning your financial choices to your core values will help you not only make better decisions, you will also be able to make them faster, more confidently and give yourself a higher probability of success.

3. More money is only the outcome of doing everything else right. Money alone is not the reason for getting your life and finances in order.

4. Money always flows to where it receives the most value.

5. Time is a finite resource. It is the invisible ingredient when making any decision, plan and realising your goals.

6. Better to save on fees, taxes and protect your earnings from inflation, than solely focusing on your investment returns. If you can reduce these costs, you can increase your investment returns without increasing your investment risk.

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10 Strategies to Increase Your Cashflow in Retirement

Horsfield FamilyThe biggest fear I hear from my retiree clients is they do not want their money to expire before they expire.

Australia has an enviable retirement safety net for their seniors. It's called the Age Pension and along with a superannuation system established in 1991 (30 years old) it ensures at least some additional funds for retirees to help with their day to day living expenses.

Some people I meet with want to access the full age pension. Others just want a part pension so they can access other benefits i.e., reduced rates, medical etc.

Regardless of retirement or not, I’ve never met anyone who wanted less income or that didn't want to increase their cashflow.

The following list is more tailored for retirees who are seeking legal ways to increase their cashflow in retirement, however some strategies are also relevant to those still working too.


10 Strategies to Increase Your Cashflow in Retirement

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How to Confidently Retire in 5 years’ time or Less

Hawiian StyleThe greatest equalizer of all, is time.

Regardless of our sex, nationality, physical ability, money, career or up bringing, we all have the same amount of time. And it has always been so.

Nothing has changed. A thousand years ago, people only had 24hrs in a day and seven days a week to do everything they need to do. Today we have the same 24hrs a day and the same seven days in a week.

The other great equalizer is death. Sorry to sound so morbid, however it is the truth when I say no one is getting out of here alive. And I am sure most if not all of us would rather be spending more of our time experiencing what life has to offer rather than working till the day we die.



1. Whether we do or do not, time will pass regardless. With this in mind, working backwards is the first and arguably most critical ingredient for our success.

Be More YouSpecifically defining what our ultimate goal is, then breaking it down into measurable long (yearly), medium (monthly), short (daily) activities, allows us the highest probability of success.

Doing so we can then better benchmark our progress, hold ourselves accountable and motivate us to do the work we need to do to achieve our goal.

For example, if our goal is financially independence in five years, requiring an additional $500,000 in savings alone. Our yearly goal would be to have $100,000 saved. Our quarterly goal to have $25,000 saved. A daily savings goal of $273.97 per day being required to achieve our goal.

By knowing what we need to regularly achieve and benchmarking our actual progress we give ourselves a better opportunity to make not only tactical changes along the way, but we are also better placed to make quicker decisions, silence our distractions, and have greater confidence we are making positive progress towards our goal

2. Money and Time = Financial Freedom. Ultimately financial independence is achieved when passive income from our activities/ investments is greater than our daily living expenses. In business circles this is called Free cash flow.

GoalsFor those of us who achieve this, the world becomes a hugely different experience along with a shift in priorities. Those who have achieved financial freedom often valuing time over money. Their legacy over consumerism. Relationships and experiences over the accumulation of more wealth.

Achieving passive income greater than our expenses can be achieved many ways. We could choose to increase our income and maintain our current living expenses. Maintain our income and choose to reduce our expenses. Or do a bit of both.

In my own experience I have found the third option i.e., increase my income and decrease my expenses has turbo charged achieving financial freedom sooner along with helping me to better prioritise what is important to me on this trip we call life.


3. Aristotle’s “Golden Mean” and knowing when enough is enough. Moral behaviour is the mean between two extremes- at one end is excess at the other deficiency. Find a moderate position between those two extremes, and you will be acting morally”.

Golden PandaThe challenge of many who are still working while at the same time very financially dependent is overcoming their fear of letting go. They fear of losing their own label, importance, and power. Sadly, this fear holds them back from deeper relationships with their families, undermining their own physical/mental health and direct benefits of experiencing the opportunities only they can experience through their own participation.  

The mirroring of this applies to those who are not financially secure and see no value in working. However ultimately the same outcome is experienced i.e., eroded relationships, declining physical/mental health, and a lack of direct benefits due to limiting experiences.

My hope is that out of this covid-19 epidemic, instead of trying to live a work/life balance, we reprioritise our lives to be more of a life/work balance. Both are important and together they enhance our lives and experiences

4. Active vs. Passive retirement strategies. The problem is not one of “Active vs Passive” investing, but rather emotional-based vs. long term disciplined investing.

Emotional investingThis opinion was backed by Dalbar Inc after it had undertaken a study of passive vs active investors over a period of 20 years. There research showing that active share market investors had achieved an annual return of just 3.9%pa vs the market index annualised return of 11.9%pa over the same length of time.

While there is a place for active investment, be it in retirement or while still working considering where one’s best allocation of time, skill and ability is essential to heightening one’s chance of success.

Retirement should be fun, not stressful. So rather than increasing risk and increased losses, considering where you can get the highest gains with the least risk or requiring any of our money.

For example, we may consider a part time/ casual employment in a field you enjoy i.e. substitute teaching that pays $400 per day (50 days per year = $20,000) vs investing $100,000 trying to achieve a 20%pa return. The substitute teaching role required a small-time investment along with no risk to your money.

The point is, especially when retired, consider active activities you enjoy, require only a little of your time and do not risk your investments. Regarding investment decisions in light of the theory soap theory, “the more you touch it the small it gets”.

5. Free cashflow ideas. The following are some strategies to improve your cash flow and help you to retire earlier. 

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10 Easy Hacks to Start Living Your Ideal Life

Ideal Life Hack

  1.   Let go of your past. The past is dry cement. We cannot change it, however the choices we make today can change our future. So, next time your thoughts drift back, and we start to self-judge. Be like Elsa from the movie Frozen and start singing “Let it Go!”.
  2. Do something. “An inch of action will always get you further than miles of your best intentions”. We do not have to do a marathon immediately, just put your shoes on and go for a walk. If you want more financial security, start saving a little. If you want better relationships and business, we can start by making one phone call a day to some one important. Remember motion begets motion.
  3. Get out of your head and go for a walk. Sitting all day at your desk is not only unhealthy it arches our back, slopes our shoulders, and shortens our breath. If we want to feel better, think more clearly, problem solve better and be more creative, then go for a walk with our head up and our shoulders back.
  4. Write it down. “If it’s in your head, it’s dead’. Fact, ninety two percent of people do not achieve their goals. The eight percent who do achieve their goals, all have their goals written down and their goals are specific, motivational, aspirational, realistic and time bound AKA SMART goals.
  5. Decide. Do it. Drop it. Delay it or Delegate it. Deciding to do something or not, helps us prioritise and act. It also gives our brain more capacity to process our “Do it now” tasks that we have chosen to focus on. Deciding increases our chance of success along with less distracting thoughts.
  6. Be accountable to someone. Ever hit the snooze button on your alarm clock after telling yourself you were going to go for that run? Now imagine if you had a friend who had also gotten up super early to exercise with you. Would you have more motivation to get out of bed or hit that snooze button? Accountability works, so draw on its power, to creating your ideal life.
  7. Declutter everything. If it does not serve you or spark your inner joy, it is holding you back. This includes relationships, your career, your lifestyle, finances and whatever else that may be hurting you or hindering you from being true yourself and supporting you to live your ideal life.
  8. Live by your own expectations. Not the Jones’s, not your parents, your boss, your friends or even your partner. Loose the temptation to compare yourself to others. Be true to yourself and discover your own joy. Authenticity attracts as much as it is liberating at the same time.
  9. Make it your thing. Choose an occupation you love, and you’ll never have to work a day in your life”. Chances are if you can make your passion financially viable; you will be more successful, be given more opportunities and inspire a greater number of people who have a similar passion.
  10. Live with gratitude. Although difficult, have gratitude for others and ourselves for our hurt and pains. It is from this pain that we have grown to become who we are today. If we can start to notice the good things, appreciate them and express our gratitude more frequently then we will start to find joy of more things in our lives and experience greater peace.

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10 Reasons Why I’m Not Quitting Financial Planning

peter profileIf you read the media and industry headlines, you'll read that thousands of financial advisers are currently running for the door.

Their reason?

Over regulation, increasing costs, loss of income, increased education standards and ongoing negative sentiment headwinds from the wider public and media.

Let’s not sugar coat the facts.

Now is a very difficult time for the financial planning industry.

I regularly hear stories of advisers who have taken their own lives, lost their homes, their livelihood's and families; at the same time of their career many others would consider thinking of retirement rather than going back to university or a change of career.

Indeed the industry is at a turning point.

The question we all need to be asking ourselves is, "What do we all i.e. consumers, regulators, suppliers (financial product manufacturers) and advisers, want from our financial service providers and how much are we prepared to pay for it?"

Maybe this tongue in cheek approach is the answer?

Our services are Good, Fast, & Cheap......Please pick two.

All bad jokes aside, I continue to see the following universal law of money being applied i.e. Money always flows to where it’s most valued.

Call me a sadomasochist, crazy or simply plain arse dumb for choosing this path however I believe the outcome will result in something better for us all as the financial planning community and industry transitions into a profession.

So as for me, I’m not quitting. In fact I’m very excited and looking forward to sticking around.

So without further ado the following are my top ten reasons I’m sticking around as a financial planner for the long term.

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Certainty Delivers Dopamine

Dopamine CertaintyJust as much as we get a dopamine hit when we eat food, have sex, embark on a new adventure and find acceptance. We experience this same natural drug and feeling when we move from certainty from our initial feeling of uncertainty.

In situations of uncertainty we experience a rush of adrenaline, anxiety, an increase of heart rate, confusion and a racing mind for answers. This too is our bodies physical and an emotional response to a threat i.e. getting us into a state of preparedness and fight or flight for our own survival.

We are all naturally addicted to dopamine. Its function is to both reward us and too keep us alive.

Did you know neuroscientists and researchers have discovered and know can evidence that our brains are determinists?

This means that while sometimes we make decisions consciously more often we make them unconsciously due to our habits, environment, ego and sense of self i.e. we make our choices reactively rather than proactively.

One of my many ongoing activities is to help clients proactively match their comfort and certainty with their investments and expectations, while balancing this with their ever-changing personal circumstances.

I regularly remind them “money flows to where it is most valued” because being humans we value certainty. In money markets certainty has a price. The more certain the return, the lower the expected return.

When it comes to investing this is what bankers, market commentators and economists call “the risk premium” of an investment. i.e. How much more risk are you prepared to expose your investment in order to achieve a higher return?

As investors we experience an adrenaline hit as we buy something and a dopamine hit after we have bought something and we see the value increase i.e. we see our financial position being more certain. A secondary dopamine hit comes from our ability to have predicted something and then have it evidenced back to us that our predictions were correct, resulting in a positive feeling.

Beyond investing, this is also why we feel good after completing a task, passing an exam etc. and provide us an explanation as to why we feel anxious and uncomfortable if we have had poor previous experiences making choices, doing specific tasks or sitting exams.

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The Humble Advisor

The Humble AdvisorWhy would anyone consider financial planning as a profession?

Even before you begin the rallying cry of others intent on undermining trust in an adviser is deafening.

Media articles splash scandals and opinion pieces. Industry fund run blitz propaganda campaigns implying advisors will erode your retirement returns. Authors of general advice = all care no responsibility, promote manta’s that it’s better to do it yourself, ‘if only you buy their book’. Get rich spruikers lord their conflicted schemes while dispiriting the need for any other advice and lastly the well-intended opinion and concern of friend or relative who believe they know better and should be more trusted because <insert ego driven reasons>.

Cutting through all this negativity, let’s say someone still considers contacting you.

Personal communication skills aside and regardless of how empowered you make your enquirer feel, they are still required to reveal to you; a stranger all their personal information, read pages of legal documents, signing authority requests and be judged.

We all judge each other. We judge if we/they are worth the risk. We judge if we/they are worth our time and we/the judge if the relationship is worth the emotional investment. That’s enough to raise anxiety levels in everybody.

You may have a generous spirit. You may have a desire to help your client and make the world a better place. The reality is that we live in a litigious world and other professionals’ existence is reliant on finding fault and gaining compensation.

The reality is that in the eyes of prosecutors, your well thought and researched strategies and recommendations are viewed as potential risk and liabilities. Not a benefit. If your client is better off, if your client achieves their goals and your clients are happy with your services; prosecutors have no case and no work.

So good intentions aside, how defendable are your files? How defendable is your research, comparisons, recommendations, projections and the delivery of your promises? You must be able to evidence all this on request. Be it requested by your client, your professional standards team, industry association, an array of regulators, insurers and now with the introduction of new standards, your peers too.

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What is Focusing Illusion?

Poker with friends in St RemyMany of us assume there is a silver bullet formula to attain happiness in our pursuit of personal growth and a higher quality of life. Better education, our career advancement, improved family harmony, more money, material assets and healthier etc.

However the paradox is that happiness in itself is not in having these ingredients of happiness but in fact the pursuit of these ingredients we have the opportunity to experience the lasting satisfaction if done authentically.

For example. We all know having more money does not mean you are happier. Money is needed to fund a level of quality of life, however beyond this, studies confirm the amount of happiness attained is a diminishing return on effort.

Those who continue to pursue excessive wealth often find themselves with less health (mental, emotional, spiritual and physical), greater worries, and finding less and less fulfilment even when they have achieved herculean levels of greater wealth.

The same applies to studies, our careers, health and any other ingredient of our lives that we feel compelled to need to have in order for us to experience more happiness.

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How to turn your 20 days annual leave into 52 days of holidays in 2020.

MaldivesAs a financial planner for the last 20 years, planning is now well and truly part of my DNA.

And between you and me, once you know the core fundamentals about money planning; working with numbers, projections, legislations and financial product features all day can at times get a bit dry and dull.

So given that today is a Friday, I’m in Cairns and the weekend is just ahead, I thought I’d take a break from the daily grind (while still firmly in my roll of planning) and research the following juicy question.

How to take more time off and still be paid for it?

What I discovered is that with a bit of planning, getting your holiday requests in early (before other staff) and a flexible boss. You can easily extend your 20 days annual leave all the way out to 52 days a year, or a 260% increase in leisure time.

The following maximising you leave and holidays is based on for Queensland Australia public holidays.If you are in another state please check your relevant state holidays there as they may differ slightly i.e. different Labour Day, Queens Birthday, Show Day dates.

Note. For completeness calculations begin from 1st Jan 2020 which is a Tuesday however if you drew on annual leave on the 31st December the first holiday would extend an additional 3 days for a total of 9 instead of 6.

Additional note. If you also took Friday the 27th December off (leave without pay) this could extend the Christmas break length of holidays from 6 days to 9 days (inclusive of weekends, two days annual leave and a day leave without pay).

So let’s begin!

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How we achieve an additional $50,000 in savings annually

HawaiiFirst let’s be clear. We do not live on tins of baked beans or substitute gravel for toilet paper. Ouch!

Secondly the $50,000 in additional savings we are accumulating is not from any increase in income or side gigs.

Our savings are purely from implementing smarter ways and choices to legally keep more money in our pockets instead of others.

Thirdly, we’re not special.

We have the same amount of time and days in a week to do everything we need to do just like you.

Lastly we also each have average incomes. Disclosure we pay ourselves $73,060 (after tax) or $100,000 gross annually.

So how did we do it? How have we found these  additional $50,000 in savings annually without cutting back on our necessities and quality of life?

More importantly, can you too achieve these levels of savings or more?

The short answer is “Yes you can".

You simply need to decide on what you want, identify the price, and decide if you are willing to pay and if so pay the price. Then get on with it.

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How To Pay Off Your Debts ASAP

Paul Sohn How Leaders Can Learn from A Couple Who Paid Off DebtIt's common knowledge that debt and financial problems are the number one cause for stress and worry in our lives. 

Recently I met with "Frank and Ernest" who had amassed combined total debts of $127,000 across their credit cards, home loan and personal loans. 

Frank told me that they expected to be debt free in fifteen years (based on his mortgage etc). 

"How does being debt free within the next five years sound?' I asked.

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If You Were a Listed on the Share Market Would You Buy Your Stock?

Invest in You

Part of my day to day routine is meeting with BDM’s (business development managers). As you can imagine like any meetings some are zzzzz! and some are great.

One of the best questions a BDM has ever asked me was, “If You Were a Listed on the Share Market, Would You Buy Your Stock?”

I remember staring back blankly as I began imagining a bunch of long faced sceptical analysists pouring over my life, benchmarking me as a business, my personal and financial growth, pulling out a slide rule to measure my routines, efficiencies, asking about my life’s back up plans, satisfaction and plans for growth.

“Sure I would” I replied but the question was so great that I continued to ponder it throughout the rest of the meeting.

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