You don’t need an inner-city address, Caren will help you tackle money matters in the ‘burbs, through a better understanding of all the important issues – investing, superannuation, budgeting, tax, insurance, mortgages, gearing, shares, managed funds, small business, food, home, fashion, travel, and much more.

A fun and entertainingly educational forum, specifically designed for Australian “suburbanites".

Friday, September 20, 2013

We know what you really want to hear about - PROPERTY!

Click here for your invitation to our FIRST EVER PROPERTY SYMPOSIUM.

What a month - a 5 year record high for the Australian sharemarket, the US market keeps going gangbusters, and we have a new Government (more on that next month)!

So what about our property market?

It was only twelve months ago that we were worrying about a major fall in house prices, but now everyone's talking about another housing bubble!

The annual capital city average house price growth is running around 5%, and property is still a HOT topic.

As a Financial Planner I'm often accused of a bias to shares and of not liking property, which is simply untrue - I've owned investment properties in my portfolio since my early 30s.

However, my experience as both a Financial Planner and a Landlord has taught me that there are risks involved in property investment and you can get it wrong.

So what do you do?  Your homework of course!

In particular, we always recommend giving particular consideration to:
  1. Which property you should buy - type, location, age, growth potential, income potential.
  2. The best way to finance your property - institution, interest rate, type of loan, term, repayments.
  3. Managing and renting the property - self-manage vs an agent, rent, tenants, maintenance.
  4. Tax - avoiding paying more tax than you have to, what's deductible, negative vs positive gearing, capital items vs income items, after-tax cashflow.
Get expert advice in all four areas before you sign the contract.  It may seem time consuming BUT it may save you a lot of time in the long-run.  Let's face it, spending a bit of time with a few experts is negligible compared to the cost of a poor decision...

And if you are thinking about buying a property, we've made it really easy for you by getting the experts in one room and one time at our FIRST EVER Property Symposium - "Buying your next property - the full story."

We've sourced four experienced specialists for an enlightening and content-driven evening to help you make informed decisions about your next property purchase.  You'll hear educational presentations about buying your property, financing your property, managing and renting your property and the tax tips you need before you sign a contract.  This is your chance to hear what the experts have to say and ask all your questions about buying your next property.

The symposium is aimed at people who already have at least one property, but if you're buying your first and would like some extra information you're very welcome. 

The symposium will be held on Tuesday 15th October at 7pm, and it's just $25 per ticket (and you'll receive a free ticket so that you can bring along a partner, friend, colleague or family member).

Click here for full details including how to register.

Talk soon,

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

We have a new Government, but what does that mean for investment markets?

The simple fact is our elections don't generally move markets as they do in some other countries.  The reason for this is that our major parties (Liberal/National and Labour) just don't differ enough in policy to have a huge impact.

But of course there have been some unique circumstances in the years leading up to this particular election, which may have greater impact than usual in a few key areas:

A few points which seem worthy of raising include:
  • The policies of the new Government if implemented are likely to lead to smaller government, less regulation and over time improved productivity and economic growth.
  • Expect a mini-budget around November that may contain more aggressive budget savings.
  • The historical experience combined with the more business friendly approach of the Coalition suggests a positive share market response over time.
  • The key uncertainty relates to the new Senate.
For more on how we're likely to be effected, especially with regards to investment markets, I recommend taking a look at economist Dr Shane Oliver's latest article.  As always, he cuts to the chase and is an interesting read. Click here to read Dr Oliver's insights.

If you'd like to hear more of what I have to say on the matter, click here for a recording of my most recent "You & Your Money" radio segment on 98.1FM Radio Eastern.

Talk soon,

PS. Please don't keep me a secret.  If you'd know someone who'd enjoy this or find it useful, pass it on! 

Monday, September 9, 2013

How to find out what your customers want (what they really, really want...)

I own a business, work full-time, and there are currently 10 people living in my home.  Now I'm not complaining, I wouldn't have it any other way, BUT I definitely don't need any unnecessary stress or complications.  For this reason I like to keep things simple wherever possible.

One of the things I believe makes me unique as a business adviser is I don't feel the need to make myself look clever with overly complex business concepts.  If I have the answer, I'll give it to you straight.

So can I answer the question about what your clients or customers really want?  Absolutely!  And it's so simple that of course you already know it, but a reminder never hurts...

The answer?

Drumroll please.....

"Ask them".

Your customers/clients are the only people that truly know what they want from you and your business.  More importantly, you should be looking at your customer base and determining the ones you really enjoy doing business with - your target market - and actively finding out what it is that they value, or would value if you offered it to them.


Online or paper surveys are a quick and inexpensive way to get feedback from your customers/clients. Just be aware that surveys of this nature generally only receive a response rate of around 20%-30%.

A far more effective feedback forum is a Focus Group or Client Advisory Board.  This involves getting a cross-section of your existing customers together and discussing how your business could be even better.  It's incredibly powerful, because it lets you know:
  • What your customers and clients feel and think about your business and what you do.
  •  What your customers and clients really want from your business (rather than what we, as owners think they want!) and how to improve it from your customer's point of view.
  • What you need to do to significantly improve your business.
  • The 'hot buttons' to use in your sales and marketing to make it easy for potential customers to spot the differences (like why you're better!) between you and your competitors.
  • How to increase the results you get from the marketing dollars you spend.
Click here to find out how to hold a Focus Group, how to get your customers to attend, and the results you can expect.  And by the way - I'm an awesome facilitator if you need one :)

Of course, if you'd like to hear more of what I have to say on the matter, click here for a recording of my most recent "You & Your Business" radio segment on 98.1FM Radio Eastern.

Talk soon,