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I owe I oweI owe, I owe. So it's off to work I go.

Have you ever wondered how to get a better deal from your bank?

In this blog we discover some simple and easy ways to both save bank fees and get a lower interest rate on your personal, home and investment loans.

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Grand DesignsCreating our Ideal Life is a lot like embarking on our very own Grand Designs Adventure.

Time, Money, Laws, Plans, Relationships and more are just part of the journey on our path to achieving financial independence and living our ideal life, worry free.

Imagine after watching a binge session of the Block, Flip or Flop, Location Location, Fixer Upper, House Rules, and Grand Design you decided you're going to build your dream home.

Lets also imagine the Grand Design you're about to build will be our final destination, our home, our Bonnie Doon (The Castle). Even architects, builders and developers build their dream homes they'll never sell. 

How shall we get from this inspirational feeling gushing up inside us, to a life that is authentically "living our dream"? 

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ScalpelCreating and managing a financial plan requires both a measure of skill and art.

The following are the areas we look at when creating, implementing and maintaining our own financial plan and those we help.

The best financial advice is simple, specific, relevant and achievable.

So when creating my own financial plan and helping others, what are the foundational pillars I use to ensure we have the greatest chance of success?

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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.

A Frank and Ernest Conversation.
Frank: “You can't be debt free in 5 years or less if you own a home”. 
Me: “Really, do you mind if I use you as an example?”
Frank: “This will be interesting”
Me: “Can you save 10% of your gross income?”
Frank: “If it means I will be debt free in 5 years absolutely.
 
The following table shows the Frank and Ernest's financial income and expenses position

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Uncle Mc Scrooge

Making better financial choices is the key to unlocking higher returns.

So why is creating wealth counter intuitive?

Simply because the more we touch our money, the less it grows.

The following are five age old and proven ways to help you accelerate our wealth, keep it longer and enjoy it more.

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Chef

Recently I had a very enlightening conversation with a chef, and discovered why their cakes always win the awards?

Applied the same way I discovered a foolproof process for having your cake (achieving our own financial goals in life) and eating it too.

Conversation with an Award Winning Chef.

Award Winning Chef: What is the first thing you need to do when you make a cake?

Me: Get the ingredients?

Award Winning Chef: No!

Me: Get the recipe?

Award Winning Chef: No!

Me: Um.... I don’t know, I give up. What do I need to do?

Award Winning Chef: Decide what type of cake you want to bake, and why?

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15th July 2017 - SMARTadvice Finalist Marketing and Communications Award

Cairns-Chamber-of-Commerce-Awards-2017Peter Horsfield and the team at SMARTadvice are incredibly excited and humbled to have been nominated by their clients and peers for the Marketing and Communications Excellence Award in the 2017 Cairns Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Awards.

This award recognises organisations that have most effectively capitalised on market opportunities, integrated innovative marketing techniques and driven demonstrable business success.

No matter the outcome Peter, Rosalind and Moiria already feel like winners and are on the right track to provide a service that not only meets, but exceeds client expectations.

Thank you to everyone that nominated SMARTadvice and inspiring us to give you even more value.

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EffortIn a recent google search I discovered that at best only “4% of the population will ever be financially independent”.

Anyone who’s ever started a savings plan knows that this figure is accurate, as the temptation to spend your money now far outweighs the sacrifice of saving and having more in the future.

Maybe you haven’t discovered how much money our money can make by reinvesting our earnings; especially when working with a trusted adviser to help decide what steps and actions to take and which ones will be the most effective.

Maybe you are saving because we’re told too not realising the benefits from investing aligned to what’s truly important to you; or you’re still trying to figure it all out on our own.

Whatever the reasons are, here are some sure signs that achieving financially independence will be a struggle for you.

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FearlessSadly many of us only know how to live life in fear, without knowing how to escape it.

We’re even schooled and educated to believe that fear is excellent motivator and a catalyst to our “success”.

“Use you fear for motivation” and “Fear is a good thing because it keeps you alive”.

Fear, shame, and guilt in some circles is even promoted as good and to be our trusted battle cries to get us off our butts and move forward towards our goals.

Being fearless is a total game changer and is even more important than having a pair when facing our fears.

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action always beats intention

Twenty one years, three months and a few days ago I looked up into a star filled night sky and I was overcome by feelings of regret, fear, loss and embarrassment.

I didn’t like where I was, what I had become and what the future would hold if I was to continue down the same path I was on. I also remember thinking massive change only comes from massive action.

And so on my 25th birthday I decided, committed and began down my own "road less travelled". 

Today I'm a few decades further down my road as I continue on life's journey, however I now have the greater luxury of hindsight and experiences to reflect back and share with you what has worked what hasn't as well as some helpful tips for fellow travellers.

What does it take to make them (our goals and change in habits) work?

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MonkeyFive sailors are shipwrecked on a desert island. They quickly determine that the only other inhabitant of the island is a monkey and that the only food is coconuts. They set about collecting as many coconuts as they can and put them all in a very large pile. By nightfall they are too tired to divide the harvest; so they agree to go to sleep and share the coconuts equally the next morning.

During the night one sailor awakens, suspicious that the others might try to cheat him, and decides to take his portion then and there and not wait until morning. He divides the coconuts into five piles and finds there is one coconut left over, which he gives to the monkey. He hides one of the five piles, then puts the rest of the coconuts back into a pile and returns to sleep. Later a second sailor awakens with the same suspicions and does the same thing: He divides the coconuts into five piles, leaving one extra, which he gives to the monkey. Then he hides what he thinks is his share, puts the remaining coconuts into a pile and goes back to sleep.

One after the other, the rest of the sailors do the same: They each take one fifth of the coconuts in the pile (there is always an extra one, which is given to the monkey) and then return to sleep. When the sailors awaken the next morning they all notice the coconut pile is much smaller than it was the night before, but since each man is as guilty as the others, no one says anything. They divide the coconuts (for the sixth time) and again there is one left for the monkey.

How many coconuts were in the original pile?

 

 

SintraWell friends, 2017 is now dry cement.

However before we embark on our plans for 2018 I’d like to share the ups and downs, successes and failures of the 2017 that was.

I do this at the start and end of each year to keep myself accountable and inspired on this journey called life. As a reference point click the 2016 Benchmarking Success link 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 in life.

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Photo7 inner 43 665 451 685 24 955 441 1001You bring me pleasure and joy.

Watching you sleep, your eyes closed, a relaxed face, your chest rising and falling with each breath you take brings me joy.

I know your desires, pains, strengths and self-doubts. I know them all.

I’m deeply touched by things you do for me.

Be yourself always and rest assured that your uniqueness is beautiful and brings me much happiness.

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IMG 1683 2Growing up my Dad said he considered changing my brother and my names to Gunna and Gotta.  Why? Because whenever he asked if we had done our chores, I would say “Yes dad. I’m gunna” and my brother would say “Yes Dad. I just gotta…..

Even today I still catch myself saying I’m gunna when it comes to chores around the home, however sixteen years and nine months ago I said I do.

Not I will, or I must, or should but I do. For better or worse, sickness or health, poverty or riches until death do us part and knowing the difference is the secret to success.

Success is simple. First you decide specifically on what you want and secondly you decide if you’re willing to pay the price for it. Then you pay the price.

If we really want to experience that which is important to us we simply must DO the things we know we need to do. Period.

Want a happier relationship? If you’re not prepared to work at it, or pay the price in other areas of your life for it….. Rosalind (Mrs H) has a saying for you Well go ahead; want on one hand and shit on the other and see which one fills up quicker”. She has such a great way with her words!

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FullSizeRender 1“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” Ibn Battuta 

Today I rode a camel.

Riding a camel is nothing like riding a horse. Not the mounting, dismounting, riding/swaying or the itchy, smell and overall discomfort. However the experience concluded by watching the sun setting over the Sahara dunes followed by a dinner, drums and drinks in a Berber tent and under a star filled night.

An experience to leave me speechless and one I will cherish for the rest of my living days.

This journey and most recent experience has taken many years. From an initial thought, followed by an interest, then a plan and lastly a committed action.

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Darwin Twilight WaterfrontEvery day we are bombarded with media, work colleagues, strangers, families and friends judgments about our body shapes.

Our feelings of self-worth, twisted and magnified by our own expectations, past experiences and the physical changes due to our hormones and the foods and drinks we consume.

The good news is that we are not our past and each day we have the opportunity to live, believe in and do the activities to bring us closer to experiencing our ideal lives.

In life I’ve learnt that success is simple, but not easy. You simply need to know specifically what you want, know how much it will cost and pay for it.

I also know that change can happen in a moment, however coming to the decission to change can take years if not decades.

Recently I decided to change my relationship with food and myself and pay the price to achieve my goal.

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Stress-FreeMoney issues that can cause stress and the solutions to help.

1."Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen [pounds] nineteen [shillings] and six [pence], result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery." - Charles Dickens, David Copperfield

Solution:  1. Make more money, 2. Spend less money, 3. Do both 1 & 2.

2. “This would be a much better world if more married couples were as deeply in love as they are in debt.” -Earl Wilson.

Solution: If you are in debt your most important priority is to ensure your debts are manageable and not impacting your choices, quality of life, relationships and aspirations.

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Gold PandaIn our busy consumer and capitalist modern day lives, it’s easy to be coaxed into believing bigger is better.

Business leaders set Big Hairy Audacious Goals (BHAG's) for their organisations. Motivational speakers preach “Aim for the stars, because if you miss at least you’ll land on the moon”, whilst talented athletes train for years with their hopes set on Olympic Gold.

We're constantly striving for more; more money, more experiences, more accolades and attention. Whilst forgetting or unaware of how much is really enough.

Often we buy into the misbelief that we’re less than others based on others having more. Which by the way is a fondational globally successful strategy used by advertisers to push their products.

A“caveat emptor” about goals.

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ice20kids

“The middle is messy but that’s where the magic happens”  Brene Brown

I love ice cream any time of the day and I especially love an ice-cream on a hot summer day.

Today is one of those days, 31c with 95% humidity, so it feels very hot.

As I sit back and enjoying this simple pleasure of eating an ice-cream my mind wanders back to happy childhood memories and dreaming about what I wanted to be when I grew up. I remember liking trucks; wanting to be rich and become someone important.

Like most people I had no idea what this meant or what I really wanted to do.

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