Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Toads of Opportunity!

Cane Toads were introduced into Australia to control a beetle that was destroying Sugar Cane plantations.  The Cane Toads were a success, in fact they were so successful they are now a ferral pest that is responsible for killing a great deal of local wildlife.  Their rapid breeding makes it virtually impossible to control the population which traditionally has been in Northern parts of Australia but is spreading further and further south.

I came across this article in todays news online, it makes for some interesting reading.  Who knows maybe we will all be investing in Toad harvesting in the very near future!

China eager for our cane toads.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Okay, you've navigated the perils of child rearing and managed to reach the golden shores of freedom.....that is to say the kids are now adults and you can finally relax a little and enjoy your new found freedom. As your relaxing one afternoon in the new spa with a bottle of bubbly the phone rings, there has been an accident............

After an anxious discussion about who, what, when, where, you come to discover that your middle child aged 21, who twice attempted to fly from the garage roof at age 6 with only the aid of a superman outfit has just injured himself whilst trying to stage dive off a speaker at a music festival.

You then proceed to the hospital still in your cossies & towel to the emergency department.

The news is not good, there is possible spinal damage and they need to do more tests. You pace the floor at the hospital, and fuss over your 21 year old like they were that 6 year old boy again while fighting the urge to hit him gently but firmly around the ear and tell him what an idiot he is.

After many hours of waiting and testing the news is not so bad, he has a fracture in a vertebrae but no damage to the spinal cord and broken his collar bone.

Relief at the news soon turns to anxiety again when it is discovered your little cherub has no health insurance, no income protection, a mountain of debt & the prospect of a rather large medical bill and will soon be leaving the hospital to enter into your care....again!

Weeks pass, recovery is going slow - you have had to take all your holidays just to nurse him and ferry him to and from doctors appointments. The cost of rehab is expensive and you need to borrow against the mortgage to help him out as saving has never been his strong suit (you really should have spent more time on that one).

Finally he is well again and can go back to work, but unfortunately they have had to let him go so they could employ someone to do his job.

So there is a few more weeks of convalescence for his ego while he gets over the rejection of unsuccessful job interviews. Then like a miracle he comes home one day, six months after his accident and announces he has a new job that starts Monday and will be moving out (again) in the next couple of weeks.

While you and your partner celebrate the return of your freedom (again) you begin to dwell on how this beloved son has turned your lives upside down.

Retirement was planned in 5 years, possibly an extended holiday in Europe and a year on the road seeing our great country, but after the medical bills and servicing your son's car loan & credit card debt for the last six months you now need to work at least another 3 to 5 years to service your retirement, maybe even longer.


It's funny, we teach our kids how to play cricket, how to drive even how to cook and use a washing machine but we somehow overlook the important stuff like how to save money, how to budget, how to protect themselves financially from accidents and illness, how to apply for health cover.

Take time when your kids are leaving home or going off to work to talk to them about their finances, health cover, personal insurance, home insurance etc it might just save your retirement fund!