I hate roadworks! And crooks!

We have a huge problem in Australia.

In my area of Victoria there are more orange roadworks than roads right now. “So what?” you might think. “Isn’t the Victorian Government putting money into infrastructure much needed?” (Of course).

However the issue is not the roadworks as such, it is the over-the-top rules and regulations that mean the disruption and cost and time involved is drastically affecting our productivity and outcomes.

A section of road near me has been “worked” on for over a year now. It was totally re-designed (with similar chaos) a few years ago. I have to drive down this road to take my son to school. He is now doing Year 12, and whilst lamenting the time wasting (around an extra hour a day) I said “Why couldn’t they have waited until next year to do this when we don’t have to drive here anymore?” His response – “Oh, don’t worry, they will still be here next year!”. He is unfortunately right. There is no sign of it being finished.

The issue? Lanes blocked without need or thinking about the actual traffic flow. Many people standing around every day appearing to do nothing, time-wasting and disorder, stop-go sign holders without any real need to be there. Kilometres of roads blocked for metres of work. Sections finished sitting for weeks prior to being opened again. 40 kmh when it could be 60. No forward planning, blocking extra lanes during peak hour. And so on…..

A few years ago I travelled to the United Kingdom. Whilst travelling around England and Wales, it struck me that there were many things happening there that we don’t let happen here anymore. A lot of them related to things that we have assumed people can’t think about for themselves.

Like footpaths. Many places in England and Wales have no footpaths or tiny footpaths, or they are cracked or cobbled. It makes it a little difficult to walk around, you need to watch out for cars (or in Cambridge – bicycles), watch your step, and be a bit careful.

But you know what? People weren’t tripping over everywhere, or getting hit by cars or bikes every minute. They were being sensible, watching their step, and watching out for vehicles.

In Australia if there is a crack in the footpath, “witches hats” are placed around it. If there is no footpath, people aren’t allowed to walk there, or sometimes they expect cars to just stop for them – they don’t even look.

Here, they will block off half a road to work on a footpath. Or they will slow you 40 kilometres an hour for 3 kilometres for 3 weeks to work on 20 metres of road off to the side for 2 days. In England they just blocked off the immediate area and slowed you down slightly if they were on the road, say a reduction of 10 miles per hour. And I didn’t see cars ploughing into the road workers. I even saw some road workers looking for cars before they stepped onto the road! It was almost as though they were expected to take some responsibility for themselves.

A similar thing is happening in financial services in Australia. Many people are so used to everything being controlled and legislated that they don’t take responsibility for themselves. However Financial Literacy Education has been incredibly lax.

  • We hear stories of rip-offs by con-men who are unlicensed and unregistered. Shouldn’t consumers have been taught the basics of avoiding cons in high school?
  • Being offered no-risk and high returns and people assume that is ok? Shouldn’t they have been given basic knowledge that some things being too good to be true?
  • People assuming that if their Adviser works for a large company they will automatically be high quality. Shouldn’t they be taught to check out their Adviser like they do their Doctor or Mechanic?
  • If something is advertised on the television it is taken as automatically true. Surely “someone” wouldn’t let that happen if it weren’t true, right?
  • And if the government says 9.5% of super contributions is compulsory then that will be enough. They don’t want to think about things like living comfortably 20 years in the future.

People are forgetting they are responsible for their own money and future. The education has not been provided to give the basics of financial literacy. Our Government is trying to legislate Ethics into existence, instead of acknowledging that people need to know more to protect themselves, and instead of catching the crooks that are out there.

The Government thinks that by giving everyone in financial services dozens more layers of legislation and boxes to tick, they are protecting people. The consumer is even more confused than ever, has no idea who to trust, and has not been educated on the basics to keep track of, or how to find someone to translate all that money stuff for them effectively.

The costs of legislation are actually reducing the availability of advice for the people who need it most, with no viable financial literacy program to fill the gaps. No-one is telling the clients how to find good advice; they are removing their options for advice at all. And then our Government decided to take away Personal Insurance for thousands of Australians, without telling them how to check it out first or how to find someone to help them check it out.

We have many huge problems in Australia.

People are forgetting to do their due diligence, trust their instincts and use common sense. They will spend more time researching a one-off purchase (like a new smart-phone) than they will checking how they are going to be able to afford to retire one day. They will trust the screen selling insurance products at the petrol station but won’t research the differences between general and personal insurance.

Whilst it would be nice to think that everything is so well controlled in Australia that you can trust the TV, the Government, a bank, or your default options to provide for you in the best possible way, this is not and never will be the case.

How do we make people take responsibility for themselves again?
How do we help them see the difference between junk, lies, rubbish and quality advice?

How do we help people with their responsibility for walking on that cracked footpath, watch out for people working on our roads, or take control of their own finances and future themselves without causing total and absolute chaos ?

#InsiderOut #FinancialRelaxation

Melinda Houghton
Adv. Dip FS (FP), AFA, FPA
Insider Out – Understand and Trust your Advice
[email protected]
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.


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