As many regular readers may recall, I have a light exercise regime conducive to my age which aids with my health. That is, I walk a lot. Everyday. Rain, hail or shine. I thought it was doing me some good and for a long time it was. But you get to a point – after several years of walking – where the walking is no longer as effective. So, you start jogging. 

In 2009 I discovered that exercise was a very good way of staving off mental disorders like anxiety and depression. At that time I was unemployed and I can honestly say that it was tremendously beneficial. The problem with jogging however is that whilst, in the main, it’s very beneficial you do sometimes sustain some injuries.

Over the last nine years, whilst jogging, I have been bitten by a brown snake (the 2nd deadliest snake in the world), fallen over dislocating my shoulder and both my knees, fallen over and sustained a mild concussion, been attacked and bitten by numerous dogs and stung by an unidentified insect which resulted in my left eye being swollen for a week. But other than all of that I feel absolutely fantastic.

I have recently been out with a semi-serious knee injury as a result of pounding the pavement since I started jogging again. Then I spoke with my cardiologist.

That’s right, most people above 50 – at some point – speak with a cardiologist. Mine told me all I was doing with my walking and jogging was just wearing out my joints and sustaining injuries. He noticed that I was wearing a smart watch and he advised me to use the fitness app to my maximum benefit. He also told me to shorten my walk from 8kms to 5-6kms.

His advice? Get your heart rate above 130bpm for the duration of your walk. This sometimes entails short bursts of jogging.

Simple really isn’t it? I recalled being told this before by fitness gurus, personal trainers and many other amateurs. The problem was we didn’t have an effective, simple and accurate way of measuring your heart rate. Until now.

So, for the last six weeks I’ve been getting out for my walk and running the initial 50 metres to get my heart rate above 130bpm and then maintaining that rate for the next 6kms. Sometimes I will start running for up to 1km to get and keep my heart rate up.

When I first started this measurement. I had to walk at a pace of 9mins 25 secs per km to maintain a heart rate of 130bpm. But as I got fitter I now have to get to a pace of 8mins 45secs per km.

This means this strategy is good for only a limited period of time as I get fitter. Eventually, I know I have to find another form of exercise to get my heart rate up.

So, I have bitten the bullet and decided when I recover from my jogging injuries – based on advice from several quarters – to start resistance exercise. This might be getting on an exercise bike, weights at a gym or some other form of resistance training.

I’ve always hated doing resistance training as I have several injuries from a young age which limits what I can do.

On one of my walks last week I thought that my exercise regime is similar to our clients attitudes to home loans.

None of our clients enjoy either getting a new home loan or refinancing an existing one. But every couple of years we send them a reminder to ensure that they check the health of their home loan against the market and their current lifestyle.

Like my walking, many clients think that once they establish a loan they can forget all about it and simply make the repayments. Worse, they react to media stories to monitor their loan health.

If you cast your mind back six months or so you will remember that every media outlet was predicting a rate rise shortly. Then some economists had their voices heard and it became perhaps a rate rise late next year. Now we’re reading about rate cuts. In the interim, official interest rates have neither moved up or down. However, there have been several movements in home loan rates as banks either find an abundance of finance or a lack of it.

We see clients whose finances are in various states of health.

We see young couples who heartbreakingly just don’t earn enough to qualify for a home loan.

Depressingly, we see couples who earn so much that they should be able to afford any home loan but their expenditure is greater than their incomes.

We see high net worth people who want to buy homes for their children and we see struggling families who just qualify with assistance from the first home buyers grant…and we see everyone in between.

All of these people come to us with a single purpose in mind. To get the best loan that they can get in the current market. Each borrower may place greater emphasis on certain loan features. Some may insist on a set-off facility to enable them to reduce their interest costs. Others may want an interest only loan for a period. Some may require an equity loan….but there’s one thing they all want and that is the best price possible.

While we always comply with a client’s wish to find the best price possible what clients’ may fail to realise is pricing is the best at that point in time. It may not be the best price a year from now or even a day from now.

It’s a little like my walking. It was the best exercise for me to achieve my goal at the time but as I got fitter it wasn’t as effective. But because I couldn’t measure my heart rate I didn’t realise.

Where once borrowers had no way of effectively measuring what they could get and seeing if what they were currently doing was best practice, now they can.

To many clients, brokers have become their smart watch. We take the pulse of their home loans and see if they’re still paired up with the right one.

It’s a way of ensuring your lender remains the best for you.

How can you tell? That’s easy. On your current loan statement check what interest rate your paying and call your broker. It may have been the best price when you first borrowed but that rate may be much higher than what you can get now.

It’s worth a text, call or email isn’t it?