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Can you change your mind after you buy a house?

<div class="theconversation-article-body"> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/rosemary-gibson-1544081">Rosemary Gibson</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-queensland-805">The University of Queensland</a></em></p> <p>In the Bluey episode “<a href="https://iview.abc.net.au/show/bluey-the-sign">The Sign</a>”, the Heeler family enters a contract to sell their family home to a pair of English Sheepdogs, or as Bluey calls them, “the dogs with no eyes”.</p> <p>But towards the end of the episode, the Sheepdogs spy another house that they prefer. Unlike Bluey’s house, the new place has a pool.</p> <p>They telephone Bandit and tell him that they have changed their mind. Happily for Bluey’s family – and let’s face it, most of Australia – Bandit decides not to press ahead with the sale and the Heelers end up staying put in their family home.</p> <p>But aside from the fact that the contracting parties are all cartoon dogs – how realistic is this scenario? Is it possible to end a contract to purchase or sell a house simply because you’ve changed your mind?</p> <p>The reality is that once a contract of sale is signed, there are only limited circumstances in which buyers and sellers can bring the contract to an end.</p> <h2>What do you sign when buying or selling a house?</h2> <p>In Australia, each state and territory has its own standard form contract for the sale of land that buyers and sellers must sign.</p> <p>The terms of these contracts mirror relevant state or territory laws, meaning they differ throughout Australia. It is important for parties to obtain advice from a property lawyer with experience in a particular jurisdiction’s contract.</p> <h2>Can you change your mind after signing?</h2> <p>Once a contract has been signed, a buyer may only end it for a “change of mind” during the “cooling off period”. The cooling off period is a short period of time – usually between two and five business days – after the contract is signed.</p> <p>During this time, the buyer can end the contract, “no questions asked”. But there are usually financial consequences for terminating during the cooling off period.</p> <p>For example, in New South Wales, Queensland and the ACT, a buyer who ends the contract during the cooling off period must pay the seller 0.25% of the purchase price. For a house purchase of A$1 million, this termination penalty would be $2,500.</p> <p>But not all states and territories guarantee a cooling off period for buyers. And in such a hot property market, an individual seller may be unlikely to agree to include such a term in a contract.</p> <h2>What if something goes wrong down the track?</h2> <p>When negotiating the contract terms, the parties may agree that the sale is subject to certain conditions. Typically, these conditions are in the purchaser’s favour. If one of the conditions is not satisfied in time, then the contract can be brought to an end.</p> <p>It is up to the parties to negotiate which conditions (if any) are included in the contract, and the time by which the conditions must be satisfied. The most common conditions of sale are:</p> <ul> <li>the buyer obtains finance by a certain date (a finance clause)</li> <li>the buyer obtains satisfactory building and pest inspection reports by a certain date (a building and pest clause).</li> </ul> <p>The buyer may also want the sale to be subject to the buyer first selling an existing property.</p> <p>Once all of the conditions of sale are satisfied, the contract is said to be “unconditional”. From this time, there are no express circumstances in which either party may bring the contract to an end.</p> <p>When the Sheepdogs telephoned Bandit, the Heelers had already moved all their furniture out of the house. Clearly, the sale had already gone unconditional. There was no express basis on which the Sheepdogs could have terminated the contract.</p> <h2>Could the Heelers have sued for breach of contact?</h2> <p>A party who ends a contract without justification is liable to pay compensation to the other party.</p> <p>A house purchaser who wrongly terminates a contract would almost certainly lose their deposit. They may also be liable for additional losses the seller suffers as a result of the breach, including any deficiency in price on a resale of the property.</p> <p>But a buyer and seller may bring a contract to an end by “mutual agreement”, which seems to be what happened in Bluey. The Sheepdogs sought to end the contract and – to the relief of all Australians – the Heelers agreed.</p> <p>This is, however, unlikely to occur “in real life”, especially in today’s highly competitive property market.</p> <p>At the very least, the seller would be entitled to retain the purchaser’s deposit. There would also be the issue of who bears the costs incurred in advertising and agency fees.</p> <p>It seems Bandit followed his heart rather than the strict terms of the contract — and Australia is the better for it.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/234659/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/rosemary-gibson-1544081">Rosemary Gibson</a>, Lecturer in Contract Law, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-queensland-805">The University of Queensland</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/can-you-change-your-mind-after-you-buy-a-house-234659">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Money & Banking

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Think you’ve decided what to buy? Actually, your brain is still deciding – even as you put it in your basket

<div class="theconversation-article-body"> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/tijl-grootswagers-954175">Tijl Grootswagers</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/western-sydney-university-1092">Western Sydney University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/genevieve-l-quek-1447582">Genevieve L Quek</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/western-sydney-university-1092">Western Sydney University</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/manuel-varlet-156210">Manuel Varlet</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/western-sydney-university-1092">Western Sydney University</a></em></p> <p>You are standing in the cereal aisle, weighing up whether to buy a healthy bran or a sugary chocolate-flavoured alternative.</p> <p>Your hand hovers momentarily before you make the final grab.</p> <p>But did you know that during those last few seconds, while you’re reaching out, your brain is still evaluating the pros and cons – influenced by everything from your last meal, the health star rating, the catchy jingle in the ad, and the colours of the letters on the box?</p> <p>Our recently published <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-024-62135-7">research</a> shows our brains do not just think first and then act. Even while you are reaching for a product on a supermarket shelf, your brain is still evaluating whether you are making the right choice.</p> <p>Further, we found measuring hand movements offers an accurate window into the brain’s ongoing evaluation of the decision – you don’t have to hook people up to expensive brain scanners.</p> <p>What does this say about our decision-making? And what does it mean for consumers and the people marketing to them?</p> <h2>What hand movements tell us about decision-making</h2> <p>There has been <a href="https://www.annualreviews.org/content/journals/10.1146/annurev-psych-010419-051053">debate within neuroscience</a> on whether a person’s movements to enact a decision can be modified once the brain’s “motor plan” has been made.</p> <p>Our research revealed not only that movements can be changed after a decision – “in flight” – but also the changes matched incoming information from a person’s senses.</p> <p>To study <a href="https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-024-62135-7">how our decisions unfold over time</a>, we tracked people’s hand movements as they reached for different options shown in pictures – for example, in response to the question “is this picture a face or an object?”</p> <p>When choices were easy, their hands moved straight to the right option. But when choices were harder, new information made the brain change its mind, and this was reflected in the trajectory of their hand movements.</p> <p>When we compared these hand movement trajectories to brain activity recorded using neuroimaging, we found that the timing and amount of evidence of the brain’s evaluation matched the movement pattern.</p> <p>Put simply, reaching movements are shaped by ongoing thinking and decision-making.</p> <p>By showing that brain patterns match movement trajectories, our research also highlights that large, expensive brain scanners may not always be required to study the brain’s decision evaluation processes, as movement tracking is much more cost-effective and much easier to test on a large scale.</p> <h2>What does this mean for consumers and marketers?</h2> <p>For consumers, knowing our brains are always reevaluating decisions we might think of as “final” can help us be more aware of our choices.</p> <p>For simple decisions such as choosing a breakfast cereal, the impact may be small. Even if you have preemptively decided on a healthy option, you might be tempted at the last minute by the flashy packaging of a less healthy choice.</p> <p>But for important long-term decisions such as choosing a mortgage, it can have serious effects.</p> <p>On the other side of the coin, marketers have long known that many purchase decisions are <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0969698912000781">made on the spot</a>.</p> <p>They use strategies such as attractive packaging and strategic product placement to influence people’s decisions.</p> <p>New ways of studying how people’s brains process information – right up to the last minute – can help marketers design more effective strategies.</p> <h2>Opportunities for further research</h2> <p>Further research in this area could explore how different types of information, such as environmental cues or memories, affect this continuous decision evaluation process in different groups of people. For example, how do people of different ages process information while making decisions?</p> <p>Our finding – that hand movements reflect the inner workings of the brain’s decision making process – could make future studies cheaper and more efficient.</p> <p>The ability to fine-tune marketing in this way has implications beyond just selling products. It can also make public strategic messaging far more effective.</p> <p>This could include tailoring a public health campaign on vaping specifically for people aged under 30, or targeting messaging about superannuation scams more effectively at those of retirement age.</p> <p>The act of reaching for a product is not a simple consequence of a decision already made; it’s a highly dynamic process. Being aware of what influences our last-minute decision-making can help us make better choices that have better outcomes.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/234167/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/tijl-grootswagers-954175">Tijl Grootswagers</a>, Senior Research Fellow in Cognitive Neuroscience, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/western-sydney-university-1092">Western Sydney University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/genevieve-l-quek-1447582">Genevieve L Quek</a>, Research Fellow, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/western-sydney-university-1092">Western Sydney University</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/manuel-varlet-156210">Manuel Varlet</a>, Associate Professor in Cognitive Neuroscience, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/western-sydney-university-1092">Western Sydney University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/think-youve-decided-what-to-buy-actually-your-brain-is-still-deciding-even-as-you-put-it-in-your-basket-234167">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Mind

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Is an electric bike right for you? Here’s what to consider before you buy

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/muhammad-rizwan-azhar-1472288">Muhammad Rizwan Azhar</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/edith-cowan-university-720">Edith Cowan University</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/waqas-uzair-1486684">Waqas Uzair</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/edith-cowan-university-720">Edith Cowan University</a></em></p> <p><a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2023/oct/08/its-also-just-fun-why-a-growing-number-of-australia-families-are-ditching-cars-for-e-bikes">More Australians than ever</a> are riding electric bikes – a fact you may have noticed on the streets of our cities and towns.</p> <p>Electric bikes, or e-bikes, are typically equipped with an electric motor and a battery, providing power to help you pedal. Some allow you to boost and lower the amount of pedalling assistance you get.</p> <p>Globally, the transport sector produces <a href="https://www.un.org/sites/un2.un.org/files/media_gstc/FACT_SHEET_Climate_Change.pdf">about one-quarter</a> of greenhouse gas emissions. Finding cleaner ways to get around is vital to combating the climate crisis. E-bikes also offer solutions to the problems of traffic congestion, fuel costs and sedentary lifestyles.</p> <p>But is an electric bike right for you? Below, we discuss the pros and cons, to help you decide.</p> <h2>The pros</h2> <p><strong>– Reduce carbon emissions</strong></p> <p>In developed countries, transport can be one of the largest proportions of an individual’s carbon footprint. But you can <a href="https://sustainability.anu.edu.au/options-for-owning-an-e-bike">reduce your travel emissions</a> by 75% if you replace car use with an e-bike for short trips such as the work commute.</p> <p><a href="https://www.creds.ac.uk/publications/e-bike-carbon-savings-how-much-and-where/">Research has found</a> e-bikes, if used to replace cars, could cut carbon dioxide (CO₂) emissions by up to 50% in England – or about 30 million tonnes a year. Other analysis showed the potential was <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0967070X21003401">greatest</a> in rural areas.</p> <p><strong>– Connect with your community</strong></p> <p>The “car-rification” of our cities changed community dynamics. Retail became concentrated in <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0264837716312479">out-of-town shopping centres</a>, leading to a decline in smaller town centres. This provided fewer opportunities to meet our neighbours and has contributed to high rates of <a href="https://www.vox.com/features/23191527/urban-planning-friendship-houston-cars-loneliness">loneliness and social isolation</a>.</p> <p>Similar to <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/308794595_From_Pedal_to_People_The_Social_Effects_of_Biking">regular cycling</a>, riding e-bikes helps create community bonds. It makes us more likely to engage with our surroundings and interact with people around us. You can even join an <a href="https://www.meetup.com/topics/electric-bicycles/au/">e-bike group</a> or community ride.</p> <p><strong>– Save money</strong></p> <p>E-bikes offer substantial long-term financial benefits to owners.</p> <p>In Australia, an e-bike costs from about A$1,000 to more than $5,000. An annual e-bike service will set you back <a href="https://www.choice.com.au/transport/bikes/electric/articles/how-to-maintain-your-electric-bike#:%7E:text=How%20much%20does%20an%20e,%24300%2C%20depending%20on%20what's%20included.">between $100 and $300</a>. And retailers <a href="https://crooze.com.au/blogs/news/the-costs-of-owning-an-ebike#:%7E:text=This%20means%20it%20costs%20roughly,electricity%20charges%20per%2030kms%20ridden.">currently</a> <a href="https://www.glowwormbicycles.com.au/blogs/electric-bikes/how-much-should-i-spend-on-an-e-bike">put the cost</a> of a full battery charge at 10–15 cents, translating to roughly $20 per year for an average commuter.</p> <p>Cars, of course, cost far more to run. For example, Victorian motoring body RACV <a href="https://www.racv.com.au/about-racv/newsroom/victorias-cheapest-cars-2023.html">last year found</a> the state’s cheapest car to own and operate was the MG3 Core light Hatch, with monthly costs of $734.84. Even taking into account charging costs and maintenance, you can see how quickly an e-bike would pay for itself.</p> <p><strong>– Get active</strong></p> <p>E-bikes are clearly better for your health than riding in a car.</p> <p>A <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9790588/">2019 study investigated</a> e‐bike commuting for inactive, overweight people living in regional Australia. It found e-bike users increased their physical activity by an average 90 minutes a week.</p> <p>A <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/sms.14155">literature review in 2022</a> found e-biking was a moderately intense physical activity on measures such as energy expenditure, heart rate and oxygen consumption. The benefits were lower than conventional cycling, but generally greater than walking.</p> <p>Women, in particular, have reported benefits from e-bike use. A <a href="https://activetravelstudies.org/article/id/991/">New Zealand study</a> showed e-bikes provided less fit women with “more empowering physical activity experiences” and increased their cycling confidence.</p> <h2>The cons</h2> <p><strong>– Safety challenges</strong></p> <p>Like any form of mobility, e-bikes must be used safely. Concerns around e-bikes include <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-09-13/fat-bike-boom-in-sydney-sparks-safety-fears/102823330">speeding</a>, <a href="https://www.nbcnews.com/nightly-news/video/concerns-grow-over-safety-of-e-bikes-amid-reports-of-accidents-192619077845">accidents</a> and people riding <a href="https://www.nbnnews.com.au/2024/03/20/e-bike-safety-concerns-spark-in-lennox-head/">without helmets</a>.</p> <p>In May this year, Sydney’s Northern Beaches Council <a href="https://www.northernbeaches.nsw.gov.au/e-bike-and-e-scooter-safety">launched a public awareness</a> campaign on e-bike safety. <a href="https://www.northernbeaches.nsw.gov.au/council/news/media-releases/northern-beaches-council-leads-pack-e-bike-safety-campaign">The advice includes</a>:</p> <ul> <li>slow to walking pace when others are on the path</li> <li>ring your bell to signal your approach</li> <li>be ready for sudden changes.</li> </ul> <p>Government regulation on e-bikes is also important for public safety. For example <a href="https://fit-ebike.com/en-en/about-us/blog/s-pedelecs/">in Germany</a>, high-speed e-bikes are classed as mopeds and cannot be ridden on bike paths.</p> <p>Separately, e-bikes usually contain lithium-ion batteries which can explode and start fires – particularly in e-bikes bought from overseas retailers that don’t meet Australian standards. Before buying, <a href="https://www.fire.nsw.gov.au/page.php?id=9406">check advice from fire authorities</a>.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/U58Pv7-7fnE?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></figure> <p><strong>– Lack of cycling and charging infrastructure</strong></p> <p>Well-designed <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2214140519301033">cycling infrastructure</a> encourages e-bike use. In Australia, governments are <a href="https://www.infrastructureaustralia.gov.au/sites/default/files/2019-06/Cycling_Infrastructure_Background_Paper_16Mar09_WEB.pdf">slowly accepting</a> the need for infrastructure such as dedicated bike lanes and <a href="https://www.transport.nsw.gov.au/get-nsw-active/emicro-smart-micro-mobility-infrastructure">charging stations</a>, but <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-do-so-few-people-cycle-for-transport-in-australia-6-ideas-on-how-to-reap-all-the-benefits-of-bikes-229811">more money</a> is needed.</p> <p>In the Netherlands, a surge in e-bike sales has <a href="https://www.government.nl/topics/bicycles">driven</a> investments in cycling paths, improvements in bicycle parking at train stations, and other efforts to promote cycling and e-bike use.</p> <p><strong>– Higher upfront cost than a regular bike</strong></p> <p>The cost of buying an e-bike can be a barrier for some. For example, <a href="https://activetravelstudies.org/article/id/991/">NZ-based research</a> found the purchase cost meant the benefits were less likely to be available to lower-income women.</p> <p>So how can the cost barrier be overcome? In Australia, some companies offer e-bike rentals, via a weekly <a href="https://lug-carrie.com">subscription service</a>. And overseas, <a href="https://www.pbsc.com/blog/2021/09/pbsc-e-bike-sharing-schemes-in-15-cities-around-the-world">share schemes</a> mean people can access e-bikes without having to buy one.</p> <p>In 2023, <a href="https://www.service.tas.gov.au/services/government-help-and-support/concessions-and-discounts/apply-for-an-electric-vehicle-or-e-mobility-rebate">Tasmania became the first Australian state</a> to offer a subsidy for e-bike purchases, and the uptake was rapid. However, the scheme has now closed.</p> <p><strong>– Environmental impacts</strong></p> <p>Almost everything we buy has an environmental impact, and electric bikes are no exception. However, they are obviously a better alternative to conventional cars – and also have less impact than electric vehicles.</p> <p>Over the total lifecycle of the product, including manufacturing, an e-bike emits <a href="https://ecf.com/resources/cycling-facts-and-figures/environmental">about 10%</a> of the CO₂ emissions associated with producing an electric car, according to the European Cyclists Federation. And e-bikes <a href="https://electrek.co/2023/05/04/you-cant-trust-electric-bike-companies-battery-range/">consume</a> about <a href="https://ebikes.ca/learn/solar.html#:%7E:text=6%20wh%2Fkm%20would%20be,heavy%20loads%20and%20riding%20fast.">15 watt-hours per kilometre</a>, compared to electric cars which <a href="https://www.drive.com.au/caradvice/what-is-a-good-energy-consumption-figure-for-electric-vehicles/">consume around</a> 150 to 200 watt-hours per kilometre.</p> <p>E-bike battery systems also typically require fewer raw materials and simpler design than an electric vehicle, which <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0892687524000293">simplifies</a> the battery recycling process.</p> <h2>Cleaner, cheaper, better</h2> <p>Electric cars are crucial for replacing traditional vehicles on longer routes and for family travel. However, e-bikes offer a more affordable and lower-impact solution for commuting and short-distance travel – and if you buy a cargo e-bike, you can even take your family.</p> <p>Mass adoption of e-bikes in Australia requires better cycling infrastructure, new government regulation and price incentives. But in the meantime, thousands of Australians are already enjoying the benefits of e-bikes. Perhaps you could too?</p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/muhammad-rizwan-azhar-1472288">Muhammad Rizwan Azhar</a>, Lecturer of Chemical Engineering, Sustainable Energy and Resources, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/edith-cowan-university-720">Edith Cowan University</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/waqas-uzair-1486684">Waqas Uzair</a>, Research Associate, Advanced Battery Systems and Safety, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/edith-cowan-university-720">Edith Cowan University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/is-an-electric-bike-right-for-you-heres-what-to-consider-before-you-buy-230024">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Travel Trouble

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Bondi cop receives special valour award for "exceptional bravery"

<p>The police officer who stopped the Bondi massacre has been honoured with a valour award at a police induction ceremony.</p> <p>Inspector Amy Scott fatally shot Joel Cauchi in the middle of his terrifying rampage through the Bondi Junction Westfield shopping centre, which resulted in the deaths of six people. </p> <p>On Friday, ten weeks on from the mass stabbing, NSW Premier Chriss Minns announced the officer would receive a Commissioner’s Valour Award “for displaying exceptional bravery in a life-threatening situation” at a police graduation ceremony. </p> <p>“She has been rightly labelled a hero,” he said. “She was calm, decisive, and as a result she saved many lives.”</p> <p>“She gives us all an example of what we ask of our police, many of whom are young, to walk into terrible situations as an ordinary part of their job.”</p> <p>The special award is a commendation for officers who display exceptional bravery in life-threatening situations, and is reserved for the most decorated officers.</p> <p>Inspector Scott was the first officer on scene on April 13th, confronting the 40-year-old Cauchi alone before shooting him dead with a bullet to the chest.</p> <p>While waiting for back-up officers to arrive, Scott performed CPR on Cauchi and some of his victims. </p> <p>The award for Ms Scott was part of a larger ceremony to welcome 169 new probationary constables into the NSW Police at the Goulburn Police Academy.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p>

Caring

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How to buy a home: 7 tips for negotiating like a pro

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/park-thaichon-175182">Park Thaichon</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-southern-queensland-1069">University of Southern Queensland</a></em></p> <p>The main purpose of negotiation is to find a mutually acceptable solution for buyers and sellers. Good negotiations greatly improve relationships between buyers, sellers and agents. They also help avoid future problems and conflicts.</p> <p>Negotiating skills become even more important for home buyers in a “seller’s market”, where demand from buyers exceeds supply from sellers. That’s <a href="https://propertyupdate.com.au/australian-property-market-predictions/">currently the case</a> in all Australian capital cities and major regional cities such as Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and others.</p> <p>Many home buyers mistakenly believe negotiation only occurs during the signing of the sale contract. However, it involves distinct stages: <em>pre-negotiation</em> and <em>during negotiation</em>.</p> <p>So how can people maximise their chances of successfully negotiating a purchase in a seller’s market? I offer the following tips.</p> <h2>Be someone the seller’s agent wants to do business with</h2> <p>Buyers often communicate solely with the seller’s agent, rather than directly with the seller. It’s crucial to ensure the agent views the buyer positively. Ultimately, it’s the agent who presents offers to the seller for their decision.</p> <p>It’s important, then, to understand what might motivate the seller’s agent to choose your offer. The key performance indicator for the agent often revolves around closing a property sale at a reasonable price within a certain time.</p> <p>This means price is a crucial factor. However, other factors can influence the seller’s agent and seller.</p> <p>For example, having pre-approved finance can increase the agent’s confidence in the buyer. If the buyer appears serious, can make quick decisions and makes a good impression, the agent may be more motivated to push for them, even if their offer is slightly lower than others without pre-approved finance.</p> <h2>Be a big fish (for the seller’s agent)</h2> <p>The next strategy is to give the seller’s agent extra incentive to favour you and your offer. <a href="https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/MIP-09-2019-0489/full/html">Our research</a> in customer behaviour suggests businesses value customers who make frequent purchases or engage them for long-term services.</p> <p>For example, the agent would be pleased to learn that the buyer might be interested in buying another property in the near future or in using their rental service for the new property. You have an advantage if you can position yourself as someone who could provide them with extra business.</p> <h2>Point to competing options</h2> <p>In a positive manner, let the seller’s agent know you are considering two or three properties, and this specific property is among those you are inclined to make an offer on.</p> <p>In certain situations, it may stimulate competitive pricing when multiple properties of similar quality are available in the same area. Make it clear to the agent you will choose the property that offers you the best overall value.</p> <p>While this strategy might not necessarily lower the price in a seller’s market, it can prompt the agent to have a fuller discussion with you.</p> <h2>Think beyond price</h2> <p>The next set of tips focuses on the <em>during negotiation</em> stages. It can be challenging for buyers to negotiate a lower price in a market with low supply and high demand. You might have to “think outside the price box”.</p> <p>Buyers often have a specific price range or fixed budget in mind when they start discussions with a seller. However, other factors besides price can influence a property’s overall value.</p> <p>So if a seller won’t adjust the price, consider negotiating for other concessions that could reduce your expenses.</p> <p>These may include:</p> <p><strong>Settlement period</strong></p> <p>Consider the expenses associated with the settlement period. A shorter settlement period could enable buyers to move into the property sooner and save on rent. For example, if a buyer is paying $600 per week in rent, an early settlement could save them around $2,400 per month.</p> <p><strong>Insurance costs after contract signing</strong></p> <p>In many states, buyers’ <a href="https://www.finder.com.au/home-insurance/home-insurance-cost">home insurance cover</a> is required to begin from the date of contract signing. It’s reasonable for buyers to include a special condition requesting the seller to bear the insurance costs until settlement. On average, home insurance may amount to about $140 per month.</p> <p><strong>Cleaning expenses</strong></p> <p>Consider negotiating a condition stipulating that the seller must ensure the property is professionally cleaned by settlement. Failure to do so could result in a $500 adjustment in the buyer’s favour at settlement.</p> <p>In some states, like Queensland, sellers are not obligated to deliver a clean property. Based on typical end-of-lease cleaning charges, internal cleaning of a four-bedroom property could cost <a href="https://firstcallhomeservices.com.au/service-menu/bond-exit-end-lease-cleaning/">$455 to $590</a>.</p> <p><strong>Building and pest inspection costs</strong></p> <p>Buyers should always include a 14-day pre-purchase inspection clause for <a href="https://www.topdogpestcontrol.com.au/building-pest-inspections-gold-coast/">building and pest inspections</a> in their offer. Although they may cost $300 to $600, these inspections provide a clear report that could lead to negotiations after contract signing if they find any issues with the property.</p> <h2>Be careful with your first offer</h2> <p>Don’t present the first offer in writing. It can be challenging to negotiate down the price once it has been written in an offer document.</p> <p>Instead, the buyer should begin by testing the expected price of the property. As well as obtaining property reports from multiple banks, the buyer could talk with the seller’s agent in person about a price range that would be agreeable to the seller.</p> <p>You could include phrases like “a price that will make the seller happy” or “a price that will make the seller accept the offer”. While the agent might not provide a specific price, this talk can provide a guideline for the buyer. All properties up for auction or private sale should have an expected price set, which may or may not be discussed with potential buyers.</p> <p>It’s also advisable to consult a solicitor before submitting an offer or signing a contract. They can offer valuable suggestions to smooth the purchase process and identify any issues.</p> <h2>Use the power of 900</h2> <p>Buyers often submit offers with round numbers, such as $700,000 or $750,000. In a competitive seller’s market, aim to submit an offer with a number that stands out from the rest, yet remains within your budget.</p> <p>An example of such a number is $900. For instance, comparing $700,000 to $700,900, the extra $900 makes the offer feel closer to $710,000.</p> <h2>Write a personalised letter</h2> <p>It’s true the most important point of selling a house for many sellers is price. But they are human and have emotions. Finishing a purchasing offer with a personal letter to the seller can make a difference.</p> <p>Often that $3,000 to $20,000 could be a lot of money for a buyer, but it may not be as much for someone selling a house for $700,000 or $1,000,000. Write the letter to express your feelings about the property in a way that makes it clear you will care for it. Most people selling their home would prefer to have someone look after it well.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/226237/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/park-thaichon-175182">Park Thaichon</a>, Associate Professor of Marketing, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-southern-queensland-1069">University of Southern Queensland</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-to-buy-a-home-7-tips-for-negotiating-like-a-pro-226237">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Money & Banking

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Steve Price fires up over Dan Andrews' special honour

<p>Steve Price has sparked a bitter row on-air with his co-hosts of <em>The Project</em>, as he spoke out against former premier Dan Andrews being named on the King’s Honours list this year.</p> <p>Andrews, the former premier of Victoria who saw the state through the Covid pandemic, has been recognised on the prestigious list for his “eminent service to the people and parliament of Victoria, to public health, to policy and regulatory reform, and to infrastructure development”.</p> <p>After the announcement of Andrews' upcoming recognition, Price let loose on <em>The Project </em>as he condemned the former premier. </p> <p>“It’s got to be some sort of sick joke,” he said as he began his rant.</p> <p>“Who would expect Daniel Andrews would get the highest honour that you can possibly get from the King? It’s the equivalent of a Knighthood! This is a bloke who locked Victoria up longer than anywhere else in the word. Apart from Covid, this bloke wasted 600 million dollars not holding the Commonwealth Games.”</p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/reel/C8B5Ft8Pe0k/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/reel/C8B5Ft8Pe0k/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by The Project (@theprojecttv)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>He continued, “Every infrastructure project he’s [Andrews] ticked off on is either over budget or over time. And we give him an award? I mean it is pathetic!”</p> <p>“I have never heard people today so angry about something like this. Daniel Andrews should be run out of the State, not given an award. It’s pathetic!”</p> <p>As co-host Waleed Aly began to share his own thoughts on the matter, Price butted in to ask, “You’re not going to defend Andrews are you?”</p> <p>“Will you let me say something?” replied Aly awkwardly, as Price nodded his head.</p> <p>“Premiers usually get these awards, but they don’t usually get them this quickly,” continued Aly.</p> <p>“And the weird thing about this is that it isn’t for services to the State, it’s for services to health. And that makes it about the pandemic disproportionately. If this was happening in a few years, I don’t think we’d be having this conversation.”</p> <p>Despite Price's claims that many were angry with the decision to award Andrews with the honour, it turns out most of the outrage was directed towards Price himself as many condemned his "embarrassing" rant. </p> <p>“What criteria is <em>The Project</em> applying to Steve Prices opinion? The short man is a self serving blowhard that has no credible platform for his opinions. Surely in 2024 there are better options in Australia,” ranted one annoyed viewer.</p> <p>A second person commented, “If it makes Steve Price mad then it’s a great decision!!” with another replying, “Like anybody should give credibility to anything Steve Price says”. </p> <p>The onslaught of remarks didn’t end there, with another firing back, “Steve Price is jealous and miserable,” while a similarly annoyed viewer wrote, “Dan living rent free in Price’s head, embarrassing”.</p> <p><em>Image credits: The Project / AMES ROSS/EPA-EFE / Shutterstock Editorial </em></p>

TV

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The hidden risks of buy now, pay later: What shoppers need to know

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/vivek-astvansh-1318943">Vivek Astvansh</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/mcgill-university-827">McGill University</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/chandan-kumar-behera-1479139">Chandan Kumar Behera</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/indian-institute-of-management-lucknow-6023">Indian Institute of Management Lucknow</a> </em><iframe style="width: 100%; height: 100px; border: none; position: relative; z-index: 1;" src="https://narrations.ad-auris.com/widget/the-conversation-canada/the-hidden-risks-of-buy-now-pay-later-what-shoppers-need-to-know" width="100%" height="400"></iframe></p> <p><a href="https://www.canada.ca/en/financial-consumer-agency/services/loans/buy-now-pay-later.html">Buy now, pay later</a> is a relatively new form of financial technology that allows consumers to purchase an item immediately and repay the balance at a later time in instalments.</p> <p>Unlike applying for a credit card, buy now, pay later <a href="https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=4591446">doesn’t require a credit check</a>. Instead, <a href="https://doi.org/10.1108/EJM-11-2021-0923">these programs use algorithms</a> to perform <a href="https://www.investopedia.com/terms/s/soft-inquiry.asp">“soft” credit checks</a> to determine <a href="https://theconversation.com/if-it-looks-like-debt-lets-treat-it-like-debt-buy-now-pay-later-schemes-need-firmer-regulation-in-nz-211820">a shopper’s eligibility</a>.</p> <p>This means buy now, pay later loans target <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2022/jan/27/buy-now-pay-later-schemes-entice-consumers-spend-more">low-income, tech-savvy</a> <a href="https://www.cnbc.com/2022/10/27/gen-z-and-millennials-prefer-buy-now-pay-later-services.html">millennials and Gen Z shoppers</a> in an effort to <a href="https://libertystreeteconomics.newyorkfed.org/2023/09/who-uses-buy-now-pay-later/">supposedly improve financial inclusion</a> for these groups.</p> <p>However, the newness of buy now, pay later programs means existing <a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/acfi.13100">consumer credit laws don’t cover it</a>. This lack of regulation puts shoppers at financial risk of accumulating higher levels of debt.</p> <h2>Credit cards versus buy now, pay later</h2> <p>There are three key differences between credit cards and buy now, pay later loans. First, while buy now, pay later loans are a line of credit like credit cards are, <a href="https://www.cnbc.com/2022/05/04/klarna-to-report-buy-now-pay-later-data-to-uk-credit-bureaus.html">they don’t impact credit reports</a>. Because of this, shoppers might be less cautious when using buy now, pay later services.</p> <p>Credit cards typically have annual interest rates ranging from <a href="https://www.bankrate.com/finance/credit-cards/what-is-credit-card-apr/#credit-card-apr-vs-credit-card-interest">15 to 26 per cent</a>. While most buy now, pay later loans have no interest, longer term loans have <a href="https://www.cbsnews.com/news/buy-now-pay-later-loans-interest-rate-fees-tips-what-to-know/">annual interest rates of about 37 per cent</a>.</p> <p>Shoppers are <a href="https://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/buy-now-pay-later-how-retails-hot-feature-hurts-lower-income-shoppers">at risk of overusing buy now, pay later programs</a> and accumulating more debt than they can manage. In addition, formal lenders, such as banks, currently have no way of knowing what buy now, pay later debt a person is carrying. The lender, therefore, likely incurs more risk than they are aware of.</p> <p>Second, credit cards typically provide <a href="https://doi.org/10.1080/1369118X.2022.2161830">an interest-free period</a>, after which <a href="https://doi.org/10.1177/03128962211032448">borrowers must pay interest</a>. In contrast, buy now, pay later users typically don’t have interest fees, but can incur <a href="https://doi.org/10.1108/IJBM-07-2022-0324">late fees for missed or late payments</a>.</p> <p>Falling behind on payment terms <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/andriacheng/2020/12/16/why-retailers-are-embracing-buy-now-pay-later-service-this-holiday-season/">can result in charges</a> that exceed <a href="https://stateline.org/2022/02/02/regulators-scrutinize-buy-now-pay-later-plans/">typical credit card interest rates</a>, causing more harm than interest payments. Low-income buy now, pay later users are <a href="https://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/buy-now-pay-later-how-retails-hot-feature-hurts-lower-income-shoppers">particularly vulnerable</a> to <a href="https://www.consumerfinance.gov/data-research/research-reports/consumer-use-of-buy-now-pay-later-insights-from-the-cfpb-making-ends-meet-survey/">using overdrafts to cover their buy now, pay later payments</a>.</p> <p>Third, people typically have just a few credit cards, making it easier to keep track of payments. Buy now, pay later users, on the other hand, usually engage with multiple buy now, pay later lenders through retailers. As a result, it’s difficult for them to keep track of all the buy now, pay later lenders and retailers they made purchases from.</p> <h2>What are the Canadian governments doing?</h2> <p>Canada classifies buy now, pay later as an unsecured instalment loan, which means lenders are subject to laws at the federal and provincial levels.</p> <p>Under federal law, there is an <a href="https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1711291/000171129122000011/curo-20211231.htm">annual interest rate cap of 60 per cent</a>. Provincial laws require buy now, pay later lenders to disclose the cost of credit and extend consumer protection rights to buy now, pay later shoppers.</p> <p>At the provincial level, <a href="https://www.canada.ca/en/financial-consumer-agency/services/loans/buy-now-pay-later.html">specific laws come into play</a>. Manitoba, Alberta, Québec, and Ontario have passed laws that require lenders to be licensed before they offer these products and be subject to regulatory oversight.</p> <p>These laws regulate high-cost credit products that have annual rates of 32 per cent or higher. This means buy now, pay later services <em>should</em> fall under this category. However, I found no evidence of buy now, pay later lenders being licensed in Canada. This means either lenders are not aware they fall under these laws, or no one is enforcing them.</p> <p>This ambiguity over whether or not buy now, pay later lenders are subject to regulatory oversight could be a hindrance for banks like the <a href="https://financialpost.com/fp-finance/fintech/why-higher-interest-rates-threaten-the-buy-now-pay-later-bubble">Bank of Nova Scotia and the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce</a>, as it deters them from entering the buy now, pay later market despite its profitability.</p> <h2>Questions to ask before using buy now, pay later</h2> <p>Before signing up for a buy now, pay later loan, shoppers should consider the following six questions.</p> <p><strong>1. Payment structure.</strong> How much of the invoice amount needs to be paid upfront? The norm is typically 25 per cent. What is the number of remaining instalments? The answer to this is usually four. Lastly, what is the frequency of instalments? The norm is biweekly.</p> <p><strong>2. Sensitive information.</strong> Does the lender require you to provide information about your chequing account? This is sensitive information to give away and puts you at risk of data breaches. Most buy now, pay later lenders withdraw instalment amounts from chequing accounts or debit cards, potentially exposing shoppers to greater risks than credit cards.</p> <p><strong>3. Interest charges</strong> Does the buy now, pay later lender charge interest on instalment payments? The norm is no.</p> <p><strong>4. Late fees</strong> How much is the late fee, when does it apply and what is the maximum amount of the late fee? Typically, late fees don’t exceed $8 or one-quarter of the invoice amount. Late fees usually kick in if your scheduled payment remains unpaid after 10 days.</p> <p><strong>5. Data responsibility.</strong> Who is responsible for your data? Whether it’s the retailer, the buy now, pay later lender or a company whose cloud storage the provider may be using, you should know. In general, the buy now, pay later lender holds this responsibility.</p> <p><strong>6. Licensing.</strong> Is the buy now, pay later lender licensed to sell the loan? Usually, the <a href="https://dfpi.ca.gov/wp-content/uploads/sites/337/2020/03/afterpay-settlement.pdf">answer to this question is no</a>.</p> <h2>Buy now, pay later regulation</h2> <p>Two sets of laws and regulations should be implemented to address some of these issues. The first set of regulations focuses on how buy now, pay later lenders interact with consumers. These lenders should clearly communicate <a href="https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=4359956">all terms and conditions of their loans</a>, including late charges, interest charges and payment schedules, on their platforms to ensure shoppers are fully informed of their financial obligations.</p> <p>The Financial Conduct Authority in the United Kingdom recently issued guidelines allowing buy now, pay later lenders to <a href="https://www.ft.com/content/ca428bc8-65c3-49ed-8ba6-0d6f206098aa">terminate, suspend or restrict access to shopper accounts</a> for any reason without notice. Effective September 2024, New Zealand will require buy now, pay later lenders to <a href="https://theconversation.com/if-it-looks-like-debt-lets-treat-it-like-debt-buy-now-pay-later-schemes-need-firmer-regulation-in-nz-211820">check a shopper’s credit</a> before providing them a buy now, pay later loan.</p> <p>The second set of regulations defines the scope and boundaries of buy now, pay later lenders. On Dec. 9, 2022, California became the first American state to <a href="https://dfpi.ca.gov/2022/12/09/buy-now-pay-later-protect-yourself-before-you-check-out/">classify buy now, pay later as a loan</a>. Such classifications allowed California regulators to <a href="https://stateline.org/2022/02/02/regulators-scrutinize-buy-now-pay-later-plans/">question lenders about their transparency in disclosing the terms of their offerings</a>.</p> <p>The hope is that these laws and regulations will facilitate microlending and not impede the existence of buy now, pay later services, but rather make it safer and more secure for both lenders and users.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/215421/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/vivek-astvansh-1318943"><em>Vivek Astvansh</em></a><em>, Associate Professor of Quantitative Marketing and Analytics, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/mcgill-university-827">McGill University</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/chandan-kumar-behera-1479139">Chandan Kumar Behera</a>, PhD Student in Marketing, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/indian-institute-of-management-lucknow-6023">Indian Institute of Management Lucknow</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-hidden-risks-of-buy-now-pay-later-what-shoppers-need-to-know-215421">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Money & Banking

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Jimmy Barnes celebrates special milestone

<p>Jimmy Barnes has celebrated his 43rd wedding anniversary with his wife Jane, a few months after he underwent open heart surgery. </p> <p>The rock star, 68, marked the occasion on Thursday by posting a series of photos of him and Jane over the years to Instagram. </p> <p>"43 years married and we both forgot that our anniversary was today," he wrote in the caption. </p> <p>"It doesn’t matter though because everyday is special to us. I love you my darling," he added. </p> <p>One of the photos was a recent snap of the couple cuddling up to each other while reading their books by the fireplace. </p> <p>The second photo was a black-and-white throwback picture from their wedding in 1981, and the couple were gazing lovingly at each other. </p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/C7REM7MBmUz/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/C7REM7MBmUz/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Jimmy Barnes (@jimmybarnesofficial)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Famous friends and fans took to the comments to congratulate the couple on their milestone. </p> <p>"Ohhhhhh so gorgeous. Happy anniversary," singer Kate Cebrano said. </p> <p>"Happy Anniversary you two," added Noiseworks singer Jon Stevens. </p> <p>"Happy Anniversary to you both and wishing you many more to come ," wrote one fan. </p> <p>"Happy Anniversary you wonderful humans," Jimmy's son and TV presenter David Campbell wrote. </p> <p>The rock star shares David Campbell with his previous partner<span style="background-color: #ffffff; font-family: Inter, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; letter-spacing: -0.16px;"> Kim Campbell. He also has two daughters </span><span style="font-family: Inter, sans-serif;"><span style="letter-spacing: -0.16px;">Amanda Bennett and Megan Torzyn from previous relationships. </span></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: Inter, sans-serif;"><span style="letter-spacing: -0.16px;">Jimmy and Jane share four children - daughters Mahalia, 41, EJ, 39, and Elly-May, 34, and a son Jackie, 38.</span></span></p> <p>Late last year, the singer had a life-threatening infection that attacked his heart and he had to undergo <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/health/caring/bad-news-jimmy-barnes-rushed-into-emergency-open-heart-surgery" target="_blank" rel="noopener">emergency open heart surgery</a>. </p> <p>Reflecting on his health struggles, he admitted that he didn't think he was going to make it. </p> <p>"I just had this horrible morbid feeling because I've never felt this sick before. I thought I was gone," he previously told<em> 60 minutes</em>. </p> <p>The surgery lasted seven hours and physicians successfully replaced his damaged valves. </p> <p>Five months on, his recovery has been going well, with the singer walking his daughter down <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/lifestyle/family-pets/jimmy-barnes-walks-daughter-down-the-aisle" target="_blank" rel="noopener">the aisle</a> in March and even <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/entertainment/music/jimmy-barnes-makes-his-triumphant-return-to-the-stage" target="_blank" rel="noopener">returned to the stage </a>for the first time last month. </p> <p><em>Images: Instagram </em></p>

Caring

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Kevin Bacon returns to Footloose roots for a special cause

<p>Kevin Bacon has taken a step back in time to return to the Utah high school where the 1984 movie <em>Footloose</em> was filmed. </p> <p>Students at Payson High School launched the #BacontoPayson social media campaign several months ago in an attempt to get the Hollywood legend to attend the school's final prom. </p> <p>The high schoolers recreated movie scenes and choreographed videos in the hopes of capturing Bacon's attention, willing him to return to the school before the campus relocates at the end of the school year. </p> <p>The online campaign worked, as the 65-year-old actor returned to Payson on Saturday where he addressed the students and praised their valiant efforts to get him back to the iconic school, but not before striding onto the stage while the iconic song <em>Footloose</em> blared through the grounds. </p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/reel/C6CNgyNJOrk/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/reel/C6CNgyNJOrk/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by SixDegrees.org (@sixdegreesofkb)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>"When I first heard about this Bacon to Payson thing, I was like, 'Wow, this is crazy.' But you were all just tireless," Bacon said in his speech on the school's football field on Saturday, according to <em><a title="" href="https://www.abc4.com/news/wasatch-front/kevin-bacon-returns-to-payson-high-on-prom-night-for-40th-anniversary-of-footloose/" target="" rel="">ABC7</a></em>. "You talked me into it."</p> <p>As part of Payson High School's effort to get Bacon back on campus, they pledged to create 5000 essential resource kits to help his <a href="https://www.sixdegrees.org/footloose" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Sixdegrees.org</a> foundation, which benefits underserved and under-resourced communities.</p> <p>The organisation has a goal of packing and distributing up to 40,000 kits as part of its "Footloose40" initiative, which marks the 40th anniversary of the film's release. </p> <p>In his speech on Saturday, Bacon thanked the students for "turning what could be just a movie star coming back to get a pat on the back into something really positive."</p> <p>Bacon was awarded with an honorary Payson High School diploma, posed for photos with students and even swung by his locker during his visit during his visit.</p> <p><em>Image credits: TikTok / Paramount Pictures</em></p>

Movies

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Science finally proves "Money doesn't buy happiness"

<p>A new study has proven that the old adage "money can't buy you happiness" is true. </p> <p>Historically, economic wealth and higher income households are often seen to have an increased level of wellbeing and happiness, with the extra money making way for less stress and more general comfortability. </p> <p>However, researchers from Canada and Spain have concluded this may not be true, with such surveys often including responses from people in industrialised areas only. </p> <p>People in small-scale societies where money does not play a central role in every day life are often excluded from these studies, as the livelihood of residents in these small communities usually depend more on nature. </p> <p>Now, 2,966 people from Indigenous and local communities in 19 locations across the globe have been included in a study, with researchers now finding that societies of Indigenous people and those in small, local communities report living very satisfying lives despite not having a lot of money. </p> <p>The researchers wrote, "The striking aspect of our findings... is that reported life satisfaction in very low-income communities can meet and even exceed that reported at the highest average levels of material wealth provided by industrial ways of life."</p> <p>Researchers concluded the findings are strong evidence that economic growth is not needed to be happy, with only 64 percent of households included in the survey reported having any cash income.</p> <p>Eric Galbraith, lead author of the study, said, "Surprisingly, many populations with very low monetary incomes report very high average levels of life satisfaction, with scores similar to those in wealthy countries."</p> <p>Researchers added that high life satisfaction is shown in these communities "despite many of these societies having suffered histories of marginalisation and oppression."</p> <p>Galbraith added, "I would hope that, by learning more about what makes life satisfying in these diverse communities, it might help many others to lead more satisfying lives while addressing the sustainability crisis."</p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p>

Money & Banking

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Mum slammed for being "stingy" after refusing to buy $2 snack for daughter's playdate

<p>A mum has come under fire for being "selfish" and "stingy" after refusing to buy a $2 snack for her 11-year-old daughter’s best friend.</p> <p>The woman, believed to be from the US, and her daughter Ellie were invited for a playdate at an indoor playground with 12-year-old Sophie and her mum.</p> <p>Sophie's mum offered to put them on her membership card so that Ellie and her mum could go to the indoor playground for free. </p> <p>“Sophie’s mum called me... and Sophie wanted to know if Ellie could come and play," she began in a Reddit thread called <em>Am I the a****** .</em></p> <p>"She offered to put me on her membership card so it would be free for me so I got Ellie in the car and we met them at the playground.” </p> <p>Trouble started when the girls got hungry after an hour of playing, and Ellie's mum only packed a snack for her daughter. </p> <p>“Sophie’s mum didn’t have any snacks on her,” she said.</p> <p>“I told her they sell snacks in the front but she claimed that she didn’t have any money on her and asked me to buy Sophie some Goldfish."</p> <p>Ellie's mum agreed to grab the crackers on one condition - Sophie's mum had to transfer the money to her. </p> <p>“She says she paid for my kid to get in so I could cover the $2 for the Goldfish. I said no, I took care of my kid and it’s not my job to take care of hers too.</p> <p>“I told her if she wanted me to bring snacks she should’ve told me when she invited me but I won’t be wasting $2 for a 50 cent bag of Goldfish because she was unprepared.”</p> <p>She added that Sophie's mum eventually managed to get snacks for her own daughter, and wondered "if she lied about not having money".</p> <p>She then accused Sophie's mum of being "petty" for asking her to pay back for “all the times” she's used her membership to get a guest pass at the indoor playground, adding that "they regularly pay for us to join them on outings.”</p> <p>Her post was met with over 2500 comments slamming her for being “selfish”, “stingy” and “ungrateful”.</p> <p>“You were invited to a place for free that you would otherwise have had to pay for. You only packed snacks for your child? Why didn’t you also take snacks for the other child?" one wrote. </p> <p>“Yes, you did not have to do so, and that child is not your responsibility, but if I was meeting someone for a playdate for my child, not paying to get in, knowing, at some point both girls were going to be hungry, I would have packed snacks for both, as a thank you for the invitation and just because," the commenter continued. </p> <p>“If someone asked me to transfer them $2, I’m rolling my eyes big time. It’s petty, especially when someone gave you something likely far more valuable," another added. </p> <p>“Seriously. I don’t even think I could tell a stranger no when it comes to feeding their hungry child, much less a person I know and spend time with," a third commented. </p> <p>Others called the mum a "fool", for potentially causing Ellie to lose her best friend.</p> <p>“Don’t be an idiot. Apologise. You might care about 50 cents. But your daughter will lose her best friend. And that is worth a lot more. Your daughter might never get a friend like that... And the fact that universe gift wrapped a friend for your daughter. And you choose to throw it in the trash. Wow, you are truly a fool," they said. </p> <p><em>Image: Getty</em></p> <p> </p>

Family & Pets

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Why Dave Hughes didn't buy the final Block house

<p>David ‘Hughesy’ Hughes was the surprise guest at this year's <em>The Block</em> auctions, and the Aussie comedian was keen on buying the final home to go on auction <span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">– </span><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;"> Leah and Ash’s house. </span></p> <p>Hughes was one move away from buying House 2 - which was passed in after it failed to hit reserve - but his wife blocked him from buying the home. </p> <p>“I was accosted as I left the auction, trying to get out of there, because one house didn’t sell and I said, ‘I’ll go talk to my wife’,” Hughes said on KIIS FM’s <em>Hughesy, Ed &amp; Erin </em>on Tuesday morning. </p> <p>The radio host then called his wife Holly live-on-air so she could explain the reason why they did not buy House 2. </p> <p>Holly revealed that she "was being asked by students and teachers,” about whether or not the couple bought the <em>Block</em> house. </p> <p>“You [Hughes] came home and as we were getting into bed, you said, ‘How would you have felt if I just bought that house?’ And I said, ‘Furious’," Holly revealed. </p> <p>She then called out her husband, claiming that he only wanted to buy the house to "show off". </p> <p>“If you bought a third house [in Melbourne] without consulting with me …” she said. </p> <p>“He never expressed any interesting in investing in that part of Melbourne, it’s so random, he would’ve just been buying a house to show off.</p> <p>“He had not looked at the houses or anything. He hadn’t watched an episode.”</p> <p>Although Hughes didn't get a property this season, his <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/finance/money-banking/dave-hughes-sets-the-record-straight-over-famous-block-house-purchase" target="_blank" rel="noopener">previous <em>Block</em> buy</a> in 2017 was a huge success.</p> <p><em>Image: Nine</em></p>

Money & Banking

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"She's my heartbeat": Man's touching move after mum buys him $730k winning lottery ticket

<p>A man from South Australia has vowed to shower his mother in gifts after she bought him a winning lottery ticket for his birthday. </p> <p>The man held one of the seven winning division one tickets, seeing him rake in a hefty prize of $738,668.19. </p> <p>The winning ticket was purchased by the man's mother, at the George Avenue Deli in Whyalla Norrie, north of Adelaide, with the family in disbelief at the extraordinary win. </p> <p>"My mum bought me this ticket for my birthday last week,” the man said.</p> <p>“I rang her yesterday after calling The Lott and she didn’t believe me at all.”</p> <p>The man said that while he is thrilled with the win, it still doesn't seem real. </p> <p>“Honestly, I’ve been holding off getting excited until the money is in my account,” he said. </p> <p>The grateful winner has promised to repay his mother for all she’s done for him by spoiling her “rotten” with his winnings. </p> <p>“She’s my heartbeat, she’s everything to me,” he said.</p> <p>“I wouldn’t have had a great birthday if it wasn’t for her, so I look forward to giving back to her.”</p> <p>The owner of George Avenue Deli, Lorna-Jane Anderson, said learning of the winning entry had been “wonderful news”.</p> <p>“There’s no doubt the local community will be happy to hear another Whyalla Norrie customer has won big with a ticket purchased at our outlet,” she said.</p> <p>“We’ve sold many major lottery prizes in the past two years and in fact, almost a year ago we sold a top prize-winning Instant Scratch-Its ticket worth $100,000."</p> <p>“We’re glad to hear the mystery winner has come forward to claim their prize and we wish him all the best with the win.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: The Lott</em></p>

Money & Banking

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"So excited": Miranda Kerr's special announcement

<p>Miranda Kerr is pregnant! </p> <p>The Australian model is set to become a "boy mum" for the fourth time after announcing her pregnancy on Snapchat on Friday. </p> <p>“So excited to announce baby number 4,” she captioned the adorable photo of her cradling her bump. </p> <p>This is the model's fourth child, her third with her husband Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel. </p> <p>“And it’s a boy,” Kerr, 40, added in a second post with a bunch of blue hearts.</p> <p>She then posted a photo of of four pairs of white-and-yellow sneakers in various sizes with the hashtag “#boymom".</p> <p>The former Victoria’s Secret Angel did not look a day over 30 as she rocked a a flowy white lace crop top and a pair of low-rise jeans. </p> <p>The 40-year-old model had a beautiful glow as she wore rosy pink make-up and smiled for the camera. </p> <p>Kerr and Spiegel already have two children together, Hart, 5, and Myles, 3. </p> <p>The model also shares  12-year-old son Flynn with her ex-husband, Orlando Bloom.</p> <p>Kerr has been open to having more kids, which she admitted in an interview with <em>People magazine </em> at last year's Baby2Baby Gala. </p> <p>Back then she gushed about how wonderful it is to see the world through her children's eyes  "and understanding that each of them has a different way of seeing" things. </p> <p>“Even though they’re three boys [and] they’ve grown up in a similar environment, they really have a different perspective,” she added, and gushed about how their "curiosity" is "infectious". </p> <p>Kerr and Spiegel have been married since 2017, following their engagement in the previous year. </p> <p><em>Images: Miranda Kerr Snapchat</em></p>

Family & Pets

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Queen of Jordan's special way of celebrating 53rd birthday

<p>Queen Rania of Jordan has celebrated her 53rd birthday by giving back to a local village in a few new photos shared on Instagram. </p> <p>The Jordanian queen visited the Firyal Kofahi's home-based kitchen in Irbid's Hawar village on the eve of her birthday, and shared a few photos of her spending time with the local women. </p> <p>"Lovely to spend the afternoon with you! Thanks to Um Mohammad and all the women I met today at Firyal Kofahi’s Kitchen in the village of Hawar - what an incredible example of women lifting each other up!" she captioned the photos. </p> <p>The visit was part of Queen Rania's effort to support and highlight economic empowerment opportunities for women.</p> <p>The photos showed the Jordanian royal chatting with a few local women, and enjoying the dishes they prepared for her. </p> <p>She donned a beautiful white long-sleeve dress, which was embroidered with purple flowers. </p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/reel/CwlUloFJ8qC/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/reel/CwlUloFJ8qC/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Queen Rania Al Abdullah (@queenrania)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>In a follow-up post she shared an Instagram Reel of the local women prepping the food and her embracing them as they welcomed her into their community. </p> <p>"Enjoyed every minute of my visit to Irbid today," she captioned the post. </p> <p>Queen Rania also shared a few photos of her celebrating her birthday with her family. In a second photo she had her arms wrapped around her daughter-in-law Princess Rajwa. </p> <p>"‏I thank my lucky stars for each and every one of you! Your Majesty, my family, and all the wonderful Jordanians out there, you have made me feel truly special," she captioned the post. </p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/CwnRqN0oaX2/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CwnRqN0oaX2/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Queen Rania Al Abdullah (@queenrania)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Many followers have shared their birthday wishes to the Queen and have applauded her tight knit relationship with her daughter-in-law. </p> <p>"Your joy for your son's marriage and your love for his wife is evident, and this is the result of refinement and high morals ❤️" wrote one follower. </p> <p>"Majestic birthday energy! Happy Birthday! 🤍" wrote another. </p> <p>"Many happy returns my queen ❤️" commented a third. </p> <p><em>Images: Instagram</em></p>

Beauty & Style

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How to buy the best eggs

<p><strong>Brown eggs vs. white eggs</strong></p> <p>There are a lot of misconceptions about eggs, and chief among them is that there’s a difference in the health benefits of brown and white eggs. Unlike bread, brown and white eggs are equally nutritious. An eggshell’s hue is simply determined by the breed of hen laying it.</p> <p><strong>Free-run vs. free-range eggs</strong></p> <div> <p>Free run eggs are laid by hens housed in barns equipped with nests and perches. More space to scratch, peck and stretch their wings means less stress for the birds.</p> <p>In the case of free range eggs, the hens can roam inside barns as well as outdoors, weather permitting. Outside, they can sunbathe, dust bathe, and eat bugs, worms and grass.</p> <p><strong>Are organic eggs the best eggs?</strong></p> <p>When a carton of eggs is labelled as “organic,” it means the hens’ feed is free of herbicides, pesticides, fungicides and preservatives. A study by researchers at Pennsylvania State University found that organic eggs tend to have more vitamin A, D and E.</p> <p>What’s more, many pro chefs claim they taste richer. Certified organic farms adhere to specific standards and are inspected regularly, making their products the surest choice.</p> <p><strong>What does it mean when eggs are Omega-3-enriched?</strong></p> <p>The label “Omega-3-enriched” indicates the hens laying the eggs were fed high levels of polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acids – essential dietary nutrients for human growth, development and general health.</p> <p>In most cases, flaxseed or fish oil has been added to the feed, occasionally lending the eggs a mild fishy flavour and aroma.</p> <p><strong>The best eggs for baking</strong></p> <p>From peewee to jumbo, eggs are graded by weight. Unless otherwise specified, choose large eggs (approximately 60 grams) when following recipes – especially when baking, where precision matters.</p> <p><strong>Health matters</strong></p> <p>Pregnant women, young children, the elderly and people with compromised immune systems should stay away from raw or partially cooked eggs to avoid the risk, however slight, of salmonella poisoning.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/food-home-garden/how-to-buy-the-best-eggs" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Reader's Digest</a>. </em></p> </div>

Food & Wine

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Kate Ritchie reflects on special moment with John Farnham

<p>Kate Ritchie has recalled the moment she met John Farnham on the set of <em>Home &amp; Away</em>, in a moment that made her feel like "the luckiest little girl in Australia”.</p> <p>The former Aussie soap star shared the touching tribute as part of <em>7NEWS Spotlight’s The Lost Tapes of John Farnham</em>, as she revealed how much the iconic singer means to her. </p> <p>Ritchie first met Farnham in 1998, as the pair filmed a special episode of <em>Home &amp; Away</em> in which Ritchie, who played nine-year-old Sally Fletcher, was lucky enough to meet her idol, during what was to become an iconic Australian TV moment.</p> <p>“I think we forget how big John Farnham was,” Ritchie told <em>Spotlight’s</em> Michael Usher. “Not only was he an incredible talent and so likeable, I feel as though he represented what Australia was all about."</p> <p>“Not only was he our soundtrack, but he was the guy you wanted to be friends with.”</p> <p>Since filming the episode with Farnham 25 years ago, Ritchie says he’s touched her life in a very special way.</p> <p>“I remember I was the luckiest little girl in Australia,” she said. “The story was that Sally Fletcher won tickets to see Johnny perform but at the last minute she got an awful case of the chicken pox and because he is such a great guy ... he decided to come back to Summer Bay and visit Sally Fletcher in her pyjamas.”</p> <p>After the two filmed the special episode together, Ritchie said she has never forgotten that moment.</p> <p>“He made the child that I was feel like I was the important person on set that day,” she said. “It was like he had come to see me and he needed my help.”</p> <p>Even now, 25 years later, Ritchie is still one of the country’s biggest Farnham fans.</p> <p>“It’s really nice to talk about it,” she said. “I’ve bored my family over the years and (his 1990 hit) <em>Burn For You</em> is a bit of a favourite.</p> <p>“I think that if you’re celebrating the nation we live in ... and you’re not playing John Farnham, you’re not doing it correctly.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: 7News Spotlight</em></p>

Music

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15 things chefs always buy frozen

<p><strong>The best frozen foods you'll want on hand </strong></p> <p>The best frozen foods are just as much a godsend for professional chefs as they are for home cooks. Trust me – I’ve been cooking professionally since 2002, I’ve written multiple cookbooks and my freezer is perpetually packed to the gills with more than just ice cream. (Though there is a lot of ice cream.)</p> <p>And here’s a food fact you may not realise: just because a food is frozen doesn’t mean it’s not as good as one that’s fresh. The method for freezing food industrially is far different from how you freeze food at home, so you don’t have to worry about things like freezer burn. Special flash-freezing technology allows fruits and vegetables to be ‘suspended in time’ at peak freshness in mere minutes, or even seconds. This not only preserves flavour and texture but nutrients as well, making some frozen foods healthier than fresh.</p> <p>There are many reasons for chefs to turn to the best frozen foods, both at home and on the job, from saving time and kitchen space to simply sourcing a better product. (No one wants to use inferior ingredients when making their best recipes!) Here are some chef picks for the best frozen foods you’ll want to stock up on.</p> <p><strong>Berries</strong></p> <p>The season for fresh berries is short, which is why frozen berries are such a good buy. Not only are they preserved at the peak of freshness, but they also can be easier to cook with in their frozen state. “I bake with frozen berries because they are so easy to add to batters without getting mushy,” says chef, Megan Moore. “You do need to fold in the berries directly from the freezer or they get wet, but the flavour and sweetness are peak season. They are also consistently sized, so they are really perfect for things like muffins, quick breads or pancakes.”</p> <p>Just be aware that while freezing preserves the flavour of strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries, it deteriorates their structural integrity. When water freezes into jagged ice crystals, it shreds their delicate cellular structures like tissue paper. So if you’re buying berries to use whole, like for decorating cakes or tarts, it’s best to spring for fresh.</p> <p><strong>Prawns</strong></p> <p>When it comes to buying prawns, frozen almost always beats fresh. Unless you live in a coastal prawning community where you’re able to buy your crustaceans directly from the docks, nearly all the prawns you’ve ever encountered have been individually quick-frozen (IQF) directly on the boat shortly after being caught. Fresh raw prawns quickly degrade in quality as they sit, so by running them through a blast chiller almost immediately, their flavour, texture and freshness are preserved.</p> <p>As for the ‘fresh’ prawns you see on ice at fish counter? They’re more than likely previously frozen prawns that have been fully thawed. In some cases, thawed prawns may be treated with chemicals like sodium tripolyphosphate, which causes them to absorb water so they look plumper and fresher – and so they will weigh more when put on the pricing scale. One word of caution: according to chef, Cynthia Valles, you should always check the ingredients list when buying frozen prawns. The only thing that should be listed there is (of course) ‘prawns’.</p> <p><strong>Fish</strong></p> <p>Just like prawns, much of the fish you’ll find at the seafood counter isn’t as ‘fresh’ as you think. “Many popular seafood picks like scallops, Chilean sea bass, tuna and swordfish are all flash-frozen on the boat, so I always buy them frozen instead of thawed out at the fish counter,” says Moore. “Also, you never want to double-freeze fish, because the texture changes and it becomes gluey. Buying frozen fish means you don’t need to cook it immediately. If you’re not planning to prepare your fish the same day you bring it home from the market, you’re better off buying it frozen.”</p> <p>Another major plus: buying frozen is a good way to support sustainable-fishing practices. Many frozen fish products come from fisheries that follow strict sustainability guidelines to maintain the fish population and reduce the impact on marine ecosystems. Look for frozen fish with certification labels, such as the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), so you can be sure they were sourced from sustainable fisheries or responsible aquaculture operations.</p> <p><strong>French fries</strong></p> <p>We all know fast-food chains use frozen French fries, but if you peek into most restaurant kitchens, you’ll find many chefs do too! Making French fries from scratch is a lengthy process. First, potatoes need to be cut and soaked in water to remove excess starch. Next, they’re fried (or blanched) for a few minutes in 177-degree oil, which cooks the potatoes through and leaves them pillowy soft.</p> <p>After that, they’re fried once more in oil that’s 177 degrees, which gives them their crispy, golden-brown exterior. Frozen French fries have already been pre-cooked, so when it’s time to eat, all that needs to be done is that quick final fry.</p> <p><strong>Large cuts of beef, pork and lamb</strong></p> <p>Just like bulk buyers, chefs like purchasing large quantities of meat to save money. When it comes to steaks and chops, they call the butcher, but for cheaper, braise-able cuts of meat like pork shoulder or beef brisket, it’s fine to go frozen. In fact, it can even have some benefits beyond longer storage. As the water in meat freezes, it expands, solidifying into ice crystals with jagged edges that break down muscle and connective tissues. This can help tenderise tough cuts of meat that require low and slow cooking if they’re going to stand a chance of being chewable.</p> <p>Plus, of course, you’ll have these ingredients on hand when you need them. “I prefer to buy certain meats frozen versus fresh because I don’t know if I’ll use it before it expires,” says chef, Ciro Coppola. “I’m also not sure how long food has been sitting in the food company warehouse.”</p> <p><strong>Corn</strong></p> <p>Believe it or not, corn is a food that’s quite often better frozen than fresh. That’s because corn loses flavour and nutrients as it sits at room temperature. So depending on whether it’s in season, by the time it’s gone from the farm to the market to your kitchen, fresh corn might pale in comparison to the frozen kind.</p> <p>“I love frozen corn because it’s always sweet and already cleaned,” says Moore. “It’s frozen so quickly, it isn’t starchy. I make pantry dinners like a canned black bean and frozen corn salad with a fresh lime pimentón vinaigrette. Add some fresh elements like a little red onion and chopped red bell pepper, and it tastes like you spent all day cooking! I always make a big batch – it tastes even better the next day, so it’s great for meal prep and make-ahead lunches.”</p> <p><strong>Dumplings</strong></p> <p>Making dumplings from scratch is something many chefs would rather do at work than at home. Not only that, but air-frying a bag of frozen dumplings is a lot faster than takeout! “I use frozen dumplings to make a chicken soup with bok choy, frozen broccoli and ginger,” says Moore.</p> <p>“Dress the bowls with Sriracha, soy sauce and sesame oil. Everyone loves them! It’s faster than takeout and really delicious if you have a cold.” Having these items on hand will also help you when meal planning – and when you forget to figure out your menu for the week.</p> <p><strong>Peas</strong></p> <p>You’ll rarely, if ever, find fresh peas at the supermarket, nor would you want to. These delicate pulses have a short shelf life once picked, so by flash-freezing peas shortly after harvesting, they can make it to market without losing any quality.</p> <p>“Frozen peas are one of the rare things that generally taste better than fresh,” says Moore. “They are so sweet and plump. I love adding them to pastas, stir fries and pot pies. They are also amazing as a simple salad when thawed, tossed with lemon zest, parmesan and olive oil, and served cold.”</p> <p><strong>Filo pastry</strong></p> <p>It’s rare that you’ll find a chef or baker who makes their own paper-thin filo pastry from scratch. “I love filo, and it’s super easy to use,” says Moore. “Thaw it slowly in the refrigerator or on the counter – the thin sheets will crumble if it’s not thawed correctly and will dry out if you don’t keep the pastry covered while not actively working with it."</p> <p>"But as long as your ingredients and tools are ready to go, building a spanakopita from scratch can be done in about 30 minutes. You can use frozen filo to make all sorts of sweet and savoury dishes, and the thin layers of crispy pastry are always impressive.”</p> <p><strong>Puff pastry</strong></p> <p>Any chef can tell you that making puff pastry by hand is a long, laborious process, which is why many of them prefer buying it frozen. But there is an important caveat: it must be made with real butter, not oils or shortenings. Without butter, frozen puff pastry is nearly flavourless, which can lead to disappointing results when using it in recipes. All-butter puff pastry, however, is often better than homemade, since industrial rolling machines ensure every layer of butter is equal and even.</p> <p>“I love it to make hand pies, like barbecue pulled chicken and cheddar with sautéed onions, or a chicken pot pie,” says Moore. “Use a sharp knife or pizza cutter and cut straight down so it rises high and even.”</p> <p><strong>Stock</strong></p> <p>When considering which frozen foods to buy, think of the foods chefs like to freeze themselves. “We keep our stocks and sauces like birria consommé frozen, because they’re time-consuming to make,” says Valles. Making a large amount of stock from scratch can use up every burner in a small restaurant kitchen, so leaning on freezers is key to having excellent stock to cook with later on instead of relying on canned or powdered stocks and broths.</p> <p>And yes, you can buy frozen stock or condensed frozen stock bases that you can constitute. They’re total game-changers.</p> <p><strong>Chicken breasts</strong></p> <p>Chicken is by far the most popular meat in Australia – and one of the most popular frozen foods too. Frozen chicken breasts thaw quickly and cook quickly, so by keeping them stockpiled in your freezer, you’ll always have an answer when someone in your house asks, “What’s for dinner?” And you won’t have to worry about using them up before they go bad in the fridge.</p> <p>“Frozen chicken is the main thing I buy because so many people love it,” says Moore, who says that frozen chicken cooks and tastes just as good as fresh. With no drop in quality, this is one of the best frozen foods to always keep on hand for quick and easy dinners. “For meal prep, thaw chicken breasts, marinate and grill for fast meals that taste good. With basic pantry or freezer items, you can do tacos, salads or even dice it and add to risotto. There are so many different ways to make a meal.”</p> <p><strong>Chicken nuggets</strong></p> <p>As a culinary professional who’s also the mother of two teenage boys, allow me to share a universal truth: all children prefer frozen chicken nuggets to homemade, which is why most restaurants buy them as such. It doesn’t matter how much work you put into making them from scratch or if you use any secret ingredients. This is not what kids (or most adults) want – which is finely ground chicken moulded into nugget shapes, dipped in batter and deep-fried till golden.</p> <p>And even if you do make outstanding chicken nuggets at home, your kids most certainly will not appreciate them … and they’ll probably complain that they’re “not the same” as their favourite. So just do what the chefs do: buy them frozen, save yourself the headache and have a peaceful meal.</p> <p><strong>Spinach</strong></p> <p>If you’ve ever cooked fresh spinach before, you know just how much it shrinks. To end up with one cup of cooked spinach, you’ll need about 10 cups of fresh leaves! So unless you absolutely need to use it raw, like in a salad, it makes a lot more sense to buy spinach that’s already been cooked down so you can use it immediately.</p> <p>Frozen cooked spinach tastes as good as if you’d done it yourself, which is why chefs reach for it over and over again. Plus, even with their restaurants’ big walk-in refrigerators, they still have only so much space for spinach storage.</p> <p><strong>Bread</strong></p> <p>Everyone loves being greeted at a restaurant with warm, freshly baked bread. But here’s an insider secret: most restaurants – even the ones that claim they bake their bread in-house every day – aren’t actually making their bread from scratch.</p> <p>Instead, they get loaves, rolls and breadsticks that have been partially cooked and rapidly frozen for long-term storage. When it’s time to make ‘fresh’ bread, they put it into a hot oven to bake the rest of the way. By going with frozen over fresh, you’ll never end up with a stale slice of bread.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/food-home-garden/15-things-chefs-always-buy-frozen?pages=1" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Reader's Digest</a>. </em></p>

Food & Wine

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Ellen DeGeneres shares throwback snap to mark special milestone

<p dir="ltr">Ellen DeGeneres shared a sweet throwback snap of her August 2008 wedding with Portia de Rossi, to mark a very special milestone for LGBTQIA+ love.</p> <p dir="ltr">The 65-year-old comedian took to Instagram to honour the eight anniversary of the Supreme Court legalising same-sex marriages in the United States.</p> <p dir="ltr">"8 years ago today marks an important moment. It's when the Supreme Court said "yes" to letting everyone feel the same joy I got to feel in this moment," she wrote.</p> <p dir="ltr">Ellen shared a black-and-white snap of her embracing Portia during their 2008 nuptials.</p> <p dir="ltr">It’s been almost 15 years since the pair got married, and they previously celebrated their love in February 2023, when they <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/lifestyle/relationships/ellen-degeneres-surprise-wedding-news" target="_blank" rel="noopener">renewed their vows</a> at their California home.</p> <p dir="ltr">Portia even wore the same wedding dress she wore in their 2008 wedding when surprised Ellen with a double celebration - her own birthday party and their vow renewal ceremony.</p> <p dir="ltr">The pair have been head over heels for each other since they first met in the early 2000s, and they continue to choose each other.</p> <p dir="ltr">Many fans took to the comment section to share their love and gratitude towards the couple.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Love you and thanks for all your work for the LGBTQIA community. One love 😍” wrote one fan.</p> <p dir="ltr">“This was a defining moment for Ellen and Portia! Congratulations to you both!” commented another.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Love will always win!!🙌🏽✨” wrote a third.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Thank you for making a difference in the world!" commented a fourth.</p> <p><em>Image: Instagram</em></p>

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