Peppy’s Corner

Peppy’s Corner By: Donald Hellyer At six, I walked home from school with my best friend and next-door neighbour, Graeme. These were simpler times, when traffic was light and neighbours were home.  It was safe, except that our path took us past Peppy’s corner, home of an overly enthusiastic, psychopathic cocker spaniel. I remember distinctly the day that Peppy came bounding out from his garden and took my friend down.  Why Graeme and not me, I do not know.  Graeme was bigger than me so perhaps Peppy wanted a challenge.  Or perhaps it was Graeme’s oilskin raincoat that attracted the shark of the pavement. Its moments like these you are morally tested.  Should I fight Peppy to rescue my friend, or should I run?  I ran.  I was George Costanza not Arnold Schwarzenegger.  I left my man behind. A year later my mother euphemistically said that Peppy had gone to live on a farm.  Damn that, I thought.  I wanted the dog dead. After 50 years of not being able to look Graeme in the eye, I ask myself, had the tragedy on Peppy’s corner made me too conservative and, overly concerned for my own self-interest?  If it had, it was both a loss for society and me. Conservative people do not deal with really serious issues.  They trade off maintaining the status quo and fail to deal with slow but important changes in society. Our current ‘government’, using the word liberally here (pun intended), doesn’t want to make important changes on climate.  That’s a shame.  It’s also hypocritical. Recent announcements on energy policy are rightfully labelled as “coal...

Marriage and SMSF don’t mix

Donald Hellyer I recently witnessed first-hand a material danger for spouses in self-managed superannuation funds (SMSFs). What happens if your partner turns rogue when dealing with the SMSF investments during a relationship, or just after a separation? How much could you lose, and what is your path to seek reparations? There are now likely to be over 1.1 million Australians who are members in SMSFs[1]. There are about 600,000 SMSFs – making it about two members per SMSF. SMSF members are very likely to be partners; be they married or de facto. Rice Warner estimates that about 25 per cent of people are divorced at aged 60, and quotes the ABS statistic that 46 per cent of all marriages made in 1999 will end in divorce. In summary, many Australians are in SMSFs and many Australians will get divorced. I am taking a wild guess here, but divorces are not occurring because couples trust each other more with their money. Yet at the time of a divorce your long-term retirement savings are likely to be within the financial power of someone you truly mistrust, not talk to or possibly even hate. The case I witnessed was that of a trusting spouse entering into a SMSF at the suggestion of her partner. She rolled her superannuation balance from her industry fund into the SMSF. Her partner’s personal investing was poor and eventually his financial ship hit the rocks of economic reality. The partner then liquidated all the assets of the SMSF, removed all the funds and left the country. The really scary thing was that he committed no crime. Or...

Fully Functional Small Talker.

My first blog of the year…Donald Dry Facts  Facts no longer count, only alternative facts  Trump made 100 falsehoods (lies) over the 150 days to Nov 8th, Clinton made 12 Oily Issues My son describes himself as a ’fully functional small talker.’ He is right. He can hold his own at social functions and contribute to conversations. He has the knack of making other people feel comfortable, interesting and respected. And yet my son by nature is a little anxious and shy. You would not expect him to enjoy social events. In fact, he doesn’t. Fortunately for him, he learnt small talk social skills early. It didn’t hurt that he worked in retail in his last years of high school and through Uni. Dealing with clients day in and day out is nothing more than a continual exercise in small talk. It is the speed chess of chitchat. You see the moves over and over again to the point where you develop an intuition on how a conversation will evolve. This is the first rule to becoming a fully functional smaller talker – confidence grows with practice. For introverts like me, the thought of going to a large social event where I know no one fills me with dread. I bring my anxieties to the event. The main one being that no one will talk to me. I will look like an idiot in the corner by myself with an umbrella poking out of my Coke Zero. The second is that people will find me boring and at best suffer my presence while longing to move to more stimulating...

BigFuture and Booster launch strategic partnership

BigFuture Pty Limited and Booster Financial Services Limited are pleased to announce our strategic partnership. Booster, a New Zealand based financial services company, will implement BigFuture’s current technology and work with BigFuture to create the next wave of technology for financial advisors. Booster will take up to a 20% equity stake in BigFuture, pay an annual development fee and will have exclusive rights to the BigFuture technology in New Zealand. According to Donald Hellyer, CEO of BigFuture, “Booster is the perfect organisation to partner with BigFuture. The two companies have a common view on where technology is heading for the financial advice and banking industries. Booster provides BigFuture long-term financial stability and resources. Importantly, Booster has an intimate knowledge of the technology needs of financial advisors, allowing us to develop cutting edge applications for the industry” Allan Yeo, Managing Director of Booster, said “BigFuture brings creative technology and the ability to develop sophisticated financial planning applications. The future of financial planning will be based on how we develop and adapt technology to enhance advisors direct face-to-face client relationship.” Donald Hellyer, Chris Reay and Michael Clancy founded BigFuture in 2014. BigFuture’s current offering includes the ability to track your total wealth by asset class using automatic balance feeds from financial institutions, stochastic retirement planning tools and financial literacy animations. Booster is an established New Zealand financial services company. Founded in 1998, it began by creating an investment platform for independent financial advisers. Today it provides KiwiSaver, Superannuation and Investments and continues to support and work with a network of independent financial advisers. Booster is making a mark in the financial...

Boxing Title Match: The Reserve Bank vs. Super Funds

By Donald Hellyer Dry Facts The Reserve Bank of Australia has cut the cash interest rates to the very low rate of 1.5%. This normally signals that the Reserve Bank wants you to spend more to stimulate the economy. Superannuation funds have a core investment return target of CPI + 2% -3% (probably about 4% – 5%). With these low forecast investment rates, superannuation funds suggest you need to save more for retirement. Oily Issues Two mighty institutions in Australia are in major conflict with each other. In the right corner wearing blue trunks is the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA), an elusive fighter known to dictate the terms of most monetary fights. In the left corner wearing red trunks is Australia’s $2.0 trillion superannuation system, a slugger with a fighting style designed to outlast the competition over the long run. The RBA has a sharp right jab expressed as a reduction in interest rates. So-called monetary easing has been in place in Australia since 2011. The RBA has jabbed 12 times reducing interest rates from 4.75% to 1.5%.   The RBA’s fight is based around stimulating the economy. The push for lower interest rates has two major objectives; to get people to spend more, and to take more risk in financial investments. It’s cheap to borrow and spend. Financial returns are forecast to remain low. The RBA does not want you to save cautiously, it wants you to spend and take some real financial risk to grow the economy. It wants you to throw a “haymaker” financial punch. Superannuation funds see a different strategy and continue to dodge and...

Why We Love Mr FitBit

By Donald Hellyer Dry Facts FitBits sold in 2015, 22 million FitBit’s industry percentage of wearable technology, 34% Oily Issues My daughter gave me a FitBit for my birthday. She was concerned that each year she has an increase in the cubic metres of dad. To remove doubt, I am not getting taller. I love my FitBit. It has everything a goal seeking, nerdy, neurotic person needs. Not only does it measure how many steps I take but also my pulse and calories consumed. I didn’t realise how many calories you burn just by sleeping. How can this country possibly have an obesity problem? Since having my FitBit, I have lost a couple of kilos. These are the very same kilos I have promised to lose for the last few years – without success. I appear to have anthropomorphised Mr FitBit to the point where I know he won’t be annoyed with me eating too many calories, just quietly disappointed. He is aware of what I am doing and in a subtle way, judging me. He is my conscience on a rubber strap. Mr FitBit has made me mindful of what I eat. Where before I would eat and drink what I wanted when I wanted, now I stop to consider why I am eating. Perhaps a rubber band around my wrist would be just as effective, but probably not as rubber bands don’t have graphs and goals and flashing lights. A FitBit overcomes one of the huge human vulnerabilities in change called “present bias”. The Atlantic’s recent article “The Two Biases That Keep People From Saving Money” quotes “People...
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