It’s been a hectic week – I’ve had a huge to-do list, and I’ve got all of the really important stuff done, which is just as well since I’m going away again on Sunday.
I started the list last weekend, and it’s been added to all week.
Some of the more important things I’ve got done this week:
Finished getting my books up to date – I started re-entering all my accounting data from the last two years into Quickbooks a couple of weeks back, in order to simplify the bookkeeping process. It’s done, it all reconciles, it’s accurate, and it’s simple. Mission accomplished !
Prepared tax information – had to get all the documentation together, print some reports out of Quicken (personal) and Quickbooks (family trust) ready to do my 2002/03 tax. It’s actually a reasonably complex task, since I have to do not only my tax, but my wife’s tax, plus the trust tax as well. Quicken and Quickbooks make the record keeping easy, but I have to double check that I’ve done it all right and that everything shows up in the reports as they should. I’d hate to think what it would be like if I did it all by hand !
Visit accountant – spent a while with my accountant on Wednesday, which was very useful, as he had some very good advice to give on managing my books (he was pleased that I had simplified things), managing the loans between ourselves and our trust (I was actually doing it right !!), and managing our business interests more effectively. I also gave him all the tax details, and it’s not even the end of October yet !!. It seems like only yesterday I did my 2001/02 tax – well it was actually June I think, so not all that long ago. Oooh – two tax cheques in one year, that will be nice !
Set up my Amex card – I’ve spat the dummy at ANZ and am in the process of replacing my beloved Qantas ANZ VISA Gold card with an American Express Gold charge card, since ANZ decided to rip the guts out of what was the best rewards program on the market. Lots of little details taken care of this week, like ordering the supplementary card for Leanne, making sure the direct debit was in place, signing up for the online statement facility, and most importantly, moving all our regular bills over to the Amex from the VISA card. Once I’m sure there’s nothing left owing on the VISA card I will close it and all my other ANZ accounts too. Boo-sucks to you ANZ !
Set up my BankWest Gold extra VISA card – since I have to have one of these to get the special deals with my BankWest loans, and since I wanted to keep a VISA card for when places wont accept the Amex, I figured I’d start using the BankWest VISA once I ditched the Qantas ANZ VISA. Had to do a few things, like register for internet banking and set up direct debit to pay it off automatically at the end of every month.
Register for the American Express Gold Travel Service – since it’s available to us, I thought we might as well use it. Our own travel agents on the phone. We use American Express Corporate Travel Services at work for booking our trips, and I’m generally pretty impressed with how well they manage things, so I’m happy to give them my personal business as well.
Moved some of our cash into a managed fund – been meaning to do this for a while now, only just got around to doing it. Went through Neville Ward Direct to make sure I didn’t need to pay any upfront fees to a financial advisor whose advice I wouldn’t trust anyway. I suppose I could have looked for a financial advisor whose advice I did trust, but I have neither the time nor the inclination to do so at the moment.
Sorted out our Westpac cards – I got the PIN number for my new Westpace handicard, tested it, then promptly closed our Westpac Gold Mastercard account – which we do not use and do not need.
Ordered my Internode ADSL connection – probably the most important move of the week ! Used the free churn process that Internode have from Telstra at the moment, free migration of my account done quickly (well, as quickly as Telstra can patch my line into Internode’s equipment at the exchange. It would have been much more speedy if I had been moving to someone who re-sold Telstra’s services or network, but that would kind of defeat the point. Internode are one of only about 4 providers who have their own networks and as such are not hostage to Telstra’s incompetence in running a broadband network. I’m going for the 1500k/256k connection with a 4500MB allowance. If that isn’t enough, I’ll upgrade to the 8000MB allowance, but my experience so far has been that 4-4.5GB is about all I’ll need. Then again, I am currently on 512k, so maybe the extra bandwidth will lead me to download more. Current ETA on the churn completion is this coming Monday. That sucks, I was hoping to have it done this week (I ordered it last Monday), so I could set up the connection and test it before I went away. So I’ve printed out detailed instructions for Leanne so she can fix it all when she loses the internet connection sometime next week. All I can say is, boo sucks to Telstra. Oh, this also means I’ll be able to ditch the AAPT Smartchat dialup account which I pay $6 a month (plus $2.20 per hour) for, given that it was the cheapest service available when you go long periods without using dialup that also had national coverage. Internode allow us to use their dialup service for $1 per hour with no extra charges because of our ADSL link, and they have nationwide local dialin access, which is just perfect.
Moving our long distance and local calls to Optus – I’m sick of dealing with Telstra. Hows about a simple concept like allowing one to automatically pay your phone bill (or ADSL bill, or mobile bill) on your credit card every month. No ? Too difficult ? Why on earth can you do direct debit to a savings or cheque account, but not to a credit card ? This means I need to go to the Telstra website every month (3 times every month actually, 2 phone bills – one personal and one for work, plus the ADSL bill) and type it all in online (or use phone payments, which is worse). The girl on the phone when I called up to complain was very sympathetic – she said they keep on telling their marketing people that this is what everyone wants, but they never seem to get heard. All I can say is, boo sucks to Telstra.
Got our mortgage documents signed and sent – we’re refinancing one of our properties to draw out some of the increased equity for further investments. Using Homeside for the first time, and since the loan is through our family trust, and they want personal guarantees from us individually, they needed us to go to a solicitor and receive legal advice on just how evil a personal guarantee is. Given we’ve done this already quite a few times, we’re pretty sure we understand the whole guarantee bit – no need for advice on this, but Homeside insist for their own PR protection. Naturally the lawyer advised us against signing the guarantee, but fortunately he was not so naieve to believe that we really had an alternative if we actually wanted the finance. He was most helpful and understanding, even when we had some problems with documents that were prepared in SA but not acceptable in NSW, and when I had to race Leanne off to the hospital half way through our brief meeting (not because she was sick, but because she had to get back to work !!). Then again, I haven’t seen his bill yet ! Anyway, after much grief in trying to get the documents all completed over the last couple of weeks, they finally went in the mail today.
Had to chase up our property managers – needed to sort out some stuff for one of our properties which is currently vacant (after we kicked out our last tenant at the end of his lease for never paying his rent on time and for taking us to the tribunal four too many times during his twelve month lease to stop us evicting him for rent arrears). Good news is we have some new tenants – some foreign students who will be studying at the nearby university. If all goes well they should be there for a couple of years, which is great. I think that makes about 80% of our properties tenanted by female uni students now. We seem to have found our niche !
Work – yeah, I did some of that too. The really bad thing about doing so much travel (other than the jetlag), is that there’s just so much other stuff I usually would take care of after work at home that I simply cannot do while away, especially overseas. So, given that after this week I have only two weeks at home between now and January, I really needed to get this done now. It’s all swings and roundabouts, next week while I’m overseas, I will be putting in some very long hours, and will have plenty of time to catch up on some of the time I’ve missed this week while getting my personal life in order.
So as you can see, it’s been rather hectic, but it’s very satisfying now that it’s all done – especially the loan documents which have been worring me for a while. You never know when the deal of a lifetime is going to come along, and I didn’t want to be caught without any finance available. Now all I have to do is get the other properties refinanced as well.