Tuesday, 30 August 2016

If you change this habit you’ll quickly improve your financial situation?

Change your habit; the habit of spending. Firstly you need to learn how to save on small things. Saving, spending, they go hand in hand. This is probably the fastest and easiest way to improve your financial situation. We’re not always fully aware about the money we spend on certain daily habits. Habits are a very strange thing. They just happen time and time again, and generally subconsciously.  
If you put a value on each time you ‘do’ a habit it ends up costing a small fortune. If you go to the same coffee shop day in and day out: that’s a habit. Drinking coffee in a local coffee shop on a daily basis drains your monthly budget. How can you break that habit? Well that’s not for us to say, but we’ll give it a go anyway. We know you need your coffee, but just consider how it gets into the cup. Maybe pick up a home coffee machine, or get one at work, they really do produce great coffee these days and cost cents on the dollar. Try taking a bottle of water with you so you might sip on that rather than get a coffee for the sake of it.
How much electric energy or water are you using each day? It’s not one of those free resources that are just there like air, it costs money. If the weather outside is not very hot, you don’t need to use the air conditioning and vice versa, if it is not very cold you can turn off or set the heating at a lower temperature. If no one is watching TV or if no one is working on the computer, turn them off, or power them down. Make sure that the taps are turned to the end and don’t let the water run unnecessarily. Have a 10 minute shower instead of a 30 minute shower. It all costs money and if you adjust the way you do or use these things, they’ll end up saving you money.
This has nothing to do with skimping – it’s just a case of thinking what it is costing you unnecessarily, and then adjust your habit. By cutting down on some of those habits, you’ll have reasonable savings by the end of a few months.
No-one is saying “don’t do that anymore” but if you’re honest with yourself you know there are many, many, more “habits” that you could adjust. A slight adjustment will save you a lot of money over the course of a month.
So do you know what the fastest way to improve your financial situation is yet? Habit: Change: Adjustment: Realigning; any of those will cover it.
What habit do you need to change?

A good start to understanding the habit change process is by downloading our Free Your Money Sense e-Book: “6-steps to Financial Security”.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

The Association of Financial Advisers (AFA) and TAL have announced the semi-finalists in the 2016 AFA Female Excellence in Advice Award.

Developed in 2011 as a joint initiative by the AFA and TAL, the Award recognises and showcases the talents and contributions of women in financial advice to their clients, community and profession. The Award criteria includes assessment of the candidates’ contributions to financial literacy in the community and/or campaigns targeted specifically at helping female clients take control of their financial lives.
AFA CEO, Brad Fox, said the Award is a reflection of the AFA’s commitment to continue to generate and encourage positive change in the financial advice sector, with women constantly being encouraged to enter the advice profession.
“The AFA is immensely proud of this Award, the calibre of entrants it attracts, and ultimately the finalists and in particular the winner. Our profession is going through significant change, and to see more women advisers coming through providing great advice to Australians is very important from a diversity perspective.”

When asked about her business and contribution to the financial services industry, Karen Vickers proudly explained, “My primary business is ARC Wealth, a financial advisory service to an established core of clients. From the strength and security of ARC Wealth I am building an online platform, Your Wealth Vault, which educates and guides people through a series of educational courses called Your Money Sense. These courses are aimed at guiding individuals to take ownership of their financial security, through courses of basic understanding of their money and then onto more sophisticated courses guiding them to their own financial management and wealth building.”

Your Wealth Vault courses are designed to help Australians understand how their money works and what they can put in place to manage their finances whether that is for day to day survival, or wealth creation.

The finalists for the AFA Female Excellence in Advice Award winner will be announced at the AFA National Adviser Conference in Canberra from 5-7 October.

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

The average cost of your pet per year is . . .

They’re our four legged-friends, our furry family members and our instant mood-boosters after a particularly stressful day. We love our pets—so much that most Australians consider their cat or dog to be another member of the family. And they can be pretty expensive family members, at that.

A dog’s life certainly isn’t cheap anymore, with Australian families spending more than $25,000 on their pet dog over its life-time, according to a report by Bankwest. Apparently the average Aussie family can end up spending more than $25,000 over the life of their beloved friend.

Over the average lifespan of a dog, roughly ten years, pet food and other gourmet delights can gobble up the bulk of a doggies annual food bill at about $1200. Then there are veterinary costs, and additional dog care such as grooming, dog walking, dietician and trainer costs each year.

It certainly isn’t any surprise to learn that half of Aussie pet owners consider their pet to be equally important as their kids. If you are prepared to outlay more than $25k for your dog then you’d probably love him.

Most pet owners think the cost of a pet dog is a small price to pay in return for what a dog provides its family. Their love for dogs, the companionship provided by a ‘man’s best friend’ and the peace of mind and security a pet canine creates are the main reasons for owning a dog.

Interesting facts about our pets:
·        NSW is the state that spends the most on pets. WA spends the least.
·        25 per cent of Aussie dog owners pay a dog groomer to maintain their dogs’ appearance.
·        50 per cent of Aussie dog owners buy their dog gifts for special occasions e.g. Birthday, Christmas etc.
·        80 per cent of Aussie dog owners have a dog for companionship
·        Over 30 per cent of dog owners have a dog to encourage them to exercise.
·        5 per cent of people have their pets in their will.
·        8 per cent of people take their pet with them on holiday

Yes we love our pets – that’s a given. But these costs can cause some major strains on your household budget. If you are looking to bring a pet into your household, planning should be a top priority. Knowing the costs associated with your pet and being prepared for unexpected and emergency costs will help diminish the financial burden of your new furry friend.

Owners can help avoid future financial mishap by doing their homework before bringing home a new cat or dog. Just as you should have a personal, or business budget in place, your pets should be a factor in that budget.

If you still need to “get-around-to” starting a budget you can start here by downloading our Free Your Money Sense e-Book: “6-steps to Financial Security”.

Did you know Australia is a nation of dog rather than cat owners with 68 per cent of pet owners having a dog and 32% having a cat. What are you?

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

The 9 Common Email and Social Scams – Be Aware

We’ve all heard about the Nigerian Prince who needs to transfer money out of the country and has selected us to send it to. Haven’t we? Phone and internet scams are all around us, in fact, they're so common that the ACCC recorded more than 105,000 scams a year, which resulted in losses of more than $84 million. That's only the ones that were reported: many more went unreported, often because the victim was too embarrassed to do so.
So to help you be on the lookout for, and hopefully avoid falling into their blackening pit of online deceit, we've put together a list of 9 most common scams.
1. The urgent transfer
What it looks like: You receive an email from a friend, family member or senior staff member telling you they need urgent access to funds. The story adds up (they're probably overseas and short on time). Besides, it comes from their email address and looks authentic. 
What's really happening: Their email account has been compromised and you're transferring your money straight into the scammer's bank account.
What can you do to avoid it: Do not reply to that email. Create a new email to that friend and ask them if they are ok, or if you can, privately message them on social media to confirm their status.
2. The mail that never came
What it looks like: That credit card you applied for never seemed to arrive.
What's really happening: Scammers accessed your letterbox and intercepted the card before you had a chance to receive it. They've changed the PIN and are now using it for themselves. In the process, they're racking up a significant debt in your name. And its not just your credit card mail they will take.
What can you do to avoid it: Put a lock on your letterbox, or use a PO Box, or at least check your mailbox regularly.
3. The parcel pickup
What it looks like: A postal delivery company sends you an email telling you that you have a parcel that can't be delivered. If you can't collect it within 7 days it will be destroyed. But first, you need to print off a label to redeem your package.
What's really happening: Rather than printing a label, you're actually downloading dangerous ransomware. Once it's installed, scammers can use it to lock files and even destroy them. The only way you can take back control is to pay them. Making sure your computer is regularly backed up can also help counter-effect the impact of ransomware.
What can you do to avoid it: This one is really scary as all you can do to get back control of your computer, and files, is to pay them. Think before you click on anything you aren’t sure of: Are you expecting a parcel? Why would it not have been delivered? Pick up the phone and call before clicking.
4. The tax refund
What it looks like: You receive an email from a government agency advising you of a tax refund. To receive it, all you need to do is follow the link to your bank and enter your account details.
What's really happening: The link takes you to a fake site set up by the scammers. Instead of giving your account details – and internet banking password – to your bank, you're actually delivering this vital information straight into the scammer's hands.
What can you do to avoid it: Unless you are instigating a transfer, never put your bank account details into any site you are not sure of.
5. The 'free' wifi
What it looks like: You're at the airport or hotel and need to connect your laptop or mobile to the internet. When you search for a connection, you're in luck. There's a free hotspot right nearby.
What's really happening: You've actually just connected to a fake network. This allows a scammer to intercept all network traffic and steal your personal information. And the pain doesn't stop there. From now on, every time you turn on your device, you could be transmitting the same 'free' wifi to other unsuspecting users.
What can you do to avoid it: You should only connect to wifi that you know is legitimate and, if in doubt, pay to access a secure network. You should also make sure your anti-virus software is up to date and your firewall is turned on.
6. The unrealistic job offer
What it looks like: You respond to an advertisement that promises you'll earn good money from the comfort of your home as an 'accounts processor'. All you need to do is set up a bank account and forward any money that comes into it, onto another account. You even get a cut of each transaction for your troubles. 
What's really happening: You're being used by fraudsters as a “money mule”: an everyday person with no criminal history through whose bank account they'll move the proceeds of crime.
What can you do to avoid it: This is money laundering, done by organized crime, and you can be implicated and go to jail. Easy money doesn’t exist. Check, research, and qualify before you go the easy route.
7. The speeding fine
What it looks like:  A government body/law enforcement agency, emails you to tell you that your vehicle has been caught speeding. You need to download the photo they've taken to confirm you were driving.
What's really happening: The link you click on downloads ransomware to your computer. You'll have to pay the scammers to get back the files they encrypt.
What can you do to avoid it: Same as #3, this is hard to back out of and will end up costing you a lot of money. Do your research before you click on things you are not sure of.
8. The computer problem
What it looks like: You receive a call from your internet service provider. They've detected a virus on your computer and it's sending error messages. The good news is that they can fix it, so long as you give them remote access.
What's really happening:  You've handed control of your computer to a scammer. They'll probably try to steal your personal data or hold your computer to ransom until you pay.
What can you do to avoid it: Never hand over remote access to anyone! If it’s that bad, take it to the service providers storefront and ask them about it.
9. The store voucher
What it looks like:  A well-known brand uses its social media account to post that it's giving away gift vouchers or free flights or another very attractive perk. To claim your prize, all you need to do is like the post. Like this photo, or share it if it tugs on your heartstrings, or type Amen then share, or type the solution then like.
What's really happening: You've fallen victim to a 'like farming' scam. The page isn't authentic but has been set up by a scammer who's trying to get as many likes as possible. They'll on-sell these likes - and your profile - to other fraudsters, who will start pushing spam posts in an effort to get hold of your credit card data.
 What can you do to avoid it: Oh this is so common! If it’s not a friends post or a known source, stay away, don’t get sucked in by emotions or because you think you are clever enough to know the answer.
As the world becomes alert to the prevalence of scams, scammers are responding by becoming more creative. So, as these 9 scams start to become less effective, it's likely that newer and more sophisticated ones will take their place.
Email: Don’t open or download any links or attachments that you are unsure of. Research them prior to doing so. Get on the phone and check the source. Some emails may seem to come from a reputable name YourFriend, but when you click on that from name, you will find the real source: YourFriend <dodgysource@evendodgiercompany.com>
Social Media: Only respond to known posts – friends and businesses that are familiar to you.

What is Your Money Personality?

This list was prepared by Your Wealth Vault, an online financial education program where you’ll learn how to take control of your finances, step-by-step, identifying financial goals you want to achieve, and planning a path to your financial security.