Money, Marriage, Sex and Financial Planning

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Money, Marriage, Sex and Financial Planning
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Money has become Sexier than Sex according to Michael Foley, the author of The Age of Absurdity. And a swag of Finance Professionals have had a ball indulging this newly acquired sex appeal investing in some dubious investment strategies over this last decade of orgy like fiscal frolicking. I recall a game we played at primary school where the boys would line up and project their piss over the toilet wall.
The boy who pissed higher and further was declared the winner. A lot of these blokes in finance are still playing a version of this game- only they’ve been pissing away other people’s money. And just to add a little clout to this theory – an old friend of mine who was the undisputed school pissing champion actually works in Finance.
So much for that long outdated stereotype of ‘propriety and sobriety’ that Bank Managers once enjoyed as pillars of Lion Clubs and Rotary branches in their communities.
Like an old Bank of New South Wales branch manager Julia Gillard tenuously reassures the nation with- “We will hold our fiscal discipline. “

Our Big Four Banks are prudent, efficiently managed and well regulated by all accounts. That aside they’re starting to understood the value of sexing up their Corporate Images.
The female staff at my local Commonwealth Bank branch look like they‘ve been personally selected by Richard Branson for Virgin Blue cabin crew.
I still have visions of cardigan sporting bank tellers serving at the counters of State Bank branches pre 1990. They were about as sexy as decade long spouses whose irritating personal habits become anti aphrodisiac wedges in contemporary marriages.
Whereas the local NAB just isn’t in the game with their jaded and frumpy staff members, who remind me of those old State Bank tellers.
And the queues are testament to who is providing what customers want.
There just never appears to be a queue at the local NAB.
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Rarely does a day pass without some gloomy economic forecast warning of deteriorating Global Economic Conditions. Non Mining corporate prospects are gloomy, continuing high US unemployment figures and the Euro Woes dominate media coverage. And the further erosion of that up until recent omnipresent optimism is palpable- just ask the guys who run David Jones. The PR spin doctors charged with bolstering market confidence are floundering to find good news stories in this environment.
What’s a Mum and Dad investor to do during these shaky times ?
Moreover how should they plan their financial future ?

Some of the more sober financial professionals are predicting a GFC Part 2 and are warning Australians to batten down the hatches of discretionary spending to steer through the imminent financial calamity. The message is to Save and not Shop.
Why it’s positively un Australian !

I came across a long dormant and forgotten Superannuation policy managed by a corporation which is a household name. They informed me that over the last 5 years they’ve delivered a negative return of – 1.85 % and over a 10 year period they’ve produced a ‘princely ’ return of just over 2%. That’s during a decade when some asset classes have seen phenomenal capital appreciation .To think that your average fiscally challenged – non sophisticated investor, managed to double or in many cases triple their money by buying residential real estate during the same time frame. So much for the professionals knowing where best to invest other people’s money……
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Australians have been ‘browbeaten’ into thinking that their Super is their golden nest egg……
My Federal member Bill Shorten recently informed me about the government’s Superannuation Boosting plans which will see ‘The Federal government phasing in an increase in compulsory super from 9% to 12%, so that more Australians can enjoy a decent standard of living in retirement.’ Not if they’re signed up and making contributions with those institutions whose fund managers are pissing away money on investments of dubious merit.
Well there’s nothing sexy about a superannuation statement or any of the marketing material issued by financial institutions that I regularly receive.
According to Foley, ‘ money became sexier than sex’ because
‘Money too demanded to be liberated and had its wish in major financial deregulation. Free at last to express the gypsy in its soul. Money became restless, promiscuous and irresponsible. It would lie with anyone attractive but rarely stay a full night.’

Marriage like Financial planning requires the assessing of one’s risk profile.
Stable but unremarkable returns providing certainty in retirement ?
Or bold risk taking which will deliver ‘restless and promiscuous’ higher returns alongside a disproportionate amount of sleepless nights……….
Julia promises to “ hold our fiscal discipline. “
For the sake of ageing Australians, let’s hope the superannuation fund managers entrusted with their nest eggs, do so as well.

Fabrizio Marsani

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