I have always been really great with money in terms of savings and spending within our means. I handle all the finances in our house and have handled them in previous family businesses. I was (and hopefully still am) the responsible one in my circle/family when it comes to money.
Since I started at Incite, I have realised that my financial management skills aren’t as sharp as I thought. Why do I say this? Because everything I have been doing has been about minimising spending. Yes, this is important. But what about maximising what I do now to set me up for the future. That’s the bit I’ve been missing.
I keep thinking back to when I was 23, I started working for an Equity fund manager as his family nanny back in South Africa. I had around R25,000 ($2500) saved in a bank and I was so proud of myself. I spoke to my boss about some advice on how to make this money grow and he told me to come and see him the next day at his office. I was so nervous when I arrived for my appointment. He sat me down and told me he can’t advise me but if I would like to invest my savings, he would lower the fees and open up an investment account for me as he had done for all his private staff. I thanked him profusely and transferred my money across rather than leave it in the bank earning negligible interest. 12 years later, I sold that fund down for R109,000 and it helped give me the ability to assist my family in their time of need. With that tiny gesture of advice, he changed my world.
So you’d think that would have taught me a lesson right? Wrong.
After that amazing experience, I fell into the habit of managing my finances with my limited knowledge and time. But from sitting in on hundreds of client meetings over the past year at Incite Wealth, I’ve realised that I have been terribly misinformed about the value of a financial planner – especially a great one. I have watched families in the same boat as myself buy investment properties and claim the most amount of tax in the right way, making their money really work for them. All I can say is that making a few small advised changes now could change your life down the track and that is why working with an adviser could be the difference between a good life and a great life.
I have been constantly running scenarios of how to make better financial decisions in my day to day life past Matt and the team at Incite Wealth and it is so refreshing to see that there are so many possibilities to grow your wealth without having to be super rich or take unnecessary risks. It is more about educating yourself but most importantly, surrounding yourself with the right people who specialise in the bits that you don’t.
So what are some of the things I wish I knew sooner:
It begins with finding out exactly how your Super is performing, where the money is being invested and what kind of fees are you being charged. These are very important questions. Given this is what you are relying on when you retire, it needs to be prioritised and the best time is now. Little tweaks now make a HUGE difference in the future (like, hundreds of thousands of dollars – with no exaggeration!). It may not be that important to you now, and I get that, but it is a fact of life that we are all living longer with the marvels of modern medical science. You are likely going to need a healthy amount to enjoy your life to the fullest, given you will have so much time to do things you have always wanted like travel and experiences.
Insurance in Super
I did not know I even had insurance in my super, When I did my research on my policy, there were charges on my policy for insurances – wow, who knew?! These insurances are not high-quality insurances; they are a ‘one size fits all’ type cover with definitions which are far too broad. This is not nearly enough to cover you should anything tragic happen, so one of the first things I did was arrange myself proper underwritten insurance. Only once this is in place should you cancel your existing insurances, as you never want to be exposed with no insurance. Yes, this will be more expensive than what you are most likely currently paying, however you will receive straightforward insurance cover with no grey areas. I can’t tell you how secure this will make you feel, knowing that you won’t have to ever worry about fighting with an insurance company for a payout should you land in an awful situation. We do the research and comparisons and present these findings to you. Easy!
Having a healthy amount of property is ideal so that super merely becomes a nice little kicker at retirement, but I understand that not everyone has the ability to buy a home, let alone an investment property. Investment properties can have great tax benefits, but there is so much to consider when finding an ‘investment grade’ property. You absolutely cannot just buy for the sake of buying and there are a number of things to consider so that you make the most informed decision. Learning about the ins and outs of an ‘investment grade’ property has been such an eye opener for me and if there is one area which we see so many people get wrong, it is property purchasing. It doesn’t have to be this way – educate yourself and surround yourself with the people who live and breathe this.
I could go on and on about all my learnings but all you need to know is that there is huge value in seeking advice and taking action. Whatever you are earning, everyone needs a life plan. And if there is a goal, the path forward has purpose and should be treated accordingly.