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Couple’s finances: Being in tune with one another.

In our article, ‘Recognising and dealing with financial stress’, we discussed that close to a third of Australians find dealing with money stressful. In light of this, one of our suggestions for dealing with financial stress was to talk to your partner. One of the reasons behind this is due to the conflicts and stresses that may arise between couples when there is a difference in their beliefs on money and/or their money personalities, and these differences are not appropriately recognised and addressed.

Importantly, beliefs on money and money personality can be interconnected.

Consequently, we discuss ways to help you with recognising and addressing the differences that may occur in both of these areas through the fostering of communication, mutual understanding and teamwork.

Beliefs on money

The experiences that you have throughout your life (and your interpretation of these experiences) can shape the way that you view the world and your engagement within it on a conscious level. Importantly, the same may be said in terms of the formation and shaping of your beliefs on money.

Briefly, your beliefs on money are protective or liberating ideas, thoughts, or opinions that you hold about money. Depending on your personal circumstances, these beliefs on money may or may not be beneficial or desirable to you as they can influence your financial attitudes and behaviours.

If you are unsure about how to discuss your beliefs on money with your partner or even what your beliefs may be in the first place, consider completing the following together:

Identifying your beliefs on money through language

  • Write several short sentences about money, starting each sentence with ‘I should…’ For example, ‘I should invest more for my retirement’.
  • Repeat above, but now change the start to ‘I believe my partner should…’ For example, ‘I believe my partner should save more’.

Identifying your beliefs on money through feeling

  • Write down how you are feeling right now. For example, joyful, grateful, hopeful, helpless, depressed, jealous, or angry.
  • Repeat above, but now write down
    • The feelings you believe someone who is financially insecure would have.
    • The feelings you believe someone who is financially secure would have.

Once done, read out your answers to one another and discuss how you both feel. Now take some time to engage in ‘perspective shifting’, in this instance, seeing your beliefs on money as ideas, thoughts, or opinions rather than truths. A simple way to do this may be changing ‘should’ to ‘could’ in the first exercise above and discussing how you both feel afterwards. By practising perspective shifting, you may find that you not only allow yourself to gain a better understanding of your partner’s beliefs on money, but also open yourself up to the possibility of replacing your existing beliefs on money with new ones.

Money Personalities

Why do you manage money the way you do? Many of the decisions you make when dealing with money, such as how you earn, spend and invest your money, may be done on a subconscious level. We explore this in our Money Personality learning module.

Briefly, your money personality is the set of preferences you have with regards to dealing with money. Importantly, your money personality, like your beliefs on money, can influence your financial attitudes and behaviours.

When it comes to preferences in dealing with money we are all unique, which is why we developed four money personality animals to help broadly describe the differences that can arise from one person to the next. Here is a brief overview of each money personality animal:

If you are unsure about how to discuss your preferences with your partner or what they may be in the first place, consider completing our Money Personality quiz together. Our Money Personality quiz assesses your preferences for dealing with money with regards to three key metrics:


Continue reading the article here.

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How to add maximum value with renovations.

Renovating is one of the best ways for property owners to increase the value of their homes. If you’re looking to add value to your home, but don’t want to renovate every room, it can be difficult to decide where to start.

Here are some ideas to help you decide which part of your property to focus on for the best results.

The kitchen

The kitchen is widely regarded as the best place to start when renovating – and while it can be a lot of work, the rewards can be substantial. Despite being one of the most expensive rooms in the house to renovate, there’s no need to break the bank.

An updated kitchen can make a huge impact on potential buyers, by giving your home a ‘ready to move in’ feel. The Housing Industry Association of Australia report that the average cost of a kitchen renovation(PDF) in Australia is $21,862, but the difference a modern kitchen makes when you’re selling can be substantial.

As far as appliances go, you might choose to purchase a single-brand suite to give a cohesive look and feel to the room. However, there’s often no need to go ‘top of the line’ when it comes to elements such as ovens. Adding value is about keeping costs to a minimum while refreshing the room.

The bathroom

Next on the list is the bathroom, a key element in any house – especially if the structure isn’t particularly modern. Similar to kitchens, an updated bathroom can provide a home with a much-needed contemporary boost, and it doesn’t have to cost the earth.

There are a number of cost factors to consider when renovating a bathroom that don’t apply to other rooms in the house, such as plumbing and waterproofing. Moving the location of sinks, toilets and showers can add a lot to the overall cost, and this money probably won’t result in a lot of value being added in the long run. Therefore, a key tip for doing up a bathroom: don’t overcapitalise.

It’s important to consider the home as a whole, and the features you believe will be desirable for your location and target buyers. If you’re hoping to attract a family, for example, consider installing a bath.

The great outdoors

Another area ripe for high-impact renovation is gardens and back yards. Opening up the rear of your home to create an outdoor entertainment area is effectively the same as adding a whole new room.

If your home already has an outdoor entertaining area, it’s worth considering whether there are elements that could be updated. Adding an outdoor kitchen or designated barbecue area can have a positive impact on the value of the property.

And because first impressions count, don’t overlook the front yard.  ‘Curb appeal’ can be the difference between potential buyers driving by or stopping to take a look inside.

There’s more to adding value than giving your property a quick lick of paint and hoping for the best. The right renovation, in the right area of the house has the potential to add tens of thousands to the value of your home – and choosing the right way to invest your time and money could mean a better result when you decide to sell.


Source: (Your Loan Hub)

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How supermarkets influence your buying.

When you walk into a supermarket, the game begins between you and the sales/marketing team of that supermarket. Your goal is usually to get in and out with the groceries that you need. Whereas, their goal is to influence your buying in an attempt to get you to spend as much money as possible. Largely, this is done by specifically designing a supermarket that leverages off the findings from behavioural economics research.

The entrance

A humble trolley
Prior to walking into the supermarket, you will often head over to the trolley area. Unfortunately, there is more to that humble trolley than you might think.

One of the first shopping trolleys, referred to as a ‘folding basket carrier’, was introduced in 1937. It consisted of a foldable metal frame that moved around on wheels and could hold two small baskets. Since then, the design has undergone numerous changes. However, of most note has been its size and carrying capacity. For example, most trolleys that you find today in supermarkets are much larger in size and carrying capacity than their predecessors.

Whilst there are many good reasons for this change, a larger array of items available in supermarkets to purchasefor example, a major reason is the impact that a trolley’s size and carry capacity has on us from a psychological point of view. Namely, the bigger the trolley, the greater the likelihood that we will be inclined to fill it further.

First impressions 
You have probably heard the phrase, ‘First impressions matter’. When it comes to supermarkets, this is particularly relevant. As we often have multiple competing priorities, setting the time aside to do the shopping can be quite stressful (especially if we have children that need to tag along). This means that our initial mood when we step through the entrance of a supermarket can often not be ideal from the point of view of a supermarket’s sales/marketing team. Namely, we want to get the experience over and done with as quickly as possible.

Consequently, after negotiating the trolley selection, the first thing that confronts you in a supermarket is often the bakery and fresh produce sections, as well as some ambient music playing over the internal speakers. The smell of freshly baked goods, the brightly coloured fruits and vegetables, and the often slow tempo music are all attempts to try to ‘recalibrate’ your mood to something more conducive. They are looking to elicit two main responses, relaxation and hunger, because studies have shown that these things can influence your spending behaviour:

  • Relaxed = more time spent in the supermarket, leading to increased purchasing.
  • Hunger = more food item purchases.

The layout

Department locations
Have you ever had to pick up some mid-week supplies, such as bread and milk, and found yourself with a few extra items when you reach the checkout area? One of the reasons for this is the layout of the supermarket departments (bakery, fresh produce, meat/deli, general grocery, dairy, frozen goods etc.).

By placing essential items, such as the bread and milk example above, at different ends of a store, it requires you to walk through other departments to get to what you want. This tactic is aimed at distracting and enticing you towards other items that you see along the way.

There are many tactics employed by the sales/marketing team when it comes to aisles, such as displays and general product placement. We have listed a few here:

  • Displays. Research has shown that when people shop, they tend to go around the edges of the supermarket, dipping in and out of the aisles. Consequently, items on display at the end of aisles aim to entice you. Unfortunately, despite them often being accompanied by signs saying ‘SPECIAL’, they are usually highly priced items (with high-profit margins) when compared to alternatives.
  • Aisle width. You will often find that the aisles are quite wide in supermarkets, noticeably more so than in the past. This is not just for your convenience when manoeuvring your oversized trolley around other people (and their oversized trolley). Wide aisles, just like the freshly baked goods, the brightly coloured fruits and vegetables, and the slow tempo music, aim to make you feel relaxed and… relaxed = more time spent in the supermarket, leading to increased purchasing.
  • Eye level. It’s often human nature to focus on things that are at eye level. The sales/marketing team frequently take advantage of this by putting expensive items at eye level (even if they have a SPECIAL sign). As such, by looking above and below eye level, you may find cheaper, but still good quality alternatives. However, importantly, certain aisles are set to influence two different eye levels, namely, adults and children. You can probably guess which aisles these are.
  • Charm pricing. By marking an item with a nine at the end ($5.99), many of us are still falling victim to the belief that it’s a good deal. This can be in terms of a comparison between a rounded alternative ($6.00) or with shopping in general.
  • Spend and save. You have probably seen multiple purchase pricing many times before, the five-for-$5 deals for example. Often people that are enticed by this offer tend to buy five items when in fact they probably only needed one. A slight variation to multiple purchase pricing, but with a similar premise, is the ‘buying one item and getting the second for half price’ example.
  • Emotional purchases. There are some items in the supermarket that you may engage with on an emotional level, coffee/tea or baby food for example. Because of this, you may spend a little more time before making a decision. As such, you will often find these types of items in the middle of the aisle. The rationale behind this can be as follows:
    • It draws you further into the aisle so that you interact with other items.
    • It stops you from obstructing others from entering the aisle.
  • Layout swaps. When you have been shopping in a particular supermarket for some time, you might reach a point where you think you have figured out where everything is located. This serves to not only make you more efficient in your shopping time, but also less susceptible to distractions and enticements. Consequently, from time to time, a supermarket will undergo a layout swap, with the aim of disorientating you and subsequently exposing you to other items.

The finish line

Checkouts and those last minute purchases
You made it, albeit probably with a little more in your trolley than expected. Now it’s time to put everything through the checkout. But wait, what about those chocolates, magazines, and chewing gum that are just within arm’s reach. This is one of the last attempts by the sales/marketing team to get you to purchase more items. Unfortunately, this can often be especially difficult to navigate past if you have children accompanying you.

Moving forward

As you might have already been aware, the supermarket is a complex place. Thought has been put into every little detail often with the sole aim of influencing your buying. So when you do your next grocery shop take some time to be mindful of all the different tactics that are employed by a supermarket’s sales/marketing team – you might just find that you spend less and save more.

Lastly, we leave you with a few handy tips for your next shop:

  1.  Plan your meals in advance.
  2.  Consult your fridge/freezer/pantry for items you already have.
  3.  Write a shopping list before heading to the supermarket.
  4.  Although, not always possible, consider leaving children at home with the spouse.
  5.  Opt for a basket over the shopping trolley.
  6.  Look at the unit prices between packaged and unpackaged items.
  7.  Despite rewards programs, don’t be afraid to shop around for a better price.


Article source here.


How to modernise your kitchen on a budget.

A new kitchen doesn’t have to cost the earth. Check out these savvy ideas for an updated kitchen with an old-fashioned price tag.

If you want to modernise your kitchen but you’re concerned about the cost, don’t be dismayed. There are many ways to get a new kitchen without destroying your bank balance.

Downgrade to upgrade

Saving money doesn’t mean you have to compromise on everything in your new kitchen. Select a few fittings or features that you want to spend a little more on, then budget in other areas. For example, if you have your heart set on a granite benchtop, perhaps you could have a tiled splashback instead of a glass one. By choosing one or two standout features, you can still achieve the ‘wow factor’ you’re looking for.

Don’t move mountains

You can save on electrical and plumbing contractors by working within the design of your existing kitchen. Keep your sink, oven and gas hotplates in their current positions, to minimise structural and design costs.

Buy off the shelf

It can be expensive to get cabinets, shelves or tables custom-made. While this may be your only option when you’re working with an unusual space, it might still be possible to buy some fittings off the shelf.

Stores such as Ikea and specialist kitchen suppliers sell flat pack or modular cabinets that you can assemble yourself, which should cost less than hiring a professional installer. Also, think of creative alternatives – if your dream kitchen has an island bench, why not consider a small table or a unit on wheels instead, for a relaxed country feel.

Refresh rather than renovate

Before you gut your entire kitchen, consider whether you would be happy with just a few changes. Refreshing the cabinets with new handles and a lick of paint can change the look of a room entirely.

Other low-cost changes that can lift your kitchen include replacing the benchtop, installing new window blinds and modernising the light fittings. Laminate has also had a revival, with stylish colours and designs that may just transform your kitchen at minimal expense.

Net a bargain

The internet is a treasure trove of bargains, but it’s not just the large retail stores that offer special deals online. Many individuals and small businesses offer surplus stock or items they simply don’t need on sites like Gumtree and eBay. You’ll be amazed at what people will sell for a fraction of the original cost.


Just because you want a new kitchen doesn’t mean you can’t salvage some of your current fittings. Perhaps your tapware has hipster retro charm, or you have hardwood boards hidden beneath your lino flooring. Look at your existing kitchen objectively before you start throwing anything out.


While you may not have the time or skill to DIY everything, you may be able to save some dollars by splitting the workload with your tradies. Paint the walls on the weekend or tile the splashback, and you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing you did it yourself.

Creating your dream kitchen without breaking your budget is certainly possible. Don’t be overwhelmed by the initial quotes, just look at where you can make little changes without compromising on your vision.

When planning your renovation, contact your mortgage broker to find out how they can help you get into your new kitchen.



Article source here.


New Year resolutions: Strengthening willpower

As the clock strikes midnight to mark New Year’s Day, this is the time that we often begin to reflect on what we have achieved over the course of the last 12 months. Part of this reflection can also make us focus our attention on specific aspects of our life we may feel that we have neglected up until this point.

As such, roughly 41%* of us find ourselves devising a New Year resolutions list often with the aim of restoring a sense of balance in our life – this can entail a shifting of our priorities through the redistribution of time, effort and sometimes money.


According to TwitterAU, here were the most tweeted New Year resolutions in 2017 by Australians:



Top 10 New Year Resolutions in 2017


Ranking Resolution
1 Read more
2 Diet
3 Exercise
4 Learn something new
5 Be nicer
6 Get a new job
7 Volunteer/donate to charity
8 Get a boyfriend/girlfriend
9 Relax more
10 Quit smoking


Other common New Year resolutions tend to focus on enjoying life to the fullest, getting organised, reducing debt and spending less to save more.

Unfortunately, if you read our article, “Does a New Year Resolution set you up to fail?”, you will find that 25% of us ‘throw in the towel’ within the first week of making our resolutions. This percentage steadily increases with the passage of time (i.e. 29% in two weeks, 36% in one month and 54% in six months) – and, when all things are said and done, 88% of New Year resolutions fail. This may help to explain why our resolutions tend to be the same year after year.

As such, when establishing or reviewing your existing New Year resolutions list, it’s important to:

  • Carefully consider your goals; are they realistic in their obtainment and do they hold specific relevance and meaning to you? By considering this first, you may find that you start off on the right foot and subsequently increase your chance of adhering to the path that you set for yourself in the achievement of your goals. This can be referred to as the contemplation stage.
  • Put in place an appropriate plan (e.g. how are you going to get to where you want to be, such as the steps required and an appropriate support network) and then start making your goals a reality. A plan gives you a sense of direction and an appropriate network of people can provide you with support along the way, and with that, you are able to move from thinking about doing something to actually doing it. This can be referred to as the action stage.
  • Periodically review your progress. Keeping track of how you are progressing towards your goals will not only give you an indication of what you have achieved to-date, but also allow you to gain a greater understanding of your current position in relation to your goals – this can often be done after important milestones have been reached. This can be referred to as the review stage.
  • In a similar vein to above, proactively reaffirm your goals in the face of setbacks. Life often has a habit of getting in the way of our best intentions. In these situations, it’s important to appropriately address any setbacks that may occur, reach out to your support network, make any adjustments where required, and then refocus your attention to the goals at hand. This can be referred to as the reaffirm stage.
  • Lastly, once you have reached your goals, it’s important to maintain, and in some instances build upon, what you have achieved. After all the hard work, it can sometimes be easy to fall back into old habits, which may see you ending up right back at square one. Like the milestones that lead to your goals, think of the completion of your goals as another stepping-stone to something else. This can be referred to as the completion stage.

In addition, to the list of resolutions that you may have already set, give thought to any areas of your personal finances that may also require some attention. Here are a few personal finance-related resolutions you may wish to consider:

  • Talk to your partner about your existing financial situation, as well as the goals and objectives you would like to work towards now and into the future.
  • Familiarise yourself with your Money Personality and increase your financial literacy with the resources on our Financial Knowledge Centre.
  • Organise your finance-related paperwork in a filing system and actively engage with any statements you may receive e.g. investment and superannuation statements.
  • Establish an emergency buffer.
  • Make sure you have a suitable Plan B in place to insure against unexpected events that may occur in the future e.g. general and personal insurances.

Focusing on areas that need attention and making the required changes in your life can sometimes be difficult, especially when things have become engrained in your daily habits; however, the results can be truly amazing when you look back at where you started and what you needed to do to achieve the goals that you set for yourself.

When it comes to areas of your personal finances, remember that you do not have to tackle these on your own. If you need help, please do not hesitate to book a time to have a chat with us.



Article source here.


Managing your budget at Christmas time

Christmas is the time of year for giving, and it also comes in the middle of the summer holidays when kids are out of school and families often take trips together. All of this can put a major strain on your wallet if you are not careful. Read on for our tips to help you survive the festive month without burning a hole in your pocket and completely destroying your budget.

Start Out with a Plan

The best way to ensure that you stick to a Christmas budget is to have one in the first place. Start by listing all of the people you need to buy gifts for, along with how much you can afford to spend in total. Once you have established the total amount, you can start allocating your total funds to each person on your list. This way, you’ll have a guideline to follow when you begin your shopping, which can help to keep you from going overboard.

Shop Smart

Even if you don’t have a budget in place, you can still save a bit of coin this holiday season. Instead of shopping at the priciest shops, look for some unique boutiques in your area that may have unusual items that you wouldn’t find anywhere else. Be sure to always check the sale racks as well; you never know what hidden gems you might find!

Take Your Time

Don’t force yourself to try to get all of your Christmas shopping done in one day. This can often lead to purchasing items that are more expensive than necessary, simply to get the job done. Give yourself plenty of time to shop around for great deals and to find the perfect gifts for each person on your list.

Get Ahead for Next Year

Although it may make your head spin to start thinking about next Christmas already, now is the perfect time to start planning for next year. Add up the total amount of money you spent on gifts this year, and divide that number by 11 (the number of months remaining until it’s time to start next year’s shopping). This will give you the amount that you should set aside each month so that you’ll have all the money you need by the time next Christmas rolls around.

Don’t let your Christmas shopping dig you into a massive financial hole. Follow the tips outlined here to help you stay on track and keep your spending in check, this year and in the Christmas seasons to come!


Article Source here.