If you read the media and industry headlines, you'll read that thousands of financial advisers are currently running for the door.
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.
Just 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.
Why 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.
Many 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.
As 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!
First 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.
It'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.
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.
I 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.
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 and with the luxury of hindsight and experiences can now reflect back upon and share with you what worked what didn’t and the “one-two thing” to do every day.
Only Three Ingredients Needed for Your Success
Just like when my personal computers freeze because I have too many programs open so to my decision making freezes when I have so many competing important matters in my life.
This got me thinking about how to solve life’s problems from the perspective of an IT help desk.
Life has taught me when I choose to neglect a problem so too does my probability of an epic crash increase. When talking with others about my problems I’ve also found that most of us share similar if not the same problems and fears. Most importantly our problems are not unsolvable.
Often I've experienced many of my life’s problems solved simply by updating an old program or as I call it my daily routine. If this update doesn’t work then I research better programs to do the job and install this new program i.e. daily routine into my life.
This blog is not based on new theories, new ideas or new philosophies; it‘s simply a collection of experiences, insights and discoveries on a journey to financial independence over the last twenty years. As such the blog hasn’t just happened it’s evolved.
On the journey to financial independence we've read a lot of financial books and information. Most of such assumes financial success determines our quality of life and experiences. While on the surface this sounds logical, real life experience has taught us otherwise.
For example our decision to either save, borrow, buy, invest or sell is not in fact to make more money; but to experience an emotionally inspired feeling and certainty of security, freedom, choice, independence, deeper relationships, increased stature and happiness. All which directly enhance our quality of life.
Early into this journey of financial independence I (Peter) found myself quickly out of my depth and questioning my own abilities be them emotionally, financially and my courage to commit.
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.
“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.
We all make choices, but in the end our choices make us
Or put another way;
Our success is dependent on our decision to choose the activities that will propel us towards our goals compared to those that will hinder us.
When I first began savings I set myself a challenge to have a money free weekend once a month. In fact I found the challenge so addictive and fun I'm still doing it twenty two years later.
Remember the media, marketers and advertises all want one thing. Our money! They do this by selling the perception that you buying what they’re selling will equal’s happiness for you.
The following is a list of activities that require no money to participate in; however they all provide the foundation to experience a higher quality of life; for you and those important to you.
$10,000 Money Saving Ideas:
- Instead of buying books join a library. Libraries today are more than books; they have DVD’s, newspapers, free internet, books of course. Free. Savings estimated $250 pa+
- Make lunch with from previous dinner and bring to work. Savings estimated $2,500 pa+
- If you live close enough to walk/run/ride to work or public transport, only use the car on weekends or alternatively car share. Savings estimated $1,000 pa+
- Ensure bank accounts, credit cards have no annual fees or ATM withdrawal fees, only withdraw from Banks ATM or affiliates so not to attract transaction fees. Savings estimated $250 pa+
- If possible choose public transport over taxi. Savings estimated $500 pa+
- Wash own car & iron clothes instead of car wash or cleaner. Savings estimated $500 pa+
- Review/shop insurance premiums annually for savings. Savings estimated $500 pa+
- Meal coupons, shows, vouchers etc... (dining out regularly). Savings estimated $2,500 pa+
- Hold off expensive purchase/gifts until sale time and/or shop at outlet or online so to minimise risk of overspending and of unnecessary compulsive purchases Savings estimated $1,000 pa+
- Buy in bulk cleaning, personal care, staple goods when on sale. Savings estimated $1,000 pa+
$10,000+ Money Making Ideas
- If you don’t mind branding your car as a moving billboard you can earn approx $5,000 pa
- In your spare time become a mystery shopper/write product reviews/research market group earn approx $2,500 annually in addition to receiving free products.
- Start a business aligned to your passion online/markets etc...It’s a great way to meet people of similar interests, make some extra cash, potential tax deductions and learn about biz.
- While it’s not a guarantee becoming more qualified in your profession. Higher earnings have research to be linked to higher qualification of approx 15%-25%+ more than unskilled roles.
- Consider ways to maximize your rental return if you have an investment property. Properties furnished white good properties can increase weekly rentals by an additional $50 pw or $2,500 pa and are deductible items for tax.
- Become an extra for movies, television, commercials and earn up to $500-$1,000 per day.
21 Free Positive Experiences & Activities Challenge
- Get creative. Write poem, a short story, a song, your memoir, blog, a diary, draw etc
- Learn a new & interesting skill. An entertaining magic trick, a new language, astronomy etc...
- Walking tour around your city, learning history and famous historical landmarks and markets
- Visit parks, forests, gardens, beach get out doors... maybe have a picnic there too.
- Exercise. Getting fit doesn’t require a gym. Go for a run, bike ride, free weights, yoga etc.
- Spring clean and sort/donate your old clothes/items. One part chore another you will feel great and de-clutter you environment.
- Maintain your stuff. Sharpen your knives, weed garden, wash vehicles and fix small things etc before they become bigger problems. Feel great and proud you take care of your things.
- Get sexy. Candles, flower petals, bath, massage with a partner...
- Sort your old photo album and label where, when and your feeling at the time.
- Try solving a crossword puzzle, Sudoku, What’s different in these two pictures? etc...
- Visit the library, an art gallery, museum in your city. Most, if not all are free entry.
- Find an inspiring interesting book at the library you would like to read and read it.
- Grow something from seed. Feel great that with your care, you are encouraging life to grow!
- Volunteer for a cause you are passionate about or offer to help out a friend or neighbor. Meet other like minded people, do something nice for someone else and feel great.
- Get your finances in order, accounts, check correct payments, receipts for tax, write a will, do some goals planning you will fill more confident and have greater peace of mind.
- Attend a free community class, or concert, a free intro offer class, or religious service.
- Play a game with family and/or friends, Sherade’s (sounds like?), hangman or a board game/card you have.
- Catch up with family or old friends for a chat, if they are far away write a letter, card or email
- Have a nap. Life can get hectic so remember to take care of yourself too, i.e. rest & recovery
- Mentor someone and be mentored by someone. We stop growing we go backwards in life.
- Schedule your life and stick to it. Allocating me time (reflection), exercise time, relationship time, career time, self development time, home chores, preparation for next day, and fun experience time. This will help you stay on track with self accountability and the small goal you achieve for yourself will build your confidence to take on bigger goals.
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 article may also be of help.
Are you in the way of your own success?
Financial independence made simple
From little tings big things grow
The story of 4 horses
Live your ideal life without financial concern
This post was written by Peter Horsfield, as such they are his personal views.
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.
Successful people have this over their rivals; they know why, where and how to reach their goals sooner.
- Are you on track?
- How much do you need?
- How long will it take?
- What are my risks?
Because action beats intention every time!
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Duration: 60 minutes.
Our Guarantee: If you don't experience greater clarity, confidence & certainty about your money and what to do, you wont pay us a cent.
Who, How, What, When, Where and Why?
We all get stuck at times. Be it as a result of a significant event. Be it while we're on the path we are on, or even after we have accomplished a massive goal we set ourselves.
Added to this, our confusion can be magnified and blurred by the very expectations we put on ourselves, what others are telling us, or even as a result of our rebirthing in a new awareness of our previous actions.
While confusion can be a time of heightened anxiety and paralysis. If we can maintain our focus, we stand a better chance to see the forest through the trees, making the expereince less scary and one of courage, empowerment and emancipation.
The challenge and luxury we face today is that life is filled with societal support (at least in developed countries) and conveniences allowing us the luxury us to stay stuck in our funk and us to navel gaze even longer while life continues to roll on and we remain stalled in a fog of confussion. Rather than putting in the courage and effort to live a life that fulfils both ourselves and others.
Some of us may choose not to do anything because the pain of change is greater than the pain to remain unchanged. Others may choose to stay stuck and paralysed in a state of decision paralysis. However choosing either of these i.e. avoidance or denial is to experience a slow death akin to a bower constrictor slowly choking the life out of its prey.
Personally when I find myself stuck in this funk of confusion I like to remind myself that
- Sunlight is the best disinfectant and
- So is salt water.
Shortly after you’ll find me at a beach and going for a swim, however whatever works for you, you must do it!
What has this got to do with financial planning? Well everything!
What the world needs now is love sweet…Not just for some but for everyone one.
A song written fifty five years ago in 1965 by Burt Bacharach and Hal David at the time the world was diving deeper into conflict and war (Vietnam); is just as relevant today as it was back then.
If we were to look back on today’s times some fifty five years from now, what would we say about our modern world of today?
My best guess is historians will conclude. It was time of massive disruption and division on a global scale. Change that effected everyone down to an individual basis. Be it careers, families, health, religion, governments and society.
With all that has been achieved from great leaps in technology and the improvements to people’s quality of life, resulting in the majority of the population never feeling more isolated, uncertain and fearful.
John F. Kennedy (USA President) said “The Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word 'crisis.' One brush stroke stands for danger; the other for opportunity. In a crisis, be aware of the danger--but recognize the opportunity.”
What are some of the opportunities in the crisis we face today?
- Changing working environments- improved work life balance
- Online services and stores- improved time and efficiencies
- Social sharing services- lower cost, convenience, greater choices
- Social activism- improved environment and accountability.
How can you save thousands of dollars a year on groceries with a small change to your shopping habits?
1. Shop end of day. This is often when end of day specials are promoted. However also be mindful that shopping when you're tired heightens your risk of buying high sugar, and processed foods, both which are not so good for you.
2. Buy unprocessed foods.This will not only be healthier for you. Creating new meals and discovering new recipes can be a pleasure (for those who love Masterchef) and even cost less than buying the proceed instant meals. However try to avoid the meals with a special ingredient, because if that ingredient is on sale either you'll risk buying to much of it and never use it again or the single special ingredient is expensive and blows out the total cost of the meal.
3. Buy bulk and plan your meals. Heck even plan your shopping and plan making meals by viewing an online weekly catalog before you shop i..e make a list and a weekly spend budget and stick to it. Spag bol is my default, then there is curry, lasanga... yum:) Making lunch and diners that you can eat over the week will not only save the environment, you will save on takeaway meals too.
4. If you can wait, then wait and buy sale items that you require. This one is pretty obvious. Then again if your'e buying things that you don't need that are on sale, then this is not only silly, it's dumb for your finances.
5.With a big selection of the same items on offer at the larger shops i.e. tuna, butter, cheese, eggs sauce, etc.. Don't just pick from middle of shelf. Generally there are same items at a less price on the lower shelves.
6. Know what you are buying. Often the same no name or store items are 99.99% the same as more expensive brand name produce, but can be as much as 50% less.. I'm no food fashionista so to me butter is butter, so is milk, chick peas, pasta, rice, etc...
7. Eat before you shop. Remember the saying you eat with your eyes? So if you hungry and you go shop there a high probability you'll end up buying more than you intend.
8. If you can shop alone and you have self control with your shopping list and budget, then its best to do this activity alone.
9. Stay in season and buy in the middle or end of the season, not the star of the season. Especially when it comes to fresh fruit and vegetables
10. Reward yourself. Cooking at home and penny pinching can be fun, but remember to reward yourself and put some of the savings you've achieved into a nice experience or even a nice restaurant meal. Doing so will keep you motivated and on track.
I hope you liked my top 10 tips. feel free to add more in the comments.
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
General Advice Disclosure
Sources of this information are considered to be reliable but are not guaranteed. Information published in this article has been prepared for general information purposes only and not as specific advice to any particular person. Any advice contained in this document is General Advice and does not take into account any person's particular investment objectives, financial situation and particular needs.
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
1. Let ‘It’ Go
2. It’s a process
3. Take Care of Yourself
4. Start Now
Letting ‘It’ Go.
The past is dry cement. It’s set. We can’t be changed. It is what it is.
The reality is “life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards” Soren Kierkegaard.
The challenge is how to do it more effectively and how to do it well.
Elsa in the blockbuster Disney movie Frozen sings about the self-empowerment and freedom of letting it go.
Maria Kondo writes about the power of sparking joy through the process of letting go.
Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus have even started a movement of minimalists with their quest to live a more meaningful life, by embraces less AKA letting go via the process of minimalism.
There are countless other guru’s, spiritual leaders and teachers we can also draw on for inspiration and advice too, however ultimately letting go come down to us and the personal decisions we make.
Learning to fail forward it’s the key here, rather than remaining a nut stuck in a rut and having our failures, fears, judgements and self-criticisms hold you back.
Acknowledging failure AKA hugging the cactus helps us to recognise the areas where we need to evolve.
Failure is a massive part of being successful, because failure is where the lessons are. However letting go of what we are hanging onto and that which is holding us back is the first big and vulnerable step we must all take, if our failures are to be the starting point for our growth.
I love people. This is my greatest asset and also my biggest weakness.
I believe the more you help others the higher the probability is that they will help you.
However in this hyper competitive, crowded, catch phrase, race for others to like us, world we live in I feel sometimes we lose sight of what truly completes us and what we think we have to gain others approval of us.
The reality is that we all love reality.
We only have to switch on the TV and be bombarded by reality home renovation, cooking, dating, survival and even watching people watching TV (google box) programs. Even when we know they are not reality we still gravitate to watching them.
We are also socially hardwired to look through the lens of others’ lives and modify our own behaviours, opinions, and expectations as a means of self-validation and acceptance by those important to us.
So we play it safe. We do things that we think others will approve of and as a result we die a slow silent death inside of ourselves until we one die or two face a significant event that causes us to make a change.
What I have also come to appreciate is playing this game of life is best played at the edges. I’m not talking about recklessness, I mean living life authentically and true to what’s important to you and who you aspire to become.
I can’t say I’m better either, because I too bought into the expectations of my parents, friends, community and the society. I borrowed as much as I could to by the most expensive house I could and pretended to be successful when all I was doing was struggling in my career and drowning in debt.
While money is important, I frequently see in my role, time and time again miserable people because they are burdened by lifestyles and debts in an effort to be accepted or seen as successful in the eyes of others. It tears me up all the time!!!