Knowledge Centre

August 3, 2020

Stop me, please!!

A recent article in Financial Standard ( ) based on data from Colonial First State has again highlighted how human emotions don’t mix well with financial markets. This is a story told many times before, but worth telling again. We need to be constantly reminded. Some background first, financial markets started selling off in February on the back of concerns as to the impact […]
August 15, 2019

Too good to be true?

There is a link to a great article by Noel Whittaker below, with a particular focus on property spruikers, but as he highlights the principles relate to any form of investment or strategy that is being spruiked.  Like Noel, I’ve met plenty of victims of these spruikers and it is typically their unfortunate experience that prompted them to seek out truly independent advice. The […]
February 6, 2019

Financial One-Stop-Shops

Every now and then I do a Google search on independent financial advice or a variation to see what comes up.  Yes, I’m checking to see if Think Independent does, but let’s move on.  Too often there are advice practices that are far from independent.  That’s a problem but not what this post is about. A recent search brought up a practice that upon further digging is what you […]
September 11, 2018

Tricks & Traps – Insurance Premium Payments

I recently saw it reported that 95% of insurance premiums are paid monthly.  So what you say?  Surely that helps with managing cash flow. I suspect it does, but maybe not the cash flows you’re thinking.  Call me cynical, but I think it has more to do with the cash flow position of the adviser that sold the policy and the insurer than it does […]
January 3, 2018

Still the 8th Wonder of the World

“Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it … he who doesn’t … pays it.” ― Albert Einstein Einstein isn’t the only smart person that understands the power of compound interest.  Regarded by many as the greatest investor of all time, certainly the best known, Warren Buffett has built one of the world’s greatest ever financial fortunes largely off […]
November 10, 2017

Behave Your Way to Success

A recent post on LiveWire (link below) identifying 11 habits to avoid for better investment performance is worth a quick look, not just for how it could help you as an investor, but for how a better understanding of the habits it refers to can help you in everyday life. The post identifies 11 natural human behaviours that are often counterproductive when applied to decisions […]
October 10, 2017

This Ain’t No Joke

“A man walks into…”   Like the cartoon above, a lot of jokes start with this line, but what I’m about to tell you is no joke.  Unfortunately, it is very real and happening every day. Does this sound ridiculous? A man (or woman) walks into…. their local Toyota dealer.  They are after a cost effective, reliable, value for money solution to their transport needs. Now […]
September 4, 2017

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” – Leonardo da Vinci

In prior posts, we have highlighted the value in pursuing simple solutions, over complex or simplistic solutions.  It has also been highlighted that our desire as humans to feel special can lead us to the misconception we must seek out “special” solutions, which not surprisingly come at a significant price and in reality aren’t special at all. I would like to pick up on da […]
June 20, 2017

Fees for No service

ASIC recently released a report into the behaviour of financial advisers controlled by the big 4 banks and AMP.  It probably won’t surprise many that the findings weren’t great, but it was a non-headline grabbing and little reported finding that caught my eye.  Further, it is an issue that is not confined to the big 4 and AMP.  It is an issue involving the vast […]
May 22, 2017

You’re Out of Your Mind

Time for a New TV After getting sick of sharing TV time with the kids we recently decided it was time to replace the broken second TV.  Now electrical items fall under my jurisdiction in our house, be that a good thing or not, and it was my job to buy the new TV. In a prior work life I worked for one of the […]
April 15, 2017

“It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble…..”

 “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so. “ – Mark Twain I love Mark Twain quotes.  He cuts through seemingly complex and confusing matters with such precision and gets to the heart of the issue.  The above quote is another great example. Mark Twain’s quote is alluding to a tendency to believe […]
March 20, 2017

You paid HOW MUCH???!!!

It was suggested to me recently that I should write a book about what I know to help those looking for financial planning help. But what could I write about that hasn’t been done to death before.  There are plenty of books out there talking about wealth accumulation strategies, super, investment fundamentals and strategies, risk management (insurance) and estate planning, etc. and to be honest […]
November 14, 2015

The Eighth Wonder of the World

“Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it … he who doesn’t … pays it.” ― Albert Einstein Einstein isn’t the only smart person that understands the power of compound interest.  Regarded by many as the greatest investor of all time, certainly the best known, Warren Buffett has built one of the world’s greatest ever financial fortunes largely off […]
December 14, 2015

Dad, are we poor?

A few weeks ago our daughter asked if we were poor.  We don’t spoil our kids, but still this question came as a bit of a surprise, as they don’t go without much either. I asked her why she thought we were poor.  “Because we don’t drive a new car or live in a fancy house.”  The answer was illuminating. Putting the dented ego aside […]
January 14, 2016

The New Meaning of Retirement

I was forwarded the following article recently (hold off reading for a minute). Normally the article title alone would have been enough for me to not bother reading it, as I could only see the first part, “I retired at 30”. Probably just another get rich quick story to be avoided I thought.  Maybe I was a little jealous also as I’m more than a […]
February 14, 2016

Life/Disability Insurance, do I really need it?

Do I really need life and disability insurance?  Before you can answer this question you need to provide some honest answers to a number of questions.  But first, let’s set a foundation for considering these questions. Human Capital v. Financial Capital When we start out in life on our own, taking over responsibility for ourselves from our parents, we typically have a lot of human […]
March 14, 2016

Commissions – The Dirty Truth

Before I dish the dirt on insurance commissions, let’s be clear that what I’m about to tell you does not in any way impact on your need for insurance, only how you go about establishing life and disability insurance.  If you are not sure whether you need insurance please refer to last months post. OK, lets get going.  Anyone that has taken out life or […]
March 24, 2016

Investment Wisdom From Someone That Knows

Chris Cuffe is best known to many as the guy that received a massive payout (nearly $33 million) in 2003 following Commonwealth Bank’s purchase Colonial First State and his exit from the business.  Much criticism was heaped on Chris Cuffe at the time, with few acknowledging he was a key hand in Colonial First State owners and investors making much more over preceding years. Was it […]
April 14, 2016

Aim for Simple, not Simplistic.

Simple v. Simplistic At Think Independent we aim to make clients financial affairs simple.  What do we mean? Importantly, we don’t mean simplistic.  We are not looking to achieve simplicity for the sake of simplicity.  Rather we are looking for simplicity within the framework of our client’s goals and the available options. If we use a couple, John and Jan, who are saving for life […]
May 14, 2016

Beware of the Middle Man

A lesson we can all take from how AustralianSuper manages its investment portfolio is eliminating intermediaries where they aren’t seen to be necessary or to add value. AustralianSuper regularly invests directly in major property and infrastructure assets, removing the use of an intermediary structure and/or manager. It is also internalizing management of a significant portion of its Australian equity exposure, which will remove the cost […]