Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Article by Anthony Brodie Dip FP, AIMM, JP  Certified Financial Planner

1. Know what your goals/objectives are:
The first thing to ask yourself is, what are you trying to achieve?  This will have a vital bearing on the types of investments you should choose.  Are you investing to increase your income now, or is your aim to achieve capital accumulation for the future?  Or maybe something in between?

 2. Know your time frame:
Are you investing to buy a home in 2 or 3 years, or do you want to build up assets for your retirement over 10 to 20 years?  The assets that a prudent investor would select as short-term investments are quite different from those that would be selected for long-term investments.

The long term investor can take risk of having more funds invested in volatile investments like shares, because any downturn will in time have an upswing.  However, the short term investor who invested ins shares may be faced with a depressed market at precisely the time when the funds are needed.  Generally speaking, to get the best results you should aim to invest for the medium to long term if you you are investing in growth investments such as shares and property.

3. Know your risk tolerance:
It's no good choosing high risk/high return investments if you are going to lie awake at night worrying about them.  Be realistic and take a sensible approach based on your goals and time frame/s.  Do not expect a high return if you have all your funds invested in mostly fixed interest and cash.  This is one area where real assistance is required.

4. Diversify:
Don't put all your eggs into one basket, in other words diversify your investments by spreading them between an appropriate number of experience investment managers and the major asset classes (ie shares, property, cash, short term securities, fixed interest securities).  Usually all markets don't move in the same way at the same time, so if one asset class experiences a decline, chances are that the other classes will generally maintain their value.

5. Develop a strategy:
If an investment strategy has been based on quality advice, it will be appropriate for your circumstances for many years and won't need to be altered if market conditions change.  A common mistake is to forget about the strategy when market conditions change, that is some investors seeing the share market moving up are tempted to move all their money into shares.  If shares fall they then want to sell.  These investors try to time their investments to match turning points in the market and very often they only achieve the opposite.  Investors who sell when the market falls often only succeed in crystallising a loss.  Because they are out of the market chances are that they may miss the next rally. There is an old saying "It's not timing in the market that matters, but time in the market that counts".

6. Always seek good advice:
Always talk to an experienced and qualified Financial Planner about an investment strategy that will suit your circumstances.  The time he spends in reviewing your financial objectives, discussing your options and developing your investment strategy will probably be the best investment you ever make. 

Disclaimer: This article is no substitute for financial or investment advice and should not be read as such nor relied upon as such. You should seek your own professional advice tailored to your individual investment objectives, financial situation and particular needs.

If you would like further information or would like to arrange an appointment with Anthony Brodie by calling mobile 0425 234 234.

Thursday, April 22, 2010


A photo story exhibition .....Women with Cancer. Photographed by Edward Cross

This week I attended the Newcastle Business Club lunch.  Edward Cross or Eddie as his friends refer to him spoke briefly about the upcoming charity event that he has organised to help raise funds for the Hunter Medical Research Institute.

Eddie has been an accomplished local photographer in Newcastle for many years.  About 5 years ago he was involved in an accident and suffered a brain injury.  He lost his home and nearly his business while trying to recover.  Eddie's friends and colleagues rallied the community to help him out and he with a lot of hard work on his part and help from his friends and community recovered.  As a result of his experience he is now committed to helping others.  His story is truly inspirational and his message is simple, don't take anything for granted and live a full life.

This exhibition focus's on the stories of 10 women who were diagnosed with Cancer and their journey's.  The exhibition will be opened by Jodi McKay MP on Friday May 7th 2010 at 6.15pm and will run until June 1st 2010 at the King & Parry Gallery, 154 Parry Street Newcastle. Entry is free but there is a wishing well set up to take any donation you can make.

Wayne W Lennan Financial Services is proud to sponsor such a moving and potentially life changing event.  I would urge all of you to try and find some time to attend and to give what you can!

Click here for more details

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Article by Chris Ryan of Chris Ryan Legal
Level 1 14 Church Street, Newcastle, NSW 2300

DISCLAIMER: This article is no substitute for legal advice and should not be read as such.  A will should only be prepared by a qualified solicitor after taking instructions regarding your own personal situation.

What is a Will?
A will is a legal document that sets out what happens to your real and personal property when you die.
To be valid it must satisfy certain requirements according to legislation and it should be tailored to your own personal circumstances.

Recently I bought 5 business shirts from a department store. The shirts were made by 3 different manufacturers. The sizes and fit were different for each manufacturer.  I used to think that size 44 was size 44 and that was that!  One brand I had bought previously and those shirts fit fine, the other's didn't.

In my laziness I didn't try the other shirts on, nor did I ask the salesperson for help, I thought I knew best.  Had I asked for help and tried the shirts before I bought them, I would have saved time in the long run and received a proper fit, first time.

There are no guarantees that the sizing or style of shirts won’t have changed the next time I buy a bunch of shirts. The risk of cutting corners with the shirts was not that great since the downside was either a second trip to the store for an exchange or putting up with a shirt that didn’t quite fit right. The risk of not getting your Will right is much more significant and it is your family which pays the price.

What happens when there is no Will?
If you die without a Will you die wholly intestate. If you have an otherwise valid Will and a gift in your Will fails, you may die partially intestate.

An intestate estate is distributed according to a regime set out in legislation. Under this formula, the entitlement to estate property works its way down from a surviving spouse through a chain of blood relations and if there are no relatives, the State of New South Wales gets it.

I recently had an inquiry from a relative by marriage of a 96 year old lady who passed away after all her beneficiaries and other blood relatives had died- she therefore died intestate and the State reaped the win fall as there were no other qualified beneficiaries.

No one need die wholly or partially intestate. A properly drafted Will which is revised at proper intervals can ensure that people or organisations of your choosing can benefit from your wealth.

Research has indicated that about 40% of Australian adults do not have a Will.

Why have a Will?

• To take control over how your Estate is distributed after you die.

• To avoid unintended beneficiaries receiving a share of your Estate (such as a former spouse, estranged child, or in some cases even the Government).

• To properly provide for your dependents (particularly if you have dependants from different relationships).

• To control the proportion of the distribution of your Estate (for example if you have given significant financial assistance to one of your children in your lifetime and believe that this advance gift should be taken into account with respect to the gifts to your children in your Will).

• You can nominate a guardian for your children.

• You can create a trust for your heirs so that your Estate can provide an income over time.

• Exploit certain tax advantages.

• You can make a gift to your Church or favourite charity.

What about a Will Kit?
Let me address the issue of Will Kits. A properly completed D.I.Y Will contained in the approved kits is perfectly valid but is it going to do what you want it to do? Sometimes what we think we want is not always practical, possible or desirable. What a Will kit won’t do:

• Advise you of all your options;

• Answer your questions in a way that makes sense and is relevant to you;

• Explain the operation of your Will so that you understand it properly;

• Help you choose an executor;

• Explain issues concerning superannuation and asset protection;

• Raise other relevant and significant issues which may not directly affect the operation of your Will, but may still have a significant impact on your family’s financial welfare after you die.

In extreme situations not having a proper Will can result in hardship to family members, significant reduction or wasting of assets and significant litigation against your estate.

The majority of Wills I prepare for my clients are what lawyers call “simple” Wills. These Wills are “simple” because the net Estate (after payment of debts) is left to one or more persons equally (sometimes a simple trust might be created for infant beneficiaries). This format, as it turns out, is satisfactory in most circumstances. All of my clients though who end up signing a simple Will after going through the process of considering their personal circumstances where I discuss with them the various issues which may arise and what their objectives are for their Will. Often this process involves conferring with other professional advisers (for example a financial planner and/or accountant). Sometimes a simple Will format is inappropriate. At the end of the process my goal is to have my clients understand the way their Will works and that this understanding gives them comfort and empowerment that their family, friends, church or charity will be properly provided for in accordance with their wishes after they die.

Getting back to the shirts for a moment, think of getting a qualified solicitor to prepare your Will as not just asking for help but going one better and getting the tailor involved- you get something which fits your needs.

There is no reason why all adults should not have a valid Will. If you don’t have a Will, there is no reason to wait- the best time is now. If you have a trusted family solicitor I encourage you to speak to them about either preparing or updating you Will if you haven’t done so in the last 4-5 years. Getting a Will prepared is as easy as talking with a solicitor.

If you would like to discuss with me any issue surrounding the making of a Will or like to have your existing Will reviewed, please do not hesitate to call me for a confidential obligation free chat on 0406913100.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

CANCER - Australia's biggest killer

1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women will be diagnosed with some form of cancer in their lifetime.

What is Cancer?
Cancer is a disease of the body's cells.  A healthy cell will grow and multiply in a way that is controlled according to it's genetic blueprint but some cells can change and that control can be lost.  The word cancer is given to a collection of these cells.

A Personal Story by Christie Birch

Just about everyone I know has been affected by cancer in some way.  In my own experience our family has been affected more than once.

My Mother was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma when she was just 26 years old.  She had 3 kids under the age of 8, had never smoked and lived a pretty healthy lifestyle.  She spent nearly 12 months travelling to and from Sydney for treatment as there were no facilities here in Newcastle.  She was in fourth stage which meant very little to me as a kid, I just knew that the doctor's were going to make her better because that is what doctors do.  In reality my Mum was very ill, the cancer had spread and the odds for long term survival were not good.  Fortunately the doctor's worked their miracles and Mum put up the fight for her life and in her words there was some divine intervention.  26 years later she is still cancer free and has seen the marriage of her kids and the births of her grand kids.

Shortly after Mum's recovery my Grandfather was diagnosed with stomach cancer. Doctor's said that the cancer had gone to far and that there was nothing they could do.  They gave him 12 months to live but only 3 weeks after his diagnosis at the age of 61 he died.  He was one of three brothers who all died before the age of 62 of cancer.

During my highschool years my best friend's brother was diagnosed with testicular cancer at age 15.  Due to the embaressing nature of his symptoms he never sought treatment until the size of the tumour became physically obvious.  By the time he saw a doctor the cancer had spread to his lungs, his stomach and his kidneys.  He was given only a 5% chance of surviving beyond 5 years.  He started aggresive treatment and everyone started praying for a miracle.  He went into remission and is now aged 34 but still lives with the constant fear that the cancer could return at any time.

Next my family suffered the loss of my Uncle and my other Grandfather both succumbing to prostate cancer.  Shortly after this my father inlaw was diagnosed with prostate cancer also.  He decided to not take any chances, they had detected it early and he opted to have his prostate removed.  There was no evidence of cancer anywhere else in his body and so is living proof that early detection works.

Yesterday my Husband and I received a phone call from his Mother.  She had a skin cancer removed from her nose a few months ago and had a follow up biopsy done last week.  The news is not good, they didn't get all of the cancer and she now faces the possibility that the cancer has gone too far.  So we go back to our prayers that have helped in the past and pray that the news will be good.

I could go on and on with the names of friends who have been affected and those who we have lost and I am sure that as many of you read this you will take a moment to remember and honour those whom you know have been affected by cancer.

THERE IS GOOD Australia today 60% of all cancer diagnosis will be effectively treated.

1. Live a healthy lifestyle - prevention is better than a cure so don't smoke, avoid too much alcohol, eat a healthy diet, get some exercise and cover up when you are out in the sun.
2. Check yourself - be aware of any changes in your body and get to the doctor's as soon as possible if you notice anything unusual.  Early detection is paramount to your survival rate.
3. Support research - medical research costs millions of dollars every year.  There are a number of great organisations that raise money for this purpose.  Please support by giving what you can, you never know it just might be you or your loved ones that will be saved by a break through!

May 7th 2010 from 9.30am
Lifestyle House Boardroom - 671 Hunter Street Newcastle
RSVP by May 5th 2010