Hi, Ben Kingsley here, Managing Director of Empower Wealth.
Hello and welcome to my annual festive season message to you, our valued customers. Now I started delivering these messages all the way back in 2017. So this is the sixth year that I get to deliver this message where I talk about the broader market and also hone in in terms of how we can help you as our valued customers.
And this year has been in stark contrast to what we saw in 2021. We were dealing with a Delta strain, we were housed indoors, we were isolated. We were just starting to, basically, open up. It’s hard to believe, isn’t it, that from all of that time, we were dealing with all of those particular issues.
We saw Victoria [and] New South Wales in lockdowns, borders were slowly reopening. And, from a property market point of view. It was a completely different story. It was a real seller’s market, where we saw cheap interest rates. So cheap money was obviously leading to strong demand levels, which also meant that property values are on the march.
Now, this year, we’re also still dealing with the pandemic. And we’re still seeing high levels of hospitalisation. And sadly during this obviously festive season as well, we’re still seeing people lose their lives from this Coronavirus.
On a more positive note though, we do have a lot of our freedoms back. There’s obviously freedom of movement and that’s resulting in us getting back on with our lives as we return back to work and for some of us fortunate enough to be able to travel and visit those loved ones around Australia and also overseas. So that has been obviously a constant over the last 12 months.
The other big significant and also shocking event of 2022, when we look more globally was Russia’s invasion of Ukraine that happened in February. Now Russia, through this action has really demonstrated what I would consider the worst of humankind. And obviously, as we turn to celebrate and start being more positive about this festive season, we are obviously always reminded of those in Ukraine and the struggles that they’re dealing with right now through this difficult period. So our thoughts and prayers are with them over there during this difficult time.
Now, this has set off, obviously an economic event that has led to rampant inflation. So we saw that inflation travelled through most of the developed world and certainly Australia wasn’t immune to that. So we did see a forced slowdown in the Australian economy and that’s just now starting to take shape, as we see the RBA lifting those cash rates very aggressively to rein in inflation.
We’re also seeing, affected [by] Russia as well, those energy costs and those transportation costs, which has also flowed through to cost of living as well. So we’re seeing those cost of living pressures and if we combine that with one of the biggest domestic events, which is record levels of rainfall, and flooding, which is also impacting crops, we’re seeing a bit of food inflation in there as well.
So it hasn’t been smooth sailing. So as I sit here and record this message to you in December of 2022, we find ourselves in a very different economic situation than where we were last year. And also looking into 2023, we find ourselves in a situation where we will see the economy slowing further and that’s obviously going to impact households in different ways.
Ben’s Christmas Message
So my Christmas message to those who have to tighten their belt is, we want to remind them that we’re here for you. There are a couple of ways in which we can pass on that message to you and some of the things that you may want to think about if you do find yourself needing to tighten the household budget and look after that.
The first one is obviously our MoneySMARTS platform. And that’s MoneySMARTS money management system available on our Moorr platform. That is a great way to organise and forecast the next 12 months of spending to understand what sort of surpluses you have, and to adjust that budget. So that’s number one.
Number two is our MoneySTRETCH product. And that little tool is excellent and is also available inside the Moorr platform. And it allows you to go into the platform and start to play around with some of those additional costs. Namely, for those of us who are carrying mortgages, the increased repayment costs that we have available in terms of our mortgages and being able to deal with that.
So you’re able to use that tool to then measure cash flows, to try and predict basically how your buffers will hold up in this changing environment. Now, for those of you who haven’t heard that word more before, we have made a couple of announcements throughout the year in terms of that It is the rebranding of the MyWealth Portal, which we’ve got 1000s and 1000s of our clients on that is now called Moorr, it’s a cloud-based platform that’s spelled M double O double R. And it’s free for all of our customers to use.
So I encourage you to have a look at that. And obviously, the big development recently has been the fact that we’ve moved to a mobile version of that. So it’s available also for download free from Apple, the App Store and also from Google Play in the Android environment. So if you haven’t already set yourself up in terms of organising your goal setting and your money management through that platform, I highly encourage you to check that out.
And my third important point, for those people who are also challenged around tightening the family budget, is reach out to us. We are here to help. That is our job.
So if you’re in a situation where you want to talk about your finances, maybe also around those repayment levels, and seeing if there’s any way in which we can adjust or help with that cash flow, please reach out to us, it’s really important for you to know that we are here for you, when it comes to dealing with those difficult challenges, if you are facing a tightening budget.
Now, there is also those who are fortunate enough to potentially see opportunity and take advantage of that opportunity as it presents itself in the market today. And this is obviously where you may be able to fast-track your pathway towards financial peace and take advantage of the market situations as they currently are. And so my message to those fortunate clients is to again, look at the more platform, we’ve got some exciting new developments, and some new insights that are coming in sort of hopefully, late January of next year.
So really, really early into the new year, we’ll be starting to focus on giving you some of those insights where you may be able to see some opportunity for yourselves and if you already know that you’ve got that opportunity available to you.
Again, why not think about reaching out to us in January, and having a chat with us and we can work out some of the best ways for you to move forward and take advantage of these times as well.
Now, of course, from my point of view, during this festive season, as part of the tradition each year, I do want to share with you some of the client numbers over the last 12 months. And it should give you some perspective of the way in which we help serve you, our customers. So I just want to run through those numbers.
So over the last 12 months, we’ve delivered another 640 property portfolio plans and we’ve recommended over 1.1 billion of property purchases throughout the course of those plans for those clients who are using property as part of that investment vehicle.
Now historically, this brings our total to over 3600 plans that we’ve been able to deliver to our customers and we’ve recommended over $5.3 billion with a property purchase recommendation.
So for me, these are obviously very humbling numbers in terms of how we’ve been able to serve.
(Additional note: Learn more about our Property Wealth Planning team here)
Mortgage Broking Team
For the Mortgage Broking business in the last 12 months, over 2200 loan submissions and that’s over 1.1 billion in loans settled over that calendar year.
So again, helping those clients, reviewing those particular client numbers, and for those who are purchasing properties, we’ve been able to support them as part of that journey.
(Additional note: Learn more about our Mortgage Broking team here)
Buyers Agency Team
In terms of our buyers, the agency team have also had unprecedented demand, and have delivered the purchase of over 512 properties to date, as I go to recording this, that may finish off with a few more by the end of the year. And that’s over $378 million worth of property transactions that our buyers agents have been involved in, in helping our customers get towards their ultimate outcomes. That’s an impressive numbers as we move throughout the year.
In our Buyers Agency side of the business, it’s been another year of over 500 purchases and that’s a little over $365 million worth of purchases in the last 12 months.
Now, historically speaking, that brings our property purchases to almost 2500 purchases, since we started the business or way back when and that is also to the value of $1.65 billion of property values over that time.
(Additional note: Learn more about our Buyers Agency team here)
Financial Planning Team
In the financial planning part of their business, I’m really pleased to report that there’s over 1800 clients that we protect from an insurance point of view. You are your biggest asset, so that’s always important to know that you have protection around that.
From a Superannuation and funds under management point of view, we’re now helping our clients with over $191 million worth of investments that we helped manage for our clients in terms of super and also managed funds.
(Additional note: Learn more about our Financial Planning team here)
Our Tax and Personal Accounting business is only in its second year, and I’m really pleased to report over 920 clients are using our tax return services this year. So that’s been a real boost in terms of being able to provide that holistic approach.
(Additional note: Learn more about our Tax & Personal Accounting team here)
Wealth Building Education
When we start to think about the other parts in which we help the Empower Wealth community, we have our education courses, our Start & Build course. I’m pleased to say there was another 529 people who acquired that online training course and that takes the number of people who have access to that training course to over 1000 people over the past two years.
I mentioned the Moorr platform earlier. This is obviously a very important part in terms of organising your financial affairs and helping manage your household when you start to think about goal setting, day-to-day money management of money, property management, and also the wealth management and wealth creation story.
So there is so much more exciting news that we’ll be sharing you with around the Moorr platform in 2023. But it’s pleasing to note over 25,000 households are engaged in using that platform currently.
Our podcast, The Property Couch podcast, some of the great work that Bryce and I get to do, and share some of the knowledge, we’re pleased to say we hit another milestone of over 18 million downloads and that will continue to be a great avenue in which you can get continue education around property finance and money management.
(Additional note: Learn more about our Podcast, Australia’s No.1 Property Podcast here)
In regards to our books, we’re very proud of the books that we have in the marketplace, The Armchair Guide to Property Investing, we’ve sold over 41,000 copies of that book.
And our Make Money Simple Again book, which is free to download at any time at all (Just Google Make Money Dimple Again), and you can free download that over 42,000 people have taken advantage of downloading that book. And that has the MoneySMARTS money management system, available in there as well.
So that’s basically the instruction guide in terms of how you run the MoneySMARTS system and that also gives you access to the Morr platform. And remember, it’s completely free to be able to access the Moorr platform as well.
Empower Wealth Google Reviews
Thinking about the business, we also see that the Google reviews continue to show evidence that our customers are really happy with how we’re looking after them.
So across both our Melbourne and Sydney offices, we now have 635-star reviews.
Although our awards are not why we do what we do, it’s really pleasing to get some of that peer recognition. So some of those major awards: We had the Major Brokerage of the Year Award, at the National Australian Brokering Awards, we took that out two years in a row.
We placed Champion Brokerage for the AFG aggregation group, Top Brokerage for 2022 in MPA magazine, and 5-star Mortgage Innovator 2022 for Australian Broker magazine. So that’s all of that innovation work and what we’re doing in terms of the Morr platform as well.
And then countless awards around Top New Brokers, Best Loan Administrators, Top 50 brokers, Top 150 brokers, Rising Star – so really strong awards in areas, as we’re excelling in terms of providing those services, which sort of brings me to the final point, we hit a really significant milestone in 2022.
And that was, through our products and services, we were able to reach out to 10,000 customers since inception in 2007.
And so that has been a significant milestone and I’m super proud of the team in terms of the work we’ve been able to provide for you, you know, as our valued customers.
(Additional note: Learn more about our Awards here)
So it’s been another huge year in serving our community. And you know, we live this mission in being able to help build wealthier tomorrows for you as our valued clients. So from the entire team here at Empower Well, I want to wish you all the very very best for the festive season and may 2023 be a safe, healthy and prosperous year for you and your family. A very, very big Merry Christmas from the team here at Empower Wealth.
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