Sunday 28 April 2019

CPD update

I got 20 hrs/units of CPD credit for the uni course I completed in Q1, which put me well over the 40 units/hrs CPD total required for all of 2019. While a total of only 30 units/hrs of formal coursework can be counted towards the annual CPD requirement, I'll continue to get the CPD value of each quarter's uni course 'verified' by my AFSL so they are recorded on my Kaplan CPD record. If nothing else it will provide a convenient annual summary of all the CPD units I complete each year.

I've been doing a couple of the Kaplan CPD articles each week (in reality an article that is rated as one 'hour' of CPD really only takes about 15 minutes to read through, and then another five minutes or so (if you double check each answer) to complete the multiple choice, open book 'exam' online to get the CPD points.

I've also been attending the one-hour webinars presented by my AFSL dealer group (which DO actually take an hour to watch, but I can do them while on my lunch-break at work while also doing some other paperwork, so the effective effort is also only about 15 minutes per 'hour' of CPD credit).

I've also signed up for the free TAL 'academy' which is a resource of several 'webinar' recordings about various aspects of insurance and practice management/marketing. I'll probably do a dozen or so of those webinars during the year, probably while sitting at home in the evenings playing computer games on the other screen ;)

Another source of easy CPD credits are the articles published in each issue of the AFA and FPA professional association magazines. These are worth around 1.5 CPD credits each, so I could get up to another 12 CPD credits from those (if I bother doing the online quizes and then downloading the resulting 'certificate' and entering the details into MyKaplan and then emailing my AFSL to have the certificate 'verified'.

I need to finish off the final video 'role play' submissions for the two 'specialist' modules (margin lending and SMSFs) that I'm doing with IIT (I might also get some CPD hours for those, but I'm not sure), so I can then get started on the four subjects for the Advanced DFP. I'l try to get the two role plays completed this weekend, as I have a uni quiz next weekend and will have to start studying for that.

Overall, I'll end up with around 5-6x the required amount of CPD 'hours' this year, and be just over 1/3 of the way through the Master of Financial Planning course (and have my Advanced DFP) - if all goes to plan. The TAL Academy also has a cheap ($55) 5-hour live seminar for preparing for the 3.5 hour FASEA examination for Financial Planners. I'll probably do that early in 2020 so I can have a go at the exam. You are allowed to take the FASEA exam multiple times in order to pass (different sets of random questions each time), but the exam is only scheduled a few times each year, and existing Financial Planners have to pass the exam before 1 Jan 2021, so I don't want to leave it too late. If I sit the exam fairly soon after completing the ADFP course it should be pretty easy.

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CFD Trades

I have a small account (currently around $300) with CityIndex so I can trade CFD's when I get bored (stops me mucking around with my asset allocation in our SMSF or other investments). I had a long position in a diamond CFD (GEMS) and also in crude oil. I decided to sell the GEMS CFD as it had been heading the wrong direction for quite a while and there didn't seem to be any indication that it would soon turn around. And while oil has been doing well, I decided to take a profit and close out that position too.

I had been thinking about going short on Tesla, but it has already come down quite a lot from last year's highs, and although I don't think it will do a well as Elon keeps promising, from here it could go either way, depending on how things turn out during 2019, so it seemed to much of a speculative gamble. The other CFD trade I had in mind I did go through with - going long on the Berkshire CFD. Although it has gained a lot over the past couple of years (I used to have a direct investment in Berkshire shares a few years ago, but the trading and holding costs with a US broker, and the tax complications, made it too much like hard work so I got rid of all my direct US share holdings), it has a great track record and should continue to do well (although there may be a temporary dip when Buffet retires from active involvement or dies). We'll see how well it does over the next 5-10 years.

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Wednesday 24 April 2019

Why Global Warming Activists are targeting developed countries for Ideological reasons, and not scientific reasons

Here in Australia we are in the midst of a Federal election campaign, and one of the biggest issues of concern to the electorate (quite rightly) is the global warming crisis. Leaving aside the fact that it is a global issue, so international agreement rather than changing your local member is the only effective way to address the issue, the issue is tending to favour the parties on the 'left' (Labor and the Greens) at the expense of Conservative parties.

On the one hand this makes perfect sense, as global warming is an issue where being progressive and 'taking action' is the only way to solve the problem - being conservative and resisting change ('do nothing') is a recipe for disaster.

Unfortunately, the change being pushed by leftist parties is based on pseudo-scientific justification for their neo-communist, anti-western/capitalist policies. They use the raw 'per capita' emission data as an excuse to lay the blame for global warming entirely at the feet of developed countries, while the reality is that the root cause of the global warming crisis was (and is) global overpopulation. While one person using air conditioning and driving an SUV is bad for the environment, ten people doing so is ten times worse!

The ‘elephant in the room’ with regards to global warming causation is total carbon emissions, and this rise is mostly due to population growth (especially in third world countries), NOT due to the increase in carbon emissions per Capita per se:

As global warming is driven by the increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration (IE. Amount per cc of air), it is emissions per sq km that contribute to global warming impact, NOT emissions per capita. (Think about it – doubling the world’s population while keeping total CO2 emissions constant would NOT have any change on global warming, but would instantly reduce the emissions per capita. While doubling the world’s surface area while keeping the total CO2 emissions constant would halve the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere – or, put a more realistic way, halving the amount of total CO2 emissions while keeping surface area constant would obviously halve the rate of CO2 increase). So, who are the big CO2 polluters in terms of actual impact (high CO2 emissions in relation to the country’s land area? – China, followed by Europe, then the USA, then India. A completely different picture than the ‘per capita’ argument pushed by Green Groups that totally ignore the biggest villain in the global warming crisis – China – for ideological reasons:

This shows the total fallacy, and ulterior motives, for Green groups pushing the usual ‘per capita’ propaganda:

By choosing to frame the global warming debate purely in terms of the scientifically invalid ‘per Capita’ measure (which they justify using a spurious notion of ‘fairness’ - make the rich pay), they can ‘prove’ that global warming is entirely due to the big, bad capitalist developed countries, and give the true source of the global warming crisis for the next fifty years – China and India - a free pass.

While this will undoubtedly achieve the Labor/Green goal of Robin Hood economics (steal from the rich and give to the poor), it is also a recipe for global climate disaster. The developed countries are going to spend a fortune on achieving heroic 'per Capita' emission reduction targets, while the developing countries and going to both a) not have to meet the same 'per Capita' targets, and b) also continue to stoke the engine driving climate change - unsustainable population growth.

In fifty years time my children will be suffering from the impacts of global warming, in world with a population having grown by around 50% above current levels - to around 10 billion. And I'm pretty sure the left-wing parties will still be blaming the problem on 'insufficient action' by developed countries, and not on the extra 2.5 billion people added to the global population in the interim.

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Tuesday 16 April 2019

Let the marketing begin!

Well, my financial planning business is now in 'soft launch' mode, with a website, Facebook page, yellow pages entry etc. all 'live'. I delivered an initial batch of ten brochures to a local gated estate (the letterboxes were nearly all marked 'no junk mail', but as I'm not a direct mail company, and the letters were individually addressed, I ignored that - on the other hand, the occupants will probably ignore my letters). It was amazing the amount of time I ended up spending on printing brochures, folding and stapling them, creating a mailing list in excel (by looking up local street addresses on google maps), and then getting the mail-merged envelopes to print out correctly using manual feed (one-at-a-time, or the printer jams). Oh, and I also wasted time creating a mock 'stamp' to print on the envelopes (supposedly this makes them more likely to be opened, rather than going straight into the bin). I'm planning to print and distribute around 50 letters/brochures a week from now on. As there are around 20,000 households in the six local postcode areas, I won't run out of letter boxes any time soon.

I'll print out another 20 envelopes tomorrow and deliver them in the evening, so that they should end up mixed in with the official mail sitting in those letter boxes on Thursday, and hence be more likely to be opened. And hopefully the Easter long weekend might encourage people to read the brochure ('Financial Health Check - 14 questions you should ask yourself'). Whether anybody actually decides to phone me or make an appointment only time will tell. According to general statistics about direct mail campaigns, the response rate is often around 2-3%%, so I'm aiming for a marketing 'funnel' of  around 200 letters/month > 4 -6 responses/month > 1-2 initial (free) meetings booked > ~1 new client per month.

Once I put some finishing touches on the website I'll setup Google and Facebook Ad campaigns to drive targeted (local) traffic to my website. Hopefully that also generates some online bookings.

My uni studies are going OK so far - my GPA for the first two subjects is 6.5/7 (conincidentally exactly the same as I ended up with for my Master of Astronomy degree). I've only enrolled in one subject per semester this year (as I also need to squeeze in the four subjects for the ADFP course I'm enrolled in, and then complete a TASA (Tax Agent Services Act) mandatory course before the end of this year) as I want to keep my GPA above 6.0 so I qualify for the "Dean's List".

If all goes well this year, I'd like to do all the remaining seven subjects next year and finish off the Masters degree, and I also want to get the Financial Adviser exam out of the way next year (the deadline for passing the exam is 1 Jan 2021).

After that I plan on doing the CFP exam in 2021 (I'll receive exemption for CFP 2, 3 and 4 when I complete the Master of Financial Planning degree, therefore I'll only need to complete the subject 'CFP 1' to then be eligible to sit the CFP Certification Assessment), and I'd like to commence a PhD in financial planning once I've completed the Master's degree. We'll see how it all turns out ...

Meanwhile, back to the marketing 'campaign' ;)

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Tuesday 2 April 2019

Net Worth: March 2019

There was a modest rise in the valuations of my retirement savings and geared shared portfolio (both up around 1.3%) which was offset by another -1.85% decline in the valuation of my half of our home. Overall, my net worth was almost unchanged, gaining $1,824 (0.08%) during the month to $2,265,537. Still below my all time peak, with my NW tracking sideways for the past 18 months or so.

Funding my university studies and running costs of my start-up financial planning business continue to cost around $2,500 per month. I completed the second course (out of twelve) for my Master of Financial Planning degree. So far I've received on HD and one D, with a GPA so far of 6.5/7 - coincidentally exactly the same as my average for the Master of Astronomy I did previously ;) I'm aiming to average 6.5 or above, and would like to get on the "Dean's List" each year and possibly get another academic medal for Masters by Coursework.

I didn't get my website finished off during March, so that is my immediate business development goal. I've printed off a couple of hundred brochures to direct mail to local addresses (I'll do the letter box deliveries myself, as I need the exercise) and will see if they achieve the typical response rate of 2-4% (ie. I should get around 2-4 phone calls or bookings for a free initial appointment for every 100 brochures I deliver). I plan of delivering around 50 brochures each week, testing minor variations, and hope to achieve around 4-8 responses per month, which *should* result in 1-2 new clients each month. Since I haven't had a client yet, this is all very theoretical at the moment.

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