Archive for January, 2009


It’s Australia Day, 2009.  America has a new president, a go-ahead young guy, a new generation, and the first African American president who wasn’t in a movie role…  A lot has been written about him, but what does it mean for us, in Australia?  Quite a lot actually, in more ways than you might think…


When America elected an African American president, around 20 years younger than his opposite number, from the other side of politics, and with a very healthy margin, it sent a huge message around the planet.  Even during his two year election campaign, the American people chose him over the very popular and well known and respected wife of the former US President, Bill Clinton, and Hillary was a seasoned campaigner, a very astute and polished politician.  But they rejected her and chose him.


The message that the American people sent to the world was simple – they had put up with enough for far too long and they wanted some real change.


They wanted an end to the war.  They realised that had been lied to since 9/11 and the weapons of mass destruction, and they were mad about it.  They were lied to about the state of their economy, and facing foreclosures on their homes, they were mad about it.  They were abandoned when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans and they were disgusted with the federal response.  Year after year, they were lied to, and they could see their reputation as a proud nation sliding into disrepute around the planet, and they had tolerated enough.


Americans are a very proud people and they saw their pride being destroyed by a guy who couldn’t demonstrate even a serious command of their language.  They said enough is enough, and booted that team out.


That told the rest of the world that a new America was being reborn, and the world stopped and took notice.


When President Obama came into office, soon after he swore the oath of office, he told the army to get their guys out of Iraq.  Then he told the CIA to close all their secret jails and stop those covert operations.  WOW!  Heady stuff for day one!  However, he wasn’t speaking to the CIA or the Army Chiefs; he was speaking to US, the people around the planet.  He was telling us that a new American era was beginning.  He was telling us that the Texan ways of diplomacy were over, and that a socially responsible era of US world influence was beginning.


All the same, he told the terrorists and non-aligned powers not to mistake this as weakness, he still had the six-guns his Texan predecessor had been playing with; he just wasn’t going to be the one to start the war next time…


The economic implications also are huge!  The sub-prime crisis of 2007/08 has shaken the global financial institutions to their foundations and rocked many of them to piles of rubble.  For many, that was a good thing.  Corrupt businesses based on corrupt strategies have no place in our civilisation, and we have a few less of them now.  Not all are gone, but the shake-up also saw a lot of the rules these shady characters play under changed so that those remaining crooks have to do things differently now.


The economic crisis also made people aware of what is going on out there.  In my last blog, “How do you love your country?  How would we know?” I posed the question to those people who didn’t watch the news, who did they delegate to watch over the country while they had their heads in the sand?  Well, this financial crisis has slashed at least 20% of the value of the retirement funds of every Australian with an investment in an industry super fund and it has hit them hard.  Very few are now unaware of the financial crisis and they are all taking note of what is going on around them.  That alone has got to be a great thing.


Governments globally have been restructuring their financial institutions to ensure that they are up to the challenges of the times.  Many banks have collapsed; some very large banks have collapsed and lost fortunes larger than many national economies.  Seven hundred billion dollars in one case, more lost than some countries earned in a year.  Gone.  Nothing left but the lessons we learned.


Again, this global financial awareness is also a good thing.  With all governments recognising the need to restructure their financial systems, the opportunities are there to radically change the corrupt practices that had set in and replace them with new and more socially responsible structures.


I hear the cries, “But what about the global recession?”  “What about China’s growth slowing?”


There is a lesson here in discernment about what is said in the media headlines and the truth.  If you study China and her growth over the last decade, you will see that it has been phenomenal!  A new international airport every month, 30,000 kilometres of new highways, thousands more kilometres of railways, huge super cargo ships constructed and most importantly, 300,000,000 people came out of poverty and became consumers.


This figure is important.  300 million people, who had been raising just enough food to survive on, started producing and contributing to the national economy, and earned enough to have discretionary spending in addition to their basic survival needs.  That is the equivalent of the whole of the USA population starting to spend money.  It is fifteen times our own population.  Those people are now buying cars, mobile phones and gadgets faster than any other group on the planet.


If China’s growth slowed to only half, instead of the 6.8% growth forecast, that is still more than treble what Australia is expecting and we have a basically sound economy!  But that’s not all.  Look just over the Chinese borders to the north and south.  Russia and India.


Russia is making the move to capitalism in a big way and the separate states that were the former USSR members and now independent economies, some even applying for membership to the European Community, NATO and so on, earning their way in the world, bringing their national infrastructure up to modern standards.


To the south, India is now developmentally where China was a decade ago, poised to make that huge leap into growth that China made, but with a difference.  India is now a global technology leader and in many ways, very advanced and well primed to move.  When the momentum gathers, with a decade more advanced technology and communications abilities behind her, the Indian growth could well eclipse China’s phenomenal success stories, and at least parallel our resources boom again with this much nearer neighbour!  With a population of a billion also, and most of them in abject poverty while being surrounded by advanced technology, it’s likely at least as many as with China’s population will also become consumers instead of subsistence farmers in the next decade.


This phenomenon is occurring around the planet too.  Technology is enabling countries with low budgets and weak economies to tap into the knowledge boom and think smart, to work their way out of financial crisis with technology, rather than with third world labour strategies.


What are the implications for us?  Quite simply, our financial crisis here is short term, although the doom and gloom merchants would have you believe otherwise.  Some predict years of financial crisis, but the reality is that the world needs what we have.  People need to replace the “stuff” in their lives, they need roads and bridges and houses built, they need steel and coal and other resources and our country is in a perfect situation to be suppliers for all those needs.  Before the end of 2009, we can be fairly sure that a definite up-trend is evident in our markets overall, and some companies will have made phenomenal gains.


Further, the rental market in Australia is very tight and with developers holding off building new homes for a while, the rental crisis is going to get tighter and harder before it gets better.  Even if a developer decides to start building and finds a block of land, by the time they get the various approvals in place, and then build, it can be 4 years before there is a house ready to live in!


How do we take advantage of these situations?


Firstly, understand that there are investment alternatives.  As a general rule, the managed fund industry is rotten to the core at the moment.  It always was pretty rotten, with big fees charged for little result and virtually no responsibility by the fund managers.  All the super funds managed by the big insurance companies and the industry funds are investing primarily through a variety of managed funds, most of which have dropped by 20% in the last year, and more pain is to follow.


However, taking personal responsibility for your finances and your super can make a huge difference!  Self Managed Super Funds (SMSF) have generally performed well over the same period, especially if they had investment property in them, as the rents increase when the market tightens.  In September 2007, the government changed the rules to enable SMSF to borrow to invest in property.  I am part of Allied Financial Planning, the only firm in Australia that we know of that has a turnkey program for investors to set that SMSF Property Investment Program in place, from initial meeting to set up the SMSF through to having a tenant paying rent.  Depending on your starting point, it has the potential over 15 years to add half a million dollars to your fund balance, and your current superannuation deductions from salaries are enough to fund it!  It is this type of strategy, combined with other diversified investments, that enables the investor to take control of their money and their financial futures.


Outside of Superannuation, there are other investment strategies, both linked and non market linked that can and have reliably returned at least 4 times what the banks have returned, even through the crisis.  We also pioneered the development of one of those strategies, now a finely tuned and totally passive investment strategy that can turn lazy assets or managed funds into investment powerhouses.  We have never sold managed funds or regular financial products; instead, we created new products and strategies for the changing Australian financial environment.


As a financial planner and business strategist, I can teach and present those strategies to anyone who wants to take back control of their finances, from this crazy mess the economy has suddenly turned into. 


As an Australian, I want YOU to prosper, so that through your successes, this great nation can regain the place it has lost in the global village.


A final note, I have been asked by the AGMATES Online News Service to write a column on business, finance and investment.  Feel free to log onto there, subscribe and get the truth about what is really going on behind the hype of the regular news service media hype headlines.  I look forward to seeing you there.


Ray Jamieson


Do you love your country? How would we know?

Hello Australia and Australians,

We are all patriotic to a degree, but how could we measure that?  What would you do, to make a difference in your country?

So many people now claim to not watch the news or read newspapers because “it’s all too negative!”  I say that is so unpatriotic that it’s almost treason!


Who did you delegate to watch over your country while you buried your head in the sand?  If you are there to watch the politicians and anyone else making the news, at least someone has an eye on the country.  But to say “I elected a prime minister to do that” is shameful.  He is a public servant, there only to do AS WE DIRECT!  And look at what they have done under our watch, while we were not listening to the news, “because it was so negative”…

They took us to war in the Middle East, without being elected to do so, in a war that should never have happened. That amounts to murdering our children.

They gave us a tax system that was treasonous to implement, because there was better available for our country.  That amounts to theft and fraud, at the very least.  If anyone else commits these crimes, they go to jail!

They signed a declaration (The Lima Declaration, in 1974 that exported our small business industries such as clothing, textiles and footwear and small manufacturing plants to South East Asia and sent tens of thousands of our small businesses to the wall.  Acting against the interests of a nation in times gone by was called treason, and the traitors were hung!

These are the people we left in charge!  Look what they have done or failed to prevent just recently:

The health system is in crisis, there are drugs awash in our schools, our drinking water is being medicated against the advice of the medical community, the Carbon Dioxide argument is out of control (and this item alone could bankrupt this country within 15 years if the ETS is fully implemented).  Our farmers are so over regulated that they cannot plough a paddock without permission after a few years, but they get so little support from the government that international suppliers can bring their produce in and contaminate ours and we have little protection against them.  Our younger school teachers grew up and were educated in a system that failed to teach them maths and english, so they don’t know how to teach spelling and arithmetic to our youngest children!  Our teenagers are drinking themselves to early graves with binges each weekend because they can, and parents are powerless to regulate their activities and the system encourages them to leave the family unit.  Pedophiles and rapists are released back into the community to offend again, and victims of crime remain just that – victims.

And you want to bury your head in the sand while this is going on around you?  Maybe THAT is why the news is so negative, because too many people chose not to watch it!

If you are patriotic, and I have no doubt that you believe you are, join the political party you vote for.  BUT, and there is a but.  First, read the manifest of the founders of that party.  Then see if the party is true to it.

I was fortunate to be in Barcaldine before the “Tree of Knowledge” was poisoned and read the original manifest of the Australian Labour Party there.  Stirring words, from great men, motivated by a passion for their country.  But it has almost NOTHING to do with the ALP of today.  You can’t read it and recognise the party from it!

I have read the original words of the founders of the Liberal Party, also great words, from noble men.  But look around, nowhere will you see people of the calibre described in that document either!

Mr Don Chipp, founder of the Australian Democrats was possibly the last great statesmen in Australia.  He left the Liberal Party and began the Democrats, disgusted with the state of politics in this great country, all those years ago.  His motto was “Keep the bastards honest” and he stood in parliament and he DID keep them honest, as much as the leader of a minor party could.  When he had the casting vote he used it generally wisely and certainly created debate that made sure the legislation was considered thoroughly.  However, even his efforts were dashed when his party was betrayed by a later leader of the party, who literally slept with the enemy, coincidentally the same enemy who signed away the hopes and dreams of small business in Australia with The Lima Declaration!

There are also The Greens.  Wonderful philosophies, and we need this planet to be protected and preserved so there IS a planet for our children to live and grow in, not to become just a polluted mining colony.  Enter, The Greens.  We all need radicals to help balance the ratbags at the other end of the scales.  However, when the party advocates financial ruin through their blind ignorance of economic reality, you have to question at which end the ratbags are.  Killing the goose that lays the golden egg by starving it to death is not in the interests of anyone!

What’s the point? 

If the parties are not living up to their founders’ ideals, join the party and TAKE RESPONSIBILTY for dragging that party, whichever side you choose, back to what those noble men first envisaged!

Australia needs each of us to “keep the bastards honest”, as the politicians in general have demonstrated their inability to keep their snouts out of the trough.  They have made life hell for that wonderful handful of people with integrity who entered parliament to go to bat for us!  Those few politicians who do have integrity need our support.  We cannot do it by ignoring the news, and watching the soapies and the Simpsons.

We have to be patriots, and take back this country from the ratbags who hijacked it.


Vote in people of conscience and that doesn’t mean religious fanatics – that only exacerbates the problem.  Community spirited people who also have demonstrated business sense, because Australia is just a business that has to be run, admittedly it is the largest business in Australia.  Then when they are elected, keep them up to their promises.  Keep talking to them, telling them what we need, congratulate them on their successes and remind them of what they promised – namely to serve Australia and its people, NOT to be RULERS of Australia and its people. 

There is a significant difference there.  Australians are not a nation to be ruled, we elect our leaders and politicians to serve the country and be at our behest, to do as WE, THE PEOPLE, request.  If they fail to make that distinction, if they become power hungry control freaks, then WE, THE PEOPLE, need to kick their butts out of there and elect someone who WILL serve the people and the nation. was created for exactly this purpose, to “keep the bastards honest” and make sure they earn the wages they get.  Too many of them are going off on their own agendas, retiring  after a few years with massive wealth that could NEVER have come from salaries or their super funds, and with perks that extend for their lifetimes and keep their noses in the feed trough long after their integrity should allow them to ask for it. 

Political Guts needs your help to do this, and the way you can do it is to look at what is written here, and act on it.  Read the Political Guts website, and act on the suggestions there.  Talk to your politicians, very firmly and demand what your community elected them for.  Refuse to accept the bureaucrap that they dish out as policy.  Demand straight answers to direct questions, answers that have the words YES and NO in them, and little else, especially jargon and waffle.  Look around your community and take initiatives to make a difference there.  Comment on blogs, including this one, and talk amongst your friends about what you feel and think.  Watch the TV news and if it upsets you, do something about it.

After all, this IS your country!  Soon it will belong to our children.  What are they going to say if we let them inherit a corrupt, barren and bankrupt wasteland?

Australians, we can do better than that!


Ray Jamieson, Author, Political Guts

Ray Jamieson, Author, Political Guts

Saturday, January 10, 2009




What a Merry Christmas we had!

Last Christmas saw us pondering the rumblings of the subprime crisis emerging in the USA, but so much has happened since then!  We have had a global economic meltdown, an upheaval in so many areas of our lives, a plague of economic uncertainty sweep the world, and incredible enthusiasm for life and business from some very surprising people!


The Economy
, that basket case of a thing that we hope recovers, but can’t help grabbing as much of it as we can for ourselves…  At the moment, there are literally millions of Australians spending between them $10,000,000,000 of our savings account as a nation, on Christmas presents.  It’s an idea the governments around the world had, and embraced wholeheartedly by our own, as a way to stimulate national economies, especially our own…  Let’s take a step back, before we look at this one.


Our Australian economy is really in a very good situation
, when you compare us with other global economies.  That doesn’t mean to say it’s good, but it’s streets ahead of the US and most European economies.  The Sub-Prime crisis in the US was a huge indicator of deeper issues, which eventually bankrupted banks and major corporations and stalled governments and economies.  The result was that those power mad bureaucracies around the world realised they had cooked the goose that laid the golden eggs, and now had to give it serious attention if it was to survive, let alone lay another egg!


Fortunately, this time they pulled together, instead of going to war (mostly), and as a result, we have had a number of meetings between the superpower government leaders, all realising they had better rein in their stupid and careless governance strategies and start looking at what the real problems are.  The economic stimulus packages are a start, and do address ONE of the problems.


The problem they address
is the one of cash flowing around the economies.  However, as always, this works to the benefit of the businesses only, and the Australian consumers, always at the end of the line, will end up with Christmas dinners on December 25, 2008 and nothing of substance by January 1, 2009.  It’s a promotion of consumerism, rather than a solution to the economic problems.


It’s like when your car is running poorly.  If it needs a tune up, then a set of spark plugs will make a difference.  However, if it needs a new engine, then those spark plugs might help a little, but they don’t address the real problem!  This is what is happening, with the ten billion dollar economic stimulus package.  It’s like a very expensive set of plugs, when what we need is a new economic engine!


Can we have one?
  Yes, and in this website, I explain exactly how it can be done.  I have made a submission to the Australian Taxation Review Commission, meeting right now, with my solutions.  You can look at them here on  On this website, I actually have around 35 different policies written, that could change our nation for the better.  I urge you to take a look – there’s a lot of reading, and then take action where you can – I made step-by-step suggestions on how you can be part of the solutions at the end of each policy page.


The danger of the current approach
is that when this short term ten billion dollar fix runs out, we don’t have many more ten billion dollar notes to spend, and we will still not have made the structural changes necessary! 


We have also relied very heavily on the minerals and resources Australia is rich in, for us to ‘trade our way out’ of the problem.  That’s OK too, up to a point.  We don’t want our beautiful country to become the worlds mining pit, and nothing else!  While once we had thriving small businesses and manufacturers within Australia, now we have country towns with empty streets, shop fronts and business centres, and industrial estates suitable only for movie sets!  There is an argument that the Lima Declaration signed in 1975 was the start of the rot.  Many people think this was an act of treason by the then Foreign Affairs Minister, as it formalised the start of the export of Australian small business to South East Asia, with nothing for Australia in return.  Read about it here: and see what you think! 


Ideally, if we had to stimulate our economy
with a cash injection, rather than the total taxation reform we so urgently need, then stimulating the regional centres would be a better and longer term solution.  The idle resources in regional areas are vast, and it’s a terrible pity to see them, people, buildings and dreams lying idle, while money is pumped into buying sparkplugs for an engine needing a transplant.  You just can’t fine tune structural change into a problem, you have to actually deal with the problem, and then fine tune the solution!


However, not everyone thinks it’s all bad:  Warren Buffett
, the gentlemen who, as the most famous and successful investor in the world, and who takes turn about with Bill Gates as the richest man on the planet, saw fit to invest about as much into the market recently as our government gave away to the Australian public to spend on Christmas presents!  He invested billions, because he thinks it is a great time to be an investor, when the market prices are low and yields are at record highs, he is investing like there would never be a better time for it.  And maybe that is why he is the richest man in the world – his is an opinion I would take!


Some more good news?  ABSOLUTELY!


Last September,
the outgoing Federal Government made some structural changes to the tangled mess of law and regulation that makes up our Australian Superannuation program.  As you know, everyone in Australia is committed to contributing 9% of their salary to a complying superannuation fund, to prepare for retirement.  We know that with a decade or so, our budget, unless we make the structural changes I mentioned, will be unable to pay for pensions.  Hence, superannuation. 


However, super funds went backwards this year and last, by between 20% and 50%!
  The structural changes over the last couple of years included scrapping of RBLs, meaning essentially you can now have as much super as you can grow in your portfolio.  It also saw the introduction in September 2007 of a rule change enabling Self Managed Super Funds to borrow to invest, in for example, residential investment property!  This simple strategy alone, depending on your personal circumstances, could enable you to add hundreds of thousands of dollars to your super fund by your retirement!  At last, some really super news!  You can check out the details of those changes here:


But don’t rush into
it, the team at Allied Financial Planning and I have been working for most of this year to get a turnkey investment program established for you, to enable you to walk in, assess your situation, and embark on this journey to wealth, in virtually one stop!  The whole strategy, including a financial plan and investment strategy, property and all the legal entities can be initiated through Allied Financial Planning, through their various networked business associates, to streamline your investment experience.  There will be an advertisement on Channel NBN9 Gold Coast over the next two months, to announce the launch of this program, the first of its kind in Australia!  Look out for it, or if you are from elsewhere in Australia, go to the website and let us know you are interested from there.


Finally, we now look forward to the New Year of 2009
… It has arrived!  This could and should be the year of amazing opportunity for us, if only we embrace the challenges and power through them.  There will be the doomsayers, crying danger, and telling us how bad it is…  Probably the morning TV shows are the worst, with so called economists now TV hosts using their quasi qualifications to enhance their ratings and drive confidence to record lows.  I for one would love to see them have to abide by the regulations that other financial advisers are required to follow, or face the penalties set for giving financial advice – especially very poor financial advice!


If we ignore those ratbag press sensationalists and use common sense, investment opportunities surround us, and it’s worth taking a closer look at them, in conjunction with your financial advisory team.  This could be the year that your fortunes took off and created an incredible future, or it may be the year you condemned yourself to poverty.  The choice is there for every person in Australia, and in many economies globally.  I urge you to think and act in the interests of your future and your families’, as you look forward to New Years Resolutions, in a few days time.


I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous New Year in 2009.
Ray Jamieson