SHOPPING FROM THE COMFORT OF YOUR COUCH… costing you more than your waistline

For generations we have prepared our own food at home resulting in a more positive impact on our bodies. We were more likely to eat smaller portions, take in fewer kilojoules, less fat, salt and sugar tending to make us healthier in weight and better general health.

So why are we not cooking as much anymore?…

1. WE ARE BUSY

2. TOO MUCH CONVENIENCE

Australians are increasingly using apps and online payment methods to shop.

Sadly, for many of us, we use mobile apps to spend money more than we use it to track and manage our money.

Here’s how we spend our money

Australians are spending an average $328 a month on food, movies and music delivered
to their doors or downloaded on devices.

This is purely based on what is delivered to our home without us even leaving the house.

A third of Australians living in capital cities order food through online delivery services such as Menulog, UberEats, Deliveroo and Foodora.

Even our relaxing Friday night drinks at home is changing. The local ‘bottle-o’ is being replaced by delivery apps like Tipple and Jimmy Brings. We do not need to make a stop on the way home or head to the pub for our grog. With a click of a button, it can be delivered to us in under 30mins.

So, if you order in… AND you are adding this to your buy-now-pay-later shopping through Afterpay, Zippay and the like, you could very well jeopardise financing your next loan if not used sensibly.

This is made even more dangerous if you are an impulse buyer prone to overspending. Why? Well…

The facts don’t lie. Users admit that…

• 30% have missed at least one Afterpay payment – penalties apply

• 65% said the ability to make smaller payments influenced them to make purchases they wouldn’t normally make.

Nearly 50% of users said they SPENT MORE using afterpay than using a debit or credit card

Therefore, with our modern busy lifestyles, we are creating a real disconnection with what we are actually spending – convenience spending is making us lazier and unhealthier consumers.

We all know people who live less than a five minute walk from restaurants, yet still order-in!

Why are we concerned?

Because of the sheer transparency of the way we spend our money – ‘Big Brother’ is watching our every move. Along with tighter lending criteria, lenders also have greater visibility over our spending. As your finance specialist we find ourselves spending more time and effort than before to help our clients develop strategies with their finances because many of us are totally disengaged with our actual financial status.

Have you noticed that your bank now groups your transactions into categories such as groceries, utilities, cash out, retail spending etc on your online statement and app?

Lenders use this information and now have the technology to review and evaluate the risks for your loan assessment.

There can be a variety of reasons a lender may reject a loan application

Perhaps you’ve renovated, are paying off holiday expenses on a credit card or have bought a new car. As your finance specialist, we can ensure you are ‘loan application ready’ by favourably drafting your situation to the lender that is most favourable for your circumstances. This is often missed by going directly to the bank yourself.

So… how else can WE help?

Our expertise will help you review your spending and budgeting habits to provide you with the best plan for improving your chances of approval before applying for your next loan.

An accurate assessment of your situation and home loan readiness will help you move forward with confidence.

If you are thinking of applying  for a new loan, reach out to us  for our checklist:  ‘The top 9 things you should know before applying for a home loan’.

Feeling Sad?

Seasonal Affective Disorder….5 ways to beat the winter blues

Have you found yourself full of energy during the warmer months but as the cold winter weather closes in, you begin to lack energy, sleep more and lose pleasure in things you would usually enjoy? There is a name for it… Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD.

According to Beyond Blue, the symptoms of SAD are much like depression – feeling hopeless, a lack of energy and changes in sleeping or eating patterns. Medical professionals put much of this disorder down to a lack of sunlight.

Less sunlight can mean our bodies produce less melatonin, the hormone that aids sleep. Less sun can also mean less serotonin, a hormone that affects mood and appetite as well as sleep. Sunlight also affects our internal body clocks.

While SAD is rare in Australia, many people do report feeling flat and lethargic during the cooler months of autumn and winter. Of course, if these feelings are chronic and persistent, it is best to seek professional health advice, but for many of us some simple actions can help to keep the blues at bay.

1. Bask in the sun

Make an effort to go outside more often. It can be as simple as sipping your morning cuppa on a park bench. Vitamin D is known as the sunshine vitamin and is essential for building healthy bones, strong muscles and overall health.

However too much sun exposure will increase your risk of skin cancer. On sunny days, maybe enjoy a walk, run or cycle alone or with company.
Keeping your home as light as possible and sitting close to the window more often can help with your general wellbeing during these cooler months.

2. Keep up the exercise

Exercise does not need to be extremely vigorous to be helpful for depression – a brisk walk each day can be beneficial. If the weather is gloomy, indoor exercise can help too. Be it yoga or maybe even a deep clean of your house for a ‘light’ workout!

3. Ensure good sleeping habits

To drift off into a restful sleep: keep a regular bed time, avoid stimulants before bed (yes, being on social media on your mobile counts) and get plenty of exercise during the day. Give yourself time to wind down from the day’s activities.

4. Eat healthy winter foods

Eating ‘happy foods’ can positively impact our moods. Nutritional studies suggest a diet including Omega-3 fatty acids and gut-friendly foods boosts mood regulation. We also know that grandma knows best. That warm cup of milk before bed may do the trick as well.

5. Find time for relaxation

Make time in your day or week to relax – take a nice warm bath, try some guided meditation or something that relaxes you. This is particularly important if you find your mind racing constantly and hard to settle into a good rest.

As humans, we are born social beings hence having a good support outlet for our feelings is essential to our wellbeing. Solitary confinement would not be considered a form of torture if this is not the case, right?

Taking these tips on board can help keep your health and wellbeing in check at any time of the year but may just help brighten your cold winter days.

Remember, not only are adults affected by SAD but children are too! So if you see young ones in your family a little ‘less themselves’, take them out into the open air and have some fun together! Having an icy cold gelato snuggled up on a picnic rug and having the chill air blowing on your face can be kind of fun for the family too.

Everyone is an EXPERT….Be careful who you listen to….

Have you ever been given advice from your family, uncle John or friends about what is the best loan and where the best properties are? Why you should invest in property and why you shouldn’t? It should be negatively geared, it should be positively geared… and so on.

Even people who have never invested in property feel they have the right to tell you why it is good or bad based on their own perspectives (and mostly without evidence or experience).

People’s opinions are so subjective. So you really do need to take care of who you listen to in this world of information overload and ‘online experts’.

Did you know that we (collectively across the globe) conduct about 40k of searches per SECOND on Google? Yes, you read correctly – per SECOND, not minute, and this is just on Google.

With such astonishing figures, have you ever wondered how creditable the data is that we search for every day? Furthermore, most of the data has only been generated in the last few years.

Although money does not mean everything to everyone, it certainly affects your life if you obtain incorrect information and advice. With so much information out there and with such ease of accessibility, please don’t listen to ‘experts’ who don’t have runs on the ground.

YOUR MONEY is at stake here not THEIRS and you need to do your own research. 

In regards to finance…

The good news is – the finance industry in Australia is now highly regulated. As your finance specialist, we are not only accredited but are obligated to remain informed and responsive to the constant industry changes, regulations and the vast array of products we offer through different lenders to maintain our various accreditations each year.

Q. How do I find a creditable mortgage broker?

Generally, look for people or organisations who:

• are qualified, accredited or licensed in their field

• have credible experience and sources

• are approved members of relevant professional industry associations

• provide you with quality professional industry information and commentary

• have genuine and positive client testimonials

• are most interested in YOUR situation and goals

Q. When is the best time to engage a broker?

Simply put, because we act in your best interest at all times, anytime is the best time. Ideally you should contact us before you make any decisions or changes to your finances.

As your finance expert, we discuss your goals, then explore the range of financial possibilities that are not unsuitable for your financial situation. We then document and submit your application to the lender we choose together to provide you with the best possible outcome for loan approval.

Q. Can’t I simply choose the lowest interest rate?

NO, please don’t! It is not always just about finding the lowest interest rate!

There are many considerations for obtaining finance: fees, types of loan, features of the loan facility, lenders’ mortgage insurance, length of your loan, structure of the loan and your accounts. The list goes on.

Typically after completing the finance exploration session with our clients, although extremely important, we find that the lowest interest rate IS NOT always your most vital consideration when securing finance.

Due to the complexity of our product range and enormous variety of options it is always wise to use our in depth knowledge and expertise to your advantage because we work for YOU not the lenders.

PLUS we save you an incredible amount of time by doing all the research for you. Why would you consider trying to find your own finance solution?

In regards to helping you with investing in property…

There are also many ‘experts’ out there as well. So make sure you call us first to head in the right direction.