Wednesday, 12 October 2016

When is Too Early to Start Christmas Shopping?


Are you ready to start Christmas shopping yet? Is it too early? Are you emotionally ready yet? Can you imagine buying whatever you want: An iWatch, or even a new iPhone, that handbag you keep eyeing off as you walk past the store, a new jacket, or the latest sports shoes. Put it on your credit card, or split it over two credit cards, then it won’t seem as bad when you look at the statement.

We’ve all done it and it feels good. Coming home with bags of goodies, trying them on in secret, then when quizzed weeks later “When did you get that?” you retort “This old thing”.

Haha, they’ll never know. Surely you’ve heard the old saying that “You live up to your income”, as your pay-cheque or income rises, so does your lifestyle. There’s nothing wrong with living well.

But, and there is always a But… that one-off spending spree is very rarely a “one-off”. It is addictive and gets the pleasure endorphins pumping. “Why not do it again, next week, it was fun and there’s still credit available on the card” And on top of all that the airlines are giving you reward points! Why wouldn’t you use your card?

Did you know that Australians owe approximately $33 billion in credit card debt. Here’s an easier number: Thirty-Three Billion Dollars. Personal debt per credit card holder is $4301.00 with an average of $723.45 in interest per annum. Yikes!

For many of us refusing to use a credit card is simply not an option. Without one it’s difficult to pay bills and even make reccurring payments. So use it for that and not for shopping. What should you use for shopping and spending I hear you murmur sarcastically, Use a debit card. You can’t spend more than you have in the bank that way. You’ll find you will spend less and when you next look at your bank statement you’ll even question what you are buying and maybe start to budget.

While you’re at it, have a look at your monthly credit card statement. It shows how long it will take you to pay off your balance and how much interest you’ll pay if you only pay the minimum each month. (The short answers are “forever” and “heaps.”)

So overspending once in awhile is good for you; hopefully it shows you how addictive it can be and gets you to review the financial consequences of that binge. Although a “once-off” may not impact you that much now, think about those endorphins that are working to create a monster, and there’s nothing more destructive than a spending monster. What about all that money you are spending on short term pleasure, and could be using toward the car, or house, renovation, holiday: the big ticket items that need saving for. Shame as those would be long term memories, not just a day of short term pleasure, even if it is in the name of Christmas.

What can you do to resist the “spending-money-I-just-don’t-have” urge?

Firstly use your debit card more than your credit card. Secondly put a simple budget in place, and then you’ll know what you have to spend, and what you don’t. We like to call a budget ‘Your Spending Plan’ as that is what we are all working around: Spending.

Here’s a helpful downloadable guide to control your spending and build your savings. 6-steps to Financial Security, a Free e-book from Your Money Sense. It’s a good starting point to get you in the right mindset to manage your money.

So next time you go for a bender at the shopping centre, take a few deep breaths before walking in, and think about the long term financial goal.


Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Is your child going to be driving soon?


The older you get the more inflexible you become, not willing, or able, to change our ways and habits. So for that reason alone we need to set good habits in place for the younger generation – good financial habits.

Not to say they will become the next governor of the treasury, or an actuary, or even accountant, but they will take good money habits into their lives and be able to manage their expenses. Imagine if you had that money training at school or from your parents, where you learned to save, save regularly not just every now and then; if you learned money sense. Saving for a house, or holiday or kids education would be really easy, second nature.

So we as parents have the opportunity to create this innate money comfort for our kids. We can train them to be comfortable with money, knowing that with the right mechanisms in place they won’t struggle through life and will be able to set and achieve goals.

We need to take this action now, whilst they are in high school, at 12, 13, 14, even later at 17 and 18 if you’ve left your run later. It is our job to teach them about money and how to manage it. One of the best ways to help a teenager learn about saving money is to give them an incentive to save it. One of the biggest items that a teenager craves is buying that first car. It’s more than wanting a sweet looking car, it’s about freedom. Parents go nuts thinking about the freedom it gives that teenager, and teenagers salivate over the thought of that freedom. You can use the purchase of a car as a learning tool by setting up a savings program for it.

At the age of 12, sit your teenager down and begin to explain to them that they may not be fantasising about owning a car right now, but they will most likely be thinking about it in a few years. Here are a few programs that may work with your teenager to help them save for their first car and teach a lesson about saving money and build quality personal finance habits.
1.       Sit down with your teenager, and put together a 3 to 4 year savings plan. First, set a goal of how much they want to save to buy a car with cash. NO FINANCING! Their first car doesn’t need to be a NEW car! List several activities that the teen can perform for extra money. These would include chores out of the ordinary. Clearly define which chores are done because they are a part of the family and which chores will receive compensation upon completion. Draw up a hypothetical situation where if they do 2 of these chores for the next 3 years, then they will have X amount of dollars saved towards their first car.

2.       Think about matching the amount that the teen saves to put towards a car. This adds the factor of incentive into the equation. Tell your teen that you will match their savings dollar for dollar, but only towards the purchase of a car. If they save $2,000, then they can buy a $4,000 car. If they save $10,000, then they will buy a $20,000 car. I would put a limit on this, because you never know, you may have a very entrepreneurial teen that ends up saving $20,000 over a 4 year period! You probably don’t want to be stuck shelling out 20 grand AND allowing them to drive around a $40,000 car. What this program does is gives the teen something to work for, and this is not something out of reality. Your teen will find creative ways to save, and they will be motivated to save knowing that they can have double the car if they save more than expected.

There are many other ways to help teach a teen the value of saving money. Make sure they are always putting aside a certain percentage of their saved money towards giving to others. It doesn’t have to be a lot, just something to get the message home. If you teach them the value of giving at a young age, they will grow up to be generous and kind citizens in the future. Greed kills marriages, friendships, and destroys careers.

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

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Should you keep money under the mattress?


If you want to build or maintain a healthy financial life, then keeping your money in your mattress is probably not the best place to start. Budgeting however, should be your fundamental starting point. After all, how can you tell you’re on track if you don’t know where your hard-earned pay-cheque is going?
Some of us, correction: most of us, will find it daunting to maintain a budget. Getting all your expenses together, tracking what should be paid and when, how much you have left for entertainment, saving for long-term goals – it’s enough to make you give up before you start. But what if there was an easier way to manage your cash-flow that didn’t require hours of sifting through receipts or crunching numbers?
There is and it’s not that hard to get started. It starts with categorising your monthly spending into four buckets:
  1. Fixed costs. These are bills that don’t fluctuate much and remain pretty constant each week or month, or whatever period they are relevant to: things like rent or mortgage, a phone bill or your car payment. It also includes essential costs that may vary slightly from month to month, like utility bills such as electricity or water. Although they may vary slightly, you can work out an average for the purpose of this budget. But generally speaking, if you can predict how much an expense will be, it belongs in this category.
  1. Financial goals. These include any sort of savings or debt goal you’re trying to work towards every month, whether that’s paying off credit card balances, paying down your student loans, saving for a home or paying into an emergency fund regularly, or topping up your Super on a regular basis.
  1. Non-monthly expenses. Got a bill that you have to pay at some point every year, but just not every month? This could include your home or car insurance or for that matter, most annual insurances, car registration fees, annual health payments, and even school tuition belongs in this category. Add up what those types of costs total to each year, then divide that total by 12. That should be what you’re setting aside each month to cover those expenses when they come up.
  1. Flexible spending. This category covers all those everyday costs that fluctuate each month. This can include groceries, restaurants, shopping, movies, petrol and pretty much any expense that may vary month to month.

So now that you’ve categorized your costs, how much can you actually flexibly spend each month without blowing your budget? Well, that’s a relatively easy calculation. What is your monthly take-home pay? From that, subtract your total fixed costs, and your financial goal contributions, and those non-monthly expenses you calculated. The amount that’s left over is what’s available to cover your flexible spending – the daily coffees, new shoes, magazines, etc.

If you want to know what your flexible spending is per week just divide your monthly figure by 4.3, and you’ll have your weekly spending number to stick to. So if you work out the above, and stick to it, you won’t be in danger of spending more than you earn.

If you can put your hands on the numbers from your bills, it’s not that hard to work out. And if you can work to a budget each week or month, you’ll certainly be on your way to building a financially secure future. If you want some more great advice about securing your financial future, Here’s a great Free e-book from Your Money Sense6-steps to Financial Security

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

10 Things To Do To Change Your Life Forever


We are surrounded by change, and the more you resist, the tougher life gets. Accept change, look at it as an opportunity to try new things, to meet new people, to challenge you.

Change can come upon us by way of unexpected events or by choice. It’s inevitable so grab it with two hands and see where it takes you.

1  Be Happy
What makes you happy? Really, happy. Is it a person, is it an activity? Think about that true happiness and find ways to get involved and follow through to get more of that happiness. Without true happiness you will go through life wondering what could have been.

2  Create a Dream Board
Some people think it’s corny, some swear by them. Cut out pictures of things you want, and things you want to achieve, and stick them on a big sheet of paper, or a small one if you aren’t making it public. It’s a visual reminder of what make you happy and what to strive for. If you don’t want to make it publically visible, keep it in a draw that you use frequently – that way it’s out of sight but a constant reminder to you of what you want to change in your life.

3  Set Goals To Achieve Your Dreams
Now that you have worked out what your dreams are on your dream board: Holiday, better job, nicer car, get married, have children, retire, etc etc – you need to take action to put these goals in place. Set up short, medium, and long term goals. And then act on them, and that is what will make it happen. If they all don’t turn out, keep at it, or adjust your goals.

4  Let Go Of Your Regrets
Don’t hold back and don’t let anything hold you back. Regrets and negative feelings of what could have been have a tendency to be internalized, upsetting the balance of your gut and brain, and can lead to sickness. Be positive, move forward – history is history.

5  Do Something Out Of Your Bubble
Unless you try something new, out of your comfort zone, you’re never going to give anything a go. You’ll be living in your same old bubble, week in week out. It doesn’t have to be bungy jumping, but something that you’ve thought about but never had the gumption to go and try: make a speech in front of people; start walking to lose weight; go out on a girls night out now and then. It can be anything you don’t do now. Make a change to try something new.

6  Start Living A Well Balanced Life
You need your body and mind to be working together. Unless you look after your body, your mind won’t be clear. Exercise is the best way to clear your head and gain a positive attitude. It’s amazing what you start thinking about if you go for a run, or even a walk,: it’s not the negative stuff, it’s what you need to do, the positive things. Make a change and try it.

7  Face Your Fears
It’s easy to brush off our fears in the hope that they will go away and we won’t have to do anything about them. Your fears are only thoughts on your mind, they’re not real, but they manifest over time and then we believe them to be real. We need to take control of these fears – mind over matter – and not let them control us. Have positive thoughts and move forward.

8  Accept Yourself
You are who you are. You are a combination of genetics and environment. Everyone has something that they would like to change about themselves – if they are truthful and think hard about it. The only person that can make that change is you. A negative attitude to your, let’s call them ‘self-faults’ is only going to make them worse. You need to be positive and want to change, and then you will.

9  Live In The Moment
Don’t dwell on yesterday; don’t be negative if you have a bad event or thought. Negativity only breeds negativity. Be positive and live in the moment, live for what will be, not what has been. The grass may be greener on the other side of the fence, but the only way you will know is if you make the effort to jump the fence. If it’s not greener when you get there, you’ve learned a good lesson and can keep moving forward anyway.

10 Show Gratitude
If you are grateful for what you have and what you can change, then good things will happen and you will see your life change. Your changes don’t need to be monumental, they may be small, but they are still changes, and hopefully changes for the better.

Change you attitude to change.


About the author: Karen Vickers is a Financial Adviser who wants people to learn how to take control of their money. You can also change your financial habits. A good start to understanding the financial habit change process is by downloading our Free Your Money Sense e-Book http://yourwealthvault.com.au/: “6-steps to Financial Security”.

10 Things To Do To Change Your Life Forever


We are surrounded by change, and the more you resist, the tougher life gets. Accept change, look at it as an opportunity to try new things, to meet new people, to challenge you.

Change can come upon us by way of unexpected events or by choice. It’s inevitable so grab it with two hands and see where it takes you.

1  Be Happy
What makes you happy? Really, happy. Is it a person, is it an activity? Think about that true happiness and find ways to get involved and follow through to get more of that happiness. Without true happiness you will go through life wondering what could have been.

2  Create a Dream Board
Some people think it’s corny, some swear by them. Cut out pictures of things you want, and things you want to achieve, and stick them on a big sheet of paper, or a small one if you aren’t making it public. It’s a visual reminder of what make you happy and what to strive for. If you don’t want to make it publically visible, keep it in a draw that you use frequently – that way it’s out of sight but a constant reminder to you of what you want to change in your life.

3  Set Goals To Achieve Your Dreams
Now that you have worked out what your dreams are on your dream board: Holiday, better job, nicer car, get married, have children, retire, etc etc – you need to take action to put these goals in place. Set up short, medium, and long term goals. And then act on them, and that is what will make it happen. If they all don’t turn out, keep at it, or adjust your goals.

4  Let Go Of Your Regrets
Don’t hold back and don’t let anything hold you back. Regrets and negative feelings of what could have been have a tendency to be internalized, upsetting the balance of your gut and brain, and can lead to sickness. Be positive, move forward – history is history.

5  Do Something Out Of Your Bubble
Unless you try something new, out of your comfort zone, you’re never going to give anything a go. You’ll be living in your same old bubble, week in week out. It doesn’t have to be bungy jumping, but something that you’ve thought about but never had the gumption to go and try: make a speech in front of people; start walking to lose weight; go out on a girls night out now and then. It can be anything you don’t do now. Make a change to try something new.

6  Start Living A Well Balanced Life
You need your body and mind to be working together. Unless you look after your body, your mind won’t be clear. Exercise is the best way to clear your head and gain a positive attitude. It’s amazing what you start thinking about if you go for a run, or even a walk,: it’s not the negative stuff, it’s what you need to do, the positive things. Make a change and try it.

7  Face Your Fears
It’s easy to brush off our fears in the hope that they will go away and we won’t have to do anything about them. Your fears are only thoughts on your mind, they’re not real, but they manifest over time and then we believe them to be real. We need to take control of these fears – mind over matter – and not let them control us. Have positive thoughts and move forward.

8  Accept Yourself
You are who you are. You are a combination of genetics and environment. Everyone has something that they would like to change about themselves – if they are truthful and think hard about it. The only person that can make that change is you. A negative attitude to your, let’s call them ‘self-faults’ is only going to make them worse. You need to be positive and want to change, and then you will.

9  Live In The Moment
Don’t dwell on yesterday; don’t be negative if you have a bad event or thought. Negativity only breeds negativity. Be positive and live in the moment, live for what will be, not what has been. The grass may be greener on the other side of the fence, but the only way you will know is if you make the effort to jump the fence. If it’s not greener when you get there, you’ve learned a good lesson and can keep moving forward anyway.

10 Show Gratitude
If you are grateful for what you have and what you can change, then good things will happen and you will see your life change. Your changes don’t need to be monumental, they may be small, but they are still changes, and hopefully changes for the better.

Change you attitude to change.


About the author: Karen Vickers is a Financial Adviser who wants people to learn how to take control of their money. You can also change your financial habits. A good start to understanding the financial habit change process is by downloading our Free Your Money Sense e-Book http://yourwealthvault.com.au/: “6-steps to Financial Security”.

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.
AND THAT”S JUST THE BEGINNING . . .
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.
RULE OF THUMB
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.

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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. 

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

What 5 things would you grab if your house was on fire?


Your home is on fire (God forbid) and you have time to safely grab 5 items (assume all people and animals are safe). What did you grab?
This is not a post about the tragic consequence of anyone’s property actually being on fire but one of personal conflict between what’s practical, valuable and sentimental and planning for ahead. What you would take from your burning house reflects your interests, background and priorities. Think of it as an interview about your life, condensed into one question: What would you save?
Maybe you’re now pondering this question: “What would I take from my burning house?” Would you go the practical route and snatch your computer or phone, or are you more sentimental, opting for old photos and toys? It’s a tough one.
Sometimes it takes a moment of crisis to realize what matters. Sometimes it takes a really difficult question to force you to think about what you value in life. A plan is critical even if it’s formulated over the course of a minute.
So you’ve got your 5 items together but what about the rest of the contents when it does burn to the ground? Oh well that’s easy right, insurance takes care of that. Sure it does, but what exactly was in there and what was everything valued at? Here’s a quick tip that you can do next time you have a spare hours, or when there’s nothing on TV: Create a mini movie, room-by-room, the playback being very valuable when making an insurance claim. Walk through each room and record your stuff. Be sure to shoot serial numbers and add commentary by reading out model numbers. Save it onto a hard drive or flash-drive, collect important receipts and documents and store it all together in a quick-to-go place.
So now you’ve got a plan for when your house burns down. What about a plan for the inevitable: Life? Yep you need a plan to be financially secure when you grow old – and anywhere in between. You need a financial plan. Again, you need to spend a bit of time putting it together, collecting your important financial information and then starting a budget so you know what’s coming in and what’s going out, money-wise. It’s not that hard. You can start here by downloading our Free Your Money Sense e-Book: “6-steps to Financial Security”.
So back to the burning house. We’ll assume the cat and dog were ok: What 5 things did you grab?

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Are Your Financial Habits Normal?

Each day you get up and shower, get dressed, have breakfast, feed the pets and go to work: or something like that. That’s normal for you but it doesn’t mean it’s normal for the next person.
Did you know that when it comes to your money, there is a normal too? Your money normal encompasses your ability to pay your bills, educate your kids, buy a home or retire in comfort and security. That will change for everyone.
So how do you define your money-normal, as it can impact your life in huge ways?
Some people believe that you save regularly and stay out of debt. Others believe that the future is unknowable, so why worry about it. We ultimately define our actions based on our habits and what we believe is appropriate or in our best interest.
Meet Chandler who is a frugal spender, a good saver and even manages to invest here and there. He is happy with that lifestyle and always manages to have money available to do what he wants to do, when he wants to do it. He is organized, disciplined, a planner and a saver.
On the flip side Joey likes to spend as required, he likes to do and have what he wants and needs without consideration of next months finances, and as a result lives from day to day, not interested in, or maybe not knowledgeable of what he requires to save for the future. He thinks it will be there when it’s needed; somehow. (Of course there are many variations of those two examples.)
Both of these fictional people believe that their approach is normal. And it is because they live it. But the consequences can be very different. It’s not a matter of who is wrong or right – it’s simply, their normal.
You need to understand your normal, does it bring you closer to your happiness, satisfaction, comfort and a secure financial future?  If so, keep it going. If not, perhaps it’s time for a new normal…
A good start to being money-normal is to get a plan in place. Start by downloading our Free Your Money Sense e-Book: “6-steps to Financial Security”.
What is your “normal”?

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Dream your Goals

If you don’t know where you are it’s often hard to know where you are going. Establish a budget; then revise and review. Your budget is a living document, it keeps changing so you need to keep assessing and adapting to these changes. Put some realistic goals in place and try to stick to them. You’ll benefit in the long run. www.YourWealthVault.com.au

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

8 Really Important Things To Know When Starting Out


Whether you are starting your financial journey out of Uni, getting your first job, climbing the career ladder, jumping into a relationship, buying property or starting a business, you need to take control of your financial future. Here are 8 really important things to know when you are starting out.
One: Live without a credit card
Did you know that Australians owe approximately $32,673,480,146 in credit card debt as of this morning. Here’s an easier number: Thirty-Three Billion Dollars. Personal debt per credit card holder is $4301.00 with an average of $723.45 in interest per annum. Yikes!
For many of us refusing to use a credit card is simply not an option. Without one it’s difficult to pay bills and even make reoccurring payments. So use it for that and not for shopping. What should you use for shopping and spending I hear you murmur sarcastically? Use a debit card. You can’t spend more than you have in the bank that way. You’ll find you will spend less and when you next look at your bank statement you’ll even question what you are buying and maybe start to budget.
Two: You don’t have to keep up with the Joneses
Keeping up with your peers is dangerous. Just because they have the latest model of car or go on the holiday that you’ve always wanted to, doesn’t mean you should too. You don’t know what their situation is: they may have inherited some money, or they may be so far in debt that you don’t want to follow. You are you, they are they, don’t get confused with that. Live within your own financial means not your peers.
Three: Choose your partner very carefully
Business or personal partner, this is relevant to both. Don’t be impressed by a showy display of money or wealth, it may just be a fa├žade and have a bucket load of debt supporting it. Be careful and be aware. When a business starts making money it’s very tempting, particularly if it is a new concept to your partner. There are so many horror stories of partners who get all consumed by newfound wealth and blow it all. Money can bring out greed in a person… very easily. Keep your finger on the pulse.
Four: Start Saving
More than 40% of a recent survey said they were able to meet their normal monthly expenses, but a third admitted they were worried about their ability to do so. The report said that the results clearly showed there are a large number of people who struggle to cope financially, and the problems are not always linked to the size of their pay-cheque. In many instances people are living in the hope that they will achieve their goals rather than planning for a fulfilling and secure future.
57% of those surveyed had no regular savings plan, and peaked among 45 to 54 year olds, who are often nearing the peak of their earnings capacity. Close to 40% of people would be unable to maintain their current lifestyle if they lost their income for three to six months, thanks to not enough savings.
So how do you counter that? Put a simple budget in place, as you never know when your financial situation can and will change. We like to call it Your Spending Plan as that is what we are all working around: Spending.
Five: Develop a budget
Don’t spend more than you earn. It’s hard to keep track of spending if you don’t have a budget. Putting a simple budget in place lets you know what you have to spend, and what you don’t. We like to call a budget a Spending Plan as that is what we are all working around: Spending.
Six: Get yourself health insurance
Without health insurance, you may not be able to afford expensive medical services when you need them but there are many more reasons why you need health insurance: Shorter waiting periods for elective surgery, choice of doctor, extras benefits to name a few.
You could end up paying more for private health insurance over your lifetime if you don’t take out hospital cover before 1 July following your 31st birthday. If you join after this time, you may be required to pay a 2% loading on top of your premium per year for every year you are aged over 30 and do not have private hospital cover, up to a maximum loading of 70%. For example, if you take out private hospital cover at age 45 you may pay 30% more than someone who took it out at age 30.
Do you really want to be significantly out of pocket when you are sick?
Seven: Keep track and set some goals
If you don’t know where you are it’s often hard to know where you are going. Hopefully you establish your budget, then revise and review. Your budget is a living document, it keeps changing so you need to keep assessing and adapting to these changes.
Put some realistic goals in place and try to stick to them. You’ll benefit in the long run.
Eight: Understand Superannuation
If you want enough money for a comfortable retirement, spend some time learning about superannuation. Taking a few steps now to boosting your Super will make a huge difference to your lifestyle in the future.
Superannuation is a way to save for your retirement. The money comes from contributions made into your super fund by your employer and, ideally, topped up by your own money. Sometimes the government will add to it through co-contributions and the low income super contribution.
Your employer must pay 9.5% of your salary into a super fund. This is called the Super Guarantee and it’s the law. The Super Guarantee will gradually increase to 12% in coming years.
Over the course of your working life, these contributions from your employer add up, or ‘accumulate’. Your super money is also invested by your super fund so it grows over time. When you retire, you will have money to live off – a nest egg. Super is a lifetime investment that has many benefits. Super can be a minefield of information so ask an expert for help, It’ll save you money in the long run.
So if you are starting out on the career path, in a budding relationship, a new business or “it’s just time”, get a grip on controlling your overall financial situation. Here’s a great Free e-book from Your Money Sense6-steps to Financial Security It’s a good starting point to get you in the right mindset when you are starting out.