It’s significant that there’s a popular new TV show that the population might soon be distracted by called Pointless, when the Royal Commission is now telling us that our super funds lack transparency and could be misusing our money. And as a consequence of the Commission, we could see changes to how mortgage brokers are compensated, which ironically could put more customers into the hands of the banks, which the Commission has spent months bagging.
Here’s my point: in a world where too many Aussies are preoccupied by pointless programs on TV and waste time engaged in activities on social media, this Royal Commission is really only protecting people from their own unwillingness to do some homework on where their money is going!
Sure, too many institutions have been over-committed to ripping people off, but too many of us made it too easy to be patsies by not caring enough about our money. Caring about money isn’t an IQ thing — it’s an attitude thing.
If so many of us were asked if we’d prefer to be rich rather than poor, I suspect anyone of sound mind would opt to be rich. However, so much of people’s actions indicate that they don’t really care enough about their money.
How so? Well, take this test to see if you really care about money:
• If you pay more than 10% for your credit card, you are in that “I don’t give a real toss about my money” class.
• If you’re paying more than 3.89% on your home loan or haven’t tried to get a rate close to that, then you don’t care much about your money.
• If you’ve never compared your super fund’s costs and performance against the Top 10 funds that you can find on websites such as SuperRatings and ChantWest (which are both findable online), then you’re a fool to yourself and a burden to others. And if that’s not the case now, it could be in your old age and the taxpayer might have to bail you out.
I could go on, but super, home loans and credit cards are a big part of a person’s money life. And if you’re not being paid ridiculous amounts of money and likely to be lucky like that for a long time, then you really need to get money serious.
Right now, the Royal Commission is grilling super funds for questionable behaviour, but at least the performances of the better funds have been exceptional. On a three-year basis, many of these funds have averaged 9%-10% returns, which are deserving of praise and should be forcing money-caring Aussies to check out their funds’ performances and costs with the idea of making a switch.
Another possibly misguided goal of regulators in a Royal Commission world is to stop mortgage brokers from getting trailing commissions for arranging a loan, which seems to be a problem many of us didn’t know we had.
If I’m on a loan of 5% with one lender and a broker finds me one for 4% and does all the work to make it happen, I don’t care how he/she is paid. If these commissions are taken away, it could mean less brokers and, therefore, less competition for banks.
Sure, some bad brokers might push someone into loans that suit them and not the client but that’s a minority, just like overcharging lawyers, accountants, financial planners, doctors, plumbers, etc are.
If we’re going to create a nanny state after the Royal Commission, why don’t we have Royal Commissions into lawyers, public servants, the ATO, energy companies, telcos and local councils, all of whom can overcharge us and make life unfair.
Anyone who has dealt with the ‘mafia-types’ at local councils when trying to get plans passed know how unfairness and slackness works, which can cost you more money than some mortgage broker or a super fund that might have performed well but received a nice commission or was a little too generous to their board members.
Oh yeah, why not have a Royal Commission into company directors because they’ve got their snouts in the trough. And while we’re at, let’s have a Royal Commission into trade unions!
Of course, a useful Royal Commission might be one into Australians who don’t care enough about their own finances! The only problem is that no one would follow it or care about it because Pointless, Google Box and My Kitchen Rules dominate the eyeballs of too many Aussies!
Maybe if any such Royal Commission advocated that all Aussies have to read this website for their own money protection, then that would be a really useful Royal Commission, though I might be a tad biased.