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My Money Free Weekend Challange

Money Free WeekendWe 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.

 

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Prioritising Your Priorities

SimplfyDecluttering since 1973. Age 2.

It is easy to forget about what is most important to us. Especially during the frontal daily assault of today’s fast paced world and the demands it places on us.

Reinforced by daily undermining by social media posts, colleague’s family, friends well intended words, and society at large all competing for self-validation. Trying to convince themselves/ourselves and others that they/we have all their/our s**t together, when the truth is, they/we are far from together and blind to their/our own brokenness.

Today’s ‘silver bullet” solution to this problem is only a hack, an app, or a pill away. So, we are told.

The problem is these “quick fix - silver bullets” do not address the real root of our problems. They merely they provide mild relief to our pain, helping continue our illusion that we are fixed, so we can continue to “solider on” in front of others, but ultimately to our own detriment.

If we are to truly heal, become strong and resilient we must first go to the root of our problem.

Consider the following examples: Addressing excess weight.

The logical answer is eating less calories than you burn. The marketing and nutrition industries make billions of dollars every year selling their solutions and tips; however, obesity continues to increase and be the leading cause of preventable death.

The root of the problem however is not calories. It is our relationship with food, with ourselves and our intent. The sustainable life changing solution to reducing our weight is to implement our actions/belief system in the right order. As a result, we will consciously and subconsciously exercise more, eat better food and less calories thereby giving ourselves the greatest chance of success.

More time and money.

This is another problem that the wealth industry, marketers, and media outlets are making billions of dollars every year, selling their secrets and tips to wealth and financial freedom.

The simple answer is save/invest more and spend less as well as get others to do the work for you.

Simple? Yes. Easy? No.

Again, the root of our problem is not our capacity to save or get others to do things for us. It is our relationship with ourselves, with others, our priorities, the things that are within our control and the things that are outside of our control.

Not only does having more time and money require all I have just mentioned. We also must implement our actions/beliefs in the right order.

Personally, speaking this required me to address the issue of more time and money in the following order.

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Three Best Award 2021

Three Best Award 2021Hey, congratulations! 

Peter Horsfield's SMARTadvice.

You are one of the Top 3 Financial services in Cairns, QLD.

We would like to Thank You for providing consistent high-quality service in your area of business. Our review team either approved or updated your business listing using our rigorous 50-Point Inspection which includes everything from checking reputation, history, complaints, ratings, satisfaction, nearness, trust, cost, and general excellence.

Three Best Rated® was created with a simple goal to find Top 3 local businesses, professionals, restaurants, health care providers, etc., in key cities. We display only businesses that are verified by our team since customers deserve only the best.

 

How to turn your 20 days annual leave into 56 days of holidays in 2021.

Port Douglas Tandem BikeAs 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 Monday, I’m in Cairns, it’s my first day back from Christmas and New Year holidays and I love to plan and make the most, and get the most from my year ahead.

I thought I’d pause first before rushing ahead into the year and make for some better holiday plans (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 56 days a year, or a 280% increase in leisure time.

The following maximising you leave and holidays is based on for Australian public holidays.

Each state has their own additional public holidays i.e. Queensland has 3 additional public holidays (Labour Day 3rd May, Show Day (in Cains 16th July) & Queens Birthday 4th October).

Please check your relevant state holidays there as they may differ slightly i.e. different Labour Day, Queens Birthday, Show Day dates etc.

So let’s begin!

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2020 Benchmarking Success

010312093105 422609 10150588760314212 511794211 9285741 549660928 n CopyWell friends, 2020 is now dry cement. Yeah!!!!!!!

However before we embark on our plans for 2021 I’d like to share the ups and downs, successes and failures of the 2020 that was.

I do this to keep myself accountable and inspired on this journey called life. As a reference point click the 2019 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.

What went well in 2020?

As I like to begin on a positive let’s cover the wins of 2020. Here’s what went well in the year that was.

 

 Business: 2020 was a standout year for our business.

Capture

2020 was always going to be a difficult year for every financial planning business in Australia.

New regulations, additional education standards, and essential changes to our client base being just a few of the challenges that we would have ahead of us.

Back in 2015 I was fortunate enough to see Alisa Camplin present an inspirational message of her rise to being Australia’s 2nd Winter Olympic Gold Medallist in 2002.

Our 1st Winter Olympics Gold Medal was won by Steven Bradbury in the short track speed skating event just days earlier. I was also fortunate enough to meet Steve a few years ago and hear him share his equally inspiring message of hard work, sacrifice, smarts, commitment and luck.

What I’ve learnt from every sporting, business and everyday mortals with regard to their success stories, is that they have a goal, backed up by a plan and beyond that they stay patient and simply do the work.

Since Alisa’s inspiring message our team has integrated this same philosophy. Believing that the work itself ultimately yields our results and regardless of external events. By simply doing the work we give ourselves a higher chance to achieve our goals than turning up and winging it. Rather than most businesses and people do i.e. they simply react.

So looking back, while 2020 was a year of massive challenges, the foundation we’d built over the previous 4 years not only carried us through, it helped us to remain on track and ultimately grow our business 20% and position us for continued growth in 2021.

Lifestyle: I continue to believe Cairns is the lifestyle capital city of Australia.

Covid-19 has had a significant impact on all our lives. Fortunately living in Cairns (so far) we escaped the severe lockdowns we’ve witnessed across the world and in countries capital cities.

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

Bunny & CarrotsWho, 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

  1. Sunlight is the best disinfectant and
  2. 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!

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What the world needs now is ........

What the world needs nowWhat 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.

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10 tips to save thousands on groceries by making a small change to your shopping habits

Rusty'sHow 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

Be More You

1. Let ‘It’ GoP1010064

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.

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Why Your Legacy is Greater than Your Currency

LoveI 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!!!

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Extraordinary You

DolphinCowThe world is not changing, it is evolving.

Today there is no less or more time today than there was a millennia ago and the same conundrums exist i.e. answers to our question.

How can we do more, be more, have more, experience more with the resources we currently have?

Steven Covey recommends prioritising the big rocks in our life. This video is a valuable lesson and reminder about time management and how to better prioritise the important things to us in life.

It is in our nature to problem solve and become more efficient and effective.

We have evolved to walk instead of crawl. We’ve learnt to fly and dive safely to incredible ocean depths. We have travelled into space and today with the internet today we can communicate across the globe instantaneously. What we humans have accomplished is truly astonishing.

The process of achieving these amazing feats follows a well-worn path. Dream, try, fail, and engage others help. Create, fail, try again, improve again and repeat this process through to achieving our goals.

On this journey we have created products that have assisted us to achieving these results, at the same time the products we’ve created make redundant less efficient and effective processes and industries.

As we evolve our question of relevance and opportunity remains.

The good news is the solution has also never changed. Those who can create, problem solve and deliver improved results will continue to have the advantage because of their value in the eyes of others.

We pay others to solve our problems. Be it a tax bill, protecting our estate, fill in the blank….

Now I’m not a rocket scientist and I’m no Steve Jobs, but what I am is me.

Getting this was the biggest paradigm shift and answered my own questions of relevance, self-discovery and how to deliver “me” in a way that is authentically consistent at the same time add value to others.

The truth is living authentically not only clarifies in the eyes of others our point of difference, it is the foundation of our success for everything and everyone.

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How to become a Better Financial Planner

Authentic1. Financial Planning is a lot like golf. You can make it so complicated as to be impossible or you can simply walk up and hit the ball. I've been helping and advising clients for almost 20 years and my advice is to walk up and hit the ball.

2. Financial planning is about people and it's about problem solving. It is not about newer technology, hot stock tips, financial products or legislation. It's about people and it's about solving problems.

3. People engage you as an adviser for 4 things and 4 things only. Ever. Those 4 things are to have more time, more money, richer experiences, and approval/peace of mind. If you try to change them with your advice about something other than those 4 things you and they will fail.

4. People buy aspirin (pain relief) always. They buy vitamins (to be better) only occasionally and at unpredictable times. Sell aspirin (relief to your client’s pain).

5. Being valuable and useful is all you ever need to do to be valuable in the eyes of others. Help people out. Send interesting posts. Write birthday cards. Record videos sharing your ideas for growing their business. Introduce people who would benefit from knowing each other, then get out of the way, expecting nothing in return. Do this consistently and authentically and the people you want as your clients will find ways to be your clients. I promise.

6. No one cares about your work load, your increased costs, increased compliance, and your competitors undermining your value, etc. No one. They care about the problem you are solving for them."

7. There is no lack of clients stopping you from creating your ideal business and life. Add value to your clients, price yourself fairly (win/win), and deliver on your promises to you clients.

Your clients choose you because they believe in you! Prove them right!

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?

What's the price of financial advice?

If You were listed on the share market would you buy your stock?

Why making money is counter intuitive

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.

How to Discover and Reconnect to Your Core Values

CairnsIf you are willing to own it, you can change it!

I know what I have to do, I also know that there’s no getting around it, however procrastination is how I like start my day.

I’m still trying to understand why I find such reassurance and motivation by having this process, maybe it’s an echo of my youth stalling before diving into a cold pool at 5.30am. If you’ve done something similar I’m sure you understand the desire to delay and self-psych it entails.

Starting my day 99% of the time looks like opening emails, checking the financial news, industry talk and a general news.

Last Wednesday was no different. One article I came across was about an Instagram show called Cuppa with Kumi.

Kumi Taguchi is a presenter with ABC’s Compass program. Compass and Kumi interview philosophers, public leaders religious leaders and everyday Australians about life and spirituality.

Intrigued, I gave myself a reason to procrastinate a little longer I decided to watch the video connecting to values

The title “Connecting to Values” resonated with me because as an adviser I believe my most important value is facilitating, accountability and support for clients, team, colleagues and myself to live a life of authenticity and alignment to our core values,

When your value are clear your decisions are easy and our financial security is the by-product of smart choices and our actions.

Kumi interviewed Johann Hari Author of Lost Connections about how we can better define our values and some simple steps we can all do so to move forward and live a life more aligned to our core values?

One of the best lines in the interview was about junk values and these being like KFC for the soul.

“We all know about junk food and how it has taken over our diets and made us physical sick. But there is also strong evidence that junk values have also taken over our minds and made us mentally sick too”. Said Johann Hari.

"Junk values being the values that we think will make us happy, or only happy for a short time, and after we they make us feel much worse even worse have long term negative effects on our quality of life" he said..

Examples of junk values being, money, status, showing off.

The problem being that the more these values drive us, the more susceptible we are to become depressed and anxious......By quite a significant amount.

Modern society has us immersed in a culture of consumerism. Resulting in society and us as individuals placing more and more importance and value on money and status, Unfortunately this has been for most if not all of our lifetimes.

Resulting in us being trained by society, our peers, advertisers and our tribe to seek out happiness in all the wrong places.

Even when we innately know that these junk values of status, money and being liked are shallow. The problem is that the society we live in has a machine like design output process, to get us to neglect what is important to us i.e. our own core values.

So how do we move away from this?

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Fitter Faster Stronger

FITBYUDriving into work this morning I passed a sign that profoundly resonated within me.

Introspective, instructive and empowering in a single statement.

It also reminded me of another sign I read in 2014 Be Better, Not Bigger”.

Looking back in the revision mirror of life, this sign has not only changed my life for the better, it has become my business and life philosophy.

And doing so has allowed me to make faster decisions, keep moving forward in times of struggle and let go of what I can’t control. And to and focus on that which is within my control.

Ever since I became a financial planner in 1999 the industry has been in a state of flux and change.

I’m sure the industry was in this same state of flux before me and it will continue to be so, long after I have left too.

Why? Because money is more than a physical currency, it is a expression of our emotions, aspirations, fears and more, and as long as we believe it is a scarce resource, those who value it over others will act in a self-interested way.

Anyways, these personal views on money are another topic of discussion for another time.

Back to the sign I saw this morning having profound resonance with me.  

The sign read “FIT BY U” 

Three simple words, with incredible hidden power.

Over the last year and a half I have let myself go physically. I’ve probably put on 10kg. I’m more cynical, short tempered and less motivated. Previously I might have had a wine or beer over a meal on Friday night or the weekend. Now I find found myself having a glass of wine every other night. 

I’ve been exercising less and my intake of take away, has increased. Obviously this has had detrimental effect. Physically, mentally, emotionally as well as being a negative energy on the relationship I have with myself and others.

The victim in me would point too facts and external events as justifiable reasoning for my current state i.e. insane levels of new business regulation for financial planners (I know of over a dozen suicides); corona virus, exams, public sentiment etc. is the reason for this state of funk

However the truth is, listening more to the noise that is outside of my control and listening less to myself which was silently had gradually undermined my inner self-confidence.

The sign read “FIT BY U” Fitter Faster Stronger.

Firstly the message is the obvious. The outcome or benefit that we will or can attain by buying what they are selling i.e. the promise.

However what resonated most deeply within me was the “You” in the message.

No one else will get fit for you. “You” must do it for yourself. It is “You” alone who must do the work and “You” who reaps the benefits. Others may benefit via association however it’s “You” who receives the greatest return on your investment in yourself.

The universal truth is that ownership will always be present at the crossroad of all our life’s choices and decisions.  

The level ownership we attach to our choices being apportioned to the success we will experience as a result.

Simple yes. Easy no.

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Happiness is Infectious

P1010003Because I’m happy! Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth!

And with over a billion downloads of the song ”Happy” I suspect both Pharrell William and his bank account is looking pretty happy too.

More than feeling good, happiness and being happy is the enabler for us to experience more self-confidence, have deeper understanding, be more influential and allows us to embody a greater sense of gratitude within our life and our experiences.

The problem is, the more we focus on attaining our own personal happiness, the more it can feel like it is eluding us.

Other issues arise when we search for happiness via escapism instead of facing up to and resolving the true source of our unhappiness.

Some sage advice. We should concern ourselves not so much with the pursuit of happiness but the happiness of the pursuit.

 

How many of us can recall a childhood moment when we experienced happiness as a state of being? When everything in our world was alright? 

How many of us have given up on the pursuit of happiness because all the risks and uncertainties of pursuing our dream? Only to reason with ourselves that certainty, logic and self-preservation is more valuable than being true to who we really are, and what ignites passion and action within ourselves to become who we aspire to be.

As Ciara (Rosamund Pike) said to her husband Hector (Simon Pegg) in the movie Hector and the Search for Happiness “If you’re going to do this, do it totally!”

We all know “An inch of action, goes further than miles of good intentions”.

We also all know that success is simple, but at the same time it's not easy. We simply need to know specifically what we want, know how much it will cost and pay for it.

And that change can happen in a moment, however coming to the decision to change can take years if not decades.

If you’re not happy now, when will you choose to be happy? Happiness in your pursuit of wholeness and happiness being your state of being.

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I Want To Break Free

palm trees v3Coconut palms line the road as the sun rises on my drive past Cairns Airport on my way into the office.

Driving into the office I’m singing along with Queen’s ‘I want to break free’ playing on my Spotify Best Songs Ever Playlist.

At the same time I think to myself ‘I’m sure I’m not the alone experiencing these ‘I want to break free’ feelings of frustration?’

None of us are going anywhere since the corona virus has grounded all flights ‘but life still goes on….’ sings Freddie.

  • Why do we want to break free?
  • What do we want to break free from?
  • How can we break free while our current circumstances don’t allow us to do so?

These questions often roll around in my head. Especially when reflecting and bench marking my own choices, actions and progress and their alignment with whom I believe my authentic self is.

They are the same questions and answers I enjoy helping my clients discover and answer.

Why? Because when our values are clear, our decisions are easy!

Because when we align our actions to what’s important to us we empower ourselves. We become more motivated, committed, courageous and patient to see our efforts through.

However sometimes the way we process our own grief we’ act in ways not true to our own authenticity and purpose, i.e. we may act out our frustrations in self-destructive, aggressive and defiant ways. Even when we know that doing so puts further distance between what we want to where we are now. Putting us on downward spiral that undermines our self-worth.

If you are prone to this and we all are. Watch this funny and insightful video. Bob Newhart- Stop It

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The First $100,000 and the Pinball Machine

fish tales pinball machine They say that the journey of a thousand miles begins with a first step.

To be honest I had no idea if I was going to succeed or fail.

Nor did I know where this journey would take me.

What I did know was that if I didn’t do something and take ownership of my life and money, my future life in retirement was going to be a lot like it was now (at 24 years old) i.e. no savings, limited choices and probably dependent on some form of government assistance.

So it was in that moment and having no idea; other than the thought of “it’s better to have tried and failed than not tried at all” I took my first step forward.

My first goal was not some lofty ideal life vision or to be financially independent.

It was simply a test I gave myself to spend less and use my savings to build up an emergency buffer of money in my bank account.

The goal would require me to save $3,000 over three months ($250per week).

That was twenty four years ago and it is still one of my proudest achievements.

Why?

Because I stood up to my fears and I was so afraid to not be a failure to myself that it called every cell of my being into action.

I asked for extra shifts at work (at the time I was a casual worker at Novotel Hotel). I made all my own meals with no frill labelled food and I spent my down time reviewing my budget, tracking the progress to my goal and sleep. There was no going to the pub, buying pizzas, buying magazines or hiring videos.

The thing is, while the struggle is no fun, I discovered that it’s in our struggles we gain greater clarity of who we are (not think we are) and the opportunity to grow stronger from the experience.

Another realisation was, humans are incredible at adapting to change and more than surviving, they embrace new ways to thrive, in the face of adversities.

It was a real challenge! And looking back, if I hadn’t passed I’m not sure I would be where I am today.

Not only did I achieve my goal, by the end of the three months I had save $5,000.

The thing about momentum is that it’s easier to keep moving forward once your're moving. So filled with the self-confidence and evidence of my achievement (my bank account balance) I planned my next goal.

This next goal would take longer but have a “bonus reward” only if I could achieve it.

The goal was to save $15,000 by my 26th birthday  (9 months’ time).

The momentum I had was the already saved $5,000. Any money I saved above $15,000 balance I could spend on whatever I chose, guilt free.

I had no idea about investments As such I stuck with what I knew best i.e. work more hours, earn more per hour, spend as little as I could and constantly benchmark my progress along the way.

By my twenty sixth birthday (12 months from my taking that first step) I had saved $19,687.

WOW!!!! With my 4 weeks holidays accrued over the last twelve months, I headed off to back pack SE Asia for a month. First Singapore, then Malaysia, Thailand, Laos and Burma. Total cost $4,500.

Refreshed, inspired and back from my holidays I now knew the ideal life I wanted to live. It was to fund a lifestyle of travel and financial security. The cost $52,000 per year.

Sitting down with my legal pad, pencil and calculator in hand I wrote long hand each year saving $12,000 at a 10% annual return. It would take me 22 years to save $1,050,340 to achieve this goal.

I remeber thinking twenty two years and feeling very depressed. I would be 47 by then! 

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How to turn your adversities into strengths

IMG 20161008 WA0010

I’ve noticed a funny thing happening during this Covid-19 lock down.

Lots more people out walking, riding bikes and running etc.

It’s as is if when we’re told not to do something (inset whatever) we to rally against authority and do the opposite.

Maybe it’s an Aussie thing? However I really think it’s something in the nature of us all. Just look at the protests of people wanting to defy lock downs across the globe.

In fact witnessing this gives me hope. Hope in us all and hope in our futures.

I’m no different to everyone else when facing adversities. I go through a grief and loss process

  1. Denial and isolation;
  2. Anger;
  3. Bargaining;
  4. Depression;
  5. Acceptance. 

What I have learnt though, is the faster I can accept, forgive, apply the ‘gold nugget lessons I’ve learnt about myself’ and move forward. The more I grow and the greater value I am to others.

In truth it took me a long time to realise this, as my father would attest to. The years of grief I gave him after he’d woken me up at 4.30am each morning and driving me to the local pool for swimming squad. 

I’m sure I made it perfectly clear how irrational getting out of a warm bed especially during cold winters, only to strip down it swimming trunks and dive into a cold pool of water was. However he helped me and I did it. Thank you Dad :)

Standing on the edge of that pool, and with no good reasons to turn back, what else could I do but accept the situation and dive in?

So it is with every other adversity I and we face in life. 

We might not like it but then what? Just do nothing and stay frustrated?

Or do we accept things for how they are and go about putting our best efforts forward to change our situation and ourselves for the better.

A psychologist who told me (a great place to start if your stuck) that our choices in life are like a spiral.  The actions we choose will either spiral us upwards or downwards.

2e889f91b30b584b5106f85a18c20dec larsson carinaThe choice is ours.

Sometime we cause our own adversity, for whatever reason.  Sometime we have adversities forced upon us. The thing about adversities is that our outcome will always be determined by our actions. Whether we do something or we don't.

Adversity sucks for us all, but it’s in this discomfort we get our greatest motivation to move forward. Because somewhere inside, we want to be able to make sense of our difficulties. We want to make them count for something positive, that all the pain we endured wasn't for nothing.

I used to think adversity was something I had to suffer through to experience happiness. I avoided adversity, for the most part, hoping it wouldn't come.

But it did. It came with a force.

The GFC hit and we had massive borrowings and our investments had either tanked or frozen. I was often angry, defensive, and in survival mode most of the time.

Along this journey, I realized something important.

If I didn’t change, the choice to change would be taken away from me.

Looking back now, I faced a similar experience after returning home from travelling overseas, with nothing in my back account and at the time the economy was in recession. My future was bleak!

I could either remain frustrated, angry and depressed in my current state of adversity, Or I could accept the situation, and seek to find a new way forward internally first that could then lead to a positive change of my external advertises. 

Sometimes, another perspective is all it takes to give us a fresh eye on our obstacles.

Instead of these adversities being something I had to get through, I began to see them as an opportunity and a necessary step for me to become the person I am today.

Without the experience both good and bad, I wouldn't have eaten so much humble pie and known how it felt to have hot air blown up my ass. I wouldn’t have been able to share the fear, struggle, frustrations and ‘ah-ha moments” along with the satisfaction of doing a job well done and the rewards that always follow.

I now see adversities as an advantage.

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How much are you worth?

peter horsfield 1 300x200The fastest man in the world (Usain Bolt) has one. So does the world’s No.1 female tennis player Ashleigh Barty.

In fact I’m struggling to think of any professional athlete’s or a sport that don’t have coaches.

But this is not new news, because we all know the benefits and value of a coach and seeking support, help and direction from an expert.

The more interesting questions is how and why can one coach can be paid $50,000,000 AUD a year (Pep Guardiola- (football coach) versus the average coaching salaries in the same field of $60,000 per year?

That answer is, if you’re wondering. It depends on what’s at stake.

When winning literally means millions or even billions of dollars, well then the stakes are a little more than a social or semi-professional game that comes with some bragging rights.

Obviously when the outcome of millions is on the line you’ll be more invested and willing to pay a higher price for that a single life changing goal separating you from holding the trophy and getting the glory versus being forgotten. And you’ll be more invested in that winning point being decided by a millimetre (John McEnroe) or winning a life changing race by a millisecond.

Maybe you are that professional athlete, or maybe you’re a legend in your underpants.

Regardless of who you are if the result matters enough to you then the most important and defining question you need to ask yourself is “What is at stake and what am I willing to pay to realize that result?”

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.

So what is at stake for you and your clients in life?

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Will Member Super Fund Withdrawal Crash Hostplus?

5875631921 8ab8f53139 zWarren Buffett was famously quoted “Only when the tide goes out do you discover who's been swimming naked”. And I’m sure you would agree with me that the tide has now definitely gone out!  

So who’s been swimming naked and what does it mean to you?

Hint? They’re endorsed by “the barefoot investor”.

Back in March 2019 Sam Sicilia Hostplus’ CIO (Chief Investment Officer) was interviewed by Bloomberg. Saying and I hope this was a miss quote

Hostplus has held no cash since at least 2011 and bonds in its portfolios were effectively zero over the past three years, according to Hostplus. The firm prefers stakes in office buildings, pipelines and emerging technology”.

Fact since March 2020 (12 months after that interview) Australian and Global shares have lost over 30% of their value.

What about unlisted assets?

24th March 2020 Mark Delaney CIO at Australian Super (Australia’s largest superannuation fund) reported Investment magazine  “the market downturn triggered from the outbreak of the coronavirus had seen the value of its unlisted assets fall by 7.5 per cent on average”. On the 25th March 2020 Unisuper have also reported cutting their onlisted infastructure by 6% and unlisted property holdings by 10%

Hostplus are yet to report any decline in value to their unlisted assets but one would expect they may also decide to do so and revalue down their unlisted assets as other industry funds are doing so too.

But what’s concerning me more is….

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