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Last Thursday night 6 representatives of GMG went to hear Chris Helder speak to an audience of approximately 90 people at Spoons Riverside, arranged by Swan Hill Inc.  Chris is a certified practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming specialising in advanced communication and behavioral modelling.

Chris provided us with a high energy and entertaining account of personality characteristics, body language and how we can identify these.  This is designed to help us to be more aware of our own personality traits and also of those around us.

He also taught us his useful everyday communication techniques that can help us not only personally but professionally based on his FORD principle – Family, Occupation, Relax & Dreams (vulnerability).

Chris was an informative, entertaining and insightful speaker and I'm sure everyone who attended learned a great deal.

Below is a photo of our very own Ash Lawry with Chris Helder 

The Great Australian Dream

Home ownership is considered to be part of the great Australian dream, and the 'primary residence' is one investment the ATO allows you to escape from the clutches of Capital Gains Tax (CGT).

Expenses incurred in maintaining your primary residence are often included as deductions in individual's tax returns.  When does the deduction go too far? Read more…

Get Active!

With the busy Christmas period over, it's so easy to get back into that bad routine of Eat, Sleep, Work, Repeat. After all those New Years Resolutions and January gym memberships we always seem to end up back on the couch! Read more…

Are you making the most of your time?

In the office recently we conducted a session on Personal Efficiency. We all only have a limited amount of hours in the day, how do we make our time at work the most efficient that it can be?
Read more…

The Journey Through Retirement

There is an old saying: Old Accountants don't die, they just lose their balance!!

Whether or not this is true, we all come to a stage in our lives where contemplating life after work is part of our psyche.

After having spent many years working with clients, most of whom are friends, formulating plans for business handovers to the next generation, it has always been a topic in which I have been heavily involved.

Probably the most oft asked question I have heard is: "How much money will I need to retire?"

My reply is always the same: "How long are you going to live?"

Most major life-changing events such as marriage or divorce, involve an ongoing process of adjustment. Retirement is no exception. Marriage, divorce and other family related family-emotional issues have been the focus of decades of research and analysis by both clinical therapists and religious institutions. Unfortunately, the emotional and psychological frontier of retirement has remained virtually unexplored until recently. However, while research on this subject has barely begun, it is clear that the psychological process of retirement process follows a pattern similar in nature to the emotional phases accompanying other areas of transition.

Geoff of the Coast of WA near Broome after hauling in a snapper

Retirement: The Final Frontier

Retirees must face what is essentially the last transition in their lives. The first transition comes when we leave the security of home to begin our school life in kindergarten, and after school we have the rest of the day to ourselves. Another major transition comes when we join the working world. Now we work all week but still have the weekend to ourselves. Then finally comes retirement, a time when careers are over and the work is done. Retirees have the rest of their lives to themselves. The transition into retirement can be broken down into six main phases.

1. Pre-retirement Planning Time

During the working years, retirement can appear to be both an oncoming burden and a distant paradise. Workers know that this stage of their lives is coming, and do everything they can to save for it, but often give little thought to what they will actually do once they reach the goal. The current demands that are placed upon them leave them little time to ponder this issue. Many people face retirement like a player on the football ground who dodges and  weaves his way  through one defender after another until reaching the inside fifty and shoots for goal. It's hard for many workers to think seriously about what their lives will be like in 20 or 30 years when they are trying to stay on top of their mortgage, put their kids through school, and have some fun in the meantime. They want to kick the goal, but other issues will tackle them long before then if they don't take immediate action.

Read more…

The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year!

As kids we always looked forward to Christmas: all the cool stuff we would get, all the great food we could eat and lots of time to just enjoy life and have fun since school was out.

These memories are imprinted into our mind and are revived every year with the sounds and sights of the holiday season. It's a special time of year, one in which we celebrate and connect with those closest to us.

As adults, having time away from the workplace at Christmas provides a well earned rest and a fresh start to the New Year. It gives us an opportunity to recharge our batteries and return to work with fresh eyes and a rejuvenated attitude.

It can be a time of reflection and setting of 'New Year's resolutions'; taking time away can help provide a sense of perspective and an opportunity for self-evaluation and also a chance to take some time to set  goals for the year ahead.

So, listen to your inner child … Enjoy the festive season & a well earned rest.

From everyone here at GMG Accounting, we would like to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Safe and Happy New Year.

Coping with the Stress of Change

In business we are all faced with dealing with change, which can be stressful.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines stress as

  "the reaction people may have when presented with demands and pressures that are not matched to their knowledge and abilities and which challenge their ability to cope."

When dealing with change and stress SURVIVAL is the key.

  • S          Size up the situation
  • U          Use all your senses
  • R          Remember where you are
  • V          Vanquish Fear and Panic
  • I           Identify
  • V          Value Learning
  • A          Act like the Natives
  • L          Live by your wits, but for now, Learn Basic Skills

Size up the situation

  • Don't over-eat. Drink lots of water. Watch your breathing
  • Size up your Equipment
  • Size up your physical condition
  • Size up your surroundings
  • Gather information, Training: Understand what, when and why
  • Be prepared to learn

 Use all your senses

  • Watch your reactions, behaviour & emotions in stressful situations
  • Keep an eye on your team mates – can you help them
  • Ask Questions, Clarify information, Talk to others, 'Ask the experts'
  • Take notes, Keep 'in touch' with events
  • Listen to advice. Keep an 'ear out' for assistance and tips
  • Monitor your emotions Manage your stress levels, Maintain you work/life balance
  • 'Sniff out' opportunities to learn and help others learn

 Remember where you are

  • This is business/work, not war! Keep a realistic expectation of your (and others) abilities
  • We are all different and may react differently to situations
  • We are all in this together 

Vanquish Fear & Panic

  • Plan ahead to succeed  ---> Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance
  • Use positive 'self-talk  ---> "I am very smart, I can do this!"
  • Work your worries out ---> Identify your "Worry Shrinkers"


  • Identify similarities: One of the key aspects to learning is the ability to identify similarities between different subjects. How can you integrate two seemingly different phenomena? In that ways are they similar?
  • Identify the differences: The other key aspect is identifying the differences. How can you differentiate between two objects or phenomena? What makes the two different? What makes each one unique?

 Value Learning

  • Accept mistakes as part of the learning process! (More Mistakes = Greater Progress)
  • Ask the experts!
  • To better navigate your way through the literature available for any given subject, it might be useful to ask some recognized experts for their own recommendations of books and resources to read, and any specific questions that you may struggle to find answers for. Experts don't just offer information. They offer insights.

To learn more, teach more!

Teaching others what you've learned is a great way to instil that information in your own mind. As you think of ways to better explain the subject, how to express it in your own words, and how to structure the information, you will develop a deeper understanding that will contribute to your own learning.


Act like the Natives

  • Go with the flow
  • Balance your life
  • Get help

 Live by your wits

  • But for now Learn Basic Skills – Increases your ability to cope with the stresses of change

If your business environment or tax situation is causing you stress, book in an appointment to alleviate your worries.

Local Rental Market Pressures


As a young person, there comes a certain point when you (or sometimes your parents) decide that it's time to leave the nest and head out on your own. However, what can be an exciting and often defining moment in a person's life; will often stumble at the very first step – Where am I going to live?

It's a question that is becomes more daunting every year, as the housing and rental market in the  Swan Hill region becomes harder & harder for a young person to enter. House prices have remained comparatively low and relatively steady over the last 6-7 years, and with the current low interest rates it's a fantastic time to buy. However buying a house is generally not an option for anyone leaving home for the first time, so out of necessity young people must turn to the rental market.

With 75% of people aged 15-24 renting in Australia, it's pretty clear to see that the barriers to entry are much easier to overcome. But it is difficult to argue against the fact that there is clearly too much demand and not enough supply, particularly in Swan Hill. The combination of low house prices and high demand for rental properties is fantastic news for investors, but ultimately is having a huge impact on young people.

Hopefully increasing prices & low availability won't force our local youth to look elsewhere to start their careers and families, or deter new young people from joining the community.

Quick Pros & Cons of Credit Cards

Quick Pro's and Cons of Credit Cards

Below are two commonly discussed benefits and drawbacks of credit cards.

Convenience  - Having a credit card (like a debit card) is convenient because many retailers and places of business have access to electronic Point of Sale services. Credit cards can also be used to make payments via telephone and online – adding the extra level of choice.

Credit Management – if people get paid irregularly or have trouble managing your finances, a credit card can help to stabilize expenses, along with assisting with paying for unexpected expenses.

Loss of credit card – if your credit card or credit card details are lost or stolen, then whomever has them has direct access to the available funds. Freezing the card or the account could take some time and leave you without access to that facility while the fraudulent activities are being investigated.

Bad Credit Management – There is a cost to use a credit card – that is usually a card fee or interest which gets added on to the balance. If not kept in check with constant analysis and regular payments, the balance can grow to unmanageable levels, which then has interest charged upon it.

Credit history

Applying for a credit card and staying on top of your payments could be a great first step on your way to gaining a  strong credit rating, which is highly important when you apply for  finance for something bigger like a car loan or mortgage.

A good credit rating may mean that you require less collateral or can get a lower rate on your loan – a bad rating will push your collateral requirements higher and likely lead to a higher rate. All circumstances are different so you should contact your local bank manager to discuss your options.

Attention First Home Buyers!


Attention First Home Buyers

With an active real estate markets in Melbourne and Sydney's metropolitan areas, first home buyers in Australia seem to be struggling. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics in November 2014 first home buyers accounted for only 11.6% of total owner occupied housing loan commitments, the long term average being 20%. 

The First Home Owner Grant (FHOG) is still available…

From 1st July 2013 the First Home Owner Grant of $10,000 was limited to metropolitan and regional buyers of new homes up to a maximum value of $750,000.Another incentive available to first home buyers is a reduction in stamp duty which from 1st September 2014 was increased to 50%.  For example if you have purchased a new home in Victoria for $400,000 and are eligible for the FHOG you will also qualify for a 50% saving in stamp duty, this is a saving of $8,185.

 You can easily determine your FHOG and stamp duty benefits by using the app launched by the State Revenue Office for first home buyers. 

 If you or someone you know needs help in saving a deposit for your first home please contact us on 03 5032 9422 and we can help with our Money Matters service.

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