Plan For Your Future

Where do you want to go? How are you going to get there? Yes, you can invest online. Yes, you can buy insurance online. Yes, you can buy a DIY Will kit online. But in purchasing these, do you actually know what you have bought? If things go wrong or if your circumstances change, is there someone you can contact? Have you thought about the whole picture, or just one part of it?

In an era where everything can be done sitting on your couch we at CNS are hoping to bring you back to the village. With our CNS Financial Solutions division we can help you with:

  1. Goal setting and planning
  2. Budgets
  3. Wealth Creation Strategies
  4. Retirement Planning
  5. Self-managed Superannuation Funds (SMSF)
  6. Insurance (Life insurance, Income Protection Insurance etc)
  7. Investment Services
  8. Estate Planning

Our process for these services includes:

  1. Meet with you- Get to know you and your circumstances
  2. Establish goals and objectives specific to your needs
  3. Create a plan to achieve your goals, with steps along the way to achieve them
  4. Meet with you again to discuss our proposed strategies and agree on what actions we will implement
  5. Implement agreed actions
  6. Regularly meet with you to review and modify as needed to continue to meet your situation and goals.

Our mission is to work with you to achieve your financial and personal dreams. We assist you to identify what your goals are, help develop a plan to realise them, and then continue to work with you along the journey to ensure success.

For more information on any of the above services contact Alan King on (07) 3188 0234 or email at

Dental Practice Report And Business Improvement Process

CNS Partners specialises in advising dentists in private practice and we have access to the most up-to-date dental practice research and benchmarking information. The 2016/17 Dental Practice Research Report features detailed insights into:

  • What makes a successful dental practice;
  • Key strategic threats facing the industry;
  • Dentists top business concerns and needs.

There is a special section in the Report that includes real life comments on how practices are growing patient numbers, planning for future growth and succession.

77% of dentists do not believe their practice is operating at peak efficiency.
We understand dentists want to improve their practice financial performance and become more efficient in the face of increased competition. We offer our valued dental practice clients 3 unique benchmarking solutions:

  1. Operating Costs Benchmarks – to reduce your key business costs;
  2. Financial Performance Benchmarks – to improve your profit and cash flow;
  3. Valuation Benchmarks – to optimise your practice value.

We have the 2016/17 Dental Practice Research Report available on request.
We also utilise a Business Improvement Process that assists with:

  • setting business and personal goals
  • preparing a short business plan, including SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) Analysis
  • creating business budgets that stem from the goals and business plan

If you are interested in discussing how we may be able to assist your business please contact Scott on (07) 3188 0232 or to arrange a complementary meeting.

Spring Is Here – Time To Dust The Cobwebs Off Your Business

As we enter September and Spring has finally arrived it is a great time of year to tidy up your business.

What do I mean by this? Well I liken this to cleaning out the spare room of the house. For me this is about:

  1. Reviewing the expenses the business is incurring. Is there any wastage? What do we really need to be spending?
  2. Do we have any lazy assets that we no longer need? Making repayments or not selling off surplus assets is simply a waste of money!
  3. Are you over capacity in terms of staffing? Have you stopped to review how many bodies you need to run a successful business and if the answer is yes then have you got the correct number?
  4. If you are selling stock are you operating at the industry average for the profit margin you generate on the sale of these goods? (eg Restaurant industry and wastage)

The above are some examples of areas where money can be saved in a business and as a result profits improved.

We recommend incorporating the above into a wastage audit/review and budget planning session. The wastage audit forces you to look at all costs you incur and decide whether the spend is critical to the business and if it is are you achieving the best price.

The budget session, like the wastage audit, forces you to look at all of your numbers and review where the money is going in your business. It is a great planning session and can really turn a struggling business around and provide a new focus.

If you would like assistance with reviewing your costs, comparing your business to the rest of the industry or preparing a budget please contact me at or (07) 3188 0232.

Father’s Day – A Time To Reflect

Father’s Day was on Sunday, did we get presents? Breakfast? A nice card?

Cynics amongst us will dismiss days like this as an excuse for retailers to improve their profits. I like to embrace the family aspect, the opportunity to spend time with loved ones and for the kids to pump up my tyres with stories of how much they appreciate me – who doesn’t love a bit of flattery! My 19 year old cleared his busy social calendar and spent the entire weekend with me, which was pretty special now that my kids are older and busy with their own lives.

It seems a little bit cruel to bring the mood down on joyous occasions, but these moments invite reflection and we need to think about all aspects of family life. I love Father’s Day because it is all about me, but Mother’s Day is a bit hollow for me because my own Mother died when I was a teenager. Her biggest concern towards the end was whether she had done enough to make sure I would be alright. I think about this a lot in relation to my own children – how will they cope if I am not there to guide them and provide for them? What can I do to soften the blow?

There is no way to compensate for serious illness, injury or loss of a loved one. All we can do is to put things in place to lessen the stress and impact on others around us. Insurance is a topic no-one likes to discuss, but we all need to look at our circumstances and make sure we are doing the best we can for our families. Understand what is at stake, how you are protected and is it sufficient?

Finally, if you are in a position to do so, I urge you to consider donating to worthy causes for those less fortunate than yourself. Think about those who have lost a family member to disease, or whose financial circumstances prevent them celebrating special days. Any way we can share some goodwill, we should take the opportunity to do so.

If you would like to discuss protecting your family in greater detail, contact me at or on (07) 3188 0234.

I hope your Father’s Day was as good as mine!

Halloween – Are You Scared?

I personally do not have any real interest in Halloween and I doubt if anyone is overly scared by the customised pumpkins on sale in the supermarkets. But it does provide me with a really lame excuse to tie in to another topic, something that does keep me awake at night – superannuation.

Before anyone recommends professional medical assistance for my condition, let me explain. I talk to so many people who have no engagement with super, no understanding of what their balance is, which fund they are a member of, or even how super works. For most it is just some extra bit of money that may be available in retirement to supplement the Government Age Pension.

For those entering the workforce in the last decade or so, they have the luxury of generous employer contributions made to super on every dollar they earn. Over a 40+ year working life, these contributions plus earnings can really have a powerful impact on your lifestyle in retirement. Around the country our super is generally our second biggest asset behind the family home. For the younger generation who have lost hope of ever owning the family home, super is the biggest asset.

It is time to take super seriously as an important part of a retirement strategy. Whenever I set up new Self-Managed Super Funds for people, the decision is often around fees, ability to buy property, choose their own investments and so on. What always results however, is an immediate engagement with their money, a desire to actively grow their wealth and treat it as an asset they identify with. We need to reach a point where all Australians are enthusiastic about growing their super, not just those with their own funds.

Australian Bureau of Statistics figures from 2014 show that 60% of men and 71% of women at retirement age have super balances of less than $100,000. That frightens me. With access to the Age Pension diminishing and costs of living rising, how are future retirees planning to fund their retirement? The sooner we act, the more chance we have of a good outcome.

If you need would like to understand your super better and make it more of a focus, let the team at CNS Financial Solutions assist you. Contact me at or on (07) 3188 0234

Will Your Business Have Enough Money To Get Your Family Through The Holiday Period?

2017 seems to be flying by with on a couple of months to go until Christmas. It is this time of year that a lot of my business clients take a moment and plan their time off over the Christmas period.

For many in small business not only does this mean time with family and friends but it also means a stop to invoicing and sales which means that cash flow can become tight until the world comes out of holiday mode in January.

So how do we plan and budget for this time of year? This question provides the answer – we plan and budget.

  1. We plan out the expected revenue due over the coming months
  2. We add this planned revenue to our budget and take known expenses (including ATO payments)

The above two steps allow us to work out how much cash flow we will generate and how much cash will be leaving the business. By ensuring the estimates are conservative the business owner can holiday knowing that the cash flow side of the business is taken care of.

The real question I ask myself is why this is only done once per year at Christmas. My best clients follow this routine every month (some do it weekly even daily). They have the following sorted and are constantly reviewing and improving on these items:

  1. A clear understanding of where they are NOW in their business
  2. Clear goals in terms of WHERE the business is heading
  3. A strategy for HOW to get there and action items to help achieve the desired results

We call this the NOW – WHERE – HOW of business

We find that it is critical to understand where you are NOW and WHERE you want to be at the start of the process – Too often owners jump from the NOW to the HOW in their business.

If you would like assistance planning out cash flow for the holiday period please call – we would however prefer to assist you in formulating an over strategy for the business and putting a process in place for year round monitoring and improvement.

We challenge you to use the holiday period to think about your business and come to see us in the new calendar year or contact me anytime at:

The Grinch

This time last year, one of my favourite clients called me a Grinch. She asked if she could have extra money from her super fund over Christmas and I said no – keep in mind that this is her money! The key is that right back on day one, she admitted to not being good with handling money and gave me the responsibility of keeping her on track. I am thinking ahead 5,10, even 20 years, factoring in the cost of a new car when needed, improvements to her home and other major expenses that come along in life. I didn’t feel bad about saying no and she eventually thanked me because ultimately it was for her own long term benefit.

I recently listened to a presenter who challenged her clients to have all of their Christmas shopping completed before 30 November – why? Studies show that planning ahead leads to a reduction in overspending of up to 30%. I liked the concept of setting a target, planning ahead, sticking to the budget, reducing financial stress etc.

Both of these examples are great, we need to be sensible and not let the intended joy of giving become a source of family stress. Of course it is important to monitor spending, celebrate sensibly and live within our means. But rather than lecture people, be a Grinch or dampen everyone’s spirits, let me pose a challenge from a more positive angle.
Why don’t we take the ceiling away from our expectations, dare to dream a bit bigger? What if we can afford a camping holiday but would love a week at the beach in an apartment? We could:

  • Settle for the cheaper option
  • Overspend and create stress
  • Find more money

Finding more money may mean cutting down on less important expenditure, which requires planned budgeting. Or, it may mean generating surplus income, preferably passive. Either way, why not aim higher, identify and set goals, push yourself to work towards them and enjoy the rewards. We are all capable of much more than we allow ourselves to believe.

If you need help identifying, targeting and reaching your dreams, let the team at CNS Financial Solutions guide you. Contact me at or on (07) 3188 0234

I hope that you all have an enjoyable Christmas. Take the financial stress away and then you can focus your energy on important decisions, like what to eat for lunch on Christmas Day!

As a final note, a really positive Christmas gift would be to donate to one of the great charities that provide a piece of Christmas cheer to those less fortunate, make a family decision to support one.

What Does The New Year In Business Look Like For You?

As we get closer to the start of a new calendar year and attempt to take a break over the Christmas period it is a great time to stop and contemplate what the year ahead will look like. It is also a great time to reflect and determine whether you are getting what you want from your business. In particular are you spending too much time in your business and not enough time on your business?

In our strategic sessions we generally ask business owners what role they have in the business. To assist we explain that this can be broken down as follows:

  1. DOERS – these are the people actually performing the tasks in a business that generates income. In a service based industry this may be performing the actual service and getting paid for a result. An example may be in the electrical industry. The DOER will be on-site performing the technical work.
  2. MANAGER – these people do no or little DOER style work but manage the DOERS, customer expectation, workflow and all the other aspects of the business to enable it to run efficiently.
  3. NON CRITICAL OWNER – these people own the business but have managers in place to run it for them. They are not critical to the running of the business and their role is limited to ensuring that the manager is running their business effectively and profitability.

Something to look at over the break is what role you have in your business. Are you a DOER? and if you own the business then you are most likely a MANGER as well and not a NON CRITICAL OWNER in any way.

We find that owners that are DOERS and MANAGERS or just MANAGERS don’t spend enough time on their business. They are too busy keeping the work flow moving to reflect.
Our strategic sessions always start with a simple NOW – WHERE – HOW:

  1. Where are you NOW in your business?
  2. WHERE to do you want to be in five years time?
  3. HOW will you get there?

Generally the HOW uncovers the fact that owners are spending too much time working IN the business (DOERS / MANAGERS) and not enough time ON the business. Well thought out role descriptions and having the right people in the rights jobs is critical and may just allow you the time to get more strategic and spend more time ON the business.

If you would like to book in an initial strategic planning session please give me a call on (07) 3188 0232 or email at

Renovate or Relocate?

Real Estate prices continue to climb in Australian capital cities. This, coupled with a staggering number of reality TV shows, has seen an explosion in home renovations. I was speaking to a client this week who conducted a major renovation less than 5 years ago and is already considering selling because the home no longer suits their family needs. With the benefit of hindsight, they probably would have embarked on a vastly different renovation, or even removed the original house and started again.

Both improving and moving come with considerable expense and stress for the whole family. Stories of overspending with renovations are common, as well as overcapitalisation. While the family home is essentially a dwelling, a roof over heads – it is also a unique opportunity to generate wealth in a tax advantaged environment. For the majority of us, it is the most expensive asset we will ever purchase and requires a large portion of the family budget to achieve ultimate ownership, so why not make smart financial decisions as well as emotional ones?

As always with money, it is important to consider the big picture. What are you trying to achieve, now and in 5, 10 and 20 years’ time? How does this fit in with the big picture? What is the overall plan? Is the family size or space/functionality requirements likely to change in the near future?

The financial merits of spending money on existing homes or selling to move to a new home is a matter that is unique to every situation. Each alternative must be reviewed on every occasion, weighing up the pros and cons each time. But don’t stop there. Just because a renovation is a cheaper alternative now, will count for little if in 2 years’ time another child means selling anyway, because the cost of upgrading may not be repaid by capital growth in that short time frame.

At CNS Financial Solutions, we work with our clients to map out the overall picture, considering current circumstances as well as potential future variations. Once the plan is in place, steps are established to achieve the smaller goals. Most importantly, regular reviews are required to make sure the progress is being monitored and changes are factored in. After all, hindsight can be an expensive teacher!

If you would like to review your financial road map and implement plans for future financial success, call Alan King on (07) 3188 0234 or email

The Importance Of Regular Review

I met with a client recently whose business was not going very well. For years the business has not made enough money to justify its existence and it was clear that the owner was worn down and very much over it. The client has been with CNS Partners for only a couple of years but had been in business for over 20 years in total.

The owner had never really thought too much about why he was in business or where he wanted to take the business. He just rocked up each day, worked in the business and at the end of the day was not overly happy with how he traded.

This meeting really got me thinking about business planning and knowing why you are in business. This client found himself in his early 50’s, with no saleable business, no exit strategy and because the business had not done well, no super or other investments. He indicated that he thought he would never be able to retire and if/when he did he would have to survive on the pension.

This could so easily have been different. As a business owner the main aim has to be around generating a certain income in order to live the life you want to now and also save and invest for retirement. If this client had of sat down 20 years ago (in his 30’s) and thought about why he was in business and where he wanted to be in 1, 5 and 20 years then he may have sold out then and there or made drastic changes to turn the business around. Without clear goals how could he possibly have known what he was even aiming for in terms of net profit etc?
Fortunately, we were able to work through options around moving the business to a large competitor and possibly securing a job with this competitor. If this works out and planning is put in place around retirement, then there is still time for a good outcome in this case.

The initial planning that is required to avoid a situation like this does not have to be complicated. It can be as easy as:

  1. Where am I NOW in terms of my personal financial position?
  2. WHERE do I want to be in 1, 5, 10 and 20 years (again personal financial position)?
  3. HOW much income and what nets assets do I need to generate to get there?
  4. HOW will my business get me there?

By answering the above questions, you really can start working out what is required in business so that you do not turn around in 20 years time and wish you had done things differently.

I challenge you to ask yourself the 4 questions above. Better yet come in and see me, call me on (07) 3356 7088 or send me an email: and we can work through these questions.

Why do I need Financial Advice?

Failing to plan is planning to fail, according to the old cliche. But who can I trust and what do I actually need? What exactly is financial planning, or financial advice? How can it help me?

These are all valid questions, because the entire financial services industry has been under the spotlight recently, mainly for all the wrong reasons! Governments have instigated inquiries, introduced new legislation and threatened to wield a big stick. We have seen Storm Financial Group, Wickham Securities and many other supposedly ‘trusted advisers’ destroy the livelihoods and retirement lifestyles of thousands of hard working Australians. There is no doubt that certain rogue operators have tainted the reputation of all and that tighter regulation was needed, to force higher standards of professionalism and accountability. So what does this mean for the average investor?

It is still important to have a plan – have you thought about when you will retire, how much money you will need to live on and where that money will come from? Most of us aren’t lucky enough to have huge inheritances to rely on, so we have to spend most of our working lives building towards a comfortable lifestyle in retirement. This is a long term project, not a get rich quick scheme!

Once we have realized the need for a plan, how do we go about it? Who can help cut through the jargon, complicated product offerings and explain all of the paperwork involved? There are honest, professional advisers out there – people who will act in your best interests instead of their own, but you need to choose wisely. CNS Partners now provide this service because we believe that we can make a difference and our clients already know that we will do the right thing by them. Contact Alan with any queries about what Financial Planning is and how we can assist you.

Alan King can be contacted at

Self Managed Superannuation – Taking The Wheel

Besides the family home, superannuation is often the largest asset for most Australians. So choosing the right super solution for you can make a real difference to your retirement lifestyle.

One solution enjoying a lot of attention lately is Self-Managed Superannuation. APRA reports that funds held in Self-Managed Superannuation Funds (SMSF’s) now account for almost a third of all retirement savings. The explosion in the popularity of SMSF’s in the past 5 years seems to be an indicator that Australians are willing to put in the time to take control of their retirement.

But be warned! The Self-Managed option is not right for everyone. Once the glow of ‘Taking the Wheel’ has subsided, there is time that must be put into administration and fund management. For those who are already investing personally, this can be a breeze (and often an enjoyment). But for those not willing to play an active role in the running of their fund, an SMSF can be extremely cumbersome.

CNS has been working with SMSF clients since the mid 90’s, and the partners and staff have built a wealth of knowledge and experience as a result. The core SMSF team now administer over 100 funds every year. If you are interested in taking the SMSF route, or already have a fund and need guidance, feel free to contact us.