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Ben Kingsley Blog post by Ben Kingsley

Merry Christmas & What A Year!

Good day, Ben Kingsley here with my annual Christmas message.

I do this every year to our valued Empower Wealth clients and I just wanted to share an important message in what has been certainly one of the most interesting and challenging years that we will never forget. I want to focus in on a theme around having a plan because we did see when plans work they go amazingly well. And for those people who didn’t have a plan, they struggled to actually get anything done.

So let’s focus in on the government first I thought it’s well and truly worth giving them a four out of five.

I think they’ve done an excellent job on the back of the health advice that they got to formulate a plan around Australia. I thought the federal government and the state governments worked incredibly well together in terms of doing that, the only back fall was really the execution of a particular plan here in Victoria.

The actual plan was a good one, the execution of the plan wasn’t so great. So we did say Victoria, including ourselves down here, being in a situation where we were in lockdown longer than we needed to be. But that just shows you the power of planning and that’s happens at the government level.

When we turn our attention to households and individuals, the same applies. What we did see through this pandemic were glimpses of poor, ordinary human behavior. So let’s talk about it. You know, we talk about what happened in regards to panic buying that whole toilet paper thing was crazy and we also had those anti-maskers and putting themselves first, that’s the sort of worst part about what you see where there’s panic, there’s misinformation.

Yet we also then got to see some incredible glimpses of human spirit and human behavior thriving.

And I refer mainly to those people, like our healthcare workers, the police, the army, all those people that put themselves in harm’s way during the heart of the pandemic. So we’ve done very, very well to manage through that, but they are just some great examples in terms of people behaving well versus behaving poorly.

Now, when I think about also the households that you get to deal with and seeing some of that panic and that fear that did shine through it was those households and those individuals who had a plan who knew how to stay calm because they were organized. And I just wanted to focus in on how I think they did that, right. They understood their money situation. That was really clear in terms of they realized, okay, this is now happening, but we had a plan. We were organized and they were able to do that. So they coordinated and made sure they had buffers, liquidity buffers, cash flow buffers, in terms of how to get themselves through this situation.

They also understood that this event would pass. So even through very, very difficult situations that we experienced globally, or also locally, that they’re not sustained events. So over time, whether it be wars or whatever they do pass. So these people had a property portfolio plan to get through this period and in some situations they were those more fortunate people who also were able to take advantage of this situation and act when other people were fearful. So that also gave them an incredible opportunity to be able to move forward with their planning.

So from that point of view, I say to people it’s really important to see those people who stayed calm because they had their money situation organized.

And they also understood that this too shall pass. So, good on those people for being in that position. Now, also each year, I like to talk about the business in terms of the great work that our team have done here, and a huge shout out to our staff. They have done amazing in terms of looking after all of our clients during this time period, remotely doing all this incredible work under incredible pressure in terms of the level of demand we had, especially through our Mortgage Broking team and now into other parts of our business as well.

So here’s a snapshot of some of the numbers that I talk about each year.

Overall, it was amazing. We were on track to help over 1,300 clients this year alone and that brings out overall total to 6,700 clients that we’ve been able to help through our advisory service businesses.

Now, when we break down those numbers, let’s talk about our Property Advisory team, this year they organized and here’s this planning piece, over 600 property plans for those clients in terms of being able to organize their financial situation, cash flows and also those plans are about whether it be buying their own home or an investment property. And now we made recommendations of over $700 million worth of property to buy in those 600 plans alone. So that’s incredible going to our advisory team and for all of those clients who see the value in planning to become what they plan to become.

(Note: Learn more about our Property Investment Advisory Team here)

Mortgage Broking team, again, lots of work being done in terms of getting finances fit and healthy during the middle of the pandemic.

And now into obviously seeing the opportunity in the market with record low interest rates.

So we did over 780 loan submissions to the value of over $400 million in loans that we settled during that period of time. So incredible numbers and our Mortgage Broking team continue to work above and beyond in terms of trying to service our customers in what is very difficult times with large time delays from most of the banks being experienced during this pandemic period.

Our Buyer’s Agency team, they did a great job in purchasing just on 300 properties over the calendar year. So we’re still got a couple of weeks to go so we’re on target to do 300 property purchases to the value of $143 million. So that’s incredible going for our Buyer’s Agency team as they had to hand pick those opportunities and seeing opportunities across the marketplace, not only here in Victoria and Melbourne, but also in the States as well, where we did a lot of our buying opportunities in those areas.

In the Financial Planning area of our business, am pleased to report that over 174 new people got those insurances to protect themselves.

Remember people are the biggest asset it’s not actually the wealth that’s created through the properties, it’s usually created through that accumulation period for those people looking after themselves.

So that takes our total number of people with insurances to protect themselves for income protection or other types of personal insurances in the event of illness is now 1,037 people that we have those insurances for. So good on those people there. In terms of superannuation and funds under investment management here, I’m pleased to report that we now manage over $145 million worth of household super, and also their managed investments through the leadership of Michael and his team and the Financial Planning team. So those people are also making sure that those investments are working just as hard as the property investments that they might have over that time as well.

Now, the other thing I also wanted to talk about was our awards.

We’ve had lots of awards this year as well. So congrats to our team, Buyer’s Agents of the Year from the Real Estate Business Awards, so congratulations to our Buyer’s Agency team for that great result. Best Independent Office in the Mortgage Broking team for five brokers or less from the Better Business Awards, the Advisor Top 25 Brokerages in the country for 2020 and Customer Service Year Award. So best customer service in the Mortgage Broking team from the Australian Broking Awards. So that’s an incredible result for what has again been an extraordinary year for only you people there, but also for our business in terms of how as we continue to grow and keep serving people.

And of course, as you well know, our education contents continued to remain strong despite the challenging conditions this year.

And in the last 12 months, we’ve also introduced education courses to help those people understand and benefit from these premium online property workshops timely during a pandemic. And I’m pleased to report that 1,185 people explored our online courses, starting with our signature course, which is our Start & Build course, which is an excellent course outlining all the steps that are involved in terms of property finance and money management when it comes to investing in property.

So good on those people for getting educated there, continuing on our education theme, we now turn our attention to The Property Couch podcast, and I’m pleased to say more and more people are finding this podcast. It remained in the Top 10 business podcasts this year with that downloads of 3.31 million for the year which brings our overall download numbers to around 9.2 million, which is just incredible to see those people getting educated freely by using our podcast, The Property Couch.

Let’s have a look also at our other educational materials we’ve got our best-selling book that’s right. This one became a bestseller as well, Make Money Simple Again, which is all about organizing and getting in control of your finances. We’ve decided to give this away completely free. So you can now get a PDF version of this book by going to makemoneysimpleagain.com.au and you can get access to that a great little Christmas gift.

Our other Christmas gift is also our physical copy of The Armchair Guide to Property Investing. So we will cover the costs of the book. So we’ll buy the book for you, all you need to do is cover up the cost of the postage, and you can get that by going to TheArmchairGuide.com.au and you can order that and that’s a great book to also be reading over the Christmas and New Year period.

As we continue to focus in on that, in 2020, we also continue to knuckle down on investing in our technology solutions for you. We continue to make significant investments into MyWealth Portal. We now have over 28,000 registered users on the platform, so if you’re not already on there, make sure you get on there. There’s some great information, you can run your Money SMARTS program from the book on there.

You also have MoneyFIT and also MoneySTRETCH in terms of analyzing how long your buffers and those liquidity reserves will last you. There’s also now the knowledge center that we’ve built in there where you can get lots of free information and learn more about all the services we have available here at Empower Wealth.

So make no mistake with 28,000 users, it’s an incredible platform to allow you to be able to do what you need to do.

If you’re interested you can register for free and explore all the other features on MyWealth Portal by simply going to ew.moneysmarts.com.au or filling in the form below.

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It’s a completely free and secure platform where you can organize your finances and start to focus in on your financial and personal goals and also then building out the wealth to achieve those as well. And that’s probably my final message coming back to the theme and needs about planning.

So as you spend time with family and loved ones and friends and enjoy these moments that you’re going to enjoy over the next couple of weeks and into the New Year take stock of the year that you’ve just had. It has been incredibly challenging, but most people have got through it because they organize themselves and they plan.

As you focus in on 2021 make sure you are doing that planning work, make sure you build on solid foundations because it’s those foundations on which you can build out your story of financial peace and that’s what we’re about here.

We’re in the business of financial transformation and we are delighted to be able to looking after you, our valued customers, to be able to do that.

And throughout the course of this year and many, many years into the future, as you build up that wealth accumulation, we are here to serve you. We are here to guide you on that journey and the best way to get there is with a clear plan and clear goals in terms of what you’re trying to achieve. So all the very best for 2021 and beyond. And we want to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a fantastic festive season.

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