ING Bank: A Comprehensive Review

*This post may contain affiliate links. This means if you purchase through the link I will receive a small commission at no cost to you. It is the way sites like this are funded, but does introduce a conflict of interest.  

ING Bank, formerly known as ING Direct, was founded in the Netherlands.

In 2014, ING had total assets of €966 billion (US$1.3 trillion), making it one of the world’s largest financial services companies.

ING Bank’s History

It is a Dutch bank and insurance company whose history dates back to 1881. It has branches in more than 50 countries and serves more than 16 million customers. ING Direct, a bank without branches, was started in multiple countries in 1997.

ING has successfully managed to stay relevant. Nowadays, ING is a member of the largest financial services group in the world, with over 450 million clients worldwide.

ING Direct Australia Features, benefits and offers

ING Direct was Australia’s first and leading provider of no-frills, online savings and transactional accounts.

It held the number one position in the highly competitive Australian ‘direct banking’ marketplace – a position it has held since its inception – for eight consecutive years, between 2005 and 2012.

The company successfully positioned itself as a direct bank (no branches) offering value-added products such as high-interest rates on savings accounts and low-interest fees on credit cards. ING also promoted itself as a place to consolidate all your financial products, including home loans and credit cards.

ING Direct Australia Bank and Savings Accounts

It can be hard to find a bank account without monthly fees and great service.

ING Direct offers competitive interest rates on their savings accounts, plus home loans, personal loans, credit cards and insurance. You can apply for an account online in minutes.

Orange Everyday Account

This account is what brought ING Direct into the limelight. The Barefoot investor recommended their card to avoid ATM fees in his popular finance book.

Most Australians were paying $2.50 in fees if they had to use an ATM that didn’t belong to their own bank. Many were paying monthly fees on bank accounts.

Scott Pape raved about the Orange everyday account with linked savings maximizer.

How Has the Orange Everyday Account Changed?

There is still a lot to be positive about with this account. ATM fees are rebated if eligibility criteria are met, now only up to 5 ATM (domestic or international) rebates per month. These criteria each month include:

  • $1000 deposited from an external source to any personal ING account in your name
  • At least 5 ING card purchase

So if you can get your wages paid directly into the account and use the card regularly whilst withdrawing cash rarely, this account may suit you.

ING direct do charge an international transaction fee of 2.5% but this is also refunded if you meet the above criteria.

The interest rate is variable but at the time of writing 1.35%, which is competitive.

If you set up a direct debit to pay selected utility bills, the bank will provide 1% cashback into your account. Terms and conditions apply but they will cash back up to $100 per year. Every little helps.

Opening The Account

The account is easily opened in a 100% online process. With another bank, I have had to physically present to the bank to verify ID (in 2020!). There is no such nonsense with ING. The card arrived in the post with reasonable timing.

Using the Orange Everyday Account

My own experience with ING has been fantastic, with any ATM fee charge refunded automatically.

With an interest rate of only 1.35% and a home loan with an offset, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to keep a lot of cash in this account. But it does come in very handy for segregating our “Fun money“.

Enough of my wage to meet eligibility criteria is deposited directly in my everyday account. The excess is direct debited to our offset account the next day.

My card gets EFTPOS swiped five times a month easily so my ATM fees and any international transaction fees are always refunded.

Savings Maximiser

These can be opened at the same time as the everyday account and linked. There are no account fees. At the time of writing, they are offering 1.35% interest.

To receive this interest, savers need to:

  • Deposit $1000 into an ING account in their name each month from an external provider
  • Use card for EFTPOS payment 5 x monthly or more
  • Add to savings each month

If you fail to meet these criteria, you only receive 0.5% interest.

ING Direct also offers a savings Maximiser offering just 0.65% per annum for savings over $100,000. A 2-year term deposit is available for a piddly 0.25%

ING Government Bonds

The ING direct website is currently warning about this scam. The scammers are using the ING name and logo to sell government fixed interest bonds. Watch out and check out the website for more details.

ING Mobile App

I have the mobile app downloaded on my phone. It is all you would expect, fast and convenient. I can transfer money to friends using PayID and check my balance before buying coffees for the team. You can instantly transfer cash from your savings account to your everyday account, and vice versa, when required.

ING Round Up Feature

ING offers a round-up feature, where you can automatically set the account to sweep small change into your savings account. It’s similar to a micro-investment account except the money is just deposited into savings. Could be useful for those wanting to force themselves to learn to save. I have never activated this feature.

No Branches

Apparently, my parents just went through the hassle of moving banks because their old one closed the local branch. In contrast, I can’t imagine many things I’d like to do less than spend time in a bank branch!

Everything being online suits me fine. When was setting up accounts, I ended up a bit confused about the account linking. The website prominently displays a phone number under the “Help and support” segment. The customer service when I called was excellent.

Recently, for the first time in a couple of decades, I have received a couple of cheques. With ING, these can be posted into the bank with the bank account and client number written on the back. In Sydney, there is an “ING lounge” where you can deposit cheques (but not cash).

Payment Methods

Bpay

Tap and pay

Osko – Almost instant transfer of funds in real time. No waiting for funds to clear

Pay ID – Receive money through your mobile phone number or email address

Google Pay & Apple Pay – Pay with your phone

Coming soon – QR code payments

ING Direct bank security

ING is an authorised deposit-taking institution covered under the Financial Claims Scheme (the FCS). This means that if ING bank were to fail, up to $250,000 per account holder is guaranteed by the government.

The bank uses SSL encryption (secure sockets layer) to keep your information confidential.

A green address bar is displayed with compatible web browsers on the ING online banking website to confirm it is a genuine website.

You log in using a customer number and a 4 digit access code, inserted into a virtual keypad designed to prevent hackers from working out your access code.

ING uses two-factor authentication for higher-risk transactions, for which you will have to enter a one time password texted to your mobile phone.

The online banking website also displays security tips to warn you about recent scams, and how to prevent identity theft.

The Barefoot investor had to go into bat for a couple whose account was defrauded recently. It took Scott Pape making a fuss for the bank to refund the defrauded amount. This is not great, and would probably make me think twice about putting thousands of dollars in an account with ING.

Children’s ING Accounts

ING has a youth banking account for 15-17-year-olds offering 1.35% interest at the time of writing.

There are no account keeping fees, 5 free ATM withdrawals per month and international transaction fees are rebated. There is a withdrawal fee of 50c for withdrawing $200 or more via EFTPOS.

Other Offerings

ING offers two credit cards. An Orange One low rate card charges 11.99% and an Orange one rewards platinum card charges 16.99% but with cash back rewards and free travel insurance.

ING offers personal loans from 7.99%. None of my readers will be interested in that!

They offer home loans with competitive interest rates, insurance and Superannuation

Conclusion & Recommendation

If you are looking for a fee-free account and will use your card regularly each month a linked ING personal account and savings maximiser may be right for you. Please share your experiences with ING below.

For more finance tips and reviews, subscribe to the Aussie doc

Aussie Doc Freedom is not a financial adviser and does not offer any advice.  Information on this website is purely a description of my experiences and learning.  Please check with your independent financial adviser or accountant before making any changes.

Frequent Flyer Australia – Is it Worth The Hassle?

*This post may contain affiliate links. This means if you purchase through the link I will receive a small commission at no cost to you. It is the way sites like this are funded, but does introduce a conflict of interest.  

Anybody else getting a little overexcited?

On the way to work recently, I was listening to the radio (old skool) when my eyes welled up. The radio had announced the lifting of the international travel ban (well sort of). And I can suddenly see the light at the end of the tunnel.

COVID-19 is not over, in fact for me as a doc in a regional town, it has not even begun. But like many immigrants, the worry that I may never see my parents again has been weighing heavily on my mind. The ability to travel again (sometime in the next few months) has renewed hope.

If you are looking forward to the option of travel as much as me, perhaps you are wondering about Frequent flyer Australia schemes?

What are Frequent Flyer Points

Retailers offer Frequent flyer points to incentivize customers to purchase more, develop brand loyalty and share their data.

There are so many companies offering frequent flyer points, it can become very confusing.

The airlines Qantas and Virgin, as well as the supermarkets’ Coles and Woolies, are the major players with the biggest benefits.

How to Start Collecting Frequent Flyer Points

Frequent flyer schemes can seem excessively complex, and it’s hard to know where to start.

It’s actually simple to get started. If you are flying even occasionally and shopping for food you may as well collect these points. The cost is built into the price of the products you are purchasing!

In around 30 minutes you can sign up for the two major airlines, Qantas and Virgin Australia as well as the two main supermarkets, Coles and Woolworths.

You can sign up for a free Qantas membership and Velocity here.

If you ever shop at Coles, Kmart, Target, Coles express, First choice Liquor market or Liquorland sign up for flybuys here. If you ever shop at Woolworths, Big W, BWS, Caltex sign up for a free Woolworths Everyday Rewards card.

Given all of these can be joined for free, signing up is a no brainer. You can even store the virtual “cards” on your phone. Even if you don’t collect a substantial number of points, you can still collect the odd $10 off your grocery shop.

How do you Earn Points

If you just swipe your card at every shop and pay no more attention, you will collect a few points.

With a tiny bit more effort, you can significantly improve your points collection game. Families, in particular, tend to spend a lot on groceries.

Utilise Offers & Bonuses on Grocery Shops

This has the potential to multiply points earned on grocery shopping. Download the flybuys or Everyday rewards app to your phone, check the app and activate offers before a shop. Don’t be tempted to buy items because of bonus points, or spend more than you would normally.

But you can alter the timing of Longlife purchases because the app is offering a particularly generous bonus if you spend a certain amount.

Get a Grocery Rewards Card for Each Adult and Don’t Link

Those with two adults in the household can apply for a fly buys account each.

The supermarkets will offer you bonus points to incentivize you to spend slightly more than you regularly do.

Having two accounts will mess this up. You can alternate accounts depending on who is shopping or even purposely use the account with the best offers.

Collecting Flybuys

Flybuys offers members offers every week, ranging from a bonus 50 points to buy a particular item, to tens of thousands of points for spending a certain amount in a week.

I ignore the “buy this item for a piddly bonus” offers. You can activate them if it’s an item you were going to purchase anyway but it’s not going to move the needle much.

The offers you don’t want to miss out on are the bonus 10,000 points + for a big shop. If you are doing a big shop anyway, you want to activate these before you go. This just involves checking the flybuys app just before a shop, and activating any relevant offers.

Flybuys points can be converted to cash to discount your grocery shopping, redeemed as “flybuys dollars” for travel or convert to Velocity points. There are a variety of flybuys rewards, but these don’t offer nearly as much value.

Flybuys don’t expire if you earn or redeem points in a 12 month period.

Collecting Everyday Rewards Points

Everyday rewards points can be used to discount groceries or transfered to Qantas for flight redemptions.

You can download the Everyday rewards app to your phone, and recieve boosters. It is worth checking the app prior to your shop. Again, boosters are variable in value offered.

Everyday rewards don’t expire as long as you earn or redeem points within 18 months.

Frequent Flyer Australia: Earning Points through Flying

Just make the effort to enter your frequent flyer numbers when booking flights. Combine efforts using “Family pooling.” Virgin allow families to transfer all points and status credits earned to a single family member. This is a huge bonus for families who don’t fly that often. Family pooling makes it far easier to gain status, and it benefits the whole family when you fly together.

Unfortunately, Qantas don’t offer family pooling.

The ideal points collector would be one that is flying regularly on work funded flights. Locum agencies, I find are happy to add your frequent flyer numbers to flights they book. You can even add your frequent flyer number at check in.

The further you fly, the more points you earn. If you fly overseas regularly, it is worth looking at the airlines that fly your route. Make sure you make use of the those points.

Frequent Flyer Australia & Credit cards

It easier to earn frequent flyer points through credit cards and shopping rewards than flights. Many credit cards offer lucrative sign-up bonuses (up to 150,000 velocity points currently).

Virgin and Qantas advertise credit card offers on their websites.

Obviously, this could be a dangerous game. Scott Pape (The barefoot investor) thinks airline points are a dangerous waste of time.

You don’t need a credit card to use frequent flyer points. If you are not completely on top of your finances, religiously paying off your card in full each month automatically, skip this section and focus on the other methods of points collections.

Those with plenty of surplus cash each month and good financial habits may want to consider using credit cards. Paying off the credit card in full is a non-negotiable requirement. Ironically, credit cards and loans are only a useful tool for those that don’t actually need to borrow money.

Earning Points through Credit Cards

There are two ways to earn points using credit cards. Through sign up bonuses and by points earned on transactions.

Sign up bonuses are often generous and tempting. Travel hackers who make a semi-career out of optimising points will sign up to credit cards for the bonus, meet the minimum spend and close the card. Cards lock you out of the sign up bonus (often for 18 months). These hackers work their way around the different credit card companies to utilise many sign up bonuses within a 18 month – 2 year cycle. Then start again.

This is a lot of hassle. There is a lot of small print. If you don’t follow all the terms and conditions you miss out on the bonus. Some of the credit cards put you through a lot of hassle to approve your card (for others, it seems automatic!). And it can definitely damage your credit score, although not necessarily if you are careful. It is probably the most lucrative way to earn points for those that don’t spend a lot of money on a regular basis.

The alternative is to sign up for a credit card that offers good long-term points rewards for spending. Ideally you want a sign-up bonus, but the focus is on the reward per dollar spent. If you are a high income, high spending household or business owner this may be more lucrative than serial credit card hopping (and a lot less hassle).

Does Travel hacking damage your credit?

It is not a good idea to sign up for a credit card if you are planning to apply for a mortgage in the next year. If you are considering opening a credit card, check your credit score and monitor if you are using credit cards to earn frequent flying points.

My credit score did dip after a credit card application. Over time this recovered and exceeded the original score. Monitoring your credit score gives you an idea of when you are pushing your luck with credit cards!

Frequent Flyer Australia Status

Status credits reward frequent flyers over those collecting points in other ways. Most airlines offer a tiered membership status. The higher up the membership status, the more perks available and points earned per flight.

Gold status gets you lounge access, bonus airline points each time you fly and priority boarding.

I think the appeal to most is the ability to get into the airport lounge. By making the lounge seem exclusive, those that are excluded feel they are missing out. Yes, there is free coffee, wine and snacks. But it is not worth paying extra to get these small benefits.

Both Qantas and Virgin make gold members feel important by allowing them to skip the queue with priority boarding. But realistically, does anyone really need to be on the plane for an extra 10 minutes?

The most practical benefit I have found with gold Velocity membership is priority baggage. Your bags coming out first due to the priority baggage label means you can exit the airport faster (yay!) and sometimes beat the queue to the taxi rank.

Here are the links for Qantas status benefits and Velocity. You need a lot more points to gain status with Qantas so will need to be a regular flyer. With velocity, not as many points are needed and you can family pool status points. This is within reach with a status offer, and a couple of family flights.

Both periodically offer discounted status where you can earn the membership tier with fewer flights. This may be worthwhile if you will be able to maintain your status afterwards.

The airlines offer status to improve brand loyalty. The danger is you find yourself booking more expensive flights to maintain status and enjoy the perks of status with your chosen airline.

Virgin vs Qantas

Most will need to focus on one airline or the other (although certainly collect both). Your ideal frequent flyer membership will depend on

  • Intended use of points (overseas flights with a partner airline, domestic family trips)
  • Usual flight routes and which airline flies these
  • Grocery shopping habits (ideally want aligned with your chosen airline)
  • Flying frequency (Qantas frequent flyers need to be regular flyers)
  • Whether you have a family (Virgin offer family pooling of points and status).

Partner Airlines

Both Qantas and Virgin partner with other airlines. This means you may earn points on these airlines, and redeem points for flights with these airlines. If there is a regular long haul airline you prefer to fly with, it is worth checking whether they partner with Virgin or Qantas. Long haul flights earn the most points and offer the most value for redeeming points (if you can earn enough).

Hassle Factor

Collecting frequent flyer points can become a full-time hobby if you want to get really involved!

But those who are looking to minimise hassle can also get good value with a small-time contribution.
For the low hassle version, sign up for Coles, Woolworths, Velocity and Qantas. Put the shopping apps on your phone and activate boosts and offers just prior to a shop.

When you are ready, sign up for the Point hacks introductory email course to learn about how to use your points.

Frequent Flyer Australia Devaluations

This is the biggest problem with frequent flyer points. Over time, the companies have been devaluing the points. This is likely to continue. That means you probably don’t want to be collecting points without using them for years at a time.

It’s important to set realistic targets, which may be an overseas flight redemption for a single or couple but is likely to have to be domestic for a family of four.

How to Use Points

The best points value is generally redeemed against international business flights, purchased with points. Business domestic flights also offer good value, but unless you are very tall seem of little benefit over economy to me. Economy international and domestic flights offer reasonable value, particularly over peak periods (school holidays) where the cash value of the flight increases.

Travel hacking for families

It is often hard for families to redeem seats together. For international flights that is a lot of points! Virgin Australia is a family-friendly option with family pooling of points and status. They allow pausing of your status whilst on maternity leave. Gold members are guaranteed four reward seats together to any domestic destination as long as you book six months in advance. Check out Velocity family benefits.

Reward seat availability

Not all seats can be booked with points. Airlines offer a limited number of reward seats only. This can make redeeming points challenging.

Flights will need to be booked well in advance (Almost a year for internationals) in order to have a chance of a reward seat being available. It is best to be flexible with which day you will fly to increase the chance of reward seat availability.

Preparing for Travel Again

Are you looking forward to domestic and international borders opening properly? Perhaps it’s time to get preparing now. Check those passports – many will be out of date. It’s probably best to beat the rush and update before everyone is preparing for their overseas flight.

Take the easy steps to collect points, and consider signing up for Point Hacks email course.

How many frequent flyer points do you have already? If you’re like most people, you probably don’t know the answer to that question. You may have points on credit cards, airline memberships and grocery shopping rewards than can be transferred and combined. Check your balances out!


My Experience with Frequent Flyer Australia Strategies

Over the past 5 years, I have been increasing my savings rate and focusing on building investment assets. But I still didn’t want to miss out on travel!

I had heard about frequent flyer points, but they seemed too good to be true.

Perhaps for the person being flown around by their employer, or a business owner charging hundreds of thousands of dollars to a credit card each year. I had also read the system wasn’t as generous in Australia as in the US.

Would collecting frequent flyer points be worthwhile for an Aussie cheapskate like me?

Hearing a couple of my colleagues had scored almost free flights to the US with points pushed me over the edge to check it out.

Learning the Game

At first, I didn’t know where to start. The answer, as usual, was google. I discovered Point hacks who offer a free email introductory course to talk you through the basics.

I decided Velocity points were the goal, to be converted to Krisflyer (Singapore air) and redeemed to pay for a trip to Europe. Our local supermarket is Coles, and their flybuys points can be transferred to Velocity.

I signed up for Qantas points and Woolworths Everyday rewards but have pretty much ignored them.

I signed up for a few credit cards over 18 months for the signup bonuses. Leading up to investment property purchases, I avoided credit card applications. I used Credit Savvy to monitor my credit score and took a long break after a credit application caused my score to drop by 50 points. It rebounded within 6 months.

I checked my bonus offers on flybuys before each shop, and found particularly leading up to Christmas some great offers.

Gaining Status

A status offer came up for Virgin. A few trips for locum work easily made me eligible. With family pooling and a few flights for work and fun, I maintained my status.

Redeeming Points on International Flights

18 months into collecting points, I redeemed them all with Singapore air for two return economy flights to Europe. We are a family of four, and it was clear I couldn’t collect points for all 4 of us fast enough. So it halved the price of our flights. Alternatively, I could have used the points for 1 return business flight to Europe. Unfortunately, I didn’t feel I could pull that off and keep the rest of my family in economy!

Now seems a pretty good time to optimise points balances in anticipation of travel becoming a lot easier. Have you tried travel hacking? Post about your frequent flyer Australia experience

Aussie Doc Freedom is not a financial adviser and does not offer any advice.  Information on this website is purely a description of my experiences and learning.  Please check with your independent financial adviser or accountant before making any changes.

Personal finance is Self Care

*This post may contain affiliate links. This means if you purchase through the link I will receive a small commission at no cost to you. It is the way sites like this are funded, but does introduce a conflict of interest.  

How do you look after your own mental health? When you feel under pressure, do you play music, exercise or book yourself in for a massage? All these are valid forms of self care, and important.

Financial self care can have far longer lasting benefits to mental and physical health. How are you going with personal finance?

What is Financial self care?

There is a tendency in society to dismiss interest in money as greedy, self-interested or even sinful. Medical professionals usually enter the profession with altruistic ideals. They like to pretend money doesn’t matter. But money is just a fact of life. How we manage our personal finances can make a huge difference to quality of life now and later.

Financial self care includes forming a budget, tackling debt, paying for insurance to cover disasters and forming long-term financial goals, saving and investing to achieve them.

Just because money isn’t your number one priority doesn’t mean you should completely ignore it.

Unfortunately this money self sabotage all too common among doctors. A strong income can often give professionals a false sense of security. Unexpected losses of income, such as during COVID-19, a prolonged period of illness, unemployment or a desire to change to a new career or specialty can threaten that security pretty quickly.

High Income Households Experience Financial Stress

An ABS report reassures us that although wealthier households can find themselves in a stressful financial situation, this is usually due to discretionary, rather than essential spending.

These households have more resources to fall back on an can, after all, just sell that overleveraged home.

High earners are less likely to miss meals and suffer other extreme consequences of accumulated debt. They may also have family they can ask for help.

Having to sell your home because you can’t afford the mortgage doesn’t sound like a walk in the park though, does it? It sounds like the cause of many sleepless nights.

Financial Health Can be Hidden

The effects of poor financial management can only become exposed years into the problem. Living beyond our means is easier now than ever. Credit is easily available, often just more expensive the less you can afford it.

Higher earners who spend more than they earn may avoid experiencing financial stress until they want to retire. Their large income will cover a lot of monthly payments, but they fail to get their finances under control or save for the future, beyond government mandated super contributions.

A common misunderstanding is that with a high income, it will all work out effortlessly. High educational achievements do not correlate with high financial literacy. If a household is paying bills on time and the bank account isn’t overdrawn, it’s easy to assume all is well.

But are you saving money, making and meeting financial goals and actively planning retirement savings? Have you sought enough financial education to feel confident in these skills?

It doesn’t matter if you earn $50,000 or $500,000. If both workers save and invest nothing outside mandatory superannuation, their retirement account and income will be in a similar relative position after a 40 year career.

A Comparison of Two Hard Workers

Lets look at a theoretical case study.

John earns just $50,000 annually for his 40 year career.

Jack earns an impressive $500,000 annually for his 40 year career.

I have assumed they both have had 10% super contributions throughout their career (assuming neither are self employed). These hypothetical contributions earned 7% per year real return. We are working with a dream super account that doesn’t charge any fees!

 Super Balance after 40 years of work assuming 7% real return minus tax Retirement

 Super Balance after 40 years of work assuming 7% real return minus taxRetirement Income as if Tax FreeRetirement Income as percentage of Working income
John $50,000 income$719,805$28,79266.5%
Jack $500,000 income$4,542,645  $181,70560%

John has a reasonable $719.805 whilst Jack has accumulated over $4 million dollars!

John receives 66.5% of his post tax working annual income as a tax free retirement income stream after 40 years of work, aged 60+.

Jack is far wealthier with $181,705 annual retirement income. However, this represents only 59% of his post tax working income. On top of this, Jack will need to pay tax on this income as his super balance exceeds the $1.7 million super cap.

Although Jack is richer, he still has to cut his living expenses more drastically than John. There will be a lot of discretionary spending in that, although Jack may fail to recognise it. Jack will presumably have completed some postgraduate training, so will be older than John by the time he has worked 40 years, and is able to retire on approaching 2/3 of his working income.

Advantages of Financial Self Care

As soon as you can create a gap between your income and your spending, advantages occur.

Avoiding Financial Stress

Poor money management has long been quoted as a leading cause of marital conflict and divorce.

Not having enough money often leads to delayed health care. This is less likely to be so extreme in higher income households, but could still result in delays to diagnosis and treatment.

With prolonged financial pressure, particularly if associated with divorce or loss of the family home, depression and anxiety as well as substance abuse are more likely.

Stress is often expressed subconsciously through physical symptoms. Headaches and abdominal pains are common complaints.

Anxiety about money also affects your work. It is associated with higher absenteeism, lower work engagement and productivity.

Savings Compound

Once you can pay expenses in the most cost effective manner, everything gets a little bit cheaper. For example, your car insurance may be cheaper paid annually. There are discounts for paying school fees upfront and you can bulk buy pantry goods when on sale. These all may seem like small savings, but little advantages like this compound over years to become significant advantages.

Ability to Deal with Unexpected Events with Minimum Stress

All the thing we talked about earlier, unemployment and long-term illness cause enough problems. Not having to worry about money would be a welcome relief.

A good sized emergency fund also allows us to fulfil obligations or desires to help care for, and be with (particularly distant) loved ones in crisis.

Income flexibility

A central theme in personal finance is saving some of your earnings from every pay.

If you are saving 20%, you know you could drop your income by 20% and all your expenses are still covered.

This provides quite a lot of options, including dropping hours, changing jobs and starting a new career.

As that 20% grows and compounds over time and starts producing income of its own, your options and flexibility also grow.

Set & Achieve Long term Financial Goals

We have probably all stuck our heads in the sand about an issue we’d rather not tackle. Usually, we feel a lot better once we just get it sorted. Personal finance is a common topic to ignore and hope for the best. With that slightly worried feeling lurking that we should be doing better.

Having even a basic financial plan (budgeting to save and invest 20% and expand the plan later) will give you confidence. A little bit of finance knowledge building will empower you to make your own decision, or keep an eye on the advisor looking after your money.

Taking some time to dream up some bigger aspirations is a worthy goal. It is easy to get bogged down in the daily grind of daily life, and drift along mindlessly.

By taking the time to form dreams and goals, you will achieve far more of the important stuff in life.

The money is just a means to an end to achieve these aspirations.

Helping the Next Generation

I am of the belief that the best way to help your kids financially is by building their financial literacy. Money handouts tend to do the opposite. You will need to invest (time) in some financial education yourself in order to help out your kids.

Debt & Loans

Debt can be good, bad or tolerable. You (and your kids) need to know the difference. Good debt can accelerate wealth and even build intergenerational prosperity. Bad debt uses compound interest in reverse to destroy your finances.

Having great money skills, managing debt well and maintaining a great credit score will qualify you for better rates on home loans.

Avoiding Scams

Not tackling your finances whilst feeling a little worried about neglecting this area of your life can leave you vulnerable to scams.

Doctors in particular, can be quite naïve. They are also known to have high incomes so are perfect targets for potentially fraudulent transactions.

Unfortunately, there have been facebook groups where doctors have recruited colleagues into scams they thought were great investments.

Don’t follow someone else blindly. Read (or listen to) several sources and tread carefully.

If you you want to use a financial advisor you need to be able to afford to pay them (and avoid commission). You also need to choose carefully.

Personal Finance Success is Easier as a High Earner

You absolutely can’t get away with doing nothing, and relying on your high income to provide financial security. You need to build assets over time.

But high earners are not facing the same difficulties the average Australian household earning $85K is. Saving and investing is a lot easier on a high income.

A small percentage of your income will compound significantly over a long time period.

Building Financial Literacy

How to Manage Your Personal Finance as a Form of Self Care

  1. The first thing you need to do is track your spending
  2. Set some short, medium and long-term life and money goals
  3. Next, set a budget to allow savings to be captured (20%?)
  4. Create an emergency fund of at least $2000
  5. Make sure you have adequate insurance coverage (health, life, income protection)
  6. Pay off all credit card debt as soon as possible
  7. Start investing in a sensible, low risk strategy
  8. Consciously note when having savings and investments improved your overall wellbeing.

With student loan debt likely to increasing over time, financial literacy only becomes more important. Try and forms some new habits of financial self care.

It won’t feel like self care initially, but over the long term it’s the most caring action you can do for youself and your family.

Aussie Doc Freedom is not a financial adviser and does not offer any advice.  Information on this website is purely a description of my experiences and learning.  Please check with your independent financial adviser or accountant before making any changes.

Budget Direct Review – My Claim Experience

*This post may contain affiliate links. This means if you purchase through the link I will receive a small commission at no cost to you. It is the way sites like this are funded, but does introduce a conflict of interest.  

Are you looking for a value for money comprehensive car insurance policy? Budget Direct have been around since 1998 and they have built their reputation on affordable cover.

Owning a vehicle is expensive. Expenses include insurance, registration maintenance, fuel and parking. Depreciation is the sneaky, large expense that comes with car ownership.

Everyone wants to minimize costs on a boring expense such as car insurance. But you only know the true worth of an insurance product when you go through the claims process.

Well I just happened to have a minor accident recently. Whilst annoying and inconvenient, no one was hurt and it has provided me with an experience to base my review.

Who Are Budget Direct?

Budget Direct is a direct-to-consumer car insurance provider with a focus on the Australian market. They provide an alternative to traditional insurance providers, and have been running for 15 years. They are one of Australia’s leading auto insurers, and generally offer very competitive rates.

Budget Direct was founded in 2003 by entrepreneur Andrew Barnes who wanted to make purchasing car insurance easier for Australians who at the time had to go through their local agent or broker for quotes. He built Budget Direct as an internet site where people could enter their details and find out how much it would cost them without having to talk to anyone or leave their home.

Budget Direct are underwritten by Auto & General Insurance Company Limited.

What do Budget Direct Offer?

Budget direct offer car insurance which can be:

  • Comprehensive insurance
  • Third party insurance
  • Third party fire and theft cover

Budget direct education area further explains the differences between the types of insurance here.

The company also offer motorcycle insurance, budget direct home insurance, pet and travel insurance as well as Roadside Assistance.

How does Car Insurance work?

-Agreed Value vs Market Value Insurance Policy

Budget, along with other insurance providers, will generally offer “Market value” cover. If you have a new or valuable vehicle, they may be able to offer an agreed value policy. Agreed value means you have agreed in advance how much the company will pay in case the car is written off. Market value, means the value will be assessed at the time of an accident.

– Budget Direct lets you Set a Higher or Lower Excess?

The excess with budget direct can bet set from $600 to $1200.

A higher excess often results in a reduced premium, it’s worth playing with the quote calculator to work out where your sweet spot is.

I am a big fan of Scott Pape’s advise to insure against catastrophe only. If you can tolerate a larger excess, you may be able to get better value for money insurance.

There may be additional excesses against driver younger than 18, non-listed drivers and drivers with a driving license for under two years.

– When you Have to Pay the Excess

If your vehicle is damaged but you’re not at fault (and the insurer agrees), you don’t have to pay the excess. unless you don’t have the other driver’s details. If you are at fault, or if there is no other driver (eg a tree landed on your car), you will have to pay your excess.

You need to be able to provide the at fault drivers details for Budget Direct to waive the excess. If you cannot do this (for example someone hit your car and drove off) Budget direct require you to pay an excess. They have previously refunded the excess when the driver responsible for an accident was identified.

Checking with several other insurance policies, it seems a normal feature to have to pay your excess if you cannot identify the at fault driver.

I’m not sure if you will find an insurance provider that will waive the excess if an accident isn’t your fault, without and identifiable at fault driver. If you do, the premium is likely to be more expensive.

You should have your excess (and more) available for quick access in your emergency fund.

Budget Direct Comprehensive Policy Features

  • Accidental damage to third party property up to $20 million
  • Damage to a trailer towed by the insured vehicle (but not contents)
  • Transport home or emergency accommodation if necessary
  • Hire car when the car cannot be driven if you are not at fault
  • Brand new car replacement from cars that you have purchased new and have less than 5000km on the clock (small print applies, check the PDS).
  • Damage to other peoples property
  • Loss of car, theft or fire

CTP Insurance

Compulsory third party insurance is a legal requirement for all car owners, and provides cover for injury or death of other drivers, passengers or pedestrians. Find out how it works in the different states and territories here.

As Always, Check the Product Disclosure Statement

As with all insurance policies, conditions and limitations apply. Read the relevant Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) and applicable excesses in detail. Use this to compare your shortlisted insurance quotes.

Payment Options with Budget Direct

You can pay for Budget direct insurance annually for the cheapest rate. You pay a small premium to pay fortnightly, monthly or annually.

If you are overdue for payment by at least 14 days, any claims may be declined.

-How to Renew Car Insurance with Budget Direct?

The company send a renewal offer about 30 days before your policy expires. Remember to shop around (you could always outsource this to your teen, with motivation)!

If your renewal is granted it does not require any action – your policy will automatically renew.

-Getting a Quote

A quote is easily organised via the Budget direct website. You will need to know the year, make and model and whether there are non-standard accessories or modifications.

If you have anything rather than a basic unmodified car, make sure the person with an interest in cars makes the phone call! I found Budget direct very detail oriented around my partners modified Landcruiser. For my basic old vehicle, things were far easier.

The company will also want to know how the vehicle will be used, and where it will be stored at night.

You need to be clear on the reasons you use your car, and there are some business uses that are excluded (such as Uber driving or driving tuition).

It is good to note that Budget offer further discounts for new customers and those driving less than 10,000 km per year.

You will also have to declare your claims history. Any history of claims in the last few years will increase your insurance premium, as you would expect.

You will need comprehensive car insurance to cover accidental damage to your own vehicle

Reducing the Cost of Your Insurance

There are a few ways to get a lower premium. Most of the price variables are fairly fixed, and linked to your statistical risk as an individual driver.

  • Low driving km per year
  • Higher age of youngest driver, and excluding drivers under 21-30 from being insured
  • Home owners are statistically lower risk so benefit from lower premiums
  • Increasing age lowers risk until you reach ~ 70 years.
  • Female drivers are lower risk
  • Holding a driving license for a short period of time increases risk, and premiums
  • Postcode – higher density and higher crime areas cost more
  • Older cars are cheaper to insure (will be lower replacement cost so that makes sense)
  • You will pay more for vehicles used for business
  • Parking in a garage is safer than a car port, which is lower risk than on the street

There are factors you can alter to get better value for money.

  • Minimizing add ons such as windscreen protection, accident hire car, roadside assist and choice or repairer
  • Adjusting your excess (larger excess usually means a cheaper policy)
  • Bundle insurance products for discounts
  • Pay annually
  • Change to 3rd party insurance if you have a lower value vehicle

Minimizing Extras to Save on Costs

It feels good for your insurance company to pay for any little thing that happens to your car. A crack in the windscreen may cost around $100. A replacement windscreen may cost around $500.

The insurance company to sort these small costs out of their own costs, they fund it through the extra premiums you pay for this cover. Obviously, insurance companies exist to make a profit so they must collect more in premiums than it costs them to run the company, employ staff and pay out claims.

Logically, you are far better paying non-catastrophic expenses out of your own pocket rather than contributing more towards an insurance company’s running costs and profit margin. Pop the premium saved into your emergency fund, it is very likely you will be better off.

A hire car after an accident is a nice perk. But hire cars in Australia are pretty cheap, and it is probably faster for you to organise it yourself. Again, I wouldn’t pay extra for a replacement car.

Why is Budget Direct so Cheap?

We’re led to believe in life you get what you pay for. It is not necessarily true. So how can this company offer cheaper insurance products than their competitors?

Budget say they can provide cheaper cover because they only insure low-risk drivers. By asking lots of questions, they can identify and exclude higher-risk drivers. They also can keep premiums to a budget price by minimizing company overheads. Is answering a few more annoying questions (and even getting them to call your partner for further clarification) worth saving a few hundred dollars?

Budget direct does offer lower coverage in some categories. Finder compared Budget direct and AAMI car insurance and found AAMI provided more generous

  • Emergency travel and accommodation costs
  • Personal property cover
  • Emergency repairs (repairs needed before authorization by Budget)

When comparing insurance cover, unless money is of no concern it is important to focus on the cover that is important to you. Try not to get distracted by the “nice to haves”.

How likely is you will be stranded and need emergency accommodation due to an accident? Is it worth paying extra?

Budget Direct Car Insurance Review

My Budget Direct Comprehensive Car Insurance Review

-Choosing Budget Direct Car Insurance

I’m the owner of an old car worth maybe $5,000-6,000. It’s in good mechanical condition, without rust but it’s nothing flash and never gets washed! I don’t feel the need to pay extra on car insurance. My car has had comprehensive cover since I purchased it 10 years ago although it’s getting to the point where we may consider downgrading to third party.

I went with budget direct car insurance because they offered great value for money. I was looking for comprehensive car insurance at the best possible price. The cover appeared adequate for my needs.

-The Accident

I had a low speed collision. It was my fault. I rounded a corner into a queue of traffic and couldn’t stop in time. No-one was hurt, but there was significant crumpling of the front of my car and a dent to the back of the other car.

I have not been in a car accident for years, and I wasn’t quite sure of my obligations legally and for insurance purposes.

My car insurance policy was quickly located in my email account to then contact Budget direct by phone.

-Legal and Insurance Requirements

Budget direct staff answered quickly. They were able to answer my questions.

Did I need to notify the police? No, no-one was injured and the road was not blocked. Could I drive the car home? Yes. But budget direct insurance would cover a taxi if my car was undriveable.

-The Claims Process

Budget direct’s staff would call me back later that morning to submit a formal claim once I was home. I ended up submitting the claim on the online portal, which was easy.

A budget direct employee contacted me that afternoon. I quickly had an appointment booked for the damage to be assessed the next day.

Given it was an at fault accident, I had to pay my excess which was easily sorted on line.

The assessor took a few minutes to assess the damage and I could leave to get back to work. I then had to wait for budget direct to give permission for repairs.

-Waiting for Approval

It took around 10 days of wait time for my claim to be approved. Although it took some time to go through their process, they didn’t try and avoid paying the claim at all. The general insurers code of practice allows companies 10 days to provide an outcome to a claim, or advise you of delay. If there are complications such as medical claims these can take a lot longer.

In this time, Budget direct are checking the details with the other driver and their car insurance details. They may examine photos and dashcams.

After that, I had to book in to get my car repaired. Unfortunately, the panel beaters were booked up for a month so I had a significant wait. The car was still driveable, but the air conditioning was no longer functioning :(. The car looked pretty awful for that period of time.

The Repair

The car took around 10 days to get fixed. The panel beaters did mess me about a bit. I had to call repeatedly as they kept promising the car the next day, then delayed.

The panel beater communication was poor and this was frustrating. I’m not sure that the mess around with the panel beaters can be blamed on Budget direct though.

The car repair was excellent. I certainly can’t tell there was ever an accident, and most importantly, the air conditioning works again. We don’t drive a huge amount and have another car and a bus that leaves for work from close to home. I could have easily paid for a car hire, but it didn’t really seem worth it as we still had a family car functioning. I just would have liked to know how long my car would be out of action, so I could plan around this better.

Would I Insure with Budget Direct Again?

I remain motivated by insurance premium cost primarily. My premium will increase at renewal time (I didn’t have protected no claims). But if they continue to offer an insurance policy that is good value for money, I would renew with Budget. Smashing your car is inconvenient and dangerous so should be avoided. On the rare occasion an accident occurs, it is always inconvenient.

I’m not sure if my car being with another insurer would have sped up repairs at all, but I suspect not. In a regional town, it is likely many insurance companies use the same panel beaters. And the quality of work was excellent, it was just the communication of administration staff on the days that made the experience frustrating.

Other Budget Direct Car Insurance Reviews

Budget car insurance won Money Magazines Insurer of the year for 2017-2021. You can also find car insurance reviews at Product reviews, Word of Mouth and Budget Direct. The time to resolution of claim seems very variable.

There are a mixture of positive and negative car insurance reviews. But looking at other companies car insurance reviews, a spattering of complaints is to be expected.

Are Budget Direct Any Good?

Overall all, I would say my insurance policy provided good and value for money cover.

But if you are heavily dependent on your car or have a “pride and joy” type car and have a choice of car repair and panel beaters in your area, it may be worth doing more research.

If you have a preferred repairer, or want the flexibility to go with the repairer who can get the job done quickly, you could add the preferred repairer option to the policy.

The Budget direct policy states:

“However, if we consider a repairer’s quotation is not competitive, or that the repairs would

not be completed to a satisfactory standard, we may decide not to authorise repairs and

offer you the option of having the car repaired by an alternative repairer chosen by us, or

l paying you the reasonable cost to satisfactorily repair the car”

Summary

If you have a high value car you may prefer to insure with an insurance provider who usually insures higher value cars, and can provide a more streamlined process in case of repairs.

For those of us whose cars are just a convenient mode of transportation, Budget direct provides good comprehensive car insurance, with reasonable customer service and great value for money.

Aussie Doc Freedom is not a financial adviser and does not offer any advice.  Information on this website is purely a description of my experiences and learning.  Please check with your independent financial adviser or accountant before making any changes.

How do I Prepare my Children For Financial Success?

*This post may contain affiliate links. This means if you purchase through the link I will receive a small commission at no cost to you. It is the way sites like this are funded, but does introduce a conflict of interest.  

Parents may be wondering how to teach their children what they need to know about money. On one hand, we don’t want kids to be completely naive, fall for scams and credit card company (or buy now, pay later) antics. On the other hand, no one wants to burden children with adult problems or become money-obsessed.

And we certainly don’t need to grow spoiled, entitled children that think money “Grows on trees”

It’s important as parents to teach kids to earn, spend and save money. Children have learned most of their financial habits by the age of 7. This is not a discussion you should put off until they are “old enough”, but like learning to cook or clean the house, something they should gradually learn in age-appropriate ways as they grow.

How do I Prepare My Children for Financial Success? Age Under 4

At this young age, kids are in danger of swallowing coins (which can get stuck) so playing with money is probably not a good idea.

These young children can, however, learn a lot through observation. It’s how they are learning everything else at this stage, and you will find them mimicking your behaviours in their play. It’s a cute (admittedly exhausting) stage.

-Shopping

Even at this early age, they are observing you grocery shopping and will enjoy swiping your card at the checkout. Using tap and go and ATMs are great opportunities to explain what is going on. If you look at the situation through the eyes of a toddler, it would appear as if the groceries are free, and the ATM is a magic machine that spits out endless money.

It is important to fill the gaps! That when you use these machines, the money you have earned for work is depleted.

Kids at this early age are cute and demanding. They are very easy to spoil. Remember that you are forming their expectations for the rest of childhood. Do not give into toddler tantrums and buy toys and sweets impulsively.

I always think this quote sums up parenting, although it wasn’t written about kids! It’s so applicable to many areas of life. Doing the hard thing initially often makes your life easier in the long run.

“Hard choices, Easy life.

Easy Choices, Hard life”

Jerzy Gregorek

I remember carrying my toddler, screaming Kmart down over a $3 ball! It was incredibly embarrassing, but I don’t regret it.

The same toddler once pointed, asking for sweets hung just at his height at the check-out. The shop assistant laughed at my response of incredulity,

“Don’t be ridiculous. We don’t just buy sweets from the shop”

My young children soon understood that the toys at the shop were for birthday presents and sweets were special treats that mum and dad appeared with occasionally.

You may think I am a bit harsh. I’ve seen the way spoiled doctors kids turn out!

Kids this age are obviously impulsive. They see something, they want it. If you teach them to give in to these impulses and purchase nonsense to keep them happy/quiet it may become an expectation, then a habit.

If there is some toy they are really and persistently interested in, now you have the perfect opportunity to teach them about delayed gratification by saving up.

How do I Prepare My Children for Financial Success?Ages 4-6

-Pocket Money

This may be around the age you want to start giving pocket money or chores.

There are two ways to approach this. Some feel kids should receive pocket money regardless of chores so that they can learn to spend and save regularly.

Others feel this may lead to entitlement (being given money for nothing). They believe money should only be paid for chores.

Go with whichever feels right for you. Kids this age don’t need a lot of money. You don’t want to give them so much money they feel it’s never-ending. You want to give them just enough to buy little treats on occasion, but need to extra or save up for a special toy.

With our two boys, we are doing a little of each. They receive a cheapskate “allowance” each month into their savings account. Their account is actually an excel document on my laptop. The Bank of Mum & Dad pays an impressive 12% PA interest (paid monthly) to encourage saving and teach the concept of compound interest.

-Shopping

When shopping, kids can understand a little more. Vocalise what you are doing, such as choosing a packet of rice. How do you choose which one? Introduce the concept of value for money and budgeting.

Teaching money management skills is how to set up your kids for financial success as adults.

-Teach Kids to Pay for Financial Obligations First

Kids can understand the concept of “Needs and Wants”. There is are free financial literacy education resources available at Choose FI. My boys really enjoyed the needs vs wants game during the lockdown.

At this stage, you can reassure them that all their “needs” will be covered by their parents. But their wants are for them to save and prioritize. And of course, they can always ask for that special something for their birthday or Christmas.

-Open a Bank Account

You can choose to open a real account, or as we have, make a Bank of Mum and Dad account with an excel document. This important step can help kids form good money habits from an early age.

The boys can withdraw money from their “accounts” when they like (but obviously forfeit interest). This is also a lot easier than being organised enough to have pocket money cash available each week.

My 8 year old totally gets it. He is excited to see his savings grow, and I may live to regret the generous interest rate in 10 years time! The 6-year-old is still impulsive with money, spending it on plastic rubbish he is momentarily obsessed with.

Once some savings are collected, the idea of emergency funds can be introduced.

-Extra Chores

Our boys are expected to do regular unpaid chores, although I probably should up the ante a bit. They currently feed the goldfish, bring their plates to the dishwasher after each meal and put their own clothes in the wash basket (most of the time).

Both boys can earn extra money when they want to save for something. They get to clean inside the house, pack the fridge with our coca-cola (bad habit I know) or wash the car (badly!)

They could earn their own money from about the age of 2 (long before the allowance started). Despite not really understanding what it was all about, they were really interested in earning those coins. We just had to keep them in a money box out of reach when not closely supervised.

-Opportunities for Spending

I would take them to our local pool regularly between swimming lessons to practice and have fun. They have a kiosk that sells penny sweets and ice poles. The boys always took their wallets with enough money to buy a treat. I would help them work out the money and get them to speak to the kiosk attendant. They still want to go to this pool, years later, because of the sweets!

-Charitable Giving

Kids are developmentally ego-centric between the ages of 2 and 7. Towards the latter end of this age range, a child will start to be able to understand empathy and other people’s opinions. It is a perfect time to introduce the concept of charity. Involve your child in your decision of which charity to support. Your child may like a jar in which they can collect their own money for charitable giving.

How do I Prepare My Children for Financial Success?Ages 7-10

-Shopping

These guys are still watching and learning behaviour from parents. You can explain more complicated concepts such as shopping based on the price per unit, but how sometimes it’s worth paying extra for quality.

– Budgeting

Now is a great age to get them involved in the family finances in a positive way. When you have a special holiday planned, it’s nice to work towards it and build excitement.

Perhaps you discuss how you will fund the holiday. Will you take on extra work? How can everyone else in the family do their bit to contribute? Perhaps by covering some of your chores whilst you are doing the extra work? They may like to save up some spending money of their own to take with them. Help them set a goal and plan to reach it.

-Being Open About Money vs Burdening kids

Obviously, kids should be sheltered from any financial stress at this age. Bringing up the fees for the school you chose to send them to as a guilt trip is not healthy or helpful.

Try and avoid making saving money a negative. When growing up, our family would intermittently go on what my parents called an “Economy drive”. This meant no takeaway meals or other discretionary savings as mum and dad had to tighten their belts for a while. It may have been financially responsible to adjust their spending to ensure they could make the mortgage repayment that month, but it perhaps could have been framed more positively.

-Discussing Bills or Financial Decisions

Sharing some family money decisions can be a wonderful experience. We recently upgraded our solar panels, and the 8-year-old will enjoy looking at the electricity bills before and after. Of course, we also had to find out how solar panels work (ask my 8-year-old, I’ve forgotten!)

-Games

“Guess the price” is a game suggested by Choose FI. Kids have no idea about money initially. $100 seems so huge, they think it’s enough to buy a home. I haven’t tried this idea out yet but may play it with my older child to start developing some rough idea of how much things cost.

Board games such as Monopoly, Game of Life and Cashflow for kids can be enjoyable prompts for kids to learn the difference between assets and liabilities.

How do I Prepare My Children for Financial Success?Age 11-14

-Getting Involved in Family Finances

Kids this age can be quite involved in financial decision making for the family. In fact, there is even a TV series where the teen gets to decide how to handle the family budget for the month! It will take brave parents to put their child in charge of all their finances for the month! But watching an episode with your teen or pre-teen could spark great money conversations.

-Meal Planning & Grocery Shopping

Your child needs to learn to cook, and this can be combined nicely with a financial lesson. Your child should understand how to cook basic foods and prepare a meal for the family before complicating it further. But once they are ready, you could set them a budget for the family meal, get them to plan, shop and cook it.

-Shopping Around and Managing Bills

This may be a good age bracket to involve them when the dreaded car or house insurance renewal comes up. You know you need to shop around to avoid the lazy tax. I know you dread it because it’s a PITA. Consider showing your child bills and discussing if there are ways to reduce them, how it’s best to shop around to get the best price.

At 14 or 15, you may even be able to offload the task of getting a better car insurance quote to them. I know it’s not the sort of thing you had on your bucket list at this age, but you could offer them half the savings as a reward for a job well done.

-Shopping

With shopping, these age kids will probably be asking for products that their friends have. Again, these are opportunities to learn. Perhaps they want a pair of brand name running shoes. They should understand this is a want, not a need. Perhaps you will cover the price of a non-brand name pair, and get them to save the extra. You will find they will prioritize spending far more when it is their money, not yours.

-Chores & Employment

Kids this age should be doing their part around the house, and it should generally not be paid. Perhaps you can keep a few jobs available for payment such as cleaning your car.

But somewhere in this age range, your child may want to find some sort of external way to boost their financial capabilities. It is important to limit pocket money to allow this motivation to occur.

A warning to those that think their kids should focus on their studies and not be involved in work. Although the intention is so honourable, it can backfire. Young adults need to learn the skills important to becoming successful in the workplace. They don’t need mollycoddling (and that’s coming from a self-confessed helicopter parent).

Empower them to cope with competing demands. Grades are only one aspect of their growth into adults.

Before they are old enough to get a regular job, there might be options for them to help out neighbours you know and trust. Teens can wash cars, walk dogs, mow lawns and babysit. Plus probably loads more!

Once they are looking for their first jobs there is a load of opportunities for teachable moments. Helping them look for a job, present themselves and perform well. Make sure they are not being taken advantage of. Help them look at their payslip and check this. Teach them to pay taxes efficiently.

Your kid definitely needs a real bank account now, and you can help them look for the best available. You can help them work out a money management system to capture some savings.

-Superannuation

Imagine if you had been set up with a decent super fund from the start of your adult working life. If you had known to roll over accounts and made sure the fees were reasonable, insurance and asset allocation appropriate. Help your child take advantage of compound investing for the next 40+ years by helping them understand superannuation.

-First Investment

Perhaps this will be superannuation.

Those that want to give kids a leg up with tertiary education costs may be investing for this anyway. Consider involving your child in this. What seems like a huge amount of money to a child may demotivate them to work hard and achieve academically. But I am considering putting $5000-$10000 in a Pearler* brokerage account in trust for each child for them to observe compounding over the decade before they leave home.

Imagine understanding the basics of the stock market, and having developed some volatility tolerance before you even left home!

Some invest money for children’s tertiary education and then offer them the choice of paying fees and living expenses with the money or letting the money continue to compound whilst living off student loans. This is pretty high-level financial literacy for a kid aged 18-20!

Tread carefully with the handouts though. Economic outpatient care appears to be detrimental to a child’s financial success. If possible maintain control over the majority of your funds so you can make a judgement call on whether they will act financially responsible with a lump sum closer to the time.

How much did you understand about money by the time you left home? Do you wish you were a bit savvier as a young adult? How do you plan to teach your own kids about finances? Comment below to join the conversation.

Your wealth accumulation journey starts as soon as you make the first step. Subscribe to Aussie doc for a weekly email to keep you up to date on track to your goals.

Aussie Doc Freedom is not a financial adviser and does not offer any advice.  Information on this website is purely a description of my experiences and learning.  Please check with your independent financial adviser or accountant before making any changes.

Stick with Your Investment Strategy!

*This post may contain affiliate links. This means if you purchase through the link I will receive a small commission at no cost to you. It is the way sites like this are funded, but does introduce a conflict of interest.  

Have you worked out your investment strategy? I generally recommend dreaming big, setting goals and working out how to achieve them with acceptable risk.

Set up your plan, automate everything you can and try to ignore it! Get busy living the rest of your life.

The White Coat Investor repeatedly tells us to make a written investment policy statement. Passive investing Australia suggests a 3-month cool-off period when the urge to change your investment strategy occurs.

Boom, Boom, Crash

The investing world is currently going a little nuts. Heading online is like walking into a Las Vegas casino. So much grabs your attention it’s kind of hard to think straight.

Every few minutes there seems to be another “once in a lifetime” opportunity to get rich quick. We all logically know the casino is a business, designed to financially outplay us. Yet people go back over and over, often feeding any winnings straight back into the casino business.

Online many investors claim to have struck gold with speculative investments that have multiplied in weeks. All the investing groups have frequent discussions about cryptocurrency and tesla. A few smart ones who got in early have made a killing. It’s hard not to feel you are missing out.

Previously stable, boring investors are abandoning their financial plan for a punt on these kinds of bets. Many end up self-sabotaging their financial future.

Even the property market is getting in on the action, with valuers unable to keep pace with the frothy enthusiasm of property purchasers abandoning all caution to secure that property before the champagne runs dry. With APRA threatening to shut the party down, I feel it’s time for a little caution to return!

History Repeats Itself

This all sounds pretty similar to the stories of warning I read over and over again in investment books. Tulips. Tech. Dot.com and mortgage-backed securities in the GFC. An absolute frenzy of money-making and euphoria preceded a devastating market crash. Widely diversified investors got through it if they clenched their muscles and held despite the doom. Those that had speculated in the hyped stocks often lost it all.

No-one wants to be the last idiot to press buy.

The Boring Middle

If you are a long term property and/or index fund investor, this is not where your excitement in life comes from! You have a solid plan, and are executing it. But it takes a long time. Meanwhile you are hearing about speculators doubling or tripling their bets in a few months.

The grass can start to look greener on the other side.

“Of the 35 analysts following the stock,

13 have a “strong buy” or “buy” recommendation,

another 11 have a neutral or hold recommendation.

Of the rest, seven have a sell recommendation, and only four a “strong sell.””

CNN Business on Tesla in January of this year.

This is the risk time for abandoning your investment plan. WCI and Passive Investing recommendations of having a written investment plan and a 3 month cool off period are excellent. Both of these will help prevent impulsive changes due to FOMO. I would add those in a couple to have to run any changes past their partner.

A study found that investment accounts accessed by two people had the best returns, in comparison to a single male or female investor. Men and women are quite different in their approach to investing. Working together tends to reduce their weaknesses and compound strengths. Same sex couples may not be so extreme in their different investment behaviours. It is, however, still likely there will be a more cautious and more aggressive investor.

Cautious investors need encouragement to get in the market in the first place, instead of hoarding cash (being constantly devalued by inflation). Aggressive investors need a reminder that trading fees eat into return, and to minimize speculation.

Choose your Investment Strategy

The main strategies include:

Property

  • Capital growth buy and hold (pay down debt, rental income increases gradually)
  • Capital growth buy, hold and sell to realise cash
  • Active investment strategy – Buy, renovate and hold or sell (forcing increase in equity to allow further borrowing)
  • Yield buy and hold (brought based on income provided by the investment) residential or commercial
  • Principle place of residence buy for capital growth (and a wonderful home, with a big mortgage). Sell capital gains tax free to downsize in retirement

Share Market Portfolio

Passive investing

Index ETFs or managed funds buy and hold (easiest option and proven generally most successful!)

Buy and hold capital growth focussed shares (expect growth over time in price)

Buy and hold high dividend yielding stocks (focus on income + franking credits)

Active investing

– Buying individual stocks or other assets (eg crypto) based on an anticipated capital gain and selling once the price has risen. This can be very short-term i.e. “trading” or holding for months to years, but actively reviewing whether the asset should still be held.

Times to Review Your Investment Strategiies

There are times you need to review your investment strategy and perhaps adjust them. These are

  • When the market is boring and you are calm and unemotional
  • When you reach a pre-determined age (eg 50) and plan to adjust your asset allocation accordingly
  • After a pre-determined number years of investing to review returns, decide whether you are happy to continue with the same strategy
  • At planned rebalancing times (plan in advance to rebalance every 1-2 years, or if there is a significant difference between planned and actual allocation percentages).

Avoid Investing

  • Without research, you need to understand the fundamentals of the asset. You need to find the data and form your theory
  • Following the herd – Family, friends, colleagues, online friends and investing newsletters all get the blame when investor lose a lot of money.
  • In the next sexy investment everyone is overexcited about (unless you absolutely understand it, hopefully you would have already got in before the general public hears about it)
  • More than you can afford to lose (particularly if speculating)
  • That feels like gambling.

Avoid Succumbing to FOMO

  • Have a written investment plan
  • Have a 3 month cool off before changing investing strategies
  • Run all changes past your partner in life
  • Ask yourself the tricky questions – work out what price you would consider the investment as “fully valued” before taking the plunge. You obviously only want to invest at a price below this value
  • Practice patience by distraction. Don’t watch the stock market, make your life more exciting

Aussie Doc Freedom is not a financial adviser and does not offer any advice.  Information on this website is purely a description of my experiences and learning.  Please check with your independent financial adviser or accountant before making any changes.

M & M – Financial Confessions – Captain FI

*This post may contain affiliate links. This means if you purchase through the link I will receive a small commission at no cost to you. It is the way sites like this are funded, but does introduce a conflict of interest.  

Everyone makes some money mistakes. But learning from others is a lot less painful than making your own! I have benefitted from listening to tales from family and friends investing disasters and have confessed my own financial errors for readers, in turn, to learn from.

It is rare people are brave enough to share their financial horror stories. The shame and embarrassment of a huge financial mistake often prevent people from reporting or warning others.  But learning from others mistakes is sometimes more valuable than stories of success.

In the M&M series, I have asked financial content producers to bravely confess their worst financial mistakes.

Read these warnings carefully and learn as much as you can from them to avoid making money mistakes of your ow

Captain FI is a retired Air Transport Pilot who lives in Adelaide, South Australia.

He is passionate about Financial Independence and writes about Personal Finance and his journey to reach FI at 29, allowing him to leave his Sydney based international flying job at 30 and move to Adelaide to start a family About  Captain FI or Contact Me

Website: www.CaptainFI.com 

Podcast: Captain FI financial independence podcast 

What is your worst financial error?

1.  Blindly trusting financial institutions (FEES)

2. Had my super set as ‘defensive’ for years! 

3. Invested in poor-performing mutual funds for years before actually checking fees and performance and cutting my loss

4. Accepted much less pay than I should have for years, which eventually took an admin and legal case to rectify the contract. 

5. Blindly bought $20K+ of ‘AFIC’ (ASX: AFI) thinking it was a concrete manufacturing company and not doing any research because it was recommended in the barefoot investor blueprint 

6. Blindly buying more barefoot and motley fool stock recommendations and underperforming the index (whilst paying them subscription fees for the privilege to do so…)

7. Entering into a ‘quick’ duplex build with doing no due diligence myself and having no appreciation for the risk of things like project schedule slip and budget blowouts (which happened!). The 12-month project turned into a 36-month project. 

8. Put off investing for years and instead of learning about it, just spent extra money on unnecessary pilot training and upgrades ($350k total). I somewhat don’t regret this as it helped me ‘scratch the itch’ of flying but I should have at least started investing at least a portion of this early.

9. Started an air BnB subletting business right before COVID-19 hit

10. Wasting hundreds of hours on a shitty side hustle (like t-shirt printing) after falling for ‘passive income’ YouTube content scams 

With the benefit of hindsight, were there any warning signs your decision was a mistake?

 In each case, more education and due diligence were required. Take a deep breath, do some research a googling and reading in order to make the best decision. If it’s too good to be true, it usually is. 

When did you realise that you had made a mistake?

When it was too late and I was already entered into the contract / purchased stock / started a business / invested/spent ages doing it 

How did you bounce back after making the error?

Thankfully I have an amazing savings rate and as a professional with an increasing income as seniority increased, I had disposable income I could divert towards better investments, and mostly focus on investing in basic things I understand: index funds, investment property, online business and superannuation.

This meant whilst it delayed me reaching FI, it didn’t stop me as I learned from these lessons and grew stronger 

Cheers, Captain FI

Thanks, Captain FI!

Thanks so much to the generous Captain for sharing his financial mistakes in time to warn us!

The Captain shares his own investing strategies, journey to financial independence and many books and financial service reviews on his blog, so make sure you check it out!

Aussie Doc Freedom is not a financial adviser and does not offer any advice.  Information on this website is purely a description of my experiences and learning.  Please check with your independent financial adviser or accountant before making any changes.