More money in your pocket, by paying off your mortgage faster

More money in your pocket, by paying off your mortgage faster

For most of us, our mortgage is our biggest financial burden – and one that’ll be with us for decades. However, it’s important to remember that the life of a home loan doesn’t need to be as long as the contract suggests; you’re free to pay it off faster and take that financial load off your shoulders sooner.

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Living your best life in retirement

If you’re nearing retirement age, it’s likely you’re wondering if you will have enough saved to give up work and take it easy, particularly as cost-of-living increases hit some of the basic expenses such as energy, insurance, food and health costs.

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Caught in the middle: help for the sandwich generation

Caught in the middle: help for the sandwich generation

If you are feeling a bit like the meat in the sandwich you are not alone. The ‘sandwich generation’ is a growing social phenomenon that impacts people from all walks of life, describing those at a stage of their lives where they are caring for their offspring as well as their elderly parents.

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inflation in the month of may australia

4CRB Show – Why is inflation control so important?

Maintaining stable inflation is a crucial aspect of monetary policy for several reasons, each with far-reaching implications for economies, businesses, and individuals.

So what is inflation?  Inflation is the rate at which the general level of prices for goods and services is rising and it plays a pivotal role in shaping economic decisions and outcomes.  Put simply, the price that you paid for your groceries last year might have been $200 and this year for the same items it now costs $220.

Here, I’ll delve into the significance of keeping inflation in check over time.

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Four steps to plan for a better retirement

Many investors concentrate on building their nest egg during their working lives to pay or help pay for their retirement but fail to give enough attention to planning for a retirement that may last 25 years or longer.

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How to choose an ETF

With so many ETFs of all shapes and sizes now available on the market, finding the right one to invest in can sometimes be a difficult choice for investors.

Below are a few suggestions on what to look out for when choosing ETFs.

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Global growth is anticipated to be moderate, with the year-average GDP growth for Australia’s major trading partners expected to slow down in 2024, affecting demand for Australian exports. Inflation in advanced economies is projected to align with central bank targets within the next year, amidst softer economic growth and a slight easing in labour markets, suggesting policy rates may have reached their peak.

Growth in advanced economies is set to decelerate significantly due to the impacts of tighter monetary policy, with G7 economies, excluding the United States, expecting below-average growth compared to pre-pandemic levels.

China’s growth is forecasted to slow, impacted by a weakening property sector and a decline in services consumption, although this may be partially mitigated by manufacturing investment and infrastructure policy support.

Global bond and equity markets ended the first quarter of 2024 on a positive note, achieving new heights with the MSCI global share index reaching record levels in March, propelled by changing expectations around U.S. Federal Reserve rate cuts.

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Should I be looking at Cryptocurrency?

A question every financial adviser will have at least one to two times per week is ‘should I be looking at cryptocurrency’?

Just about everyone knows of someone who has done well in ‘crypto’ and there are probably a lot more who have lost as much or more, that aren’t talking about it.

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Life insurance: the basics and things to consider

Give me the main points

  • The most important reason to consider taking out life insurance is to protect your family if you die or become unable to work.
  • There’s a good case for anyone with dependants or people who plan to have dependants to take out life insurance.
  • Life insurance policies can be bought through life insurance companies, financial advisers or brokers, or through superannuation funds.
  • The amount you roughly need is the gap between what your dependants require, and the value of your assets (not including your family home).
  • Whatever you choose, it’s important to reassess your life insurance cover against your needs as life changes.

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New increased super contribution caps

As the end of financial year gets closer, some investors are thinking about the most effective ways to boost their super balance, particularly with an increase in the caps on contributions from 1 July.

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Being informed is the key to avoiding scams

While it seems we all like to think we are clever enough to outwit a scam, Australians collectively lost more than 480 million to scams last year.

Every year scammers get more sophisticated in the methods they use to part us with our money – or our valuable personal information. It’s important to recognise that even the savviest of us can fall victim to scams that are ever evolving to take us for a ride.

Let’s look at the scams that are having the most impact – and how to avoid them.

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4CRB Show – 2024 is not a normal cycle.

It has been an interesting start to the year from an economic and market perspective.  We have seen:

  • Shares reaching some of their all-time highs;
  • Property is increasing as affordability is at an all-time low;
  • Cash rates are high compared to recent years;
  • Cost of living is increasing everywhere;
  • Questions still being raised around how will the next generation afford a home?

This can reach a point of maximum destruction of capital if large decisions are made at the wrong time (and without the appropriate advice) and we are seeing that now is a good time for cash buffers, diversification and a strategic approach.

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4CRB Show: How are People Funding Retirement?

Listen to 4CRB radio show with Troy Theobald: How are people funding retirement?

There are a number of ways you can fund your retirement but you only need a plan that works for you and your household.

Each household  is different.  Some people want to leave everything to the kids others believe in the “SKI” theory: Spend the Kids Inheritance!

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How to increase your IQ for later in life

Key points:

  • Dr Vincent Candrawinata founded Renovatio Bioscience in 2016 following antioxidant research at the University of Newcastle
  • Dr Candrawinata is among many researchers who believe that a person’s intelligence quotient, commonly referred to as IQ, can be increased — instead of simply remaining static throughout life
  • As a lauded expert in the field of dietary science and wellness, Dr Candrawinata became one of the youngest PhD holders and was recognised by the Australian Government as an Individual with a Distinguished Talent in Research and Academia

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Managing your financial health

Understanding financial health

Financial health is an important part of our lives. When we take care of our financial health we can better manage financial stress and achieve our financial goals.  

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Market movements and review video – March 2024

Stay up to date with what’s happened in markets and the Australian economy over the past month.

The economic indicators for February were mixed.

Inflation has remained at a two-year low, giving confidence of a possible rate cut in coming months, and business capital investment rose in the December quarter.

However, the Australian dollar remained in the doldrums and retail figures from January remained weak, after a 2.1% loss in December.

Please get in touch if you’d like assistance with your personal financial situation.

Troy’s market update, March 2024

The easiest way to get your up-to-date market insights with RFS Founding Partner, Troy Theobald. Ensure you subscribe to our newsletter via the home page to receive your weekly wrap. 

2023 Year in Review

Australia’s economy stubbornly defied predictions during 2023, dashing any hopes that we might begin to return to some kind of normal.

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Tax changes – what it will mean to me

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has announced proposed changes to address ongoing cost of living pressures with all 13.6 million Australian taxpayers receiving a tax cut from 1 July 2024, compared to the tax they paid in 2023-24.i

Now is the time to assess what it means to your hip pocket and what implications it may have for end of financial year planning as a result of the new rules, due from 1 July 2024.

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Investment Basics – 4CRB February Show

Have you ever thought about investing but don’t know where to start? Do you understand or get confused by industry jargon? Do you know the difference between the asset classes you can invest in?

If you answered “yes” to any of these then today’s show is a must listen for you. 

Listen to ‘6 key questions for aged care’Investment Basics’ – 4CRB February Show

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Quarterly Investment Update from the AAN Investment Committee – Q4 2023

Contrasting predictions about recession or expansion, inflation or deflation, and the direction of interest rates continues.  With this in mind, markets are likely to remain unpredictable. Liquidity is very important in this environment, providing easy access to funds and the ability to seize new opportunities, should they arise.

Central banks remain firm against inflation. However, with inflation above central bank comfort zones, this is expected to keep rates higher-for-longer and dampen the current market expectations for an early start to a developed market easing.

The market shows glimmers of optimism and equity markets maintain an optimistic stance, hoping for rate cuts to prevent an economic downturn. Notably, earnings growth and balance sheet strength will remain a key focus and geopolitical risks continue to weigh heavily on the outlook for stocks.

Looking ahead, bottom-up research and consistent engagement will be crucial in identifying the best opportunities.

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Catch up on super to boost retirement savings

Catch up on your super

If you’ve had an irregular or interrupted income in the past, you might’ve missed out on opportunities to contribute to super. If you don’t fully utilise your concessional cap, and you’re eligible, you may be able to make ‘catch up’ on concessional contributions.

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How will you use your super?

We spend decades watching our super balances grow but for those thinking about retirement in the next few years, it can be confusing to work out how best to use your super.

Here are some of the considerations for the popular options.

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Out with the old in 2024

A New Year is a chance to start afresh and move into the year ahead with confidence and optimism that it’s going to be a great one! Part of setting yourself up for a wonderful year can sometimes be letting go things in your life that are not so beneficial for you and may be holding you back from living the life you want.

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An exciting Christmas!

RFS is well and truly back and opened its doors for 2024 on Jan 8th.

It is fair to say, it has been a long time since I have seen the team that excited about getting back to work.  Anything that involved a large air-conditioned space was super attractive and the alternative, frequenting shopping centres, leads to spending temptations.

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6 questions for aged care

6 key questions for aged care – 4CRB January Show

This week on 4CRB the RFS Advice Director of Financial Services and retirement expert Troy Theobald makes his regular appearance on 4CRB radio with aged care specialist Belinda Veriton.

Listen to 6 key questions for aged care – 4CRB January Show

Belinda and her team assist countless Gold Coast families as they embark on the aged care journey on behalf of their loved ones, and today we are asking Belinda some of the most important questions she encounters on a day-to-day basis.

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Some very good news for our AAN Asset Management model users

In our May update we discussed some changes to underlying models. While making those changes we had the opportunity to discuss rate cards with new managers and our incumbents, especially given the growth in the holdings in our AAN Core And AAN Growth options.

Key considerations in the creation of the models have always been best of breed holdings and cost reductions through scale.  We use our proprietary ‘Four Pillars’ philosophy when structuring portfolios and then negotiate favourable terms with the successful solutions.

As a product of building scale we can now announce model fee reductions in three of our models including our two largest.

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Prioritising mental health: How small business owners can make a difference

In today’s modern business landscape, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of the economy.

However, lost amid the grind to balance books, meet customer demands, and stay afloat, there’s an often-overlooked factor: prioritising mental health.

The wellbeing of both business owners and their employees is paramount, not only for personal happiness but also for the overall productivity and success of the business.

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Powering down for a relaxing holiday

It’s nice to enjoy a break over the summer months. In fact, it’s an Aussie tradition – that mass exodus after Boxing Day that sees us head off for some well-earned rest and relaxation. However, it can be hard to unwind when we have a device in our pocket buzzing away every couple of minutes.

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2024, here we come!

It could just be me but 2023 was a bit of a blur.  I did do a lot of travel, both for work and personally, so that may be part of it, but there did seem to be a lot going on generally.

I probably devour a bit too much sport and this has been a great year to be a couch potato. We had world cups in Netball, Rugby, Cycling, Soccer (Women’s), Aquatic, Basketball and Cricket. When you then mix in the rugby league and AFL with Brisbane teams featuring (unsuccessfully, but let’s not talk about that) in both, that probably added to the channel surfing? Finally, if you like your NBA, sailing and motor racing, those screens at home were working overtime.

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Aged Care Advice: The Final Chapter

As a strong advocate of aged care advice, Belinda Veriton was named a finalist in the 2022 Aged Care Adviser of the Year and Aged Care Advice Program of the Year awards.

Jayson Forrest reports.

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Returning to work after retirement

Employers are desperate for workers and cost of living pressures are making it tough to live on a pension. That’s a perfect mix of conditions to send some retirees back to work. But it’s smart to get good advice before you take the leap.

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How an ageing population permanently changed the Australian economy

Key points:

  • The Intergenerational Report 2023 released by Treasury gave Australians insight into the national economy from 2023 until 2062 – 2063
  • The care and support sector and its workforce were projected to double over the next 40 years
  • The paid workforce participation rate was expected to dip from 66.6 percent to 63.8 percent, due to the population continuing to age

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How to start a conversation about money

Why it’s so important to talk about your finances

According to this research1, one in two Australians don’t sit down regularly to look at their finances and one in three say that money is a source of conflict in their relationship.  

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rba cash rate rise

Not quite the Xmas present we were looking for.

The Melbourne Cup has been run and I can confirm zero success on any of the four horses I put money on. This year we were provided access to tips from gentlemen who live and breathe horse racing and…. we will now return to our usual name, horse colour and dart solutions. While we appreciate the tips, the variables in horse racing, especially when every horse in the race is trying to win it, seem way harder than getting wealthier the old-fashioned way – saving and investing.

To those who did win, congratulations and we hope you celebrated appropriately.

Having demonstrated very little skill in gambling we have returned to something we do understand, but still can be very fickle, investment markets.

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Working Out Retirement – November 4CRB Show

Listen to Troy Theobald’s latest segment on 4CRB – Working Out Retirement.

There are a few key questions I recommend you ask yourself as a pre-retiree…

  1. What will you do with your time?
  2. What will it truly cost to live your ideal retirement lifestyle?
  3. Are you on track to afford this?
  4. When will you be ready to enter the retirement phase?

Consider this your ‘planning for retirement tool kit’.

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Central bank’s aggressive approach to combating inflation, characterised by significant rate hikes, did not stall the economy as anticipated by the markets. The market’s eagerness for a slowdown has been overtaken by its desire for expansionary monetary policy.

Despite signs that the central banks remain firm against inflation, equity markets maintained an optimistic stance, hoping for rate cuts to prevent an economic downturn. The recent earnings season showed positive results, but forward guidance from companies remained uncertain, hinting at potential economic slowdown concerns.

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Investment management in ‘dangerous’ times

I read an article recently that proffered ‘the world has become a lot more dangerous’.  This is in reference to the ongoing Ukraine/Russia Conflict and the horrors that were perpetrated in Israel on the 7th of October and no doubt the fierce response that is now occurring in Gaza.

I do not want to understate the impacts that are being experienced by combatants and civilians in these areas but unfortunately, it is far from unprecedented.  As recently as May 2021, Israel was embroiled in ‘Operation Guardian of the Walls’ with missiles exchanged between Hamas and Israel as well as riots in Israeli cities.

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Market movements & review video – October 2023

Stay up to date with what’s happened in Australian markets over the past month.

Household wealth has grown for the third quarter in a row, rising by 2.6% in the June quarter, pushed up by rising house prices and increases in super balances.

Click the video below to view our October update.

Please get in touch if you’d like assistance with your personal financial situation.

market volatility

Can I handle market volatility? – October 4CRB Show

Market volatility – So what is it?

In relation to shares or super it is the daily movements in the share price of the underlying investments. They move each day and minute that the markets are open because it is a free market.

A good way to think of it is the lowest price someone is willing to sell their shares for.  That is what the purchaser is paying.

Most movements in share prices come from outside events from the world in the short term and over the medium to longer term they should come from the characteristics of the company.

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the voice

Fiddling while Rome burns.

So first to some breaking news.

Announced late last week, our Director of Financial Services, Troy Theobald has made the Barons’ Top 50 list.  This is in recognition of the success of Troy and the firm compared to all other advice businesses nationally.  There are some big institutional firms in the mix and it is a credit to Troy and RFS, that a privately owned practice can mix it successfully with the corporate advice groups.

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destinations to visit

Destinations to fire up your passions

The world is an amazing place, with so much to see and do. In fact, sometimes it can feel as though there is so much to experience it can be quite a challenge selecting a destination, but if you follow your heart and explore your passions when planning a trip you can’t go wrong.

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Market movement & review video – September 2023

Stay up to date with what’s happened in Australian markets over the past month.

After endless gloomy forecasts, there was a glimmer of hope last month that the cost of living might be easing.

Inflation continued to fall, despite predictions by economists of a rise.

The ASX200 ended the month down with gains in financial stocks being offset by losses in mining and energy shares because of their dependency on China.

Click the video below to view our September update.

Please get in touch if you’d like assistance with your personal financial situation.

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working life versus retirement life

Working Life Versus Retirement Life? on 4CRB Radio

Listen to Troy Theobald’s segment ‘Working Life Versus Retirement Life?’ on 4CRB Radio

If I asked our retirees 10 years into their retirement what they wish they knew/did earlier, the most common answers would be:

  • I wish I retired earlier.
  • I wish I had taken better care of my health.
  • I wish I made saving for retirement a priority sooner.
  • I wish I had spent more time planning better use of my time.  
  • I wish I got advice earlier.

Let’s break this down into a few categories:

  • “Goals for Work” versus “Goals for Life”
  • Property now versus property in retirement
  • “Super” versus “Allocated Pension”
  • “Saving Money” versus “Spending Money”

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When should I retire fully, or should I work part-time? 4CRB Radio

Listen to the 4CRB radio segment ‘When should I retire fully, or should I work part-time?’ with Troy Theobald.

If I asked our retirees 10 years into their retirement about when to retire, most would say that they should have done it years earlier. 

When is right for you though?

You need to do some planning before you retire. BUT, how?

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Market movement & review video – August 2023

Stay up to date with what’s happened in Australian markets over the past month.

While the price of most goods and services continues to rise, the good news is the rate of increase is continuing to slow.

As a result, the markets are beginning to breathe a sigh of relief.

The ASX rallied to close the month on a positive note due to a combination of stronger than expected growth data, better than expected earnings and lower inflation.

Click the video below to view our August update.

Please get in touch if you’d like assistance with your personal financial situation.

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will these super changes affect me

Will these super changes affect you?

As our superannuation balances grow larger, it makes more sense than ever to keep track of the many rules changes that have recently happened or are coming up soon.

So, check out these latest changes in case they affect you.

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Making conscious the unconscious for better decisions

Making conscious the unconscious for better decisions

When you’re faced with a decision, do you trust your feelings or do you look at the situation objectively, making a careful list of pros and cons? Emotions exert a strong influence on our decisions, so it’s important to have a bit of balance between reason and emotion – particularly when it comes to the big decisions in life.

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Global central banks hike rates amidst rising core inflation. Investors brace as economy cools. Equities soar despite the turbulence.

Unruly ride in US equity markets driven by mega cap tech stocks (Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Nvidia, Alphabet), boosting S&P 500, Nasdaq to a record 37% 6-month return, and Apple’s $3 trillion market capitalisation triumph. Artificial intelligence hype soars, but investors should tread carefully with overpriced stocks.

The material change to select portfolios this quarter was the addition of the DNR Capital Australian Equities High Conviction Strategy to replace the Bennelong Australian Equities portfolio in the Core, Growth, and Australian models. Other changes were limited to adjustments to benchmark allocations.

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What to do if you’ve been scammed

Think you have been scammed? These steps will help you take action quickly to stop the scammers and limit the damage.

Know that you are not alone and you can recover from this. There is support available, if and when you need it.

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Options and costs of government-funded aged care

If you need help in your home, or can no longer live independently, the Australian Government provides a range of aged care services.

These services are subsidised, but you need to contribute to the cost if you can afford to.

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Market movements & review video – July 2023

As the inflation rate begins to ease, with consumer inflation slowing to a 13 month low in May, many commentators expressed hope that further interest rate rises may be kept in check.

That led to a slight improvement in investor outlook for stocks at the end of June.

The S&P/ASX 200 closed the month at about the same level as in May but, over the financial year, it’s risen more than 10%.

Please get in touch if you’d like assistance with your personal financial situation.

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Happy New Financial Year, and is it?

Apologies for the hiatus in these commentaries.  I was practising what we preach by taking an extended break in Europe.

Troy and I joined forces some twelve years ago in March 2011, so it was time to give him a well-earned break from me!  He and the team have assured me I was missed but the place seems to have functioned very well without the CEO, so I am not so sure…?

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retirees travel around australia

What are our retirees up to? – July 2023 4CRB Show

Listen to 4CRB segment “What are our retirees up to?” with Troy Theobald from RFS Advice

Firstly, I would love to hear from our retiree community as to the changes they’re seeing within their own communities.

What shifts have we as a firm noticed over the past few years? When Covid hit and lockdowns were implemented, the majority of the population felt isolated and the retiree demographic lost a couple of prime years for enjoying this important life stage. Depending on where retirees lived and the rules in your particular area, not to mention personal health status’, some retirees were able to emerge from lockdown sooner than others. We saw the majority jumping straight back into their original plans, making up for lost time – which was great to see!

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Getting your bounce back

Life is pretty frantic, and it is common to feel like it’s a struggle to keep up the pace. In fact, feeling exhausted is so common that it has its own acronym, TATT, which stands for “tired all the time”.

While it’s somewhat comforting to know you’re not alone, it’s certainly not a nice feeling, so let’s look at some of the best ways to get some bounce back into your step.

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Sowing the seeds for a happy retirement

The thought of retirement is an enticing one for many of us. Imagine throwing off the shackles of the workforce and being able to do whatever you want, whenever you want. But why wait until you are retired to do the things you love? 

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How to handle a slowdown or recession – June 2023 4CRB Show

Play 4CRB June 2023 Show – ‘How to handle a slowdown or recession’ with Troy Theobald.

So, are we going to have a recession or a slowdown?

The short answer is yes, I think going forward it would be in households’ best interests to base their spending habits on there being a slowdown.  People will need to review their cash flow and change their spending habits from what they’ve been used to over the last few years.

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Can we just stop spending?

Yes, it is a little about all of us spending more than the RBA would like, but it is a lot more about state and federal governments continuing to grow their expense budgets with no real concern for the possible consequences.

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How much is enough? 4CRB May Show

How Much is enough?

The million-dollar question – how much do we need in retirement? 

Obviously, there is a not a one answer fits all approach that can be provided as there are so many different factors that need to be considered on an individual bases.

Play 4CRB Radio Show: How much is enough? by Troy Theobald of RFS Advice

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Why an emergency fund delivers peace of mind

When life tosses up an unexpected event – such as retrenchment, a medical emergency or even just a big bill to fix the car – it can be nerve-wracking worrying about how to deal with the crisis. And, if funds are short, that just adds to the stress.

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How to get super ready for EOFY

Superannuation has dominated recent headlines, with proposed changes announced by Treasurer Jim Chalmers. While the details of these changes still need to be released, it’s worthwhile turning our focus to superannuation balances as we approach the end of financial year.

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Market movements & review video – April 2023

Stay up to date with what’s happened in the Australian economy and markets over the past month.

March was marked by banking failures in the US that sent ripples through global sharemarkets.

However, the first quarter of 2023 ended on a note of optimism in Australia due to better-than-expected inflation figures and expectations of a tempering in rate rises.

Please get in touch if you’d like assistance with your personal financial situation.

Travelling in Retirement – 4CRB April Show

Play 4CRB Segment – ‘Travelling in Retirement’ with Troy Theobald from RFS Advice.

Market Wrap

It’s been a month since our last show and inflation continues to be a big issue. However, there has been a halt to rising interest rates for now. 

Freight cost has also continued to drop and remain low and building companies are struggling under the huge increase in wage costs. Materials have stabilised but wages are now an issue; we have seen lumber back down to 387 after a spike to 1,500, which means we’re finally back to pre-2021 prices.

Governments are still trying to either stop or slow spending, or increase taxes. In Australia they will cease the rebate for incomes up to $120,000.

Most commodities have decreased in the last 12 months and we believe that mortgage stress in Australia could be on its way once we see many households coming off fixed rates towards the end of the year.

See below for further market commentary and graphs.

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The basics of financial planning

Many individuals are not adequately prepared for retirement and may find it challenging to navigate the complex financial decisions involved in planning for this phase of life. This is the situation most financial advisers are passionate about avoiding, and where their expertise can be the key to a smooth transition to what can be a wonderful phase of life – done properly! For those new to the ‘retirement’ conversation, we’re going to explore the benefits of having a financial adviser to help you retire well.

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Trust your gut to boost your health

Gut health has become one of the hottest health topics in recent years as we have started to learn about the complex connection between gut health and overall health. So why is gut health so important and how can we support and boost our own microbiomes?

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Small earthquakes can collapse buildings with poor foundations.

The rapid rise of interest rates has provided a shock that is exposing companies with pre existing conditions to the rude reality of normalised monetary policy.

Yes the US Federal Reserve cash rate rises from zero in March 2020 to 4.50% in March 2023 is the steepest rate rise cycle for 158 years but… 4.5% is not an outlier when it comes to cash rates.

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The economic star you need to look for

Thousands of years ago, Polynesian explorers using basic, wooden outrigger canoes embarked on long-distance voyages across the vast Pacific Ocean to travel between regional islands.

They did so long before the advent of any maritime navigational instruments, relying heavily on the night sky to guide them.

More precisely, they used two stars in particular – Polaris and Polaris Australis.

Why these stars? Both are bright, and both are polar stars. Because they’re respectively aligned to the North and South Poles, the Polynesians effectively had fixed points in the stars to help triangulate their nautical positions and navigate to different islands.

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Let’s not lose our Super perspective

Play 4CRB Radio Segment: ‘Let’s not lose our super perspective’ with Troy Theobald of RFS Advice

It has been a big month since our last show. 

Inflation continues to be a big issue along with rising interest rates. The Government is still forced with trying to either stop or slow spending or increase taxes.

The main talking point though at the moment is around superannuation changes.  The government has managed to unsettle Australians about super and just like trying to curve inflation, sometimes governments need to do what is less popular. Spend less of all our money!

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The bank no-one has heard of that is making international news

Many clients may have seen the news in regards to the SIVB bank – Silicon Valley Bank.

This is a bank that is not well known and given there are over 4,800 banks in the US that is probably not a great surprise.

It is a reasonably large bank with total assets of US$211.8 billion as at the 31st December 2022.  Compare that to the NAB with total assets of $596.1 billion.  

SVB grew very quickly, through venture capital firms pouring cash into it as they raised capital for potential start-ups.

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Still Super but may not be as super anymore.

(8 minute read)

I know it is a dry topic but these changes may have broader ramifications than you think and it has probably exposed an agenda that we will need to plan for.

As a precursor, we still believe Superannuation will be a critical part of the retirement savings landscape, but there are changes coming and they add complexity rather than reduce it.

Additionally, we have time to make adjustments and there are other options to discuss.

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Don’t mess with our super

Play 4CRB Radio Segment: ‘Don’t mess with our super’ with Troy Theobald of RFS Advice


The Keating government introduction of compulsory superannuation passed in 1992, initially at 3.0% of Australian wages and now at 10.5%.  This has been very successful and is arguably the envy of retirement savings around the world.

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Four investing lessons from the Australian Open

The just-finished Australian Open had most spectators gripping the edge of their seats at times over its 14 days of play.

From the opening round, right through to the women’s and men’s finals, you could say the first Grand Slam tennis tournament of 2023 had it all.

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What we know about 2022…

Play 4CRB Radio Segment: ‘What we know about 2022’ with Troy Theobald of RFS Advice

Balanced funds can have negative returns but it is important to remember that they are longer term investments.

We have collated some interesting facts and statistics about last year and in reviewing these it certainly was a year with many unknowns and ups and downs…

General advice warning:

The information contained in this report is information only and makes no recommendation or gives any opinions.  Accordingly, it is not financial product advice and should not be relied upon as financial product advice.

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Making the most of your super limits

Getting more money into superannuation is a proven way of building wealth to spend in retirement.

Ongoing contributions from your employer over the course of your working life, and potentially extra contributions made by you, can make a huge difference to your super balance over the long term as your account balance continues to grow.

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Money saving tips for travel

Travelling cheaply needn’t mean you miss out. Find out the best ways to save big on your overseas holiday plans, and make the most of every dollar.

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Being wary of scams and sharing your personal information

Key Points:

  • Never use the same password or variations of the same password, utilise different numbers and letters with a mixture of capital and lower case letters
  • Online quizzes may be fun but usually there is a catch, and that catch can be your personal data
  • Scammers either attempt to build rapport with their targets or are very aggressive and frightening

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And we are back!

An interesting economic backdrop and help us stop scammers.

The economic backdrop continues to impact, both on sentiment and investment markets, but there are pieces within the puzzle that may point to a more positive year.

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Investors and recessions

Despite much talk of rising interest rates and possible recession, here are a few reasons to stay the course and stick to your long-term investment strategy.

There has been much discussion of rising interest rates, recent inflation spikes and ongoing market volatility impacting investment and super balances. Add to that the increased chatter about the possibility of Australia falling into a recession and things certainly aren’t looking too hopeful for investors at present.

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Are you gambling on your business for your retirement?

‘The business is my retirement,’ say many business owners. The reality is far more complicated – and devastating if you get it wrong.

The risks of using your business as your sole retirement nest egg or as the majority of it, are numerous and diverse. And they continue to ensnare many Aussie business owners looking to retire.

With this in mind, consider the common perils of making this gamble and options for safeguarding both your business and your retirement.

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The challenges of market timing

When markets fall, it’s natural to want to take action to prevent further losses. Doing so however can do more harm than good. Here’s why timing the market to buy low and sell high is not as easy as it sounds.

If you’re invested in the financial markets and also keeping up with the news, you’re probably wondering if you should do anything to insulate your portfolio from incurring further losses alongside rising interest rates and inflation.

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2023 Should Be Interesting?

2022 is wrapping up and it feels a bit like a stagger to the finish line.

Countries are slowly moving into a new normal with Covid no longer driving the policies around tourism and travel – even China.

In gaming parlance, 2022 could be described as ‘the grind’.  Picture any number of sports where there is a period where no one is scoring but you know fatigue will eventually set in and one side will get the upper hand.  Usually in State of Origin, that is QUEENSLAND… but I digress.

Investing can be a little the same. 

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Busted! Scam myths

We’re serving up the truth about some common scam myths that you might have heard, especially around tax time.

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Celebrating the festive season, the Aussie way

If you’ve ever hosted a visitor from overseas during the festive season you may have seen them a little bemused by the way we celebrate. It’s quite understandable as we do things a little bit differently down under.

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Mortgage v.s Super

With interest rates on the rise and investment returns increasingly volatile, Australians with cash to spare may be wondering how to make the most of it. If you have a mortgage, should you make extra repayments or would you be better off in the long run boosting your super?

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Catching the kindness bug

Australians have seen more than their share of tough times over the past few years and there are many stories of how individuals and communities responded to natural disasters and the pandemic with empathy and valuable assistance.

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Honouring your Legacy

Play 4CRB Radio Segment: ‘Honouring Your Legacy’ with Troy Theobald of RFS Advice

‘Honouring Your Legacy’ with Troy Theobald of RFS Advice

Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago. (Warren Buffet)

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cyber security risk

It’s Scams Awareness Week

Scam awareness is something we feel so passionately about here at RFS Advice and we
continuously aim to provide the most up-to-date information and advice for our clients to
keep them safe in the digital age. We have been lucky to partner with Claire Robinson and
the team at Basic Tech this year offering our clients educational sessions to teach and
empower clients to actively use technology to maintain their independence. Together
during Scams Awareness Week we want to ensure our clients and the wider community are
reminded of potential threats and remain equipped to identify common red flags.

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Are we ready to ‘Capitulate’?

2022 has been a tough economic year.  Not all bad news here in Australia but serious headwinds in China, Europe, the UK, the USA and most other continents.

In Australia we have been relatively shielded by our export industries with Iron Ore, Coal, Natural Gas and agricultural produce being in demand just about everywhere. Of course we have had a little bit of rain…?  (Queenslander’s can definitely sympathise with our NSWelsh and Victorian residents at the moment).

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Getting the balance right in decision making

We all approach decision making in our own way, making a multitude of decisions every day: ‘Should I hit snooze again on the alarm?,’ ‘Do I take the train to work, or do I drive,’ ‘What should we have for dinner?’

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We wanted to share an update with you from Australian Ethical, who are one of the managers within the AAN Sustainable Growth Model. What follows has been published without edit or modification from this postThis update includes links to several articles that have been written for investors.

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The real GOAT and those inflation concerns


In sporting parlance, the G.O.A.T. is the greatest of all time.  Think Michael Jordan for basketball, Wayne Gretzky – ice hockey, Tiger Woods or Jack Nicklaus for golf, Michael Phelps for swimming and Wally Lewis for state of origin.  Okay that last one could be disputed but just getting our NSW readers attention – maybe Mel Meninga, Billy Slater, Darren Lockyer or Johnathan Thurston?

All of these athletes were and are exceptional but I think we could argue that of all the people on the planet, Queen Elizabeth II may well have been the GOAT when it comes to selfless public service, dignity, grace and duty. 

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Preparing your kids for financial success

Teaching good financial habits, such as saving and budgeting, is one of the best ways to prepare children to have a secure financial future. Helping kids establish sound money management skills and strong financial acumen is important, regardless of wealth level.

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How much do you need to retire

Working out how much you need to save for retirement is a question that keeps many pre-retirees awake at night. Recent market volatility and fluctuating superannuation balances have only added to the uncertainty.

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Retirement Living Your Way with Troy Theobald

Play 4CRB Radio Segment: Retirement Living Your Way with Troy Theobald of RFS Advice

‘Retirement Living Your Way’ with Troy Theobald on 4CRB Radio.

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Coming to terms with stagflation

First, we had to brush up our understanding of inflation and what it means for our hip pocket and our investments. Now the term stagflation is being thrown into the economic mix.

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Tech tips to get more hours in your day

Life just seems to get ever busier as the years roll by and our most precious commodity is often our time. We could all do with a few more hours in the day and technology continues to play a vital role in bringing efficiencies into our daily lives.

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Negativity abounds but….

A slightly longer read as we have a lot to talk about.

The 21_22 financial year has been and gone and it was definitely two very different six monthly periods.
Looking back over the twelve months, the markets, somewhat surprisingly, strengthened from 1 July 2021 to 31 December 2021. It was a difficult market to read as earnings forecasts post Covid19 may have been understated and this was driving expectations. We discussed this in our blog at the time and the concern was the unknowns such as interest rates and inflation.

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The first half of 2022 was characterised by the harsh reality of elevated inflation and the combative stance taken by central banks around the globe. Already elevated inflation indicators moved higher, causing central banks to hike interest rates further than markets expected. Slower economic growth and recession fears are now front of mind.

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A Will To Give

As baby boomers shift into retirement, Australia is on the brink of the nation’s biggest ever intergenerational wealth transfer. Yet estate or inheritance planning is rarely discussed by families.

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Preparing for the next chapter

Retirement means starting a new chapter of your life, one that gives you the freedom to create your own story, as you decide exactly how you want to spend your time. While retirement may not be part of your immediate plans, there are advantages to giving some thought as to what retirement looks like for you and how to best position yourself, well before you leave the workforce behind.

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Your investing style – as unique as you

As interest rates start to increase after a lengthy period of historical lows, it’s a good time to think about how your money is working for you and whether your investing style and strategy is still in line with your goals.

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Investing for a house deposit

Despite it seeming increasingly difficult to get on the property ladder, there are still a few ways younger investors can realistically work towards a house deposit.

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Tips to navigate market volatility

In times of market volatility, it’s useful to remember a few grounding investment principles that can get you through the good and the not-so-good.

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Thriving on social connection

The phrase ‘no man is an island’ is from a poem written by John Donne and expresses the idea that humans need to be part of a community to thrive. That’s certainly true, by nature we are social creatures and connection is a core human need. So why do so many of us feel alone and what can we do to feel more connected?

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Sowing the seeds of succession

Succession planning can be difficult at the best of times without dealing with the added pressures farmers have recently faced with droughts, fires and floods.

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The road ahead for shares

Trying to time investment markets is difficult if not impossible at the best of times, let alone now. The war in Ukraine, rising inflation and interest rates and an upcoming federal election have all added to market uncertainty and volatility.

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May 2022

Welcome to May, and while the weather is cooling the economic and political landscape is heating up. All eyes are on interest rates as the federal election campaign shifts into top gear ahead of the May 21 polling day.

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RFS’ client survey results are in!

The RFS client survey was circulating throughout April and a very big thank-you to all of those who took the time to respond.  We understand that there are lots of competing priorities and really do appreciate the chance to get some feedback.

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Well, this is unpleasant!

There is nothing pretty about investment markets at the moment and unfortunately what we have been concerned about for a while is now playing out around share markets across the world.

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As we continue to see significant market volatility, we thought we would provide you with an update on what the Committee has been implementing in the Investment models as we move through this investment cycle.

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Quarterly Investment Update

Decades of peace in Europe were shattered on February 24th, 2022 when Russia invaded Ukraine. We extend our thoughts and sympathy to everyone affected and our hearts go out to all those suffering. What is reassuring is the amount of support throughout the world in standing with Ukraine. 

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Sharing super a win-win for couples

Australia’s superannuation system is based on individual accounts, with men and women treated equally. But that’s where equality ends. It’s a simple fact that women generally retire with much less super than men.

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Scams to beware (and be aware) of

There is a saying ‘a fool and his money are often parted’ but with scammers becoming ever more devious and sophisticated in their methods, it pays for everyone to be aware of the latest tricks being employed.

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Budgeting for success in 4 easy steps

With all eyes on the Federal Budget and balancing the nation’s books, it’s a good time to review your personal balance sheet. If it’s not as healthy as you would like, perhaps it’s time to do a little budget repair of your own.

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April 2022

Welcome to an early Federal Budget edition of our April newsletter. As the Morrison Government clears the decks ahead of a May election, Australians will be weighing up the impact on their household budgets.

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As many of you will note, the AAN Investment Committee have long maintained the policy of rebalancing models on a quarterly basis, and this was actioned last Friday. This process involves trimming positions that have performed well, topping up those that haven’t and as part of this rebalance a number of changes were made to the Core, Growth and Australian models, and we wanted to share those with you. 

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Federal Budget Analysis

A balancing act

Billed as a Budget for families with a focus on relieving short-term cost of living pressures, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s fourth Budget also has one eye firmly on the federal election in May.

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International travel is back

I feel more than a little guilty talking about travel with the human tragedy that is unfolding in Ukraine but I have just been to Canada and back and I know there is a genuine interest in how to manage the additional complexities of international travel in the current environment.

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Elevating your mood…naturally

If it’s been a while since you had that wonderful feeling of euphoria, there are measures you can take to elevate your mood by encouraging production of your bodies naturally occurring ‘happy hormones’.

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Six savvy ways to get out of debt and get ahead

It’s easy to walk into debt, but so much harder to get out of it. You must own your mess and know that your financial reason for living is to pay down your debt, writes Glen James author of Sort Your Money Out & Get Invested.

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How to calm those market jitters

It’s been a rocky start to the year on world markets but that doesn’t mean you should hit the panic button. Staying the course is generally the best course, but that’s easier said than done when there’s a big market fall.

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It’s March already…

It’s March already which marks the beginning of Autumn. While this is traditionally the season when things cool down, the economic and political scene is gearing up with the Federal Budget later this month and a federal election expected by May.

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Taking cover in changing times

The pandemic has changed the way so many of us live, with jobs, travel and lifestyle all transformed during COVID. Now, as we start emerging on the other side, it may be a good idea to check whether these changes have impacted on your life insurance needs.

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Tree change or sea change on the horizon?

Australians are leaving capital cities in droves in a phenomenon being referred to as ‘The Great Relocation’. However, there’s a lot to consider beyond the obvious appeal of waking up to the laughter of kookaburras or enjoying a long walk on the beach.

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Does Putin have the worlds’ attention?

There is a line from Warren Buffet (one of the world’s richest men) that talks to the power of investing into uncertainty.  “Uncertainty actually is the friend of the buyer of long-term values”.

All well and good, however you need to hold your nerve through uncertain times and right now there is a lot of uncertainty.

Many of the media still seem fascinated with the pandemic, though that is firmly in the rear view mirror and rapidly diminishing in size. 

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Investor Letter February ’22

Dear Investor

2021 presented a year of ups and downs for most of us. The ups included a strong start for the Australian economy and markets, with Australia’s strong quarantine system buffering us from a new highly contagious Covid-19 variant labelled Delta.

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2021 Year in Review

Two steps forward, one step back

For the second year running, the pandemic was the focus for policy makers, markets, businesses, and individuals alike.

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Stepping stones to reach your goals

The calendar turns over to a fresh, brand new year, full of promise, so how do we keep these promises we make to ourselves and get to the end of the year with our resolutions intact and goals realised?

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January Market Update

As we start 2022, it seems nothing is normal or is it the continuation of the abnormal?

What we do know is most states (except WA) want to get back to the old days of 2019.

If we look to overseas, we are seeing countries emerge from the last few years stronger. Inflation is increasing and central banks are talking about tapering and potential interest rate increases.

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A watched pot never boils

Slightly out of context but the quote points to watching something continually, can make it feel like it is never going to happen – in this case boil.

Investment markets can feel the same way.

The answer to the question, ‘is a correction coming?’ is ‘ALWAYS’.

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Kicking financial goals in 2022

After a difficult year of COVID disruptions and uncertainty, the summer holidays can’t come quickly enough. It’s a chance to refresh and reflect on the year that was and hopefully set some goals for year ahead.

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Investing in inflation

Inflation appears to be firmly on the rise and while that is bad news for consumers it’s not necessarily bad news for investors. In fact, inflation may provide new opportunities.

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The gift of giving this Christmas

Christmas is a time when we come together to celebrate with our family and friends. And, for those who haven’t been able to see friends and family due to border closures, it will be an even more joyous occasion this year.

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December 2021

December and summer have finally arrived, and you can almost hear the collective sigh of relief as 2021 draws to a close.

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Australia is looking great but you wouldn’t know it based on the news cycle!

You could be forgiven for thinking Australia is in dire straits based on the ‘news’ reporting and I do have fears that our media is promoting the same partisan rubbish we saw play out in the Biden/Trump election.

Instead of reporting, it seems that individuals’ opinions in the media are the only thing that matters.

In the last two years, Australia has done remarkably well.

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Decision Making Your Way to the Best Outcome

Throughout our lives, making a decision is something we do thousands of times a day. Our first thought occurs as soon as we wake, and our final thought when we drift off to sleep. Researchers have found on average, that most people will have approximately 6,200 thoughts per day.i

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Responsible Investing on the Rise

For many people, there’s much more to choosing investments than focusing exclusively on financial returns. Returns are important, but a growing number of people also want their investments align with their values.

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Spotlight on Super Performance

Superannuation has provided most fund members with stellar returns since last year’s COVID lows. As always though, some funds performed better than others and recent government reforms make it easier to find out how your fund compares.

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