Need to bridge gaps

Bruce Brammall, The West Australian, 12 November, 2018

Time plus leverage equals wealth


A couple of times a year, we all face some big choices about how to blow some “spare” time. One of mine happened in recent days.

My choice was around spending hours boning up on planning laws to try to determine whether a neighbour’s knockdown and rebuild of their home fitted into local planning guidelines and whether or not to lodge a complaint.

We’ve renovated in recent years, but what I know about planning laws could be fit comfortably inside a mosquito bite. Effectively starting from scratch. Countless hours of research, then application to plans (that are also like a foreign language to me).

I could pay a professional for a few hours of their time to do the job properly. Take away my stress and worry. Spend more time with the kids.

Or I could ignore it. Repress it, push it back. And just hope that I don’t wake up in a year to a three-storey monstrosity next door.

I chose professional advice. I’ve got work to do, kids sport to watch and other stresses in my life that, simply, I can’t pay others to take off my hands. (No, not even Airtasker.)

And the fee of less than $1000 is an investment in my house not permanently falling by 10-20 per cent because of an eyesore next door.

For most people, there’s a time in every week where your mind flicks on to your personal financial situation. Stress. Worry. You know you should be doing more. Or at least something. But you push it into the back of your mind, like a repressed memory. (Don’t worry, it will come back again next week.)

Am I investing wisely? Am I investing enough? Can we afford to buy a home? Should we buy an investment property? Is my super invested the way it should be? How do I get safely started into the sharemarket? Or what sort of investments should I be in? What happens if my partner dies? Or I get really sick and can’t work? Are we on track for our retirement? How are we going to afford the kids’ schooling?

Yep, they’re biggies. And they can be consuming.

You have two choices. Well, three actually. They’re always the same three.

First, you too can bone up for dozens/hundreds of hours. Second, you can find a professional who can explain it simply, implement it efficiently and take away the stress.

Or, third, you can repress it and pray Tattslotto will save you from a retirement of baked beans.

If you have a career, have young kids/grandkids, or simply have better things to do than read finance tomes with your limited spare time, then your choice is simple.

The real problem – as you’re reading about from the Royal Commission all year – is finding professionals you can trust to help you.

But, granted, the financial advice industry doesn’t appear all that trustworthy at the moment.

Elements of it probably need a targeted missile strike – to be blown up and started again. Such as banks selling off their insurance units.

Other parts need fine tuning. Laws will be changed to tighten advice standards. Educational requirements are being lifted for new and existing advisers. Conflicts of interest will be further eradicated.

Your job, if you know you don’t have the time to learn enough to do it yourself, is to find a financial adviser you can trust.

It might not be the first one you meet. The right one might come from the recommendation of a friend or family member. Or you might not like those ones. It might come after some time researching on the internet. Or not.

The industry (and mortgage broking too, for that matter) is filled with quality advisers who are making huge differences to their clients’ lives every day. Despite everything hitting the news this year, top-notch advisers are out there in their droves.

People are more likely to be investing wisely, can see their super making progress, have themselves insured properly or are comfortable that they’re covered financially.

Isn’t that what you’re after?

Bruce Brammall is the author of Mortgages Made Easy and is both a financial advisor and mortgage broker. E:

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