GETTING TO KNOW YOUR FINANCIAL PLANNER - AMANDA McCALL
Whenever you need to talk to an expert in a particular topic, it’s always a good idea to know a little bit about them, even if it’s only their experience and qualifications. With a financial advisor however, you need to feel that they are on the same page as you, as far as understanding your financial goals are concerned, without feeling that they have their own agenda.
Tips on getting to know your financial planner better
One of the ways you can have confidence in your financial planner is to get to know them better. This doesn’t mean that you ask them around to dinner, but asking about their qualifications and experience is a good start.
You really want to know that this person is a good match for you and your financial goals and that they see the world in the same way. When you are both on the same page, you can work together easily to achieve your goals, instead of butting heads every time you get together for an appointment.
In some instances, you can gain a better understanding of a financial adviser on their website, simply by reading their ‘About Us’ page. Some people are more forthcoming than others, because unfortunately, some people don’t reveal much about themselves on their website.
Who is Amanda McCall?
I am a good example of someone who has ‘been there, done that’ and knows how to make her clients feel comfortable in her presence. Friends tell me that one of my best attributes is helping clients to understand a complex subject by explaining it in simpler terms, so that my clients don’t feel overwhelmed with too much information.
I am not made from the usual Financial Planner’s mould. In a field where dryness, confusion and mystery abound, I like to take an innovative approach to financial planning. I am passionate about financial planning and thrive on creating wealth for my clients. My mission is to ‘make finance fun’.
Born and bred on the north side of Brisbane, I am a local girl with a passion for helping my clients make money and achieve financial freedom. As a certified financial planner, I have successfully operated my own business for nearly 20 years and love educating my clients, so that they can make their own financial decisions about their future.
On a personal level, I am quite fond of champagne and cocktail evenings with family and friends, and a love for shopping in Brisbane. I have recently got involved in aqua aerobics and have now set myself the goal of doing 50 new things before I turn 50!
If you feel that I can help you to achieve your financial goals, call me (Amanda McCall) on 07 3356 6926 or send us an email to make an appointment.
TIPS ON ORGANISING YOUR FINANCES FOR VALENTINE'S DAY SWEETHEARTS
With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, maybe it’s a good time to look towards your financial future as a couple? Many couples don’t give their finances enough thought before they live together or get married, often resulting in complications further down the track. So, if you have found the love of your life, here are a few tips to keep your finances running smoothly as a couple.
Financial common sense
Everyone deals with money differently – some people are avid savers, others spend as if there is no tomorrow and others are in between. It definitely pays to discuss your spending and saving habits before you move in together, otherwise your finances could become a problem, sooner than you think! For example, if one of you has mounting debts due to poor spending habits and the other has a sizable saving account and abhors debt, you can imagine that something will need to change, pretty soon!
Not all debt is ‘bad’ debt, but you both need to be on the same page about ‘bad’ debt and ‘good’ debt, because regardless of the definition, too much of any type of debt can be stressful to a couple. Examples of ‘bad’ debt, where the ‘asset’ doesn’t appreciate over time are car loans, boat loans and credit card debts. Even though a mortgage is generally considered as ‘good’ debt due to capital gains, combined with too many other debts, it all puts pressure on a relationship.
As you can appreciate, trying to pay down a large mortgage and two car loans can just about cripple a couple financially, increasing their stress levels and putting undue pressure on their relationship. If one person then looses their job, the debts can become overwhelming and the couple can be in real trouble
Discuss your debt behaviour
Your current finances and how each of you deals with money (your spending vs saving behaviour) needs to be addressed sooner rather than later in your relationship. If you don’t come to some sort of agreement about your finances, you could end up with one partner spending heavily and increasing your debt, while the other struggles to pay the bills every month.
The best approach is to agree on a savings plan for both of you and with a specific goal in mind. This might be a deposit on a house, a new car, boat, holiday, paying down credit cards or an investment plan. Your goals will partly depend on your ages and whether or not you have children, but planning for your future is important for your financial security, regardless of your age and family circumstances.
Discuss your incomes and create a financial plan
You both need to be transparent about your incomes and decide on a financial plan as a couple. You might decide to live off one income and save the other or allocate certain bills to be paid from each income, as well as having separate savings accounts. Whatever works for you as a couple is right for your relationship, but you both need to understand each other’s ‘money behaviour’ and agree on a financial plan together as a couple.
When you both agree on a financial plan, you can look forward to your future together, safe in the knowledge that you are both working towards the same goals.
For help organising your finances as a couple, call Amanda McCall on 07 3356 6926 or shoot us an email.
6 WAYS TO ORGANISE YOUR FINANCES FOR THE NEW YEAR
With the New Year on top of us, it’s time for you take a long hard look at your finances, so that you can set yourself up for 2018. Hopefully, you didn’t overspend at Christmas and you don’t have a big credit card debt to pay off in the New Year.
If you want to move your finances in a positive direction this year and stop worrying about living through each month, here are our top 6 tips that will help you to organise your finances for a better future.
Tip 1: Create a budget: It goes without saying that you won’t know where you need to cut down on your spending if you don’t know where you overspend! A budget is one of the easiest ways to see where your money goes, but it is one of the hardest actions to take. So, decide to create a budget this year, identify where you can save some money and stick to it!
Tip 2: Budgeting apps: Some of these personal finance apps are free and others cost very little each month. Some of you might love the idea of a budgeting app and others will throw their hands up in horror. Whatever your feelings on using apps, it pays to check them out because they can help you to reduce your spending: YNAB (You Need a Budget), Mvelopes (for people who love putting money away in envelopes) or Mint (perfect for identifying where you can save money).
Tip 3: Pay off debts: Why not focus on either paying off your smallest debt or the one with the highest interest rates this year? Credit cards and personal loans have pretty big interest charges, so paying these down and then cancelling the credit card account is one of the best and fastest ways to get yourself out of debt. Tip 3A: Don’t take on any more debt this year!
Tip 4: Plan your EOFY tax: Everyone, not just business owners and sole traders can benefit from organising all their receipts and statements, so that they are ready to go in July. Receiving a tax windfall is awesome, but if you submit your tax as soon as possible in July, you can use it to help pay off your debts faster than you might originally have anticipated.
Tip 5: Hard copies: In this day and age of computers and the internet, we tend to forget to keep hard copies of our essential financial information. If you don’t backup your hard drive and your computer crashes, you could lose all your records. So always backup your PC’s hard drive regularly and keep a hard copy of statements, receipts and passwords.
Tip 6: Meet with a financial planner: Good financial advice is worth its weight in gold, so it pays to talk to a reputable financial adviser so that you can put together a plan to achieve your goals. Whether these goals are to pay off your debts, buy a house, new car, boat or plan for your retirement – getting good advice is important to your financial success.
If you need help achieving your financial goals in 2018, call Amanda McCall on 07 3356 6929 or complete our online enquiry form.
A SHORT OVERVIEW OF INVESTMENT BASICS FOR BEGINNERS
Whenever you talk to someone about financial security and wealth building, invariably the topic comes around to investments. For most of us however, we just hope to pay the bills, let alone find money for investments!
It’s not such a hopeless topic however - you might be surprised how easy it is to put together your own investment portfolio by reshuffling your budget. So let’s take a look at some of the basics of investing, by identifying the four different types of investments that you might want to investigate further: fixed interest, shares, property and cash.
Fixed interest investments
These are usually issued by governments, corporations and financial institutions to raise money for their own investments. In return for you ‘lending’ your money to these financial bodies, you receive a fixed rate of interest that does not change over the life of your investment. Australian fixed interest investments are considered low risk, giving investors a regular income and helping to diversify investment portfolios.
Share market investments
You can buy shares in Australian or international companies either directly or via a managed fund, where you enjoy the benefits of the company’s profits in the form of dividends. Unfortunately, you can also suffer from the vagaries of the share market, resulting in substantial losses if you are not experienced in these types of investments. Your best option might be to invest using a managed fund where you rely on the experience and skills of a fund manager to make your investment decisions. These can be high risk investments, but if you are in it for the long term, they can be a valuable part of your investment portfolio.
You can invest in commercial, residential or industrial properties, but if you are new to property investing, it might be best to utilise a property managed fund, where just as with share market investing, you rely on the skills of a fund manager to oversee your investments. On the other hand, many Aussies own investment properties themselves, benefiting from both negative gearing and capital gains. It all depends on your experience and your comfort level, as to whether you join a fund or manage your own property portfolio. In the long term, property investments tend to be low risk and some can deliver very high returns indeed.
These types of investments include bank term deposits and savings accounts in financial institutions where you receive interest on your savings. Many Australians have these types of accounts and whilst the interest rates you receive on your money at the moment is very small, it is a move in the positive direction. Cash investments can also include gold and other precious metals, as well as precious stones. Whilst these can’t be used as cash themselves, you can liquidate them very quickly and turn them into cash.
A diversified investment portfolio usually includes at least two or more of the above types of investments, but the percentage split can change depending on your needs and your returns.
If you need help to create an investment portfolio for yourself or your family, call Amanda McCall on 07 3356 6929 or complete our online enquiry form.
HOW TO MANAGE LUMP SUM PAYMENTS
Not many of us are lucky enough to win the Lotto, but some of us do receive a sizable inheritance or redundancy payout at one time or another. The problem is knowing how best to handle this large sum of money, because if mismanaged, it can soon be whittled away, leaving you with nothing.
I am sure that you have heard of lotto winners who have won millions of dollars and a few years later have lost everything. Well, if you come into a large sum of money, you don’t want to be in the same boat – do you?
The solution is to ask yourself some key questions, before you start writing cheques for that brand new 4WD, enormous yacht and Jet Ski you have always wanted! Of course, it’s fine if you want to splurge a little at first, but for the bulk of the money you need to have a plan, that’s if you want to benefit from the money for the long haul and not blow it overnight.
What are your financial goals?
This is the first question you need to ask yourself – how can this money help you to achieve your financial goals? Once you know what you want to achieve, then you can start to put things in place to achieve these goals.
For example, if you have always wanted to work for yourself and open your own business, you need a solid business plan, a gap in the market and a product or service that people will buy. There is no point is going at it gung-ho and losing all your money on a business that was not thoroughly researched. You may as well have spent the money on the 4WD and Jet Ski, because at least that would have been fun!
Like most people in Australia, you will most probably want to achieve a number of different financial goals with your lump sum. For example, setting aside an emergency fund, paying off the mortgage, personal loan, car loan or credit card, taking a well-deserved break from work or a long holiday, creating an investment portfolio or topping up your super.
Your age and family circumstances will also play a part in setting your goals. For instance, a young couple might want to use some money for a deposit on their own home, buy a reliable car and set money aside for their children. An older couple who are empty nesters, might give their children money for a new home deposit, buy a 4WD and caravan for themselves, and invest the rest in their super.
The one essential step you need to take, if you don’t want to end up with nothing in a few years, is to seek professional financial advice. Someone trained in the financial world can help you to put together a solid plan to achieve your financial goals. They can even help you to sort through your wants, needs and must-haves, so that you can get the most out of your lump sum.
If you need help to achieve your financial goals, call Amanda McCall on 07 3356 6929 or complete our online enquiry form.