Finance

5 Daily Steps to Wellbeing

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As financial advisers, we help guide people through our fair share of stressful situations. So, as a team, we’ve made a commitment to prioritise wellbeing. And here are five simple steps to help boost your wellbeing today.

 

I have worked for Velocity for a few years now and have slowly learnt the importance of looking after my wellbeing, both at work and at home. Life is rather hectic (juggling three kids, a full time job, and Brendon) so I’ve put in place some strategies to ensure I look after myself and stay sane in the workplace.

 

The Mental Health Foundation recommends we incorporate five elements into our daily lives to improve our overall wellbeing. So I’ve taken these on board and try to follow these every day.

 

So, here are my five daily steps to wellbeing!

 

5. Be Active

I get up at 5am and go to the gym each morning. Starting the day with exercise   leaves me feeling good for the rest of the day and I tend to eat better throughout the day too!

 

Then it’s yoga in the evenings to unwind and de-stress. I aim to do at least 10,000 steps a day on my Fitbit, too, which often means taking breaks to walk around the block throughout the day. You may find both myself and Stevie walking around the office, looking at our watches, to get our steps up!

 

4. Give           

Each week I aim to do two good deeds, whether it’s donating to the local food bank or dedicating my time to someone who needs help. I make sure it’s something I want to do and have time for, so that I don’t end up feeling resentful. Doing something for others makes me feel good.

 

3. Learn        

I’m always trying to learn something new, both at work and at home. I try to set myself a fitness challenge as well as a learning challenge each month. I’m currently trying to master the “side crow” pose in yoga. Not easy! According to mentalhealth.org.nz, adult learning (which includes goal-setting) is proven to be strongly associated with higher levels of wellbeing.

 

2. Connect    

I try and catch up with friends as often as I can—even if it’s just for a quick walk or a cup of coffee. In the past, I’ve been too busy to fit it all in, so I am making a habit of fostering relationships and ensuring I allocate them the time they need.

 

1. Take Notice

Each day I think of one thing I am grateful for.

 

For further information head to mentalhealth.org.nz

How much do Mortgage Advisers get Paid?

Let’s peel back the curtain to see what’s really going on inside your favourite mortgage brokerage: How do we get paid? How much do we get paid? Why do we recommend one bank over another?

 

We have hit the headlines this week. Banks, insurance companies and advisers (i.e. us) are in the spotlight in Australia and NZ. One of the issues raised was how and how much we get paid. It is fair to say there are some interesting conversations going on in our world at the moment.

 

At Velocity we pride ourselves in doing the best possible job for you and giving you advice that is best for you. Apparently that isn't that common in financial services.

 

We currently get paid a commission from the banks and insurance companies with whom we place your business.

 

When we first meet you, we disclose how much all our providers pay us, even though there is no obligation for us to do so. Yes, each provider pays us slightly differently, so all we can do is explain that. It is also up to us to give you solid reasons why we recommend each product and company we use. 

 

We've just done a quick tally up and below you’ll see the percentages of business we have placed at all the home loan lenders we use (based on numbers of new settlements).

 

As you can see, it is "horses for courses". We don't have favourites. All the banks have their place and all our clients are different.

 

We try hard to operate with maximum transparency. Always feel free to ask us to justify our recommendations, as we want you to have confidence that we are doing a good job and working in your interest.

 

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ANZ: 34%

BNZ: 16%

ASB: 15%

Sovereign Home Loans: 12%

Westpac: 11%

TSB: 2%

The Cooperative Bank: 1%

Non-Bank Lenders (Avanti, Liberty, BlueStone, Resimac): 9%

 

Brendon Ojala is a Registered Financial Adviser with Velocity Financial. No investment decision should be taken based on the information in this blog alone. A disclosure statement is available free of charge upon request.

Fixed vs Floating: New Year, New Interest Rates?

Starting off 2019, interest rates are staying low but the Reserve Bank may have a trick up its sleeve that could have a downstream influence on the great fix versus float debate. Brendon explains.

 

There has been some post-Christmas sharpening of home loan interest rates. 

You will see a 3.99 per cent for one-year and two-year loans currently being advertised. This normally applies for "main bank", owner-occupied clients (in other words, not for low deposits or investor-only clients).

 

From an economic perspective, there doesn't seem to be any upward pressure on these rates for 2019. Interestingly enough, the only pressure that may come to bear is a potential Reserve Bank/government regulation requiring banks to hold more capital.

 

The Reserve Bank has suggested that the percentage of "money [that] banks have in hand per amount of loans outstanding" may need to increase to better protect the banking system from any economic shocks (known as capital adequacy ratios). If this is implemented, it will effectively increase banks’ running costs. Unless the shareholders are willing to take lower returns (??!!), then the customer will pay—at banks, this means increases in interest rates.

 

So, should you fix or float?

 

Securing an interest rate under four per cent isn't bad!

 

Up until now, most of our clients have been fixing for one year because that was the lowest rate and because the expectation was rates would stay low for another year, giving time to re-fix in a year for a still low rate. 

 

The only spanner in the works to this approach is the possibility of the above regulatory change, which still remains to be seen. The potential for changes introduces some uncertainty to the mix and some of our clients may choose to minimise that risk by fixing for two years, at what is now a great two-year rate.

 

Be aware that all clients won't get that exact rate, as it is case-by-case, bank-by-bank. If you have good equity, you should be getting close. Note also that everyone is different, so how long you fix your loan for may be different than the next person.

 

Also note that it is often wise to keep some flexibility. Channelling any cash surplus to your home loan in a smart way can surprise many with the difference it can make.

 

We can work that all out for you.

 

Brendon Ojala is a Registered Financial Adviser with Velocity Financial. No investment decision should be taken based on the information in this blog alone. A disclosure statement is available free of charge upon request.