Change is inevitable. We change jobs, move house and start families. We can be struck down with sickness, go through a divorce, or even lose a family member. Some of these things may happen, but some of these things will happen, it’s all just a matter of time.

There is not much that stays exactly constant in our lives, and finances can be a moving beast even if you have a perfectly set out budget and financial strategy.

When a major life changing event occurs however, it will usually take more adjustment than just increasing or decreasing one expense.

A big change can have a big flow on effect and will usually mean you need to reestablish your whole financial strategy before you can move forward confidently.

So, what do you need to do to move forward, and how do you restore your finances after a big change?

Figure out where you are now

This is where you throw it all on the table. Where are you at financially right now, right after the massive change has occurred? Write it all down. Do you have debt? Excess cash? Higher or lower expenses? Plans for the future that need to be accounted for?

Whatever your change, this may mean a complete deviation from any previous plans or budgets that you have created, so be prepared to pull apart what you currently have. If you have a financial adviser, then you have the advantage of going through all of this with them. They will know how to tackle your new situation the best way.

Review all of your expenses

If you situation has changes, then maybe some of your expenses have too. Now is the time to call your insurance providers, banks and lenders, internet and phone providers to see if there is a better or more appropriate deal based on your new situation. Most of these companies will be willing to negotiate cheaper rates if they think you are at risk of leaving them. Don’t be afraid to shop around either. A few hundred dollars here and there will make a difference to the bottom line.

A big change can have a big flow on effect and will usually mean you need to reestablish your whole financial strategy before you can move forward confidently

Set in place the new structure

Once you have pulled everything apart, you need to start from the basics again and build up. Firstly, you need to figure out what your absolute mandatory expenses are (food, accommodation, bills) and set aside money in your budget each pay period for all of these ongoing and yearly expenses. Once the mandatory requirements have been taken care of, then you are able to figure out where to direct any excess cash that you have. It might be towards debt, or a new goal that you have. Write down all of your goals financially speaking, and then rate the importance of them with 1 being the most important and work your way down. This will help to create a clear vision as to what your money should be directed towards.

Get an outside perspective

As mentioned above, seeking out a professional for this kind of thing is a real asset. A good financial adviser would have seen so many different situations and will be able to give you an outside, non-emotional perspective on your new situation and be able to create a plan going forward for you. Big life changes like buying or selling a house, change in family structures and changes in jobs are the typical reasons that people will seek financial advice. A good financial adviser should be able to help you through any and all stages of your life.

Do you need to update your other stuff too?

Getting your finances sorted is one step in the process but you may also need to consider any of the other peripheral parts of your life that could be effected by this change. Does your Will and/or Power of Attorney need to be updated? Are your bank accounts, credit cards and loans all in the correct names and structures. Do you need to update your payroll department with any changes in accounts, super funds or salary sacrifice arrangements?

If you are in the midst of a major change, then work through the above 5 tips, to reset yourself and start moving forward again.

 

Featured image via Pixabay under Creative Commons CC0


Are things getting personal in your office? Faced with a couple of love-struck people distracting the team and wasting time? Do some people seem too focused on work social affairs and less interested in getting the job done? Chances are if you’re a leader of people, at some point or another you will be faced with the challenges that can come with office romances.

Being attracted to or even romantically involved with a colleague isn’t necessarily a problem. How people go about it can be. The reality is that in workplaces everywhere people involved are in personal relationships with colleagues and even their boss. Some cases will lead to life long commitments and others will be short lived. Irrespective of the outcome for the couple concerned the consequences for the business can be significant.

Among the most important steps managers can take to respond are these:

1. Call it early

People caught up in the excitement of a new relationship can at times struggle to see how others perceive their behaviour. Bring any concerns you have to their attention as soon as you become aware of them. The sooner you take steps to correct behaviour, the more likely you are to avoid issues arising.

2. Expect discretion

Don’t allow personal relationships to encroach on company time or disrupt the office environment. Ask people to refrain from flirting or bickering at work, talking excessively about their partner and public displays of affection. Remind them if necessary that other people aren’t likely to be as interested in their relationship as they are.

3. Address impacts

Be aware of the time people generally spend engaged in personal conversations. Of course be flexible and give some degree of latitude but nip it in the bud when you see unreasonable amounts of time being spent or inappropriate conduct arising.

Dealing with distracting issues, emotions and fallout from office romances is draining for everyone involved.   Let people know when their romance is impacting on others. Encourage those affected to speak directly to the people involved, but be prepared to step in where required.

4. Understand and mitigate risks 

Apply policies your organisation has in place and workplace laws. While there are no specific laws that prevent office romances sexual harassment legislation may apply. Sexual harassment is any unwanted or unwelcome sexual behaviour, which makes a person feel offended, humiliated or intimidated. Sexual harassment is not interaction, flirtation or friendship, which is mutual or consensual.

Ensure all staff understand their obligations and take firm steps to address concerning behaviours and manage risks. Consider risks of inappropriate disclosure of sensitive information, favouritism and conflicting priorities. For example, its neither appropriate nor accepted in most circumstances for someone to report to a person they are romantically involved with. No matter how much you or the parties involved believe they can act responsibly, its unwise to allow this arrangement to remain in place.

5. Coach and mentor

While it’s not your job to manage the personal affairs of your staff, when you can see that the relationships people have at work are impacting their credibility and career, its important to raise concern. Help people to understand if they are putting their careers at risk by behaving the way they are.

If someone appears to be just looking for a good time and leaving a trail of broken hearts and trust in their wake, let them know that its unlikely to do anything good for their reputation or career. Encourage people to think carefully about what it says about their ability to conduct themselves respectively if they choose to date a lot of different people at work or get involved in an extramarital affair.

There is no need to unreasonably stand in the way of two consenting adults finding love at work. Understand that people will and do find partners among their colleagues but take reasonable steps to ensure your business and team are not adversely impacted. Educate, coach and manage people to ensure everyone behaves with respect, focus and integrity. 

Karen GatelyKaren Gately is a leadership and people-management specialist and a founder of Ryan Gately. Karen works with leaders and HR teams to drive business results through the talent and energy of people. She is the author of The People Manager’s Toolkit: A Practical guide to getting the best from people (Wiley) and The Corporate Dojo: Driving extraordinary results through spirited people. For more information visit www.karengately.com.au or contact [email protected]


Most fights in marriages stem from money. Whether you have a lot or a little, if both parties don’t agree with how the finances are being spent, then there are going to be bumps in the road.

More often than not, one person will be wholly and solely responsible for the financial management of the household. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing if you’re both aware of what’s going on, and are on the same page. If, however, disagreements about money are a common occurrence in your home, then I daresay there are a few extra things you could be doing to ensure your finances are on track, and your marriage is free from financial squabbles. Here are 5 ways to be equal partners in your marital finances.

1. Have a meeting

I know it sounds a touch overboard, but I can tell you from experience, that communication is the key to success. It is important in any partnership where your finances are combined to have an open and honest discussion about money. This includes how much you have, what you need to live on, and what you are ultimately trying to achieve.

You need to think big picture here. Are you trying to retire by 40, did you want to invest, pay cash for the school fees? There is no right or wrong, but you need to agree together. Two people working towards a goal will get you where you need to go faster and keep you accountable to someone else.

2. Figure out the mandatory costs before you think about savings

Contrary to popular belief, it is more beneficial to figure out the mandatory living expenses before you decide how much you are going to save. If you don’t have a good idea of all of life’s costs like electricity, clothes, rent, food and petrol, how can you realistically decide how much you are going to be able to save.

Write down every expense that you would normally have throughout the year. Be honest, and be thorough. Once you have that figure (either yearly, monthly or weekly, it’s up to you), you can then figure out what you are left with to save. This is a more realistic idea as to what you can comfortably save whilst still ensuring all of your expenses are taken care of, and you never have to dip into the savings to keep yourself afloat.

… Communication is the key to success. It is important in any partnership where your finances are combined to have an open and honest discussion about money

3. Be understanding of your partner’s expenses

For partnerships to work well on the money front, you will need to accept that sometimes your partner will spend more on certain things than you, and visa versa. Remember, it’s their money too, so if it’s important for your partner to have money to play golf, for example, then don’t discount it straight away. If it’s available within the budget and you can still achieve your other goals, it’s important to be flexible. Remember it works both ways, so having a level of understanding of what is important to each other is all part of the communication process.

4. Get a third party point of view

Typically, having these types of conversations can be foreign to many people. Speaking to a professional financial planner can be a good way to nut out the important goals and get some direction. It will also help because a professional will be able to help you with the correct structuring and figuring out what is actually achievable.

5. Plan for emergencies

Regardless of how thorough you are with planning your expenses, there will always be some unexpected nasties along the way. Having a small cash buffer set aside to fund these gremlins will mean that you can sleep easy. If something comes up, then there will be no fights or stress about where the money is going to come from.

At the crux of all of this, it’s really about communication and being on the same page financially. Spend some time to work through it together, set in motion a plan that you both agree on then commit. These simple steps should alleviate some of the stress that comes along with managing the marital finances but will also help you manage your money in a more realistic way.

 

Featured image via Pixabay under Creative Commons CC0


Everyone has a different story to tell when it comes to the way they manage money. There is no right or wrong way, and that’s OK. Different strokes and all that. Budgeting is one thing, but the way you approach managing, spending and investing your money will actually play a major part in your financial success in the long term. Below are my 4 tips to money management, something every smart woman – and man – should follow!

1. Quality over quantity

When it comes to most purchases, this is the number one rule. Yes, you might pay more from the outset but if the quality is there, it will likely last the test of time. This goes for so many of life’s expenses, including clothes, appliances and furniture. It’s easy to go cheap and nasty, but eventually whatever you have bought will break down or will need to be replaced. A common trait of smart money managers is to buy less, but buy quality. Think about it, you don’t need 12 black blazers in your cupboard, you just need 1 really well cut, high quality blazer, and it will be in your wardrobe for years to come.

2. Stay away from the amateurs

“So you think it’s expensive to hire a professional? Wait until you hire an amateur”. This perfectly sums it up. As much as we like to think we can, we just can’t do everything. We need to outsource parts of our life to other people, whether that be plumbing work on our house, hairdressers or financial planners. If you are always on the hunt for the cheapest of the cheap, then you might engage a total amateur who ends up costing you more to fix anyway. The smart woman will hire a referred, qualified and trusted professional for the job (whatever it is) so that they know it is done right the first time round.

It’s easy to go cheap and nasty, but eventually whatever you have bought will break down or will need to be replaced

3. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket

When it comes to investing, putting all your money on black, so to speak, is akin to gambling. Diversification is a major player when it comes to investing and should be part of any person’s investment plan. No smart women (or man) will ever just buy shares in one company alone. They will strive for a diversified and balanced portfolio taking into account different business types, sectors, countries and asset classes.

4. Cover what needs to be covered

It’s smart to insure the important and expensive things in life. I’m not talking about getting extended warranties on your toaster, I am talking home insurance, life insurance, car insurance and health insurance. Yes, insurance costs money but you can bet it will alleviate the financial pressure on these big ticket items if something ever happens.

The above tips aren’t just about basic budgeting, it’s about shifting your overall mindset about your money strategy. If you can start to view your spending and investing habits differently you will reap the rewards in the long term.

 

Featured image via Pixabay under Creative Commons CC0


Before I started my first small business I was working as a loans officer at a bank. My decision to work at a bank was mostly determined by the fact that I would have access to a phone so I could call my business partners as we developed our business. Hey, I was young and it made sense to me at the time.

This is back in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. While working at the bank I was promoted to a commercial loans officer. As part of the training I was sent away for a week to learn what makes a business a good investment for the bank.

As I was building up my own business in the background I realised this was an ideal learning opportunity for me and my new business.

Here are the top three things I learned during that week. These tips have helped me throughout my 25 years to have a sustainable and enjoyable business.

1. Profit trumps turnover

It’s easy to equate bigger jobs and more money with doing well. Many times I have had the chance to grow my business. However I have paused and reviewed the situation. Often it became apparent that the outcome would be more stress and more turnover, but less profit.

The promise of big dollars can be mesmerising. It can interfere with our logic. We get excited and reckless. Work through the numbers and be clear on just how much of that turnover will end up in your pocket at the end of the day.

Work through the numbers and be clear on just how much of that turnover will end up in your pocket at the end of the day.

With new opportunities that promise significant growth, stop and check – what is the best case scenario of that new business partnership, or new stream of business? And what is the worst case? And where in the scale are you likely to end up?

The trick is to ensure growth remains profitable. Bigger jobs inherently should have bigger payouts but they also come with bigger risks. The risk needs to be worth the reward and vice versa.

2. Have a broad client base

It is very tempting to latch onto that golden client that provides 90% of your income. You love them, they love you. It’s brilliant. But what if there is a management change? What if you become complacent and drop the ball? What if your key contact moves on? Suddenly your entire business is on fragile ground.

An entrepreneur considers one source of income as a risky situation.

Your gravy train has just run out of steam. When I was at the bank, having all the eggs in one basket was a red flag. It was risky. An entrepreneur considers one source of income as a risky situation. An employee considers it safe.

This doesn’t mean you can’t niche your services. It just means you don’t have one major client for your business. A broad client base will help sustain your business through the highs and lows. And if you can cover a few different industries, you can ride cycles as they occur.

3. Know your numbers

The number one reason for business failure is because the owners aren’t on top of their numbers. On this course I learnt to read a balance sheet and a profit and loss statement. These days your accounting package gives you a dashboard that quickly summarises your situation.

As a business owner you need to understand your accounts.

As a business owner you need to understand your accounts. You should set yourself goals each month and break that down to a easy number or two. For me I understand my margins so by looking at my turnover I can tell how well I am tracking. That makes it simple to set an monthly (and weekly) target.

The value of this is mostly when you miss the target. Because I know what I should be getting, when I’m short of the target, it reminds me to ramp up the marketing; makes some calls; follow up some clients. Without having this reference I could cruise along oblivious to the oncoming iceberg.

Always learning

It’s funny where the lessons of business (big and small) and life come from. It never occurred to me the value I would receive from that short term job all those years ago!

What are the key lessons that sustain your business? Tell us in the comments below


The end of the financial year is not all balloons, champagne and celebrations for most people. Typically, unless you work in financial services, it is just another day like any other.

So then why is it significant? Well for one, this date is the line in the sand as to when the ATO decide how much you owe them for the all the hard work you have done throughout the year.

If you are after a swift and hefty tax return, here are the 5 things that you should be doing in the lead up to end of financial year:

1. Charity

Now is the time to make any last minute donations. Donations to a registered charity of $2 or more can be claimed as a tax deduction. Remember, you aren’t getting all of the donation back, the deduction just reduces the amount of income you must pay tax on.

2. Consider superannuation contributions

Consider making a concessional contribution to your super account. If you have some excess cash and you aren’t above the super contributions cap ($30,000 for 14/15 year for those under 50 and $35,000 if you are older), then investing in super could be the best bet. Any investment earnings within your super fund are only taxed at 15%, as opposed to investments personally owned being taxed at your marginal tax rate, up to 45%.

For those who are low income earners ($48,516 pa or less), you may be able to receive the government co-contribution of up to $500 if you make a non-concessional contribution before June 30. It’s free money, so if you have some spare cash to go towards your retirement, then consider this before the end of financial year.

Getting your ducks in a row now will help you when you prepare for your appointment with your accountant or tax agent

3. Get organised

Getting your ducks in a row now will help you when you prepare for your appointment with your accountant or tax agent. Collect all of your work related expenses, travel expenses and working from home expenses. Anything that you think could be deductible is worth taking with you.  A good tax specialist will be able to tell you what you can and can’t claim. Either way, if you don’t have the receipts you can’t claim them anyway, so keep them safe and take them with you.

Some common deductions you may be able to claim depending on your situation include work and uniform expenses, travel, education expenses, donations, expenses in relation to your investments such as interest payable on loans, and income protection insurance.

4. Repairs and maintenance

If you hold an investment property (or two), then consider whether there are any repairs or maintenance that needs to be completed on your investments and whether you can do them by the end of financial year. You will be able to receive the deduction straight away instead of holding it off until next financial year.

5. Get your insurance up to scratch

Some of your personal insurance, like income protection is tax deductible. If this has been on your to do list for a while, then get it sorted by June 30. The premiums you pay will be tax deductible so opt for an annual payment and receive the full deduction immediately.

If you are relying on your tax return for a cash injection, then these tips are even more important. According to Moneysmart.gov.au only 70% of people actually receive a tax deduction back, the remaining end up owing the tax department. Prepare now to get yourself into the best shape. Your accountant and your bank balance will thank you for it.

photo credit: Checklist Chalkboard
Cara-Brett-Leaders-in-Heels-profile-picCara Brett

Cara Brett is the Director and Senior Financial Adviser at Bounce Financial. Having worked in the financial services industry since 2003, she saw an opportunity to work with the young professionals and the movers and shakers in Brisbane, and so Bounce was born.