Financial wellbeing – the demand for financial advice in Australia

Australians are becoming more concerned about their financial wellbeing and the demand for financial advice is changing.  In December 2010, ASIC (The Australian Securities and Investments Commission) released Report 224, titled ‘Access to Financial Advice in Australia’.

The report identifies a number of key issues that adversely impact access to advice.  They are:

  • Cost of advice – a significant gap exists between what consumers are prepared to pay for financial advice and how much it costs industry to provide advice
  • Scale of advice provided – Many Australians, particularly those who have never previously accessed financial advice, want piece-by-piece simple advice rather than holistic advice
  • Consumer perceptions that advice is out of their reach – evidence suggests that some people do not seek financial advice because they feel their financial circumstances do not warrant advice
  • Consumer mistrust of financial planners – lack of trust in financial planners to provide unbiased, professional advice limits the number of consumers who seek advice and the value they place of financial advice
  • Access to general advice and information – the provision of general advice or factual information is less extensive than it could and should be.  For many consumers general advice or factual information may be sufficient to meet their current advice needs
  • Financial literacy – gaps in financial literacy especially among certain demographics and in relation to certain financial topics, limits some consumers’ engagement with financial matters and so stops them from seeking advice

In a nutshell financial advice must be affordable, easily accessible, easily understood and delivered in smaller portions.

Check out

Until next time!


Nine (9) ways to avoid financial stress

Financial stress is a common experience for many.  The continuing effects of the global financial crisis, combined with rising interest rates and rising prices puts many families under stress.  Here are nine (9) tips to help you get back on the path to stress-free living.

1. Work on improving your income

You must have a regular source of income and preferably more than one.   Your income is the foundation of a stress-free financial life.   Income can flow from a variety of sources, but most importantly, it creates the opportunity to repay debt, build wealth and maintain your desired lifestyle.

2. Avoid credit cards

Don’t spend money you don’t have and don’t let your credit spending get out of control.   It is much smarter and safer to use a debit card to access money you have already saved.   Even better, you won’t have the monthly stress of receiving a growing credit card bill.

3. Go ‘pre-paid’ on your mobile phone

A mobile phone is just another way to spend money you don’t have.   To add to your stress, many telephone companies are quick to ruin your credit rating if you don’t pay on time.    The most economical way to have a mobile is to use pre-paid phone cards.   This way you pay with money you know you have.

4. Go back to paying cash

Pretend you are back in the days when credit cards didn’t exist and you paid cash for your purchases.   You will once again appreciate the true value of money as you stop and think before every purchase.

5. Pay off personal debt quickly

Owing money can be a particularly stressful experience.  It’s always best to spend less than you earn but it is not difficult for debt can get way out of control, particularly when things go wrong in life.  It is a common mistake to use expensive debt to finance periods of illness and recovery.  This is the job of savings and insurance.

There are no tax breaks for personal debt, so get rid of it as fast as you can.   Personal debt includes home loans, personal loans, car loans, hire purchase and all forms of credit.   There is a variety of ways to manage debt and reduce your stress levels quickly.

6. Consolidate your Debts

If you have equity in your home or an investment asset, you may be able to consolidate all your debts into one at the home loan rate of interest.   As part of a home loan refinance, your personal debts can be rolled into your mortgage loan, which means one loan repayment per month at a lower interest rate instead of many.

7. Create a cash buffer for the Unexpected

Life is full of little emergencies and unexpected events.   A stress-beating nest egg tucked away in an easily accessible cash account won’t alter the emergency, but it will certainly help relieve the financial worry of affording a new fridge or car repair.

8. Build a Nest Egg for the Future

Investment means creation of wealth by building your personal portfolio of growth assets.   Generally speaking, the more income producing quality assets you have behind you, the lower will be your stress levels.  You will need professional assistance to guide you to investments that are appropriate for you.

9. Protect Yourself against the unexpected

Plenty of things can go wrong during your life.   Disaster can strike your health, your home, your family, your income, your business and your personal wealth.     Smart people are those who not only invest wisely, but sleep easy by insuring themselves and their property against the unexpected.

If you are thinking about a new business or a new income stream, you will get a lot out of my new book ‘Recession Riches and Wealth’.  Click on the Recession Riches and Wealth page of this blog:

Until next time!