February 2019 Blog

Slice of Inspiration

I read a book this month titled ‘The Brain Fog Fix’, by Mike Dow. It teaches you about how to get the most out of your brain – from diet, brain exercises, cognitive strategies, sleep patterns, exercise and spiritual practise.

It was certainly a well-timed read for the new year, after the usual over-indulgence and relaxed-mind-numbness of a long Christmas break! After successfully ‘switching off’ for such a long period, I was feeling rather foggy and it was a challenge to switch gears back into work mode. I felt I needed a mindset shift and a reminder of the habits and strategies that help you think straight and work at your optimal performance.

It’s definitely worth a read if, like me, you would like to clear your mind of useless clutter and have a successful start to 2019!

Monthly Musings

So much has happened since my last email back in December. I took the family back to England for Christmas and spent a whole month there, which, whilst rewarding to revisit my family and home town, was mixed with a little trepidation over how to best manage the business remotely with such a huge time difference. On the one hand, I wanted to continue the momentum of productivity in order to keep the wheels turning for my business and ensure consistency of income. But on the other hand, it had been a long seven years since my last visit and I wanted to soak up the time with my family and get lost in the spirit of Christmas to make the most of it.

Spending time back ‘home’ – a small seaside town in the county of Essex that I left as a 27 year old feeling trapped and looking for ‘more’ – I fell in love with it all over again. Having explored the world and gained plenty of life experience over the past 12 years, I have a new appreciation for the simple things that seemed mundane when they were all I knew as a twenty-something, and I could appreciate my seaside town of origin in all its glorious beauty.

The highlight of our trip was seeing our children interact with family that they had never met before and experiencing new adventures: playing with their cousins, going to their first pantomime, ice skating in Hyde Park, and walking along the cold beaches wrapped up warm, drinking hot chocolate in front of the fire on return home.

There were a couple of observations made, however, that made me appreciate the life we have here in Melbourne. One of these being that coffee in the UK is not good! We struggled to find a decent cup of Joe the whole trip. But then, when in Rome, do what the Romans do! So we soon got back into the pub culture, and made the most of enjoying a nice pint of ale with a packet of pork scratchings! No-one does beer better than the English, and no-one does coffee as well as the Melbournians (although I am sure a lot of Italians may disagree)!

Finance Bit

The media have been very busy the last couple of months reporting on the finance industry. The Royal Commission has caught the attention of many Australians wondering whether the banking industry really are looking after their best interests or just the interests of the shareholders.

Well it is finally all coming to a head this week! Commissioner Hayne delivered his final report to the government on Friday and that will become public knowledge on Monday for all to read.

Although it is uncertain exactly what will come out of the report, what we do know is that many stories have surfaced throughout the enquiry of widespread misconduct – such as banks charging fees for no service provided, charging fees to deceased customers, failing to pay out on insurance policies and generally not acting in their client’s best interest.

Changes are already afoot. The banks are reacting to the findings – they are making changes in the way that they assess credit-worthiness, have tightened up on overall serviceability, and are turning away from more risk-prone complex customers.

These changes are having a knock on affect to the property markets, with credit availability and customer sentiment reducing. Coupled with uncertainty of tomorrow, with an election on the horizon, many are holding off selling or buying until there is more assurance and confidence in the financial and property markets. Buyers who cannot afford as much as they once did are making lower offers, and some investors that once were able to buy 4 or 5 investment properties are now forced to sell to gain access to cash as they can no longer service the loans they have in place.

Commissioner Hayne’s report will be a long awaited reveal that every Australian will have a vested interest in. How will his recommendations to the government impact us? We will know soon enough!

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