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Protecting Assets in a Discretionary Trust


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Trusts are a popular and effective investment structure to manage and protect your family’s assets, and you don’t have to be worth a fortune to benefit from having one.

Despite their appeal, they are not for everyone. Indeed, it is suggested that if your assets are less than $300,000, and that is not counting your super, then it may well not be worth your while.

But for those with sufficient assets, a family trust can be an effective way to protect your family’s assets and limit your tax liability at the same time. So how do they work?

What is a family trust?
A family trust is a discretionary trust, where assets are placed in the care of a third party, the trustee, who manages it on behalf of the beneficiaries.

Discretionary trusts are so named because the distribution each year of the income and capital gains earned by the trust to the beneficiaries is at the total discretion of the trustee.

Beneficiaries are members of the trust and might include parents, children, other close relatives, and their spouses. A beneficiary may also be a company.

Key benefits
As mentioned, the key benefits of a family trust are asset protection and tax minimisation. A trust provides protection from creditors in bankruptcy, but the contents of a trust can be included as part of the matrimonial pool when it comes to divorce.

All income of the trust, including realised capital gains, must be distributed each year. It is then included in the beneficiary’s assessable income and taxed at their personal tax rate.

As a result, a trust can work particularly well from a tax viewpoint, if you are on a high marginal tax rate but your beneficiaries are on low marginal rates. If all individual beneficiaries are on a marginal tax rate greater than the company tax rate, then a family trust may include a corporate beneficiary to reduce tax.

More flexibility
Another advantage of a family trust is that it offers a flexible, tax effective structure to accumulate wealth for retirement alongside superannuation.

Their flexibility also makes them particularly attractive for small business owners who may run the business through a company structure but hold shares in that company in a family trust. The trust can then direct different types of income such as rental income from your business premises, franked dividends from company profits or capital gains to different individuals.

A family trust can also help with succession, allowing you to pass control of the family trust to the next generation by changing the trustee, without triggering a tax event.

There are some disadvantages too. There is the loss of ownership as the trust now owns the asset, not you. Also, if the trust suffers an investment loss, those losses cannot be distributed to offset your personal tax liability but must remain inside the trust. And there are costs involved in setting up and managing the trust.

Setting up a trust
To set up a family trust you will need to consult a lawyer to create a trust deed. You will also need to do the following:

Appoint a trustee and determine your beneficiaries

Decide which assets to include in the trust (a wide range of assets including stocks, bonds, managed funds, cash, real estate, antiques and fine art can all be included)

Apply for an ABN and a Tax file number (TFN) and open a bank account in the name of the trust.
It can cost some $2500 to set up the trust and there will be annual fees as you have to file with the Australian Tax Office each year. Stamp duty applies in both NSW and Victoria on establishment but not in other states.

What about testamentary trusts?
Another type of trust popular with families is a testamentary trust which is created within your Will and does not come into effect until your death. Similar to family trusts, they have the advantage in estate planning of providing tax and asset protection benefits for the future.

Family trusts are popular for good reason, but you need to make sure it is appropriate for your family’s circumstances.

At Income Solutions we support and advise our clients to seek specialised legal advice to ensure whether a discretionary trust may be appropriate to their individual circumstances.

A Prediction for 2022

Change is the only constant in Life
Quote: Heraclitus (Greek Philosopher) c500BC

In reflecting on the past year of 2021, never has the above quote dating back to 500BC seemed more relevant. When viewing changes at Income Solutions we have seen Tharaka and Elise joining David in the management and ownership of Income Solutions and a licensee change to Australian Unity, which has required the full commitment and skills of our staff to implement the required administrative and IT changes.

Throughout the year, everyday we have looked out our back windows and been presented with the changing view of the construction of the new council offices. This evolving building has presented us with changing and limited parking conditions, dust covered outdoor furniture and even (initially) explosives going off when preparing the buildings foundations. However, we have watched on with interest and are looking forward to seeing what new cafes, shops and services will be on our doorstep.

Further afield, 2021 has seen the repercussions of the pandemic continuing to be felt, with COVID cases exceeding 100 million and over 500 million vaccines delivered worldwide. All while wildfires rampaged through Canada, and the plan for a European Super League in the UK meet with international condemnation. It was great that the 2020 Summer Olympics and Paralympics were finally able to be contested, even with no crowds present, and to learn that Brisbane will be hosting the 2032 Summer Olympics!

In the face of all the above activity the financial markets have continued a sound trajectory, which can offer us a metaphor in how we ourselves, as individuals face constant change. The share markets operate within a regulated framework that provides a solid platform that allows it to be affected by change but not constricted by it, it is always moving forward in one way or another. So too can we, by knowing what we value most and what we are seeking to achieve be provided with the required framework to move forward in the direction of what matters most to us, even when there are many changes and at times eruptions happening around us.

At Income Solutions we are learnt that while some things may be changing in terms of Licensee and Ownership, the platform and philosophy that we have developed over the years continues to be unwavering, never forgetting that our core objective is to help our clients create a consistent, reliable, and truly passive income stream. An income stream which will guarantee that our clients live their chosen lifestyle with passion and the absence of financial worry.

Moving on from 2021 and preparing and reflecting on the 2022 year ahead, one thing we know is that there will be constant change and disruptions, but by applying our personal values and knowing and reflecting on our goals and what we want to achieve, navigating 2022 will not only be easier but may well prove to be a rewarding exciting adventure!

Best of Health & Happiness for the 2022 New Year

From the Team at Income Solutions

CREATING GOOD MONEY HABITS

If we become what we repeatedly do, poor habits can make us poor while “rich habits” can lead to wealth.

Sarah Berry, The Sydney Morning Herald

At Income Solutions we meet initially with our clients to plan and discuss their financial goals, these documented goals are updated annually and are an important part of securing their stated financial future. However, these goals are just one part of the puzzle, the money habits that we form over years and make decisions and choices about daily are a direct reflection of both our current and future financial situation.

A good place to start when looking a what a good money habits is, is to reflect on some of the money habits employed by financially secure people who:

~ Invest in themselves, they know the value of time and money spent on their education or self-development.

~ Live within their means or even under their means, knowing the freedom of not living from one pay day to the next.

~ Don’t borrow to fund a lifestyle or discretionary purchase.

~ Take calculated risks and opportunities when the evidence stacks up.

~ Start planning early for their retirement.

Starting today you can begin changing financial habits that will directly lead to a change in your current and future finances. James Clear in his New York Times bestselling book ‘Atomic Habits’ explains that small changes in our habits can have a big impact. Some of the strategies for change listed in his book include:

1. Know the difference between being in motion and acting

Motion is all about planning and learning and theorizing. Action is all about deliberate practice to deliver an outcome. It’s all too easy to fall into the trap of being in motion, of fooling yourself into thinking you’re making progress towards something. Remember setting a goal to be a millionaire one day will count for nothing unless you act and form habits and systems to create this outcome.

2. Be aware that we live in a delayed return environment

In modern society, many of the choices you make today will not benefit or impact you immediately, an example of this is the habit of smoking, which will provide immediate gratification, but the health consequences may take years to manifest. When applied to financial habits, while some may spend years not saving or planning for their retirement the impact of this on their daily lives will not be immediately evident until they get closer to retirement and are presented with the impact on limited retirement funds.

“The chains of habit are too light to be felt until they’re too heavy to be broken”

Bertrand Russell

3. Focus on who you want to become and the person you want to be

Make choices and set goals around the person you want to be. James Clear gives another example of this around smoking and when two people are offered a cigarette. One says, “No thanks, I’m trying to quit” while the other says “No thanks, I don’t smoke.” Once again, when applied to our finances do you want to be a person who is financially responsible and in charge of their financial future or the type of person who does not take financial responsibility seriously…. the choice is ours to make!

“Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become.”

James Clear

4. Habits are the compound interest of self-improvement

The same way that money multiplies through compound interest, the effects of your habits multiply as you repeat them. They seem to make little difference on any given day and yet the impact they deliver over the months and years can be enormous”— James Clear

5. You do not rise to the level of your goals but your habits and choices

Think of this, many people will have a goal to be financially secure by the time they are 40 and perhaps even retired at 50, but only a small percentage will achieve it. People can set out with the same goal, but the goal is never enough because it is the actions, habits, and choices that we make along the way that will reflect whether the goal is achieved or not.

At Income Solutions we will support you in creating systems and money habits that you can implement to propel the outcome of your financial goals.

References:

https://medium.com/tom-thoughts/i-finally-read-atomic-habits-here-are-my-top-5-takeaways-57dd6f904ab4

https://www.investopedia.com/articles/younginvestors/08/generation-y.asp

https://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/health-and-wellness/seven-secret-habits-of-selfmade-millionaires-20160404-gnxs4m.html

PLANNING A HOLIDAY POST PANDEMIC


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From the 1st of November you will no longer need an exemption to travel overseas, and with recent research showing that 44.4% of people are including planning for a holiday in their financial plans this is good news. However, there are some post COVID travel considerations to take into account:

~ Sydney, Melbourne, and Darwin are the only cities operating international flights from November 2021. Although not confirmed other states will open to international travel once they have reached 80%.

~ For those that love to take to the high seas, cruises will be returning next year although no official start day has been confirmed.

~ Qantas is currently operating three weekly return flights between Sydney and London and Sydney and Los Angeles

~ The following highlights how destinations are staggered over varying timelines, and you will need to check with travel agents or airlines for updated destination dates. Some examples include Singapore November 23, Delhi December 6, Fiji December 7, Vancouver December 18, Tokyo December 19, United States December 20, and South Africa 5 January.

It is expected that masks will need to be worn throughout the duration of the flight.

You will need to be fully vaccinated to travel overseas with a vaccination certificate downloaded through your myGOV account that will require your passport details, this will supply you with a QR CODE that border officials will scan to verify your vaccination status.

The COVID testing mandates will differ accordingly to the country you are visiting, an example being that the UK will require you to book and pay for a PCR test before you depart and then take the test within 2 days, and the US requires a negative COVID19 test before you travel there!

When returning to Sydney or Melbourne you will not be required to quarantine, however this may differ from country to country so you will need to find out what the quarantine requirements may be for the country you are visiting.

While there is a little more to consider with post pandemic travel let’s not forget there can be nothing like a holiday to help us feel more relaxed and give us a break from our everyday lives, something we may very much need after the challenging times we have been experiencing over the last few years.

We know that having a break, whether it be from work or just our regular routines, tends to improve our wellbeing. It can offer a circuit breaker from some of your stressors, give you a new perspective as you take in new surroundings, lighten your mood as you do things you enjoy, give you a chance to spend some quality time with loved ones and simply recharge your batteries by sleeping in and taking it easy.

Planning for a holiday in post pandemic times may not only require a financial plan to budget for expenses but also careful consideration relating to restrictions, Covid testing and quarantine requirements. But when you look at the benefits this may well be worth the little extra effort? Wherever you decide to travel, whether it be Australia or overseas, the other side of the world or maybe just down the road, enjoy your well-deserved break and recharge your batteries for an exciting year ahead.

INCOME SOLUTIONS FINANCIAL PLANNING GEELONG

contactus@incomesolutions.com.au

References:

https://www.mamamia.com.au/international-travel-australia-2022/

Savings and Holiday Fun in 2021!

While focusing on our financial goals over the next 12 months, it is interesting to look at ways in which recent turbulent times have impacted our future savings plans. Recent research shows (1), there is an increased number of people prioritising being more frugal about their lifestyle choices; 44.7% in 2021 vs 30.8% is 2020. Unpredictable times has encouraged more of us to increase savings and pay down debt, together with creating a budget to understand what we are spending, saving and earning; 38.6% in 2021 vs 23.2% in 2020.

However, while increasing savings is the number one financial priority over the next 12 months for many people, research shows (1) recent newly found freedoms now has many people planning for a holiday as the number two financial goal:

It may be interesting to benchmark our own personal goals against the broader results revealed in the above study. Have you found the uncertainty of pandemic times has you wanting to invest more of your income in savings and seeking broader long term financial security while planning for a rainy day? Also, has the easing of restrictions suddenly motivated you to start planning a holiday?

The constantly changing times in which we live should provide us with the impetus to be reviewing and redeveloping our financial goals regularly, to ensure our goals are current and an accurate reflection of what we value and how we want to live both now and into the future.

Contact us at Income Solutions for the tools and guidance in ensuring your financial goals meet your current and future needs: contactus@incomesolutions.com.au

(1)
https://fpa.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/2021_FPA_Money_and_Life_Tracker_Freedom_Edition.pdf

INCOME SOLUTIONS FINANCIAL PLANNERS GEELONG

POWERFUL FORCE FOR OVERCOMING ADVERSITY


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In moments and times of chaos and uncertainty, people just like you have used their imaginations, motivation, and knowledge to continue to create and succeed. At the beginning of 2020 Income Solutions released a video titled ‘Human Kind no Stranger to Adversity’ https://www.incomesolutions.com.au/human-kind-no-stranger-to-adversity/
This video highlighted the powerful force of human endeavor during times of adversity and provided insight into ways in which people have been overcoming adversity throughout history.

As we reflect on people overcoming adversity, it is worthwhile focusing on some of the tools and attributes that can assist you in building resilience and provide you with the strength to own and plan your fate when you are faced with challenging times:

~ Surround yourself with a supportive team of people who are accepting of you as a person and encourage you to be yourself.

~ Writing down your emotions, thoughts, and feelings. This allows for self-expression and opportunities for future reflections.

~ Spend time in the natural environment. Parks, gardens, beaches, and bush walking have shown to improve mental wellbeing and increase our connection to the healing properties of nature.

~ Accept that change is ever constant in our lives and move with change, rather than fighting against it!

~ Focus on the facts of your situation, not the way you want or think it should be. This allows for clarity of mind to access the resources at your disposal and keeps you open minded about a solution.

~ Recognise what is and is not within your control. This frees up your time and energy to focus on what you can change and accept what you cannot change.

Every day we can see the triumphs and endeavors of not only those we read about in the media, but also firsthand when looking at the lives of your family and friends who are busy going about their everyday lives overcoming hardships and celebrating achievements. More recently Income Solutions published an article titled: Share Market is a Reflection of Human Endeavour: https://www.incomesolutions.com.au/share-market-is-a-reflection-of-human-endeavour/

History has shown that the human endeavor within us all is a powerful force for overcoming adversity.

References:

https://medium.com/uwaterloo-voice/12-practical-principles-for-thriving-in-adversity-life-and-pandemics-e98882a15ba7

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