In our inaugural ‘Ask the Experts’ webinar, we explore the importance of talking about and addressing our financial and emotional wellbeing.
At Tribeca, we believe our role is to inspire, educate and support our clients. Never has this been more important than in the last few months.
As part of this commitment, we asked presenter and mental health advocate Brad McEwan to host a webinar where a panel of experts shared their thoughts and advice about financial and emotional wellbeing.
The discussion brought up many questions and answers around how to cope and respond to the challenging times we’ve all experienced in 2020.
Here’s a snapshot of what was revealed.
The events of this year has highlighted even more the importance of talking about and working towards achieving financial wellbeing. And having a trusted adviser to be there to guide you through, particularly the tough times.
Financial wellbeing – achieving a sense of security and freedom of choice – is something we need to continually focus on. It’s a journey and a practice. A big part of this is setting short, medium and long-term goals . Tribeca calls it 10 – 3 – Now.
For instance, a key short-term goal for many people at the moment is looking at controlling what they can control – their expenditure. It’s surprising how much people can save by simply reviewing their bills and asking for a better deal. Think thousands of dollars.
In another example, many retirees have actually been more concerned about their kids rather than themselves. So for them it’s been looking at how they can help their children financially and the impact this may have on their short and long-term goals.
Again, having the support of a trusted adviser is critical.
Although there will be many bumps in the road, the government has put Australia in the best position possible to recover over the next two to three years. It’s important that we all learn from this time and strive to become more educated around financial wellbeing.
One of the clear opportunities is for employers to become far more proactive in engaging experts to run sessions regarding goal setting and cash flow to support their people. It’s a part of learning that is largely missed.
It’s also important for all of us to be honest about our financial position. Many people spend a lot of their time spinning their wheels based on believing that they have their financial lives sorted – but they don’t.
Now is the opportunity to do something about this. Take the first step and start the conversation. Good financial advisers will focus on the client or family and what they specifically want, and then build a financial strategy off the back of that.
Right now we have this intense experience we are going through. Although the range of emotions are not new, there’s some interesting things happening. The emotions are stacked, in that we’re feeling a number of emotions at the same time.
When we’re in a highly emotional state the clever part of our brain (decision making, choices, strategic thinking) is challenged by the more primitive side of our evolutionary make up (anxiety, fear, sadness) which have value but can take over. This is when we need to develop empathy and understanding of the self. Acknowledging that those feelings of being overwhelmed have a place, and that they are trying to send us a message.
We are not used to that. We are often fearful of them. But if we learn to communicate with our emotions this can help us avoid catastrophising.
One way is to turn towards those voices and say, “hey anxiety and fear, I hear you, let me listen to your message”. Maybe write things down so you can take an observer perspective. It’s a very deliberate conversation to have with yourself. It also allows you to turn to other voices in your head, particularly around self-compassion and empathy.
Think of it like you’re having a party in your head, and fear is being super loud, like a really noisy guest. You would just attend to it, make it really comfortable, so then you can get to the heaps of other guests at your party. Making sure you’ve got the balance with who you are listening to in your head will help you calm that piece down so you can allow the clever part to take over.
It’s really important to have someone there to help you call upon the more clever part of our brain. We tend to add on a layer of guilt when we are having these emotions. What good emotional management looks like is to allow those emotions to travel through us. We don’t shame them or ourselves for having them. We recognise them out loud as it gets more real when we let down this facade.
In doing this we have the opportunity to have more difficult but courageous conversations. For the human race to be more transparent and to make real connections. And to share our vulnerabilities and battles.
We’ve all been challenged; first with the fires, then floods and now COVID. Engage the experts and take a load off your shoulders. Use the people around you that are available to give you reassurance and guidance.
Everyone should check their home loans on an annual basis. And not just your current bank, but also look more broadly. The important factor to realise is that banks, or any large corporation such as utilities, are not going to give you a discount without asking. They rely on our apathy and loyalty. In fact they are banking that your loyalty will stop you looking elsewhere.
Don’t just sit back and let it happen. You can save thousands by reviewing your mortgage and bills.
If you are employed, have a history of good repayments, and have some equity on your property, your home loan should start with a 2. A 0.1 or 0.2 rate discount can save you significantly and boost cash flow. People don’t realise what a major difference this can make.
With rates unlikely to change over the next 1-2 years, even if the Reserve Bank drop cash rates to zero or negative figures, now’s a great time to review your mortgage.
The next 6 – 12 months is also a good time for first home-buyers. With the tap turned off in terms of immigration and with unemployment rising, those first home buyers who have been building deposits will be in a much better opportunity to capitalise on falling house prices and take advantage of historically low interest rates.
Again, it’s important to engage an adviser to make sure any financial decision aligns with your overall goals.
We also have a range of resources you can download from our website to help you kickstart your thinking about goal setting and bill comparisons.