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7 Steps To Pay Off Your Mortgage Quick-Smart
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7 Steps To Pay Off Your Mortgage Quick-Smart

When was the last time you looked closely at your loan, the progress you are making on paying it off and how it compares to others in the market? Checking out your mortgage could mean savings for you, as well as the opportunity to pay it off quicker, allowing you to invest in property or reach financial freedom sooner.

Make smaller payments more often

Consider cutting the size of your payments, make more of them. This could see you pay off your loan faster, and therefore pay less interest over time.

If you pay your mortgage monthly, consider changing to fortnightly repayments. For example, if your mortgage equates to $2400 a month, cut this in half and pay $1200 each fortnight. As well as having more manageable payments to make, by the end of the year you will have paid off $31,200 rather than $28,800.

Pay just a little bit extra

A minimum repayment is just that – for most loans there is no reason you can’t pay more, whether here and there or regularly.

By rounding up to a full number or contributing an extra $100 or even $10, you’ll significantly reduce your mortgage. It may also be worth considering putting all bonuses, tax returns and gifts into your mortgage.

Try out apps like Up or wisr to round-up small amounts on small purchases. You won’t miss the small change.

Don’t decrease repayments when interest rates fall

Even if your repayments are lower when fees and interest rates decrease, it doesn’t mean that’s all you have to pay. By keeping your repayments the same when interest rates are lower, you will pay down more of the principle with each payment, significantly reducing your loan term.

Offset it

If you can, use an offset account. A mortgage offset account is linked to your loan and the interest payable on the loan from month to month is calculated by deducting what is in your offset account from your current loan on a daily basis. For example, if your mortgage is $500,000 and your offset account has $10,000 in it, you will only pay interest on $490,000.

An offset account will save interest while still giving you access to your savings. It also means investors can preserve the tax deductibility of the mortgage. Remember that interest is calculated daily, so the sooner you have your salary or other cash into your offset account the better. Leaving payments until as late as possible further reduces your interest costs.

Find a better deal

Ultimately, your mortgage needs to suit you and your circumstances, or you will wind up paying too much. If you think your current loan no longer matches your situation, speak to me today.

If you have had a loan for longer than two years, you are probably paying too much.

Pay down non-deductible debt

You will need your accountant’s advise on this, but please check out your options.

Consolidate expensive (bad) debt

Credit cards, car loans and personal loans all cost you more than a home loan. Stop paying too much. Look to consolidate these debts, but keep the previous monthly repayments the same.

Banks are about to start un-pausing mortgages
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Banks are about to start un-pausing mortgages

Borrowers who paused their mortgages for six months when the coronavirus crisis started are facing a moment of truth.

Those deferrals are scheduled to end soon – and, when they do, borrowers may be expected to resume paying off their mortgage.

If you’re still in difficulty, your lender will speak to you about your options.

This may include offering you another four-month extension. Alternatively, your lender might suggest ways to reduce your monthly repayments, such as:

  • Extending your loan term
  • Shifting to interest-only payments

“Customers who will be unable to pay their loan over the longer term will be offered tailored assistance that addresses their needs,” according to the Australian Banking Association.

More than 900,000 loans have been deferred since we entered lockdown six months ago, with hundreds of thousands of assessments due in the coming weeks:

  • 80,000 mortgages and 65,000 business loans by the end of September
  • 180,000 mortgages and 40,000 business loans by the end of October
Most home owners well-placed to pay off their loan
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Most home owners well-placed to pay off their loan

Australia has a very comfortable level of mortgage debt, according to new data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics and Australia’s banking regulator, APRA.

The total value of Australia’s housing was $7.14 trillion at the end of June, while the total value of outstanding loans secured by residential property in Australia was $2.01 trillion.

That means the nation’s collective loan-to-valuation ratio (LVR) was 29.4%.

As you can see in the chart above, the vast majority of outstanding home loans are below 81% LVR. The breakdown is:

  • Under 60% LVR = 32% of outstanding mortgages
  • 60% LVR to under 80% LVR = 47% of outstanding mortgages
  • 80% LVR to under 90% LVR = 16% of outstanding mortgages
  • 90% LVR to under 95% LVR = 4% of outstanding mortgages
  • 95% LVR and above = 1% of outstanding mortgages

If you apply for a home loan with a deposit of at least 20%, you can save a substantial amount of money:

  • You won’t have to pay lender’s mortgage insurance (LMI)
  • You can access lower interest rates and more competitive offers

Lenders are competing hard for low-LVR customers – get in touch to see if we can get a few competing for your business.

National credit card debt falls to 14-year low
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National credit card debt falls to 14-year low

Australians have paid off enormous amounts of credit card debt since we entered lock-down, according to new statistics from the Reserve Bank.

Between March and July, the most recent month for which there is data, Australian consumers reduced their credit card debt from $41.3 billion to $34.7 billion – a drop of 16%.

This is the lowest amount since 2006.

Consumers not only paid off old credit card debt between March and July but also cut back of new spending:

  1. Value of transactions = down 6%
  2. Number of transactions = down 17%

At the same time, as the graph shows, the amount of interest being accrued on all credit cards (both personal and business) fell from $28.2 billion to $22.5 billion, a drop of 20%.

It seems Australians have responded to the economic crisis by cutting back on non-essential spending. If you’re thinking of taking out a home loan and you’ve been eliminating your credit card debt – smart move. Your borrowing power can significantly improve if you have less credit card debt and a lower credit card limit

Aussies eyeing up regional move
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Aussies eyeing up regional move

COVID-19 has changed the housing preferences of many Australians, according to a new survey of nearly 1,100 property investors.

The PIPA Property Investor Sentiment Survey found coronavirus has made 17% of respondents consider moving to another location.

Of those who are thinking about moving, the most popular reasons were:

  • Improved lifestyle = 78%
  • I will be working from home in the future, so I can live anywhere = 46%
  • Housing affordability = 40%
  • I don’t want to live in a crowded city any more = 28%
  • Money is not the most important thing to me any more = 16%

So it’s no surprise more Australians are thinking about buying property in regional markets.

The survey found 22% of respondents believe regional markets are the most appealing place to buy right now – compared to 15% in last year’s survey.

If you’re considering moving to a regional area, Onyx can help you calculate how to fund the move.

Family Pledge Loans
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Family Pledge Loans

Family Pledge Loans – A stress-free way for parents to help their kids into the property market.

Entering the property market is no easy feat for a first homebuyer, however, there has never been a better time for them to try with numerous government incentives on offer.

Obviously, there are several ways parents can assist with their child’s access to a property purchase, however we like to recommend a Family Pledge loan.

Here are some of the benefits of this particular loan:

  • The total borrowing can equal up to 105% of the property’s purchase price (to cover other costs like stamp duty, title transfer fees and legal fees)
  • The borrower must demonstrate servicing for the total loan amount
  • The parents do not need to demonstrate servicing, just sufficient equity in their property
  • The pledge property does not need to be unencumbered, as long as the existing loan limit plus the pledge amount totals less than 80% of the pledge property value
  • The loan secured over the parents’ property is limited to the difference between the total loan for the property purchase and 80% of the new property’s value. This security can be released as soon as that portion of the loan is repaid in full or the new property’s value is sufficient that the pledge is no longer required.
  • The parents’ are only liable for the outstanding pledge amount, if the borrower was to default on the loan – the Lender will recover majority of the outstanding loan balance from the security property, before seeking any remaining balance under the parents’ pledge.

The parents will need to be in a reasonably strong financial position and have enough equity in their property to support the pledge amount.

It’s no secret that it can take a long time to save for a deposit and by providing this pledge, you offer the borrower the chance to enter the property market sooner.

Lenders will treat the loan as an 80 per cent lend (80% LVR), so the costly lender’s mortgage insurance (LMI) is avoided. Also, the borrower will not have to save up for a full deposit for the purchase, or sometimes any deposit at all.

We have helped many First Home Owners into their first home with their parents’ assistance using this type of loan over the past few years so if you like to find out more please call me on 0409 02 99 22 at any time or if you prefer email greg@onyx.net.au.

We can also advise you more about the various government incentives on offer.

Buy Now Pay Later – The credit trap potentially stopping you from owning your own home in the future.
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Buy Now Pay Later – The credit trap potentially stopping you from owning your own home in the future.

The Buy Now Pay Later sector is winning-over billions of dollars of new business with the promise of instant gratification; however my warning is that with every sugar-high comes the risk of a corresponding low.

‘Buy Now Pay Later’ providers such as AfterPay and Zip Pay have experienced massive growth in popularity, with the number of users jumping from 400,000 to approximately 3 million between 2015 and 2020.

Creating the shift in people’s buying habits is access to easy credit during pandemic lockdowns and restrictions, providing more time for many to spend frivolously in their downtime, perhaps to reduce boredom and to feel better about the world.

A perfect storm for bad credit habits developing.

Even some mainstream media are encouraging this behaviour through their advertorials they call “current affairs”.

I can’t emphasise enough to be very careful of falling into these bad habits as lenders will be sure to punish you later.

Driven by a simple proposition whereby the Buy Now Pay Later provider pays the merchant on behalf of the customer, allowing the customer to obtain the goods or receive a service immediately while subsequently paying off the debt generally through instalments, Buy Now Pay Later presents a tempting offering.

But as the sector’s breakneck growth continues, I need to warn you, particularly if you are in the younger demographic, to be cautious of overdoing it as this habit could risk your chances of securing a home loan further down the track.

‘Buy Now Pay Later’ might be ok for someone who manages their money well, if they pay off the item on time and use their mortgage offset account correctly.  This way they’re delaying expenses and offsetting more of their savings against their home loan.

But there are only a small percentage people doing that and the rest are spending beyond their means.

As a result, there may also be a stigma associated with using Buy Now Pay Later schemes rather than paying up-front and in-full.

Utilising this payment method may potentially send the wrong message to a lender.

If a lender sees a ‘Buy Now Pay Later’ provider frequently on a potential borrower’s bank statements, that can trigger more questions about their spending behaviours and ultimately may mean they choose to decline the application.

If you are concerned about your level of expenditure or your ability to secure a home loan or you may already have out of control bad debt that can be consolidated with other loans.  A chat today could set you on the right path for the future.

Call me anytime on 0409 02 99 22.

It is important to appropriately manage your expenses well in advance of applying for a home loan, that way you can show the bank that you can save and afford to service a mortgage when the time comes.

As always “buyer beware” especially with easy credit on the “never, never”.

Stay safe, take care.

What some other Aussies are doing to get through the Co-Vid lock-down
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What some other Aussies are doing to get through the Co-Vid lock-down

Here are some tips for getting through the coronavirus crisis – from keeping boredom at bay to buying a bidet.  Baking, cooking, praying, reading, gardening, cleaning and drinking have been among many suggestions.  And looking out for each other to get through.

Keep in mind that some answers may relate to a time when social distancing measures were not as restrictive as they are now.

Coronavirus is hard but you just have to stay fit, healthy and mentally strong. It’s a great time to set goals for yourself such as going sugar-free, being more active or even something you’ve always wanted to do but never have had the time to.  What better time than now?! Amidst all the troubles and struggles of being inside, you learn more about yourself.  Are you someone who can easily stay at home?  Or are you someone who can’t sit still and is just jumping to go out and get exercise and be outside?


I’ve started journaling and drawing and am planning on reducing social media time for the next month.  Also making an effort to wear bright colours – Bec


I’m a big believer in taking photos to document special family events and milestones, something I’ve inherited from my parents.  Sadly many of our family photos from the 20s right through to the 90s are fading, some quite badly.  It’s been on my mind for a long time, I’ve always wanted to scan them and create a digital collection to ensure the memories are preserved.  Now that I’m home I’ve bought a scanner and started scanning the thousands of photos in our family photo collection. – Dani


Upgrading technical skills, playing with kids and enjoying a variety of vegetarian cuisines. – Subimal


I’m in multiple hobby groups where photography is an important aspect.  Everyone is devoting time to processing and posting backlogs.  In the gaps, they look at what everyone else has posted. – Anonymous


Jigsaw puzzles are the go at my house.  Gardening has been keeping us busy as well. – Anonymous


I am a 63 stay-at-home mum.  My home is large enough so that my semi-retired husband and I don’t trip over each other, and we can basically each do our own thing.  Our 19-year-old daughter is coping with 3rd-year uni lectures/tutorials online – she is resigned to staying at home, and is talking extensively to friends remotely.  That they are all in the same boat together, makes it easier for her to accept.  We all still have our usual little spats, but our large home means they are nothing more than the every day – killing each other isn’t remotely on the agenda!  I like my own company, I have many hobbies, from reading to craftwork. I cook terrific nutritious meals every night, the only exciting thing to look forward to every night! – Fiona


Until the visitor bans, Mum loved to dress up and entertain the residents at the local nursing home.  Recently she dug through her costume box and delivered the Queen’s message directly to all her Facebook friends and family.  She has done such a wonderful job of bringing laughter and cheer to everyone with her funny photos each day. – Narissa


I’ve found an excellent resource released by Occupational Therapy Australia which is a guide to dealing with the disruption caused by COVID 19.  It’s really easy to read and has much helpful and practical advice for people dealing with living at home during this period.  Working from home in a small house, we’ve followed the advice in the guide to reimagine our space with two workstations at the end of a table, a clear area at the other end as a dining space…and we bought a cheap pantry from Bunnings to fit our food seeing as we’ve changed our shopping habits to only go to the supermarket once a week. – Mari


The first two weeks, I regularly had a panic attack, being so far from only son, I couldn’t sleep and didn’t know what to do with my time, I could not concentrate on anything.  But you get used to it, I started Wolf Hall, make jigsaw puzzles and watch tv.  And I clean, the house will look like never before.  Shopping is limited to once a week, and I wear a mask when I go out.  I cycle along the river, early in the morning four times a week.  And the cockatiel is a great distraction, I taught him to whistle: Rockin’ In The Free World, it’s so funny when he does. We are in this for longer than we think.  Just take day by day, follow the rules and hope for the best. – Janne


I try to walk once a day at least around the park nearby, sing with my Choir “With One Voice” who are Australia-wide.  Conductors from all the choirs are connecting several times a week and you can sing along with their current music.  I have a bicycle that I haven’t had the intestinal fortitude to get on and learn to ride, being 72 now and not wanting to break bones, but have resolved to find somewhere quiet and practice carefully.  Reading my books (retired librarian), is a joy, and Netflix is a saviour.  Trying to avoid watching too many newscasts about the virus as I’m told this isn’t good for a person and can make them feel more ‘down’ than they would usually.  I liked the idea to keep bananas fresh, and will try that so thanks everyone for your tips and keep well – Julie


Every day: 1) pull up the blinds, open the windows, let the lights in, let the breeze blow — it does wonder for any atrophying soul!  2) look into the window — of your spouse and children’s heart and soul and mind — listen to what is said, but more importantly, what’s not being said — crisis helps you realise it’s not what you don’t have that matters, but what you still have and the people you can still love that make all the difference  3) whistle away — while wiping off crumbs and cleaning the mess…this craze of constant chaos?  It keeps the mind busy, the body moving — besides, it shows signs of life…signs to show that even when everything seems stripped away, it’s the fundamentals that matter: people and not possession, legacy and not looks – Liza


We organise a social get together with family via Facetime or similar.  We all have a glass of wine and chat about the week.  Have created a pretty good task list for around the home – some tasks not so exciting :).  Family games night every week. I’m going to write the book I’ve always talked about.  My major concern is being fit and able to ensure my elderly parents have everything they need and are safe.  The important things in life are family and friends and living! – Jodie


I retired a year ago and my wife presented me with the LIST (home maintenance jobs, repairs, decluttering, etc) I have been busy working on the LIST since then but now I have no respite (trips to the shops, cafes, my local club).  I am busy but it is now even more intense working through the LIST.  This CANNOT be the new normal!  No No No Let’s hope we can get BACK to normal as soon as we can.  Stay at home everyone so we get beyond this soon and I can get out again for my respite asap. Take care. – Brian


We have found a way to hang out without breaching social distancing measures – my wife, Laura, came up with a great idea of removing some colourbond panels from our shared fence, and replacing them with transparent poly-carbonate so we could enjoy a drink or dinner together with our neighbours. – Andrew


Taking the time to learn a new language, join in active exercises to replace aqua aerobics, beginning cryptic crosswords, sending my children’s books to my granddaughters by post, writing simple books for them and creating new laminated games for something new to do. – Gail


No work at all.  So I’ve fallen in a heap.  I’d love to be productive and clean the house – learn a new skill, or get fitter than I am.  The garden looks like s**t.  The dishwasher hasn’t been emptied in days, and there are weird balls of fluff in my bedroom that I haven’t seen for ages.  But instead, I’m just taking the opportunity to watch classic old movies: The Godfather, Scarface, The Conversation. And so many more. I could get used to this – Ingie


I wake up go to work, come home in the evening, spend time with my family.  Sleep, wake up and do it all over again.  Nothings changed except we now own a bidet! – Aaron


I keep adding new learning items to my list.  This week I started learning to cut my hair, using some YouTube videos that my hairdresser recommended (at my paid request).  I started with the sides (HAD to happen), and now I’m awaiting the new barber shears coming in a couple of weeks to get to the top (and watching the videos again).  I’m also learning to teach by distance, another new (and important) skill.  AND I’m stepping up my gardening knowledge and helping with more veggie planting.  Gardening may be an important skill for folks. – Jan


Our Belrose Probus club has utilised Zoom to have Management committee meetings and virtual meeting drinks at 6 pm on some days.  The club has birthday list wishes each month, started additional club Newsletters with news on members, cartoons off Facebook and general news.  We have also started up our own Facebook group with more information and tips for members. – Terry


We tend to walk less to the nearby parks these days due to restrictions as we feel that some freedom has been taken away.  Essentially working from home, exercising in the house, watch TV/news, play games with our children, chat more with family members and do more indoor things together as a family like baking.  Certainly helps to improve our relationship but each of us should have our quiet time for ourselves. Reading is one way – Jac


My job lately largely involves setting up offices around the country to be able to receive work calls at home.  The days have been long and intense, but worth it to help slow the spread.  I’m coping with the stress by riding my bike to work every day, 1/2 hour yoga when I get home, and meditating right before bed.  Been finding lots of laughs and support online from complete strangers who have found an astounding amount of compassion to share – Kath


Adopt the neighbour principle.  Four households making contact.  Addressing two – four weeks worth of household necessities in the light of city-wide hoarding.  Exchange safety tips and your contact details for a sense of Cummings.  Isolation has its own negative effects. – Anonymous


Read lots of books! – Anonymous


Have phone calls with loved ones.  Be creative – make music, make art.  Set routines for working from home.  Stick to healthy work hours.  Get out of your PJs in the morning to feel productive.  Give time and space to your fears and worries so that they don’t boil over, but also be intentional about quieting your mind from the news for stretches of the day.  Limit time on social media.  Look for beauty where you haven’t before – the nooks and crannies of your house and backyard.  Get your neighbours’ phone numbers so you can check-in, especially if they are elderly or alone.  Research breathing exercises and meditation techniques for anxiety.  Limit alcohol intake.  Drink lots of water.  Be patient with others – everyone is scared and on edge.  Spare thoughts and prayers for those suffering more.  Keep perspective.  Practice thankfulness.  Love, deeply and sacrificially and creatively.  Don’t heap abuse on your leaders – they are doing their best.  This situation is unprecedented, which means we have an unprecedented chance to be good and kind and get through it, together. – Anonymous


Making up great stories about how I’m getting more fit and mentally stable by exercising and helping my neighbours, while watching the entire Netflix catalogue….. – Anonymous


I’m designing a native garden, planting seeds and watching them grow.  Even in an apartment if you can find a sunny(ish) window sill you can grow mixed lettuces and greens.  There are plenty of places to buy seeds online and to read about garden design.  Plant the idea in your head and reflect on the importance of soil, flowers, trees and vegetables to our environment. – Anonymous


Am reading a biography of Napoleon and listening to all the Haydn String Quartets.  And keeping a very tidy house!  Going out occasionally for shopping, but it is so crazy.  We have a surfeit of oats, fortunately, that food which according to Dr Johnson in England feeds the horses, but in Scotland feeds the people!  Hopefully no weevils in the flour … – Anonymous


Bunkering down at home definitely. – Anonymous


Care for others.  Remind elderly neighbours to ensure their prescriptions are filled and see if they need any assistance with that, shopping or other matters.  Make sure they have your phone number if they need help.  And for those of us on the coast, time in the surf or walking at the beach is always grounding to help keep things in perspective.  Coronavirus can and should be about community and caring and support for those in need. – Kate


Tip to avoid supermarket anxiety: Make a meal plan and freeze your meals in a container.  This way you can ensure you are still eating healthy and not overbuying for the sake of buying and helps you stay on target at the supermarket! – Anonymous


Studying.  Computer games.  Keep a diary.  Exercise. – Anonymous


Laugh…just for the sake of it.  And stay away from Facebook! – Kristen


Eat healthy food prepared from fresh ingredients.  Bake biscuits, and Soda Bread.  Walk the dog on streets, beaches, and parks.  Breathe deeply, calm down.  Meditate.  Do exercises to maintain muscle strength.  Listen to music; mainly classical.  Keep talking with neighbours and friends at a safe distance, 2 meters.  Phone family and friends living far away.  Tidy cupboards, drawers and clean the house.  Wash the windows and the car.  Look after the garden, growing herbs, rhubarb and lemons.  Watch the Honeyeaters in the Grevillias and the birds in the streets, and your garden skinks and lizards.  Do or learn new crafts, sewing, crochet, knitting.  This too will pass, be kind and helpful. – Veronica


Kindness, calm and patience. – Patrick


My housemates and I are creating daily routines, doing something productive, something fun and something intellectually stimulating each day to get through it.  There are a lot of things that we all need to do but usually don’t have time to do, like clean out the linen closet, unsubscribe to emails, clear out the camera roll on my phone.  Things like that which usually get pushed aside!  But mainly doing lighthearted activities to keep our minds off it all and trying to balance out the scary and the fun.  Also, a lot of screen time with family and friends, checking in with as many people as we can and making sure no one is alone. – Steph


If working from home, make sure to have a proper setup to prevent injuries.  Take this time to also start reading some good books! – Anonymous


I’m stressed, I funnel my anxiety into the kitchen; cooking (including competitively, for the Royal Melbourne Show) is a big part of my mental health ‘program’.  I’m also trying to self-isolate where possible, mostly to protect more vulnerable friends and family with existing health issues.  So, I’ve been sharing cooking tips via Instagram; simple stuff like how to freeze fresh produce so that it doesn’t turn into one big mushy ice cube, or how to keep bananas from ripening too fast (wrap the stems in plastic to slow the ethylene leakage!), and easy recipes for using up the remains of the vegetable crisper or basic dry goods.  They’re little, practical things that seem to be helping people feel like they’ve regained a bit of control over their situation, which is so helpful for anxiety.  As to whether or not I’ll share my Royal Show blue-ribbon-winning recipes, well, watch this space … – Clem


I collected a mini stockpile of quality proteins, took to exercising at home and have joined a nationwide fight for universal basic income.  As Americans are doing under the leadership of Andrew Yang. – Anonymous


Trying to stick to as normal of a routine as possible is paramount.  Try getting up at a similar time each morning, shower, get dressed, do a YouTube work out, eat breakfast and then get started for the day.  Take regular breaks and touch base with colleagues, family and friends. We are going to get through this! 🙂 – Bianca


My wife is concerned about the lockdown.  In particular about whether we have enough alcohol at home.  As she said, I am definitely going to need more wine if I have to spend 24-7 with you for a month. – Anonymous


Been getting takeaway meals from my local Chinese restaurant to feed myself.  It’s quiet and peaceful compared to Coles and Woolies right now. – Anonymous


By bringing ‘wine-o-clock’ forward by about 5 hours. – Anonymous


It’s week 3 for my girlfriend and I working from home.  We feel fortunate to be in employment and to be able to work remotely.  Our makeshift desk (round dining table) has been working okay but meals are now relegated to the couch.  Telecon’s, Skype and Zoom calls are taken in the bedroom to avoid disruptions to each other, this doesn’t stop the crazy cat intruding most of the time.  A normal routine and exercise are probably what has helped us the most.  Although no longer having to commute is a bonus, we’ve realised the importance of that regular work shut down ritual where you can turn off your brain just for a little bit.  At home, it’s a little different as you instantly go onto your next part of the day in preparing dinner, cleaning etc – RT


For a deeper perspective, I’m re-reading The Plague by Albert Camus. – Michael


Praying to God to stop the spread of coronavirus. – Anonymous


After working from home for two weeks it is very boring, time drags on, there is nothing to look forward too.  You used to go to work and say ok after work I am going to go swimming or going to poker, and traveling to and from work was a separation, now its I will walk around the block again and go to the couch.  Changes I have noticed are more people out walking at all times, and a big drop in traffic. – David


Today’s mission is to learn how to light a fire by rubbing two sticks together!  Choosing some simple “how to” videos off YouTube and having a bash! – Paul


I have always been a baker at home but the coronavirus has galvanised some instinct to become closer to the fundamentals of life.  So I’ve been experimenting with different ways to bake sourdough and methods.  I have a community that I’ve started named Community Sourdough Project.  It’s my quest to show people that they too can bake healthy, gut-friendly prebiotic sourdough in their own homes.  Just with water, salt and organic flour. – Prue


When I am not working from home, I am practising mandarin Chinese on an app, reading and playing online games.  It’s funny how about 90% of my life has remained exactly the same, yet it just feels different.  Catch up on things around the house – breaking it up into sections so it’s not too overwhelming. – Anonymous


After breakfast, I shower and put on comfy clothes (that aren’t pyjamas), then “leave for work”, walk around the block and then come home, having “arrived” to start my workday.  Lunch outside for a full 30 minutes, no technology allowed.  At the end of the workday another walk around the block, and then I’ve arrived “home”.  I’m also wearing my Fitbit all day and I’m not allowed to go to bed until I’ve hit 10,000 steps. – Ava


I am cooking new dishes.  Calling my parents and friends and sharing information.  Watching Netflix alas no sports.  Lot of friends sending jokes or videos on the situation so good to feel a bit light after reading or listening to the news. – Ranjeet


No use complaining as there is nothing we can do but ride it out.  Use this time to spend with family and less time on the screens. – Edwina


Fairly simple and straightforward – don’t try to live your normal life and get done everything you would normally get done; get done what you can without stress until a new normal emerges and you can work within those new boundaries. – Thos


I’m a workplace strategist & economist for a global corporate property services firm.  My personal advice to people is ‘Use DOWNtime to UPskill’, there are a lot of free education platforms out there (LinkedIn Learning and Kahn Academy).  With a looming recession, it’s never been more important to upskill yourself with the latest tech and business processes and set yourself ahead of the pack. – Bryan


Tip #1: Take the opportunity to “Cook Like an Italian with Silvia Colloca“.  Delicious. Tip #2: Change it up, and refresh your house.  Move the pictures, cushions and furniture around.  Tip #3: Update your podcast library and listen/learn from some transformative stories and pre-eminent broadcasters.  Tip #4: Detox! Now’s the time to think about giving the booze a break.  Tip #5: Reconnect with those books you bought, but never quite found time to read.  Tip #6: Live consciously.  Think about it.  Half the world doesn’t have access to toilet paper. So calm the —- down. – Anonymous


My partner and I have changed our lives a lot.  He’s a owns a florist in South Melbourne Market, and is now doing all the orders and deliveries himself as the shop has had to close.  I’m a family violence worker and having client contact via phone and video chat.  The isolation is hard for people and for me personally.  Gardening has been a huge help and a good source of therapy.  Animal therapy is also a big one! – Anonymous


Just before all this panic started, I read an article on people using cloth wipes instead of toilet paper.  So when it was difficult to buy the paper, I tried it and it works fine.  I bought small face washers in the baby section of a major store, in packs of ten.  The article had suggested having a handy bucket to collect for used wipes, with disinfectant, and put through the wash when necessary.  However, we have a washlet (toilet seat bidet) and I wash the used wipe as I wash my hands. I love it. – Anonymous


My partner & I are both working from home at our employer instructions.  We have separate office areas set up and working well.  Main issue is internet bandwidth when we both need to use video conference.  First world problem I know but that’s the way it is. – David


Keep a diary and record your interactions with others.  If you do become infected with COVID 19, it might make the task of tracing contacts easier for the medical folk. – Anonymous


I have a small backyard and now pick wild greens which I used to shun.  I get on the android tv box for entertainment and have devised an alternative to toilet paper use as I’ve given up looking for them at the supermarket.  And I go out once or twice a week to top up food groceries.  My makeshift bidet system delivers warm water servicing two toilets, each has its own plastic switch off tap. – Jes


Under normal circumstances, I work from home about 2 or 3 days a week.  The biggest tips I can give to those who might not do it often, or for the first time are: put on some real pants – you might be tempted to get away with track pants or pyjamas but actually “getting ready” for work helps to put you in the right mode, mentally; take a walk – the incidental exercise you get from your commute, or going to the printer, etc has a big impact.  I find that more than 2 or 3 days at home leads to aches and pains if I don’t get at least around the block, or into the backyard; separate your workspace – where you can avoid working in the kitchen or lounge room as I often find my fridge or Netflix calling to me if I don’t use my desk or a study area… and it’s hard to avoid distractions because they’re ALL RIGHT THERE! – Scott


I’ve been working from home since about two weeks now.  I can’t complain: NBN is holding up, Zoom and Skype calls seem far more efficient than in-person meetings, and productivity in general is high.  Happy!  On the other hand, I had a close relative pass away overseas – in a European country that’s currently in lockdown.  Unable to travel back to pay my respects and support my parents is hard.  Really hard.  I really hope everyone gets through this, in great physical and mental condition – Anonymous

Finances on your mind?  We are here to help
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Finances on your mind? We are here to help

If you are finding it tough to meet your current financial obligations or you are just interested in reviewing your current home loan, then you are not alone.  Onyx Finance stand ready and able to assist with your options during this difficult time.

Turbulent does not even begin to describe 2020 so far.  As a result of COVID-19 and not forgetting the bushfires, thousands of Australians are out of work, with Treasury predicting that the jobless rate will double in the June quarter from 5.1 per cent to 10 per cent.  Many others have had their hours reduced or have been temporarily stood down.

In this period of uncertainty, at the very least many will be taking a closer look at their finances to make sure their current loan arrangements are right for them.  We have the experience and knowledge to assist in a variety of situations and are simply an email or phone call away.  We are in regular contact with our lender panel and make it our business to understand the different options lenders currently offer.

And while the options can seem straight forward, it is easy to miss the details and differences that can add up, particularly over a 30-year term.  For example, a number of banks are offering to temporarily freeze mortgage repayments for three or six months.  While this may seem like a good option, it is important to fully understand the implications.  This could mean that the total debt will increase.  Of course, depending on an individual’s circumstances, there may be a number of available alternatives that may reduce repayments while not increasing your interest bill as much in the long term.

Refinancing too may be on the minds of many as a result of the Reserve Bank cutting rates and banks passing them on, to varying degrees, as well as access to a range of competitive fixed interest rate options on the market.  A discussion with us may be just the ticket.

While a simplistic view of what constitutes a great mortgage is the one with the lowest interest rate, mortgage brokers know that what suits one person might not necessarily suit another.  For instance, fixed interest rates can offer piece of mind as interest rates increase, but they can be the cause of anxiety if rates fall or if unforeseen circumstances require a change.

No matter what your circumstances are, Onyx Finance can actively assist you in navigating your current situation.  So, if you’ve been thinking about reassessing your finances and are not in contact with us, do yourself (and your cashflow) a favour and call us now!