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Cost of Living Pressure an Opportunity to Hack Expenses

Young happy mother going through home finances and communicating with her baby son.

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There has been a lot written in the media recently about the rising cost of living and there is no doubt with rising interest rates people are having to tighten their financial belts. However, like the share market, the cost-of-living index has never been linear and has always been subject to continued fluctuations, both up and down.

Short- and long-term history can assist us in reframing the current media narrative and allow us to more broadly understand that cost of living calibrations is part of the economic cycle, some of the following historical facts highlight this:

– Throughout the 80s you were likely to be paying a mortgage rate about 13% to 14%.
– In 1909 a steak cost 5% of the average weekly wage

Ross Gittins, Economics Editor for The Sydney Morning Herald notes in his recent article ‘We’ve Got More Than We’ve Ever Had’ the drastic reduction in hours work for services that we have benefited from over the years:

– In 1909 the cost of a double bed, mattress, blanket, and pillows had fallen
from 185 hours of work to 18 hours today.
– The cost of a loaf of bread has fallen from 18 minutes of work to 4 minutes today.
– The cost of a smartphone has fallen from 60 hours of work in 2010 to
16 hours today.

The above facts are not meant to diminish the reality that some people are struggling to meet basic needs, but there are also those of us who the rising cost of living simply means less discretionary spending such as restaurant or take away meals. For those of us in this category, maybe this can be a time to recalibrate our needs and wants.

Taking a moment to put the financial brakes on it can allow us the opportunity and space to ask ourselves some redefining questions such as:

– Can I cook a healthy and simple meal rather than ordering in expensive take away.
– Can my children cut back on an after-school activity, and will this give us
more family time together?

In fact, the rising cost of living can provide a platform for us the do a ‘financial hack’ on our expenses, shining a light on expenses that have become a mindless habit that we no longer need, and may not even be making us any happier or healthier. The advantage of this is that we will adopt these new financial habits, and when cost of living pressures has stabilized, the extra money that we were spending can be redirected to savings and investments!

https://www.incomesolutions.com.au/two-simple-steps-to-building-wealth/

Referenced for this article:

https://www.smh.com.au/business/the-economy/we-ve-got-more-than-we-ve-ever-had-but-are-we-better-off-20220809-p5b8e4.html

https://www.choice.com.au/money/budget/cost-of-living/articles/our-top-money-saving-tips

A Question of Retirement

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The questions we ask ourselves when thinking about retirement are often broad and varied. In our twenty’s we may have asked ourselves is it necessary to start planning for retirement when I am still trying to pay back my student loans? In our thirty’s we can begin to ask ourselves what are my retirement goals for the future and how much do I need to fund them? In our forty’s retirement may begin to feel a little more real as we begin to ask ourselves am I on track to having enough money in retirement? In our fifty’s we often begin to ask ourselves when? When is the right time for me to retire and when will I feel ready both emotionally and financially?

The thoughts and questions we have regarding retirement are often dependant on our life stages, however there are some key questions we need to ask ourselves no matter what age we are:

– What are my time horizons? Creating a broad picture of the years between your working life and retirement enables you to establish a realistic budget and strategy.

– When do I start planning for retirement? The earlier you start saving for retirement the more money you will have, especially considering the principals of compounding interest and how this works in your favour over the years https://www.incomesolutions.com.au/financial-superpowers-join-forces/

– How often do I review and update estimate retirement expenses? Regularly, at least yearly, review and update estimate expenses making decisions to put more money into planning for retirement as your income grows. Maintaining your current lifestyle when receiving a pay increase can be a great way of increasing investments and superannuation savings.

– What is my risk tolerance? Regularly review and update your risk tolerance and profile as this can change as you transition through the decades to retirement.

– What can I do to ensure I maximise my options to increase the money I have for retirement? There are a number of factors that include Consolidation of funds, Salary Sacrificing and After-Tax Super contributions.

– Can I ensure I use my Superannuation to achieve the maximum tax benefits? There are many tax effective options concerning superannuation and it is important to seek financial advice from an Adviser with expertise in this area.

A core and often asked questions of course is How Much? How much money will I need to live when I am retired and no longer earning an income. Obviously, this will depend on your earlier stated goals and retirement objectives, however The Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) provides the following table as a general guide, although it is worth noting that these figures depend on people owning their own house outright:

Where will this income come from? A variety of sources may provide us with this income including superannuation, investments, savings, inheritance, or government benefits.

This outline provides a picture of the complexities concerning Superannuation and Retirement Incomes and illustrates the importance of collaborating with your Financial Advisor throughout the decades to ensure a smooth transition to Retirement.

Referenced for this article:

https://moneysmart.gov.au/retirement-income/transition-to-retirement

https://www.investopedia.com/articles/retirement/11/5-steps-to-retirement-plan.asp

Why Invest in the Industrial Index?


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At Income Solutions, we believe long term growth and income returns are achieved by investing in human endeavour, in diversification, in supply and demand that leads to the long term profitability, and sustainability of quality businesses. Read our latest Blog to learn more on how the figures and long term yields speak for themselves: https://mailchi.mp/2331fd6722c4/why-invest-in-industrials?fbclid=IwAR24ICWqWZO75HlWt7G_HG6k5KMuGK1O4HfFW8mRjDwmEOSQ4-8gN4dc-5I

The benefits of investment style and strategy


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NEWSLETTER JULY 2022

As interest rates start to increase after a lengthy period of historical lows, it’s a good time to think about how your money is working for you and whether your investing style and strategy is still in line with your goals.

Read more on above, together with Superannuation Opportunities and Wills & Estates in the Income Solutions Newsletter for July 2022 https://mailchi.mp/0f91e3a94f51/income-solutions-newsletter-july-2022

The many elements of financial advice

Cropped shot of businessman greeting a young professional around the table in office. Close up of business people shaking hands in office.

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The Financial Advisors at Income Solutions are highly skilled and qualified professionals requiring a degree and major in financial planning, who assist our clients in achieving and working towards a secure future. The studies required ensure that our Advisors have the right set of skills to best provide our clients with a plan that reflects their unique circumstances and goals. However, over the 30 years of operating we know that while qualifications and skills are important, the partnership forged with our clients has many elements beyond simply providing facts and figures.

We have witnessed first hand that by making a person’s financial situation better, almost always has an impact of improving mental health too. Some examples of this are included in the attached Australian Unity Retrospective Australian Unity marks 20 years in financial advice _ an interview with Ross Johnston
this outlines someone who is being bullied at work, and their financial Advisor was able to improve their situation by letting them know they were in the position to retire early or take time off to find another job, this knowledge was able to dissolve the power that the bully had over them.

Also, when supporting clients who have had a death in the family, our Advisors are comprehensively aware of their financial situation and objectives. Clients who are grieving and emotionally vulnerable may find it difficult to think with clarity regarding complicated financial matters. This is especially important even with the support of family and friends, who often provide well-meaning but conflicting advice to ‘get it done’ or ‘move on’, making the advice of a qualified and experienced financial professional, that they have an established financial partnership with invaluable.

Another example of the many elements to the role of a financial advisor is when clients are going through a divorce, and we strive to assist clients in maintaining their lifestyle and strengthening their wealth and long-term financial position.

At Income Solutions our process not only updates and reviews individual financial plans that reflect our client’s needs and objectives, but we also work hard to ensure that people are comfortable with the risk profile of their investments. This ensures that the mental health of our clients is not subject to continuing external fluctuations of financial markets.

It is a privilege to offer financial advice to our clients through a variety of life stages and situations, many of our clients have even become friends. In the Income Solutions document titled ‘The True Value of our Relationship’ e-book the true value of our relationship we can see that the elements and benefits of financial advice are multi-faceted, and move through life stages both joyful and difficult.

Creating Real Wealth

A young redhead boy is apple picking with his family in an orchard in autumn. He is smiling and giving an apple to his mother.

Income Solutions mission is to create wealth for our clients.
Wealth is the absence of financial worry, an income you don’t outlive, and a meaningful legacy to those whom you love.

Income Solutions MISSION STATEMENT

If you are healthy…. You are wealthy! And while this is a great sentiment and for any of us who have been experiencing illness recently it will certainly resonate. However, today we know that it is not as simple as this, as in recently quoted studies our health and wellbeing can be, up to a point, directly linked to our income https://www.incomesolutions.com.au/creating-wealth-that-creates-wellbeing/

We need money for our essential needs, and to participate in a community we need access to resources to make this possible, hence the creation of wealth in financial terms is required to fully embrace life in all its stages.

As it is Income Solutions core ‘Mission’ to create wealth for our clients, it is worth exploring the actual concept of wealth and how it might differ to simply being rich or having access to a high Income. The creation of wealth is working towards a sustainable income, as opposed to being rich and having access to money. Robert Kiyosaki, the author of ‘Rich Dad Poor Dad’ has encapsulated this concept very succinctly in the following quote:

“The rich have lots of money, but wealthy don’t worry about money”

In our Mission Statement we make clear that we view wealth as being the ‘absence of financial worry’ and in the above statement by Kiyosaki he states that the ‘wealthy don’t worry about money’. Core to this is that fact that wealthy people work towards obtaining a long-term sustainable income, live within their means and save and invest money in income producing assets such as an investment portfolio.

Creating real wealth usually involves avoiding debt for discretionary spending and instead borrowing less than you can afford to buy income producing assets.

A formula for achieving an ‘income that you don’t outline’ is described in a video Titled ‘Your Tree’ presented by Income Solutions founding Adviser David Ramsay https://vimeo.com/460822636 Using the analogy of an apple tree to describe an asset, he explains that the income your asset produces, the ‘apples’ it grows that you have access to picking will serve you better than ‘lopping off a branch’, and thus decreasing the size of your principal asset. Having an asset that generates an income without eating away at the principal ‘the tree’ will ensure your asset stays in tack not only throughout your lifespan but also as an asset for future generations, thus creating a meaningful legacy for those you love.

At Income Solutions we believe achieving wealth is achieving peace of mind https://www.incomesolutions.com.au/avoid-shattering-financial-outcomes/ A mind free from financial worry provides real wealth for our clients as they can then focus on what they care about most.

Referenced for this article:

https://moneysmart.gov.au/grow-your-super/how-much-super-you-need

https://www.incomesolutions.com.au/family-tree-research-providing-lessons-of-the-past/

Create your own story in retirement


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Retirement means starting a new chapter of your life, one that gives you the freedom to create your own story, as you decide exactly how you want to spend your time. While retirement may not be part of your immediate plans, there are advantages to giving some thought as to what retirement looks like for you and how to best position yourself, well before you leave the workforce behind.

A time of profound change
Even setting aside the huge financial implications of leaving a regular salary behind, retiring from work represents one of the biggest life changes you can experience.

For most people, the freedom of being able to do whatever you want to do, whenever you want to do it, is pretty enticing. However, it is quite common to have mixed feelings about retiring, particularly as you get closer to retirement. What we do for a living often defines us to some extent and leaving your job can mean a struggle with how you perceive yourself as well as how others view you. Coupled with the desire for financial security in retirement and the need to make your retirement savings last the distance, you have a lot to be dealing with.

So, let’s look at the things you need to be thinking about sooner rather than later, from an emotional and practical perspective, to ensure your retirement is everything you want it to be.

Forge your own path
Don’t be tied to preconceptions of what retirement is all about. Retirement has evolved from making a grand departure from the workplace with the gift of a gold watch to a more flexible transition that may unfold over several years. Equally, if the idea of a clean break appeals to you then that’s okay too and you just need to plan accordingly.

The same applies for your timeframe for retirement. The idea that you ‘have’ to retire at a certain age is no longer relevant given advances in healthcare and longer lifespans. If work makes you happy and fulfilled, then it can make sense to delay your departure from the workforce.

Planning how to spend your time
It sounds obvious but you’ll have more time on your hands so it’s important to think about what you want to devote that time to. A study found that 97 per cent of retirees with a strong sense of purpose were generally happy and satisfied in retirement, compared with 76 per cent without that sense.i Think about what gives your life meaning and purpose and weave those elements into your plans.

If you are part of a couple, it’s critical to ensure that you are both on the same page about what retirement means to you. This calls for open and honest communication about what you both want and may also involve some degree of compromise as you work together to come up with a plan that meets both of your needs.

Practical considerations
There’s a myriad of practical considerations once you have started to plan how you’ll spend your time.

Here are a few things you may wish to consider:

Where do you want to live? Do you want to be close to a city or are you interested in living in a more coastal or rural area? Are you wanting to travel or live overseas for extended periods?

What infrastructure and health services might you need as you age? Are these services adequate and accessible in the area you are thinking of living in?

What hobbies and activities do you want to be involved in. Do you need to start developing networks for those activities in advance?

Who do you want to spend time with? If you have children and grandchildren, think about what role you’d like to play in their lives upon retirement.

The best laid plans…
Of course, with all this planning it’s also important to acknowledge that the best laid plans can go astray due to factors beyond your control. It’s important to keep an open mind and be adaptable. While redundancy or poor health can play havoc with retirement dreams, it’s still possible to make the best of what life throws at you.

And of course, Income Solutions is here to help you with the financial side of things to ensure that retirement is not only something to look forward to, but a wonderful chapter of your life once you start to live out your retirement dreams.

Referenced for this article:
https://www.inc.com/magazine/201804/kathy-kristof/happy-retirement-satisfaction-enjoy-life.html

A Super end to the financial year


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June 2022 Newsletter

In the June edition of the Income Solutions Newsletter ‘A Super end to the financial year’ outlines current tax savings and ways in which you can increase your super nest egg. Compelling figures in ‘The cost of not investing’ allows us to reflect on our financial plans both for now and into the future.

Click on the link to enjoy reading this June Newsletter :
https://eread.com.au/incomesolutions/142920

Two Simple Steps to Building Wealth

“Never Spend all that you earn.
Always borrow less than you can afford.”
~ Peter Thornhill

The above advice has never been more relevant in the current climate of the rising costs of living and interest rates. However, it doesn’t really matter what the current financial parameters, if you keep spending more than you earn, borrow to the brink of what you can afford and don’t invest wisely and with expertise to help your money grow, most likely you will eventually run out of it!

This is not only great financial advice for people on low or restricted incomes, but people on higher incomes can also often be tempted to spend more than they earn and think it will not catch up with them, however the law of mathematics ensures that it usually does! This same mistaken confidence can also propel people into borrowing to the very limit of what they can afford rather than borrowing enough for what they need, forgetting that interest rates over the long term will not remain static but will steadily be adjusted both up and down over the long-term.

By adhering to the above simple two financial principals, you may be able to develop plans to invest in both yourself and to begin establishing investment plans and goals. Secondly, by borrowing less that you can afford you further free up income that would be going towards interest payments and have the peace of mind of not being under financial stress each time interest rates might rise even .05%.

At Income Solutions it is often stated that an investment in yourself is the best investment you will ever make https://www.incomesolutions.com.au/the-best-investment-you-will-ever-make/
Mindfully using some of your savings to invest in your career, education or general wellbeing will improve your focus and give you the tools to work towards your long-term goals. Working in partnership with our clients we have never come across anyone who has told us they regret studying or training to improve and update their qualifications or skills.

Also, consider making your money work as hard as you, history and figures show an investment in a balanced share portfolio (SP500*) over the last 20 years will provide larger returns than simply parking your money in a savings account or term deposit:

– $10,000 invested over 20 years in shares (*SP500) = $50,913.05 ~ a return of 8.06%
– $10,000 invested over 20 years in term Deposit = $18,208.00 ~ assuming a 3% return
(3% is generous considering the current Term Deposit rate is approx. 1% and less for funds over $250,000)

And while past performance may not be a predictor of future performance, history can provide us with a guide to make informed decisions and choices. For further information refer https://www.incomesolutions.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/e-book-Investing-a-little-a-lot.pdf

As a client of Income Solutions you will be provided with a proven and successful investment framework that has been developed over 30 years together with qualified and experienced expertise from financial planners and advisors who are licensed and compliant to the highest industry standards.

Referenced for this article:

https://www.officialdata.org/us/stocks/s-p-500/2001?amount=10000&endYear=2021

https://moneysmart.gov.au/saving/compound-interest

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