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Blog

May 2024

 

On the 14 May 2024, the Government delivered what is possibly its last Budget in the current parliamentary term. The next election is expected to be held either late this year or early in 2025. To assist you with understanding the issues, our Technical Team has prepared a user-friendly summary of the key measures contained in the Budget.

Federal Budget Summary – May 2024

If you would like to discuss anything raised in the summary in more detail, feel free to contact our office to speak with one of our advisors.

April 2024

 

 

Why you need to do something you love every single day

Engaging in activities that you love is not only enjoyable but also offers a multitude of benefits that can enrich your life in various ways.

So, if you’re on the fence about indulging one or some of your life’s passions, here are some advantages of doing something you love every day.

1. Enhances mental well-being

Doing things you love releases endorphins, the ‘feel-good’ hormones, which improve your mood and help you experience pleasure. Indulging certain hobbies or interests—whether it’s travelling, running, cycling, swimming, fishing, painting, embroidery, reading, baking, shopping, spa visits, etc.—provides an escape from the stresses of daily life, allowing you to recharge and maintain a positive outlook.

2. Boosts self-esteem

When you engage in activities that you’re passionate about, you’re more likely to excel in them, thus fostering a sense of accomplishment. This, in turn, bolsters your self-confidence and self-esteem.

3. Encourages personal growth

Doing your favourite activities can challenge you to develop new skills, learn from your experiences, and push your boundaries. This growth enhances your resilience and adaptability, making you better equipped to handle life’s challenges.

4. Promotes social connections

Sharing your interests with others provides opportunities to bond with like-minded people and develop strong social connections. These relationships not only provide emotional support but also open doors to new experiences and perspectives.

5. Improves physical health

Many hobbies and passions, such as sports or dancing, involve physical activity. Regular exercise is crucial for maintaining good health, reducing your risk of developing chronic diseases and promoting overall well-being.

6. Stimulates creativity

Engaging in creative pursuits like painting, writing, or music stimulates our imagination, enhances problem-solving skills, and encourages innovative thinking. These skills are transferable to various aspects of life, including your personal and professional lives.

7. Fosters work-life balance

Pursuing your interests outside of work is crucial for achieving a healthy work-life balance. It helps prevent burnout and maintain your mental health, so you remain productive in your profession.

8. Reduces stress and anxiety

Taking part in activities that bring joy helps relieve stress and anxiety by providing some much-needed mental break. This therapeutic effect can improve your overall emotional well-being and help you cope better with challenging situations.

9. Cultivates mindfulness

Engaging in activities you love often requires concentration and focus, which can help you develop mindfulness. This practice of being fully present in the moment has several psychological benefits, such as improved emotional regulation, reduced stress, and better self-awareness.

10. Enhances life satisfaction

Ultimately, doing things you love will enrich your life by providing a sense of purpose and fulfilment. When you’re passionate about something, you’re more likely to invest your time and energy in it, ultimately making your life more meaningful and satisfying.

Life is short, so it’s crucial to do the things you love.

Pursuing your passion offers a multitude of benefits, spanning the mental, physical, emotional, and social aspects of your life. By investing time and effort in doing the things you love, you can lead a more fulfilling and balanced life, and be better equipped to navigate any obstacles that may come your way.

If this article has inspired you to think about your own unique situation and, more importantly, what you and your family are going through right now, please contact your advice professional.

This information does not take into account the objectives, financial situation or needs of any person. Before making a decision, you should consider whether it is appropriate in light of your particular objectives, financial situation or needs.

(Feedsy Exclusive)

 

 

 

Rewards push to give apprentices the tools to stay on

Industry groups hope a review into a federal apprenticeships will lead to better financial incentives for trainees to stay on the job long term.

Skills Minister Brendan O’Connor in February outlined a review of the Australian apprenticeships incentive program, which would examine how the program could better be used amid growing skill shortages.

Under the scheme, employers in priority sectors receive financial subsidies to take on apprentices for each year of training.

Direct payments are also made to apprentices to help with living expenses as a way of getting them to stay in the job.

Chief executive of the National Apprentice Employment Network Dianne Dayhew said she hoped the review would lead to long-awaited improvements in the sector.

She said the review should examine whether additional incentives were needed to ensure new apprentices stay in their chosen field of study.

“We know that the completion rate of apprentices and trainees is not satisfactory and that many are feeling the added burden of cost of living pressures.”

“We expected that the review will shine a light on ways that we can sustain and grow the numbers of people taking on apprenticeships so that this highly valued work-based approach to training can thrive.”

The ACTU’s assistant secretary Liam O’Brien said the review would ensure apprentices were trained properly.

“The review is an important step in ensuring Australia has world-class training that pays apprentices and trainees properly and treats them with dignity.” 

Mr O’Connor said the review would look at cost of living pressures on apprentices and trainees.

“Getting the best outcomes for apprentices and trainees is vital to ensuring we have the skills our economy needs.”

“We know that almost half of all apprentices don’t complete their training.

“Addressing the completion rate is not just vitally important for individuals and employers, but also for the Australian economy.”

Electrical Trades Union of Australia national secretary Michael Wright said the review was an “enormous opportunity” to build the workforce for the decades to come.

“We need a robust, well resourced, industry-led training effort and it needs to start immediately.”

“Apprentices need to be supported at every step of their time, we can’t afford for anyone to be slipping through the cracks.”

The review will be headed up by former Fair Work Commission president and Federal Court judge Iain Ross, along with University of Canberra chancellor and former education department secretary Lisa Paul.

There will also be a focus on how more under-represented cohorts could take up apprenticeships such as women, Indigenous people, those with a disability or people living in regional areas.

Submissions will be open until May 15, with consultations to be carried out online and in person in coming weeks.

Andrew Brown (Australian Associated Press)

 

Securing Peace of Mind: The Undervalued Comfort of Life Insurance

Life insurance is often perceived as a rather morbid necessity—an acknowledgment of mortality that many prefer to defer.

However, its value extends beyond mere financial security; it encompasses emotional and psychological comfort for both policyholders and their beneficiaries.

For many, the absence of life insurance can indeed be synonymous with a carefree existence—at least superficially. Life unfolds with its usual unpredictability, filled with moments of joy and adversity. But beneath the surface of this apparent freedom lies a latent vulnerability. The sudden onset of illness or the impact of an unforeseen accident can swiftly transform this facade of security into a profound sense of instability. These events serve as stark reminders of our fragility and the potential financial havoc that can ensue from being unprepared.

The reluctance to engage with life insurance often stems from a lack of education about its benefits and the peace of mind it offers. Many individuals delay acquiring life insurance, sometimes indefinitely, until a life-altering event forces them to confront their vulnerability. It is at this juncture that the stark realisation emerges: the future is not only unpredictable but can also be financially debilitating for those left unshielded.

Once the decision to purchase life insurance is made, however, there is a palpable shift in mindset. There is an immediate sense of relief, a psychological exhale, knowing that if the unexpected were to happen, there is a safety net in place. This isn’t merely about the numbers that will be paid out; it’s about knowing that loved ones will be taken care of, that mortgages can still be paid, and that children’s futures are secure.

Life insurance thus acts not only as a financial tool but as a form of emotional insurance. It reassures the policyholder that their loved ones will not be left floundering in their absence, that the education of their children is secure, and that their partner can manage the economic challenges of life without them. This reassurance can dramatically alter one’s outlook on life, enabling a more thorough enjoyment of the present, secure in the knowledge that the future is protected.

Educating people about the benefits of life insurance, therefore, is crucial. It empowers them to make informed decisions about their financial and emotional wellbeing. Knowing the facts can help dismantle fears and misconceptions about the nature of life insurance. More importantly, it can instil a sense of responsibility towards those who depend on us. Ultimately, life insurance offers a profound sense of relief and security, serving as a reminder that while we cannot predict the future, we can certainly prepare for it.

If this article has inspired you to think about your own unique situation and, more importantly, what you and your family are going through right now, please contact your advice professional.

 This information does not take into account the objectives, financial situation or needs of any person. Before making a decision, you should consider whether it is appropriate in light of your particular objectives, financial situation or needs.

 (Feedsy Exclusive)

 

 

The feeling of looking back at an old photo and acknowledging you did OK

In the maddening rush of life, you may find yourself looking for ways to improve your mood, alleviate stress, and enhance your sense of satisfaction.

One surprising yet effective strategy is immersing yourself in the nostalgic embrace of old photographs. Poring over old photos helps to evoke a multitude of positive emotions and creates an environment of relaxation and contentment.

Benefits of old photos

Looking at old photographs comes with a range of benefits, including:

1.  Mood improvement

Old photos have the remarkable power to transport one back instantly to the cherished moments they represent. They can remind you of the people, places, and events that have shaped your life and instil a sense of warmth, happiness, and appreciation.

By reawakening these positive memories, you can uplift your mood and minimise negative emotions, such as stress and anxiety.

2.  Encouraging relaxation

Today, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the constant barrage of information, tasks, and distractions around us. Old photos offer a soothing respite from this chaos, allowing you to pause and reflect on simpler times.

Engaging with these visual mementos can serve as a form of meditation, guiding you toward a state of relaxation and tranquillity as you escape the present and journey into the joy of times past.

3. Enhancing satisfaction and gratitude

Reflecting on old photos can foster a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction as you recognise your personal growth, achievements, and the obstacles you’ve overcome.

Also, revisiting fond memories can inspire a feeling of gratitude for the people who have enriched your lives and the experiences you’ve shared with them. Embracing this appreciation can ultimately contribute to an improved sense of overall well-being and contentment.

Tips for revisiting your treasure trove of memories

To fully unlock the mood-enhancing, relaxation-inducing, and satisfaction-boosting power of old photos, consider the following tips:

1.  Create a dedicated space.

Designate a comfortable, quiet space in your home for engaging with old photos. This space should be free of distractions and conducive to relaxation, reflection, and introspection.

2.  Organise and curate your collection.

Take the time to sort through your picture collection. Organise photos in a way that’s meaningful to you. This can mean creating albums, scrapbooks, or digital galleries based on themes, people, or periods.

Curating your photos in this manner allows you to access and enjoy them whenever you need a mood boost or a moment of respite.

3.  Engage with photos mindfully.

When viewing old photos, practise mindfulness by fully immersing yourself in the experience.

Take the time to notice the details, colours, and emotions present in each image, and allow yourself to be transported back to that moment in time.

4.  Share your cherished memories.

Sharing old photos with friends and family can foster a sense of connection, as you reminisce about shared experiences and celebrate the bonds that have endured through the years.

This communal engagement can amplify the positive emotions evoked by old photos and contribute to a greater sense of satisfaction and belonging.

Celebrate today with old photos

The power of old photos to improve mood, promote relaxation, and enhance satisfaction cannot be understated.

By embracing the nostalgia and emotions they evoke, you can nurture your well-being and create a deeper appreciation for the memories and relationships that helped shape your life. And once you reach a happy and fulfilling retirement, you can look back at old photographs and congratulate yourself and say, yes, you did okay.

If this article has inspired you to think about your own unique situation and, more importantly, what you, your family or your business are going through right now, please contact our office for an appointment with one of our advisers.

This information does not take into account the objectives, financial needs or legal situation of any person or business. Before making a decision, you should consider whether it is appropriate in light of your particular objectives. Our news articles contain general information about a variety of topics for your enjoyment. They are of a general nature only and aimed to get you thinking about newsworthy topics. This information is not a substitute for specific legal, financial, insurance or accounting advice.

(Feedsy Exclusive)

 

 

Caravan lifestyle in Australia

A rising number of Australians are searching for alternative life experiences that provide them with a sense of independence from city life and a connection to nature.

Caravan living can be for you if you’re looking for new experiences or wish to live simply. Even though living in a van or camper is considered an unusual lifestyle choice, there are several ways to make life on the road enjoyable and fulfilling.

The transition from living in a conventional home to a caravan or motorhome requires some getting used to. However, you can expect to reap the rewards of living on the go with the right preparation and resources.

So, if you plan to embark on the caravan lifestyle in Australia, here are its 3 major benefits to help keep you motivated.

1. It’s one way to downsize and live a simple yet satisfying life.

Because of the limited space in a caravan, you’ll need to get rid of items that are no longer useful to you. It also won’t be practical to purchase more or new things simply because you lack space.

With fewer purchases, you lessen your environmental impact. You also consume less water and electricity and minimise waste, thereby lowering your carbon footprint. Opting for the caravan lifestyle in Australia will help to declutter your life. This way, you also learn to value the things that are really important, like cultivating connections and spending time at peace with nature.

2. It can help you cut costs and save money.

By choosing to live the caravan lifestyle, you’ll be sparing yourself the stress of paying utility bills, council fees, and home maintenance. You’ll also be less prone to impulse buys as you’ll be focused only on shopping for essentials.

If you’re renting now, consider how much you’ll be saving if you give up your rented home and start living on the road where space is essentially free or, at the very least, quite affordable in caravan parks.

Also, purchasing and maintaining a caravan cost a whole lot less than buying a house and investing in its yearly upkeep. As long as you’re committed to living a minimalist way of life, then the caravan lifestyle would be perfect for you.

3. It offers endless opportunities to explore the wonders of nature.

Australia is renowned for having a diverse landscape, so there are tons of possibilities for what you can see and do while living in a caravan.

Whether you choose to station yourself close to a beach, river, mountain or forest, you’ll never run out of places to visit and explore. You have a wonderful chance to take in the beauty and tranquillity of nature every day.

Ease into the caravan lifestyle slowly

If you’re making a transition from conventional to caravan living, think about the latter as a lifestyle and no longer a holiday if you want to succeed while doing it full-time.

It is ideal to ease into a daily pattern that includes chores, regular mealtimes, and lots of relaxation rather than trying to pack activities into one day. After all, if you adjust successfully, you’ll be doing this for a really long time.

And as long as you don’t mind giving up the creature comforts of the conventional life, then you might just succeed in living the caravan lifestyle.

If this article has inspired you to think about your own unique situation and, more importantly, what you and your family are going through right now, please contact our office.

(Feedsy Exclusive)

When is the best time to retire?

Retirement – a phase many of us daydream about.

Whether it involves spending more time with family, traveling the world, or volunteering for a cause we’re passionate about, one thing is certain: retirement costs money.

So, when should you take the plunge into retirement, and how much money is enough to comfortably retire on?

What Is the Best Age to Retire?

Ultimately, deciding when to retire is a highly personal choice. However, here are some key considerations:

Average Retirement Age: Of the 140,000 Australians who retired in 2020, the average age was 64.3. Most people still expect to retire in their mid-to-late- 60s.

Financial Factors: Your ability to finance retirement plays a crucial role. Key sources of income for retirees include:

  • Government Pension: Currently, the government pension is the primary source of personal income for retirees in Australia.
  • Superannuation: Many retirees rely on their superannuation funds or account-based pensions (drawn from their super balance).
  • Age Pension: For those born on or after 1 January 1957, the qualifying age for the age pension is 67.
Factors to Consider Before Retiring:
  • Assets: Evaluate your assets, including home ownership, savings, and investments outside of super.
  • Annual Expenses: Understand your annual spending needs.
  • Savings: Decide how much you’re willing to dip into your savings.
  • Housing: Consider downsizing or selling your house.
  • Part-Time Work: Decide if you’ll continue working part-time after retiring.
  • Age Pension Entitlements: Keep in mind that earning over a certain amount per fortnight can affect the amount of pension you receive, however, recent changes allow an age pensioner to earn more from working without it affecting their age pension.
But it is not just about the money

While the financial aspects of retirement are vitally important, it is not the only consideration. In many ways, and perhaps more importantly, the non-financial aspects need to be considered carefully. Ask yourself, and honestly answer the following questions:

How will you spend your time: A couple of weeks in retirement will just feel like being on holiday, but how will you adjust to every week being like the weekend?

Will you suffer from irrelevance? When people are working and are part of a workplace structure, they have a certain status that comes with the position they hold. They may be an expert in a particular field. However, in retirement, that status may simply evaporate.

Has your health called “full time”? For some, the time to retire may be heralded by physical or mental health concerns. Perhaps either the brain or the body is no longer able to cope with the day-to-day pressure of work. Sadly, for some, this may be at a time much earlier than they would have liked.

Caring for others: The current generation of people entering retirement is sometimes referred to as the “sandwich generation”. They become the carers for their grandchildren and their older parents and relatives. While the need to care for others will often be the driver behind people deciding to retire, careful consideration needs to be given to incorporating plenty of time for yourself. You should not swap one full-time job for another (unpaid) full-time job.

While finances and other personal circumstances can dictate the right time to retire, merely retiring because you have reached some arbitrary age dictated by a bureaucrat somewhere in their ivory tower should not be an option. Remember, in Australia, there is generally no mandatory retirement age.

Retire on your terms and when it is best for you.

Seek qualified, independent financial advice to tailor your retirement plan to your specific circumstances. Remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach, but thoughtful planning can help you transition into a fulfilling retirement phase.  If you wish to discuss your options, please contact our office to speak with an advisor.

Peter Kelly (Centrepoint Alliance; Realise Your Dream 27/07/2023)

March 2024

 

With the heat of summer passing, that means it’s time for our Autumn Newsletter.

Our major article discusses the upcoming tax changes coming into effect on 30 June, but we also have a mix of other articles.

If anything in our newsletter has raised questions, please free to contact our office on 07 3396 4204 to speak with one of our advisors, or to make an appointment.

If you would like our newsletters to be sent direct to your inbox, contact us on jbellas@jbfs.com.au

Prepare for Life Autumn 2024

February 2024

 

 

Redefining Riches: Embracing a Holistic Vision of Wealth in the 21st Century

Wealth, traditionally measured by the yardstick of financial resources, has undergone a paradigm shift, mirroring the evolving values of today’s society. The contemporary concept of wealth transcends the accumulation of money, recognising that a truly prosperous life is multidimensional, incorporating education, healthcare, job satisfaction, and the richness of social connections.

In the broadened vista of prosperity, education emerges as a foundational element. It is a form of wealth that equips individuals with the tools to navigate the world, providing them with the opportunity to develop skills, foster critical thinking, and open doors to new possibilities. This intellectual capital is invaluable, offering the means for social mobility and the ability to adapt to an ever-changing economic landscape.

Healthcare, too, is a critical component of modern wealth. Access to quality healthcare ensures that individuals can live longer, healthier lives, and engage fully in society. It is the bedrock of human capital; without health, all other aspects of wealth can scarcely be enjoyed. In fact, robust health is often a precursor to the ability to generate and sustain financial wealth.

The role of job satisfaction in defining wealth has also become increasingly evident. Employment that offers fulfillment, purpose, and a sense of contribution to the greater good contributes to an individual’s sense of wealth. It is not merely about earning a paycheck, but also about enjoying what one does, growing in one’s career, and feeling valued and respected in the workplace. This aspect of wealth feeds into an individual’s self-esteem and general well-being.

Additionally, the wealth of social connections is now acknowledged as a pillar of a prosperous life. Relationships with family, friends, and community provide emotional support, create a sense of belonging, and have been shown to have significant benefits for mental and physical health. In many respects, the quality of these connections can be more telling of one’s wealth than the balance in their bank account.

This holistic approach to wealth acknowledges that financial security is important but not sufficient on its own. True prosperity is about living a life infused with joy, purpose, and connection. It recognises that an individual could be financially rich yet impoverished in other critical areas of life. Conversely, someone with modest financial means might be considered wealthy in a more holistic sense if they have a rich network of supportive relationships, robust health, meaningful employment, and a solid educational foundation.

In rethinking wealth, society is coming to terms with the limitations of a purely materialistic view of prosperity. It is a realisation that in the pursuit of a good life, the intangible assets of well-being, fulfillment, and community are invaluable currencies. The evolving concept of prosperity is about achieving a balance, where financial wealth is one aspect of a richer tapestry of resources that individuals strive to weave together.

As the world grapples with challenges such as economic inequality, climate change, and technological disruption, this expanded definition of wealth offers a guiding light. It suggests that policies aimed at increasing societal wealth should not only focus on economic growth but also on enhancing education, healthcare access, job quality, and community strength.

This evolution in the concept of wealth is not just philosophical but practical. It has implications for how societies structure their economies, for how businesses operate and for how individuals prioritise their time and resources. In a world that is increasingly interconnected and complex, the ability to adapt, learn, collaborate, and maintain well-being is as much a part of wealth as financial resources.

Rethinking wealth to encompass these broader dimensions is about enriching the human experience and ensuring that prosperity is not just a privilege for the few, but a shared experience, accessible and attainable for all. It is about crafting a society where every individual has the opportunity to build and enjoy a mosaic of resources that together constitute a life well-lived.

If this article has inspired you to think about your own unique situation and, more importantly, what you and your family are going through right now, please contact your advice professional.

This information does not take into account the objectives, financial situation or needs of any person. Before making a decision, you should consider whether it is appropriate in light of your particular objectives, financial situation or needs.

 (Feedsy Exclusive)

 

The Cornerstone of a Bright Future: The Importance of a Good Education for Your Child

As parents, we naturally desire the best for our children, aiming to lay down a path that leads to a fulfilling and prosperous future. One of the most critical and impactful steps on this journey is ensuring a good education for our children. A well-rounded education goes beyond the confines of academic excellence, shaping the character, nurturing the intellect, and broadening the perspectives of young minds. It’s important to recognise that a quality education doesn’t necessarily equate to a hefty price tag. With thoughtful research, planning, and involvement, parents can provide their children with an excellent educational foundation without breaking the bank.

The Value of a Strong Educational Foundation
  • Academic Achievement and Career Prospects: A good education opens doors to various academic and professional opportunities. It equips children with the necessary skills and knowledge to excel in their chosen fields, providing a stepping stone to higher education and lucrative careers.
  • Cognitive and Social Development: Education shapes the way children think, reason, and understand the world. It fosters critical thinking, problem-solving, and decision-making skills. Moreover, it offers a social environment where children learn to communicate, collaborate, and respect diverse perspectives.
  • Long-term Economic Benefits: Investing in your child’s education is investing in their future. An educated individual is more likely to secure a well-paying job, enjoy job stability, and contribute positively to society.
Making Quality Education Affordable
  • Early Planning and Saving: The earlier you start saving for your child’s education, the better. Explore education savings plans, scholarships, and grants. Even small, regular contributions to a savings plan can grow over time, easing the financial burden when your child is ready for higher education.
  • Research and Explore Options: Not all great schools come with a high price tag. Research different educational institutions, considering their teaching philosophies, curricula, and the overall environment. Sometimes, the best option might be a less expensive one that aligns perfectly with your child’s needs and your family’s values.
  • Take Advantage of Public Resources: Utilise public libraries, community centres, and online resources. Many organisations offer free or low-cost learning materials and programs. Encouraging your child to participate in community events and activities can also enrich their educational experience.
The Power of Parental Involvement
  • Quality Time and Shared Experiences: Engaging in educational activities together strengthens the parent-child bond and reinforces learning. Read together, explore museums, or simply discuss daily events. These shared experiences contribute to a child’s intellectual and emotional development.
  • Mutual Respect and Lifelong Memories: Being actively involved in your child’s education and interests fosters a relationship built on mutual respect and understanding. It creates a supportive environment where learning is valued and achievements are celebrated, leaving a lasting impression and a wealth of cherished memories.
  • Setting an Example: Children learn a great deal by observing their parents. Show your commitment to learning by pursuing your interests, reading, and embracing new experiences. Your attitude towards education will inspire your child to value and pursue their own educational journey.

In conclusion, the importance of a good education cannot be overstated. It is a gift that keeps on giving, paving the way for a future filled with possibilities and success. As parents, your role is pivotal. Through early financial planning, diligent research, and active involvement, you can provide your child with this invaluable asset. Remember, education is not just about schooling; it’s a lifelong journey that you embark on together with your child, enriched with shared experiences, mutual respect, and countless memories.

If this article has inspired you to think about your own unique situation and, more importantly, what you and your family are going through right now, please contact your advice professional.

This information does not take into account the objectives, financial situation or needs of any person. Before making a decision, you should consider whether it is appropriate in light of your particular objectives, financial situation or needs.

(Feedsy Exclusive)

 

Essential Checklist: Preparing for Your Will Drafting Session with a Lawyer

Preparing a will is an important step in managing your estate and ensuring your wishes are honoured after you pass away. Before meeting with a lawyer to draft your will, it’s beneficial to have several items prepared to make the process as smooth and comprehensive as possible. Here’s a list of things to consider and have ready for your meeting:

List of Assets:

Compile a detailed list of your assets, including real estate properties, bank accounts, investments (stocks, bonds, mutual funds), retirement accounts, life insurance policies, and personal property of value (jewellery, art, collectibles).

Debts and Liabilities:

Document all debts and liabilities, such as mortgages, loans, credit card debts, and any other financial obligations.

Beneficiaries:

Decide who you want to inherit your assets. Beneficiaries can include family members, friends, or organizations such as charities. Think about alternates in case your primary beneficiaries predecease you.

Guardianship Wishes:

If you have minor children or dependents, consider who you would want to take guardianship of them in your absence. It’s advisable to discuss your wishes with potential guardians before naming them in your will.

Executor:

Choose an executor for your will. This person will be responsible for carrying out the terms of your will and managing your estate after your death. It should be someone you trust and who is capable of handling the responsibilities.

Special Instructions:

Think about any specific instructions you may have, such as funeral arrangements or how you want certain personal items to be distributed.

Legal Documents:

Gather any existing legal documents that may be relevant, such as previous wills, trusts, divorce decrees, prenuptial agreements, or business agreements.

Digital Assets:

Consider your digital assets, including social media accounts, digital wallets, online banking accounts, and digital collections (photos, music, etc.). Decide how you want these managed or distributed.

Tax Considerations:

Although your lawyer can provide advice on this, it’s good to have an understanding of potential tax implications for your estate and beneficiaries.

Questions and Concerns:

Write down any questions or concerns you may have for your lawyer regarding the will or the estate planning process in general.

Having these items prepared before your meeting can help ensure that your will accurately reflects your wishes and provides clear instructions for managing your estate. It also makes the process more efficient and can reduce the time and cost involved in drafting your will.

If this article has inspired you to think about your own unique situation and, more importantly, what you and your family are going through right now, please contact your advice professional.

This information does not take into account the objectives, financial situation or needs of any person. Before making a decision, you should consider whether it is appropriate in light of your particular objectives, financial situation or needs.

(Feedsy Exclusive)

Setting financial goals for 2024

The new year is a great time to reflect on your financial situation and plan for the future. Whether you want to save more, pay off debt, invest wisely, or simply live within your means, setting financial goals can help you achieve your desired outcomes. Here are some tips on how to set realistic and attainable financial goals for 2024.

Start with your “why”

Before you set any specific numbers or targets, think about why you want to improve your finances.

What are your values, dreams, and priorities?

How do you want to feel about your money?

Having a clear vision of your purpose can motivate you to stick to your goals and overcome challenges.

Assess your current situation

To set effective goals, you need to know where you stand right now.

Review your income, expenses, assets, liabilities, and net worth.

Track your spending habits and identify areas where you can save or cut costs.

Analyse your debt and interest rates and plan how to pay them off as soon as possible.

Set SMART goals

SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. These criteria can help you create clear and actionable goals that are aligned with your vision and values.

For example, instead of saying “I want to save more money”, a SMART goal would be “I want to save $10,000 by December 31, 2024 for a down payment on a house”.

Break down your goals into smaller steps

Once you have your SMART goals, divide them into smaller and manageable tasks that you can do on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.

For example, if your goal is to save $10,000 in a year, you can break it down into saving $833 per month or $192 per week. This way, you can track your progress and celebrate your achievements along the way.

Review and adjust your goals regularly

Setting financial goals is not a one-time event. You need to monitor your performance and evaluate your results periodically. If you are falling behind or facing unexpected challenges, don’t give up. Instead, adjust your goals accordingly and find ways to overcome the obstacles.

On the other hand, if you are ahead of schedule or have achieved your goals early, don’t stop there. You can either set new goals or increase the difficulty of your existing ones.

By Peter Kelly on 25 January 2024

 

December 2023

 

 

From everyone at John Bellas Financial Services, we thank you for your continued support and loyalty and wish you and your families a joyous Christmas and a safe and happy New Year.
Our office will be closing on Thursday, 21 December 2023 and will be reopening on Monday 8 January 2024.

 

 

Are you concerned about Deepfakes?  Do you know what they are?  Could you recognise one?

In this 3 minute video, Westpac’s head of fraud and financial crime shares tips on how to spot a deepfake.

SCAM SPOT: Deepfakes getting Aussies in deep trouble

Are you on our mailing list?  If so, you would have received our end of year, Christmas Newsletter, including a personal look at what 2023 was all about for our JBFS Team Members.

If you didn’t receive a copy by email, you can access it here – Newsletter 2023

Want to receive our quarterly newsletter by email?  Simply email us at hello@jbfs.com.au to arrange a copy.

 

 

November 2023

2023 Client Evening

 

We had our second annual Client Evening last friday (24/11/2023) at Manly Harbour Boat Club.  We had a wonderful night meeting up with clients and it was great to chat and enjoy each others company.

There are many more photos on our Facebook page Facebook – John Bellas Financial Services.

If you didn’t make it, keep an eye out for the next one, coming in 2024!

         

 

Quality is what people remember

Like other well-known fashion houses that have stood the test of time, Gucci is an iconic brand that has always been focused on quality. From the leather bags they made for saddles in the 1920s to the clothes and accessories the brand is known for today, Gucci is living proof that quality always trumps cost.

Quality is what people remember, and it’s what will set you apart in your field or industry. Whether you’re a business owner, consultant, athlete, or employee, improving the quality of your work is essential to building a successful brand.

But how, exactly, can you improve the quality of your work? Here are some tips that can help you in your quest to achieve a high standard of quality in everything that you do.

1. Know how you stack up against the best

To know what you need to do to improve, you need a standard or model against which you can measure your performance. Therefore, knowing who’s at the top of their game in your field of expertise or industry is crucial. How do you compare with them? What can you do to attain their level of growth or quality?

2. Strive to improve continuously

Learning from feedback and striving for continuous improvement should be daily practice. Honest feedback from bosses, customers, and peers is crucial to understanding where you stand and what you need to work on. Even positive feedback should be taken as an opportunity to become a better version of yourself.

3. Invest in yourself

Investing time and money in training is another way to improve the quality of your work. When you work on honing your skills and acquiring more qualifications, the return on investment can be immense, as they can also lead to more and better opportunities.

4. Use mistakes as opportunities to do and be better

Going the extra mile is essential to improving quality. When something goes wrong, rather than feeling frustrated, take it as an opportunity to shine. Be sure to apologise, fix the issue, and learn from your mistake. Giving more than what’s expected to resolve an issue shines a light on how great your quality is as a person.

Thousands of people compete for the same job, spot on a team, or business, so standing out from the crowd is essential. And remember, it’s not the price that matters, so investing in quality pays off in the long run.

If this article has inspired you to think about your own unique situation and, more importantly, what you and your family are going through right now, please contact the appropriate advice professional.

This information does not take into account the objectives, financial situation or needs of any person. Before making a decision, you should consider whether it is appropriate in light of your particular objectives, financial situation or needs.

(Feedsy Exclusive)

If you currently have any policies with AIA, please read this notice from them –

 

We have recently been made aware of a scam email claiming to be from AIA. The email requested personal information in relation to a refund. If you or your clients have received this email, delete it immediately and report it as spam.

What happened?

AIA has been made aware of a scam email sent to some of our customers requesting their personal information in relation to a refund.

What do I need to do?

If you or your clients received this email, delete it immediately and report it as spam.

What should I do if I provided my personal information?

If you or your clients are ever unsure if an email or message is from AIA Australia, call us or email us on the below details.

You can also contact IDCARE on 1800 595 160. IDCARE is a free, government-funded service that provides support to victims of identity crime. In addition, visit the ScamWatch website for more information on scams.

What does my client need to do in the future?

If you or your clients are ever unsure if an email or message is from AIA Australia, call us or email us on the below details.

We’re here to help

Our dedicated and friendly team are available to address any questions or concerns you may have regarding this matter. Contact us on 1800 333 613(AEST/AEDT), Monday to Friday, excluding public holidays or email us at au.customer@aia.com.

Kind regards,

AIA Australia

The feeling of financial security

Financial security is a universal goal that transcends income brackets and age groups. It is not solely determined by the amount of money one possesses or earns, but rather by the feeling of reassurance and peace of mind that comes with knowing your financial well-being is protected. While financial insecurity is a prevalent concern for many, it is important to distinguish between being financially secure and feeling financially secure. True financial security encompasses not only a stable financial position but also the knowledge, routines, and plans necessary to maintain that sense of security.

Life Insurance

Among the various aspects of financial security, life insurance plays a crucial role in providing a profound feeling of reassurance. Life insurance serves as a safety net for your loved ones, ensuring their well-being and financial stability in the unfortunate event of your untimely demise. The knowledge that your family will be looked after, even when you are no longer able to provide for them, instils a sense of comfort and peace of mind that is invaluable.

Life insurance offers a financial cushion that can alleviate the burden of expenses that arise following a loss. It provides the means to cover mortgage payments, educational costs, and daily living expenses, thereby enabling your family to maintain their standard of living during a difficult time. Additionally, life insurance funds can be utilised to settle outstanding debts, such as credit cards or loans, that may otherwise become overwhelming for your loved ones. By alleviating financial strains, life insurance affords your family the opportunity to focus on healing and moving forward.

It is crucial to recognise that life insurance is not limited to the primary breadwinner of a family. Even if you are a stay-at-home parent or a non-working spouse, your contributions to the household hold immense value and must be safeguarded. The loss of a stay-at-home parent can have significant financial implications, as their responsibilities may need to be outsourced, such as childcare or household management. Life insurance can provide the necessary financial resources to cover these costs, allowing the surviving spouse to continue supporting the family without undue strain.

Feelings and Attitudes

True financial security extends beyond material wealth; it encompasses an individual’s feelings and attitudes toward their finances. By obtaining life insurance, you take a proactive step toward achieving a sense of financial security. It demonstrates your commitment to the well-being of your loved ones, even in the face of uncertainty. Life insurance serves as a safety net, protecting your family from the financial hardships that may arise from unforeseen circumstances.

Importantly, financial insecurity can impact individuals and families across all income levels. Unexpected events can disrupt stability, regardless of one’s financial situation. Therefore, life insurance is a vital tool for mitigating the risks associated with such unforeseen circumstances and providing a safety net for your loved ones.

The feeling of security that accompanies life insurance is crucial for both personal peace of mind and the overall well-being of your family. It ensures that your loved ones are protected financially in the event of your passing. True financial security is not solely determined by monetary wealth but also by the presence of plans and provisions to safeguard your loved ones. Life insurance plays an indispensable role in achieving this sense of security, offering a solid foundation for your family’s future. By embracing life insurance, you demonstrate your commitment to their well-being and provide them with the means to face the future with confidence.

If this article has inspired you to think about your own unique situation and, more importantly, what you and your family are going through right now, please contact our office to speak with one of our advisors.

This information does not take into account the objectives, financial situation or needs of any person. Before making a decision, you should consider whether it is appropriate in light of your particular objectives, financial situation or needs.

 (Feedsy Exclusive)

 

Types of ethical investing plus the pros & cons

The investment technique known as ethical investing prioritises the investor’s moral, religious and social ideals over financial gain. The reason for this is that a growing number of investors have begun to demand social responsibility from the companies they invest in, primarily because of the rise in dubious and unlawful investment arrangements.

Ethical investing entails fair labour practices, the production of healthy and beneficial goods and services, and abstaining from unethical business activities.

Investors who want to utilise their money to support good causes should consider ethical investment. Those who are interested in this type of venture have several options to choose from.

Types of Ethical Investments

Below is a list of the different types of ethical investments:

1. Environmental, Social and Governance Funds (ESG Funds)

ESG investment strategies target shares in businesses that follow good corporate, social and environmental practices. ESG funds take into account the potential effects that environmental, social and governance factors may have on a company’s performance when making investment decisions.

2. Faith-Based Funds

Faith-based funds (aka morally or biblically responsible, or faith-driven funds) only own stocks that uphold certain religious principles and values. This family of mutual funds rigorously avoids investments that do not match that category. They wouldn’t invest in companies involved with alcohol, anti-family entertainment, gambling, tobacco and similar potentially offensive practices.

3. Impact Funds

Impact investing is a term used to describe an investment approach where ethical improvements or positive results for the community and environment take precedence over fund performance or financial returns. Examples of this include investing in non-profits or businesses producing or using clean technology.

4. Socially Responsible Investing Funds (SRI Funds)

Socially responsible investing entails eschewing investments in contentious industries or companies that manufacture or provide addictive substances or activities or whose products or services go against the principles of social justice, sustainability and clean technology. This is why SRI funds steer clear of businesses involved in gambling, guns and ammunition, tobacco, alcohol and oil.

Pros and Cons of Ethical Investing

It’s important to be aware of its pros and cons, so you know exactly what to expect when ethical investing.

Pros:
  • When an ethical holding company performs well, the investor benefits financially and emotionally as the business shares their ideals.
  • Investments in ethical funds have a great potential to increase dramatically as more people become aware of them.
  • The growing relevance and popularity of ethical investing will motivate other companies to raise the bar on their ethical standards in order to attract investors.
Cons:
  • It takes a lot of investigation or due diligence to verify that investing in a business is in line with the investor’s values and views because it is not a passive strategy.
  • Since ethical investment may not offer the best returns, the investor may need to forgo financial benefits in favour of upholding their ethical philosophy.
  • More work and research goes into finding the right investment, so the costs for ethical investing can be higher compared to conventional investments.

That being said, the number of investors who want to make a positive impact on the society and environment is expected to continue growing.

If this article has inspired you to think about your own unique situation please contact our office to make and appointment to speak with an adviser.

(Feedsy Exclusive)

October 2023

 

Cyber security: don’t set and forget

Cybersecurity should not be a set and forget function for businesses and we recommend you check your security monthly. Throughout 2021–22, one cybercrime was reported every 7 minutes to the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC). To avoid being a target for these criminals, implement these 4 simple steps:

  1. Don’t compromise your device/s. Install updates for your devices and software. Regular updates ensure you have the latest security in place. You can turn on automatic updates so future updates are made as soon as they’re available.
  2. Turn on multi-factor authentication (MFA) to protect your valuable information and accounts from criminals. MFA options include an authenticator app, physical token, email or SMS.
  3. Back up your files regularly. Hardware failure, theft, or a virus could result in the loss of critical business information. Recovering data can be expensive and sometimes impossible.
  4. Change your password to a passphrase as they’re more secure. Passphrases use 4 or more random words and tend to be more unique, longer in length and less predictable than a password. You can even use a password manager to help you generate or store passphrases.

Cybercrime can be costly for businesses, but there are resources for business  to help you improve the cyber security of your business and the cyber practices of your staff.

You can also use the Exercise in a Box tool  to develop and test your business’s cyber threat response and understand where cyber practices in your business can be improved.

Last modified: 12 Oct 2023 – QC 73356 – https://www.ato.gov.au/Business/Small-business-newsroom/General/Cyber-security—don-t-set-and-forget/?SmallBusNewsroomLanding

 

The meaning, importance & benefits of time management

It is often said that ‘Time and tide wait for no one.’ Therefore, to achieve success in life, one needs to develop a deep appreciation for time.

Anyone can benefit from time management — whether in school, in the office or with life in general. You can realise your career goals, boost productivity, reduce stress, and experience better work-life balance by knowing how to manage your time.

In this post, we’ll talk about effective time management. We’ll discuss the importance of time management and the many benefits it provides.

Meaning of time management

Time management refers to the practice of organising and planning how you can split your time between specific tasks and objectives. Effective time management ensures you devote the appropriate amount of time to certain activities to achieve your goals for the day, week, month or year.

Individuals applying time management typically assign specific time slots to activities based on their importance or relevance. And since time is finite, the goal of time management is to make the most of one’s available time.

Importance and benefits of time management

To realise the value or importance of time management, one must be aware of the consequences of failing to use time effectively.

  • Low quality work
  • Mistakes or errors
  • Missed deadlines
  • Poor workflow
  • Career stagnation
  • High levels of stress

When we understand the value of time management and plan to apply it, we become more effective at work and in life. We can even transform our lives and the world around us by working toward developing effective time management skills.

Below are other benefits of time management:

  • Increase in productivity
  • Stress reduction
  • Adequate rest and sleep
  • More time and energy for leisure
  • Improved focus
  • High-quality work
  • Good reputation in the workplace
  • Finish more projects and fulfil everyday goals
  • Better decision-making skills
  • Increase in confidence and self-worth
Strategies to manage time effectively

If you want to know how to improve time management and implement it right away, here are some effective techniques, so you can start experiencing the benefits of using your 24 hours a day wisely.

  • Set objectives that are achievable and measurable.
  • Prioritise tasks based on their urgency and importance.
  • Learn to delegate tasks whenever possible.
  • Set time limits for task completion.
  • Take breaks in between task performance.
  • Plan and organise your schedule.
  • Eliminate non-essential, time-wasting activities.

These strategies do not require special tools or devices to implement.

What you need is the commitment and discipline to make better use of your time, so you can stress less, achieve more, and live a full, well-balanced life.

If this article has inspired you to think about your own unique situation and, more importantly, what you and your family are going through right now, please contact your advice professional.

(Feedsy Exclusive)

 

 

 

What is dollar cost averaging and is it a good way to invest?

Investing can be a challenging exercise, although the principle behind it is deceptively simple: buy when prices are low. However, this is easier said than done. Even seasoned investors who attempt to time the market to buy at the most advantageous periods don’t expect to succeed every single time.

Good thing there’s a proven investment strategy you can adopt that can make it simpler to manage your investments in a volatile market. It’s a method that allows you to purchase more when prices are lower and buy less when costs are higher. This investment approach is called dollar cost averaging.

Dollar cost averaging – the basics

Dollar cost averaging involves investing the same amount of money in a target security (e.g., stocks, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), mutual funds, etc.) at regular intervals within a set timeframe. This means you’ll be purchasing shares regardless of price using the same sum of money.

Let’s say, for example, you’re thinking of investing $1,000 in stocks within the first five months of the year.

With dollar cost averaging, you’ll be investing $200 every month until you reach the fifth month.

Schedule Amount Share Price Shares Purchased
Month 1 $200 $10 20
Month 2 $200 $10 20
Month 3 $200 $8 25
Month 4 $200 $7 28.5
Month 5 $200 $9 22.2
TOTAL $1000 AVE. PRICE/SHARE: $8.64 TOTAL SHARES: 115.7

Else, you could invest the entire $1,000 at any time within your target timeframe.

However, for investors who want to make investing a habit and are aiming to lower their average cost per share, dollar cost averaging makes total sense.

Going back to the example, dollar cost averaging lets you take advantage of the lower share prices in Months 3, 4, and 5, thereby reducing the average cost per share. Although the price per share is $10 in the first two months, the average cost per share turns out to be $8.64, thanks to your investments in the last three months. You also get to accumulate a total of 115.7 shares.

Conversely, should you decide to invest the entire $1,000 in Month 1, you’ll be paying $10 per share and be able to purchase 100 shares – which is 15 shares less compared to when you apply dollar cost averaging.

You may think you can always invest the entire sum in Month 3 or 4 to get the best results.

However, as pointed out at the beginning of this post, timing the market is a risky exercise. You can never really tell with absolute certainty when prices are going up or down. You need to make very calculated risks for this strategy to work for you.

With dollar cost averaging, you can lessen the effect of volatility on your portfolio.

Give dollar cost averaging a try

If you’re new to investing, dollar cost averaging is a prudent investment strategy worth considering.

Not only does it encourage you to make regular investments, but it can also cushion your investment from the highs and lows the market goes through.

If this article has inspired you to think about your own unique situation and, more importantly, what you and your family are going through right now, please contact your advice professional.

(Feedsy Exclusive)

 

 

How many super accounts should I have?

One of the surprising things with superannuation is the lack of engagement people have with it.

It is not until retirement begins to appear on the distant horizon that many start to become more interested in how healthy, or otherwise, their retirement nest egg is looking.

One of the problems that has emerged with super over the years has been the proliferation of individual accounts. It was not uncommon for a person to have several individual accounts.

Each time a person changed jobs; a new super fund would be opened. This led to duplication of super accounts and with that, the duplication of fees and often, insurance cover.

However, in recent years the trend for people to have multiple accounts has been trending down which, for the most part, has been a good thing.

Recent changes to superannuation law now requires an employer to look for existing superannuation accounts before simply paying their new employees’ super to the employer’s default fund.

In addition, superannuation laws specifically require superannuation funds to identify and consolidate multiple superannuation accounts held by their members. This is referred to as intra-fund consolidation.

A recent review carried out by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) found that three out of nine trustees of superannuation funds did not have policies in place to identify members with multiple accounts. ASIC is working with super fund trustees to increase compliance in this area.

While the idea of consolidating super and eliminating multiple accounts will be desirable, there will be occasions where having more than one superannuation account is either necessary, or desirable.

Superannuation benefits will generally comprise of a taxable component and a tax-free component.

When it comes to estate planning, there may be value in making non-concessional contributions (which form part of the tax-free component) to a separate accumulation account thereby quarantining then from taxable superannuation benefits.

Often superannuation fund membership will include life and total and permanent disablement insurance cover. And, in many instances, this cover has been included without the need for the member to meet any medical requirements.

Therefore, for a superannuation fund member that has multiple superannuation accounts with embedded life insurance cover, and their health makes it unlikely they can obtain insurance either at all, or at an affordable price if they were medically underwritten, holding more than one superannuation account with life insurance attached can be a bonus.

There will be situations when consolidating superannuation accounts either cannot be done, or doing so would not be in a member’s best interest.

The obligations imposed on superannuation funds to consolidate their members multiple accounts into a single superannuation account may be contrary to some of the strategies that have been specifically structured to obtain a particular outcome.

With that in mind, it is important to pay attention to any correspondence you receive from your superannuation fund as reinstating a former situation, particularly if intra-fund consolidation has occurred, may be difficult and very time consuming.

Having a financial planner on your team can be worth its weight in gold when navigating the complexities of superannuation.

Peter Kelly (Centrepoint Alliance; Realise Your Dream 27/07/2023)

 

 

Retirement Lifestyles – which one will you choose?

For a long time, it may seem like old age and retirement are faraway life events. However, like everybody else, you age every day, and it’s only a matter of time until you realise that you’ll be retiring in a couple of years.

By that time, you might wonder what your lifestyle might be like. Well, it mostly depends on how you’re preparing for your financial future today.

And to help you envision how your life will be when retirement comes, here are six common retirement lifestyles according to Morgan Stanley.

1.  Home hobbyists

From the term itself, it’s easy to imagine what kind of activities preoccupy these retirees. They frequently spend a lot of money refurbishing their homes and may also engage in other interests. These may include vintage automobile restoration and contributing to charitable causes, leading to early spending that’s above what’s typical for a retiree.

2.  Entertainers

In order to enjoy the company of friends and family at home, entertainers spend a greater portion of their income on food and beverages. Compared to other retirees, their overall spending tends to decrease more quickly when they first enter retirement as their interest in entertaining begins to wane.

3.  Globetrotters

Everyone wants to travel, but globetrotters take it to the next level as they spend a significant portion of their income (even before retirement) on going from place to place. Their travel costs rise much higher when they retire because they have more free time for travel, particularly in the early and middle years of retirement.

4.  Early retirees

These retirees embrace the concept of carpe diem wholeheartedly, so they retire early and spend more money overall. They focus their spending on self-fulfilment or self-care, so travel and relaxation take precedence. This is an enjoyable retirement lifestyle if you have a sizable nest egg.

5.  Healthcare spenders

Prioritising their health above all else, healthcare spenders allocate a large portion of their discretionary income to paying for higher insurance premiums for supplemental plans, prescription drug costs, and specialised treatments that go beyond what’s covered by insurance.

6.  Average retirees

The spending habits of average retirees reflect the typical spending pattern of most retirees. They tend to spend more during the start of their retirement when they have a lot of activities planned — which are actually items they’ll be spending on. Then they spend less as they approach their mid-retirement years when they’ve done most of what they wanted to do. However, as they age and become frailer, they may see their expenses increasing, especially in relation to health and aged care.

Prepare for retirement today

Everyone has a dream retirement lifestyle, and whichever it is for you, preparation is key.

A dream retirement is achievable if you save diligently during your working years and make wise investment choices.

You can start planning for your retirement as early as now. With the help of your financial advisor, you should be able to prepare well for it.

If this article has inspired you to think about your own unique situation and, more importantly, what you and your family are going through right now, please contact our office to speak with one of our advisors.

(Feedsy Exclusive)

 

How to Travel on a Budget: Getting the Most Out of Your Trip

When wanderlust beckons, it’s easy to dream of jet-setting to exotic locations. However, those dreams could be held back by budgetary constraints.

The good news? Budget travel — because going on a holiday out of town doesn’t have to break the bank. With a bit of planning and savvy decision-making, you can see the world without exhausting your savings.

Here’s how you can travel on a budget:

1.  Plan and research

The first rule of budget travel is planning. This involves researching your destination, understanding the cost of living there, and planning your itinerary in advance.

Also, be on the lookout for budget-friendly destinations known for offering great value for money.

2. Monitor prices and book when they’re at their lowest

Research ticket and accommodation options, comparing prices across various booking sites. Check out local transport alternatives and their costs.

3.  Go for off-season travel

The timing of your trip can greatly impact the amount you’ll need to spend to have an enjoyable holiday. For example, flight and accommodation costs can drop significantly during off-peak periods, and attractions may offer discounted entry fees.

Travelling during the off-season or shoulder seasons means reaping not only the benefits of reduced prices but also fewer crowds and more relaxed, authentic experiences.

4.  Be accommodation-savvy

Luxury hotels are tempting but can quickly eat into your budget. Consider cheaper alternatives, such as budget hotels, hostels, vacation rentals, or even house swapping.

Consider accommodations that offer free breakfast or kitchen facilities, saving on meal costs. Staying farther from city centres or popular attractions can also mean considerable savings.

5.  Eat like a local

One of the quickest ways to overspend is by dining at tourist-trap restaurants. Instead, seek local food markets, street food stalls, or family-run eateries for affordable prices and authentic culinary adventures.

Self-catering is also an excellent way to save. Visit local supermarkets or farmers’ markets and prepare your own meals.

6.  Use public transport

Rather than relying on taxis or ride-sharing services, use public transport as much as possible. Many cities offer day or week passes, which can result in substantial savings.

You may also opt to walk or cycle. Both are free and enable you to explore at your own pace and get a better feel for the locale.

7.  Seek free activities

Every city has free or low-cost attractions or activities; all you need to do is do a bit of research to find out. These could be museums with free admission days, public parks, historic sites, free walking tours, or local festivals.

8.  Get travel insurance

While it’s an added expense, travel insurance is essential for budget travellers. It can save you from hefty bills in case of trip cancellations, lost luggage, or medical emergencies.

Travelling on a budget doesn’t mean compromising on the quality of your experience.

In fact, it can lead to more enriching, authentic, and memorable adventures.

So, embrace budget travel and start exploring the world.

If this article has inspired you to think about your own unique situation and, more importantly, what you and your family are going through right now, please contact your advice professional.

(Feedsy Exclusive)

 

The Essential Checklist for Effective Retirement Planning

Planning for retirement is not a task to be left until your final working years. The earlier you start, the more comfortable and enjoyable your retirement can be.

Here’s an essential checklist to help you navigate the path to effective retirement planning.

1.  Understand your retirement goals

Define what a successful retirement looks like to you.

Do you envision travelling around the world, taking up new hobbies, or perhaps starting a small business? Understanding your goals will help you determine the amount of savings you need to make your retirement dreams a reality.

2.  Assess your current financial status

Take stock of your current financial situation. This should include all your income sources, savings, investments, and outstanding debts.

A comprehensive understanding of your finances will lay the groundwork for a robust retirement plan.

3.  Set a retirement budget

Estimate your expenses based on your retirement lifestyle goals.

Remember to account for housing, food, healthcare, hobbies, travel, and potential emergencies. With an estimated budget, you can strategise your savings and investments to meet your projected needs.

4.  Maximise your pension contributions

Whether it’s a superannuation or any other pension scheme, make the most of your contributions.

Your goal should be to contribute enough to secure the maximum employer match if one is offered. The compound interest earned can significantly boost your retirement savings over time.

5.  Diversify your investments

Avoid putting all your eggs in one basket.

Diversification can help you spread risk and take advantage of different growth opportunities. Consult with a financial advisor to establish an investment portfolio that aligns with your risk tolerance and retirement goals.

6.  Review your insurance coverage

As you age, your insurance needs may change.

Make sure you have adequate health coverage and consider long-term care insurance. This can protect you from high out-of-pocket expenses that can deplete your retirement savings.

7.  Plan for taxes

Your tax obligations don’t disappear once you retire.

Understand how your retirement income will be taxed, and plan accordingly to minimise your tax liability. It might be worth consulting with a tax professional to help navigate these issues.

8.  Make time for estate planning

While it might seem early, establishing an estate plan is crucial. This can include creating a will, naming beneficiaries, and setting up power of attorney documents.

An estate plan will ensure your assets are distributed according to your wishes and can provide peace of mind for you and your loved ones.

9.  Regularly review your plan

Retirement planning isn’t a set-it-and-forget-it affair.

Review your plan periodically to account for major life changes like marriage, children, or a change in career. Adjustments may be necessary to ensure you’re still on track to meet your retirement goals.

Start planning for retirement today

Planning for your golden years can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be.

By following this detailed retirement checklist, you can create a strategic plan that aligns with your goals and helps ensure you get to live the lifestyle you want. And remember, it’s never too early or too late to plan for your retirement.

If this article has inspired you to think about your own unique situation and, more importantly, what you and your family are going through right now, please contact our office for an appointment with one of our advisors.

(Feedsy Exclusive)

 

 

How to take control of your spending habits

Key takeaways

  • Create a budget: aim to make it an accurate description of how your finances work. See where you could be spending more or spending less.
  • Create an emergency fund: putting aside even $50 a month can really add up.
  • Be honest with yourself: you need to name the spending problem to figure out the right long-term solution.
  • Ask for help: there are plenty of services out there that can help you take back control. You don’t have to figure it by yourself – talk to an expert.

Don’t let your finances stress you out. Instead, take back control by following some simple steps.

1.  Budget, budget, budget

One of the easiest ways to start getting your finances back on track is to make a detailed, realistic budget that you can stick to.

Assign your expenses to a broad category, like groceries, dining, entertainment, housing, transportation, taxes and insurance. Also tag each expense to indicate whether it is discretionary (a want) or mandatory (a need). And be realistic about whether an expense is mandatory.

The key to creating a successful budget is not setting unrealistic goals about how much you are going to save and how much extra money you will earn. Instead, use your budget to accurately track and describe how your finances work. Having a good idea of how much money you actually have, spend, and can save is the first step toward true financial wellbeing.

Moneysmart’s budget planner is a quick and easy budgeting tool that can help you get set in the right direction.

2.  Set up an emergency fund

Another way to reduce financial stress is to start building an emergency fund to cover unexpected costs. Ideally, you want to have enough stashed away to cover all your daily expenses for a few months.

If you are struggling with debt, building up a huge emergency fund might seem unrealistic. However, putting aside even $50 a month will quicky add up to a useful emergency fund.

3.  Be honest with yourself

After making a budget and starting an emergency fund, it might be to time to face up to some hard truths. Frequently, people have no idea where their money is going, and they have no idea how all those separate purchases add up.

Once you start tracking your transactions, look at how many repeating charges are happening—from subscription services like Netflix and Binge, to your gym or other vendors. Think about whether you’re still using and enjoying those services. If you aren’t, unsubscribe!

Spending can also often emotional – addressing the underlying cause of your spending can help you gain control over it. A shopping list lets you plan your purchases in advance. Once you get into the habit of using a shopping list, you can use it to refuse to buy items that are not on the list.

Another tip is to translate money into time. That is, figure out how many hours you will have to work to pay for the item you want to buy, Taking the time to convert money into time will make the cost more tangible and less abstract.

4.  Track your progress

As you begin to pay down your debt, make sure you track this progress! You can even reward yourself for your hard work by giving yourself an incentive. For instance, for every $200 you save, maybe spend $20 on a nice bottle of wine.

5.  Seek help from an expert

Financial advice is a great way to help you when you are in financial stress. Some of the ways financial coaching can help you include:

  • Budgeting: making sure you know exactly what’s coming in and going out of your accounts.
  • Managing your debts: helping you eliminate credit card debt and reduce the amount of non-deductible interest you pay.
  • Setting financial goals: by setting short-term, mid-term and long-term financial goals, you’ll be step closer to being financially secure. Getting a sense for when you might want to reach each goal can help you make choices about how to use money you’ve already saved and how to continue saving and growing your money to help meet those goals.

This article is issued by OnePath Custodians Pty Limited (OnePath Custodians) ABN 12 008 508 496, RSE L0000673, AFSL 238346 and OnePath Funds Management Limited (OnePath Funds Management) ABN 21 003 002 800, AFSL 238342. OnePath Custodians and OnePath Funds Management are part of the Insignia Financial Group of companies, consisting of Insignia Financial Limited ABN 49 100 103 722 and its related bodies corporate (Insignia Financial Group).

You should read the relevant Financial Services Guide (FSG), Product Disclosure Statement (PDS), Target Market Determination (TMD), Additional Information Guide (AIG), Investment Funds Guide (IFG), and product and other updates and consider whether the products are right for you before making a decision to acquire, or to continue to hold any product.

Taxation law is complex, and this information has been prepared as a guide only and does not represent taxation advice. Please see your tax adviser for independent taxation advice.

Before re-directing your super or moving your money into your product, you will need to consider whether there are any adverse consequences for you, including loss of benefits (e.g. insurance cover), investment options and performance, functionality, increase in investment risks and where your future employer contributions will be paid. Any investment is subject to investment risk, including possible repayment delays and loss of income and principal invested. Returns can go up and down. Past performance is not indicative of future performance.

While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information, it is not guaranteed. It is based on our understanding of regulations and laws as at the publication date. As these are subject to change you should talk to a professional adviser for the most up-to-date information.

 

September 2023

 

Life insurance is the essential safety net

Life insurance is an essential financial tool that provides a safety net for individuals, their families, and their businesses. It offers protection and peace of mind by ensuring financial stability in the face of unexpected circumstances. Whether it’s protecting oneself, loved ones, or business interests, having life insurance is crucial. Here are the top reasons why life insurance is necessary to safeguard yourself, your family, and your business.

First and foremost, life insurance provides financial protection for you and your loved ones. It acts as a safety net that ensures your family’s well-being in the event of your untimely demise. It can help cover funeral expenses, outstanding debts, mortgages, and other financial obligations, relieving your family from unnecessary burdens during an already difficult time. Life insurance can also replace lost income, ensuring that your family can maintain their standard of living and meet ongoing expenses such as education, healthcare, and daily living costs.

Life insurance becomes even more critical when you have dependents or children who rely on your income. It can provide a financial cushion, allowing your family to maintain their lifestyle and meet their long-term goals, even if you’re no longer there to provide for them. The payout from a life insurance policy can help secure their future by funding education expenses and ensuring they have a stable financial foundation.

Furthermore, life insurance is vital for business owners and entrepreneurs. It can protect your business from financial setbacks caused by the loss of a key person or owner. If you have a business partner, a life insurance policy can fund a buy-sell agreement, ensuring a smooth transition of ownership in the event of your partner’s untimely death. Additionally, life insurance can be used to cover business debts, provide capital for business continuity, or act as collateral for loans.

Life insurance can also play a role in estate planning, especially for those with substantial assets. It can help cover estate taxes and provide liquidity to beneficiaries, ensuring that your estate can be passed on intact without causing financial strain. By securing a life insurance policy, you can protect your estate and provide for your heirs while minimising the impact of taxes and administrative costs.

Finally, life insurance offers a sense of peace and security. Knowing that you have taken steps to protect your loved ones and your business provides reassurance and allows you to focus on other aspects of your life. It offers a financial safety net that can help alleviate stress during difficult times and ensure that your loved ones are cared for.

In conclusion, life insurance is an indispensable tool for protecting yourself, your family, and your business. It provides financial security, peace of mind, and a way to safeguard the interests of your loved ones and business partners. By investing in life insurance, you can ensure that your family and business can weather any storm and continue to thrive, even in your absence.

If this article has inspired you to think about your own unique situation and, more importantly, what you and your family are going through right now, please contact our office for an appointment.

This information does not take into account the objectives, financial situation or needs of any person. Before making a decision, you should consider whether it is appropriate in light of your particular objectives, financial situation or needs.

(Feedsy Exclusive)

 

50/30/20 budgeting strategy

Key takeaways
  • The 50/30/20 budgeting strategy approach enables you to manage your money without making too many sacrifices
  • It helps you to divvy up your take-home pay into three main areas— needs, wants and savings
  • Creating a budget based on the 50/30/20 strategy, requires you to look at your income, assess your current spending habits, set goals, and then readjust your budget regularly.

Having a budget can help you stay on top of bills, pay off debt and save for long or short-term goals. There are many ways to go about it.

One budgeting strategy is the 50/30/20 approach, which requires you to designate a portion of your earnings to three categories.

Some of the benefits include being able to manage your money without making too many sacrifices. It’s also simple to follow in comparison to some of the other budgeting strategies.

Here, we look at how it works and some areas to consider.

How does the 50/30/20 budgeting strategy work?

The 50/30/20 budgeting strategy helps you to divvy up your take-home pay into three main areas— needs, wants and savings—so you can make sure you’re allocating money to the things you need and want while also making progress towards your savings goals.

50% to your needs

This is where you allocate half of your take home pay (this is your income after tax) to essential living expenses—things that you can’t live without. This could include:

  • rent or mortgage
  • basic food needs
  • utilities – electricity, gas, phone bills
  • insurance and medical
  • personal loans/credit card repayments
  • transport payments – car registration/public transport
  • family costs – childcare, school fees.
30% to your wants

30% of your take home pay can be allocated to things that you enjoy but you don’t need to survive. This may include:

  • subscriptions/memberships – gym, Netflix
  • luxury food expenses – eating out, takeaway, alcohol
  • retail purchases
  • gifts
  • entertainment – concert tickets, weekends away.
20% to your savings or debt

Your final 20% is then allocated to financial goals that you need to save for. This could include a home deposit or investing in the share market.

If however, you have high-interest debts such as a personal loan or credit card bill, you may want to consider paying these off first before adding any money into savings. This is because the interest rate on loans is higher than the interest you’ll earn by keeping your savings in a bank.

Putting the 50/30/20 budgeting strategy into practice

If your fortnightly take home pay was $4,000 a month, half of it ($2,000) would be set aside for all your needs including bills and rent/mortgage. $1,200 would go towards social outings and entertainment, and $800 would be allocated to a long-term savings goal like a home deposit.

How to create a budget using the 50/30/20 strategy

Creating a budget based on the 50/30/20 strategy, requires you to look at your income, assess your current spending habits, set goals, and then readjust your budget regularly. Here’s how to get started.

Step 1: Determine your income

The first step to creating a 50/30/20 budget is to determine your after-tax income—how much money you bring home after paying tax. This will give you a realistic view of how much money you have available.

You want to include all income sources like your salary, investments, pension or government benefits. If you work in a traditional job, your payslips are a good starting point. If you don’t have a regular income, you can work out the average amount you would normally be paid per month.

Step 2: Assess your current spending

Next, it’s time to understand your spending habits including how much you spend on what—and evaluate how this fits into the 50/30/20 method.

Review your expenses from the prior month then categorise each expense into one of the three categories—needs, wants and savings/debt.

Once you’ve added up the last month’s expenses, you can determine how much of your income is going into each category, and most importantly, whether your current spending complies with the 50/30/20 rule. If not, you’ll need to make adjustments.

It’s important to note that this budgeting approach may not work for everyone, particularly those on a low income with high living expenses.

Step 3: Make a plan

If your current spending habits and expenses don’t quite align with the 50/30/20 rule, you’ll need to make some changes. This might include reducing your spending on ‘wants’ or finding places to cut back on your ‘needs.’

The good news is there are many ways you can do this. Here’s some examples:

  • Shop around for better deals: you may find a cheaper offer on your home loan, electricity and insurance by researching the market. This can end up saving you hundreds of dollars over the long-term
  • Cut back and take advantage of concessions: cut down on subscriptions or memberships you don’t use. Make sure you’re getting all the concessions you’re entitled to such as rebates and discounts
  • Reduce energy bills: check out government and council rebates to reduce your energy bill and consider switching to energy efficient lightbulbs
  • Reduce grocery spending: meal planning is a simple way to reduce wasting food. Finding recipes that use the same ingredients means you’re more likely to use up an entire bag of vegetables
  • Eating out: reduce spending on takeaways or eating out by trying a new recipe at home.
    Remember that even small savings can add up to a lot of money over time so it’s worth making changes and searching for better deals.
Step 4: Pay off any high-interest debt

Now that you’ve set yourself a goal and made changes to your spending to achieve it, you’ll hopefully be saving at about 20% of your income. But before you start putting this into savings, considering paying off any high-interest debts first if you have them.

High-interest debts include personal loans or credit card bills that attract a high interest rate on your loan amount. Things like your HECS student loan or your home loan aren’t included here, as these attract a much lower interest rate. Once your high-interest debt is gone, this portion of your income can then be dedicated to savings.

Step 5: Reassess regularly

Once you’ve set up your budgeting strategy, it’s important to categorise your expenses every month to ensure you’re still in line with your 50/30/20 goals.

As you become more familiar and comfortable with your budget, you can check it less frequently.

Is the 50/30/20 rule right for you?

The good thing with this budgeting strategy is you can use the percentages as a guide and change them depending on your situation.

For example, if you’re earning a low income but you have high living expenses, such as if you’re living in a major city, your essential expenses might be more than 50% of your income so you may need to adjust the percentages.

This budgeting strategy provides a simple way to manage your income and set a monthly savings goal. While it can be good for beginners and big-picture budgets, it’s not for everyone.

 

This article is issued by OnePath Custodians Pty Limited (OnePath Custodians) ABN 12 008 508 496, RSE L0000673, AFSL 238346 and OnePath Funds Management Limited (OnePath Funds Management) ABN 21 003 002 800, AFSL 238342. OnePath Custodians and OnePath Funds Management are part of the Insignia Financial Group of companies, consisting of Insignia Financial Limited ABN 49 100 103 722 and its related bodies corporate (Insignia Financial Group).

You should read the relevant Financial Services Guide (FSG), Product Disclosure Statement (PDS), Target Market Determination (TMD), Additional Information Guide (AIG), Investment Funds Guide (IFG), and product and other updates and consider whether the products are right for you before making a decision to acquire, or to continue to hold any product.

Taxation law is complex, and this information has been prepared as a guide only and does not represent taxation advice. Please see your tax adviser for independent taxation advice.

Before re-directing your super or moving your money into your product, you will need to consider whether there are any adverse consequences for you, including loss of benefits (e.g. insurance cover), investment options and performance, functionality, increase in investment risks and where your future employer contributions will be paid. Any investment is subject to investment risk, including possible repayment delays and loss of income and principal invested. Returns can go up and down. Past performance is not indicative of future performance.

While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information, it is not guaranteed. It is based on our understanding of regulations and laws as at the publication date. As these are subject to change you should talk to a professional adviser for the most up-to-date information.

 

 

A comprehensive guide to successful home renovations

Embarking on a home renovation project can be an exciting endeavour, offering a range of benefits such as enhancing your living space, increasing property value, and personalising your home. However, without proper planning and execution, it can quickly become overwhelming. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore popular renovation projects including layout remodelling, loft conversions, and extensions. Moreover, we will provide a step-by-step process for renovating your home, covering crucial aspects such as budgeting, obtaining permits, creating checklists, assembling a renovation team, ensuring quality, and managing waste removal.

Popular House Renovation Projects

Before diving into a home renovation, it’s helpful to explore popular projects that provide value and feasibility. Remodelling the existing layout is a popular choice for modernising living spaces. Loft conversions are an excellent way to utilise underutilised space, transforming it into functional rooms. Extensions are also highly sought after as they provide additional living space without altering the existing interior. Understanding these popular projects will guide your decision-making process and help you prioritise renovations that align with your goals and budget.

How to Renovate a House

Renovating a house requires a structured approach to ensure a successful outcome. Begin by creating a comprehensive budgeting plan, including a contingency fund of around 10% to account for unexpected expenses. Familiarise yourself with the planning permission requirements in your area and complete the necessary paperwork accordingly. Develop a renovation project checklist that encompasses all aspects, such as available space, potential value addition, and any regulatory restrictions. Create a detailed schedule of works to map out the renovation process and allocate resources efficiently. Consider obtaining renovation insurance to protect your property during construction. Lastly, hire a reliable renovation team or contractors after thorough research, checking references, and verifying qualifications. Regularly inspect the quality of work and arrange for waste removal to maintain a clean and efficient renovation process.

Create a Comprehensive Budgeting Plan

A well-defined budget is crucial for any renovation project as it provides financial stability and guides your spending decisions. Develop a detailed budget plan by considering material costs, labour expenses, and any unforeseen contingencies. Obtain multiple quotes from contractors to accurately gauge costs. Conduct research to find affordable material options without compromising quality. By aligning your renovation goals with your budget, you can make informed choices and avoid overspending, ensuring a successful project completion.

Obtain Planning Permission and Complete Paperwork

Understanding the planning permission requirements in your area is essential to avoid legal issues and potential setbacks. Research local regulations and consult with the appropriate governing body if necessary. Apply for planning permission if your renovation falls outside permitted development. Additionally, consider obtaining building regulations approval for certain types of work. Adhering to these requirements demonstrates compliance and ensures a smooth renovation process. Engaging with professionals or builders experienced in navigating these processes can further simplify the paperwork and approval stages, saving you time and effort.

 Develop a Renovation Project Checklist

Creating a comprehensive renovation project checklist enables you to evaluate the feasibility and potential value of your project. Consider factors such as available space, neighbourhood trends, and any applicable restrictions. Ask yourself important questions about the impact on your property’s value, potential obstacles, and contingency plans. A well-planned checklist allows you to make informed decisions and set realistic expectations, increasing the chances of a successful renovation.

Write a Schedule of Works

Developing a detailed schedule of works is vital to keep your renovation project on track and ensure efficient resource allocation. Prioritise tasks that involve structural stability and those that prevent further damage. Consider how each renovation task may impact other areas, such as plumbing and electrical systems. Coordinate with your project manager or architect to align the schedule with

If this article has inspired you to think about your own unique situation and, more importantly, what you and your family are going through right now, please contact your advice professional.

 This information does not take into account the objectives, financial situation or needs of any person. Before making a decision, you should consider whether it is appropriate in light of your particular objectives, financial situation or needs.

 (Feedsy Exclusive)

 

Why you need a lawyer: Top 5 reasons to have legal representation

Most people don’t think they need a lawyer until they find themselves in a situation where legal advice is crucial. However, upon closer examination, there are numerous instances in life where seeking the expertise of a lawyer can make all the difference between resolving a problem successfully and suffering a loss. Let’s explore the top five reasons why having a lawyer to advise you is essential.

Ensuring Legally Binding Outcomes

When it comes to drafting important legal documents like wills, contracts, or agreements, having a lawyer by your side is invaluable. Consulting a legal professional ensures that any decisions you make are within the bounds of the law. Whether it’s creating or scrutinizing a legal document before signing it, a lawyer’s involvement provides you with the confidence that you’re acting based on qualified legal advice. This ensures that the outcome you desire is legally binding and protects your interests.

Knowing Your Rights and Entitlements

In certain situations, the responsible party may evade consequences, leaving the victim without proper compensation or the ability to make a valid claim. Whether it’s falling victim to fraud, receiving bad financial advice, or experiencing a work-related accident, seeking legal advice is crucial. Before accepting any offer of compensation, it’s important to consult with a lawyer to determine whether the offer is fair or if you might be short-changed. A lawyer will ensure that you are aware of your rights and entitled to the compensation mandated by the law.

Saving Money in the Long Run

While it may be tempting to tackle legal matters on your own, it’s usually wiser to seek the input of a lawyer. With their expertise, you can avoid onerous obligations in contracts, eliminate ambiguity in legal documents, and resolve problems promptly. Attempting to handle legal issues by yourself may lead to further complications, making it more difficult and expensive to rectify problems down the line. By seeking professional legal advice from the outset, you can potentially save yourself time, money, and unnecessary stress.

Avoiding Penalties and Fines

Ignorance of the law is not an excuse, and a simple oversight or mistake can result in fines or penalties. For instance, if you unintentionally violate laws related to your business, you will be legally obligated to admit fault and pay the consequences. Seeking legal input in all aspects of your business, such as leases, employment contracts, taxes, and vendor agreements, can help you avoid such situations. A lawyer will guide you to ensure compliance with the law, minimizing the risk of penalties and fines.

Having Reliable Legal Representation

Having legal representation is crucial, especially when the opposing party already has legal counsel involved. In the event of a disagreement or an issue that needs to be settled, having a lawyer on your side means you won’t have to speak for yourself, potentially saying something that could harm your case. Your lawyer will protect your rights and fight for you, leveraging their in-depth knowledge of the law to ensure a fair and just outcome. By having a lawyer, you can feel confident and supported throughout the legal process.

While the aforementioned reasons encompass some of the most common scenarios, there are many other instances where having a lawyer is essential. It’s important to remember that the need for legal representation may vary depending on the specific circumstances and legal jurisdiction. Consulting with a qualified attorney is the best way to determine whether you require legal assistance for your particular situation.

In conclusion, having a lawyer is not a luxury but a wise investment in protecting your rights, ensuring legally binding outcomes, and navigating complex legal processes. Whether you’re facing a personal matter or dealing with business-related issues, the expertise and guidance of a lawyer can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case. So, don’t wait.

If this article has inspired you to think about your own unique situation and, more importantly, what you and your family are going through right now, please contact your advice professional.

 This information does not take into account the objectives, financial situation or needs of any person. Before making a decision, you should consider whether it is appropriate in light of your particular objectives, financial situation or needs.

 (Feedsy Exclusive)

 

7 smart money moves to make in your 20s and 30s

Key takeaways
  • Setting a budget, creating financial goals and starting to save for retirement early can help set you up for financial security later in life.
  • Creating an emergency fund can help protect you from unexpected and unforeseen financial circumstances in life.
  • Additional contributions to your super on a regular basis can offer tax benefits in addition to improving your future retirement lifestyle.

Making smart financial choices in your 20s and 30s can help set you up for long-term financial wellbeing. That’s why it’s important to work on building healthy financial habits early in life so that you can reap the rewards later.

Whether you want to buy a house, build up your retirement nest egg or spend time travelling the globe, these 7 financial tips will help set you up for a better financial future.

1. Develop good budgeting habits, and stick to them

Yes, the dreaded ‘b’ word. Budgeting isn’t very exciting but creating a budget allows you to take control over your money. The process can help you pinpoint lifestyle changes you need to make in order to grow your savings and become more financially stable.

After you create a budget, it’s important that you stick to it. Regularly check-in with your budgeting goals so you don’t spend more than you can afford to repay. The key is to live within your means and calculate how much you could save on a weekly, monthly or yearly basis. Not sure where to start? Moneysmart’s budget planner is a quick and easy budgeting tool that can help you get set in the right direction.

2. Set financial goals

Now is a great time to set financial goals. By setting short-term, mid-term and long-term financial goals, you’ll be one step closer to being financially secure. A long-term goal, for example, might be saving for retirement. A mid-term goal could be saving to buy a house. These are all big goals you’ll want to plan for financially.

Getting a sense for when you might want to reach each goal can help you make choices about how to use money you’ve already saved and how to continue saving and growing your money to help meet those goals.

Start by estimating how much money you’ll need to meet each of your goals and align these with your budget. One key to achieving these goals is to assign them specific dollar amounts and the date by which you want to achieve it.

3. Set up an emergency savings fund

A great step to take in your 20s and 30s is to establish an emergency savings fund to cover any unexpected costs that may arise. Ideally, you want to have enough stashed away to cover all your daily expenses for a few months.

4. Pay off high-interest debt

Debt can hold you back from doing many things with your money. When it comes to high-interest debt, you can lose a lot of money by making payments that go toward interest, so it’s best to pay-off that debt sooner rather than later.

Credit cards are a great way to build your credit when used properly. But they can sometimes lead you to spend more than you earn and get into credit card debt.

Check your credit card statement for the due date and make sure you pay on or before that date. By doing this, you’ll avoid paying extra interest or late fees and also help keep your credit score healthy. And if you can make higher repayments each month, you will pay off the debt faster and save money.

Similarly, many popular Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) services are often advertised as ‘interest free’ or ‘0% interest’. But they charge fees that can add up quickly. They may charge:

  • late fees – if you miss a payment or pay late, around $5 to $15
  • monthly account-keeping fees – a fixed monthly fee, up to $10 a month
  • payment processing fees – some charge an extra fee of around $3 each time you make a payment
  • establishment fees – a fee to set up the account. For some there are no establishment fees, for others these fees can be up to $110.

To compare fees charged by different providers, see buy now pay later fees on the Australian Finance Industry (AFIA) website.

5. Start saving for retirement

When you’re in your 20s and 30s, retirement may seem like lightyears away. However, now is the best time to start saving for the retirement lifestyle you want. Why? Because the power of compounding – time is truly on your side. Some small simple steps now can boost your super and make a big difference later.

One way to grow your nest egg is to negotiate with your employer to increase super contributions by salary sacrificing. These contributions are on top of compulsory contributions made by your employer (currently, your employer must contribute 10.5% of your salary into super).

Salary sacrificing into super is an agreement between you and your employer to pay some of your pre-tax salary as contributions into super. Doing this can also be tax effective. Salary sacrificed amounts to super are concessional contributions. The amount you contribute to super is taxed at up to 15% (and up to 30% if your income is over $250,000 per annum) rather than your marginal tax rate, which might be up to 47%. Keep reading to discover more ways to grow your super.

6. Invest in yourself

As you begin a career and find your place in the workforce, take advantage of personal growth opportunities, professional development courses and skills training. Work with your employer on a career pathway, working on moving up and establishing steady income growth.

Where do you want to be in five years? Ten years? Start there and work backward. How will you get there? Taking steps to prepare yourself for a great career can help increase your earning potential for decades to come.

7. And finally, seek advice

The best time to start planning for your future is as early as possible. Establishing healthy financial habits in your 20s and 30s can help you design the lifestyle you want to live and help to unlock financial wellbeing in retirement.

This article is issued by OnePath Custodians Pty Limited (OnePath Custodians) ABN 12 008 508 496, RSE L0000673, AFSL 238346 and OnePath Funds Management Limited (OnePath Funds Management) ABN 21 003 002 800, AFSL 238342. OnePath Custodians and OnePath Funds Management are part of the Insignia Financial Group of companies, consisting of Insignia Financial Limited ABN 49 100 103 722 and its related bodies corporate (Insignia Financial Group).

You should read the relevant Financial Services Guide (FSG), Product Disclosure Statement (PDS), Target Market Determination (TMD), Additional Information Guide (AIG), Investment Funds Guide (IFG), and product and other updates and consider whether the products are right for you before making a decision to acquire, or to continue to hold any product.

Taxation law is complex, and this information has been prepared as a guide only and does not represent taxation advice. Please see your tax adviser for independent taxation advice.

Before re-directing your super or moving your money into your product, you will need to consider whether there are any adverse consequences for you, including loss of benefits (e.g. insurance cover), investment options and performance, functionality, increase in investment risks and where your future employer contributions will be paid. Any investment is subject to investment risk, including possible repayment delays and loss of income and principal invested. Returns can go up and down. Past performance is not indicative of future performance.

While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information, it is not guaranteed. It is based on our understanding of regulations and laws as at the publication date. As these are subject to change you should talk to a professional adviser for the most up-to-date information.

 

 

Now that the weather is starting to warm up again it’s time for our Spring Newsletter.

With superannuation and life insurance being the focus of our newsletter this time we hope you that this is of benefit to you.

If you would like more detail about anything raised in the newsletter, please contact our office on 07 3396 4204 to speak with one of our advisors.

If you prefer to receive a copy of our newsletter via email, contact our office on jbellas@jbfs.com.au

Prepare for Spring 2023

 

Protecting yourself from super and investment scams

Key takeaways
  • Scammers can disguise themselves as well-known businesses and government agencies such as myGov, Services Australia, the Department of Health and the ATO
  • Be wary of unsolicited phone calls, emails or text messages requesting your personal or financial information
  • Always be suspicious of investment opportunities that promise a high return with little or no risk—if it sounds good to be true, then it probably is.

Super and investment scams can be devastating for those who fall victim to them, often causing significant financial loss.

We discuss some of the most common super and investment scams, how to identify them, and how you can protect yourself.

HOW SCAMMERS WORK

Scammers often use fake vouchers, financial assistance claims or general information as bait to ‘phish’ for your personal information, including your super.

They may try to contact you by cold calling or may send a text message or email containing malicious links.

COMMON TYPES OF SUPER SCAMS
Super information scams

These scams involve individuals or companies claiming to be from a super fund or regulatory body who is seeking your personal information.

They may claim they need this information to update your super account or verify your identity.

To protect yourself, never give out your sensitive information unless you’re sure it’s safe to do so.

Early access to super scams

These involve individuals or companies offering to help you access your super before you’re legally entitled to.

They may claim that doing this can help you pay off debts or purchase a house for example.But accessing your super early can result in significant penalties. In addition, these scams may involve high fees or charges which can eat into your super savings.

To protect yourself, be aware of the legal requirements for accessing your super and seek professional advice.

COMMON TYPES OF INVESTMENT SCAMS
Identity theft scams

These types of scams involve criminals stealing your personal information, such as your name, date of birth, and tax file number.

With this information, they can open bank accounts, credit cards, and other financial accounts in your name, leaving you with the debt and damaged credit score.

To protect yourself, it’s important to be cautious with your personal information. Keep your sensitive information secure, such as your tax file number, and be wary of unsolicited emails, phone calls, or text messages asking for your personal information.

It’s also important to check your bank accounts for any suspicious activity. If you suspect that your identity has been stolen, contact your bank or financial institution immediately and report the fraud to the Australian Cyber Security Centre.

Unregulated investments

Investments that are not regulated by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), may offer the potential for high returns, but they also come with a high degree of risk.

Because they are not regulated, there is no oversight to ensure that the investment is legitimate. This means there’s no guarantee that you’ll receive any return on your investment.

Examples include cryptocurrencies. While these investments may be legitimate, they are not subject to the same regulations as traditional investments such as shares or managed funds.

Investment cold calls

These are unsolicited phone calls from individuals or companies offering investment opportunities with high returns and little or no risk.

They can be difficult to identify as the callers may sound professional and knowledgeable. They may also use official-sounding company names or logos.

To protect yourself, avoid providing your personal or financial information over the phone, and do not make any investment decisions on the spot. Instead, research the investment thoroughly and seek advice from a financial professional.

PROTECTING YOURSELF FROM SCAMMERS

The following is a list of key things you should be looking out for to ensure you don’t fall victim to a scammer.

  1. Never give information about your super to someone who has contacted you, even when you think it is a trusted organisation. Always verify their identity by calling the relevant organisation directly from contact details you have sourced. Never provide your account login details to a third party
  2. Don’t click on hyperlinks in text/social media messages or emails, even if they appear to come from a trusted source. MLC will never send you an email asking for your password, or with a direct link to a login page to access your account
  3. Always be suspicious of investment opportunities that promise a high return with little or no risk—if it sounds good to be true, then it probably is
  4. If you’re speaking with a financial adviser, check if they’re registered via the ASIC website. Any person or business offering advice about financial products must hold an Australian Financial Services licence from ASIC
  5. Never let anyone pressure you into making decisions about your money or investments and never commit to any investment at a seminar. Always get independent legal or financial advice first.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU’RE CONCERNED

We’re committed to protecting your super and investment savings and have strong measures in place to detect suspicious behaviour.

If you believe you may have fallen victim to a scam, please contact us immediately.

Where to find out more?

Scamwatch – www.scamwatch.gov.au

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission – Targeting scams: Report of the ACCC on scams activity 2013 – Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) – http://www.accc.gov.au/publications/targeting-scams-report-on-scam-activity

Need to talk to someone?

Beyond Blue – www.beyondblue.org.au

Lifeline – www.lifeline.org.au

This article is issued by OnePath Custodians Pty Limited (OnePath Custodians) ABN 12 008 508 496, RSE L0000673, AFSL 238346 and OnePath Funds Management Limited (OnePath Funds Management) ABN 21 003 002 800, AFSL 238342. OnePath Custodians and OnePath Funds Management are part of the Insignia Financial Group of companies, consisting of Insignia Financial Limited ABN 49 100 103 722 and its related bodies corporate (Insignia Financial Group).

You should read the relevant Financial Services Guide (FSG), Product Disclosure Statement (PDS), Target Market Determination (TMD), Additional Information Guide (AIG), Investment Funds Guide (IFG), and product and other updates and consider whether the products are right for you before making a decision to acquire, or to continue to hold any product.

Taxation law is complex, and this information has been prepared as a guide only and does not represent taxation advice. Please see your tax adviser for independent taxation advice.

Before re-directing your super or moving your money into your product, you will need to consider whether there are any adverse consequences for you, including loss of benefits (e.g. insurance cover), investment options and performance, functionality, increase in investment risks and where your future employer contributions will be paid. Any investment is subject to investment risk, including possible repayment delays and loss of income and principal invested. Returns can go up and down. Past performance is not indicative of future performance.

While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information, it is not guaranteed. It is based on our understanding of regulations and laws as at the publication date. As these are subject to change you should talk to a professional adviser for the most up-to-date information.

Upskilling and Reskilling: Strategies to Increase Employability

In a fast-paced, evolving work environment, continuous learning and adaptability are paramount to dealing with unemployment and in building and succeeding in one’s career.

Employees and employers alike need to embrace upskilling and reskilling strategies to meet market demands and enhance staff employability.

Understanding Upskilling and Reskilling

Upskilling refers to the process of enhancing current skills or developing new ones within the same profession, while reskilling involves training individuals for a new job role. These approaches can help employees stay relevant, reduce the risk of redundancy, and open doors for career progression.

As businesses grapple with emerging technologies and new working models, investing in reskilling and upskilling could be the key to tackling underemployment and keeping the workforce agile.

And it’s not just about learning new technologies; developing soft skills like leadership, critical thinking, creativity, and adaptability is equally important in the face of change.

Benefits for Employees and Employers

Upskilling and reskilling can help employees expand their career options and ensure job security. Employees with a broader skill set can more easily shift between different roles or industries and are more likely to be considered for promotions or leadership positions.

Moreover, upskilling allows individuals to future-proof their careers. With digital transformations becoming the norm, employees skilled in areas like AI, machine learning, and data analysis are in high demand. Likewise, reskilling can help those in roles threatened by automation to transition into emerging fields.

For employers, upskilling and reskilling enhance workforce versatility and reduce the need and cost of hiring new staff.

Reskilling, in particular, can also contribute to workforce inclusivity, as it gives underrepresented groups opportunities to enter growing industries, promoting a diverse and balanced workforce.

From an organisational perspective, creating a culture that values continuous learning is crucial. Therefore, training programs should be tailored to address the specific needs of a business and its workforce.

Employees should be encouraged to take ownership of their career development, with management support and adequate resources provided.

Creating a Culture of Continuous Learning

In the face of rapid workplace transformation, the concept of a job for life is becoming outdated. Upskilling and reskilling are essential strategies for workers to remain employable and for businesses to stay competitive.

Upskilling and reskilling not only increase employability but also provide a pathway for personal growth, economic stability, and societal resilience. For the workforce to thrive amidst rapid changes, a commitment to lifelong learning and adaptability is necessary from both employees and employers.

If this article has inspired you to think about your own unique situation and, more importantly, what you and your family are going through right now, please contact your advice professional.

(Feedsy Exclusive)

August 2023

 

 

Turn Your Passion Into Profit: Starting a Business After Retirement

For most people, retirement is a time to kick back, relax, and enjoy the fruits of their labour. However, it’s not uncommon for some to realise they cannot afford the retirement lifestyle they envisioned.

Boredom can also set in, so you might feel the pressure of ageing simply because there’s not much to do. Starting a business after retirement can be a good way to not only combat boredom and keep your body and mind active but also supplement your retirement fund.

Retirement is the perfect time to transform your passion into a profitable venture. With your own business, you’ll be free to work on your own terms and follow your dream.

Here’s how you can embark on this exciting journey.

1. Align your business idea with something you’re passionate about

Your retirement years should be about pursuing what you love.

Reflect on your interests, hobbies, and skills that you can transform into a business. It could be anything from baking to writing, gardening, or mentoring. This fusion of passion and business is the secret sauce for success in the post-retirement phase.

2. Evaluate market demand

Before you dive in, you need to have a clear understanding of the market demand for your product or service. Carry out a comprehensive market analysis by:

  • Identifying your target customers
  • Analysing their needs and wants
  • Studying your competitors
  • Knowing the price point customers are willing to pay

With a clear understanding of your market, you can create a product or service that’s both aligned with your passion and desirable to your potential customers.

3. Develop a business plan

Every successful business starts with a solid business plan. This document serves as your roadmap, guiding your journey from startup to established business.

Your business plan should cover:

  • A description of your business and its offerings
  • Market analysis
  • Organisational structure
  • Marketing and sales strategy
  • Financial projections
4. Build a robust financial strategy

If your business is to succeed, it needs a strong financial foundation. Start by:

  • Setting a clear budget for startup costs
  • Planning for ongoing operational expenses
  • Exploring potential sources of funding, such as personal savings, loans, or investment
  • Considering how the business income will supplement your retirement funds

Remember, the goal is to profit from your passion without jeopardising your retirement savings.

5. Network and market your business

Networking is a powerful tool for spreading the word about your new venture. Reach out to local community groups, attend industry events, or join online forums related to your business.

You should also develop a marketing strategy to reach your target audience. This could involve social media marketing, content creation, email newsletters, or even traditional advertising methods.

6. Embrace flexibility and lifelong learning

Being your own boss means having the flexibility to set your own schedule and working at your own pace. Embrace this freedom, but also be prepared to adapt to changing circumstances.

Remember, learning never stops. From mastering new technology to understanding market trends, embrace the opportunity to grow your knowledge and skills continually.

Be your own boss

Starting a business after retirement is an exciting way to turn your passion into profit. It will not only keep you active and engaged but also provide you an opportunity to leave a legacy and make a difference in your community.

With careful planning, determination, and an open mind, your retirement years could be your most rewarding yet.

If this article has inspired you to think about your own unique situation and, more importantly, what you and your family are going through right now, please contact your advice professional.

(Feedsy Exclusive)

How a testamentary trust can be used for wills and estates

The significance of choosing the appropriate structure to make the protection and maintenance of your assets possible cannot be overstated. This is necessary regardless of whether you have acquired your fortune on your own or through inheritance.

In this instance, you may want to consider estate and succession planning to protect your assets and ensure some tax benefits for the beneficiaries of your estate.

One of the most effective estate planning strategies today is the use of a testamentary trust in a will.

When your estate is distributed to your beneficiaries, a testamentary trust can help with minimising capital gains tax, stamp duty, and other taxes that may be due. It can also help protect your assets from creditors, unscrupulous individuals, and the like.

Testamentary trusts—the basics

A testamentary trust (aka will trust) is, in simple terms, a trust that’s created according to the terms set in a will. It typically takes the form of a discretionary trust.

However, unlike inter vivos (facilitated or done between living persons) discretionary trusts, which allow for the transfer of assets and gifts while the grantor is still alive, testamentary trusts are only activated after the grantor’s demise.

Each beneficiary under your will may have a testamentary trust that is most appropriate to their circumstances. There are different sorts of testamentary trusts that can be established, such as:

  • Beneficiary-controlled testamentary trust
  • Capital-reserved testamentary trust
  • Protective testamentary trust
Benefits of testamentary trusts

Compared to typical wills, a testamentary trust offers the grantor more discretion over estate planning and distribution to beneficiaries.

Among the key benefits of testamentary trusts are:

  • Flexibility:A testamentary trust functions in a similar way to a discretionary family trust. A trustee may choose which beneficiaries get trust income as long as they are nominated in the trust. With this freedom, the trustee can choose to distribute income, capital and dividends in the most tax-efficient way. Also, in the event that superannuation funds are paid to the estate, trustees will have plenty of discretion in how to handle them.
  • Asset protection from third parties:Testamentary trusts can shield assets from possible court cases, bankruptcies, and legal actions because the trustee has the title to the trust assets (not the beneficiaries directly). A testamentary trust can offer you extra asset protection if your surviving spouse or your adult child runs a business that carries a large financial risk. For adult children, it might offer family law protection as well.
  • Tax advantages:Testamentary trusts give trustees the option to divide and distribute the trust’s income for tax planning purposes. Also, distributions from a testamentary trust will be tax-free up to the standard full exemption amount. Beneficiaries who have children aged below 18 can significantly profit from this tax planning benefit because they can use pre-tax income to pay for their children’s expenses. Moreover, any capital gain made by the executor (the person chosen to carry out the will) is disregarded by law when a capital gains tax asset is transferred from the executor to a beneficiary.

So, is a testamentary trust for you?

When it comes to estate and succession planning, it’s always better to get the input of your financial advisor and a solicitor specialising in wills and trusts.

 If this article has inspired you to think about your own unique situation and, more importantly, what you and your family are going through right now, please contact our office.

(Feedsy Exclusive)

Household’s need an emergency plan

Millions of Australian households are being urged to prepare for wild weather events and emergencies after a survey revealed about half the population doesn’t have a plan.

One in five families has discussed the safest place to meet in an emergency and more than 12.3 million people have no emergency plan at all, according to the research.

Australian Red Cross head of emergency services Andrew Coghlan says this needs to change.

“Emergencies can occur anywhere, at any time and when they happen there are lots of decisions to make,” Mr Coghlan said on Tuesday.

“Last year alone, Australian Red Cross supported more than 130,000 people during emergencies such as bushfires, floods and severe storms.”

The NRMA Insurance research found younger people aged 18 to 34 and city-dwellers were less likely to have an emergency plan.

It also revealed many Australians were not well connected to their neighbours, with one in three respondents stating they do not know them well enough to rely on them for support in an emergency.

Apathy around emergency planning was also evident in pet owners, with two-thirds stating they do not know where they would safely keep their pets.

The findings follow the launch of the updated Get Prepared app for householders to create an all-hazards emergency plan, based on the Red Cross RediPlan disaster preparedness guide.

The app stores information needed during an emergency such as key contacts, meeting places and important documents.

It also prompts people to consider how they would manage stress during and after an emergency.

The advice to have an emergency plan is particularly important with a warmer and drier winter forecast than average, leading into a riskier bushfire season.

NRMA Insurance received 10,151 claims for wild weather damage to homes and vehicles nationally during autumn.

Most of these claims were for damage to vehicles (5478) with intense hailstorms in NSW causing extensive damage in late May.

NRMA Insurance executive manager of claims Natalie Major urged households to take three steps to prepare for wild weather this winter.

“Make an emergency plan using the Get Prepared app, share your contact details with your neighbours and discuss your emergency plan with your household,” she said.

The findings are based on a survey of 3500 people across Australia.

Aaron Bunch (Australian Associated Press)

 

Harnessing the Transformative Power of Old Photos

In the maddening rush of life, you may find yourself looking for ways to improve your mood, alleviate stress, and enhance your sense of satisfaction.

One surprising yet effective strategy is immersing yourself in the nostalgic embrace of old photographs. Pouring over old photos helps to evoke a multitude of positive emotions and creates an environment of relaxation and contentment.

Benefits of old photos

Looking at old photographs comes with a range of benefits, including:

1.  Mood improvement

Old photos have the remarkable power to transport one back instantly to the cherished moments they represent. They can remind you of the people, places, and events that have shaped your life and instil a sense of warmth, happiness, and appreciation.

By reawakening these positive memories, you can uplift your mood and minimise negative emotions, such as stress and anxiety.

2.  Encouraging relaxation

Today, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the constant barrage of information, tasks, and distractions around us. Old photos offer a soothing respite from this chaos, allowing you to pause and reflect on simpler times.

Engaging with these visual mementos can serve as a form of meditation, guiding you toward a state of relaxation and tranquillity as you escape the present and journey into the joy of times past.

3.  Enhancing satisfaction and gratitude

Reflecting on old photos can foster a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction as you recognise your personal growth, achievements, and the obstacles you’ve overcome.

Also, revisiting fond memories can inspire a feeling of gratitude for the people who have enriched your lives and the experiences you’ve shared with them. Embracing this appreciation can ultimately contribute to an improved sense of overall well-being and contentment.

Tips for revisiting your treasure trove of memories

To fully unlock the mood-enhancing, relaxation-inducing, and satisfaction-boosting power of old photos, consider the following tips:

1.  Create a dedicated space

Designate a comfortable, quiet space in your home for engaging with old photos. This space should be free of distractions and conducive to relaxation, reflection, and introspection.

2.  Organise and curate your collection

Take the time to sort through your picture collection. Organise photos in a way that’s meaningful to you. This can mean creating albums, scrapbooks, or digital galleries based on themes, people, or periods.

Curating your photos in this manner allows you to access and enjoy them whenever you need a mood boost or a moment of respite.

3.  Engage with photos mindfully

When viewing old photos, practise mindfulness by fully immersing yourself in the experience.

Take the time to notice the details, colours, and emotions present in each image, and allow yourself to be transported back to that moment in time.

4.  Share your cherished memories

Sharing old photos with friends and family can foster a sense of connection, as you reminisce about shared experiences and celebrate the bonds that have endured through the years.

This communal engagement can amplify the positive emotions evoked by old photos and contribute to a greater sense of satisfaction and belonging.

Celebrate today with old photos

The power of old photos to improve mood, promote relaxation, and enhance satisfaction cannot be understated.

By embracing the nostalgia and emotions they evoke, you can nurture your well-being and create a deeper appreciation for the memories and relationships that helped shape your life. And once you reach a happy and fulfilling retirement, you can look back at old photographs and congratulate yourself and say, yes, you did okay.

If this article has inspired you to think about your own unique situation and, more importantly, what you, your family or your business are going through right now, please contact your advice professional.

This information does not take into account the objectives, financial needs or legal situation of any person or business. Before making a decision, you should consider whether it is appropriate in light of your particular objectives. Our news articles contain general information about a variety of topics for your enjoyment. They are of a general nature only and aimed to get you thinking about newsworthy topics. This information is not a substitute for specific legal, financial, insurance or accounting advice.

(Feedsy Exclusive)

What is Ethical Investing, how do you do it?

Investing is typically perceived as a wealthy-only pastime with no regard for the environment or social issues. However, that is not always the case, and the old mindset of making money for its own sake doesn’t need to stay.

People have become increasingly interested in ethical investing in recent years. Investors involved in environmental, social, and governance or ESG ethical investing urge corporations to steer clear of harmful environmental practices and improve working conditions.

But what does ethical investing mean? How does it relate to ESG investing?

ESG vs Ethical Investing

Sustainable ethical investing is a subcategory of ESG investing.

It’s vital to remember that ESG investing isn’t a technique for investing but rather is a focus for investors. This means that besides practising standard investment techniques, ESG investors seek investments that are low-risk and have proven beneficial social and environmental impacts.

Ethical investing is concerned with assisting socially responsible businesses in growing. These companies usually uphold ESG activities to a high standard.

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals serve as a starting point for investment businesses promoting these portfolios. The United Nations set 17 goals, including eradicating hunger, fostering innovation, constructing sustainable cities, and producing clean energy.

Ethical investing excludes corporations that conduct unethical business practices or whose operations negate ESG goals.

Below are some examples of businesses or activities an ethical investor will not invest in:

  • Adult entertainment
  • Alcohol
  • Defence-related
  • Gambling
  • Oil and gas or fossil fuels
  • Tobacco

Instead, an ethical investor would look at companies that follow strict environmental, social, and ethical guidelines. Some excellent examples of publicly traded global companies an ethical investor would be interested in include:

  • Puma
  • Hennes & Mauritz (H&M)
  • Capgemini
  • Ford
  • IBM
  • Volvo Cars
  • Microsoft

For Australian ethical investing, you have numerous industries and businesses to choose from. These include:

  • Education: Macquarie University, 3P Learning Ltd., Benesse Holdings, Inc., University of Technology Sydney
  • Energy Efficiency: Owens Corning, Jungheinrich AG Pref, Yaskawa Electric Corporation, Avnet, Inc.
  • Financial Services: Teachers Mutual Bank Limited, Chubb Limited, Kiwibank Limited, Westpac Banking Corporation, Apollo Series, International Bank of Reconstruction and Development
  • Food Production: Costa Group Holdings Ltd., Graincorp Limited Class A, Morrison & Co Growth Infrastructure Fund
  • Government: Australian Government Bond, Kommunalbanken, South Australian Financing Authority, Tasmanian Public Finance Corp, New South Wales Treasury Corporation
  • Health and Wellbeing: Health Care Providers & Services, Anthem, Inc., Cardinal Health, Inc., Healius Limited, Henry Schein, Inc., EssilorLuxottica SA
  • Media: Pearson PLC, Sirius XM Holdings, Inc., Domain Holdings Australia Ltd.
  • Recycling, Waste Management and Water Treatment: Asahi Holdings, Inc., Covanta Holding Corporation, Sims Ltd., Veolia Environnement SA

The above list is just the tip of the iceberg – and this is a good thing, as it means more businesses are paying attention to the ESG principles of responsible investment.

How to Get Started

The thought of getting into ethical investing may seem daunting, and yet it’s quite easy to get started. There are plenty of ethical investing books and online resources you can access to learn more.

Besides, anyone whose values align with ESG goals and who has money (even a modest sum) set aside for investments can become an ethical investor.

Get in touch with a reputable investment management firm or choose a superannuation fund that shares your values. They will not only help you invest in companies that uphold ESG principles, but they will also build your portfolio prudently.

If this article has inspired you to think about your own unique situation and, importantly, what you and your family are going through right now, please contact your advice professional.

(Feedsy Exclusive)

July 2023

 

Steps to Building an Emergency Fund and Why You Need One

Life is unpredictable, and financial surprises can arise when you least expect them. This is where an emergency fund comes in. This financial safety net is designed to cover unexpected expenses, like car repairs or medical bills, or provide support if you lose your job or source of income.

If you’re unsure about how you can start building your emergency fund, this article can help.

The Importance of an Emergency Fund

Before we delve into the steps of building an emergency fund, it’s important to know why you need one. An emergency fund can:

  • Cover unexpected costs – From sudden home repairs to unanticipated healthcare expenses, an emergency fund ensures you’re financially prepared.
  • Provide financial stability – Job loss or a reduction in income can drain your savings and strain your household budget. An emergency fund works as a buffer, giving you peace of mind.
  • Reduce financial stress – Knowing you have a safety net can significantly reduce the stress associated with financial uncertainty.
Building Your Emergency Fund: A Step-by-Step Guide

Now that you know how essential it is to have an emergency fund, it’s time to plan for building your own.

Determine your goal amount

Firstly, come up with a goal amount you’ll be saving towards. A common recommendation is to have enough to cover three to six months’ worth of living expenses. Consider your individual circumstances, such as job security and health status, when setting your goal amount.

Start small

If the amount you need seems overwhelming, remember that it’s okay to start small. After all, saving a small amount regularly can add up over time.

Make saving for it automatic

Set up an automatic transfer to your savings account each month. This set-and-forget method of building your emergency fund ensures consistency and eliminates the temptation to spend the money elsewhere.

Allocate windfalls and unexpected savings to your emergency fund

Received a tax refund or bonus or sold something you no longer need? Consider putting it into your emergency fund.

Review and adjust your goal amount periodically

As your income, expenses, and financial goals change, so should your savings plan. Regularly reviewing your plan helps ensure it stays relevant and achievable.

Keep it accessible but separate

Your emergency fund should be easily accessible in case of urgent need. However, try to keep it separate from your regular checking account to avoid temptation.

Start building your emergency fund today

Saving for an emergency fund is a crucial step towards financial stability. It might take time, but the peace of mind and financial security it will provide you are invaluable.

Remember, every bit counts, and it’s the consistency in saving that truly matters in the long run.

Financial emergencies are inevitable, but with a robust emergency fund, they don’t have to be devastating.

If this article has inspired you to think about your own unique situation and, more importantly, what you and your family are going through right now, please contact our office for an appointment.

(Feedsy Exclusive)

10 Essential Winter Home Maintenance Tips

While winter in Australia may not be as harsh as in other parts of the world, it’s still essential to keep your home in tip-top shape during the colder months.

So, if you need a handy winter home maintenance checklist, this is for you.

Use this comprehensive guide to help you prepare your home for the cold winter season.

Inspect your roof and gutters

Check your roof for any damaged, loose, or missing tiles that could cause leaks. Clean your gutters and downpipes to ensure proper water drainage and prevent potential blockages or overflow during heavy rain.

Clean and service your heating system

Inspect and clean your heating system, whether it’s a reverse-cycle air conditioner, gas heater, or wood-burning fireplace. Change filters, clean vents, and schedule a professional service if necessary. This will ensure your heating system runs efficiently and safely throughout the winter.

Seal windows and doors

Drafts can cause a significant loss of heat in your home. Inspect the seals around your windows and doors, and apply weatherstripping or caulking as needed to keep the cold air out and the warm air in.

Assess your home insulation

Proper insulation is essential for maintaining a comfortable temperature in your home during winter. If you haven’t already, consider insulating your ceiling, walls, and floors. If you have insulation, check its condition and replace or upgrade it as needed.

Check smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors

Winter is a time when people use heating appliances more often, increasing the risk of fires and carbon monoxide leaks. Test your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors and replace worn batteries.

Protect outdoor furniture and equipment

Cover or store outdoor furniture, and barbecue and gardening equipment in a dry, protected area to prevent rust and damage caused by winter weather.

Drain and insulate outdoor pipes

If you live in the colder regions of Southern Australia, drain any outdoor pipes, hoses, and irrigation systems to prevent them from freezing and bursting. Also, insulate exposed pipes to protect them from the cold.

Prune trees and clear debris

Prune any branches that could cause damage to your home or property during winter storms. Clear leaves, twigs, and other debris from your yard to reduce the risk of bushfires.

Prepare for storms and power outages

Have an emergency kit on hand, including a battery-operated radio, torch, spare batteries, and a first aid kit. Make sure your home and car are stocked with essential supplies in case of power outages or emergencies.

Get help with pest control

As the weather cools, rodents and other pests may seek shelter inside your home. Inspect for any signs of infestations and address any issues with the appropriate pest control measures.

By following this winter home maintenance checklist, you can keep your house in excellent condition throughout the colder months. Preparing your home for winter not only ensures you and your family will stay warm and comfortable but also helps prevent structural damage and costly repair work.

This information does not take into account the objectives, financial situation or needs of any person. Before making a decision, you should consider whether it is appropriate in light of your particular objectives, financial situation or needs.

(Feedsy Exclusive)

 

Navigating the Emotional Stages of Retirement: A Comprehensive Guide

Retirement is a significant milestone in anyone’s life, often accompanied by a wide range of emotions.

While retirement is considered a time to relax and enjoy the fruits of your labour, it can also be challenging to navigate the emotional roller coaster that accompanies this new phase in your life.

If you’re considering retirement or wondering what it would be like, this article could help. Here, we discuss the emotional stages of retirement and offer useful tips for managing each stage successfully.

Anticipation

The first stage of retirement is anticipation, characterised by excitement and optimism about the future. You may feel a sense of relief, knowing that your working days are behind you. However, it’s essential to prepare for this transition.

Tip: Develop a retirement plan that outlines the financial goals, hobbies, and interests you’d like to pursue. This plan will provide a roadmap for your retirement years and help you maintain a sense of purpose.

Liberation

The second stage of retirement is liberation, which typically occurs within the first few months of retirement. You may feel a renewed sense of freedom, no longer constrained by a routine or daily work schedule. It’s the perfect time to explore new hobbies, travel, or spend time with loved ones.

Tip: Create a balanced routine that includes physical activity, social interaction, and intellectual stimulation. This will help you maintain your overall well-being and make the most of your newfound freedom.

Disenchantment

After the initial euphoria of liberation, you may enter the stage of disenchantment. This period is characterised by feelings of boredom, loneliness, or even depression. It’s common for retirees to question their decision to retire and struggle to find a new sense of identity.

Tip: Stay connected with friends, family, and former colleagues, and consider joining clubs or organisations to meet new people. Volunteering can also provide you with a sense of purpose and help you combat feelings of disenchantment.

Reorientation

The fourth stage, reorientation, involves redefining your identity and adjusting to your new lifestyle. You may start to develop new routines and goals, which will help you feel more settled and content in your retirement.

Tip: Reflect on your values, interests, and passions to help guide your decision-making during this stage. Set new goals, both short-term and long-term, and track your progress to maintain motivation.

Stability

Finally, the last stage of retirement is stability, where you would have successfully adjusted to your new life and feel a sense of satisfaction and fulfilment. This stage can last for the remainder of your retirement as long as you continue to maintain balance and prioritise your well-being.

Tip: Regularly reassess your goals and interests to ensure they align with your current situation. Stay adaptable and open to change, as this will help you continue to grow and enjoy a fulfilling retirement.

Have a happy retirement

The emotional stages of retirement are not linear, and you may find yourself experiencing them in different orders or even revisiting certain stages.

By understanding these stages and implementing the tips provided, you can navigate the emotional landscape of retirement and make the most of this new chapter in your life.

If this article has inspired you to think about your own unique situation and, more importantly, what you and your family are going through right now, please contact our office for an appointment with one of our advisors.

This information does not take into account the objectives, financial situation or needs of any person. Before making a decision, you should consider whether it is appropriate in light of your particular objectives, financial situation or needs.

(Feedsy Exclusive)

 

Unlocking the Benefits of Appointing an Enduring Power of Attorney

In today’s world, it is crucial to plan for the future and make provisions for unforeseen circumstances.

One way to ensure our interests and well-being are protected is by appointing an enduring power of attorney (EPA).

An EPA grants someone we trust the legal authority to make decisions on our behalf when we are no longer capable. This powerful legal instrument offers numerous benefits that can provide peace of mind and safeguard our interests. Let’s explore some of the key advantages of appointing an enduring power of attorney.

Protection During Incapacity

Life is unpredictable, and there may come a time when we are unable to make decisions for ourselves due to illness, disability, or mental incapacitation.

By appointing an EPA, we can ensure that a trusted individual, known as the attorney, will step in to make decisions in our best interests. This includes managing our financial affairs, paying bills, accessing bank accounts, and handling property matters.

The EPA acts as a safety net, guaranteeing that our interests are protected even when we are unable to voice our wishes.

Choice and Control

By appointing an EPA, we retain control over who will make decisions on our behalf if the need arises.

We have the freedom to choose a person we trust implicitly, someone who understands our values, preferences, and wishes. This ensures that our voice continues to be heard, and our best interests are upheld.

Without an EPA, decisions about our well-being may be made by someone appointed by a State-based civil and administrative tribunal, which may not align with our desires.

Seamless Financial Management

Appointing an EPA streamlines the financial management process during incapacitation.

Our attorney can handle financial transactions, pay bills, manage investments, and ensure our financial affairs remain in order.

This eliminates the need for lengthy processes, such as guardianship, which may otherwise be required to grant someone the legal authority to act on our behalf.

Reduction of Family Conflicts

In situations where there is no appointed EPA, family members may have differing opinions about who should make decisions on behalf of an incapacitated individual. This can lead to conflicts, causing emotional stress and strained relationships.

Appointing an EPA in advance minimises the potential for such conflicts by clearly designating the person who will make decisions, eliminating ambiguity and promoting family harmony during challenging times.

Preservation of Dignity and Autonomy

An EPA ensures that our dignity and autonomy are upheld even when we are unable to make decisions independently.

By appointing someone we trust as our attorney, we can rest assured that our values and preferences will guide the decision-making process.

This helps preserve our identity and ensures that our wishes are respected, even in situations where we cannot communicate them directly.

Conclusion

 Appointing an enduring power of attorney is a prudent step to protect our interests, maintain control over our lives, and alleviate potential burdens on loved ones during times of incapacity.

It provides peace of mind, promotes family harmony, and safeguards our dignity and autonomy.

By choosing a trusted individual to act on our behalf, we ensure that our best interests are prioritised, and our wishes are respected.

Embracing the benefits of an EPA empowers us to navigate the future with confidence, knowing that our affairs are in capable hands.

Peter Kelly, 28 June 2023

 

Common Life Insurance Questions

Like any other insurance policy, life insurance has many variations to meet different users’ needs. Thus, before choosing one, you must determine what you need in a life insurance policy.

The best way to determine the best policy is by evaluating your needs, premium costs and terms of service.

The answers to these questions can help you determine the policy that suits you best.

What Do I Need From My Life Cover?

We all have varying needs and wants, depending on each one’s unique circumstances. So, you must identify your needs to avoid buying the wrong policy.

For example, you need a whole life policy if you want to leave an inheritance or to protect beneficiaries from debt after your death.

This information can help you know the right life insurance type and amount.

How Much Life Insurance Is Enough?

Your insurance cover may not fulfil its purpose if you underestimate the amount you or your beneficiaries need. So, you must factor in everything you expect the insurance benefits to cover.

For example, you must consider your current and anticipated debts and assets if you want a policy to clear your debts.

What Life Insurance Policy Should I Choose?

You can choose your life insurance policy from the available types. Below are the four main types of life insurance policies.

Term Life Cover

This type of insurance cover only matures when you die. Your beneficiaries will receive a lump sum after your death.

Total and Permanent Disability Cover

This cover pays out a lump sum if you get a permanent disability that hurts your ability to work.

Trauma Cover

This policy covers any short-term expenses resulting from an injury or illness.

Income Protection

This cover pays monthly sums for the period you cannot work due to an injury or illness.

What’s the Cost of My Policy?

Many factors can determine the premiums you pay for your life insurance policy.

Your life insurance policy provider may consider gender, age and health when determining your premiums. Other factors include your coverage amount and whether your policy is permanent or for a limited time.

Ask for a quote to get a clear picture of how much your policy will cost.

What Does My Policy Cover?

You can only identify your policy’s terms by reading the Product Disclosure Statement provided. This document explains what your policy covers, plus any exclusions or additions.

Contact your life insurance cover provider or our office if you have any questions about your policy’s terms and conditions.

If this article has inspired you to think about your own unique situation and, more importantly, what you and your family are going through right now, please contact our office for an appointment with one of our advisors.

This information does not take into account the objectives, financial situation or needs of any person. Before making a decision, you should consider whether it is appropriate in light of your particular objectives, financial situation or needs.

(Feedsy Exclusive)

June 2023

Considering Life Insurance to protect your family

For some people, a major reason for beginning to prepare for life’s ‘what if’ scenarios is starting a family.

If your primary concern is taking care of your family, life insurance is an excellent option. It makes sure that your loved ones are supported financially, both now and in the future, as they cope with financial burdens that may come in case the unfortunate happens.

Check out the benefits of life insurance and some of your options if you’re thinking about getting it to give your family financial security.

Life insurance benefits

In general, a life insurance is designed to provide protection to beneficiaries in the event the policyholder dies or becomes incapacitated.

It offers a lump-sum cash payout to the beneficiaries you designate if you suffer from a terminal illness or pass away.

To be specific, life insurance provides the following benefits:

  • It can give you peace of mind.By providing for your family in case of your death, disability or permanent injury or a serious illness, you’ll have more confidence knowing they’ll be financially secure no matter what happens.
  • It can reduce the financial burden of a terminal illness. If you become seriously ill and rack up hospital and doctors’ bills, you can receive a payout, which can reduce your financial worries. However, to enjoy this benefit, you need to make sure your policy provides for this benefit.
  • It is flexible enough to cover a range of situations and life stages. There are a variety of policies offered by providers to cover different professions and life stages. Most of them also allow for a range of benefits that policyholders can choose from.
Types of life insurance cover

Depending on your needs and priorities, you may opt for the following types of life insurance.

  • Accident-only income protection: If you’re hurt in an accident and cannot work for longer than the waiting period, this insurance will pay you a monthly benefit of up to 70% of your average income.
  • Funeral cover:  This provides a cash payout that can be used to pay for the final costs of a loved one’s funeral expenses.
  • Income protection:  This typically provides a monthly payout equal to up to 70% of your regular income if you’re temporarily unable to work because of illness or injury.
  • Term life:  Although this form of policy offers a lump sum payment, it can also work as a salary replacement, so your family can continue living in the manner they’re accustomed to. They can also use it to pay off your obligations.
  • Total and permanent disability (TPD): If you suffer a total or permanent disability because of a sickness or injury and cannot work, this type of insurance provides a lump sum payment to replace lost income, help with medical costs, and pay for recurring debts and bills.
  • Trauma: This provides a lump-sum payment if you experience one of the serious ailments detailed in your policy. Depending on what’s covered, it can provide financial cushion if you experience a heart attack, cancer diagnosis, or stroke.

Unlike savings, life insurance provides your family with financial security immediately.

So, even if you’re saving and investing, consider getting a suitable life insurance policy today to ensure your family’s financial stability in the event of you becoming terminally ill, physically incapacitated, or passing.

If this article has inspired you to think about your own unique situation and, more importantly, what you and your family are going through right now, please contact our office for an appointment with one of our advisors.

(Feedsy Exclusive)

 

 

Amounts you do not include as income in your tax return

You may receive money that you don’t need to include as assessable income in your tax return. You may still need to report these amounts so we can work out your tax losses or eligibility for tax offsets or benefits.

Amounts you don’t include as assessable income fall into 3 categories:

  • exempt income
  • non-assessable, non-exempt income
  • other non-taxable amounts.
Exempt income

Exempt income is income you don’t pay tax on (that is, it’s tax-free). However, you may still need to report these in your tax return as we use certain exempt income amounts to work out other calculations such as:

  • tax losses of earlier income years that you can deduct
  • adjusted taxable income of your dependants.

Exempt income includes:

  • certain Australian Government pensions, such as the
    • disability support pension paid by Centrelink to a person who is under age-pension age
    • invalidity service pension paid under the Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986where the veteran is under age-pension age
  • certain Australian Government allowances and payments, such as the
    • carer allowance
    • child care subsidy
  • certain overseas pay and allowances for Australian Defence Force and Federal Police personnel
  • Australian Government education payments, such as
    • allowances for students under 16 years old
    • Commonwealth secondary education assistance
  • some scholarships, bursaries, grants and awards
  • a lump sum payment you received on surrender of an insurance policy where you are the original beneficial owner of the policy – generally you do not earn, expect, rely on or regularly receive these payments – examples include
    • mortgage protection
    • terminal illness
    • a permanent injury occurring at work.
Non-assessable, non-exempt income

Non-assessable, non-exempt income is income that we don’t assess and you don’t pay tax on. It doesn’t affect your tax losses.

Non-assessable, non-exempt income includes:

  • the tax-free component of an employment termination payment
  • genuine redundancy payments and early retirement scheme payments shown as ‘Lump sum D’ amounts on your income statement
  • super co-contributions
  • certain disaster payments and grants.
Other non-taxable amounts

Generally, you don’t declare amounts you receive for:

  • rewards or gifts on special occasions, such as cash birthday presents and gifts from relatives given out of love (however, gifts may be taxable if you receive them as part of a business-like activity or for your income-earning activities as an employee or contractor)
  • prizes you won in ordinary lotteries, such as lotto draws and raffles
  • prizes you won in game shows, unless you receive regular appearance fees or game-show winnings
  • child support and spouse maintenance payments you receive.

Last modified: 26 Apr 2023 / QC 72118 / https://www.ato.gov.au/individuals/income-deductions-offsets-and-records/income-you-must-declare/amounts-you-do-not-include-as-income/

 

The essential role of Insurance Advisers in claims handling

Dealing with insurance claims can be a daunting task, requiring meticulous paperwork and detailed information. Insurance advisers play a vital role in simplifying the claims process and ensuring a positive outcome. In this article, we will explore the invaluable assistance provided by insurance advisers and the important questions to ask when seeking their guidance.

The Benefits of Insurance Advisers in Claims Handling

Insurance Advisers, whether specialising in car, home, or business insurance, offer valuable expertise in navigating the complex world of insurance claims. Their knowledge of claim procedures and established relationships with insurers make them invaluable allies during the claims process.

One of the primary ways insurance advisers assist claimants is through effective data gathering. They possess a deep understanding of the specific requirements for each claim, ensuring that claimants provide all the necessary information and documentation to support their case. By assisting with data collection, advisers help claimants present a compelling claim, increasing the chances of a positive outcome.

Moreover, insurance advisers take on the responsibility of claim review and submission. They meticulously review the claim, ensuring all pertinent details are included, and handle the paperwork on behalf of the claimant. This relieves the burden on claimants, saving them time and ensuring the claim is accurately presented to the insurer.

Relationship handling is another critical aspect of an insurance adviser’s role. Their established connections with insurers and underwriters enable them to effectively communicate with the right individuals, expediting the claims process. Claimants can rely on their advisers to advocate for them and ensure their claims receive prompt attention.

In cases where claims are contested or disputed, Insurance Advisers provide professional representation. With their in-depth knowledge of insurance policies, they can suggest potential solutions and negotiate with the insurer on behalf of the claimant. This advocacy ensures that claimants receive fair treatment and the best possible outcome for their claim.

Questions to ask your Insurance Adviser

To make the most informed decisions when selecting an insurance policy, it is essential to consult an Insurance Adviser. Here are four important questions to ask when seeking their guidance:

  1. What type of insurance can you advise me to buy? Your Adviser should evaluate your specific circumstances and risks to determine the insurance policies that best suit your needs. They can recommend health insurance for medical expenses, business insurance tailored to your enterprise, travel insurance for international trips, or home insurance to protect your property.
  2. How can I protect my interests when buying insurance? Ensuring transparency and honesty is crucial when selecting an insurance provider. Ask your adviser how they handle claims and inquire about the steps you can take if you feel your rights have been violated. Familiarise yourself with the Insurance Code of Practice, which safeguards the rights of insurance users.
  3. Does my insurance policy cover exclusions? Understanding the exclusions of your insurance policy is vital to avoid surprises during claims. For example, certain insurance providers may exclude coverage for pre-existing medical conditions. Your adviser can clarify these exclusions and provide options to cover them, albeit at higher premiums.
  4. Can I make changes to my policy in the future? Circumstances change over time, and your insurance policy should adapt accordingly. A reliable insurance adviser will assist you in making changes to your policy as needed. They should provide clear channels of communication with the insurer for inquiries or modifications.

Insurance advisers play a crucial role in claims handling, simplifying the process, and ensuring positive outcomes for claimants. By providing expert assistance in data gathering, claim review, relationship handling, and professional representation, insurance advisers offer peace of mind and invaluable support during insurance claims.

If this article has inspired you to think about your own unique situation and, more importantly, what you and your family are going through right now, please contact our office.

This information does not take into account the objectives, financial situation or needs of any person. Before making a decision, you should consider whether it is appropriate in light of your particular objectives, financial situation or needs.

(Feedsy Exclusive)

 

 

Energy bill rebate for households and small business

Who is eligible:

* Pensioners, veterans, seniors and other concession card holders.

* Recipients of the carer allowance and family tax benefit.

* People in existing state and territory electricity concession schemes.

In NSW:

* More than 1.6 million households and 300,000 businesses will be eligible for energy rebates in the next financial year.

* NSW households will receive $500 and small businesses can get a $650 rebate.

* The price relief rebates will be delivered via energy companies and applied automatically to energy bills.

In VIC:

* More than 1.27 million households and 236,000 small businesses will be eligible for energy price relief from July 1.

* Households will get a $250 annual energy rebate on power bills, in addition to the $250 power saving bonus that will continue.

* Households will continue to access support through year-round electricity concession and the winter gas concession.

* Eligible small businesses will get a $325 rebate and will receive it automatically if they are a “small customer”.

In QLD:

* More than 1.1 million households and 200,000 small businesses will be eligible for the energy bill relief from July 1.

* Households will receive an annual rebate of $500 and eligible small businesses can access $650.

* The rebates will be applied to household bills by energy companies.

* Small businesses who are classified as a “small customer” will get the relief automatically.

Marion Rae (Australian Associated Press)

 

What’s new for individuals tax

Before you complete your tax return for 2022–23, find out what’s new and any changes that may affect you.

Working from home deduction changes

The fixed rate method for calculating your deduction for working from home expenses has been revised. The revised fixed rate method allows you to claim 67 cents per work hour and available from 1 July 2022.

The fixed rate method has been revised to:

  • increase the rate per work hour that you can claim when you work from home
  • change the expenses the rate covers
  • change the record keeping requirements
  • remove the requirement to have a dedicated home office set aside for work.

You can also separately claim a decline in value deduction for the work-related use of depreciating assets such as office furniture and technology.

If you don’t use the revised fixed rate method, you need to use the actual cost method. You can no longer use the shortcut method, this method ended 30 June 2022.

If you are working out your claim for working from home expenses for 2021–22 or earlier income years, see Prior year work from home methods.

Changes to your tax return outcome in 2023

The outcome of your tax return for 2022–23 may be different than in previous income years. You may have a lower refund or you may receive a tax bill.

Your tax return outcome may change for a number of reasons. For example, the low and middle income tax offset (LMITO) ended 30 June 2022, it doesn’t apply this tax time. For more on how this and other circumstances affect the outcome of your tax return, see Why your tax return outcome may change in 2023.

If you receive a tax bill and are unable to pay on time, we can help. Find out what to do if you have a tax bill.

Cents per kilometre rate change

From 1 July 2022, the cents per kilometre rate for work-related car expenses is 78c.

Use this rate to calculate and claim your work-related car expenses in your tax return for 2022–23 if you are using the cents per kilometre rate.

Self-education deduction change

Before 1 July 2022, you were generally required to reduce your allowable self-education expenses by $250 to calculate your deduction.

From 1 July 2022, if you’re claiming a deduction for self-education expenses:

  • you no longer need to reduce your allowable expenses by $250
  • you can claim a deduction for all allowable self-education expenses.

You must continue to keep records of your self-education expenses.

High-Risk Settings Pandemic Payment

The Australian Government provided support for individuals who tested positive for COVID-19 and couldn’t earn income because they worked in a high-risk setting. A high-risk setting was classed as any of the following that involved frequent close contact:

  • aged care, including home care with close personal care and support services
  • disability care, including home care with close personal care and support services
  • Aboriginal healthcare, including workers employed by National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (NACCHOs), community health care, Aboriginal drug and alcohol services and support services
  • hospital care, including day hospitals and smaller facilities, paramedical, ambulance, patient transport and support.

For claims submitted to Services Australia from 11 November 2022, a high-risk setting also included custodial settings, such as prison, youth justice and secure welfare services.

This is a taxable payment, and you need to manually report this income in your tax return.

This payment will not show on your Centrelink payment summaryExternal Link and will not prefill into your tax return. You can check the amount received:

  • in the Payment history section of your Centrelink online account
  • in Centrelink letters you received online or in the post
  • by contacting Services Australia.

Completing your tax return

Enter the amount you receive at one of the following:

  • Australian Government special payments if you lodge online using myTax
  • Question 24 Other income if you lodge by paper
  • Question 24V or add the Income Details schedule at field Australian Government benefit taxable amount (INCDTLS128), with field Australian Government benefit type (INCDTLS126) set to Special if you’re a registered tax professional.

For more information about these payments, see Services Australia – High-Risk Settings Pandemic PaymentExternal Link.

Cost of Living Payment

The Cost of Living PaymentExternal Link is a $250 one-off payment to help with the cost of living. Services Australia began distributing this payment to eligible individuals in April 2022.

The Cost of Living Payment is non-assessable non-exempt (NANE) income. This means it is a non-taxable payment and you don’t need to include it in your tax return.

Disaster payments and grants

If you are affected by a natural disaster, you may have received a relief payment from:

  • local, state or federal government agencies
  • a charity or community group
  • your employer.

Some payments are non-assessable non-exempt (NANE) income. This means it is a non-taxable payment and you don’t need to include it in your tax return.

If you have carried forward losses from an earlier income year, you will need to reduce that amount by any exempt income.

For payments you receive from a local, state or federal government agency, you need to understand what type of payment it is and how it affects your tax. You may need to include the following payments in your tax return, although you may not pay tax on them.

To find out if the payment you receive is tax free, tax exempt, NANE income or taxable and if you need to include it in your tax return, see Reporting disaster payments and grants in your tax return.

Territories Stolen Generations Redress Scheme

The Territories Stolen Generations Redress SchemeExternal Link is administered by the National Indigenous Australians Agency. The Scheme is for survivors of the Stolen Generations who were removed as children from their families whilst in the Northern Territory or the Australian Capital Territory (prior to their respective self-government) or the Jervis Bay Territory.

The Scheme is a financial and wellbeing package that opened on 1 March 2022 and will close on 30 June 2026. You can apply anytime between 1 March 2022 and 28 February 2026.

The Territories Stolen Generations Redress scheme payments are non-assessable non-exempt (NANE) income. This means it is a non-taxable payment and you don’t need to include it in your tax return.

Medicare levy thresholds

From 1 July 2022, the low-income thresholds for the Medicare levy have been adjusted in line with the consumer price index (CPI). For more information see Medicare levy reduction for low income earners.

Removing the $450 threshold for super guarantee eligibility

Before 1 July 2022, your employer did not have to pay super guarantee if you were earning less than $450 a month. The $450 per month threshold for super guarantee has been removed.

Your employer must pay super guarantee for eligible employees regardless of your earnings, see Am I entitled to super?

If you’re under 18 years old, you’ll still need to work more than 30 hours in a week to be eligible for super.

You can use our Estimate my super tool to calculate how much super your employer should have paid.

Personal super contribution amounts added to ATO online services

There are limits on how much you can pay into your super fund each income year without having to pay extra tax. These limits are called ‘contribution caps’.

If you contribute to super and you want to stay under the contribution caps, you’ll now be able to easily. You can view your personal super contribution amounts in ATO online services. The new non-concessional contributions, concessional contributions and carry forward screens will display up to 5 years of contributions data.

Downsizer contributions

The age an eligible individual can make a downsizer contribution to their superannuation has changed.

If you have reached the eligible age, you (each individual) may be able to contribute up to $300,000 from the proceeds of the sale (or part sale) of your home into your superannuation fund.

To make a downsizer contribution; the eligible age is as follows:

  • From 1 January 2023, 55 years old or older
  • From 1 July 2022, 60 years old or older
  • From 1 July 2018, 65 years old or older.

For the full eligibility criteria and other details, see Downsizer contributions for individuals.

Military invalidity pension payments

If you receive invalidity pension payments that are affected by the Douglas court decision, they are treated as superannuation lump sum payments. Include your payment amount at Australian superannuation lump sum payments in your tax return.

If your invalidity pension payments are not affected by the Douglas decision, they are taxed as superannuation income stream benefits. Include these payments at Australian annuities and superannuation income streams in your tax return.

Veterans’ super (invalidity pension) tax offset

The veterans’ superannuation (invalidity pension) tax offset (VSTO) is a non-refundable tax offset. This tax offset ensures veterans and their beneficiaries don’t pay more tax because of the Douglas court decision. It applies from the 2007–08 income year.

You don’t need to apply for the VSTO. We will work out if you are entitled to a VSTO amount after you lodge your tax return.

To check your eligibility for the tax offset, see Veterans’ superannuation (invalidity pension) tax offset.

Last modified: 24 Jun 2023QC 32093; https://www.ato.gov.au/Individuals/Your-tax-return/Before-you-prepare-your-tax-return/What-s-new-for-individuals/

 

We know that a lot has been going on in our world lately, and while Covid is becoming a memory we are all now concerned with the cost of living and rising interest rates which none of us can escape from.

We also have to acknowledge that the incidents of cybercrime seem to be increasing.  Unfortunately, too many of us either have been or will be affected by this. Thankfully, though, there are things that we can all do to minimise the risk and make us all aware of just how scammers work.  We have a great article that may be helpful if you wish to learn more.

If you would like a copy of our newsletter emailed to you each quarter, just let us know at jbellas@jbfs.com.au 

Click the link to view our Winter Newsletter – JBFS Winter Newsletter 2023

 

Easy ways to increase property value

Your home is more than simply a place to unwind; it’s also an investment.

If you plan to sell your property someday, increasing its value now can help you get a better return on your investment.

Most people believe that increasing the value of a home requires substantial (and usually costly) renovation. The good news is that there are numerous ways to enhance property value without the need to spend a fortune.

Here’s how to increase property value with these 5 simple tips:

Get a home inspection done

Before you purchased your house, you presumably had it inspected by a professional. A home inspection allows you to ensure there is nothing substantially wrong with the house, such as significant water or termite damage.

If it’s been a while since your last home inspection, now might be a good time to book one. Inspections done on a regular basis can help you discover problems before they become serious, more costly concerns. If the home inspector finds a flaw, you may address it now rather than waiting for a possible buyer to notice it later and derail the sale process.

Take care of your landscape

Does landscaping increase property value?

The short answer here is: Yes, landscaping can impact property value.

Thus, it makes perfect sense to ensure your property attracts the right kind of attention from not only passers-by but also prospective buyers.

A few simple ways you can boost kerb appeal include repainting the exterior of your home, improving or adding light fixtures, laying fresh mulch and installing a new garage door. You can also add more plants to enhance privacy, make your place more inviting and reduce noise and pollution.

Declutter and deep clean

Time to put on your gloves and clean your home.

Get rid of clutter in every room, give away what’s still useful (or donate to charity) or sell it in a garage sale.

Rent a carpet cleaner to remove all the stains and grime on the floors after you’re done cleaning and decluttering. Enlist the help of other family members in giving your kitchen and bathrooms a thoroughly good clean.

Invest in smart home features or tech upgrades

Does solar increase property value? How about a programmable thermostat and a CCTV security system?

A lot of homebuyers today prefer homes with modern features or high-tech devices — such as video doorbells, smart appliances, motion detectors, solar power sources, smart thermostats, etc. However, certain features such as real-time security alerts or operator support may require a monthly subscription cost.

Add a bedroom or a bathroom

Choosing to create another bedroom or bathroom depends largely on your budget.

To add a new bedroom, you may opt for a minor drywall buildout. If you already have an extra room without a closet, all you need to do is buy a decently sized one and install it in your instant bedroom. Another way to do this is by using simple framing and installing a drywall.

If you have a bigger budget and more space, you might want to consider adding a bathroom — even just a half bath. Rerouting plumbing to a pipe-free area of the house might be costly when building a bathroom. Find out where the plumbing travels throughout the house and if you can construct a new bathroom utilising the current plumbing lines.

Smart investments pay off

Increasing the value of your property and making it more attractive to prospective buyers don’t necessarily entail substantial expenses.

By applying the above tips, you can accomplish both goals without the need to invest in expensive upgrades.

If this article has inspired you to think about your own unique situation and, more importantly, what you and your family are going through right now, please contact our office.

(Feedsy Exclusive)

 

Super health check

Use this checklist to review the health of your super in 5 easy steps.

Why you should review your super

Your super is one of the biggest assets you’ll accumulate in your lifetime.

However, many Australians think they don’t need to worry about their super until retirement. Some don’t think about it at all.

It’s never too early to think about your super and the earlier you get on top of it, the better. It’s a good idea to regularly review and manage your super. At the very least, make sure you:

  • are getting the super you are entitled to from your employer
  • know where it is.

Small decisions you make today can have big impacts on your final super outcomes.

For instance, missing out on some employer contributions today, could have a huge impact on your super balance in retirement due to the compounding effect of earnings. The same can happen if you have lost or unclaimed super.

Benefits of a super health check

A super health check consists of 5 simple and important things you can do to get on top of your super today. It will help you:

  • manage your super
  • understand your entitlements
  • make better choices for when you retire.

You can check on your super at any time. However, we suggest you get into the habit of doing a health check each year when you prepare your tax return.

Get started

To start, follow the prompts below.

The best way to perform these checks is either on ATO online services through myGov or by contacting your super fund directly. You just need a myGov account linked to the ATO.

Once you link your myGov account, you can also use the ATO app.

Check 1: Check your contact details

Check your contact details, tax file number (TFN) and bank account are up to date with us and your super fund. This helps prevent lost super and assists in matching any unclaimed super to you.

Log on to ATO online services through myGovExternal Link. In the top menu, select My profile. From the drop-down options, select either:

  • Personal details to update your name, contact number, email and home address
  • Financial institution details to update your bank account and
    • under the Account heading, you will see Income Tax and Superannuation
    • select either Add or Update.

To update your contact details, bank account and TFN with your super fund, see their website or contact them directly.

Check 2: Check your super balance and employer contributions

It’s important to check your super balance each year to see how much you have and keep track of your employer contributions. You can do this anytime on ATO online services or through your super fund.

Your employer should pay your super at least every 3 months. They may choose to do it more frequently, such as your regular pay cycle. From 1 July 2022 to 30 June 2023, your employer should pay at least 10.5% of your salary into your super. From 1 July 2023 to 30 June 2024, the rate increases to 11%. If you’re under 18, you need to work more than 30 hours a week to be eligible for super.

Funds report account balances to us at certain times of the year. Balances shown in ATO online services may be different to your actual current balances.

Log on to ATO online services through myGovExternal Link. From the top menu, select Super and then either:

  • Fund Details to see all your super accounts and balances (including those held in funds or with us) and the most recent date reported by your fund
  • Information then Employer contributions to see the total year-to-date employer contributions in a selected year – select Transactions to see each contribution separately.

For help calculating the amount of super your employer should be paying, use our Estimate my super tool. If you do not receive super contributions or the amounts are incorrect:

  • contact your employer and request an update
  • report it to the ATO.
Check 3: Check for lost and unclaimed super

You may have lost track of some of your super when you changed your name, address or job, for example. This is why it’s important to ensure your fund has your current details.

Lost super is when your fund has lost touch with you, or your account is inactive. This money is held by your fund. Unclaimed super is when your fund transfers lost super to us.

All your super accounts including lost and ATO held super are displayed on ATO online services.

Log on to ATO online services through myGovExternal Link. From the top menu, select Super. Then select either:

  • Fund details to check for lost super – if you want to keep your super with the same fund, contact them directly to update your details
  • Manage and then Transfer super to transfer this lost super to an eligible super account – or ask your fund to complete the transfer for you
  • Manage and then Transfer super to transfer ATO held super to an eligible super account
  • Manage then Withdraw ATO-held super to have your super paid directly to you if the amount is less than $200 or you are over 65.
Check 4: Check if you have multiple super accounts and consider consolidating

If you’ve had more than one job, you may have more than one super account. It’s important to know how many super accounts you have. Combining your super may reduce fees and make it easier to manage.

If you decide to consolidate your super, it’s important to choose the fund that’s right for you. You should check that it provides better value, and the insurance cover suits your needs, which may change throughout your life. To see which fund is the best option for you, visit MoneySmartExternal Link. If you are unsure of what to do, contact your super fund or seek independent financial advice.

Log on to ATO online services through myGovExternal Link. From the top menu, select Super then either:

  • Fund details to see all your super accounts and balances
  • Manage and then Transfer superto consolidate your accounts, then
    • select the fund you want to close (transfer)
    • select the fund you want your money transferred to from the accounts listed
    • confirm your selection and submit request.
Check 5: Check your nominated beneficiary

Take the time to ensure you have a valid death beneficiary nomination in place in your super fund as this isn’t covered by your will. This means your loved ones will not be put through unnecessary difficulties to finalise your estate.

Most binding nominations expire every 3 years. Some super funds have an option where nominations do not expire and remain in place until they are revoked.

If you don’t nominate a beneficiary, your fund may not know who your benefit should be paid to. In these cases, they will follow the law. This usually means they pay it to one or more of your dependents or your legal personal representative.

To check or nominate your death beneficiary:

  • Refer to your super fund’s website or contact them to check if you already have a valid nomination in place.
  • To update it, complete the form from your super fund, sign and date in the presence of 2 witnesses.
  • If you are unsure, contact your super fund or seek independent financial or legal advice from a qualified estate planner.

Last modified: 21 Apr 2023; QC 72290; https://www.ato.gov.au/Individuals/Super/Super-health-check/

Striking a Balance: How to Achieve Financial Independence and Enjoy It Too

Striving for financial independence is an important goal for many people, as it helps them focus and create concrete plans for their desired outcomes.

However, what happens after you achieve financial independence or FI?

Some actually find it difficult to transition from the achievement phase to the enjoyment phase.

To ensure you make the most out of your newfound freedom, consider the following discussion on achieving and enjoying financial independence.

Achievement vs. enjoyment

Human nature drives people to pursue new achievements and improvements constantly. While this has been essential for humanity’s progress, it can hinder one’s ability to feel content and happy.

When you reach a significant goal like FI, you may struggle to slow down and enjoy the rewards because your mind is still stuck in goal-setting mode.

Transitioning from achievement to enjoyment

The key to enjoying financial independence lies in undergoing a mental transition.

You need to shift your mindset from constant goal-chasing to embracing the freedom and opportunities that FI provides. This doesn’t mean completely abandoning your goals, but rather finding a healthy balance between achievement and enjoyment.

The reality of financial independence

Contrary to what you may expect, early retirement might not be as exciting as it seems.

After an initial adjustment period, you may find yourself restless and searching for new goals or projects. This is normal, as our minds and bodies need time to recalibrate to a new way of living.

Embrace this period of transition and understand that the satisfaction of achieving FI may gradually evolve into a comforting sense of contentment.

Moving from achievement to enjoyment

To shift your focus successfully from achievement to enjoyment, consider the following:

  • Recognise and appreciate your unique position as someone who has achieved FI.
  • Give yourself permission to do whatever you want, whether that’s working or relaxing.
  • Cultivate mindfulness in your daily activities to appreciate the present.

Practising gratitude is also essential in making this mental transition. With more time and mental space available after achieving financial independence, you can work on cultivating gratitude and enhancing your overall sense of well-being.

Embracing a new way of life

After achieving financial independence, you may still yearn for a sense of purpose and usefulness. This means that even as you transition towards the enjoyment phase, further achievements are likely to follow. The key is to find a balance that allows you to enjoy a satisfying life, combining both achievement and enjoyment.

By approaching life with a new mindset, you can focus on meaningful activities and projects that genuinely interest you rather than solely pursuing new goals for the sake of filling your schedule or avoiding boredom. Doing this will allow you to enjoy your life more and make the most out of your financial freedom.

If this article has inspired you to think about your own unique situation and, more importantly, what you, your family or your business are going through right now, please contact our office.

This information does not take into account the objectives, financial needs or legal situation of any person or business. Before making a decision, you should consider whether it is appropriate in light of your particular objectives. Our news articles contain general information about a variety of topics for your enjoyment. They are of a general nature only and aimed to get you thinking about newsworthy topics. This information is not a substitute for specific legal, financial, insurance or accounting advice.

(Feedsy Exclusive)

 

 

Importance of Discussing Inheritance Planning With Your Family

While most people write wills, very few families discuss inheritance. Parents avoid discussing inheritance planning with their children due to the subject’s sensitivity.

However, avoiding the conversation does more harm than good. For example, poor wealth management by heirs can lead to business collapse.

Here are some reasons why you should discuss inheritance planning with your family.

To Prevent Conflict

The risk of conflict is higher when you fail to communicate how you want your heirs to run your estates. While the will specifies who should get what, you may need to explain how you want them to run the business.

Your heirs may also experience unforeseen disputes if they are not aware of your share of the business and who should take the voting power.

To Protect Juvenile Heirs

Inheritance discussions with family help you devise plans to protect the minors entitled to your estate.

For example, you can guarantee your kids’ education through education insurance or a life insurance policy.

Your discussions can also help everyone understand when they can receive their inheritance and how they will receive it.

To Express Your Expectations

Since inheritance planning goes beyond property division, your family will know how you expect them to run your estate once you are gone.

Your heirs can also prepare for the new responsibility in advance instead of experiencing sudden changes.

To Encourage More Discussions

While it may seem difficult, talking about inheritance with your family is a gesture that the topic is open for discussion. So, your heirs can ask the questions they have about the subject.

These conversations also create a sense of ownership among your heirs, increasing their morale when under your leadership.

To Avoid High Taxation

Estate planning discussions can help you devise ways to minimise the tax burden for your heirs. The approach you choose depends on your situation.

Since your kids and spouse are the beneficiaries of your property, you can involve them in inheritance planning to simplify the process. You also get an opportunity to express your expectations, ensuring that your legacy continues after you are gone.

If this article has inspired you to think about your own unique situation and, more importantly, what you and your family are going through right now, please contact our office.

This information does not take into account the objectives, financial situation or needs of any person. Before making a decision, you should consider whether it is appropriate in light of your particular objectives, financial situation or needs.

(Feedsy Exclusive)

End of financial year tax tips

July 1st is fast approaching, and we all know what that means. Yes, it’s tax time. Unfortunately, filing taxes can be a laborious, frustrating, time-consuming, and somewhat overwhelming process for some of us. However, for others, filing their taxes is a necessary evil that gives them a fantastic opportunity to reduce their tax liability.

These people see the annual period between July 1st and October 31st as a great time to take back a little of what the government took from them. So, what are some simple tax tips you can employ this year?

 Work From Home Expenses

COVID changed how we live, what we do, where we can go and how we stay in touch with friends, family members and relatives. However, it also changed how we work. Working from home soon became the norm for many of us during the pandemic.

Claiming work from home expenses requires that you meet three criteria. First, you must have a receipt for each expense you claim. Second, your costs must be tied to how you earned an income. Third, this must be money you spent yourself for which an employer did not reimburse you. So, what can you claim?

  • Car Expenses

There are essentially two methods of claiming car expenses. The first uses the ‘cents per kilometre’ method, while the second involves the ‘logbook method’. Of the two, the first option is much more straightforward. You can claim 72 cents for every kilometre up to a maximum of 5000 km.

You can apply a portion of your car expenses to work-related tasks for the logbook method. You can claim your costs of fuel, oil changes, car registration, car insurance, and the decline in your vehicle’s value. However, you need to keep highly accurate records and retain all receipts.

  • Travel Expenses

These expenses include lunches with clients, hotels and accommodations, and public transit expenses. Again, keep all receipts and ensure that all costs are your own and were not reimbursed.

  • Dry Cleaning and Clothing Expenses

You can claim the costs of dry cleaning and clothing if these expenses are work-related. These expenses might include the costs of a new suit, shoes or pants and shirts.

  • Self-Improvement, Training, and Learning Expenses

You can claim any expenses for studying, training, or learning a new trade or skill. This includes course and tuition costs, fuel, parking, computers and computer consumables, books, stationery, trade journals, and a portion of the fees and interest paid on a Higher Education Loan Program (HELP). If you become part of a union after completing your course training, you can deduct a portion of your union dues and fees.

  • Medical

You can claim any expenses you’ve covered and have not been reimbursed for COVID testing, PCR testing and other work-related medical expenses.

 Superannuation Contributions

The SG increased from 10% to 10.5% on 1 July 2022 and is set to rise again to 11% on 1 July 2023 for the 2023–24 financial year. The SG percentage rate will continue increasing by 0.5% every year until it reaches 12% from 1 July 2025.

While you can’t claim tax deductions for before-tax income contributions made by your employer, you could claim a tax deduction for any after-tax contributions you’ve made yourself to your retirement plan. These after-tax contributions would include you making payments directly from your account after receiving your paycheck.

 Other Expenses

You can claim expenses relating to the costs of managing tax affairs. This means claiming the costs of completing your tax return by an agent, getting advice from a tax preparer or lawyer, or any tax preparation software you purchase.

You can claim donations or gifts you’ve given to a deductible gift recipient (DGR) organisation. You can also claim some deductions for any expenses you’ve covered to earn interest on investments or a portion of your premiums paid on income insurance.

 Have a Plan

Having a plan this time of year really pays off in the end. If you’ve been working from home, think about all the costs you cover to earn a living. Keep all receipts and be specific about the deductions you’re applying for. It might help make this year’s tax filing a much simpler process.

If you need help getting started on your investment journey or require expert financial advice, please get in touch with your Accountant and Financial Adviser. They’re there to help you secure your future no matter what stage of life you are in.

If this article has inspired you to think about your own unique situation and, more importantly, what you and your family are going through right now, please contact your advice professional.

This information does not take into account the objectives, financial situation or needs of any person. Before making a decision, you should consider whether it is appropriate in light of your particular objectives, financial situation or needs.

 (Feedsy Exclusive)

 

 

Struggling to make mortgage repayments? Here are some steps you can take

Owning a home is a significant milestone. However, the financial responsibility of mortgage repayments can be daunting for some homeowners.

In times of financial difficulty, it’s essential to find ways to manage your mortgage and avoid defaulting on your loan. Here are some practical tips you can implement right away if you’re struggling with mortgage repayments.

 1.  Assess your financial situation

The first step in addressing your mortgage struggles is to evaluate your financial situation. Take an honest look at your income, expenses, and debts.

By understanding where your money is going, you can identify areas where you can cut back and allocate more funds towards your mortgage repayments. Creating a detailed budget can be helpful in managing your finances and ensuring you prioritise your mortgage.

2.  Reach out to your lender

If you’re struggling to meet your mortgage repayments, it’s essential to contact your lender as soon as possible. They may be able to offer solutions, such as renegotiating your rate, adjusting the repayment frequency, or temporarily reducing your repayment amount. They are also often willing to offer hardship assistance, which can include extending your loan term, offering a repayment holiday, or switching to interest-only repayments for a specified period.

Remember, your lender wants you to succeed in repaying your loan, so they are often willing to work with you during challenging times.

3.  Consider refinancing your mortgage

Check if you can potentially lower your interest rate and reduce your monthly repayments with mortgage refinancing. This option may be especially helpful if your credit score has improved since you first took out your mortgage, or if interest rates have dropped.

Before refinancing, be sure to weigh the costs and benefits carefully, as refinancing can sometimes come with additional fees and charges.

4.  Seek financial counselling

If you’re unsure of how to proceed with your mortgage repayments or need guidance in managing your finances, consider seeking professional advice.

Financial counsellors can offer guidance and help you create a plan to manage your debt and expenses effectively. Many non-profit organisations offer free or low-cost financial counselling services, such as the National Debt Helpline.

5.  Explore government assistance programs

Depending on your location, there may be government assistance programs available to help struggling homeowners with their mortgage repayments, such as the Mortgage Relief Scheme. These programs can offer temporary relief, allowing you to regain your financial footing. Research the available resources in your area and determine if you qualify for any government aid.

Regain control of your finances

Facing difficulty with mortgage repayments can be incredibly stressful, but it’s essential to remember that you have options.

Also, remember that seeking professional help, such as financial counselling, can be a valuable resource in navigating these challenges. By taking proactive steps, you can regain control of your finances and continue on the path to homeownership.

 If this article has inspired you to think about your own unique situation and, more importantly, what you, your family or your business are going through right now, please contact our office.

This information does not take into account the objectives, financial needs or legal situation of any person or business. Before making a decision, you should consider whether it is appropriate in light of your particular objectives. Our news articles contain general information about a variety of topics for your enjoyment. They are of a general nature only and aimed to get you thinking about newsworthy topics. This information is not a substitute for specific legal, financial, insurance or accounting advice.

(Feedsy Exclusive)

 

 

Dealing With Higher Inflation: Strategies to Thrive Amidst Rising Costs

The cost of living continues to rise, and many are feeling the pinch. However, there are ways to navigate and adapt to this challenging financial landscape.

If you’re looking for practical solutions and workarounds to help you tackle higher inflation head-on, then this article is a good starting point.

1.  Leverage the labour market

With labour shortages prevalent in certain industries and specialisations, it’s an opportune time to negotiate a wage increase, explore better-paying job opportunities or even get a side gig.

Strengthen your bargaining power by emphasising your value in the current job market. If you can, work on improving yourself professionally through upskilling, reskilling, taking free online courses or getting certified (if this is applicable to your job).

2.  Be on the alert for bill increases

Keep a watchful eye on price hikes in areas like groceries, mortgages, and utilities. Be vigilant and seek better deals to combat rising costs.

Practise your research and analytical skills to find better options without sacrificing quality.

3.  Make some lifestyle changes

Carve out your own financial path by making adjustments in various aspects of your life, including:

  • Car costs: Opt for a smaller, fuel-efficient vehicle, combine errands, use public transport, walk or cycle, and compare fuel prices before filling up.
  • Food: Be selective about your grocery purchases by choosing items that haven’t undergone significant price increases. Optimise your grocery spending by adopting smart shopping strategies. Shop only for what you need and avoid impulse buys.
  • Rent: Consider moving to a more affordable area or property, sharing living spaces, or negotiating a smaller rent increase with your landlord if you’ve been a reliable or long-term tenant.
  • Mortgage: Shop around for competitive mortgage rates and stay informed about what constitutes a good rate for your loan.
4.  Deal with debt

When dealing with debt amidst higher inflation, you can choose between two approaches:

  • Take on debt to diversify or increase investments: With inflation eroding the real value of debt and assets increasing over time, this approach may be more profitable in the long run. Keep in mind that asset prices may fluctuate in the short term, and hoarding cash can be detrimental during high inflation. Instead, focus on investing in assets that provide a hedge against inflation, like real estate and businesses.
  • Pay off debt to lower risk and improve stability: By paying down debt during higher interest rate periods, you lock in a higher return on your money and eliminate the risk of interest rates affecting your cash flow. This strategy is particularly beneficial for those nearing retirement or semi-retirement.
Ride the higher-inflation tide

Time and again, everyone has had to deal with rising inflation, so it’s definitely not the end of the world.

Most people will adapt and survive if they haven’t built their lives on excessive consumerism and unrealistic financial expectations. Wages will probably catch up to inflation over time, as they have historically.

So, use this time as an opportunity to flex your frugality muscles. By shopping around, tweaking your spending habits, improving your income, and enjoying low-cost activities, you’ll emerge personally and financially stronger on the other side.

 If this article has inspired you to think about your own unique situation and, more importantly, what you, your family or your business are going through right now, please contact our office.

This information does not take into account the objectives, financial needs or legal situation of any person or business. Before making a decision, you should consider whether it is appropriate in light of your particular objectives. Our news articles contain general information about a variety of topics for your enjoyment. They are of a general nature only and aimed to get you thinking about newsworthy topics. This information is not a substitute for specific legal, financial, insurance or accounting advice.

(Feedsy Exclusive)

May 2023

 

 

3 Tips to Future-Proof Your Family Finances

If there’s anything people learned from the recessions and global crises of recent past, it’s that no one is immune to economic upheavals.

Even middle to upper-class families are at the mercy of their finances when misfortune strikes. This can come in the form of sudden unemployment, a family breakup (divorce), business closure, a severe health condition requiring long-term treatment, or something bigger like a global pandemic.

While an emergency fund and savings provide some measure of security against financial pressures, these may not be enough if the problem persists for months or even years.

Therefore, it’s never too early to start future-proofing your family finances to secure your children’s future and ensure you’ll be able to weather challenges that’ll come your way.

To get you started, below are some tips shared by a personal finance advisor for anyone looking to build their family’s financial resilience:

1.  Budget your expenses

This one is a no-brainer and is probably one of the most common tips mentioned in the best personal finance books. However, this is also advice where a lot of people falter as, during times of plenty, the temptation to overspend is strong.

Start by reviewing your monthly budget and identifying areas for cost savings. While eliminating all indulgences is not necessary, it’s good practice to reduce recurring expenses and bills.

For starters, you may decide to eat out once a week instead of several times. You could also work on raising your credit score or maintaining a clean driving record to get your auto insurance payments reduced.

With every cent you shave off your budget, you’ll be increasing your emergency fund or save enough to purchase a life insurance policy. All together, these will help in building the groundwork for your financial future.

2.  Identify multiple income streams

There was a time when parents having good jobs was enough to keep a family financially secure. While it’s true that a well-paying profession is great, it comes with the risk of job and income loss if a recession were to happen. Therefore, it’s better to have more than one source of income.

It can come in the form of a small-scale side business, part-time employment, or alternative investments. When you take advantage of opportunities to earn a few extra dollars, you’re not only protecting your finances but also building it up at the same time.

3.  Pay off debt

People who are deep in debt experience stress, both on normal days and in times of need.

If you have too many loans, even a minor setback, such as a rise in interest rates or a drop in household income, could become a major problem. The unsettling reality is that certain debt, like mortgages, can last well into retirement.

Experts in personal finance advise people to apply the ‘avalanche approach’ in debt repayment. That is, pay the minimum amount due each month on ongoing low APR bills while giving high-interest loans priority. You can keep yourself motivated to pay off debt by using the best personal finance software to monitor your financial growth.

Secure your family’s future

Future-proofing your family finances is a noble, practical goal that requires commitment and discipline.

Good thing information is on your side, as you have access to some of the best personal finance apps for free, as well as advice like the tips shared here. The only thing left is for you to act. Good luck!

 If this article has inspired you to think about your own unique situation and, more importantly, what you and your family are going through right now, please contact our office.

(Feedsy Exclusive)

Cyber safety checklist for small business owners – advice from the ATO

As a small business owner, protecting your systems from cyber security threats is essential. There are some simple things you can do to keep your business and client data safe from cybercriminals.

Here are our top 5 tips to keep your data safe:

  1. Install all software and app updates. Using an outdated version of software can leave the door open for cybercriminals to access your devices.
  2. Turn on automatic updates. This can reduce the risk of missing out on important updates. And it takes the stress out of remembering to manually update your devices.
  3. Use multi-factor authentication (MFA) where possible. MFA combines 2 or more security measures such as a fingerprint, password or physical token to protect your accounts.
  4. Use strong passphrases that are difficult to guess. Long, unpredictable and unique phrases are difficult for cybercriminals to crack.
  5. Teach yourself and your staff how to prevent, recognise and report cyber incidents. The Australian Cyber Security CentreExternal Linkhas fantastic resources that explain how to put cyber safety measures in place.

Check out other top cyber security tips for businesses for more ways to secure your devices.

Last modified: 11 Apr 2023 QC 72147 Cyber safety checklist for small business owners | Australian Taxation Office (ato.gov.au)

Payment change set to boost superannuation by thousands

Australian workers are set to retire with thousands more in their superannuation accounts thanks to more frequent payments from employers.

From July 1, 2026, employers will need to pay super at the same time as wages and salary.

The changes will leave the average 25-year-old earner about $6000, or 1.5 per cent, better off in retirement because more frequent payments leave more time for compounding interest.

Treasurer Jim Chalmers said the simple change was common sense.

It will strengthen the system and will boost retirement incomes,” he told ABC Radio.

The main reason for that is it will make it less likely that people will miss out on the super that they’ve earned and that they’re entitled to.

The Australian Taxation Office estimates $3.4 billion in super was unpaid in 2019/20.

The ATO’s resources will be boosted to crack down on compliance and it will have a new target for recovery payments.

Super Consumers Australia said the decision would better enable people to manage their money and ensure they are paid what they are owed.

Our recent survey found the majority of people don’t realise they can report non-payment to the ATO and that it is the regulator’s responsibility to investigate,” the organisation’s director Xavier O’Halloran said.

We encourage people to report unpaid super to the ATO if they can’t resolve the issue directly with their employer.

The Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia said it was important employers were held to account.

Left unaddressed, the issue of unpaid superannuation guarantee contributions comes at a significant cost to people’s retirement,” deputy CEO Glen McCrea said.

For example, a 35-year-old on $65,000 per year who misses out on SG for two years would be around $24,000 worse off in today’s dollars at the time of retirement.”

Chair of the Council of Small Business Organisations Australia, Matthew Addison, said payday super would lift processing costs for all parties, including super funds.

He told AAP that would ultimately push up administration fees for employees and eat into super balances.

Mr Addison said employers would bear the cost of additional payroll software, as well as more frequent transactions, through the mandatory clearing system used to send money to super funds.

The council is urging the government to consult with small businesses on a workable system that won’t lift processing costs or unfairly punish compliant employers for the poor behaviour of a few companies that deliberately avoid paying super.

The council would also prefer businesses with fewer than 15 employees to choose monthly super payments and opt for more frequent payments if desired.

However, Mr Addison welcomed the long lead-up time, which he said would give businesses a chance to adapt to more frequent payments.

Dominic Giannini and Poppy Johnston (Australian Associated Press)

 

On the evening of 9 May 2023, the Government delivered its second Budget in the current parliamentary term.

Inflationary pressures, interest rates and escalating cost of living have all had a significant impact on everyday Australians. The Budget needs to deliver the right balance of spending and savings.

This year’s Budget has a strong emphasis on providing cost of living relief, strengthening Medicare, and investing in a stronger and more secure economy. There were very few surprises and most of the significant announcements had been made prior to the Budget being released.

Importantly, it goes without saying the measures announced in the Budget are not a fait accompli. They will be subject to the successful passage of relevant legislation.

To assist you with understanding the issues, our Technical Team has prepared a summary of the key measures contained in the Budget.

Federal Budget Summary May 2023

Financial Stability: The Key to the Ideal Retirement

Retirement is a time to sit back and enjoy the fruits of a lifetime of hard work. However, retiring without adequate financial resources can be a recipe for disaster.

Financial stability is crucial if you want a comfortable and fulfilling retirement. Ensuring your financial health will help you avoid the stress and uncertainty that come with retiring prematurely.

So, even as you’re focused on your vision of the ideal retirement, remember the importance of retiring only when you’re financially capable. Below are some of the significant benefits of doing so.

You have peace of mind

One of the major advantages of retiring only when you’re financially secure is the peace of mind it offers.

Knowing that you have sufficient funds to cover your expenses and maintain your lifestyle can relieve the stress and anxiety that often accompany financial uncertainty. You can focus on enjoying your newfound freedom and exploring new interests and hobbies rather than worrying about how you’ll make ends meet.

You can maintain your standard of living

Retiring without adequate financial resources can lead to a lower standard of living, as it may force retirees to cut back on their expenses to stay afloat.

This could mean downsizing your home, forgoing travel or vacations, or sacrificing hobbies and interests because of financial constraints. By waiting until you’re financially capable, you maintain the lifestyle you’ve grown accustomed to, making your golden years truly enjoyable.

You will manage healthcare expenses

As people age, their healthcare needs often increase, and this can mean rising medical costs. Without adequate financial resources, retirees may struggle to afford essential care, leading to a decline in their overall health and well-being.

Retiring with a solid financial foundation can help you cover medical expenses, ensuring you have access to the best healthcare and treatments available.

You reduce the possibility of stressing your family

Retiring without sufficient financial resources can place a significant burden on your family. When they feel obligated to support you financially, it can lead to strained relationships and added stress for everyone involved.

By ensuring that you are financially stable before retiring, you can maintain your independence and avoid pressuring your loved ones.

You’re prepared for longevity and inflation

With so many advancements in healthcare and technology, people are living longer than ever before. While this is undoubtedly a positive development, it also means that retirees need to plan for a longer retirement period.

Also, inflation can erode the purchasing power of your savings over time, making it essential to have a robust financial plan in place to ensure you can maintain your desired lifestyle throughout your retirement years.

Be financially prepared for retirement

Retiring only when you’re financially capable is of utmost importance for a worry-free and fulfilling retirement.

By waiting to retire until you have sufficient funds, you can enjoy peace of mind, maintain your standard of living, cover healthcare expenses, reduce the burden on your family, and embrace the flexibility and freedom that comes with financial stability.

So, as you plan for your retirement, prioritise building your financial security to ensure that your retirement years are truly golden.

 If this article has inspired you to think about your own unique situation and, more importantly, what you and your family are going through right now, please contact our office.

This information does not take into account the objectives, financial situation or needs of any person. Before making a decision, you should consider whether it is appropriate in light of your particular objectives, financial situation or needs.

 (Feedsy Exclusive)

 

Pathway to budget balance littered with tough calls

Cost of living relief must be temporary and targeted and cash splashes shelved if the federal government is serious about taming inflation and returning the budget to balance in the next 10 years, new PwC analysis shows.

Modelling by the major consulting firm reveals Australia could return its budget to balance in less than a decade if the government remains laser-focused on the bottom line.

PwC Australia chief economist Amy Auster said the May budget was shaping up to be another “bread and butter” one in the face of slowing growth and as the recovery continues from the pandemic.

     “To quickly tame inflation and ensure our economic downturn is short and shallow, we need the government to keep a steady hand on the bottom line, avoid a cash splash and chip away at the structural deficit to set us up for long-term economic success,” she said.

Ms Auster said the budget was in a much better position post-COVID and had been buttressed by additional revenue from high commodity prices and an inflation-fuelled tax hike.

But she said the government needed to keep cost of living support contained.

     “Any efforts to provide ‘bread and butter’ relief in this budget must be very targeted and very temporary so as to not undercut the RBA’s efforts to tame inflation.”

The modelling paints a picture of gradually trimming spending by 0.15 per cent of GDP each year for the next 10 years, which is $3.7 billion in today’s dollars.

This would return balance to the amount of money coming in versus flowing out – what’s known as a structural deficit – by 2031-32.

But the researchers recognise cutting spending at this scale will not be easy as budget pressure continues to emerge.

The stage three tax cuts are expected to drain billions in revenue, according to Parliamentary Budget Office forecasts, at the same time as big-ticket spending items such as aged care, the NDIS, health, defence and the public debt interest bill continue to swell.

     “Cutting $50 billion or more over a 10-year period is tough, but can be achieved by assiduously managing growth areas like defence, health care and the NDIS, while finding savings elsewhere,” the analysis says.

In the short term, a failure to repair the budget will put more pressure on the Reserve Bank as it tries to drive down inflation and in the medium term, it will lift the amount of tax the government needs to contain the growing debt burden.

The Albanese government is under pressure to lift welfare payments but the treasurer has already rejected calls to boost the dole above $50 a day on the basis of budget pressures.

The government is considering an effective boost for single-parent payments by upping the cut-off point.

At the moment, single parents are bumped onto the lower JobSeeker rate when their children turn eight, amounting to a $100 income cut each week.

Pressure has been building to lift the threshold to 16 years of age although there’s some speculation the allowance will only be restored for 12-year-olds.

Independent MP Zoe Daniel said cutting the payment off at 12 years of age would come during the most difficult transition in a child’s life.

     “The single parent payment is an investment in families, not a handout,” she said.

Poppy Johnston
(Australian Associated Press)

 

Accessing your super early may be illegal

Super funds have an important role to play in maintaining the integrity of the superannuation system by ensuring benefits are not released where the member has not met a condition of release. This includes where a member has requested a rollover to a self-managed super fund (SMSF) and there is suspicion they are attempting to illegally access their super.

There are only a few reasons that you might be allowed to access your super early.

For most people, you can only access your superannuation when:
• you retire and turn 60
• you turn 65 (regardless of whether you’re working).

Otherwise, it is illegal.

If you illegally access your super early, you could:
• lose your retirement savings
• pay extra tax, penalties and interest
• be disqualified as a self-managed super fund (SMSF) trustee and have your name published online.

Be careful if someone offers to help you access your super early.

Some people may say they can help you set up an SMSF so you can access your super for reasons such as paying off your credit card,
buying a house or to go on a holiday. This is not true, it is illegal.

These people (known as ‘promoters’) will often:
• charge you a lot of money
• tell you to transfer some or all your super from your existing super fund to the SMSF
• tell you that you can use as much as you need for personal expenses.

Identity theft

These promoters may also ask for your personal information. If you give it to them, they can steal your identity.

With your personal information, they can steal your super for themselves.

What should I do?

If a promoter contacts you, call the ATO Super Info Line on 13 10 20 straight away to get advice.

Do not agree to anything and do not sign any documents or give them your personal details.

Don’t access your super before you retire unless you meet one of the conditions that makes it legal to access your super and receive relevant approval.

This is a general summary only.

For more information, visit  Illegal early access to super | Australian Taxation Office (ato.gov.au)

ASIC’s website for consumer and investors at moneysmart.gov.au

April 2023

 

The most common financial mistakes

It’s easy to make mistakes with money, especially if you’re unaware of how dire the consequences of your actions could be.

Here, we’ll look at some of the most common financial mistakes people commit that frequently result in severe financial difficulties.

Even if you’re not financially secure at the moment, avoiding these errors would be crucial to your economic survival.

Careless, excessive spending

People lose money a penny at a time. Your cash could disappear very quickly if you spend it excessively and carelessly – no matter how much money you think you might have right now.

When you go out to dinner every night, order your favourite frappuccino daily, or keep buying every little thing you fancy on Amazon or eBay, it might not seem like a lot. However, everything adds up, and your finite financial resources will diminish quickly.

Payments that never seem to end

Do you really need those things you make monthly payments for year after year?

Video and music streaming services, cable television, and upscale gym memberships are some examples of things that you could be spending on continuously and yet don’t even maximise. You can try living a leaner lifestyle to increase your savings or your emergency fund by giving up one or more of these expenses. This way, you get protection from financial difficulty or even add to your savings.

Living off of credit

Today, it’s typical to use credit cards to pay for necessities. Whilst you could always justify paying for double-digit interest rates on groceries, gas, and other necessities, doing so is not a prudent financial decision.

Remember, the cost of the things you buy this way significantly increases because of credit card interest rates. Also, having the mindset that you always have money available on credit could lead you to spend more than you can afford.

Paycheck-to-paycheck existence

Many people live from paycheck to paycheck, so if an unexpected problem crops up, it could quickly turn into a catastrophe.

Overspending or not being able to budget your income efficiently can put you in a position where you need every penny you make every single time. So, if your salary doesn’t come promptly, you could easily end up in a dire financial mess.

Lack of a financial planning

Your financial future depends on your current situation and habits. Therefore, try to set aside two hours a week to plan for your finances, including your budget and savings for retirement.

By making time to plan, you’ll have a concrete idea of where you are now financially and be able to identify areas for improvement.

To attain financial security, start by monitoring your expenses to avoid overspending, stop creating new debts, make saving a monthly priority, and plan accordingly.

If this article has inspired you to think about your own unique situation and, more importantly, what you and your family are going through right now, please contact our office for an appointment.

(Feedsy Exclusive)

 

Want a comfortable retirement? Here’s what you need to do…

Retirement always seems to be far away; until it isn’t. Many retirees realise too late that they are running out of money much sooner than expected. Therefore, Australians planning for retirement need to reconsider their assumptions regarding how much planning they have to do and how much money they need to live comfortably in their golden years.

Certain factors contribute to this seemingly shorter road to retirement. Australians are living longer than ever before, so their retirement funds need to last longer and the cost of living in the country continues to rise, putting pressure on retiree budgets.

The availability of flexible work options popularised during the pandemic is considered an encouraging development for those involved in the knowledge-worker industries who wish to delay retirement. But even with this work arrangement, some people aren’t able to work as long as they plan to.

In this post, we’ll cover the reasons some Australians retire early and what you can do today to have a comfortable retirement.

Reasons for early retirement

One of the most difficult experiences for older people wanting to remain employed beyond their retirement age is losing their source of income. When you still want to work but become unemployed, it can add to your stress and affect your health.

The most common reasons some Australians retire earlier than intended are:

  • Personal health issues
  • Being a primary caregiver for a relative or someone with health issues
  • Getting dismissed from their job

While these reasons are beyond anyone’s control, there are measures you can take to avoid worrying about not meeting your needs during retirement.

To ensure you don’t run out of money in retirement, you need to take action now.

Aim to take control by planning early

Whether you’re 20, 30, 40 or older, the sooner you plan for retirement, the better. Preparing early for retirement is the best way to avoid the stress that usually comes with inadequate financial planning.

Be realistic about how much money you need to live comfortably in your later years. Maximise your superannuation savings while you’re still working by making additional contributions to your super, taking advantage of any employer contributions, and investing your savings wisely.

You can always talk to a financial adviser if you need help getting started.

With the help of a financial adviser, you’ll find ways of building up financial security and resilience based on your situation.

By working on your financial health now, major life changes like forced retirement won’t become sources of stress and anxiety in the future.

If this article has inspired you to think about your own unique situation and, more importantly, what you and your family are going through right now, please contact our office for an appointment.

This information does not take into account the objectives, financial situation or needs of any person.Before making a decision, you should consider whether it is appropriate in light of your particular objectives, financial situation or needs.

(Feedsy Exclusive)

Planning to top up your super?

As we move toward the end of another financial year, it is time to consider if we should be topping up our super.  When looking to make personal contributions to super, there are a number of considerations, including:

Type of contributions

Super contributions fall into several categories. The main types include:

Concessional contributions

Contributions made by an employer for the benefit of their employees are treated as concessional contributions. They include compulsory contributions often referred to as superannuation guarantee or “SG” contributions. For the 2022-23 financial year, employers are required to contribute 10½% of their employees’ wages or salary to super. This will increase to 11% next financial year.

In addition to SG contributions, an employee may enter a voluntary arrangement to forego part of their salary and request their employer to make additional contributions to super on their behalf. This is referred to as a salary sacrifice arrangement. Depending on personal circumstances, salary sacrificing to super can be very tax effective.

In many situations, individuals can claim a tax deduction for their personal super contributions. These are also treated as concessional contributions.  Concessional contributions are taxed at 15% when they are contributed to super.  For 2022-23, the maximum, or cap that can be contributed as a concessional contribution is $27,500 per person.

However, people with a total superannuation balance[1] of less than $500,000 may be able to carry forward any unused concessional contribution cap that has accrued since 1 July 2018.

 Non-concessional contributions

Non-concessional contributions include contributions we make personally or contributions made for our spouse or partner. They are not tax-deductible.

The non-concessional contribution cap is $110,000 for 2022-23 however, people may be able to bring forward up to an additional two-year’s contribution cap and make a non-concessional contribution of up to $330,000 in a single year.

To be eligible to make non-concessional contributions, a person must have a total superannuation balance of less than $1,700,000 and to be able to fully access the three-year bring forward cap, the total superannuation balance must be less than $1,480,000.

 Downsizer contributions

In some circumstances, a person, and their spouse, may contribute up to $300,000 (each) of the proceeds from the sale of their home to superannuation.

To be eligible, the home must have been their main residence for at least part of the time it was owned, it has been owed for at least ten years, and they are at least 55 years of age[2] at the time the contribution was made. Contributions must be made within 90 days of receiving the sale proceeds.

Small business CGT contributions

In certain circumstances, a person may contribute the proceeds, or the capital gain arising from the sale of a small business to superannuation without being limited by the concessional and non-concessional contribution caps. Contributions made under the small business concessions are capped at either $500,000 or $1,650,000, depending on eligibility.

Contributing the proceeds from the sale of a business to superannuation can be complex and we recommend appropriate tax and financial advice be obtained.

Government co-contribution

Low-income earners who make a non-concessional contribution to super may receive additional contributions from the government.  The maximum co-contribution is $500. To receive this, a non-concessional contribution of $1,000 needs to be made.  To receive the maximum government co-contribution a person needs to have tax-assessable income, plus reportable fringe benefits and reportable employer super contributions of less than $42,016.

Age limitations

Superannuation contributions can generally be made by a person up until the 28th day of the month following that in which they turn 75.  However, mandated employer contributions (i.e. SG contributions) and downsizer contributions are not subject to an upper age limit.

For people aged between 67 and 75 who wish to claim a tax deduction for their personal contributions, a work test needs to be met. The work test requires a person to be gainfully employed for a period of at least 40 hours worked within 30 consecutive days, in the financial year in which they wish to contribute.

Claiming a personal tax deduction

When intending to claim a tax deduction for personal contributions, a notice must be given to the superannuation fund informing them of the intention to claim the tax deduction.  This notice must be provided within a prescribed time and before the contribution is applied to a pension account, rolled over to another superannuation fund, or withdrawn from super.

For further information on claiming a tax deduction for personal contributions, see the article Claiming a tax deduction for personal super contributions.

Timing of contributions

For contributions to be attributed to the 2022-23 financial year, they will need to be received by the superannuation fund by 30 June at the latest. Some superannuation funds may have earlier closing dates.  Importantly, if making superannuation contributions by electronic transfer such as BPAY or as a direct deposit, some days may elapse between processing the payment and it being received by the superannuation fund. Making contributions early is recommended.

Making additional contributions to super can be a valuable strategy for building wealth for retirement. If you are thinking of adding to your super, consider speaking with a licensed financial adviser.

Peter Kelly 12 April 2023

[1] The total superannuation balance includes all money a person has in superannuation, money in transit between superannuation funds, and in certain circumstances, the outstanding balance of borrowings held by a self-managed superannuation fund. The total superannuation balance is calculated as at the previous 30 June.

[2] For contributions made before 1 January 2023, the minimum age limit for contributions was 60 and before 1 July 2022, it was 65.

 

The Importance of Early Estate Planning

Estate planning is an essential yet often overlooked aspect of financial planning. For many Australians, it is seen as something to be dealt with later in life, if at all.

However, estate planning should begin as early as possible to ensure a smooth and efficient transfer of assets to loved ones and to minimise the financial and emotional burden on them.

As soon as you turn 18 years of age, you can begin estate planning. The next best time to do it is now.

Not sure if estate planning should be your priority? Then read on as this article discusses the reasons early estate planning is crucial, regardless of your age or financial status.

Protect your loved ones

One of the most significant reasons for early estate planning is to protect your family and loved ones.

By drafting a comprehensive will, you can ensure that your assets will be distributed according to your wishes upon your death. This not only prevents potential disputes between family members but also ensures those who depend on you receive financial support.

It’s essential to review and update your will regularly, especially after significant life events, such as marriage, divorce, or the birth of a child.

Minimise tax burden

In Australia, inheritance is generally not subject to taxation. However, capital gains tax (CGT) may apply to certain assets that are transferred upon your death.

Early estate planning can help you implement strategies to minimise the potential tax burden for your beneficiaries. For instance, you may choose to distribute assets with a lower CGT liability or utilise superannuation contributions to minimise tax implications.

Avoid a lengthy probate process

When you pass away without a valid will in Australia, your estate will be distributed according to the laws of intestacy. This can result in a lengthy and expensive probate process, which can cause financial and emotional stress for your loved ones.

By having a well-drafted will, you can avoid a complicated probate process and ensure a more efficient distribution of your assets.

Appoint guardians for minor children

If you have minor children, early estate planning is vital to ensure their wellbeing in the event of your death.

By appointing a guardian in your will, you can ensure that your children are cared for by someone you trust, in line with your values and preferences.

Prepare for incapacity

Estate planning is not just about planning for your death; it also involves preparing for the possibility of incapacity.

By establishing an enduring power of attorney (EPA) and an advance care or health directive, you can nominate trusted individuals to make financial and medical decisions on your behalf if you become unable to do so.

These legal documents can provide peace of mind and ensure that your wishes are respected during difficult times.

Begin estate planning now

Regardless of your age or financial status, early estate planning can provide many benefits for you and your loved ones.

If you’re unsure about what to do, seek professional advice. Regularly review your estate plan to protect your family, minimise tax liabilities and ensure a smooth and efficient transfer of assets.

Don’t wait until it’s too late.

This information does not take into account the objectives, financial situation or needs of any person. Before making a decision, you should consider whether it is appropriate in light of your particular objectives, financial situation or needs.

(Feedsy Exclusive)

 

Inflation slows ahead of crunch interest rates decision

Inflation has softened for the second month in a row, building the case for an interest rate pause when the Reserve Bank board meets in April.

Consumer prices lifted 6.8 per cent in the 12 months to February, sinking from 7.4 per cent annual growth in January.

Another decline in inflation in the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ monthly consumer price index was anticipated after a sharper-than-expected fall from the strong December result.

Consensus expectations were for a 7.2 per cent rise in the year to February.

     “This marks the second consecutive month of lower annual inflation, also known as ‘disinflation’, from the peak of 8.4 per cent in December 2022,” ABS head of prices statistics Michelle Marquardt said.

Housing made the biggest contribution to the annual inflation reading, but at 9.9 per cent annual growth was down from 10.4 per cent in January.

The other major contributors to annual growth flagged by the ABS – food and non-alcoholic beverages, transport and recreation – also softened over the month but remained elevated.

Rent prices, however, stayed steady at 4.8 per cent annual growth for the second month in a row, with the tight rental market and low vacancy rates keeping pressure on rents.

The still new and relatively volatile monthly indicator was flagged by the Reserve Bank as one of the key pieces of economic data to absorb ahead of the April cash rate decision.

While rises in the cost of living are moderating, inflation is still very high and well above the RBA’s target range of two-to-three per cent.

The central bank gave itself room to pause or hike again depending on incoming data flows.

AMP Capital senior economist Diana Mousina said the monthly inflation report and other key data sources, including employment data, retail trade, and business and consumer surveys, should be enough to convince the RBA to move to the sidelines next week.

     “Overall, the data showed that while the Australian economy is holding up, it has lost some momentum since late 2022 which is a sign that interest rate hikes are working,” Ms Mousina said.

She said the banking crisis in the US and Europe – partly driven by higher interest rates – would also influence the board’s decision-making.

     “While Australian banks are not directly impacted, the crisis could filter into Australia if confidence around the banks deteriorates which will lead to liquidity problems and deposit outflows.”

The firm’s economists expect a pause at the RBA’s meeting in April, followed by rates being cut later in the year.

 

Poppy Johnston
(Australian Associated Press)

Know the benefits and uses of the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card

The Commonwealth Seniors Health Card (CSHC) is a government-funded program in Australia that provides eligible seniors with access to a range of healthcare services and concessions.  The program is designed to assist seniors in managing the costs of healthcare and living expenses by providing discounts on prescription medicines, medical services, and utility bills.  In this article, we will explore the benefits and usage of the CSHC.

Benefits of the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card

If you don’t have a CSHC yet but think you may be eligible, knowing the following benefits that come with having it might entice you to get one right away.

  • Access to discounted prescription medicines:CSHC holders are eligible for discounts on prescription medicines listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).
  • Medical services:Holders of a CSHC can get bulk-billed medical services from general practitioners (GPs) who choose to participate in the program. This means that CSHC holders don’t have to pay any out-of-pocket expenses for consultations.
  • Discounts on public transport:If you commute a lot, you’ll be happy to know that CSHC holders are eligible for concessions on public transport fares across Australia, although the actual benefit depends on your state or territory. Discount offers typically include rides on trains, trams, buses, and ferries.
  • Savings on utility bills:You may be eligible for discounts on your electricity, gas, and water bills from their service providers. The amount of the discount varies depending on the state or territory you live in.
  • Free or discounted rates on dental, hearing and eye care services:Some states and territories offer additional healthcare benefits for CSHC holders. These services can include eye, ear and dental check-ups, and some minor procedures.

Eligibility Requirements and Usage of the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card

To be eligible for the CSHC, seniors must meet certain age and residency requirements.  They must be of Age Pension age, which is currently 66 years, and not be eligible for a pension or allowance from Centrelink or the Department of Veterans Affairs. They must also be an Australian resident and meet the income test. Once you’re approved for the CSHC, you can start using your card to access discounts on prescription medicines, medical services, and public transport fares. You will also need to present your card to service providers to receive discounts on utility bills.

The Commonwealth Seniors Health Card provides a range of benefits to eligible seniors in Australia. It’s meant to help them manage the costs of healthcare and living expenses, so they can enjoy a good quality of life.

If you’re unsure whether you’re eligible for the CHSC, you can apply on the Services Australia website or inquire at a service centre near you.

(Feedsy Exclusive)

5 Ways to Build Up and Protect Your Finances

People strive hard to accomplish a variety of goals during their lifetime, although there’s nothing more significant than being able to spend quality time in the company of family, friends and loved ones. Indeed, investing in relationships gives depth and meaning to one’s life.

However, in living, you also amass assets and liabilities along the way. And when you’ve put a lot of effort into securing your and your family’s future, you want to know that you’ll be able to protect your finances and continue to provide for your family’s needs even when you retire.

Therefore, the last thing you want is for a catastrophic illness or accident to jeopardise your retirement plans. But what would happen if you, your partner, or even one of your children, were to suffer in a tragic accident or become seriously ill? Would you be able to bounce back from such a significant financial challenge?

In this post, we discuss different ways to build up and protect your finances so you can safeguard your family’s financial well-being, even in the face of a crisis.

  1. Save money

Whether you’re putting away cash in a savings account or building your emergency fund, saving money is one of the simplest and most effective ways of future-proofing your finances.

When you’re able to set aside a substantial amount, you’ll have the financial cushion you need to deal with emergencies and unexpected financial challenges. You can also allocate some of it toward investments to grow your wealth.

  1. Get insured

Having adequate insurance coverage will help you protect your finances. Car insurance, renter’s or homeowner’s insurance, life insurance, and health insurance are examples of common coverages worth considering.

While cutting corners on insurance may seem tempting, keep in mind that getting the right coverage shields you from disasters that could lead you to financial ruin.

  1. Budget

Start budgeting and strive to live within your means. If you can, cut down on unnecessary spending (e.g., eating out, impulse buys, etc.) or find other ways to supplement your earnings, so you can pay off debt and save more.

  1. Eliminate debt

Work on reducing and eventually eliminating debt from your life. This includes student loans, credit cards and other forms of debt. When you’re caught in a debt trap, it can weigh down your financial goals and leave you feeling frustrated and unable to move forward.

  1. Plan and invest

Create a financial plan that’ll help you visualise whatever goals you set for yourself in the next five, 10, or 20 years. Calculate how much you need to save for a comfortable retirement. When you’re ready, consider investing in real estate, stocks, bonds, or other asset classes with the help of your Financial Advisor, Certified Financial Planner or Mortgage Broker.

Futureproof your finances today

The years fly by quickly. Therefore, it’s crucial to reduce debt and save money today.

By securing your finances as early as now, you can minimise the stress that comes with family financial obligations in the future. When you’re financially stable, you’ll also be able to focus on nurturing your relationships with your loved ones and on preparing for your retirement.

(Feedsy Exclusive)

After the last few weeks of an unexpected late summer heatwave, it’s finally starting to cool off.  This means it’s time for our Autumn Newsletter?

We hope that our Newsletter is of benefit and if you would like to discuss any of these topics in more detail, please contact our office on 07 3396 4204 for an appointment.

If you would like a copy of our newsletter emailed to you each quarter, just let us know at jbellas@jbfs.com.au.

Click the link to view our newsletter – JBFS Autumn Newsletter 2023

 

March 2023

 

What Are the Top Five Leadership Skills That Make a Great Leader?

Being viewed or referred to as a ‘leader’ or ‘future leader’ in any establishment is a major sign of how well-regarded you are as an employee. However, while a leader may or may not be a manager, being a manager doesn’t instantly make one a leader.

A manager fills a role in an organisation and performs their functions (i.e. planning, organising, staffing, directing and controlling) to achieve company goals. A leader, meanwhile, is someone who motivates and inspires people to work together and helps them to become invested in a goal or cause. This is why a manager can only be successful and effective if they possess the requisite leadership skills.

You can actually become a leader at any point in your career. However, to be genuinely effective, you must have the following five key leadership skills.

  1. Critical thinking

Your capacity to assess and reflect upon difficult issues and situations is crucial to being a good leader. You can develop this quality through education. The more knowledge you have, the better you will be at analysing situations, dealing with a range of issues, proposing solutions and asking questions. You’ll also be making better decisions for your employees and your business.

  1. Decisiveness

Leaders are frequently confronted by situations that require them to make snap decisions and defend these to their superiors, subordinates and other employees. Leaders who can rise to the occasion and make the right choices under time pressure can inspire confidence in others.

  1. Integrity

The need for ethics and honesty in the workplace is ever-present. Being a leader requires having integrity that commands the respect of both subordinates and superiors. Having integrity aids in developing credibility and loyalty among those in your sphere of influence — something that’s crucial to your overall success.

  1. Motivation

The ability to influence and inspire others is a quality shared by all great leaders, so if you’re in charge of managing people, you must understand what drives them. This way, you can tap into their strengths and sources of motivation to move them to act in unison and achieve goals.

  1. Team building

Your team-building abilities can also significantly contribute to fostering unity and harmony at work. You’ll need to collaborate with each other and be open to different ideas. If you understand what inspires your team members, it’ll be easier for you to work together, finish projects and attain objectives.

Growing as a leader takes commitment and a conscious desire to learn the required leadership skills. You can do this through training, education and constant practice.

(Feedsy Exclusive)

February 2023

 

‘Brace for blackouts’ without urgent power grid spend

New generation, transmission lines and energy storage are needed to keep the lights on in homes and businesses as ageing coal power plants shut down.

In a national electricity market update released on Tuesday, the Australian Energy Market Operator warned the reliability of the electricity grid was in doubt over the next 10 years without urgent new spending.

AEMO chief executive Daniel Westerman said timely investment in the grid was needed as Australia ended its traditional dependency on coal-fired generation and faced delays on major projects including Snowy Hydro 2.0.

Mainland states in the national electricity market are forecast to breach the reliability standard from 2027 onwards, with at least five coal-fired power stations – totalling 13 per cent of the market’s capacity – expected to retire.

Energy Minister Chris Bowen said Mr Westerman was not suggesting there would be blackouts.

“It does mean that we’ve got more work to do,” he said.

“But I’m very pleased with the progress we’ve made so far.”

The Albanese government is confident future updates will show the reliability gap closing.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said the report emphasised the need for more renewable energy, with another two of the state’s coal-fired plants due to shut over the next 12 years following the closure of Hazlewood in 2017.

“This transition is not easy,” he told reporters in Melbourne.

The premier said he doubted it could be left to the private sector to provide enough investment.

Climate Council senior researcher Carl Tidemann said wind and solar-powered electricity backed by big batteries was already doing the heavy lifting on ensuring a reliable supply of electricity.

“With the right government support, we can rapidly roll out more renewable generation, storage and grid infrastructure that will enable a reliable energy grid powered by 100 per cent renewables,” Dr Tidemann said.

Victoria’s offshore wind plans may also reduce longer-term risk, according to AEMO.

Since the last update, AGL Energy has accelerated plans to shut the Torrens Island B plant in South Australia, from 2035 to 2026.

The controversial $1.3 billion gas-fired Kurri Kurri power station, intended to be a “peaker” plant that switches on during high demand, is delayed to December 2024.

But the Waratah Super Battery Project in NSW is on track for late 2025, to make up for the closure of Australia’s largest coal plant Eraring.

“Investment in firming generation, such as pumped hydro, gas and long-duration batteries, is critical to complement our growing fleet of weather-dependent renewable generation,” Mr Westerman said.

Projects that AEMO says could reduce the reliability gap include Transgrid’s 360km HumeLink, the Hunter Transmission Project, Marinus Link and battery developments in various states.

Nexa Advisory principal Stephanie Bashir, formerly with AGL Energy, said Australia was lagging on building renewable generation and transmission.

“We need to get on with it, on a massive scale,” she said.

“The good news is we are going to be okay for electricity supply this winter.”

Marion Rae, Maeve Bannister and Callum Goode (Australian Associated Press)

 

 

Consider for a moment the notion that time is wealth.

Why Time Is Wealth

If you were to choose between money and time, which option would you go for?

For some, the answer is easy: it’s money. The reason, of course, is that people measure one’s level of success and wealth by the size of one’s bank account, number of properties, investments and other assets.

Children grow up thinking that to be happy, they need to live in a mansion, own several expensive automobiles and have a fat bank account — or that having money (lots of it) is the key to happiness. This way of thinking puts a tremendous amount of stress on people who then end up second-guessing the choices they make in life.

If, say, you chose to be a small-time vegetable farmer rather than the high-powered corporate lawyer your parents wanted you to be, would you consider yourself successful? Perhaps not in the eyes of a society where more money means success.

The problem with chasing money

Wanting to be financially independent is a good thing. Setting out to achieve financial security by saving, getting insurance, investing and working extra is a practical and desirable goal.

The problem lies in how some people get too caught up in the idea of chasing money. Instead of working to live, they end up living to work. They spend day after day, week after week, and then months and years accumulating money, hoping someday they’ll have the time to enjoy the fruits of their labour.

But then, how much money is enough?

People find themselves so engrossed in their never-ending quest for more money that they end up sacrificing their precious time. Then, before they know it, they realise that the person they see when they look in the mirror is an old man or woman who spent their best years accumulating material wealth.

Shifting the attention from material wealth to time wealth

The term “time wealth” or “time affluence” refers to a person’s ability to spend time on things or activities that matter to them or give them personal satisfaction. But who is really rich: the one who possesses time wealth or the one who has amassed material wealth?

There’s a famous adage that says “time is gold,” and it still rings true today. When people are working, they are literally using time and energy to generate money through the salary or income they receive. In a larger sense, as long as one has time, the opportunity to build or accumulate wealth remains.

But when all one has is money, one can’t even use it to buy time. This is especially true for people who forget to take care of themselves and their relationships in their desire to become rich. They end up alone, get sick or die because of their relentless pursuit of money.

Smartly spend your time wealth

For a period in your life, time spent accumulating material wealth may seem worthwhile. However, you can make better use of your time on things that’ll satisfy you personally rather than financially.

Remember your lifelong dreams and your relationships?

Make time for them and nurture them. They’re the reason you started making money in the first place.

And with everything you know about finance, you can afford to pause from work and focus on living — really living.

 

Cybersecurity is something that we take very seriously here at JBFS.

That’s why we’ve decided that anytime we need to send anything with personal, identifiable information we will ALWAYS password protect it.

So, if you receive an email from us in the future, look for the instructions on how to open any attachments which will be included in the email.

 

 

December 2022

What does retirement look like in the modern world?

These days, preparing for retirement has become more challenging because of people’s longer life expectancies and lifestyle choices, including delaying marriage.

Preparing for a longer life

Today, people can expect to live longer because of the many advances in science and technology, especially in the field of medicine. The challenge, however, is to ensure those additional years of life are adequately funded.

Therefore, when saving for retirement, it’s crucial to set a reasonable future monthly budget to maintain your preferred standard of living. You also want to consider inflation if you were to, say, retire in 10, 20 or 30 years’ time.

Would your superannuation and savings afford you the lifestyle you want during retirement? Should you be making investments or increasing your savings now? Would buying life and health insurance help to secure your finances during retirement?

These are crucial questions worth mulling over if you want to ensure you’re adequately provided for when you retire.

Women, in particular, need to find ways to smoothly navigate their future financial path as they outlive men in general.

If you’re married or have a partner, you’ll need to contemplate your and your partner’s future care and health requirements.

Modern family setups

Aside from delaying marriage and having children later in life, some people decide to stay single. Some people, whether they’re married or unmarried, choose to have kids, whilst others opt to remain childless regardless of their marital status. And then there are those who marry, divorce, remarry and form blended families.

Whether you have a simple or complex family structure, it’s worth thinking about estate planning for the preservation of your assets and the protection of your beneficiaries.

To ensure your retirement plans and estate planning work harmoniously, it’s best to get the advice of your financial advisor or a wealth management expert.

You could start looking into trusts, asset titling and other viable estate planning tools to smoothen the wealth transfer process. This is especially crucial if you have a blended family, to prevent conflict over your estate in the event of your passing.

Options for you

The earlier you can plan for retirement, the better.

And it’s a good thing people have several options open to them today.

Instead of relying on the typical nine-to-five office job, you could get a side gig or freelance work. You can even juggle several remote jobs.

Also, some people at or near retirement age take on encore careers or delay retirement by simply doing the things they love and getting paid for it.

Whatever you do, don’t forget to set aside some of your earnings for your future self.

You’ll thank yourself for it someday.

 

What is happening in power bills debate

The Politics, the background, what the gas industry says and what environmental groups say?

THE POLITICS

* Federal parliament will sit on Thursday to debate and pass laws the government says will push down electricity and gas bills for households and businesses.

* Drafts laws and a consultation paper have been released.

* Labor has a majority in the lower house. But if the coalition opposes the bill, as expected, Labor will need the support of the Greens and one crossbencher in the Senate for it to pass.

* The Greens will meet on Tuesday to discuss a position, and the Labor caucus will meet on Thursday.

* Independent senator David Pocock is weighing his position but has been a staunch advocate of stronger climate action and opponent of fossil fuel subsidies.

* The coalition says enabling a greater supply of gas is the solution.


THE BACKGROUND

* The Russian invasion of Ukraine has made the global gas market more volatile, and the wartime gas prices are driving up Australia’s wholesale gas prices that affect retail customers.

* The laws provide for a 12-month price cap of $12 per gigajoule through a “gas market emergency price order”, applying to uncontracted gas offered on the wholesale market.

* The laws also provide for mandatory “gas market codes” to regulate the supply and purchase of gas, which the government will implement in relation to wholesale gas.

* The federal government will work with NSW and Queensland on a temporary coal price cap of $125 a tonne. The NSW parliament will need to legislate it, but Queensland can use its “direction powers”.

* Treasury analysis suggests bills could be reduced by $230 once the two measures are operating.

* Welfare recipients will get power bill relief payments via the states, backed up by $1.5 billion from the federal government. It is expected the total relief package will be $3 billion including the states’ contribution.


WHAT DOES THE GAS INDUSTRY SAY?

* The move will damage investor confidence across the energy market, potentially involving the breaking of commercial contracts and sharing of commercially sensitive information.

* The penalties for non-compliance are “extraordinary”.

* It effectively dismantles Australia’s gas market and risks the country’s reputation as an open, market-based economy.


WHAT DO ENVIRONMENT GROUPS SAY?

* Coal and gas companies should be funding any price compensation, rather than the government.

* A windfall profits tax would be a more effective way of helping people with power bills.

* In the long term, incentives should be made available to get households off gas and buy solar/battery systems.

Paul Osborne
(Australian Associated Press)

 

It’s hard to believe that it’s almost Christmas again, and as life returns to normal, it’s been wonderful to be able to catch up with family and friends.

As always, we hope that our newsletter is useful to you and if you wish to discuss anything in greater detail, please feel free to contact our office.  Our advisors and support staff are available to assist you in any way we can.  Please note, our offices will be closed from Thursday 22 December 2022 and will be reopening on Tuesday 3 January 2023.

For our latest newsletter, click on the link –  JBFS Christmas Edition 2022

We wish everyone a safe and happy Christmas and we look forward to catching up with you in 2023.

October 2022

Budget good, but more needed: business

Peak business groups have hailed the Albanese government’s first budget as careful and cautious, but warn hard work lies ahead to shore up the economy.

Business Council chief Jennifer Westacott said the Labor economic blueprint made the necessary first steps to “steady the ship” and set the groundwork for reform in the May budget.

“This is a cautious and careful budget that avoids making our inflation problem worse,” she said.

Measures such as extra spending on skills, education, child care and expanding paid parental leave were important.

“Our biggest challenge will come in the next three years, and we must do the hard work of reform to drive growth, productivity and restore the national credit card,” Ms Westacott said.

Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief Andrew McKellar said the budget covered the essential elements of economic management and tackling growing cost pressures.

But he said there were considerable longer-term challenges which needed addressing.

Mr McKellar said the one “discordant note” in the budget was the proposed workplace reforms which represented a “seismic shift in Australia’s bargaining system”.

“We are concerned that these changes will drag many businesses into so-called agreements that they do not support and cannot afford.”

PwC chief Tom Seymour said despite Australia staring down a pending storm caused by global economic uncertainty “Australians can take confidence in the fact that our economy is robust enough to withstand such problems”.

“This budget shores up our economic security, kickstarts the commitments made by our new government and demonstrates that the fiscal pressures that were caused by COVID-19 are fast subsiding,” he said.

“Our social services are more important than ever, and with geopolitical sands shifting, our defence costs will need to command a greater percentage of GDP – and as a country we need to be having a national conversation about how we continue to pay for the services we value and expect, such as our health care, aged care, childcare and the NDIS.”

He said tax reform was a “burning platform” for Australia, and growth and competitiveness would remain stifled until it was tackled.

Paul Osborne
(Australian Associated Press)

 

As a parent, you want what’s best for your children. This is why you teach them about cleanliness, health, nutrition, good behaviour, the value of education and so on. But how come very few parents take the time to teach their kids about investing?

You know by now that depending solely on your livelihood and savings may not be enough to have a secure future. That if you want your wealth to grow and ensure you’re prepared for inflation through the years until your retirement, you should be investing. It doesn’t matter if you’ll be investing in real estate, stocks, bonds, art, your own business or something else — investing now is key.

So, why not share this wisdom in a way that your kids will understand and appreciate?

Why not teach your kids about investment as early as now? How?

Here are 5 tips to help your kids learn about investment:

  • Speak their language

The easiest technique to teach kids about anything is to pique their curiosity about the subject. But, of course, speaking their language is required for them to learn something new.

Start with investing fundamentals. Avoid confusing them with details about complicated things like equity markets, negative gearing, and capital gains taxes. Their tiny brains and limited experience and education may prevent them from grasping those concepts.

They will pay close attention if you break down concepts that are simple enough for them to understand. For example, you can discuss the principles of compound interest by describing simply and plainly how money can increase in a certain way without resorting to finance jargon.

  • Tell Stories and Play Games

No one loves listening to stories and playing games more than children.

Depending on the age of your kids, you can cite personal experiences or use imagery and stories to explain the fundamentals of money. You could make up a story about a hypothetical business, its employees and the many challenges they face on the road to growth and success.

Telling these types of stories not only teaches kids about the basics of finance and investment but also helps them learn the value of resilience and determination in the face of adversity.

You can also play games like Monopoly, The Game of Life and Cash Flow 101, which all touch on financial topics, including investment, in a fun and engaging way.

  • Introduce Them to the Stock market

Why not involve your kids in the stock market if you’re familiar with it and have had your fair share of investing?

Ask your kids to help you select a few well-known and invest in a variety of shares. Keep tabs on how each share performs with your kids and explain to them why some shares do better than others.

  • Practice Makes Perfect

Like everything else in life, learning to invest takes time, patience and practice.

Let your kids know that it’s perfectly acceptable to make money mistakes. However, emphasise that learning from one’s mistakes is crucial. Share anecdotes about your own money-related mistakes with your kids and let them know how you overcame those or the lessons learned through the years.

  • Teach Them About Charity

Aside from teaching your kids about money-related dos and don’ts, such as how to invest and how not to spend money, talk about the importance of giving.

Emphasise that money is a tool that can help one acquire material comforts, but that the ultimate joy of financial security is that it empowers you to help others.

While these are not the only ways you can teach your kids about investment, they just about cover the basics.

By exposing your kids early on to investing, you know your children are better equipped to achieve stability in their financial future.

September 2022

With the year speeding by it’s time for our Spring Newsletter.

We hope that there is something that can benefit everyone in our newsletter.

Don’t forget – if you wish to discuss anything in greater detail you are welcome to contact our office on 07 3396 4204 at any time, or to make an appointment with one of our advisers.

If you would like a copy of our newsletter emailed directly to you, please let us know at jbellas@jbfs.com.au.  We will be happy to organise this for you.

Prepare for Life Spring 2022

 

August 2022

We finally have some photos of Mia and her very proud parents.  Welcome, Mia

 

July 2022

It’s a girl!!!
JBFS would like to congratulate our advisor, Danh Nguyen and his wife Ash on the birth of their baby girl.
Baby Mia was born at 18.01 on Wednesday 20 July.

 

Casual for a Cause

Here at John Bellas Financial Services we aim to care not only for our clients but also for our community, both locally in Australia and overseas.

With this as our aim, we have instigated our ‘Casual for a Cause’ Friday.  The last Friday of each month, our staff members participate by making a voluntary donation and dressing casual for the day.

Our latest recipient has been the Royal Flying Doctor Service Guiding Lights Appeal.  This appeal aims to provide cost-effective, highly visible, safer, convenient and low maintenance lanterns to outback properties for their airstrips, to assist the RFDS to make safe landings in times of emergency.

For more information on this worthy appeal, visit Guiding Lights Appeal (flyingdoctor.org.au).

Winter Newsletter

Our new newsletter for Winter 2022 is now available and we hope that there is something in there for everyone.

If you would like a copy of our newsletter emailed to you each quarter, just let us know at jbellas@jbfs.com.au

Click the link below to view our newsletter.

JBFS Winter Newsletter 2022

June 2022

A New Era of Super Opportunities

We recently ran a webinar outlining potential new opportunities that are available from 1 July 2022.

If you were unavailable to view it at the time, you don’t have to miss out.  Simply click the link to view the video.

Making the most of your super: new opportunities available from 1 July 2022 on Vimeo

End of Financial Year

With the End of Financial Year fast approaching, we have created a Top 10 End of Financial Year strategies leaflet. If you wish to discuss anything on here, feel free to contact our office at any time.

2022 Top 10 EOFY strategies JBFS

May 2022

Special update

I am pleased to invite you to this live, 30-minute webinar on Wednesday, 1 June 2022.

Leading the webinar will be Melinda Bendeich and Peter Kelly, who specialise in helping Australians understand their super and make the most of their opportunities during working life and in retirement.

Changes to the super system from 1 July 2022 will provide new opportunities and greater flexibility to both young and older Australians. The new laws will see:

  • a relaxing of superannuation contribution rules, especially for retirees,
  • super for all eligible employees irrespective of how much they earn and
  • access to more super for first home buyers.

Join us for the latest information on the super changes including practical case studies to show how these new opportunities may benefit you.

Make sure you stay tuned to the end of the webinar, as we will open the floor for a Q&A session where Melinda and Peter will answer your questions.

When:        Wednesday, 1 June 2022

Time:          12:00pm AEST (11:30am for SA and 10:00am for WA)

Where:       Via your computer, smartphone or other device

You’ll receive a link and instructions for joining the webinar once you register

Even if you can’t join live, register now and we’ll send you the recorded webinar to watch at your convenience.

http://Webinar Registration – Zoom

April 2022

Our new newsletter for Autumn 2022 is now available and we hope that there is something in there for everyone.

If you would like a copy of our newsletter emailed to you each quarter, just let us know at jbellas@jbfs.com.au

Click the link below to view our newsletter.

Autumn 2022 – Prepare for Life

 

March 2022

The release of the federal government’s budget can be a stressful time.  To make things a bit easier, we have released a 2022 Federal Budget Summary which has been emailed to our clients.  If you haven’t received a copy or would like a copy posted to you, please email jbellas@jbfs.com.au and we can organise for a copy to be made available.

Click the link below to view a copy.

2022 Federal Budget Summary

 

December 2021

What a year it has been.

What a welcome relief to see the majority of the country is now vaccinated, which is allowing us to enjoy more freedoms.  The airline industry is beginning to venture overseas in a limited capacity, which should see further signs of improvement in the economy.

In our Christmas newsletter, our last for 2021, I thought it would be a good end to the year to hear from our staff, and what has been happening in their world.  If you haven’t received a copy of our newsletter, and would like a copy sent to you, please let us know and we will get one to you as soon as we can.

We wish to thank you for your continued loyalty and love and wish you and your families, our very best this Christmas season.  I know I am looking forward to removing the mask.  May we live in hope…

God Bless

 

July 2021

We’re using the new Check In Qld app to help keep you COVID safe the next time you visit.
All you need to do is:
✔ download the app 👉👉 www.covid19.qld.gov.au/check-in-qld
✔ enter your details once
✔ open the app when you next visit us
✔ select ‘Check in Now’ and hover your smartphone over our QR code
Done!
Using this digital check-in means your details are stored securely by the Queensland Government for fast COVID-19 contact tracing if needed. #CheckInQld

 

June 2021

As we come to the end of the financial year it’s always good to start thinking about any changes that need to be made as you commence the next year.

For many, this means that looking at your super contributions.

This financial year, commencing 1 July 2021, the contributions caps for many people have changed.

To make sure that you’re getting the most benefit from your financial plan, or to commence a contribution plan, please feel free to contact our office on 07 3396 4204 at any time.

May 2021

Have you noticed that we send out review reminders each year? You may wonder if a review can even be of benefit. Well, here’s 10 reasons why you could benefit from a regular review.