Insights  I  Testimonials  I  Podcasts  I  Interviews  I  Spotlights

Why do we make poor financial decisions?


When it comes to financial decision making, it’s fair to say that humans are rarely rational in the choices we make. Our behaviours and emotions are capable of leading us astray and quite often they do! Sometimes these decisions can have an outcome that negatively impacts our financial future.


Behavioural economics is a rapidly growing academic field. It studies the effects of psychological, cognitive, emotional, cultural and social factors on our economic decisions. Behavioural economics can help us understand why we make the financial decisions we do, particularly when under stress.


We’ve all heard of the ‘fight or flight’ instinct. Through times of market volatility, decisions are made from this innate fight or flight response rather than reasoning and logic. At times of perceived ‘crisis’ for example falling markets, all our instincts are telling us to take action. The action taken is often to sell to remove ourselves from high stress situations, but that is often the worst thing to do. Selling when the market is low leads to consolidated loss, whereas patience can be rewarded.

Over the long term you are rewarded for keeping your investments, or even increasing your exposure to different markets, take advantage of the eventual market rebound.

There are several common biases or pitfalls to be wary of when making financial decisions.


Recency Bias is the tendency to focus on recent events and put more emphasis on new information than older data. For example, investors often think the share market will remain consistent and make decisions based on that. When the market is going up they buy and when it goes down they sell.


Confirmation Bias is where you have an existing idea or belief and seek confirmation by listening only to information that confirms those pre-conceptions. We tend to interpret and recall information in a way that confirms our beliefs, while ignoring information that disproves our theory.  In the contemporary world we live in, we have access to infinite amounts of information that can support nearly any hypothesis we put forward in our minds. On the same day one news outlet might be predicting markets will fall, while another is stating that markets are on the rise. We filter only the information that supports our thinking and act accordingly. Confirmation bias interacts with recency bias.


Humans generally don’t like change and this is referred to as the Status Quo Bias. It is the preference for things to remain the same and a tendency to not change behaviour unless the incentive to do so is compelling. This minimises the risk associated with change but also means forgoing any potential benefits that may outweigh the risk. This often plays out with decisions around changing a provider such as health insurance or even an electricity company. Being familiar with the current provider, the costs and the benefits may lead you to stay as is rather than take a risk on an unfamiliar but potentially better option.


Studies show that we feel a loss twice as intensely as a gain. Loss Aversion is a preference to avoid a loss almost at any cost. Investors will often hold onto a stock that has dropped significantly in value with the hope it will eventually come good. In the natural cycle of market movements, this can be a good thing as often the stock will recover. However, where there is no hope for recovery we need to know when to admit defeat, sell to minimise the loss and invest elsewhere. Loss aversion could also be called FOMO (fear of missing out) and is at play when there is a perception of scarcity. This is why when something is advertised as only having two left, you feel compelled to purchase.


You may have picked up that some of these biases support one another while others contradict. A financial adviser can help you navigate these bias’, determine your short and long-term goals and, importantly, help you make smart and rational decisions to achieve these goals over time.



To find out more, contact a Shadforth adviser on 1300 308 440 or click HERE

This content is Sponsored.

Read More


By Bridget Hawkins

Recently, we sat down with Vida Carlino, the director of Inspiration Source to talk about conscious leadership and the importance of balancing the feminine and masculine qualities inside each of us. Vida has been a BWA member for 6 years and says that she has found her “tribe” with BWA. We are so glad she joined as she has been a significant community leader and a source of inspiration for us!


Vida began Inspiration Source in 2009 with an ambitious purpose “igniting inspiration and lifting the spirit of humanity.” How can we ignite inspiration and where does inspiration come from? Inspiration is about
“taking action from your own spirit, from your own unique authentic conscious self.”
Authenticity and awareness with one self is the key to igniting inspiration, not only in yourself but also others. With this ignited inspiration we are able to “influence the expansion of evolving wisdom,” and Vida defines wisdom as “the place where our intellect emotions and intuitive is aligned.”  When these facets of ourselves are unaligned it can lead to an inner state of conflict, lower levels of productivity, dissatisfaction, no longer having the energy/motivation to finish tasks. Vida talks about how wisdom comes from many sources and to “listen to all forms of intelligence” rather than relying on a singular perspective to create rounded and multi-faceted wisdom.


A source of wisdom that has been historically overlooked is the wisdom that comes from the feminine qualities and energies that exist within us (regardless of gender identity). Masculine energies have been privileged by businesses and institutions, particularly for roles of leadership; and has forced people to disregard their own feminine energies which have often been labelled as “weak.” For example, masculine traits such as productivity, power, competitiveness, outcome, control, and forthrightness have been celebrated, whereas the feminine traits of empathy, honesty, loving, nurturing, creativity, intuition, kindness, and understanding are not often celebrated. Everyone has access to these qualities inside of themselves. However, as Vida explains it is not about balance but rather harmony of these values and traits.
“We never find the balance, and we don’t need to. The power is in harmony, look at nature; it isn’t always balanced but it is always harmonious.”
When we allow these feminine energies to flourish it “gives permission for honesty and authenticity, and it allows us to trust the unknown whilst speaking our own truth.”



Valuing both the feminine and the masculine energies is incredibly important in those roles of leaderships in business, and can help executives and professionals become Conscious Leaders. A Conscious Leader is an aware leader, one who employs metacognition which Vida defines as “thinking about what they’re thinking.” Metacognition allows leaders to
“be aware of when they’re aware and unaware, to know what’s going on in the moment without getting hooked into their unconscious bias and judgements, and listening and understanding to what is said, but also what is left unsaid.”
Conscious leadership allows collaborative growth between the leader and their team.


Throughout her times with BWA, Vida has been a conscious leader for our BWA community and at the 2019 Women of Inspiration Dinner Vida will join other unsung leaders who inspire us every day! The dinner, which will also feature Paola Magni and Katheryn Johnson, is described by Vida as being “nerve wracking, as a private person this is a big thing in terms of being courageous” and considers it a “privilege to be invited and surrounded by such amazing women.” Vida has amazing stories of growth and resilience to share, and we are so excited to listen!



About Vida and Inspiration Source:

Vida, seeker of wisdom, lover of ritual and sacred space, published author, speaker, leader in conscious inspiration, wisdom mindset and authentic accountability. She believes we are all on a great journey to discover our authentic brilliant self and share our greatness with humanity.

In life’s busyness and distractions its easy to let our thinking over run our feelings without realising you left yourself behind. On the surface it all appears normal and, on the inside, it is a confused mess.

Vida has spent many years, facilitating/guiding retreats and conscious coaching for professionals and entrepreneurs that are willing to do the soulful (internal) and strategic (external) work so they can fully live their ambitious dreams and  consciously succeed.

She offers a unique combination of ancient wisdom practices, neuro processes and contemporary techniques that align intellectual, emotional and intuitive intelligences for greater wisdom and crystal clarity.

Vida is a successful businesswoman who consciously participates and guides in life’s unfolding.



Read More


By Bridget Hawkins
Cathy Smith joined BWA in November 2016 and we sat down to talk with her about her growth, her business’ growth and the sense of community BWA has brought Cathy.
Initially, Cathy aimed to “extend [her] network into medium businesses with fabulous women at the helm” and in doing that has found her “tribe.” Cathy spoke about the idea of “tall poppy syndrome” that can come into play in networking and business communities, and how BWA creates a space that doesn’t push for competitiveness but rather collaborative learning and growing. A sense of community that has come from all shapes and sizes of business women who aren’t pitted against each other, but rather is a support network that can be “turned to in good and bad times,” a support network of “trusted peers that you can bounce ideas off.” Since joining BWA Cathy has had access to a number of different opportunities, including becoming Circle Leader for BWA’s Bunbury events in January 2019.
“[Being] Circle Leader has pushed me outside of my comfort zone, helping me and my business, CATCO Enterprises grow.”
Speaking opportunities have pushed Cathy to develop and hone her public speaking and presentation skills, whilst also building and maintaining a larger network of like-minded women. BWA has also created opportunities for events Cathy felt she wouldn’t have attended otherwise, highlights being the cooking class with Sophie Budd, and the ‘boardroom banter’ events.
BWA hasn’t just impacted Cathy, there has also been increased growth and opportunities for her business CATCO Enterprises, particularly coming from “networking with high-level business ladies,” holding a leadership position such as Circle Leader, and the “national exposure” BWA has brought to CATCO Enterprises.   Cathy remembers being hesitant attending her first few BWA events; but said that the semi- formal setting that allows for introductions, and the inviting nature of circle leaders helped significantly. Although Cathy first had that hesitancy associated with the new and unfamiliar, she says
“the opportunities are phenomenal if you are willing to step up and take them.”

And, BWA is so glad that she was.


About CATCO Enterprises
As a Customer Connection Guide, we help you and your business make meaningful connections to the right customers, at the right time helping you grow your business.
Using sophisticated digital marketing strategies and more, CATCO Enterprises offers you powerful and responsive marketing that will grow your business.
We listen and respond to the expert in your business: YOU.
We LISTEN – that’s why we can tailor your marketing so it will work for your business, your brand; taking it where you want it to go, not just an expensive cookie cutter approach that leaves you cold.
We RESPOND – knowing the story of your business shows us exactly how best to market you in a changing, complex marketplace.
Our combined experience and market awareness means that we can offer you a responsive, up to date marketing strategy that allows your business to thrive.
We’re excited to be working with small and medium businesses helping you grow and articulating your story to your ideal customer so they can become a raving fans and repeat customers.

Read More

What I Wish I’d Known


It can feel like an uphill battle to stay ahead of the game financially. Particularly with constant media reminders that home ownership is seemingly unachievable for some and with the superannuation gap in retirement still a very real issue for Australians.

With the financial pressures of daily life, it can feel like a constant battle to continue to stay ahead of the game financially. Getting ongoing advice is crucial, so you can maintain and enjoy financial freedom in the years to come.

With the cost of living going up each year and people living longer, it’s hard to know just how much you’ll need to keep ‘living the dream’ now and into the future. However, a 2017 report by the Financial Planning Association found that people who feel like they are living the dream are nearly three times more likely to seek advice from a financial adviser before making financial decisions.

We speak to one woman who reflects on her journey to take charge of her financial wellbeing.


Emerging from the financial wilderness

Susan*, a mother of two in her sixties, believed she was doing everything right to ensure she was setting herself up safely for retirement, such as salary sacrificing into her industry superannuation fund. However conversations with her peers about their financial situation started to make her feel uneasy.

“There was this uncomfortable feeling that I wasn’t doing the right thing, which turned out to be the case… it was a really disquieting, uncomfortable feeling that I still hadn’t achieved what I needed to in relation to planning for my future,” says Susan.

Determined to take control of her financial future, Susan made the decision to seek expert help and contacted Shadforth to get the ball rolling.


Taking the plunge

Sitting down to dissect your financial situation with a complete stranger is a confronting step to take, particularly if you are doing it alone. Susan went through a range of emotions during her first consultation, saying “it was absolutely terrifying for me… but I’m so glad I pushed through that.”

During that initial meeting, Susan’s financial adviser helped her put some structure around her saving habits and provided valuable direction to help her maximise her financial potential.


Dreaming big

This direction and support also helped Susan identify a major goal for her future — the purchase of an investment property. There were a number of barriers in the way of Susan realising her goal, including the slim financial lending window for someone in her position. She describes how, despite the challenges, her financial adviser didn’t give up.

She took the situation to a member of the Shadforth lending team, who “kicked some big goals in order to make that purchase possible, given the fact the [lending] window was closing rapidly,” says Susan.

“They actually strived to help me make this happen. They weren’t just going to accept that maybe they shouldn’t try because a few lenders have said no.”

“That kicked me off in terms of what I should be doing, what I should be saving, and it gave me some rigour around that, says Susan.


More than advisers

Susan’s assumption about the role of a financial adviser was turned on its head by the genuine, enduring connection she built with her adviser. This sense of long-term partnership has been a constant of Susan’s experience with Shadforth, leaving her with the confidence that they truly cared about ensuring she achieved her goals, in business and in life.

They’re more than just financial advisers. They’re true partners, she says. It’s been an authentic, real experience… It’s been about me achieving what I wanted to.


The time is now

From lower stress levels to being in a better place financially for her future, Susan recognises that seeking financial advice earlier, such as in her early 40’s, would have been a good idea and urges those in a similar situation to not delay taking that first step.

“Leaving it to ‘that’ll happen in the future’ is not good enough…There’s some real risk associated with just deflecting or pretending that it’ll happen one day,” says Susan.

“Hindsight’s a great thing, but given what I know now and how we’ve gone about it, I think I would have been ahead of the game in terms of being better prepared.”

If Susan’s experience struck a chord with you or if your situation has changed get in touch with us. It’s never too late to change your financial future.



To find out more, contact a Shadforth adviser on 1300 308 440 or head to their website

*Not her real name
This is sponsored content.

Read More

Women and Super – it’s time to plan ahead


In this Spotlight on Wealth by Shadforth Financial Group we focus on superannuation. Read the somewhat sobering numbers and be motivated by the simple steps you can take now to make your superannuation nest egg just that much bigger when retirement comes.



Gender equality is enshrined in Australian law, however one area where women are striving to make up ground is their ability to save for retirement. At around $157,050 the average super balance for women at retirement is roughly 40% of the amount for men.


There are several reasons for this, including the gender pay gap and the tendency for women to take time out of the workforce to raise a family. And when women do return to work its often on a part-time basis. However, blessed with longer lives (around three years on average for those that reach 65) many women also face the extra financial burden of needing greater levels of savings to cover those extra years in retirement.



With those statistics in mind, looking after yourself financially for the long term becomes as critically important as looking after your physical health through diet and exercise. Research suggests eight out of ten women will be responsible for their own financial security at some point in their lives. Seeking the right information and support can be an important part of managing your money to improve your financial wellbeing.


THE SAVINGS GAP: How much super do women have compared to men?




Despite many women taking positive steps to boost retirement savings when they do return to the workforce, women are often too conservatively invested to close the retirement gap to men according to a global survey of more than 34,000 investors by investment firm, BlackRock.

Women were also less inclined to take risks with their investments with only 28 per cent of women saying they would take on higher risks to achieve higher returns, compared with 45 per cent of men. The survey also highlighted these key habits of women who were on track to meet their retirement goals:


Spending time on their investments – up to seven hours per month
Making retirement saving a priority
Diversifying their portfolio, holding more shares and less cash
Seeking financial advice





So it’s time to take control of your super now and plan ahead. Here are some proactive steps you can get started on to build and protect your financial security.

Put it all together – Having multiple super funds can cost you more in fees. Consolidating your super and making contributions into a single fund can save you money in the long-term. However, it’s important to check your insurance cover before closing any of your super accounts to ensure you and your family continue to have the right level of cover.
Add your own voluntary contributions – Your employer’s super contributions may not be enough to give you the retirement you want. Making extra voluntary contributions throughout your life can help boost your super savings. You can make payments from your pre-tax salary, known as salary sacrifice, if your employer offers this. Your total pre-tax (concessional) contributions within the annual cap will be taxed at just 15%.

To find out more about making extra contributions into your super, including the limits on how much you can contribute, visit HERE

No matter how far away you are from retirement, it’s important to plan ahead for a comfortable retirement.

To get started, head to Shadforth and choose ‘Retirement gap calculator’ or contact a Shadforth adviser on 1300 308 440 to arrange an initial and no-obligation meeting at our cost.


If you would like to talk to an experienced and talented financial advisor click HERE.


Read More

Melissa Griffiths: “We all have the power to create change!”

By Bridget Hawkins

In the lead up to the 2019 National LBGQTI+ Awards we caught up with Melissa Griffiths, a transgender activist helping businesses to create safe working spaces for their gender-diverse employees. Since beginning her transition in 2015 Melissa has been educating workplaces on different gender identity issues and has advised a number of businesses including Racing Victoria on their policies surrounding gender diversity. She is currently a finalist for the LBGQTI+ Awards in the category of Hero, an award that recognises members of the LGBQTI+ community who have never stopped fighting for equality & inclusivity for the community. The 2018 HERO Winner was Prof Kerryn Phelps.



Sitting down with Melissa we discussed what policies a workplace can implement to achieve these safe spaces. Often, it is as simple as allowing employees to use the bathroom aligned with their gender identity or having workplace policies against gender-based discrimination. Or, when an employee intends to transition, that there is appropriate support including; time off work, how and when to tell other employees, and a guideline with basic terminology explaining gender identity and other questions that may arise. Melissa has set up a number of policies for work spaces around Victoria but has found there is still a long way to go.


“A good support network, both within a workplace and outside of it can be essential to your emotional safety, and can help push you to achieve great things.”


Melissa describes herself as a “visual person,” and her office as filled with posters and mind maps that describe her goals. These visual reminders not only push Melissa to her achievements but, also keep her motivated, and inspired in difficult times.  There is a lot of emotional labour that comes with educating people about facets of your own identity, especially in the age of anonymous internet “trolls.” Any business or person online will encounter these “trolls,” who can make harassing comments.


While you will never be able to stop the trolls, learning how to deal with them is your best defence. Melissa has found a number of strategies over the years, but it is humour and a support network that are the most effective. Laughing at the online comments trolls make, and allowing them to just slide off is the most effective and Melissa even jokes about using some of her most horrible comments as merchandise.  This is easier to do with a strong support network, and a mentor to ask questions. A good support network, both within a workplace and outside of it can be essential to your emotional safety, and can help push you to achieve great things.


Melissa was awarded a 2019 Australia Day Achievement Medallion and the BWA team wishes her congratulations!



Read More