How Dare You?

How Dare You?

Good advice is out there. Need help finding it?
Have a look at this article in ifa magazine for some of my opinions.
Financial Relaxation is worth the effort of finding good advice.

https://www.ifa.com.au/opinion/27588-how-dare-you?utm_source=IFA&utm_campaign=03_02_20&utm_medium=email&utm_content=1&utm_emailID=875810f374cc3eca150051e410dca50cc0f8b47e23ea8c2d0b5125838e386b90

It feels wrong, but is it actually alright?

It feels wrong, but is it actually alright?

The smoke haze is distressing, and we are only 20 kms from Melbourne CBD, nowhere near the fires, nowhere near the disaster areas. This haze is a mild annoyance to us, but it is enough for us to feel empathy for those who are really suffering. And increasingly as well as empathy, some guilt.

Guilt can be a strange emotion. Why do I feel guilt during this type of tragedy? I didn’t start any fires. I do my bit for the environment and will obviously make an effort to do more now. I didn’t deny climate change, I haven’t blamed anyone who should or shouldn’t have done things. I pay plenty of taxes, and regularly visit and spend money in rural areas.

I feel guilty because my life is going on pretty much as normal whilst others are dealing with unspeakable tragedy and distress. Of course I have donated money, and I have offered assistance in the form of accommodation to friends in the fire zones. But I am not personally suffering.

I see the headlines and read the stories, see the anger and frustration and hurt from those directly impacted and I feel guilty for trying to move on. It feels like the whole world should just stop for a bit. I silently cry for the animals. At least people have access to media and social media and know what is happening, the animals are being blindsided.

I want to help, but I also have to run my business to pay my bills. If I don’t get on with things, that won’t help anyone in the bushfire zones. And if I was not financially secure and in a stable position, I couldn’t have made a donation that might make a little bit of difference to someone who is in dire straits.

I can see the pain being felt by people who have lost everything. I imagine the trauma, disbelief, panic, and angst of those who have lost loved ones. And as a former financial planner, I was frequently one of the first people called when a loved one was lost suddenly. I was the one who made sure people had things set up correctly prior to an unexpected event, and I was able to give simple instructions to the person grieving, and most importantly reassurance that they would be ok.

You see, people who have their Estate Planning, Personal Insurance, Emergency Funds, and asset structuring set up correctly can better deal with what they need to at such a horrible time. What they need is some instant cash access, information on what has to happen, and the knowledge that the rest is fine and can wait whilst the person who has passed away is treated with respect, and the people remaining can grieve and try to cope with personal loss.

When everything is pre-planned for emergencies, the grief doesn’t go away. But the stress reduces, especially if the person who has died is the one who did all the finance stuff. And knowing there is a caring, competent back-up person for the financial changes to come is a huge relief. When someone passes away, people try to help. They give information on what they think is correct to try to help. Sometimes it does, many times it does not as the information is not relevant to the person in question or is hearsay or out of date.

I know this because I had to help many times, and the people I helped told me how much of a difference the factual, practical, empathetic assistance made to them.

People will need a lot of help. Once the emergency is over (please make it soon), the recovery will be slow, painful and for many without the comforts of their home and their paperwork to fall back on. Whether it is just dealing with insurance claims, sums of money being received via insurance payouts or compensation, decisions around whether to rebuild, move, start over somewhere safer, or in the horrible event of a new life starting without a loved one, people need to know who can help.

Imagine dealing with all of this stress without assistance?

Thank goodness for the charities, volunteers, donations of goods and services, and government assistance. People are stepping up and it is fabulous. But this process will be long and hard.
It is alright to let people know that they can have help with all this stuff. We are hearing that many financial advisers are already helping clients start to deal with the inevitable processes they will have to deal with to get paid out for insurance claims.

It is alright to let people know that if they don’t yet have an adviser they can still get one. They can set things up efficiently and correctly with the assistance they need.
It is alright to let people know that whilst the future can not be foreseen, many things can be planned for and the stress can be reduced.

It is alright to let people know that they don’t know what they don’t know. Only 10% of the population are currently utilising financial advice, so they are actually in the majority if they didn’t have things set up optimally the first time.

And for everyone who does get help with all of the financial stuff they need, safely and in the right way for them, they will be better able to help during these types of tragedies.

If you are financially secure, financially relaxed, and financially prepared, you can let that be less of a burden to your energy, so you can focus on what you need to in your life, whatever that might be.

Please consider financial relaxation as a priority in your life.

Melinda Houghton
Adv. Dip FS (FP)
Insider Out – Understand and Trust your Advice

This information may be regarded as general. That is, your personal objectives, needs or financial situations were not taken into account when preparing this information. Accordingly, you should consider the appropriateness of any information we have given you, having regard to your own objectives, financial situation and needs before acting on it.

I am no longer authorised to provide financial advice. If you wish to receive financial advice you must contact an authorised provider.

https://www.moneysmart.gov.au/investing/financial-advice/financial-advisers-register

Ouch! – I am so grateful I can type this!

Ouch! – I am so grateful I can type this!

I can type. With both hands. (Just).

10 days ago, I was carrying a large heavy box of stuff to donate to the charity shop out to the car. I couldn’t see where my feet were going, but I thought I was ok to get the box in the car, as I had opened the back of the car, opened the gate, and had a clear path.

Unfortunately my foot just missed the edge of the path and went into the garden bed, and I lost balance and fell hard with the big heavy box, onto the concrete driveway.
I knew I had hurt myself and felt a bit shaky, so I just sat for a few minutes with a box of children’s costumes and teddy bears and books sprawled across the driveway. A friendly neighbour came over, picked up the stuff and put the box in the car for me, but I wouldn’t let him help me up. I wasn’t sure if I was really hurt or just a little bit hurt, but I knew it hurt.

After a few minutes I tried to put my left hand down on the ground, then very quickly decided that was not a great idea. So I put the other hand down and managed to stand up, thank my neighbour for his help, and make it to an armchair inside before the spinning in my head sent me tumbling again.

Now I have never broken anything other than a toe, (and I’m not sure that counts), so I didn’t think I had this time either, I thought I might have some soft tissue damage in my forearm, so of course – icepack, elevation, and rest.

But after a painful and sleepless night (I refused to face emergency in the middle of the night just to be told I had soft tissue damage) I decided to go to the GP.
He immediately referred me straight to the Public Hospital over the road for x-rays. He was not of the same soft tissue outcome opinion as I was and feared I had a broken wrist.

So a couple of hours later, I was told I had a dislocated elbow, ligament damage, and had broken the top off my radius (elbow). Ouch!
Then I was told it would be put in a sling, and I could see the surgeon at the hospital in two weeks.

Did you hear the bit where I said Ouch?

Well, the thing I said then was IhaveprivatehealthcoverandIwanttouseit (I have private health cover and I want to use it said very quickly without a break in the words and no breaths)
Within 30 mins I had surgery booked at a private hospital, was operated on and home by 11 am the next morning.

So now, after 10 days, I can type with both hands (just). But I am absolutely horrified that anyone without private health cover would be left in that degree of pain and broken for 2 weeks before even seeing a surgeon. And that I would today have still not been treated.

The “stories” say that you do not need private health cover in an emergency. That you will be treated the same way under the public system. Well, I consider all the money I have spent to be worth it in just this one incident. I am healing now.

I even managed to get the box of stuff delivered to the charity store today (although I didn’t carry it from the car obviously, they did that for me).

I would be a blithering, crying, painful, half badly healed mess without the cover, and you can forget Christmas, I would probably still be waiting for surgery as things closed down over the break.

#InsiderOut #FinancialRelaxation

Melinda Houghton
Adv. Dip FS (FP), AFA, FPA
Insider Out – Understand and Trust your Advice
www.insider-out.com.au
melinda@insider-out.com.au
0400 533 865

This information may be regarded as general. That is, your personal objectives, needs or financial situations were not taken into account when preparing this information. Accordingly, you should consider the appropriateness of any information we have given you, having regard to your own objectives, financial situation and needs before acting on it.

I am no longer authorised to provide financial advice. If you wish to receive financial advice you must contact an authorised provider.

https://www.moneysmart.gov.au/investing/financial-advice/financial-advisers-register

How do you find a GOOD financial adviser?

How do you find a GOOD financial adviser?

There is a LOT going on in the Financial Planning Industry at the moment.  Legislative changes, class actions, and investigations.  A lot of Advisers and Licensees are exiting ….. and then quietly on the side, an impressive number of great planners going about their daily tasks to help people achieve a secure financial future.

I did a radio interview a little while ago, where the topic was going to be about New Year’s Resolutions, which quickly changed into answering questions about why you would pay a financial planner when they just charge you fees and you don’t get anything out of it?

The comment from the radio announcer went along these lines:

“So I went to a financial planner a few years ago, and he said he could save me some tax.  But then his fees took away the tax savings so I didn’t get anything out of it”.

My response was something like this:

“So if he did save you tax which paid for his fees, and then he also gave you information on when you could afford to retire, how long your money was likely to last, how much you could spend every year in retirement, and knowledge that you were doing everything you could to your best advantage, is that nothing?

Or is that actually priceless information to provide financial relaxation? 

 Financial Planners need to get paid for their expert knowledge and the hard work they do, so he couldn’t do your work for free.  And if he says it is free, then you would have to ask HOW?”

We agreed that the extra information he had neglected to mention was valuable, and moved on.

But it raises a great point about the objections people have to seeing a financial planner.  They see the fees they pay since legislation (and for most planners, ethics) requires fees to be clearly disclosed.

But how to value peace of mind?

And how to find the good planners amongst the rabble of average, (or unfortunately still there) the dodgy ones?

Whilst as is the case with every profession; there are no absolute guarantees, I suggest you consider the following traits when trying to find a good planner:

  1. Authorised to provide Financial Advice in Australia (so not a Mortgage Broker, Accountant, Real Estate salesperson, Banker or the taxi driver who knows a bit about financial planning).
  2. Qualified at much higher than the base level (base level is generally a Diploma of Financial Planning, soon changing to a degree).
  3. Experienced (more than 5 years as a planner is ideal). The first few years should be closely supervised whilst learning the ropes.
  4. Not linked to a large financial institution (unless you don’t mind being “sold” that bank or institutions products).
  5. Member of a professional association with a strong code of ethics.
  6. A provider of strategic, holistic advice that cares about your goals and objectives and not so much about what products you are in or what products you can be put in.
  7. Focused on you and not themselves.
  8. You pay a fee for their service that is not dependent on product or how much money you have.
  9. Your first impression is that they are good listeners, you like them and you think you should be able to work together.
  10. Your first impression is that they know what they are talking about, and have empathy and understanding of your situation.
  11. They are used to working with clients in your situation (e.g. retiree, family, single young person, complex structures, business planning)
  12. They are recommended by someone you know (who has actually used their services).
  13. They are encouraging but not pushy.
  14. They clearly explain what services they provide, and what fees are payable, without pressure

A financial planner should be someone you can work with over the long term, who listens, and who wants to create an ongoing coaching relationship to help you start to achieve your goals, and then keep on working towards them as things change and you have challenges or achievements.

There are no quick fixes, and if you think that what the person you are dealing with is offering you something that is quick, transactional, or too good to be true, then that is your cue to walk away.

If you don’t like the way you are treated, you think the planner is wanting to sell you products rather than to provide a service, or you aren’t sure you can trust them?  Then that is your cue to run away.

You can’t generalise, and some people may disagree with the list I have prepared above, but in my 25 years in financial services, and 15 years as a former financial planner within multiple organisations and structures, this is the list I have come up with.

If you still aren’t sure, or want more information on advice in general, contact a service that can assist you to enter the financial advice process safely, like Insider Out – Understand and Trust your Advice.

Good luck, and have a great financial future.

Melinda Houghton

Adv. Dip FS (FP)

Insider Out – Understand and Trust your Advice

melinda@insider-out.com.au

0400 533 865

 

This information may be regarded as general.  That is, your personal objectives, needs or financial situations were not taken into account when preparing this information.  Accordingly, you should consider the appropriateness of any information we have given you, having regard to your own objectives, financial situation and needs before acting on it.

I am no longer authorised to provide financial advice.  If you wish to receive financial advice you must contact an authorised provider.

https://www.moneysmart.gov.au/investing/financial-advice/financial-advisers-register