Nest Smoke Alarm

Well it took a while to see the value ( I was a little concerned paying $189 for a smoke alarm. But found a bulk deal purchase at Officeworks for 3 for $159 each) and I guess I am still in post purchase excitement but I am enjoying the tech behind the 2nd Gen smoke alarm by Nest.

There are two types of Nest Smoke Alarms, long life battery powered and mains powered.  As I had two existing mains powered smoke alarms that needed replacing I purchased two powered alarms and one battery alarm.  Both operate exactly the same but I would expect the long-life battery powered alarm to have to be recharged or have the battery replaced after a period of time.

Supporting the standard use of a ceiling smoke alarm i.e. they make a noise when they detect smoke lol, the Nest smoke Alarm also provides a couple of cool features that can be configured and enhance their purpose and meaning in life, all done via the phone app, these features include;

1. Intuitive Phone App

The Phone App is available via Google Play and Apple App Store and is easy to use. The App enables you to set up your smoke alarm before you secure it to you ceiling and configure your preferences to the following features.

2. Nightly Promise

Once you turn out the lights for the evening and call it a night, the Nest Alarm will give a soft green glow indicating that it is operational and ready to detect.  In comparison to a standard smoke alarm, this self test and notification features instils a higher level of security that if anything goes amiss during the night, the Nest Alarm will be ready to alert you and your loved ones.

3. Steam Check

The Steam check option allows for the smoke alarms placed close to your bathrooms to detect if what it is sensing is either steam or smoke.  Providing better certainty against false alarms.

4. Heads-up

The heads-up feature is very handy, designed for the regular toast burner.  This feature allows for a pre-alarm voice warning you that smoke has been detected and allows you to turn off the smoke detector via the app or by waving your had in front of the detector before the full alarm sounds.

5. Pathlight

My favourite feature and (secretly the reason I purchased these detectors).  Ok, so yes my smoke alarms did need replacing (this should be done every 10 years) but one of the deciding factors that helped with my purchase was the fact that once the lights are out and the detector senses someone walking past they will illuminate and provide a nice glow that conveniently lights up to provide a ambient light to help find your way.  This feature itself turns a regular smoke alarm into a daily used device in your home.

Nest Smoke Alarm


Bringing the ability to be alerted via my phone immediately when there is any sort of fire threat in the home provides a sense of security and comfort a standard smoke alarm cannot.  Combined with the features of the night light and nightly promise, this nifty little smoke alarm will give me and my family 10 years worth of security and convenience I never expected out of the, what seemed, miss placed device that used to be mounted to my ceiling.

Tesla Powerwall 2

The next purchase we are considering as a family is the Tesla Powerwall 2.  It appears the second generation Powerwall is a much better proposition than the first and the numbers are looking a lot better.

Tesla Powerwall 2

We are a five Bedroom household with an average power usage of 30kWh per day which equates to approximately $850 per quarter in electricity costs, or $3,400 per annum.  We currently have a 5Kw solar system installed on our roof (which we mostly use to charge our Electric Vehicles), and we are wanting a way to reduce our power bills.

Now, when considering whether to install the Powerwalls and the number of Tesla Powerwall units to install I have learnt that one of the most important factors to consider is not how much power you use but the size of your solar system you have on your roof.  Let me explain.

Using the calculator available on the Tesla Website – Tesla Powerwall Calculator you can play around with a number of variables, namely;

  1. The number of bedrooms in your household.  This estimates your daily kWh usage, 5 bedrooms is 30kWh in our case.
  2. The size of your existing Solar Panel System. In our case we have a 5 kW system.
  3. The number of Tesla Powerwalls you would like to install.

The really interesting part of these variables is how the size of your Solar System varies your estimated “Energy Independence” rating, or if you like the amount of saving you will achieve my installing one or multiple Powerwalls.

In our case the calculator will automatically recommend a 2 system Powerwall installation, and this equates to a 50% Energy Independence rating. Now, the installation cost of this is estimated to be $16,750, and if you take our annual electricity bill and calculate our return on investment, that is $3,400 * 50% = $1,700 saving and the ROI is therefore $1,700 (saving) / $16,750 (install cost) and a 10.15% ROI.

Although this appears to be a good investment, considering it is a guaranteed 10% return each year, I wanted to play around with the parameters a little bit further.  Now consider this.

If I change my settings and, obviously my daily electricity usage cannot change from 30kWh per day, and the size of my solar panels cannot change (unless I pay for more to be installed) the only parameter I can change is the number of Powerwalls to be installed. So lets take the number of Powerwall units from 2 units to 3 units, in this case because my solar system is limited to 5kW it appears it does not matter how much storage I have (i.e the increase in Powerwall units) the estimated energy independency rating stays at 50%.

So lets take the number of Powerwall units down to 1. This reduces my cost from $16,750 to an install cost of $8,750 but the interesting thing is that my estimated Energy Independence drops by just 1%, therefore I am maintaining a 49% Energy Independence rating.  Lets run the numbers on this;

$3,400 (Annual Electricty cost) * 49% (Energy Independence) = $1,666 saving and the ROI is therefore $1,666 / $8,750, therefore 19.04%, or if you want to think about it in terms of the number of years it will take to pay itself off, that is 5.25 years compared to 9.85 years if I install 2 Powerwalls.

So in summary, although the Tesla Calculator up-sells me and recommends a 2 Powerwall install, in actual fact, from a return on investment point of view, I am much better off installing just 1 Powerwall because I am limited by the size of my Solar Systems.

Overall a guaranteed 19% return on investment sounds like a good deal to me.

Of course each persons / state / countries electricity costs are different so you have to run your own numbers to see if this is a viable option for you, and also consider how your current electricity is being sourced i.e. Coal / Alternative and you may find you are happy to sacrifice a lower return for a greater long term benefit to the environment.

If you are interested in reading more about our family lifestyle experiments check out my review of our two electric vehicles;

  1. Holden (Chevy) Volt – My daily driver
  2. Outlander PHEV – My wife’s daily driver

Or interestingly enough I also estimate a 18% ROI from the purchase of the Dyson Bladeless Fan.

Happy Living investing everyone.



Dyson Bladeless Fan

I have always wanted a Dyson Bladeless Fan but never wanted to pay the exorbitant price tag, luckily while doing some searching I was able to come across two near new Dyson AM06 fans for sale on gumtree and picked them up for a very reasonable price. I then went about comparing with a standard wall fan as follows;

Power Consumption

Dyson Fan – Better  Standard Fan – Worse

I tested the wattage of the Dyson compared with a regular fan, and yes as advertised the Dyson uses less power. It’s reading was 20.5 watts compared with a standard fan which uses 41.1 watts, with the standard fan double that of the Dyson.  Now I have done some rough calculations and based on 8 hours a day usage the Dyson would cost approximately $15.57 a year, while the standard fan would cost $31.22 a year.   (with the fan on 24 / 7 the yearly cost comparison would be $46.72 and $93.67 respectively).

We use these fans in both our home office and our bedrooms, so therefore have a fan on for basically 24 hours a day, with a cost base of $250 per fan, the fan would have paid for itself in savings in 4.25 years.

Dyson Bladeless Normal Fan
Dyson Usage Regular Fan Usage

Aesthetics and Cleaning 

Dyson Fan – Better  Standard Fan – Worse

The Dyson is, without a doubt, a much easier fan to clean and looks a lot smarter than a standard bladed fan. A simple wipe around the inside with a cloth and your cleaning is done, compare that to removing the shroud and trying to scrub each blade of a standard fan, the Dyson wins hands down.


Dyson Fan – Slightly softer  Standard Fan – Better

Comparing to the wall mounted fans, the Dyson does not seem to perform as well. Although having said that the breeze is a more free flowing and more like a natural breeze than with the chopped airflow of a standard bladed fan. If you are looking for a cyclonic winds than the Dyson bladeless is not the fan for you.


Dyson Fan – Better  Standard Fan – Worse

With the help of a Decibel meter and my iphone,  I was able to measure the decibels of the Dyson and the standard fan.  At approximately 30cm from the fan the Dyson puts out approximately 70 db’s while the standard fan puts out approximately 90 db’s.  Therefore the Dyson comes out the winner in this area also.


Dyson Fan – Better  Standard Fan – Worse

So we know that the Dyson initially costs more than a standard fan but before you can make a fair assessment you have to take into account your purchase price, your expected yearly usage and how long you end up keeping it for.  For example if I used these fans 24 / 7 for 5 years the total cost for the Dyson would be $483.60 ($250 purchase price & $46.72 pa) compared with $523.35 ($55 purchase price & $93.67 pa).

Here is one for the financial planner in me, with an annual saving of $46.95 and a purchase price of $250 that is a return of 18.78% per annum, much better than the stockmarket.


Dyson Fan Standard Fan
Year Purchase
1  $250.00  $   46.72  $   296.72  $      55.00 $93.67  $   148.67 -$148.05 -49.9%
2  $   46.72  $   343.44 $93.67  $   242.34 -$ 101.10 -29.4%
3  $   46.72  $   390.16 $93.67  $   336.01 -$   54.15 -13.9%
4  $   46.72  $   436.88 $93.67  $   429.68 -$    7.20 -1.6%
5  $   46.72  $   483.60 $93.67  $   523.35  $   39.75 8.2%
6  $   46.72  $   530.32 $93.67  $   617.02  $   86.70 16.3%
7  $   46.72  $   577.04 $93.67  $   710.69  $ 133.65 23.2%
8  $   46.72  $   623.76 $93.67  $   804.36  $ 180.60 29.0%
9  $   46.72  $   670.48 $93.67  $   898.03  $ 227.55 33.9%
10  $   46.72  $   717.20 $93.67  $   991.70  $ 274.50 38.3%
11  $   46.72  $   763.92 $93.67  $1,085.37  $ 321.45 42.1%
12  $   46.72  $   810.64 $93.67  $1,179.04  $368.40 45.4%
13  $   46.72  $   857.36 $93.67  $1,272.71  $ 415.35 48.4%
14  $   46.72  $   904.08 $93.67  $1,366.38  $462.30 51.1%
15  $   46.72  $   950.80 $93.67  $1,460.05  $ 509.25 53.6%
16  $   46.72  $   997.52 $93.67  $1,553.72  $ 556.20 55.8%
17  $   46.72  $1,044.24 $93.67  $1,647.39  $ 603.15 57.8%
18  $   46.72  $1,090.96 $93.67  $1,741.06  $ 650.10 59.6%
19  $   46.72  $1,137.68 $93.67  $1,834.73  $ 697.05 61.3%
20  $   46.72  $1,184.40 $93.67  $1,928.40  $ 744.00 62.8%

Hybrid SUV 4wd Outlander Review

Ok well after owning the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV for over 6 months now it is time to share our experience.   Initially when we purchased the PHEV there were a couple of things on the test drive that I was concerned about.

1) The short battery range of 35 klm ( compared with 65 for the Volt)

2) The kicking-in of the petrol engine (just like most hybrids when you accelerate quickly)


As I drove a Gen 1 Toyota Prius for over 5 years I have had good experience with Hybrid vehicles before and one of the things I disliked about the Prius was when the petrol engine engaged. I wanted to avoid that in my next hybrid/electric vehicle purchase as much as possible so I was very concious of this when test driving the PHEV.  What I have found with the PHEV is that you can comfortable use it as a daily driver without the petrol engine engaging at all, Mitsubishi have given the electric drive chain enough power to enable you to accelerate at an acceptable level before the petrol engine has to “kick in”.

My wife drives the PHEV on a daily basis to take the kids to school and do the normal running around, while I drive the Holden Volt as my daily driver.  When we purchased the PHEV the goal was to keep it charged during the day (using the solar panels on our home) and therefore avoid charging off grid electricity and using peak tariff. I can happily say our goal of charging the vehicles using solar is working and we have had no extra costs added to our power bill since purchasing the two electric/plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.

In relation to the short battery range of the PHEV, we have actually not found this as a big a problem as you might expect, the reason being that school is approximately 8 klm from home so we easily go to school and back and then plug the vehicle in whilst it is at home. What this means is that for every day usage we have no need to use petrol at all.

When we to take the PHEV on a long drive, a very cool function is the ability to put the vehicle in charge whilst driving, this means the petrol engine powers the vehicles drivetrain whilst also acting as a generator and charging the batteries at the same time, this then gives you a full range of around 400klm before you need to find a petrol station to refuel.

So in summary for a first generation SUV Plug-in hybrid electric vehicle I am very impressed with the Outlander. I am sure as technology improves we will continue to see longer ranges and more power but for the time being there is not a lot of choice and the PHEV does exactly that it is designed to do.


Contract Paraplanning ServicesWell 2016 will be the start of a new challenge for me with the purchase of

I have been looking for a while for a business that has the ability to scale and grow in a rapidly expanding market and this business has that and more.

Outsourcing is starting to gain traction around the world as businesses realise the potential to reduce costs and increase their bottom line with “as you need them” services that are becoming available via the internet.  Paraplanning is a perfect example of a profession where you, as the paraplanner, have the autonomy to be able to work from home whilst still generating an excellent income. merges highly skilled paraplanners with financial planning practices that can see the benefits of using outsourcing for the production of their statement of advice documents.

To help advice practices understand the savings they can achieve we have created a Contract Paraplanner Cost Estimate calculator which illustrates the benefits of a pay per use model, compared with hiring a full-time paraplanner in-house.

My goal for is to help educate as many advisers as possible as to benefits of outsourcing their Paraplanning which will in turn increase their profits and help them scale their own financial planning practices.

If you are a financial adviser and are interested in outsourcing your Paraplanning needs, please contact me on 0408 086 596 or email me at

Holden Volt Review

Fuel ConsumptionWell after 7 years of driving the 2001 Generation 1 Toyota Prius, which was by the end of it’s time a well worn vehicle with over 200,000 klms.  I have finally upgraded to the Holden (Chevy) Volt.

With a new price over $60,000 it has taken me a while to wait until a good second-hand Volt was available at the right price.  Luckily there was a repossessed Volt for sale at Pickles Auctions that I was able to negotiate down to under $30k.  With just 24,829 klms showing on the odometer it still had the smell of a new car.

For those who are unaware of how the Volt works, the Volt is a fully electric vehicle (EV) with a back-up 1.4l petrol engine which enables you to keep the batteries adequetly charged whilst driving the vehicle longer distances.   Basically the drive train is fully Electric with the Petrol engine solely working as a generator for when you want to ‘Hold’ your battery power reserves or when you have run out of battery power.

The T-Shaped battery pack stored in the floor of the vehicle has a maximum range of approximately 65klms and depending on your driving style and the accessories (e.g. air-conditioning, electric heated seats) you are using can often be lower than this.

My Experience with the Range of the Battery Pack

Typically in a normal weekday I will drive to work which is 21klmIMG_5049 from home and then once I am in the city I park at the King George Square carpark, this is the only parking in Brisbane city that offers a Free Charge and half-price parking for Electric / Hybrid vehicles.  By having this option available to me, within a few hours of parking the Volt is fully charged and ready to go again.  A full charge will then typically give me enough distance to drive to client appointments and return home without having to use any Petrol.  Depending on the range then left in the battery pack I can then decide if I need to plug the car in again that night to get my 21klm range I need to return to the city the following day.

When you start thinking in terms of location based charging you then have the ability to become a bit more savvy about how and when you use your electricity at home.  If you are able to plug the vehicle into a charging station whilst parked in a carpark or at work you may find that have very little need to actually use any of your home electricity to keep your vehicle on the road.  So when you think about it you are not paying for petrol and not paying for electricity, your driving is completely FREE!!!

My Experience with the Power of the Vehicle

In terms of on road performance, GM have conveniently provide you with a ‘Sport’ mode, and when you decide to use this little bit of extra electricity you can immediately feel it in the response of the vehicle.  If you simply keep your foot depressed at the same location and hit the Sport mode you automatically feel the difference and yes this will give you the power you need to give most other vehicles a run for their money.  Electric Vehicles have the benefit of ‘instant’ torque when compared to a petrol engines and this enables the Volt to have enough play power to provide a bit of fun, whilst also enjoying the benefit of pollution free driving.

My Overall Experience Driving the Vehicle

So how does the Volt compare to other vehicles I have owned / driven?  Well owning the Volt brings my total vehicles owned count to nearly 30, and I have to admit it tops the list, it provides adequate fun and power, cost savings, style and elegance and even the occasional head turn from onlookers.  Unfortunately Holden have decided not to import any more Volt’s, which is a shame because these vehicles are an amazing and affordable (when second-hand) option for the everyday driver and when you throw into the mix that you can nearly drive for Free all day everyday, provides a new way of thinking when it comes to everyday driving.

Whats Next?

Phev ASpireWell both our vehicles needed upgrading so we also purchased an Mitsubishi Outlander Aspire PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle).  You can read my review of the Outlander PHEV here –



Tim Ferriss Inspires me today

If you can model your ideas on someone who has done it before you have an easier road to follow.  No matter what you are wanting to achieve the steps to success have typically been completed before.  Tim Ferriss works on this theory also, he models people who have achieve high levels of success in their chosen field of study.

Louie Schwartzberg Inspires me today

After watching this Ted Talk by Louie Schwartzberg it is amazing to see the beauty that our world has to offer. I think back to the movie ‘Avatar’ and the resemblance it has to our own world, if only we could see our world for the first time, instead of looking through it through tired eyes all the time. If we could see our world for the first time we would see just how beautiful she is, the morning sunrise, the sounds of birds singing, the waves crashing on the beach. Our world is so beautiful and yet we take it for granted every day.

Jason Interviews Sam Saggers

Sam Saggers purchased his first investment property at the age of 23, since then he has developed a passion for property and is now one of Australia’s most successful Property Millionaires. Sam is currently operating as the the CEO of Positive Real Estate which is a leading property investment company based in Melbourne but has offices all over Australia.  Sam is the Author of a new book titled ‘Property Success in 7 Lessons