Have oil prices peaked?

Australian motorists are not the only ones hoping that global oil prices have peaked after reaching four-year highs in 2018. Not only do high oil prices flow through to the price of petrol at your local service station, but they also increase the cost of doing business for everyone from farmers to airlines and push up the cost of living for households.

On June 22 the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) plus Russia agreed to increase output by one million barrels a day, or about 1 per cent of world supplies, to relieve global shortages and lower oil prices. Even so, the price of Brent Crude rose to US$75.60 a barrel immediately after the announcement amid concerns the target may not be met. As at June 29, the oil price had surged 64 per cent in 12 months, but if OPEC and Russia succeed in lifting supply prices should begin to fall.

There are several international oil prices quoted in the media, but the price of Brent Crude is considered the major global benchmark.

What’s going on?

OPEC’s latest turnaround follows four years of determined efforts to limit oil production and boost prices. The price of Brent Crude crashed from US$115 to US$30 a barrel in 2014 as cash-strapped producers including Russia and Venezuela increased supply. At the same time, the US expanded production from fracking.

Then early this year the freezing northern hemisphere winter pushed up the price of oil as demand spiralled. Brent Crude was trading at a sustained high of around US$80 a barrel until May, when US President Donald Trump withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal.

Under the 2015 deal, nations including the US, France, Britain, Russia, Germany and China agreed to lift international sanctions on Iran’s oil exports in return for OPEC’s third largest producer winding back its nuclear capability.

The first sign that oil prices may have peaked came on news that Saudi Arabia and Russia were discussing a possible increase in oil production. In late May the price of Brent crude eased back to levels around US$76 a barrel before settling at US$77 after the June 22 meeting sealed the deal.

Who’s affected?

Holidaymakers may feel the pinch after Qantas chief executive, Alan Joyce warned airfares could rise in response to this year’s oil price hikes. Jet fuel costs have climbed 50 per cent in the past 12 months which will eat into airline profits, depending on how much of the cost they are prepared to absorb before lifting fares.¹

Rising oil prices also erode profits of transport companies and businesses that rely on the movement of goods or the use of heavy machinery. Australian farmers face the double-whammy of rising fuel costs on top of the effects of drought.

Consumers ultimately pay for higher oil prices as they flow through to the cost of food and other goods.

There are some winners from constrained oil exports though. Australian gas producers stand to gain from increasing demand and high prices as they ramp up production and exports.

Relief ahead for motorists

Rising oil prices have inevitably been passed on to local motorists, although there is relief in sight. The national average price of unleaded petrol rose by 14.7 per cent in the three months to June to a four-year high of 153.3c a litre. Prices edged lower towards the end of June in response to the downward trend in crude oil prices.²

Rising oil prices have been exacerbated by the weaker Aussie dollar which has fallen from US81c earlier this year to recent levels below US74c.

Petrol prices vary enormously between regions, cities and even within suburbs. Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chairman, Rod Sims has urged motorists to use fuel price websites and apps to shop around (you could try MotorMouth or Compare the Market.)³

 

¹ IATA, http://www.iata.org/publications/economics/fuel-monitor/Pages/index.aspx

² Australian Institute of Petroleum as at June 24, 2018, https://aip.com.au/pricing/pump-prices

³ ‘Petrol prices stable to March but now hitting four year highs’, ACCC, 5 June 2018, href=”https://www.accc.gov.au/media-release/petrol-prices-stable-to-march-but-now-hitting-four-year-highs

 

Any advice in this publication is of a general nature only and has not been tailored to your personal circumstances. Please seek personal advice prior to acting on this information. The information in this document reflects our understanding of existing legislation, proposed legislation, rulings etc as at the date of issue. In some cases the information has been provided to us by third parties. While it is believed the information is accurate and reliable, this is not guaranteed in any way. Opinions constitute our judgement at the time of issue and are subject to change. Neither, the Licensee or any of the National Australia group of companies, nor their employees or directors give any warranty of accuracy, nor accept any responsibility for errors or omissions in this document. Before making a decision to acquire a financial product, you should obtain and read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) relating to that product. Past performance is not a reliable guide to future returns. The information in this document reflects our understanding of existing legislation, proposed legislation, rulings etc as at the date of issue. In some cases the information has been provided to us by third parties. While it is believed the information is accurate and reliable, this is not guaranteed in any way
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TAX TIME – Child Care Benefit & Child Care Rebate

Lee Nickelson is an Authorised Representative, GWM Adviser Services Limited, Australian Financial Services Licensee

It’s that time of year again, time to hunt around for your MyGov username and password in order to log in and update Family Income details (see my previous Blog on how to avoid Family Tax benefit overpayments).  This year for those utilising subsidised child care, there is an additional form, to be completed PRIOR to 2 JULY 2018 – the Child Care Subsidy Assessment.

This requirement has arisen because from 2 July 2018, the Child Care Subsidy and Additional Child Care Subsidy will replace the current Child Care Benefit and Child Care Rebate.  The new payment system will pay directly to your approved child care provider to reduce the fee you pay.

You should complete a Child Care Subsidy assessment or claim before 2 July 2018 to ensure you don’t miss out on child care fee assistance from 2 July 2018. The new subsidy cannot be paid to your service on your behalf if you do not complete the assessment [1].

What will they ask?

Three things will confirm a family’s level of Child Care Subsidy.  The assessment will confirm:

  • Combined family income – A tiering system will apply to determine percentage of eligible subsidy, which fully phases out for income above $351,000
  • Activity level of parents – the parent with the lowest level of activity will determine the hours of subsidised care
  • Type of child care service – this determines the hourly rate cap [2]

Example

Judy works 3 x 8 hour days per week earning $60,000.  John works full time, and earns $80,000 giving them an adjusted taxable income of $140,000.  They have two kids aged 2 and 3, attending day care 3 days, where the centre is open 11 hours per day.  Centre based day care fees are $125 and $129 per child per day – gross fees per week $762.

Current rules mean Judy and John receive up to 50% of their child care fees back each week up to the annual cap of $7,500 per child – so for approximately 40 weeks of the year, Jim and Judy will receive $381 back per week in child care rebate.

Under the new rules, the estimate of subsidy for the above example would result in approximately $455 per week (up from $381) without an annual cap.  Judy and John will be significantly better off. [3]

Things start to change if Judy and John earn more than $251,248 – their percentage subsidy rate starts to decrease from 50%.  If they earn more than $186,958, a $10,000 subsidy cap is also applied per child. [4]

If you would like to know more, the sources below provide some great detail about the changes.

We are also here to help if you have any questions as well as help to complete the Centrelink assessment.

 

[1] https://www.education.gov.au/new-child-care-package-transition-families

[2] https://docs.education.gov.au/system/files/doc/other/the_new_child_care_package-2_0.pdf

[3] https://www.goodstart.org.au/subsidy-estimator/other

[4] https://www.education.gov.au/child-care-subsidy-combined-family-income-0

 

Any advice in this publication is of a general nature only and has not been tailored to your personal circumstances. Please seek personal advice prior to acting on this information. The information in this document reflects our understanding of existing legislation, proposed legislation, rulings etc as at the date of issue. In some cases the information has been provided to us by third parties. While it is believed the information is accurate and reliable, this is not guaranteed in any way. Opinions constitute our judgement at the time of issue and are subject to change. Neither, the Licensee or any of the National Australia group of companies, nor their employees or directors give any warranty of accuracy, nor accept any responsibility for errors or omissions in this document. Before making a decision to acquire a financial product, you should obtain and read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) relating to that product. Past performance is not a reliable guide to future returns. The information in this document reflects our understanding of existing legislation, proposed legislation, rulings etc as at the date of issue. In some cases the information has been provided to us by third parties. While it is believed the information is accurate and reliable, this is not guaranteed in any way.
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Income Protection Insurance

Gareth Daniels from Income Solutions

Authorised Representative, GWM Adviser Services Limited, Australian Financial Services Licensee 

Are you looking at purchasing your first home or planning on starting a family soon? If so this is the perfect time to look at getting an income protection insurance policy in place or re-evaluating your current policy.

Buying a new home or starting a family, or both, is such an exciting time and you’re probably getting lots of different opinions from family and friends on what you should be doing, so let’s break down the facts.

What is Income Protection Insurance?

Essentially, it pays up to 75% of your income if you are unable to work due to injury or illness. If you have debt, dependants, or both. We all know that whether your income is coming in or not, the bills still need to be paid. It is advisable to have income protection insurance to help pay those bills and support your loved ones in unforeseen circumstances.

When paying your income protection insurance, you have main 2 options, paying through your superannuation fund or paying directly from your income.

Paying through your super fund

If you choose to pay your income protection through your super fund, it will cover the premium giving you more money in your pocket to pay for other things. This strategy is useful if you are trying to pay down your mortgage or have school fees to pay as the premium is coming from your superannuation, not your wage, so there is more money in your pocket to pay down your mortgage or pay for childcare or school fees.

However, there can be some restrictions on claims, dependant on your policy, we advise that you speak to your financial advisor to clarify these specifics.

Paying income protection from your wage

Alternatively, you can pay your premium straight from your wage, and in many cases, this can prove a greater tax deduction compared to the tax rebate that will be paid into your super fund.

For example, take the average Australian wage of $60,000. This person will pay around 32.5% tax each financial year (not including the Medicare levy). If they pay their income protection insurance from their wage they will get back about 32.5% of that premium at tax time.

How do I know if I have the right cover?

These days everyone has a super fund, and you may have a level of income protection insurance by default, however this policy may not be right for your personal situation. So, feel free to grab your super fund statement and come in for a coffee and a chat and we can look at the right coverage for your current situation.

 

Any advice in this publication is of a general nature only and has not been tailored to your personal circumstances. Please seek personal advice prior to acting on this information.

The information in this document reflects our understanding of existing legislation, proposed legislation, rulings etc as at the date of issue. In some cases the information has been provided to us by third parties. While it is believed the information is accurate and reliable, this is not guaranteed in any way. 

Opinions constitute our judgement at the time of issue and are subject to change. Neither, the Licensee or any of the National Australia group of companies, nor their employees or directors give any warranty of accuracy, nor accept any responsibility for errors or omissions in this document.

Before making a decision to acquire a financial product, you should obtain and read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) relating to that product.

 

 

 

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Generations of Wealth

Alison Adams from Income Solutions

Authorised Representative, GWM Adviser Services Limited, Australian Financial Services Licensee 

 

Sometimes financial advice is not about dollars and cents but instead becomes more about goals and objectives.   As Financial Advisors, in the business of building wealth for our clients, we felt it was important to define “wealth” What is wealth   The concept sounds simple enough, and in many ways it is simple. We like to quote John C Bogle, the author of The little book of Common Sense Investing, “simple but not easy”.  Often, the “not easy” part involves the goal of leaving a meaningful legacy to those whom you love.  We find this is a common theme amongst our clients. It is one thing to invest for your own future but once you have successfully taken that journey, commonly thoughts turn to making sure your hard work benefits your children and grandchildren. So, what is needed?  Successful estate planning takes an investment of time, careful consideration of your desired outcomes and the assistance of a quality Financial Advisor and specialist Estate Planning Lawyer. Did you know that your superannuation account balance and jointly held assets are not administered by your Will?   For estate planning purposes, these types of financial assets are called “non estate assets”. For the majority of people, their superannuation account is likely to be one of their biggest assets. Another contender for biggest asset may be the family home, commonly jointly owned.  In summary, the two assets often representing the bulk of an individual’s wealth may not be dealt with by their Will.  What about if the bulk of your financial assets are deemed “estate assets” and in the event of your death, these assets will be distributed to your loved ones in accordance with your Will. That should set them up for a financially sound future, right?  One of the biggest destroyers of wealth is the transfer of wealth from generation to generation. Consider your own family circumstances. Even if your family has so far been lucky enough to have escaped the statistics around relationship breakdowns, gambling or drug addiction, how do you know what the future holds for your children or even for your grandchildren?  There are ways that a quality Will can provide a regular income stream to your loved ones and at the same time, protect their inheritance.  David Ramsay, founder and Principal Financial Advisor at Income Solutions likes to say “you love your children and grandchildren; at best, you hope to like their partners”. Here’s some food for thought, consider these scenarios:

  1. Sadly your father passes away and in accordance with his Will, you and your brother inherit the family home. The home sits in prime real estate, with upcoming re-zoning changes making you and your brother think it’s a good idea to rent the house out for a couple of years and sell when all of the changes have passed, holding out for a bigger profit. It’s currently worth $1m, however you believe your strategy could triple that value. Your father had a very simple Will and the home passes to you and your brother, held jointly at 50% each (currently a $500,00 inheritance to each brother). Both you and your brother are married, with young children.  3 months later, you unfortunately pass away in a car accident. Your Will makes provisions for your wife and young family.  Your wife meets with the lawyer and lists all of your assets, including the $500,000 share of the inherited family house. Her Lawyer tells her that unfortunately a jointly held asset is not governed by the Will, and by law, the surviving brother is now the sole owner of the inherited family home. Your wife and children have no legal claim over your share of the house.
  1. 6 years ago you met your second wife, married and now have 3 beautiful girls together. You believe that your family is complete; you have your 3 girls and also 2 sons from your first marriage.  Your ex-wife lives nearby and, although you’ve had rough patches in the past, your 2 sons come and stay every other weekend and because you live nearby you are able to attend their various sporting and school events and enjoy a good relationship with them. The boys have a good relationship with their step sisters, however as they are entering their late teens, lately the relationship between your second wife and the boys is often strained.  Your motto is that things will improve once they get through their teenage years. Unfortunately you have an industrial accident at work and pass away.  You have a current Will which makes provisions for your current wife to inherit the majority of your assets, with smaller amounts distributed to all of your children.  You’ve had discussions with your second wife about how you would like her look after all of your children, and upon her passing, distribute your assets evenly. These wishes were reflected in her Will, drafted at the same time you drafted your Will. Your second wife is advised that, following your death, her existing Will is invalid and she makes arrangements with her Lawyer to draft a new Will immediately. After all, she’s the only parent left for her girls.  The new Will is drawn, making provisions for your 3 daughters but excluding any provisions for your 2 sons.
  1. You have worked hard and sacrificed through the years to build a sizeable investment portfolio. The portfolio derives enough income to support your lifestyle and consists of growth assets that should continue to support both your children and grandchildren when you pass.  You have never been in the business of spending money “for the sake of it” and when you hear about DIY Will kits that you can purchase for $69.95 at the local newsagents, you go for it. After all, it’s pretty simple – you want your kids to inherit it, don’t touch it and live off the income, just as you have. When they pass, you want their Will to provide the same directions to their children. You’ve even sat all of your kids down and told them as much and they all agreed.  You pass away a contented man, proud of your life’s achievements and the way you’ve provided for your family’s future. Only problem is:
  • Daughter number 1 has a marriage breakdown 2 years after you pass away.  She directly inherited your assets in her own name, meaning they formed part of the divorce settlement. Half of your inheritance has now been distributed to her ex-husband, who, truth be known, you never really liked anyway.
  • Son number 2 has never been good at managing his money. Before you passed, you asked your other children to keep an eye on him, but they’re so busy with their own lives that they can’t keep track of him as well.  A few ill advised investment decisions later and he’s lost at least 3/4 of his inheritance.
  • Son number 3 is self employed and just prior to your passing, he ran one of the biggest engineering businesses in town (a great source of pride for you). Unfortunately the majority of his business involved supplying and servicing the machinery at 2 local car manufacturers. Since those manufacturers have closed down, he’s put on a brave face but in truth, new business has proved too hard to find and he’s just about to declare bankruptcy.  The only thing that can save him is your inheritance but due to a quirk of bad timing, he is forced to use the inheritance to pay his debts and close his business. He’s not in debt, however he has no business and no inheritance.

These 3 scenarios are fictitious, however similar scenarios are happening each and every day.  Sadly, they are preventable. Advice from a good quality Financial Advisor and specialist Estate Planning Lawyer would ensure sound investment strategies could accompany estate planning protections. The outcome being that the transfer of wealth through generations can successfully be achieved.

 

Any advice in this publication is of a general nature only and has not been tailored to your personal circumstances. Please seek personal advice prior to acting on this information. The information in this document reflects our understanding of existing legislation, proposed legislation, rulings etc as at the date of issue. In some cases the information has been provided to us by third parties. While it is believed the information is accurate and reliable, this is not guaranteed in any way.  Opinions constitute our judgement at the time of issue and are subject to change. Neither, the Licensee or any of the National Australia group of companies, nor their employees or directors give any warranty of accuracy, nor accept any responsibility for errors or omissions in this document. Before making a decision to acquire a financial product, you should obtain and read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) relating to that product.

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Income Solutions Accounting is here!

July 2015 blogAs a full service financial planning practice, our advisers are often asked “do you guys do accounting?”…now we can say yes! Operating out of our Richmond office, we have already started completing FY15 returns for a wide range of clients.

Well, it makes sense doesn’t it? Income Solutions provides clients with advice around a long list of financial areas—investments, superannuation, personal insurances and loans; we plan around our clients goals and life changes…but there was an area we were missing….accounting.

In line with all of the services we provide, Income Solutions Accounting will support our clients with an easy to understand, efficient process that will get the best results for you. In the future, it won’t be case of a shoe box of receipts to get your tax return completed, but a straightforward process that complements your wider financial planning strategies.

To get the ball rolling, we have produced a comprehensive Income Solutions Accounting Checklist for all the things you should be considering for the deductions relevant to you. You can request an appointment on our website’s new brand new accounting page, or call the team.

By Erica Fountain, Head of Innovation

ACCOUNTING

Smart accounting. Big picture tax. Proactive advice.

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