Welcome to the latest edition of the The Village News.
Trump, Brexit and Bank Record Profits!
We live in interesting times! Who would ever have thought that the United Kingdom would vote to exit the European Union? This is old news as I write. However, it is worth considering that the UK along with France and Germany were the engine room of the European Union which has expanded significantly in its number of participating nations over the decades. Of course, Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to remain with overwhelming votes by the people of Wales and England to leave. The ramifications of the 2016 referendum will be felt in the years ahead.
And who would have thought that the most important world democracy, the United States would vote Donald Trump as their President? The Brexit and Trump outcomes demonstrate what is obvious in politics. If conventional political parties do not provide what electorates require, alternatives and sometimes extreme alternatives will fill the void. Trump is a businessman and a very successful one with 22,000 employees. Okay, his Company has large debt so some of his creditors won’t be happy with this and if he were to engage in a practice of increasing national debt, then the United States and its citizens will suffer going forward. Reflect for a moment on the implications for Australia in respect of the bad debt created by previous governments. But, Trump is a big employer and that’s a lot more than can be said for the average politician who has never created a job in their life and knows nothing about business.
The United States has an appetite for enterprise, that’s good for them and good for the world. The first year of any US President is always a nervous time for everyone. I recall always the ‘butterflies in the belly’ feeling with new Presidents. We all watch with interest to see if they provide leadership and confidence as well as stability which we all want for the world. But, the first year is always a nervous time. Think JFK, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan (an actor), Bush, Clinton, Bush Junior and Obama. They all had their frailties and their strengths, some more than others. But democracy still prevailed and so we will watch with interest how President Trump steers a path over the next year on the domestic and world scene.
Don’t you love to hear that the banks are getting even richer! The Commonwealth Bank posted a record $4.8 billion profit for the first six months of the financial year.
And the word ‘volatility’ in markets is now one of the most used words that is present in every conversation with a fund/wealth manager or financial advisor. But there’s nothing volatile about their fee structure. You invest and win, they get their fees. You invest and lose, they still get their fees! No key performance indicators present here.
In February, Forbes Magazine ran an article entitled ‘Warren Buffett slams Wall Street, says $100 billion wasted on Investment fees’. The legendary investor took fresh aim at Wall Street in his annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway investors, blasting active fund managers for lining their pockets with fees irrespective of the performance of their funds and failing to keep up with the market over time. Warren Buffett has said it before and he’ll say it again: Don’t try and beat the market with pricey, actively-managed funds. You’re better off with a boring, low-cost index fund. If you’re doing right by your investors, says Buffett, you’re not enriched at their expense. Buffett for President!
Chief Executive Officer
This annual event which this year was convened on 23 February 2017 is always a wonderful affair. Management shared the company of twenty two (a few volunteers couldn’t make the meal) talented, skilled and diverse people who selflessly give of their time each week or throughout the month to the residents of our residential aged care facility. The organised activities bring a special ambiance and interest to our residents. Eighteen activities each week plus fifteen concerts throughout the year! Who needs to go on a cruise ship for stimulation and activities? It happens all the time at our residential aged care facility! Virginia Stapleton, Coordinator of Volunteers and Activities, Patricia Cearnes, Retirement Living Manager and I celebrated another successful year of Volunteering in our very humble way of saying a big ‘Thank You’ to all our special volunteers. If anyone is interested in joining a great team, if you have one hour a week or some time in the month, please contact Virginia at 9975 5800 who will train and support you in your volunteering.
Residents of the retirement village of Allambie Heights Village held their Annual General Meeting on 24 February 2017 and returned the same officers of the Residents Committee from 2016 with Margaret Campbell as Chairperson. I look forward to another year working with the Residents Committee who bring along with management and residents harmonisation to the retirement village.
In my report to the residents, I announced that the Maintenance & Services Budget will be known in future as the ‘Services Budget’ to more accurately reflect that maintenance to a resident’s apartment covers a relatively small part of the current monthly fee of $430.00, the lowest on the Northern Beaches across a 10 km radius. The broad range of services provided is far greater!
Development Application Lodged with Council
The development application for the extension of our residential aged care facility was lodged with Northern Beaches Council in February. It took about eight weeks to gain landowner’s consent initially from Crown Lands before lodgement to Council and we are therefore some months behind schedule.
No Stamp Duty for our Retirement Village Apartments
A deterrent for some of our older Australian citizens when considering downsizing or selling their home of many years, is the great and real threat of the Australian Taxation Office to impose Stamp Duty on an apartment or house in the community that they might wish to move to.
Enter our Retirement Village as a real solution! Allambie Heights Village Ltd. does not have any Stamp Duty on any of our apartments. That’s a saving of many thousands of dollars for anyone over the age of 55 years moving to live with us as an accommodation option.
At a time of ‘squeeze’ for younger people trying to enter the property market for the first time and with property prices at ridiculous prices, way over inflated compared with the true value of the land, Government really needs to consider creative and even radical solutions to an ever increasing problem. We know about the First Time Buyers Grant.
Well, how about some relaxation for the over 70s by eradicating the Stamp Duty on housing property. Such an incentive at a time when retirement savings are so important and our older citizens need every available dollar, this would present a very enticing proposition to them. They downsize and move house, a younger couple with children move in to the larger now vacated house or apartment which they need, parents are in employment and the older couple who have moved out, now have additional funds, some which they will spend as ‘new’ money. Everyone wins! Okay, the eradication of Stamp Duty is a cost to government coffers but the newly released funds that the older couple now has access to will be spent on goods and attract GST, more people will be employed (income tax) and we complete a ‘circle of wealth’. Everyone wins! Worth considering?
Living Longer, Living Younger at Allambie Heights Village!
As readers are probably well aware by now, the Retirement Villages Act 1999 permits for people over 55 years to enter and live in Retirement Villages around Australia. At Allambie Heights Village, our youngest resident is 59, our oldest is 93, the average age at entry is 72 and the average age of village resident is 78 years.
So how does this compare with the rest of Australia? Well, the average age at entry is 74 and the average village resident age is 82 years.
So, our Allambie Heights Village residents are younger than the Australian retirement village resident average age and residents come to live with us earlier than elsewhere in Australia.
This is hardly surprising when you hear some of our residents’ stories of pumping iron in a Gym at 5.30am, marathon running, bush walking, lap swimming, dancing, meditation , yoga and cycling. Mix this with some more relaxing and cerebral past times of cooking, coffee and cake mornings among village friends, enjoying our superb cuisine in our Village Dining Room with family and friends and even better our future plans for dressing up for our themed lunches (Dinner on the Titanic, Marilyn Monroe meets James Bond).
Watch this Space!
Lets add, monthly bus trips and lunch included and the 18 activities per week and 15 concerts per year in our residential aged care facility (that our village residents often attend) and it is not remarkable that our Village Residents actually live younger and live longer! What a great advertisement for Retirement Village Living!
William Charlton Village
The end of February marked six months of our ownership and management of William Charlton Village, (retirement village). During this time, the team have been getting to know our residents as well as familiarizing ourselves with the apartments, buildings and grounds. Weekly gardening, upgrading the fire safety of all apartments, lounges and community hall (the Rotunda), upgrading electrics in communal walkways and buildings, engaging in regular maintenance and cleaning as well as commencing the renovation of a number of vacant apartments that we inherited to our own standards and design, has kept us very busy. Cleaning gutters and roof cavities was completed in early March. And this is only the start!