Procrastinator or Producer?

Procrastinator or Producer?

Yes, I suppose the title isn’t quite correct because you could be both, but I got your attention, didn’t I? Are you procrastinating right now? If you are a procastinator that’s totally okay because this might be a productive procrastination situation and you spend 28 per cent of your day on distractions anyway.

With so many demands for your time and so many distractions beyond your colleague’s family and friends, can it ever change?

The answer, well that’s entirely up to you. You are the one who makes the choice as to what you do and how you do it. So you can either remain disorganised like 27% of office workers checking emails on average 13 hours per week, or you can consider the remainder of the article and take action and be a producer delivering results.

Top Tips

  • What you eat has a direct effect on how productive you are at work, experts suggest foods low in glycaemic carbohydrates including fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
  • Fight the temptation of checking your emails, the first few hours set the tone for the day and get you pulled in many different directions. With a clear head get your creative juices flowing on projects before jumping into your inbox and what awaits.
  • Identify what distracts you, by tracking your work activity for one week and evaluate the cause and effect of your distractions to stop them in their tracks
  • Create a to-do list with priority levels and deadlines
  • Only schedule purposeful meetings and make them efficient, don’t book a meeting if it can be written in an email
  • Experts have found that working for 90-minute intervals maximises productivity, your mind needs a break and a reward so find a break schedule that works for you and stick to it! Be kind to yourself!

If you want to increase your productivity in your finances, have someone working on it who specialises in the field, give us a call, 02 9415 1511 or email us today and stop procrastinating!

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Done with Data?

Done with Data?

Find out why data is surpassing oil as the world’s most valuable asset.

Confused as to what this big data hype is about? Sick of reading about data and technology in every professional and global magazine and newspaper?

You have a point. It is the latest buzz word but there is a buzz for a reason and one you do need to know about, sorry!

Dr Paul Darby writes in September’s Independent Financial Advisor, “Data is now a key resource for your business, and if you don’t see it as a key resource for your business, someone will come along and take your business.”

Scary right? Now don’t go start to blaming technology. Knowledge is power right, and data and technology is your greatest weapon. So, make sure you manage and use it properly!

For us as Financial Advisors and Accountants the forces of technology are shaping our industry which can feel like disruption but really “it’s accelerating the empowerment of the consumers and providing more transparent price discovery in a cost-conscious role”, as said by David Haintz in Septembers Professional Planner.

However technology and data disruptors aren’t unique to the finance industry; we have seen the rise of Uber and fall of taxis, in hotels it has been Airbnb, recorded music has been transformed through Apple and Spotify, video has seen massive disruption in streaming services such as Netflix and in retail Amazon has taken out many established players.

Amazon have 50 per cent of the retail market in the US, but they aren’ complacent. “They’ve got masses and masses of data on everything” says Dr Paul Darby from Vorai Systems. This data provides unique information on their client’s patterns, behaviours, persuasions and more. Their client’s data is their biggest asset not only to their business now but also in the future.

If you don’t believe me, check out ‘The Great Hack’ on Netflix. Directed by Karmin Amer and Jahane Noujaim, this documentary begins as one man’s quest to see his personal data morphs into an investigation and expose that impacts democracy and the worlds future with insights into the recent US presidential election.

A common trend however in all industries is ultimately not the technology acting as a disruptor but rather aiding a solution in which traditional industries are not being client and customer centric forming the biggest threat to any business and industry.

As the late Steve Jobs said, “Technology is nothing. What’s important is that you have a faith in people, that they’re basically good and smart, and if you give them tools, they’ll do wonderful things with them.”

Here at PrimeAdvisory we like to be at the forefront of technology to keep you and your business on track. For more don’t be a stranger, give us a call on 9415 1511 or send us an email.

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The reality of your rental property

The reality of your rental property

Your rental yield could improve by 13 percent.

Have you got a rental property and overwhelmed at tax time knowing what you can and can’t claim? It’s not uncommon for landlords to feel this way with what makes sense in the real world often not making sense for the Australian Tax Office (ATO).

Tax deductions in general can only be made in the period that you rented the property or during the time it was genuinely on the market for rent and actively looking for a tenant. If you are renovating for example, then you may not be able to claim expenses during this period, with some exceptions. A few common problem areas include;

Interest on bank loans

Only the repayments for the investment are deductible and not the loan itself, with some exceptions.

The sharing economy

The deductions made for renting out a room are like that of a rental property with tax deductions claimable for expenses such as the interest on your home loan, professional cleaning, council, insurance etc. However, these need to be in proportion to the lease period and in proportion to proportion of your house rented.

Repairs or maintenance?

Currently the ATO is looking very closely at deductions claimed for repairs and maintenance and is an area of major confusion. Repairs and maintenance can often be claimed independently with the deduction for capital works spread over several years. Repairs are defined as the wear and tear of the property as a result of being tenanted such as replacing fence palings or fixing a broken toilet. However, if looking to replace a whole fence, water system, improvements and extensions this falls under capital works as it goes beyond the general wear and tear.

However, with that said Australia’s renovation industry is profiting from weakened economic conditions and tighter lending standards. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) December building activity data showed a 6.6 per cent increase in alterations and additions in 2018, with renovation spending in the December quarter alone reaching $2.27 billion.

This indicates homeowners and investors are seeking to improve capital values and increase rental income, rather than purchasing anew. According to Corelogic’s quarterly rental review for 2019, gross rental yields are currently sitting around 4 per cent. In some scenarios however, renovators can achieve a 13 per cent return on their renovation investment.

Sounds a lot right? Let’s look at a case study by BMT Tax Depreciation, where an investor completed a $60,000 renovation.

Investor X purchased a $410,000 residential property in January 2018, originally built in 2004 and producing a rental income of $18,720 a year ($360 per week), producing a rental yield of 4.6 per cent.

In 2018 Investor X installed a new kitchen and appliances, split system air conditioner, blinds, lights, carpets and bathroom.

Post-renovation the property was now worth $565,000 and the rental income is now $26,520 per year ($510 per week).

Prior to the renovation Investor X was experiencing an annual cash loss of $1,207. Now, they have increased their rental income by $150, achieving a 13 per cent yield to their renovation costs and have a positive cash flow of $5,261.

This example shows the dream, it is important to be aware of some tips and traps. Choosing which assets to install can make a huge difference to what can be claimed upon completion of the renovation. Investors should stick to a budget when selecting items as it is easy to overcapitalise.

 

If all this just got you more confused, don’t hesitate to speak to your PrimeAccountant and make your property work for you, 02 9415 1511 or email us.

 

 

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What’s the price of advice?

What’s the price of advice?

Financial advice is less about increasing a client’s wealth now and more about helping the individual; or family achieve the things that really matter to them.

The coming 25 years will be a transition as the Baby Boomers move to retirement. CoreData estimates $3.9 trillion of wealth to be transferred into the hands of younger generations. This wealth transfer is unprecedented in history. With the progress of technology and current landscape of the financial services market, “advice is less about increasing a clients wealth now and more about helping the individual or family achieve the things that really matter to them”, as said by Simon Hoyle in Septembers Professional Planner.

In a number of recent studies undertaken by CoreData it has been revealed that individuals who seek competent and professional financial advice and who act on it are healthier and happier with benefits of advice beyond financial issues. These include;

  1. A Comfortable Lifestyle

In case studies, a core goal was to maintain a desired level of spending and allowing for inflation, to ensure living standards do not drop. This was exceeded as clients enjoyed additional expenditure including holidays.

  1. More Superannuation

Through the implementation of curated advisor strategies, additional contributions were made to enable a tax-efficient superannuation resulting in healthier balances and more funds when needed.

  1. Optimised Allocation

Financial advisors provide value in optimising the allocation of assets by placing assets into more productive investments. Case studies proved clients to have more funds to spend on themselves and their families.

  1. Peace of Mind

With the assistance of advisors households are assured of a more protected financial situation even with unexpected events occurring allowing for a greater sense of security and less to worry about in life.

  1. Confidence

Individuals equipped with expert financial advice generally have more confidence to spend on their lifestyle and are more confident in their decisions.

  1. Reduced Stress

Research by CoreData found a lack of financial wellness creates huge emotional and social costs from lack of sleep to damaging relationships.

Want to know how we can support you or your family in doing and achieving what matters to you? Give us a call on (02) 9415 1511 or email us for your no obligation conversation.

 

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Burning out or perhaps burnt out?

Burning out or perhaps burnt out?

As part of acknowledging and participating in RUOK Day this year, the PrimeAdvisory team recently enjoyed a presentation from Wellness Coach, Dr Leanne Wall.  Dr Wall shared how to recognise when either ourselves or a fellow team member might not be ok.  Burning out is common among high-performers and can lead to anxiety and depression. In addition to presenting to our team, Dr Wall has kindly shared the article below to help us and our clients recognise and prevent burn-out to ensure we take care of our mental wellbeing. 

Today I met with my lovely client who has been juggling two fulltime senior roles for the last twelve months.  When the re-structure occurred, she was promised more resources and a level of team competency that would enable her to delegate.  Fast track 12 months and neither promise has been kept.  The organisation remains on a headcount freeze, and she is exhausted to the extent that I am worried about her physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.  She tells me her hair has been falling out for at least 6 months now and her skin has a chronic rash that flares up from week to week.  The sparkle in her eyes is gone, and her body oozes fatigue.  She was meant to talk to her boss a few weeks ago; however, equally busy, he appears disconnected from his team.  To say that my client is burnt out is an understatement.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has redefined burnout as a syndrome linked to long-term work stress.  Today burnout is a global phenomenon and according to the WHO comprises three elements: an overwhelming feeling of exhaustion, becoming detached from one’s job and a drop-in performance at work.

RUOK coffee cups each filled with $10 so staff members can take a colleague for a coffee and a chat
PrimeAdvisory’s special RUOK morning tea

So how can you tell if you are close to burnt-out?  Not quite there but almost? Because wouldn’t you agree to be waiting until you are already entirely burned out before you do something about it makes no sense at all. Let’s face it for any other illness you wouldn’t wait until it is too late.

“A lot of the signs and symptoms of pre-burnout would be very similar to depression,” says Siobhán Murray, a psychotherapist, based in County Dublin, Ireland, and the author of a book about burnout, The Burnout Solution. Murray suggests taking note of bad habits that are becoming the norm, such as increased alcohol consumption and relying on high sugar, fat and salty foods to get you through the day.  Not to mention feelings of tiredness that won’t go away no matter how much you sleep. “So that even if you do sleep well, by 10 in the morning, you’re already counting down the hours to bed. Or not having the energy to exercise or go for a walk.” As soon as you feel this way, go and see a doctor who can distinguish between the two, because burnout is still best dealt with by making lifestyle changes, while depression requires a different approach.

Wellness Coach, Dr Leanne Wall sharing the signs that might indicate someone is not ok

Overwhelming Exhaustion

So how do you figure out whether you are just having one of those hideously stressful months or are on the cusp of burnout?  Stress in manageable doses can make us perform at our peak; however, it is stress with no recuperation that can turn into burnout.  In his book Why Zebras don’t Get Ulcers, Robert Sapolsky says that our primitive stress response (aka our fight or flight response) was never designed to be switched on 24/7, instead only used in short bursts to get us out of danger.  The problem is that the threat we perceive today versus the danger when we were cavemen is vastly different.

Further, with our well-developed brains, humans don’t need a physical crisis to switch on their stress response but can do so by merely thinking about something that may go wrong, that hasn’t even happened and may never happen.  The impact of this on our body is enormous and can push us towards burnout.  If you find you are continually feeling exhausted and your energy reserves are at an all-time low, you need to take action and get some professional advice.

Cynicism Towards your Work

Feeling like your work has little value, saying no to socialising and becoming more sensitive to disappointments is another classic sign you may be inching towards burnout. “Someone on the brink will probably begin to feel emotionally numbed or mentally distant,” says Jacky Francis Walker, a psychotherapist based in London who specialises in burnout. “Like they can’t engage as much in the ordinary things of life.”

Reduced work performance

Walker also stresses looking for the third sign of burnout, which is the nagging feeling that the quality of your work is starting to slide. “People say ‘but this isn’t me!’, ‘I’m not like this’, ‘I can usually do x,y and z’. But obviously if they are in a state of physical depletion, then they aren’t in their normal range of capabilities,” says Walker.

For those scientists amongst us who find these symptoms a little too vague, have a look at the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI), a test which measures burnout.   The MBI-General survey is the most widely used, and measures exhaustion, cynicism, and how well you think you are doing at work.  Although this survey is generally used to diagnose burnout, it can be used to assess if you are getting close.

You’re pre-burnout: What’s next?

If ignored, burnout can wreak havoc on your health, happiness, relationships and job performance. So, catch and combat it early and here are some ways of how.

Serious Relaxation

Whether it be meditation, listening to music, reading a book or magazine, taking a walk or visiting with friends and family, genuinely think about what you need to do to relax, and schedule it in your day to ensure you make time for it.

Cultivate a Life Outside of Work

Find a hobby, sports or fitness activities or volunteering in the community, something that doesn’t involve work and that you are passionate about that’s challenging, engaging and really gets you going.  Where you can unwind and enjoy the moment.

Unplug that Device

While communication technology can promote productivity and ensure that we remain on top of things at work, it can also allow these stressors to permeate into family time, holidays and social activities. Be firm in setting boundaries by allocating certain times to check email at home and by turning your mobile off at dinner or not taking it to bed with you.

Sleep, Sleep, and more Sleep

Research suggests that fewer than six hours of sleep per night is a significant risk factor for burnout.  Poor sleep can negatively affect your job performance and productivity.  It can lead to fatigue, decreased motivation, make you more sensitive to stressful events, impair your mental function, leaves you more prone to making mistakes and makes it harder to juggle competing demands. We have also seen the reverse in that sleep improves memory and helps you better regulate your emotions.  Nothing like a sleepless night to make you cranky the next day.

Organise Your Life

People who are burnt out often spend time worrying that they will forget to action something or that something important will slip their mind. Get organised, clear your head, put together a to-do list (or an electronic task list) and then decide what needs to be tackled first. That way, you don’t have to wake up at 4am in the morning with a long to-do list running through your head.  You know you have systems in place to remind you.

Tune In To Your Body

There are important physical signs that may indicate that you might be under too much stress: an increase in headaches, tight shoulders, a stiff neck or more frequent stomach upset. You must stay tuned into how your body is feeling.  We know from research that when it comes to mental health, burnout can affect depression, and if you’re depressed, it can also affect your level of burnout—it goes both ways.  So, if the challenges you are tackling are severe and getting worse, you may need to seek professional help. Talk to a doctor or psychologist to get help as support from your family and friends may not be enough.

Is it Me or Is it Them? 

Burnout is sometimes a symptom of external factors like work.  In the first instance, make sure it is not because of an internal factor that you need to address.  You should ask yourself, “Where is this coming from?” so you can work out what causes your stress, and how to maintain your internal resources to keep yourself motivated, doing your best work and functioning well.

Some burnout really is work-related.  Cutting costs by hiring freezes, layoffs, cutting work hours can cause massive stress in the system.  Owning your own business and having the responsibility of employees on your shoulders can create huge pressure.  There are often two components that contribute to burnout: too many demands and too few resources.  Assess if it is time to move on, figure out whether your role is a mismatch between what you need and what you are getting from working in that particular business.

When is Enough, Really Enough?

If you have tried everything within your power to make changes at work; however, the organisation is not willing to meet you halfway, is it time to move on?  Talk to your manager or HR about access to counselling services, mental health benefits or stress management training. Perhaps it is about improving communication and creating a better work environment. Emphasise how those cultural shifts will enable you to continue to serve the company and become an even better employee.

At the end of the day, life is not a dress rehearsal!  And if we are not living the life we want because we are exhausted, not connecting with the people that we love because we can’t face another conversation at the end of the day and not liking ourselves for the way we show up in our life every day, then do something about it.

I ask my client in a concerned voice ‘How long are you going to do this for?” She says quietly “I am done!” On the one hand, I feel a sense of relief for her but on the other hand I think “What a damn shame, for her career, her team and the organisation.”  She has a meeting with her boss tomorrow, confirmed in the diary.  She plans to lay out the ultimatum of ‘Keep your promises, or I am gone.’  I hope for her sake, she does.

Dr Leanne Wall is a Wellness Coach with over two decades of hands-on leadership experience in the corporate healthcare industry in Australia, New Zealand and the Asia Pacific.

Leanne has first-hand knowledge of the significant work pressures we can sometimes face working in a fast-paced corporate environment and through her personal experience of burnout in her career, understands the critical importance of managing work-related stress in a timely and effective way and knowing when to ask for help.

Leanne is passionate about increasing awareness of the importance of proactively and deliberately focusing on our health (mentally, physically and emotionally) and that this responsibility lies not only with the individual but at all levels of an organisation.

Leanne focuses on empowering managers with the knowledge, skills and resources to be great role models for managing their own stress and creating a psychologically safe work environment where team members feel comfortable to raise their hands if they are struggling.

With authenticity and humour, Leanne uses her medical and counselling background, together with neuroscience and evidence-based research to generate crisp insights into the acute stress response and how this can help and hinder our performance, both in our professional and personal lives.

Leanne can be contacted via email at leanne1wall@gmail.com

 

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