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COHESIVE FINANCIAL PLANNING WITHIN A RELATIONSHIP

For some people engaging a Financial Planner is a something they undertake alone but for others it may be a joint decision which includes their partner or spouse. A financial planner can be a direct link between a financially happy and successful relationship, providing an open transparent platform for financial discussions and goals.

Meeting with a Financial Planner can provide couples with the time and opportunity they need to discuss such topics openly and transparently as credit card debt or planning for retirement. These topics may sound trivial, especially earlier in the relationship, but they are important and in fact if not addressed have the capacity to cause stress that can lead to relationship break downs. A good Financial Planner can play a key role in ensuring a successful financial partnership within a relationship.

At Income Solutions, when working with couples who are planning their finances together, we have observed some of the following ways in which they successfully navigate their financial partnership:

– Both people commit to having at least a basic understanding of financial literacy and general overview of their financial situation.

– A budget, setting goals and managing debt is done jointly, with both being aware of their expenditure and income.

– Annually attend financial planning meetings together to ensure they create and monitor their financial ‘big picture’, communicating and recalibrating over the length of their relationship.

– Understand that their Financial Planner can provide them with a neutral and financially best practice perspective when they are required to make decisions that involve their money.

Sharing our dreams and aspirations with our life partner can be one of life’s most exciting adventures, but remember statistics show that it is important to have that often hard ‘money talk’ earlier in the relationship, as it will provide the framework to face the many financial challenges and opportunities that may present themselves over the years.

When assisting people with their financial partnerships at Income Solutions, we are presented with a range of individual complexities, life stages and situations, however the common denominator of transparency, communication and good financial advice applies whatever the state of their individual financial affairs.

Referenced for this article:

https://www.investopedia.com/financial-planning-can-save-marriage-4684269

https://www.businessinsider.com/personal-finance/money-tips-financial-planners-always-give-to-couples?r=AU&IR=T#share-financial-responsibilities-6

https://www.financialplanningforcanadians.ca/financial-planning/financial-tips-for-couples

The Power of Striving

“When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.”
Paulo Coelho

Striving to be better, either in our career, health, finances, or personal outlook doesn’t just change and improve ourselves as individuals, it makes the lives of the people we love better and makes our interactions with those that we are connected to better as well.

The positive focus you generate when embarking upon striving for improvement in no matter what aspect of your life, has the effect of consciously or subconsciously providing inspiration to others.

When applying this concept through the prism of striving for financial security we can provide examples of how this affects other people:

– The negative impact of financial stress on family life is well documented and by striving to be financially responsible and working towards financial independence we can create a more harmonious family environment for ourselves, partner and children.

– Being financially independent gives us the freedom to contribute either our time or resources to causes or people we are passionate about helping.

– Focusing on improving our financial situation and planning long term for our retirement frees up limited community and government resources for people who do not have the capacity to do similar.

The examples, when applied are broad and varied, but striving to be better in whatever areas of our lives we wish to focus on has the wonderful corresponding effect of also changing and improving the lives of others around us, making the act of striving a powerful act of love for either family, friends, or our community.

Behavioural Coaching Provides Long Term Gains

In what is normally a sedate period on the investor markets, the recent January global markets have been displaying some turbulence, mainly due to predictions around rising interest rates and speculative concerns when viewing inflation rates globally (1). History has proven that during market changes and fluctuations the value of good financial advice is quantifiable (2).

Financial advisers will take time and use their expertise to evaluate and diversify your portfolio, discuss with you your financial objectives, and provide behavioural coaching to ensure financial decisions are made with clarity and not subject to what is happening in the moment, or reacting to commentators who are focusing on short term monetary gains, rather than long term financial objectives.

Table Taken from Vanguard refer link below (2)

The above table shows that in 2007, at the beginning of the Global Financial Crisis the investor who stayed committed to stocks and a predetermined asset allocation gained $41,000 by 2014, while those that withdrew their $100,000 investment and redistributed to Bonds or Cash lost 10% and 29% of their investment respectively.
Financial Advice provides behavioral coaching that ensures you can adhere to the facts and figures of investing. Working together with an Adviser, share market fluctuations can be an opportunity for long term gains.

(1)
https://eread.com.au/incomesolutions/138607#head_291875

(2)
Benefits of adviser

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

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