Archive for the ‘Business Finance’ Category

 Donna Moulds – Mantra Training & Development

Getting a good head start could be the difference between achieving your goals and not. The power in writing them down in indescribable and to say the least powerful.

I am writing this on the 1st January 2013

al-inspiring-quote-on-how-to-achieve-greatness Yes that’s correct on the first day of the new year I am writing a Blog on Goal setting, not because I don’t have a life but more importantly that I have a great   life and want it to be better. The quote that is to the right is so true and I think we often forget that we do have a choice in everything we do. When we take 100% responsibility for our choices we take responsibility for our failures and our successes.

I have already set my Goals for 2013 and am in the process of writing them down in detail and then writing my action steps to move me closer to these each day. Last year seemed to go so fast and before I and many others knew it Christmas was here. So I decided that I didn’t want the year to fly by without a plan for what I really and truly want for me, my family and my team at Mantra Training & Development in 2013.

So I thought this is no better time than to do another more detailed Blog on Goal setting. I had written one in the middle of last year and as I still believe very much in goals and action toward them I would expand even further.

I once heard Anthony Robbins say that if you are not growing you are dying, and I am still growing every day and will continue to do so in many ways. We can grow in all areas of our life, Financially, Spiritually, Relationships can grow and most importantly our knowledge can grow .

You may think you don’t set goals but in one way or another we all set goals, they can be a small goals of getting somewhere on time if you are often late. It could be to get a pay rise or promotion in your current career. We set bigger goals for fitness, and exercise or to give up smoking or drinking for a Month, year or for good. many people will have a New Years Resolution (Bad idea as they are often short lived)

I have been setting goals since I was very young; however I am not sure that I knew I was setting goals. I would decide I wanted something or to go somewhere and then I would find a way to do it. As I have looked back over many years of doing this and also being a keen observer of others, I have noticed a few key facts that are fairly consistent.

Why do we achieve some Goals and not others?

 Let me see if I can shed some light on what I think are some of the reasons for success and failure to reach our goals.

 If you fail to plan you plan to fail “Jim Rohn”

 TRY and moving away from goals opposed to moving toward goals!

 TRY – This word drives me crazy and is used so frequently when it is an excuse word. What I mean by that is, it lets you off the hook….. I will try to get there…..I will try to lose weight…….I will try to stop smoking…….I tried to call. Lets look at each one of these and break it down.

Someone asks you out and you say “I will try to get there” what they may have wanted to say is “I don’t want to go but if I say I will try and get there and don’t make it I know I tried

I will try and lose weight, really! How do you try, you either do lose weight by doing something differently, like walking round the block each day and eating smaller portions, or you don’t!

The last one is I tried to call…… What about, “I called and you didn’t answer” or “ I Did call and left a voicemail message”

You see I use this activity in my training…..I ask someone to try and pick up a chair, they pick it up and I say no I asked you to try, so they pretend its heavy and can’t lift it, again I say no now you didn’t pick up the chair. I often get looked at with frustration until it clicks…..You either pick up the chair or you don’t….NO TRYING! “Anthony Robbins”

 Moving Away from Goals V Moving Toward Goals

 If you don’t achieve your goals someone else will “Jim Rohn”

 What do I mean by moving away from goals?

 When you are moving away from something it is generally because you have a negative outcome where you are, so you want to move away from it (use Fear or Pain as a good example). Take a heart attack for example, you may need to lose weight change your diet and exercise, which you were not doing before, hence why you have had a heart attack. So when you get away from the risk you tend to go back to old habits.

What we should be doing consistently is setting toward Goals with positive outcomes, let me give you an example;

In August 2011 I set a goal to walk the Kokoda track and I was specific about a number of reasons for setting this goal. I understand this is a big one however the same concept applies t small goals as well.

Smart format applied

Specific – To walk the Kokoda Track in April 2012

Measurable – Researched the most reputable company to do the trek with, costed flights, trek gear and time frames that fitted in with my daughter being away on school holidays.

Achievable – A plan was required with a deadline and results focused to ensure I would be successful (it was truly achievable with a plan)

Relevant –   It was relevant in a number of ways both physically and emotionally and also one of my highest values is growth “I was definitely going to grow

Timely – I had a number of deadlines and it was the perfect time in my life to do this journey

Whilst a lot more in-depth planning and reasoning behind this goal, I am sure you can see the concept. Take the time to think of a small goal you want to achieve and use the SMART format to set the goal. Then set some bigger Goals and have a clear action plan to start moving you in the direction of achieving them.

Here are a few additional steps you can take to ensure you keep momentum.

  1. Write them down and stick it on your bathroom mirror so you see them every day
  2. Take 10 Minutes a day to so something toward planning or achieving these goals, as little as 10 minutes a day can work.
  3. Say them out loud, tell people about it so they can support you getting there.
  4. Get an accountability buddy to keep you on track
  5. Even if you fall off the horse so to speak don’t give up just get back on the horse.
  6. Make sure you reward yourself when you achieve the goal or get to a major milestone.

I look forward to hearing about your goals and if you need any help to set goals feel free to contact Mantra Training & Development and we can help you not only set the goals, we can help you create a plan to achieve your goals in 2013.

Have an amazing year and remember to enjoy the journey.


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Brian Miller, Creative Director, Luxgraphicus Design Agency

Brian Miller, Creative Director, Luxgraphicus Design Agency

How would you pay for the intellectual property of your business?

Specifically, the visual material which forms a vital part of the intellectual collateral associated with your business.

I’m not going to tell you the best way, or the cheapest way, or even my opinion here. I’m going to pose the question and provide some alternatives, then let you decide, or at least think about, the answers. Of course, if you’d like to discuss your ideas I’d love you to contribute to the blog here with comments and questions.

As designers, we’re creating intellectual property. But who owns it? Our clients commission us to do it. They pay us. (usually!) It’s created to be used in the operation of the business. But on what basis is it sold to the business? Does the initial fee cover the ownership of the intellectual property? Who owns copyright? Who has license to use the material?

Most of these are legal issues of course, which is not my area of speciality, although I do have some knowledge of copyright law and its application. I’m not going to dive into the deep waters of the legalities here!

But, as the owner of a design business, I am interested in how other business owners would be prepared to pay for the material created.

Recently I’ve been working on several approaches to licensing and payment for branding and identity projects. How would you be prepared to pay for the intellectual property which is so important to your business?

Here are some options;

Pay an upfront fee for the design work, and a license to use the work for the intended purpose. (later negotiation required for use beyond the original scope)

Pay a lesser upfront fee for the design work, with an ongoing (monthly or quarterly) fee for the license to use the work. (with outright transfer of the copyright after a negotiated period)

Pay a lesser upfront fee for the design work, with an ongoing premium on subsequent use of the work in designed and/or printed material. (with outright transfer of the copyright after a negotiated value of work completed)

Pay a greater upfront fee for the design work and full copyright ownership of the work. (no further negotiation required)

All have their strengths and weaknesses. There are, no doubt, alternatives too. As well as analogies from other industries.

As the owner of a design business I have my own preferred options, and as an innovator and entrepreneur, I can offer business owners added value through additional services within the licensing options, but which would the market support? (I’ll fill you in on the added value bits in subsequent posts!)

So which would you, as a small business owner or operator, be prepared to accept, to secure the intellectual property of your business?

Over to you…


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By Jean McIntyre (Marketing Angels)

Which movie describes your marketing approach: ‘Field of Dreams’, ‘Pay it Forward’, ‘Chain Reaction’ or ‘Game Plan’.

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If you already understand the value of marketing are ready to start writing your own marketing plan but just need a bit of expert help – stop reading and register for Marketing Angels DIY Marketing Plan workshop 23rd February. $319 early bird discount. Click here to register.See what previous attendees have said

Common Approaches to Marketing

I’m a bit of a movie buff – well a movie fan – so I like to use movies as a metaphor for life – and marketing is no exception.

Working with lots of Canberra businesses I can identify 4 different approaches to marketing.  Obviously there is one that I think is the most successful but there are elements of all that every business should consider using as part of its marketing plan.

Field of Dreams

Field of Dreams (with Kevin Costner) is one of my favourite movies of all time but I have to say it’s not my favourite approach to marketing.  It’s unfortunate though that I see many Canberra businesses who favour this approach.

This is the business that starts with a great idea to sell something that the business owner would like to buy that believes the line from the movie ‘Field of Dreams’: “If you build it they will come”.
They have no plan and therefore no strategic investment in marketing. They believe that their idea is so great and that everybody wants or needs their product so they’ll just come looking for it and buy it.
We can always find cases in history where this approach has worked and been successful.  It’s very, very rare and has only worked with revolutionary products and a very strong unmet demand.
When successful though – these businesses quickly become market leaders who then have market followers. The ones that survive this rapid success are the ones that quickly develop a good marketing plan (and need a huge marketing budget) to stay number one ahead of imitators.
Smart business owners know that this kind of success without marketing effort truly is just a dream.

Pay It Forward

The ‘Pay it Forward’ business relies solely on word of mouth to build their profile and sell their products.

There are a lot of these businesses in Canberra also.   This is likely because it’s a small, contained city with two degrees of separation (hang on isn’t that another movie title?).  If this marketing strategy is going to work it will be in a place like this.

It’s not a bad approach for sole trader whose business is basically just a job. These businesses believe that because they have a good reputation and good connections that they’ll achieve all their business through word of mouth – and so don’t require marketing.

They are usually good networkers and get sufficient referrals from clients, friends and acquaintances to keep them plugging along.

There’s nothing wrong with word of mouth as a strategy – particularly if you have loyal customers.  In fact it should form a part of every business’ marketing plan.  But it should be combined with at least customer service and product development strategies to keep clients satisfied and a reward program to proactively encourage referrals rather than waiting for loyal customers to think of your business and refer.

However if your business is an asset that you want to grow in value and expand – if you want to create an asset that you might sell in the future – then you’ll require goals, thought and planning for the business to experience anything other than simple organic growth.

Chain Reaction

The ‘Chain Reaction’ marketing approach is for businesses that at least want to grow and understand the benefit of marketing to help them with that growth.

On the negative side, these businesses generally regard marketing as a cost (that they’d rather not have) and are typically driven by special promotional deals and ideas from other companies (usually competitors) to present marketing tactis they can use.

This business is the favourite of predatory advertising sales people who arrive with offers of 20% off, additional ads at no cost, free placement in sister publications or affiliate websites.

These businesses often quickly lose faith with their trials of marketing because often the opportunities they take up don’t have the breadth of creative product, distribution, people and other marketing tactics to meet customer needs and the promotions they undertake take up don’t quite match the media habits of their target market.  The tactics might have worked for a competitor – but that competitor likely has a different offering and different messages to deliver.

Again, there’s nothing wrong with being frugal – accountants love business people that minimise their costs.  If you are going get good outcomes from this approach you need to have a clear understanding of your market, your messages and the media habits and associations of your clients.  You need at least a sketch of the kinds of tactics that will work for you so that – when a sales person comes along with a deal – you can recognise whether it’s one that will work to connect with your market and deliver sales.

This folks is what we call a marketing plan!

The Game Plan

The Game Plan approach is the most successful marketing approach.

Game Plan businesses start with goals.  They know where they want their business to be in 1 year, 5 years, 10 or even 20 years.  They have a business plan that says what they need to do to get them there.  They’ll have a plan for when they hire and train staff, when they’ll buy equipment, when they’ll seek expansion finance and when they’ll move premises. They know how many customers they’ll have and how much those customers will buy from them.

Above all they have faith in their businesses and that their plans will succeed.

Game Plan businesses will of course have a marketing plan that is fully timetabled and budgeted and they understand that this will be an investment they need to make to get them where they plan to be.

Having a ‘Game Plan’ or a marketing strategy doesn’t have to mean a huge cost.  A smart business owner will conduct a cost-benefit analysis to determine which strategies will deliver the greatest brand awareness and ultimately the highest sales from the least outlay of funds and time.

A good marketing plan enables a business to make these important business decisions.

It Doesn’t Need to Be Difficult

Planning of all kinds has gotten a bad wrap over the years because a lot of experts have layered much complexity on to the process.  People think of plans and think it’s all too hard and takes too long.

That’s not the case with marketing planning.

The hardest part of putting together a marketing plan is finding out what makes your market tick, how your competitors present themselves and then thinking about what that means for your business.

Once you understand your market – it’s easy to work out what products you can offer, what you need to say and what are the best media to say it in.  All you need to do then is work out your tactics and set a realistic budget and timetable.

This of course is where a marketing consultant can be really helpful.  Consultants like Marketing Angels can help with all parts of the process – researching your market, developing messages, identifying, scheduling and implementing tactics. We can also just be there to look over your shoulder as you get the satisfaction from achieving excellent results yourself.

If you need a kick start with developing your plan – Marketing Angels is running a 1 day workshop here in Canberra on Tuesday 23rd February at University House in ANU.  Click here to find out more or register.

I’d love to hear about what approaches you have taken to planning your marketing and how they have worked for you.

Jean Mc

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By Jean McIntyre

Marketing Angels

Why do small business owners often feel lost when we deal with large organisations like banks?

I was chatting on the phone today with my good friend Lana – relating the horrendous saga of my dealings with Westpac over several months while trying to set up a merchant facility for a start-up business.  The conversation got around to the general observation that small businesses often have little success dealing with large organisations.

Lana is of the view that it’s because a single instance of poor service is often not noticed in a large organisation and those who deliver it just get complacent about the impact of their actions on the people at the other end.  Lana works for a large Government service delivery organisation and says the same thing happens there.

Let’s look at what happened with Westpac

Early in November 2009 I went to the website of an online payment facility and completed an application and paid my fee.  I was then directed to a page that said I needed to apply with one of the big banks for a merchant facility.  I had vowed 20 years ago never to deal with a bank again so I wasn’t impressed with this but went ahead as I had no choice.

I completed a simple online application and was informed that I’d receive a package from Westpac in due course.  A couple of days later I received an email from a Westpac employee with some prices in a table and no explanation.

I wrote to Westpac and asked what the prices related to and exactly what I would be up for initially and on an ongoing basis.  The reply I received was full of jargon like ‘chargeback’ , ‘service fee’, ‘participation fee’ and it took me some time to get information from Westpac as to exactly what I was signing up for.

Westpac Gives Vague Instructions

Soon after, I received another email – with vague instructions and some pdfs of forms that it seemed I had to complete.  I wrote back to Westpac saying that I thought I’d received the wrong forms as what I had appeared to be a mortage application.  I was concerned because I was applying for the merchant account on behalf of a company – that had limited assets apart from a bank account and a website – but it was asking for details of all my personal assets.

The response from Westpac was that this was the way it was and Westpac had the most robust application process of all the banks and that this was necessary to protect this. 

I wondered at that point where I and my needs sat in that equation.

The website needs to be fully-functioning

Now at this point, the website is in development and testing and so the actual site is just a shell – ready to be populated.  I’m waiting on the merchant ID to finalise the online purchasing infrastructure and pricing.

I then received an email from Westpac saying that they need a copy of my ‘registration’ and that the website didn’t meet their requirements.  I asked “what requirements” and was told that among the many forms that were sent with the second email, there was a page of ‘Website Requirements’ that was not mentioned in the email.  I looked at the requirements page and could not see anything in this that didn’t comply – even though the site was in testing.

I also queried exactly what registration was required – my ABN registration, company registration, registration of a business name or some other registration that I was unaware of.  The woman from Westpac was unable to answer that question and so suggested that I send all of the above.

Feeling trapped – Jean complies

Of course, feeling trapped and powerless – I complied.  It turns out that she had searched for the business using the incorrect name and was now suspicious that I was trying to do something dodgy.

The Westpac employee then said that I needed a referral from my building society – where I had said on the initial form that I wanted money deposited (I love my building society).  I asked her what this was for but she didn’t answer me.  She also asked me to explain in detail on the website, the products I was selling, how the payment and pricing would work as this information was required for the website.

The Westpac officer wrote: ” Website needs to be developed before they will assess the application.  All banks have the same requirements of viewing the site before approval.  It is because banks need to view what products are being sold, that there is adequate information on the Website for a credit card holder to make the decision whether they are going to use their credit card on your website and get the products they are paying for.”

Westpac is not a police officer

I was no clearer after this and I was quite cross by this time.  I explained that I would not put this information up on the site as I was going to protect my intellectual property until the site is ready for publication – including the payment processes.  I said in no uncertain terms that it was none of Westpac’s business what information I put on my site (apart from privacy and security details). 

In my frustraion I said in my reply email: “Banks DON’T need to view what products are being sold.  It is up to the individual business to comply with the law.  The bank is not a police officer.” 

This of course fell on deaf ears.

I asked who I could speak with about the unreasonable requests and delays from Westpac and yet again in a further email. I received no response.

Tell us EXACTLY what we have to do

I went back to my web developer and said that we needed to get the test website as close to fully-functioning as possible – otherwise Westpac would not approve the merchant facility.  I put in a lot of work, we organised a Security Certificate for the site and gave them access to the development site.  I then asked if they could look at it and explain EXACTLY what was needed now to approve the site.

I received an email back saying “thanks” and informing me that (despite my being a sole signatory for the company) they required a signature from my husband (who is a silent partner) as another director.  Rather than argue this was not necessary, and feeling even more powerless, I and my husband complied.

I faxed off the form and emailed the Westpac employee to say I had done so and said I still hadn’t had a response on what was wrong with the website.  By this time it was 2nd January (two months from initial contact) and the employee was on Holidays.

Westpac finally gets back

On 11th January I received a phonecall from another staff member responding to my email.  She said that the website had been given conditional approval – “subject to the Westpac Account”.  I asked her what this meant.  She explained that they would only issue a merchant ID if the business opened a Westpac Business Account to distribute the money to.

I was astounded and said that this was the first time anyone had told me in over 2 months that I was required to have a Westpac Account.  I said that had I known this – I’d have gone to the bank I had an account with previously.  I related that I had told them at the very beginning that I wanted the funds put into the IMB.  She said that she had tried to get me “an exemption” but that this had failed.  All I needed to do was go into a Westpac branch with all my registrations and IDs and they would open it up for me.

I did that today. Walked in to my local branch and said I was here to open a business account.  The teller walked over and got the ‘Business Manager’ who immediately asked “What kind of business is it?” 

Jean cries on John’s shoulder

That was the wrong question to ask the wrong person who had been through everything I had been through.  I said “Why do you need to know that?”  I told him it was an online business.  He looked for a while at his computer screen (he didn’t look once at me) and said “I can’t see you today – it will have to wait until next week”.

I walked out and cried on my husband’s shoulder.  I said “they really don’t want my business do they?”

Jean gets help from the IMB

In despair – I just drove home.  Back in my office I started wondering if the IMB could help me.  I looked at their website and they said that they will open merchant facilities for their clients.  I knew that they did this through Westpac and so wondered fi they could help me.

I rang the call centre and they put me through to their business banking area.  The man I spoke with was very helpful and explained the relationship they have with Westpac and said he’d give them a call and get back to me.

He did that within an hour and said that the people I had been dealing with should have realised that I was an IMB customer early in the piece and applied a general exemption.  He said he had sorted this out for me and the woman from Westpac would ring me today to advise me of the approval.  I said I wished I had come to them months ago instead of putting myself through all this trauma.

I’m still waiting 7 hours later for Westpac to call me.

So what’s the upshot.

There’s a simple message in this that I won’t spend too much time explaining.

The advantage that small organisations (and small businesses) have is that they are much more connected to their customers and much more likely to act when there has been a problem.

Make caring about serving your customers part of your marketing plan and you’ll never lose them to big business.

I’d love to hear about your experiences with big banks.

Jean Mc

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Trevor Bransdon - Praescius

By Trevor Bransdon (Praescius Financial Consultants)

Would you like to own your business premises but not sure you have the capital to do so?

You may have the capital and not realise it. Let me explain how….

Recent changes to the Superannuation Act now allow self managed super funds (SMSF) to borrow to acquire assets, subject to certain conditions being met. The conditions of the arrangement are:

  • The borrowing is limited recourse – the lender’s only security is the asset purchased, other SMSF assets cannot be used as security and lenders have no right to them in the case of defaults.
  • The asset is an allowable asset for an SMSF to own.
  • A third party (security trustee) holds legal title to the asset on trust for the SMSF. The SMSF has a beneficial interest and a right to call for a transfer of legal title when the loan is repaid and the mortgage discharged.

This means that business owners can potentially use the funds in their super as a deposit on their business premises, and their SMSF can borrow the remainder from a lending institution in the form of a non-recourse loan, enabling the SMSF to purchase the premises.

The owner’s contributions to their super, and the rent payments from the business, can then be used to pay down the loan. There are often tax advantages associated with this strategy.

The typical SMSF borrowing structure is included below, it is often referred to as a ‘debt installment warrant’:

Owning your business premises in your SMSF fund provides a number of potential advantages. These are included below:

  • Assets in SMSF’s attract concessional tax rates:
    • All income is taxed at the rate of 15%, which is often less than marginal tax rates;
    • When assets owned by super funds are sold, any realised capital gains are concessionally taxed;
    • If the assets have been transferred to pension phase then any income they earn or any capital gains realised are tax free.
  • Instead of the business paying rent payments to a landlord, rent payments can be paid by the business to the SMSF. These funds can then work for the business owner in their SMSF by paying down the loan or providing additional funds for investment.
  • Assets held in a SMSF have an additional layer of protection from creditors in the case of bankruptcy.

If you would like further information regarding this strategy please contact a financial advisor like Praescius Financial Consultants.

General Advice Warning
The advice contained above does not take into account any persons particular objectives, needs or financial situation.  Before making a decision regarding the acquisition or disposal of a Financial Product persons should assess whether the advice is appropriate to their objectives, needs or financial situation.  Persons may wish to make this assessment themselves or seek the help of an adviser.  No responsibility is taken for persons acting on the information provided.  Persons doing so, do so at their own risk. Before acquiring a financial product a person should obtain a Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) relating to that product and consider the contents of the PDS before making a decision about whether to acquire the product.
Trevor Bransdon is an Authorised Representative of Godfrey Pembroke Limited ABN 23 002 336 254, an Australian Financial Services Licensee and member of the National Group of companies.  From time to time members of the National group of companies, associated employees or agents may have an interest in or receive pecuniary and non pecuniary benefits from the financial products and services mentioned herein.

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 Robert Shelton


This is an excerpt from the Everalls DFK March Newsletter.  To read the full newsletter article on ‘Surviving the Recession’ go to the Everalls DFK website.


 There are many things that won’t (or shouldn’t!) survive this recession…

1. Twitter. If you don’t know what this is, ask a teenager!

2. “Vapourware” companies. No plan, no idea, no funding, no hope.

3. Land line home phones!

4. Privacy. It’s being voluntarily surrendered to YouTube,Facebook, MySpace and others. The government won’t have to take it away – it has been given over.

5. Low regulation for business. The price that will be paid forgovernment bail-outs will be increased scrutiny. It has already started.

What do you think?

Rob Shelton is Managing Director of Canberra’s largest locally-owned CPA firm – Everalls DFK.  Everalls DFK has been in business for over 40 years and offers wisdom to grow your business and wealth.

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Author: Malcolm Wybrow (Wybrow and Associates)

I read John Phillip’s blog about the airbag for computer risk management and I thought straight away about the similarity of personal insurance cover for individuals. We all know that we are bullet-proof but as an old mate of mine says who pays you if you don’t turn up for work.

The quick answer is that most of us who work for someone have sick leave because someone else has arranged it as a pretty much standard feature of employment. This however is rarely enough for employees little less those who work for themselves as small business operators or contractors. For the self employed if you get sick or injured and have trouble working you simply don’t get paid and just as bad you could lose your business or contract that you’ve slaved to create

I had a rice farmer in Coleambally who rang me wanting to cancel his income protection cover because he found with the rice industry virtually stalled his income was down and he felt he couldn’t afford it. A realistic view especially when he told me that since he had purchased the policy he had never claimed a cent despite having on separate occasions broken a leg and then his right arm. He simply soldiered on despite the discomfort and his wife used to help him onto the tractor and/or the truck as required.


I used all my powers of logic to persuade him to retain his insurance especially as he was more likely to need it as he got older. Decisions are rarely made on crystal clear logic and emotion always comes in to play. I asked him to think hard and long about the repercussions of claiming and chance would have it he procrastinated for 6 weeks about cancelling it and then had a major heart attack. 

The policy paid up as it was designed to and he was able to recuperate properly. AS a temporary invalid he felt emasculated as the frail breadwinner and confided he had considered suicide but just for a second. He’s now back into the saddle and well on the road to recovery thanks to a little financial help from a policy taken out 20 years before.


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