Time to talk about Income Protection?

Is your income currently unprotected? Or maybe it is time to review how much is protected? If you want to have a chat about your Income Protection  options, then please email or call us. We’d love to help.

Here is a youtube video

Here is a video from AMP

The why’s and where’s of blogging

Weblogs, or blogs, have risen in popularity dramatically over the past few years, with mums, dads, kids and everyone in between posting their blogs on the internet for the world to follow.

Blogs are essentially online diaries, administered by individuals or groups. Readers can usually comment on content and this level of interaction has made blogs a site for the global exchange of ideas.

You don’t need to be a professional writer to have a blog and topics are as varied as the writers themselves. There are even host sites where you can find a community of thousands of bloggers in individual pages. Many of the writers have real talent and are able to engage and amuse readers to such an extent that they actually make money from their blog!

The blog ‘rules’ tend to be fairly free and simply restrict authors and readers from posting offensive material, infringing copyright and plagiarism. This freedom of expression on such a massive scale is something we have never enjoyed before and it is no surprise that millions of people worldwide have joined in.

Many sites now offer free hosting for bloggers, so have a look at sites such as Google’s www.blogger.com.  If you’ve always fancied yourself as a writer, and think you have an interesting story to tell, why not try your hand at blogging?

Go green and save money

It may be trendy nowadays to be green but it’s also practical. The following tips can help you to save money and the environment.

  • Install efficient appliances. Compact fluorescent light bulbs use 80% less energy and can last up to eight times longer than conventional bulbs. Similarly, installing a water-saving showerhead can cut water usage by up to 50% and save on water heating costs.
  • Turn it off. Turn off appliances if you are no longer using them, and don’t forget to switch off the light when you leave a room (just think – why give that money to the electricity company when you can enjoy it yourself!).
  • Control the temperature. Set the air-conditioner thermostat at an appropriate level that is optimum for comfort and efficiency. Wearing appropriate clothing for the temperature and installing wall and ceiling insulation can reduce the need for heating or cooling.
  • Go natural. Using the sun and fresh air to dry your laundry is a free alternative to the clothes dryer.
  • Check the stars. When purchasing new appliances, check the star or energy rating. The more stars, the greater the energy efficiency, and the more you can save.

There are many more ideas– just look around your home to discover more ways you can do your bit for the environment and reap the financial rewards. Don’t forget to get the kids involved and make it fun.

Working from home successfully

Working from home is being embraced by more people across the world every day. The opportunity to be closer to the family; not having to commute to and from work for hours each day; not to mention the money saved on clothing and make-up (the latter for women, of course!) is definitely the way to go.

Some people whose jobs are made redundant will be tempted to take the plunge into self-employment, but there are many other reasons for seeking the freedom obtained by working from home.

You don’t even have to run your own business. With the rapid development in communication technology, many companies offer employees the option of telecommuting.

Do you have what it takes?

Before trading in the designer pinstripe for a new set of shorts and thongs, there are a few things to consider carefully. Working from home may not be the same thing as working at home, but either way it can be a lonely existence. It may not suit people who thrive on the social contact that comes from working in an office.

Self-motivation is also critical to success. If the temptation to rise late and knock off early is too strong, or if your attraction to the golf course is too powerful, the discipline of a regular job may serve you best. On the other hand, some people are more productive when they can choose their own hours. If the creative juices are flowing at two o’clock in the morning, it’s easier to make the most of them if you work at home.

Being your own boss?

State and federal government websites contain a wealth of advice for would-be entrepreneurs, so do your homework. Many local councils sponsor business networks that can provide you with support and the opportunity to grow your business. It’s a sad fact that a lot of new businesses don’t survive for more than a few years, so it’s important to be realistic about your own capabilities and the prospects for your intended venture.

One step at a time…

More affordable technology provides opportunities to develop a business with relatively little financial risk, and working from home obviously helps to keep overheads down. It is also possible to start slowly, maybe turning a hobby into a business or commencing on a part-time basis. If things go well, you’ll be more confident in cutting your ties to an external income.

Whether you want to telecommute or start your own business, working from home has many pros and cons. Like any change, do your homework first to make sure it’s the right choice for you… it could be the best decision you’ve ever made!


The new breed of grey nomad

According to the Macquarie Dictionary a “grey nomad” is an Australian colloquial expression meaning an older person, often retired from full-time work, who travels around the country, living in a caravan or motorhome. Linguists are not too sure how long the expression has been around, but according to an article penned by Kel Richards for the ABC NewsRadio’s WordWatch program “the first bit of printed evidence they’ve turned up goes back to 1995”.

A closer look at this growing sector of our community reveals that the stereotypical grey nomad may be a thing of the past. It seems there is as much diversity among its members as there is among the people we meet in our “normal” lives.

For starters, you don’t have to sell everything and leave your entire life behind to join in the fun. Have you ever hoped for just a few months out of the rat race to regain your life perspective? Or maybe you dream of somewhere warmer to spend the winter months, or to have a break between jobs before you settle down again? There are plenty of real “nomads” with similar motivations out there doing just that.

Next, remember that it is not just for full-time retirees. In some places, seasonal jobs are being filled by older workers alongside the usual backpackers and young locals. (Take a look at http://www.olderworkers.com.au.) And if volunteering is more your thing, you’re bound to find endless opportunities on your trip around the red continent.

It is estimated that there are around 350,000 nomads roaming Australia, injecting $2 billion into the economy each year. So it’s no wonder that you don’t have to look far for information on all the practicalities of taking this step—everything from keeping valuables safe, buying the right rig, and dealing with mobile phone coverage. Check out http://www.thegreynomads.com.au.

On a final note beware of “caravan envy”. Quite simply, it seems some grey nomads are ageing more gracefully than others and size apparently does matter when it comes to the caravans they tow or RVs they drive. Park operators say it has created a class divide in popular destinations. However this perception may only be held by a minority. Don’t let that stop you – if you see yourself as a nomad of any description, now is the time to take off and explore this amazing country – in whatever type of vehicle you choose!


Where did our calendar originate?


A new year is a time to look forward and plan new ventures and goals. But why does the New Year start in January? It hasn’t always been this way.

The Egyptians developed one of the earliest calendars and they started the New Year in the northern hemisphere’s spring. This seemed appropriate as new life starts to emerge from the darkness of winter.

But then along came the Roman Emperor, Julius Caesar, in 46 BC. He and his scholars tinkered with the Egyptian calendar and created the Julian year. When you rule a large part of the world, you can do what you like with someone else’s calendar and they established a 12-month year starting with January.

The first six months were named after Roman gods, goddesses and a feast. The next two were named after Roman emperors (see what you can do when you’re an emperor?!). They ran out of ideas for the last four months so were named after the number of the month in the Julian calendar.

January: From Janus the god of the sun, new year and new beginnings

February: From a Latin feast of purification held on the fifteenth

March: From Mars the god of war

April: May have come from the Greek goddess of love, Aprhrodite

May: From the goddess of spring, Maia

June: From Juno the goddess of marriage and women

July: From Julius Caesar

August: From Augustus, the first Roman Emperor

September: The seventh month (sept is 7)

October: The eighth month (oct is 8)

November: The ninth month (novem is 9)

December: The tenth month (decem is 10)

In the ensuing five hundred years, various people modified the Julian calendar, and as Europe became more united there was a need for a consistent system.  Pope Gregory XIII established the Gregorian calendar in 1582 and kept January as the first month.  We still use his calendar today.

Of course, the Romans are not the only ones who developed a calendar.  The Hindu calendar celebrates New Year or “Diwali” in October/November and the Jewish New Year or “Rosh Hashanah” is celebrated in September/October.  The Chinese New Year is in January/February.