So far, most people have learned that we never really understood the products that we had invested our superannuation in or the risks of these products or the true costs of the fees involved.
A recent government report revealed that more than 95 per cent of women don’t know anything about companies they invest in. This is hardly surprising given that it takes a forensic accountant to unravel the true cost of the fees disclosed in the lengthy documents which super funds provide.
The products are also often so complex that even people with financial degrees (something financial planners who sell these products often don’t have) don’t understand the real risks of these products.
So the lessons we’ve learned, which Warren Buffett (one of the world’s richest men and most successful investors) has been warning about for years, is to only invest in things you understand with transparent fees.
With the recent jump in unemployment, another lesson we are learning is that most people do not have enough savings to last more than one month unemployed. You need to have at least three months’ contingency money.
You’ve probably heard this before, but the fact is, if you lose your job, it might take at least this long to find another one. If you still have a job, it’s not too late to build up at least three months of savings, by using your tax refund, for instance. Or you could sell unwanted clothes or household items on eBay, work overtime or a second job for a while, or try to save money each month on groceries or your fuel bill.
Virginia Graham is a mortgage broker for Model Mortgages.