Can someone explain to me why funeral insurance is so expensive? It has got to be one of the biggest rip-offs and forms of institutionalised abuse of South Africans. I did some shopping around online Continue reading The great South African funeral-cover rip-off!
There are many with strong opinions about the merits of a share portfolio versus a unit trust portfolio. Here’s another one (strong opinion) in favour of a unit trust portfolio.
Continue reading UT or share portfolio
Let’s face it, we’re emotional beings (thankfully). We laugh at comedy and cry at tragedy. We give money more easily to beggars on cold and rainy days, or to mothers with young children than to single men on the side of the road. We buy things on sale (with money we don’t have) even though we don’t need them and yet we dump our investments when the markets go on sale.
Continue reading Emotional beings
For far too long now we have been talking about financial planning becoming a profession in SA…sadly, we are not even close yet because it still remains an industry dominated by the need to sell products and by the suppliers of those products.
Continue reading Financial planning profession in SA – not yet, not even close!
Just received a revised assessment from SARS for a client for the 2014 tax year, disallowing her retirement annuity contribution and thus resulting in a revised assessment and penalties!!!
Continue reading SARS – touching lives negatively
I recently tried to make an appointment to see my doctor for my annual check-up only to be informed that he has left to “take a sabbatical”. Bottom line is that he is tired and has had enough and is going to do something else.
Continue reading Suck-session Planning
It seems that Liberty Life have decided that they can do what they like and ignore written instructions from their clients. They appear to have adopted a policy of sending policy information requested by a non-servicing advisor, on behalf of a client and with the client’s written consent, to the client and not to the advisor who requests it.
This is NOT what the client has requested? How can they get away with this?
It also makes the work of the financial planner so much more difficult to do (and adds to the cost of servicing the client). I’m prepared to venture that this is not in the spirit of TCF!
If Liberty are worried about advisors obtaining information fraudulently then perhaps they need to look at the quality of the average advisor with whom they are doing business and not upset their existing client base either.
Rather than retaining the business, this kind of attitude goes a long way in encouraging clients and advisors to move business away from Liberty Life.
There’s an old saying about the watched pot never boiling, which simply means that if you wait anxiously for something to happen, it seems like it takes forever. Continue reading The watched pot…
Over the years as we have chatted to clients about financial planning we have settled down to the “big 5” risks that everyone faces and the resulting financial (and emotional) risks that they present to the person and their family. Simply put, these are (in no order of importance):
- Dying too soon
- Living too long
- Funds for emergencies, and
A lot of the work that we have done with clients has been around identifying these potential risks and then implementing strategies to address them.
However, I have recently become convinced that there is a much greater risk that people face but that is hardly ever spoken about. I also think that this risk is likely to increase as the process of disintermediation increases.
Rightly or wrongly, Albert Einstein is often credited with saying that compound interest is the greatest force in the universe (or the 8th wonder of the world, or some other version thereof). And indeed, compounding is a significant force but I have become convinced that another scientist, Sir Isaac Newton, had much more to add to the debate.
Indeed, the “biggest” force that haunts people is to be found in Newton’s First Law of motion (you should have paid attention during science lessons). Newton One states that “a body will continue in its present state of rest (or motion) unless acted on by an UNBALANCED external force.” This is known as the rule of Inertia…or the tendency to do nothing or remain unchanged.
Simply put, we are all subject to Inertia and will continue to do the same things over and over unless we come into contact with an unbalanced external force. And that’s why people have personal trainers to hold them accountable to exercise and get them fit, that’s why we have seen an increase in the demand for life coaches and it is also the role of the financial planner.
Don’t get me wrong, I have no issue with people doing their own financial planning and/or investing. The problem is that they don’t! How else do you explain the father of 2 young kids who has no will 10 years after they were born, or the divorcee who has not changed beneficiaries on her life policy (or updated her will) or the employee who has not yet started saving, or the entrepreneur who has never submitted a tax return? I could go on…
The cold hard truth is that we are often our own worst enemies when it comes to things financial and it is my strong opinion that we all need an unbalanced external force in our lives to get us out of our inertia. As long as Newton’s First Law of motion holds, there will always be work for financial planners and for that I am very grateful! We have an incredible privilege as we help clients identify and manage their financial risks and then keep them accountable to address them.
I was in the bank recently and while I was waiting in the queue I was gob-smacked by how many people (mostly elderly) were making withdrawals or giving notice on their 32 day notice accounts.
Consider the good (old fashioned) 32 day notice account: Your money is locked away for at least 32 days…in the hope that you are going to get a decent interest rate. Think again. The “big four” banks are currently offering the following interest rates on an investment of less than R10000:
Why would anyone make use of such an account when you can get more than 7.5% from a money market unit trust account where there is no upfront fee and you can access all the money at 48 hour notice? And how can anyone at the bank actually advise clients to still make use of these accounts?