Portfolio of Kimberly Johans

A collection of articles created during my stint as a journalist at The Macau Daily Times

Why planning your financial future is as easy as pie

Posted by Kimberly on March 24, 2008

By Kimberly Johans
Published in The Macau Daily Times
March 24, 2008, page 5 (760 words)

If you believe wealth strategist Todd Pallett, getting from thousand-aire to millionaire is as easy as pie: property, interest and equities. Listening to the Financial Partners International adviser speak makes for several enlightening moments, not least of which is the one where you realise just how much money you could have to invest, if you were savvy enough.
Take this example he offers for those expats living in Asia at present.
“For expats, every one year in Asia, in terms of what they can save, is like three years back in Australia,” he says.
He points out that “they’ve got no tax in Macau, 16 percent tax in Hong Kong, high salaries, no capital gains tax and even though the cost of living’s a lot higher there’s a big difference with what they can save.”
Now here comes the light bulb moment.
“And when they’re buying property back home, they’re buying it with three people; with themselves, with a tenant and with the tax man helping out.
“But if they’re back in Australia, they’re living in their property, high tax rate, no tenant and they have the pay the whole thing themselves,” he adds.
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out which is the better option because, with the latter scenario, the average Australian can get to the age of 55 and have only just paid off their home, perhaps owning one half of an apartment.
Those savvy savers in Asia however, “nine out of ten people, with their time here and as long as they’re not silly with their money, can go home by the age of 40 or 45 or even 50 with two or three houses,” says Todd.
But he warns that this is hardly likely to occur solely by putting one’s spare savings away in a bank every month.
“The ultimate dream of financial freedom is you’ve got more passive income coming in to replace your working income.
“Then when you go to bed and wake up you’ve still got that income coming in,” he says.
And this where Todd and his team at Financial Partners International comes into play. He deliberately labels himself a wealth strategist rather than a financial planner because, while the latter tends to focus on getting people into managed funds, he sees the whole picture.
That, depending on the client, can involve anything from retirement and protection, to investments, savings, tax strategies, mortgages and debt.
In speaking of financial planners, Todd says, “the industry is becoming so commoditised, they’re just putting people into funds because that’s where they get their commissions and that’s where they build up ongoing trail.
“But it’s not necessarily the right thing for the client.”
In explaining what he, as a wealth strategist does, Todd says, “a wealth strategist won’t just do the investment. They’ll do the protection, the tax planning and they’ll build the team around the client which is an important part.
“Hopefully by the time you retire, you’ve got all your assets giving you an income.”
A fellow Australian, with a Commerce degree from Curtin University, was headhunted by HSBC Australia to set up its National Financial Planning arm and appointed NSW State manager at the age of 26.
He’s now with Financial Partners International as business and estate planner, which claims to be “the largest offshore financial services company servicing expatriates in Asia Pacific.”
The company assist clients to deal with wealth strategies by utilising three tools: the 120 day check-in program, the great defence system and the financial freedom game plan.
The first is a goal-setting program, creating wealth on purpose and with a plan. The second provides the tools to ensure clients plan for unexpected risks while the third utilises investment strategies to get them to financial independence.
Those interested in learning more about any of these programs can explore the company’s website at www.financial-partners.biz or by attending one of their Macau seminars, with the next due in May.

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