Gathering the straws of life together

Recent Posts

In your interest

In your interest

It is in your interest to know what is going on with your bank accounts. Not only bank accounts but all your financial interests. While some people trust financial advisers and accountants it is always in your interest to check any documents they give you […]

Pass the word about passwords

Pass the word about passwords

With the technology of today, we all have passwords, passwords for this, passwords for that! We can end up with a hundred or more passwords and how do we keep a track of it all? Then there is the backup that google will do and […]

Cutting your own hair at home

Cutting your own hair at home

Have you ever thought about cutting your own hair at home? One of my aversion’s is going to the hairdresser. I have had some experiences that I don’t want to repeat. There are some great hairdressers but then they charge a great price! I know some of you reading this would never contemplate cutting your own hair. Then what about experimenting on your partner or child! Can you hear me laughing now!

It is not a funny matter however when you get your hair cut or cut it yourself because you have cancer. My One&Only (O&O) had cancer 8 years ago. I have written about this before. He had what we called the “sandwich” treatment, chemo/operation/chemo. During the first lot of chemo his hair, tufts of it, started to fall out. It was time for a haircut. Rather than put him through having to explain the situation to a hairdresser, I cut his hair – actually, I shaved it off. After it grew back I cut his hair for a while, which I enjoyed and surprisingly it looked okay. But after a while, I thought he should find someone who could do a better job than me.

I know of a child whom when he had cancer his mother found all his hair on his pillow one morning. Just like that, an angel had come in the night and cut it all off. Fortunately, this child as well as my O&O had a happy ending. The child grew up, his hair grew and he is a young handsome man living life cancer free.

A few years ago when I was at the hairdressers, I booked a shampoo, cut and blow dry, but I found myself sitting in the chair without the shampoo. Before I left I asked how much extra for the shampoo? No difference, same price – uumm! Then I look back on photos when I was younger and going regularly to the hairdressers my hair got shorter and shorter. How could this happen? It is because hairdressers cut hair and the more they cut the happier they are!

The moral of the story is that if you go to the hairdressers, only go every 6-8 weeks, after your hair has had the chance to grow. Unless, your hair grows exceptionally fast. My other reason for cutting my own hair is that my hair is fine and hairdressers cut my hair the way they cut hair that is thick – they thin it out! One experience I had was very annoying. The hairdresser thinned out my hair, without me knowing (no mirrors at the back) – terrible.

Therefore, I have been cutting my own hair at home for sometime. I almost went to the hairdressers last month before a family wedding but could not bring myself to do it. My hair may not have looked as great as others, but it is my own look! Earlier this week I had a home hair cut, two centimetres off. I may even make it shorter once the winter is over.

If you are thinking of cutting your hair at home there are some helpful youtube videos. Also, buy a good pair of sizzors. Look online for further information and happy snipping.

Learn Plan Live

Learn Plan Live

Life is full of lessons as we LEARN, PLAN AND LIVE. Some lessons I have learnt quickly, others I have taken a while to learn. It has been a busy week at our small castle – our home, this week. Every home should be a […]

Feeding the chooks

Feeding the chooks

Do you know the politician who referred to news conferences as “feeding the chooks”? Yes, it was Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen, former Premier of Queensland (1968-1987), and the longest-serving. Sir Joh had a simple view of the world as a farmer and he took his observations […]

Royal commission into the financial services industry

Royal commission into the financial services industry

The Royal Commission into the financial services industry has uncovered serious dishonest behaviour by the banks, financial planners and other financial institutions. The fraudulent behaviour in the financial services industry is very disturbing. Charging people a few years after they have died; poor advice from financial advisers; falsely witnessing signatures and so it goes on. As of 27 April 2018, the Commission has received 4501 public submissions.

The worst offender out of the big four banks is the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA). Now it has just emerged that the CBA lost statements linked to 20 million customer accounts. While CBA has assured customers, their personal information has not been compromised I am sure there are people lining up all over Australia and changing banks! But would that improve things? This is the dilemma many woke up to this morning.

Then there is the ANZ bank who knew that many of their financial advisors were giving poor advice and their behaviour was illegal but did nothing about it. About 15 years ago we received financial advice from an ANZ bank financial adviser. We looked at the advice closely, the fees and risks and decided against rolling my superannuation into ANZ products. This was fortunate for us but unfortunate for others who were deceived through trusting their so-called “financial adviser”. Two out of three financial advisers do not have any qualification. There are no requirements for an educational standard, nor does the industry have a code of conduct.

On another occasion seven years ago, we engaged an independent financial advisor for advice. He was a smooth talker, sitting behind his desk and attempting to bamboozle us with graphs and financial language. No charge for the first two-hour session! Later we returned for further advice that we paid for. Then on the third occasion he wanted me to sign forms to give him control of my superannuation, that is, authority to get access to and make changes. He then put a wad of documents under my nose and asked me to sign in several places. No time to read and review. He would have taken his fees every year, whether the products he recommended performed or not. I took the documents away and quickly terminated all ongoing contact. While the Royal Commission is exposing the “bad” behaviour this is too late for many people.

I heard of one couple who received financial advice from AMP, rolled their superannuation into an AMP product and one-quarter of their superannuation disappeared in a single fee. So dire is the situation with AMP that the CEO resigned on 20 April and on 30 April the Chairperson resigned.

Can we still trust the banks with our money?

I know of a company in Toowoomba giving financial advice that only offers AMP products. I warned a Facebook friend last year, who on several occasions “liked” their page. I gave her information about the importance of seeking independent financial advice with an adviser that was not linked to a company such as AMP. Better to get advice on a “fee for service” basis. I don’t like to see people “ripped off”! Unfortunately, she did not like that I was questioning her decision-making and she “unfriended” me! I wonder what she is thinking now? I hope she is one of the lucky ones that managed to sidestep the sink holes of poor financial advice. Or will she be lining up at one of the many law firms as part of the class action for alleged misconduct, including lying to the corporate regulator Australian Securities and Investments Commission?

The Royal Commission has not coming early enough for some hard-working Australians. One of these is the Melbourne nurse who got poor advice about retirement planning. This nurse and her husband followed Westpac’s financial adviser’s recommendation and sold their home to achieve their retirement goal of a Bed & Breakfast. After this, the bank would not lend them the money they needed. They are now living in rented accommodation with their retirement dreams in tatters. They are just one couple that have lost their life savings and hopes for the future. The Royal Commission into the financial services industry is well overdue. The financial services industry needed a good “shake-up” and I hope, due to the Royal Commission, the future will be very different from the scandalous past.

Caring for backyard chickens

Caring for backyard chickens

More and more people these days have backyard chickens. I believe there are at least two reasons for this. Firstly, chickens give a valuable food source – eggs; and secondly, they are entertaining. Caring for backyard chickens is a great way to teach children about […]

Do it yourself (DIY) Projects

Do it yourself (DIY) Projects

There are so many Do It Yourself (DIY) projects we can do around the home. This time of the year, heading for winter (in Australia), many of us are looking at our garden and planning a few DIY projects. My One&Only (O&O) however is doing […]

What I like about getting older

What I like about getting older

What I like about getting older is that I can set my own priorities. I can manage my time. However, at any time of the day I can change these. It is very liberating deciding what to do and when to do it and when I will complete any given task. Of course, there are risks in this new age of freedom I find myself in. The major risk is the potential to do the things I love and postpone those that are not as appealing!

Should I go to the beach and have a swim?

But, the great wonder of having time, more time than I ever had before is that it is all up to me. I can dedicate time to do a task; delegate a task to myself or my One&Only (O&O). Note the latter is something that can only be done with well-developed skills! I can delay the task or if I decide that my project is a waste of time I can dump it in the bin. Even in retirement I am still putting into the practice the principles I used when I was managing a busy job. I like the DO, DELAY, DELEGATE OR DUMP time management principle. But what I really like about getting older is choice, the freedom to choose when I will do the task, when it is right to delay it, when it is right to delegate and when it is right to dump the task from my mind and life altogether. I am forever making more time and deleting emails before I read them (dump). Another way to manage all the emails is to set aside an allocated part of the day (delay). But sometimes I must get on with it and read them, without any more delay – just do it! Life is full of these moments – the “just do it” moment.

Have you tried the DO, DELAY, DELEGATE or DUMP principle?  It is a golden oldie and makes life easier when you have many competing priorities in your day. Still, if you are like me “older and bolder” you can use the principle to embrace the freedom of choice.

Ethical Shopping

Ethical Shopping

Yes, my topic is ethical shopping not about Ethel shopping. When I was a teenager I had a nick name for my mother. I called her “economical Ethel” – she was a savvy shopper and always looking for bargains. Just like me! There is more […]


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