Author Archives: The Farm Protectors

Keep your identity safe online

Your personal information is so valuable. We have a lot to lose if somebody steals your identity, and it’s not just money. It can take years to recover your identity. However, there are several ways to protect your identity online. Keep reading to find out what to look out for and how to protect yourself online.

What is identity theft?

Identity theft is a type of fraud, where a scammer steals your personal information to steal your money or gain access to other accounts or benefits. Scammers use your information to impersonate you and:

  • Access and take money from your bank account/s
  • Open new credit card accounts or bank accounts to take out loans or lines of credit
  • Set up phone, internet or utility services in your name
  • Gain access to your government accounts or online services
  • Purchase expensive goods
  • Steal your superannuation funds
  • Access your email or social media accounts to find more information about you and target your friends and family

What to look out for?

Do you know the warning signs that scammers are targeting your personal information online? Watch out for the following that may indicate you are being targeted:

  • You receive an email, text or phone call asking you to provide information or validate your details by clicking on a link or attachment
  • You receive a friend request on social media from a person you don’t know
  • Unexpected pop-ups appear on your computer or device asking you to run software

Think you can spot an attempt to steal your information? The ACCC put together a quiz to test your knowledge.

How to protect your identity?

  • Independently research a company if somebody is asking for your information. It’s a good idea to find their legitimate phone number and contact them directly to confirm it’s a genuine request.
  • Keep an eye out for suspicious emails or messages, even if they appear to be from a trusted source. Watch for tell-tale signs, like sender’s email address, grammatical errors and suspicious links.
  • Never share your personal information to people you don’t know or trust.
  • Use secure passwords and set up multi-factor authentication on your accounts.
  • Be careful with the information you share on social media as scammers can use your information and pictures to create a fake identity or target you with a scam.

It is important to remain vigilant to keep your information, money and identity safe online.

Let’s talk about money

Money – one of the most taboo topics in Australia. But it shouldn’t be. In this time of uncertainty, it is now more important than ever to have honest conversations with your family about your financial situation. Please keep reading to find out how important it is to talk about money.

A study by St George Family Finances found that almost one in four people don’t trust their partners when it comes to money. It also indicated that many believe that managing personal debts adds extra, unwanted stress to their relationships.

Think about it – when was the last time you had a conversation about your debts, income or how much you’re spending? Being open about your financial situation can be scary because it makes us vulnerable to judgement and scrutiny. But it is worthwhile, with a survey from ME Bank finding that stress levels about your finances significantly drop when you discuss money. The research also found that when you are actively talking money, you are more likely to be actively managing your finances and getting on top of your financial situation.

Talking about money has great benefits for your relationship and family. It can lead to happier relationships and reduce your likelihood to argue about finances. And we know that parents often worry about discussing money with their children but getting it out in the open can help develop good financial habits at an early age. Don’t be held back by your own financial situation or views. Click here to read some great tips for talking money with your kids.

It is important to have positive conversations about money to strengthen your relationships and pass on good money habits to your children. Be honest about your experiences to avoid further stress in your life and relationships.

Apple & Sultana Crumble Cake

PREP: 20 MINS | COOK: 1 HR | SERVES: 8-10

What you’ll need…

  • 175g butter, diced and softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 2 extra large eggs
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup self-raising flour
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1/2 tsp mixed spice
  • 3/4 cup sultanas
  • 1 granny smith apple, cut into 1cm dice

Crumble:

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 60g butter, diced
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds

Method

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced). Lightly grease a 22cm spring form pan and line the base with baking paper.
  2.  Place butter and sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until pale and creamy. Add eggs one at a time until well incorporated.
  3. Add sour cream, followed by the flour, almond meal and spice. Mix until batter is smooth. Add sultanas, mixing in well. Spoon into prepared pan, smoothing the top. Sprinkle with diced apples.
  4. For the crumble, combine oats, sugar and butter in a bowl and using fingertips, rub to combine so mixture resembles chunky breadcrumbs. Mix in the almonds. Sprinkle over apples and bake for 1 hour or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Serve warm with custard or cream.

What is the 30-day rule?

Do you find it difficult to save money because of discretionary spending? You are definitely not alone – we all find ourselves making impulse purchases. However, many people swear by the 30-day rule, a popular method to help people save more money. Keep reading to find out more about the 30-day rule and how it can help you curb impulse spending.

So, what is the 30-day rule? Essentially it is about waiting 30 days before making a purchase. Use this time to think about the item or service you are looking to purchase and consider if you really need it. Before making a purchase, do the following:

  • After you see the item or service that you would like to buy, note down all the information that you have. This could include what it is, how much it costs, and any details or specifications.
  • Leave this information somewhere obvious that you will often see, such as your calendar or fridge.
  • For the full 30 days, carefully deliberate whether you need the item/service and if it is worth the price.
  • In that time, you can search for alternatives and better deals at other stores or retailers.

The advantage of the 30-day rule is by taking the time, and searching for better deals, if you find that you still want to make the purchase after 30 days, you will potentially be able to save money or find an alternative that is more suitable for your needs. You might find that you forget about item/service, or realise they are not that important to you. Over time you will start to save money and be more considered with our spending.

Committing to the 30-day rule is a great step towards saving. It will help you develop discipline, stop impulse spending, and you will be well on your way to meeting your savings goals.

Do you need life insurance?

We know that personal and life insurance can be confusing and daunting to think about. People always ask if they need life insurance or if there are other options available to suit their needs. Find out more about if you need life insurance or if there are other personal insurance options that are suitable.

When looking to purchase life or personal insurance, you need to consider how your family would cope if you had a tragic accident or illness. Depending on your life stage, you might not actually need life insurance. If you are mortgage-free, have enough assets/income for a comfortable lifestyle, and have self-sufficient adult children, it may no longer be necessary.

However, whether you have a young family or are single with no mortgage or dependents, there might be other personal insurance options to consider that would help you cope if something happened:

  • Income Protection – provides you with income to help with your living expenses if you are unable to work for a period of time.
  • Trauma Cover – cover if you suffer a major illness or injury that will have a significant impact on your life (such as cancer or a stroke).
  • Total and Permanent Disability (TPB) Insurance – covers the cost of rehabilitation, debt repayments and the future cost of living if you are totally and permanently disabled and unable to work again.
  • Life Insurance – pays nominated beneficiaries a fixed amount of money if you pass away.

When purchasing any personal insurance, you need to understand the events/illnesses covered by your insurance, the level of cover, ongoing costs, and any exclusions from the policy. Our team of certified financial planners can walk you through the process and discuss the best options for your life stage and future plans.

Stuffed Baked Apples

PREP: 15 MINS | COOK: 25 MINS | SERVES: 6

What you’ll need…

  • 6 small pink lady apples
  • 1/4 cup raisins, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 20g butter, diced and softened
  • 1/4 tsp mixed spice
  • Custard or cream, for serving

Method

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced).
  2. Cut a 2cm slice off the top of each apple and set aside. Using a spoon or melon scoop, scoop out the core of the apple. Place apples in a baking dish.
  3. Combine the raisins, walnuts, sugar, butter and spice. Using fingertips, mix it all together until a rough mixture has formed. Spoon into the cavity of each apple and bake for approx. 25 minutes until apples are tender. If using the tops of the apples, add to the oven half way through cooking time and serve these with the baked apples. 

How to develop your succession plan

Succession planning is essential for any business, from small family-owned businesses to large corporates. A succession plan is a strategy for the future of your business, and it involves identifying and developing the future leaders of the company. Planning applies to all levels of the business, keep reading to find out how to develop your succession plan.

Be proactive with your succession plan

Most of the time in a business, you will be unaware that a team member is going to leave the company. There are some circumstances that you will have plenty of notice for, such as retirement. You need to be proactive in your succession planning and consider the impact that an employee leaving will have on your day-to-day operations.

Pinpoint succession candidates and let them know

If you understand each person’s impact, you can pinpoint other team members that could potentially step into these positions. It is important not just to consider the next person in the organisational chart, but also look at other promising employees in other areas.

Make sure that you discuss with each person – you can’t just assume that they would be interested in a more senior role. If they are interested, you need to establish that circumstances may change, and there are no guarantees.

Increase professional development

A business should invest in the professional development of its employees, especially those that have been identified as succession candidates. Provide them with training opportunities and ways to boost their knowledge and experience. You can also connect them with mentors to boost their soft skills, such as communication and empathy.

Have a trial run

You don’t want to wait until it’s too late to check whether a candidate is suitable. A great way to trial is by having the potential succession assume a few responsibilities of a manager who is on holiday. Employees will highly value the experience and opportunity to demonstrate their abilities.

Employee changes within your organisation are inevitable. You can’t predict the future, so you need to establish and develop your succession plan. Contact the team at The Farm Protectors to build your succession plan and pave the way for business continuity.

What is a power of attorney?

You might have heard of power of attorney. But what is a power of attorney and who can I nominate to look after my affairs?

What is a power of attorney?

An attorney is a person you name to manage your affairs. You are required to legally document the person who you nominate to act on your behalf. There are two types of power of attorney:

General power of attorney

You can appoint someone as a general power of attorney to make financial decisions on your behalf for a specific period or event. It is only used while you can still make your own decisions and will end when you no longer can. For example, you might nominate a general power of attorney if you are going overseas and need someone to pay your bills or sell your house on your behalf. A general power of attorney does not give the person the ability to make personal, medical or lifestyle decisions on your behalf.

Enduring power of attorney

By appointing someone with an enduring power of attorney, you are nominating them to make financial and/or personal decisions on your behalf. You can choose if you wish for the person to make financial decisions for you straight away or from a specific date or occasion, such as when you lose the capacity to make these decisions yourself. For personal decisions, your attorney power will only commence when you lose the ability to make these decisions.

Who can I nominate?

You can choose anyone to be your power of attorney. It is very important to choose someone that you trust and shares your beliefs and values. Your power of attorney can be a relative, spouse, friend or a professional (such as a lawyer), but whoever you choose must be over the age of 18.

Planning ahead can save you and your family from legal or financial burdens in the future. Nominating a power of attorney can give you the peace of mind that your personal and/or financial affairs will be kept in order and be in your best interest, no matter what happens in the future.

Bread and Butter Pudding

PREP: 20 MINS | COOK: 40 MINS | SERVES: 6

What you’ll need…

  • 1/2 cup sultanas
  • 40ml orange juice
  • 4 extra large eggs
  • 300ml pouring cream
  • 250ml milk
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 8 small croissants, halved horizontally
  • 100g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp flaked almonds

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced).
  2. Combine sultanas and juice in a small bowl and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, milk, sugar and vanilla.
  4. Sprinkle some of the sultanas and chocolate over the base of a rectangular baking dish. Arrange half of croissants in the baking dish, slightly overlapping. Sprinkle with more of the sultanas and chocolate. Top with remaining croissants, sultanas and chocolate.
  5. Pour egg mixture over croissants allowing time for it to be absored, approximately 30 minutes. Sprinkle with almonds.
  6. Bake pudding for 35-40 minutes or until set. Serve warm with cream or ice-cream.

Safe Ag Systems makes good business sense

You’ve heard you need to do something about safety – but what exactly?

Setting up a digital safety management system is the smart thing to do. The good news is doing this digitally is relatively simple, even for the least technological person. 

A well-designed safety system should help improve productivity on your farm by giving your workers the right information at the right time, and reduce downtime by addressing hazards and preventing safety incidents.

It also provides a level of protection from potential penalties and prosecution if something serious does happen.

Yes, you’ll need to invest a bit of time initially to set up your system but it’s time well spent to keep safe and keep farming. Safe Ag Systems provides a suite of templates so you can get started straight away, without needing a safety expert on hand. 

Implementing Safe Ag Systems, you can immediately start capturing the data you need for compliance and to help improve safety. Simple daily actions like completing an induction, inspection, adding a new maintenance record or any other type of safety activity is easy and instant.  

European research suggests that the average cost for a minor incident is 16 times more than the cost of prevention. For more serious incidents that factor is up to 48.

Naturally you want the best ‘bang for your buck’ when you invest in anything. It’s not different here. OSHA estimates safety technology can reduce injuries by 15-35% compared to employers with nothing in place.

Investing in Safe Ag Systems will help you 

  • Improve safety
  • Manage risks
  • Improve compliance

Is it worth it? 

Absolutely! Benefits will be seen in financial and productivity gains. But knowing your family, friends and workers go home safe each day – that’s priceless.

Visit www.safeagsystems.com for more information and to start a free trial.