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Wednesday, 9th October 2013

John Smiles

Qualified Financial Advisor

What is the US debt ceiling?

American and global financial markets are again staring at the abyss of default due to the failure of US politicians to agree a new budget which has closed down some government services. The failure to increase the amount of money the US government can borrow – the debt ceiling, threatens to cause the US to default on its debt.

The debt ceiling was introduced in 1917 during the First World War. At the start of the war the US was neutral and it was only when a number of US ships were torpedoed by German submarines that they became involved on the side of the British, French and Russians. Wars cost money and generally are not budgeted for. The President, Woodrow Wilson had to continuously go to Congress to get permission to raise

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Wednesday, 9th October 2013

I was at two retirement planning sessions recently: they couldn't have been more different. Over the tea and biscuits in the morning session, the attendees talked about the price of home heating oil and the cost of living. The afternoon group chatted about what holidays they planned on taking. Two different mindsets, both realistic, one audience was lucky enough to have taken steps to plan for retirement; the other relied on the State.

Half of Irish people between the ages of 30-45 have not started to save for their pension – despite many of them being concerned about their finances, according to a new survey undertaken by Bank of Ireland Life. The survey, which was undertaken by Red C on behalf of Bank of Ireland Life, has found that 95% of people said if they could retire in the morning they

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Wednesday, 2nd October 2013

John Smiles

Qualified Financial Advisor

What is a Risk Profiling Tool?

Risk Profiling [RP] tools have been used for many years in Australia and Canada, countries which are recognised as being sophisticated as regards financial planning. Close to 50% of independent financial advisers in the UK also use them and their use by Financial Brokers is growing rapidly in Ireland.

Risk preference is the subjective tolerance of risk by an investor. Traditionally, Financial Brokers may have assessed this by having a discussion with a potential investor and measured it on a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is 'very low risk' and 10 is 'very high risk'.

RP tools are very helpful in assessing the risk tolerance of an investor and the broker representative bodies in Ireland now recommend their members to use them where investment risk is a significant element of a financial

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Wednesday, 2nd October 2013

The creation of a universal mortgage insurance model, a mortgage lender's pledge, penalties for those who do not develop city centre sites within a specified period of time and the setting up of a National Property Council are among the recommendations in a pre-Budget submission to Government made by the Institute of Professional Auctioneers and Valuers Institute (IPAV).

In the submission, prepared by economist Jim Power, IPAV, which represents 800 auctioneers and estate agents nationwide, says that mortgage lenders are under significant pressure to rebuild profitability, reduce the size of the balance sheet and hold adequate levels of prudential capital. High Loan to Value (LTV) mortgages are much more expensive from a bank's perspective because they are more risky and consequently the banks are forced to hold higher levels of expensive capital.

IPAV is proposing that the creation of a universal mortgage

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Wednesday, 2nd October 2013

30th September - 6th October

This week 30th September - 6th October marks Simon Week nationally, a time to highlight the issue of homelessness and the risk of homelessness in our communities. The harsh reality is that one in three Irish people are concerned about being at risk of homelessness because of difficulties in fulfilling payments or mortgages.

In this, the sixth year of Simon Week, South East Simon Community are urging people to help in responding to the growing pressures by encouraging everyone to show they care by signing our petition.

Lorraine Shute, Acting Operations Manager of South East Simon Community explains the thinking behind the campaign, Home for Good: "This Simon Week, we're asking people to 'Sign the Petition' for Simon, and ask the government not to cut the homeless budget".

If you want make an enormous difference in the lives of

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Wednesday, 2nd October 2013

Sinn Féin Senator David Cullinane has said the announcement of a reduction in state aid to disadvantaged areas is a bombshell and a snub to the hopes of the South East.

Senator Cullinane was speaking after Minister Richard Bruton appeared at the Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Committee.

He said; 'The minister today has dropped a bombshell that state aid supports to the most disadvantaged areas will be reduced. The economic downturn has impacted differentially across the state.

"Areas such as the South East have the highest levels of disadvantage, highest levels of job losses and the lowest rates of investment. The IDA continually fails to meet their own limited region target of having 50% of investment outside of Dublin and Cork.

"This is a snub to the committee's recommendations and the hopes of the South East. It will impact on disadvantaged areas. The minister

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Wednesday, 25th September 2013

John Smiles

Qualified Financial Advisor

Will Ireland exit its bailout on time?

Ireland’s fiscal progress and Europe’s desire to demonstrate that austerity and structural reform programmes work, should ensure that Ireland becomes the first bailed out nation to exit a programme. The exit is expected on time and in an orderly fashion.

When Ireland exits its current programme, fiscal autonomy will not be fully restored and the Government is likely to apply for two separate post bailout backstop facilities:

- A European Financial Stability Fund ("EFSF") precautionary programme supported by the Eurozone

- Outright Monetary Purchases ("OMT") supported by the European Central Bank ("ECB")

Although recent domestic macro-economic trends have weakened Ireland’s position, the recent pick-up in global growth will, if it continues, ensure that Ireland’s positive progress will be maintained. The vicious circle of weak consumer confidence, poor domestic demand and poor supply of credit still

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Wednesday, 25th September 2013

Over seven in ten Irish consumers (72%) are at risk of being overcharged on their household bills, according to new research from uSwitch.ie. Despite the importance of checking bills carefully for accuracy, a third of consumers (32%) admit that they are unable to work out whether there has been a mistake, while 49% simply trust their supplier to get their bills right. As a result, just 28% know for a fact that they have not been overcharged in the past year:

- 27% of people say that household bills are too complicated, 26% complain about jargon while 21% cannot find the information they need

- Little over half of Irish adults (54%) are able to check electricity or gas bills easily for accuracy – just 49% say the same for their broadband bills

- Just 57% say they are likely to spot an

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Wednesday, 25th September 2013

Locals and visitors alike proved to be wild about the Comeraghs last weekend, enjoying sell-out walks, talks, workshops, music and storytelling events that, in total, confirmed the inaugural Comeraghs Wild Festival to be a resounding success.

Following its official bi-lingual launch at Ballymacarbry Community Centre on Thursday night, Comeraghs Wild Festival went down a storm with many events sold out - a great testament to the interesting and diverse four-day festival programme

More than 300 enthusiasts turned up in Kilmacthomas on Friday night for the Full Moon Trail Run and participants were blessed with a clear and crisp night event. Elsewhere, Culture Night in Dungarvan proved to be just that and more with the participation of festival artists Clare Keegan and Mark Roper at a packed reading at Dungarvan public library. Many of the attendees had come from the Comeraghlicious! dining evening

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Tuesday, 17th September 2013

John Smiles

Qualified Financial Advisor

Does Financial Advice have a value?

The Professional Insurance Brokers Association in association with Standard Life recently conducted research in Ireland to examine the real benefits of professional financial advice. Similar research has taken place in the UK and Australia and the results are consistent with earlier studies in the UK.

The financial services market has been undergoing a transformation to meet customers' changing needs. Advisers are exploring how advice is delivered and how clients value and pay for it. They are investing in higher qualifcations and are examining how they run their own business to develop a more transparent and flexible structure. Financial advice is becoming much more strategic.

- Advice from a professional can provide reassurance about your financial situation and show the real value of advice. The results of the survey are clear.

- Almost half of Irish adults (48%)

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  • Our View

    Time for a breakJust as the height of Summer begins it seems that it is also the time when our politicians begin their yearly departure from Dail Eireann. While not many professions get as much holiday time as politicians do you have to ask the question whether they merit such long breaks?There are many who would immediately answer that they don't really deserve such long holidays, that they barely seem to spend any time in the Dail at all and after all they are well remunerated for the long hours …

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