Our health in times of uncertainty.

Our health in times of uncertainty.

Our work and personal lives can be stressful at the best of times. Enter Covid-19 and everyday challenges can feel enormous, particularly for those of us who have underlying mental and physical health challenges. We know from research that high levels of stress and sustained unpredictability can worsen our mental health. If there is no opportunity to recuperate, our physical health can also take a beating. Calls to Beyond Blue have gone up 30% in recent months and given 1 in 3 related to Covid-19, points to the current levels of anxiety and worry out there.

Humans have highly evolved brains; however, our primitive brain continues to serve its primary role of keeping us safe.  It has no idea we are living in 2020, it simply wants to keep us alive by running from perceived danger.  Physical and psychological stressors cause our primitive brain, more specifically the amygdala (aka our built-in danger detectors) to switch on. The Covid-19 pandemic is a significant physical stressor. Coupled with psychological stressors such as uncertainty, loss of control, loss of predictability, and the perception that things are worsening, it is not surprising that most of us are feeling some level of stress.

And if we think about it, there was very little time to prepare for all this change. No six-month change management plan to ensure the disruption to people was minimised.  No project plan with objectives and milestones to execute before Covid-19 was coughed on our shores. In fact, one day, I was the only person in the family working from home, peace beautiful peace, and the next day there were four little vegemite’s under one roof.

So, what can we do to manage some of the unique and ongoing challenges we are facing you may ask? Here goes…

CHAOS AND ROUTINE 

Many of us moved to work at home fulltime with little, or no notice. There was no adjustment period. Looking for the ideal work-station in the dining-room, home-schooling our kids and living under the same roof, 24/7 became a reality. To cut through this chaos, creating a routine is crucial. Our brains love routine and so focusing on regular sleep times, meal-times, break times and generally structuring the day makes it ‘feel safe’ and our stress response calms down.

UNHEALTHY HABITS AND SELFCARE

It is so easy to get into the habit of ordering takeaways, reaching for sugary snacks in the pantry cupboard and grazing all day when we are at home. Not to mention reaching out for the wine glass at 5pm and binge-watching Netflix until midnight. It takes discipline to proactively institute self-care strategies and combat our unhealthy habits. Daily exercise, cleaning up our sleep routine, eating well and drinking lots of water are vital areas to focus on. Our bodies and minds will thank us in the long run.

BRAIN FOG AND CREATING CALM

Some days we may feel that we can’t even think straight or make a simple decision. Staring at a computer all day and being on back-to-back zoom calls can make us feel mentally foggy. Relaxation techniques such as mindfulness, yoga and meditation can help create some calm in our day and ground us in the present. Creating structure, focusing on today’s tasks versus a long to-do-list, and putting the TV off can also help clear the fog.

REACTING AND PUSHING PAUSE

When we are stressed, we tend to be more emotional. It is that pesky primitive brain again wanting to run screaming at the top of its voice to make sure we stay out of danger. There is no time to think and rationalise that it is 2020, and we live in a first-world country. Many of my clients have reported being more impatient, easily frustrated and less tolerant over the last few months. Before our emotions get out of control, we need to push the pause button.

This provides an opportunity to calm down and get our thinking brain back in the driver’s seat. Given our emotional centre can hijack our thinking brain, managing our emotions when they are still at low intensity is critical.  Particularly if we want to successfully coax our anger down.

LONELINESS AND CONNECTION

There is a lot of research showing that loneliness can be detrimental to our mental health. If we are feeling isolated, pick up the phone and connect with family, friends or the local community. There are also several helplines that we can call (Lifeline on 13 11 14). And don’t forget to look out for those who may be on their own and have limited support. Take the time to check in with them to see if they are OK.

OXYGEN MASK AND PUTTING IT ON FIRST

Selfcare is not optional. Just like breathing through an oxygen mask in a flight emergency isn’t a nice to have.  Focusing on our emotional, mental and physical health is mandatory and should be at the top of our list. We should look after ourselves daily, and not reserve it for the weekends or those annual vacations under palm trees sipping shocking pink cocktails. You get my drift as my father used to say.

So let me ask you, where does self-care appear on your to-do-list? If towards the bottom, then wake up, smell the coffee and do something about it.  If in contrast it is a scrawled one liner in the top three, then keep up the excellent work!

Read More
A key player on and off the field.

A key player on and off the field.

This month we share how PrimeWealth’s Senior Advisor, Angus Rodgers, has contributed to his community while doing what he loves. Since the age of ten Angus has been playing AFL and his love for the game continues today.

Angus began playing AFL at school before playing reserve grade for the Sydney Swans and has since played for Macquarie University for the past 10 years. He has been a key player on the field winning the competition’s best and fairest ‘Snow Medal’ in 2016. He is a team player and currently participating with his club in the push-up challenge for mental health commenting, “as COVID is presenting many challenges, one being we cannot train at all, it is a great way to check on your mates.”

Off the field, Angus has also been a key player at Macquarie University AFL as both a committee member for 3 years before contributing to the club at an executive level for 2 years. Angus assisted in ensuring the long-term viability of the club and establishing an inclusive culture for its 150 players, 5 teams, stakeholders, coaches and more. He was crucial in securing long term sponsorships and creating a diverse portfolio of funding to ensure the clubs 150 members, female and male alike can continue to play the sport they love. Angus is most proud of the clubs Woman’s premier team who won the premiership last year and has formed a strong relationship with the GWS Giants. He says, “It is awesome to see Woman’s AFL growing the way it is”.

Angus has been a key player on and off the field and the team at PrimeAdvisory commend Angus on his service to the community. We wish him and the club all the best for the interesting season ahead!

Read More
Six questions to get you thinking about your own self-care.

Six questions to get you thinking about your own self-care.

Selfcare is all about being proactive and deliberate about our health and wellbeing, physically, mentally and emotionally. If we plan what we need to do on a daily basis and take a few minutes each morning to think about what we are going to focus on, we will keep our energy tanks full. In this video, Dr Leanne Wall will explore six ‘quarantine’ self-care questions we can ask ourselves every day and if actioned, will keep us on track to feeling great physically, emotionally and mentally!

Enjoy, https://vimeo.com/412613252/973488bd32

View the six daily selfcare questions handout here.

Read More
Mortgage advice from our new referral partner.

Mortgage advice from our new referral partner.

Over the years at PrimeAdvisory we have tried different structures to deliver a mortgage solution to all clients.  We have employed mortgage brokers, we have referred directly to banks and referred to third-party mortgage businesses.  After a successful trial period we are now introducing Loan Market Lower North Shore (LMLNS) as our preferred referral partner for all your mortgage needs.   

Loan Market is part of the White Family Group (who also own Ray White) and has been family owned for the past 23 years.  LMLNS is headed by Matt Clayton and his team.  Matt has been involved in the industry since 1999 and he and has team have the expertise to guide you through these interesting times and beyond.  Here is an article from them highlighting a few of the options available in the current climate.   If you do require help please don’t hesitate to call Matt on 0414 877 333. 

  

We are here to help answer all your mortgage needs.  

What’s a payment deferral?
This is also known as a mortgage holiday but don’t let the name fool you, this is no holiday. If you’ve been stood down, lost your job and cannot afford to pay mortgage repayments, you have the ability to enact a payment deferral. This is when a lender defers your repayments for a period of time. 

Every lender has their own rules and requirements on these payment deferrals. It’s important to know that at some point you will be required to pay the interest that accrued while the loan was deferred. For example, some lenders will add the amount you owe to the end of your loan and some will charge immediately after the payment deferral is off hold.  

Also, after the deferral, your balance and your repayments could be higher to make up for the interest accrued deferred repayments. 

What happens to the principal if repayments are frozen?
When a payment deferral on an existing mortgage is activated, it means that a lender will defer your required mortgage repayments for a specific period of time. Although your repayments are deferred, the interest on your loan is still calculated and added to the balance. In effect you’re paying interest on interest. 

So, when you recommence repayments your lender will recalculate your repayments so you repay the loan in the original term. This ultimately means your repayments will rise. However, there are options available to refinance after the payment deferral period, which could help to reduce repayments and increase the term of your loan, giving you a bit more flexibility.  

How do I get hardship assistance? 
First things first, while it’s important to understand what your options are in these difficult times, I urge you not to panic and spend hours on hold to your lender. Let’s look into your options first, I can help you navigate and understand what your options are during this time of financial hardship that many Australians are facing.  

Why refinance?* Is it complicated?  
There are many factors that you need to consider when looking to refinance. A few reasons you might want to refinance are:  

  • Take advantage of the recent RBA cut
    Now might be the right time to see if we can find a more competitive rate that is suited to your current needs. A lower interest rate could result in lower interest costs and might just save you a heap of savings over the life of your loan. 
  • After some new loan features?
    There could be a bundle of features that could give you more power over your finances when you refinance your mortgage. It might be the new rates that could save you money or the option to repay your loan faster without having to pay penalty charges. Some loans won’t charge you a monthly account fee or a fee for withdrawing money when you need it. 
  • Keen to tap into your home equity?*
    If you need some extra funds but don’t want to dip into your emergency funds or savings account you could tap into your home equity instead. Now, the line of credit your equity can get you depends on two things – The amount you’ve repaid on your mortgage and the value of your home. The benefits? You might be able to save on costs compared to other types of loans, start your home renovation or use the extra funds to help with your current circumstances. 

Is now a good time to fix my rate?*
There is no easy answer to this question, as it depends on your situation and your financial goals. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of fixing your rate:  

  • Pros: Fixed rates prevent the risk of your repayments increasing due to a rise in interest rates and your repayments will stay the same for a set period. 
  • Cons: Fixed rates are usually higher than variable rates, but now as rates are continuing to decrease, there could be associated fees and costs for breaking your fixed rate if you chose to refinance.  

Refinance vs payment deferral?
A common question I get asked is whether to refinance or if a payment deferral is the way to go. There are a few different options which all depend on your current situation and financial needs. I can help answer any questions you may have around this to see what the right option is for you.  

What are the options as a landlord?
Your tenants may be going through some financial hardship at the moment and may not be able to afford paying their rent, I can help:  

  • Negotiate payment deferral options for your mortgage  
  • Discuss hardship options  
  • Refinance or reprice to get a more competitive rate 
  • Outline the costs of switching and not switching  

What are the options if I’m a small business owner?  

The JobKeeper Payment, has been set up by the Australian Government to provide a temporary wage subsidy available to eligible employers. This subsidy relates to current employees who were employed by the employer on 1 March 2020.  

It will allow businesses impacted by COVID-19 to access a fortnightly wage subsidy of $1,500 for a maximum of 6 months. Generally, to qualify businesses will need to demonstrate a drop in revenue by at least 30 percent. 

Want to chat about your options? Let’s talk and I’ll see how I can help.   

Please contact Matt Clayton on +61 414 877 333 or visit their website here. 

*Disclaimer: Any refinancing/access to home equity is subject to lender imposed terms and conditions including but not limited to loan serviceability, valuations and confirmed capacity to service both any existing and revised lending arrangements. **This document has been created by Loan Market Pty Ltd (ABN 89 105 230 019, Australian Credit Licence no. 390222). It provides an overview or summary only and it should not be considered a comprehensive statement on any matter.You should before acting in reliance upon this information seek independent professional lending or taxation advice as appropriate specific to your objectives, financial circumstances or needs. Information included has been sourced from third parties and has not been independently verified. Accordingly, Loan Market Pty Ltd is not in any way responsible for nor provides any warranty express or implied as to its accuracy or relevance. 

Read More
Personal finances post COVID-19.

Personal finances post COVID-19.

We are going to come out of this COVID era with a new set of rules.  We have been forced into these rules by isolation, some we have put off for years and some we never thought we would need to learn.  Many of these practices have just had the COVID torch shone on them and they are scurrying.  Here are the changes we think are here to stay. 

Online Banking 

Take for example all those who have resisted online banking for a variety of reasons and or fears.  Granted this has generally been the older population but not solely. Over the years they have continued to stand in queues at banks, use cheque books and send cash in envelopes for birthdays.  During isolation we have been forced to sign up to online banking to enable payments, transfers and shopping and now many of us are reveling in paying bills, shopping with Amazon and transferring money online.  Learn to love your bank online, branches will become a thing of the past. 

Cash is no longer king. 

Well, having access to cash is still definitely king but using it to purchase items has changed.  Going to the ATM or the bank and filling up your wallet for the week, with that folding stuff, is practice that we have been urged to abolish.  Shopping online from home and retailers forcing us to tap and go has changed the way it the way we pay.  If for whatever reason you do need to get cash it will be different.  

There was a time not too long ago when we were impressed by touch screens and all they enabled us to do. COVID has made most of us hyper-aware of every touchable surface that could transmit the disease, so in a post-COVID world, it is expected that we’ll have fewer touch screens and more voice interfaces and eventually machine vision interfaces.  Get ready to be recognized by your friendly ATM and having conversations with inanimate objects. 

Mojo (emergency) bucket to become the norm. 

With the increase in online shopping and the disappearance of cash as a limiter on what we spend, knowing and sticking to a budget becomes vital.  The “spend whatever you earn and then just use your credit card philosophy” is a definite practice of the past.  This is a practice that has thousands of families in dire straits today.  Those who have been living from pay cheque to pay cheque are vowing to themselves never again. As in most times of financial hardship the Australian household savings rate increases, and I am guessing it will be the same again this time around.  But how best to do this?     

For those who have not read Scott Pape’s book the Barefoot Investor and his 9 steps to financial freedom, here is a look at his bucket philosophy.  Divide your monthly income into 3 buckets:  

  • Blow bucket – for daily expenses, your budgeted items and the occasional splurge. 
  • Mojo bucket – to provide emergency funds of at least 3 months living expenses. 
  • Grow bucket – to build long term wealth and total security. 

The Mojo (emergency) bucket is what we all need to build to ensure financial stability in the years ahead.  Set the bucket philosophy in place now and be ready for anything that this world can throw at you. If you do want to take it further and follow all of Scott’s steps, then check them out here. 

https://barefootinvestor.com/barefoot-steps/ 

This strategy is not for everyone and has been provided as general information only and prepared without taking into account your financial position, objectives, and needs. You should consider its appropriateness and seek financial advice before making any financial decisions. 

Read More

SIGN UP

For our free e-newsletter

TAKE A HEALTH CHECK

For our free e-newsletter

Personal