Managing Family and Finances

Elise Ryan is an Authorised Representative, GWM Adviser Services Limited, Australian Financial Services Licensee

Everyone leads a busy life, but it’s important to take time out to think about your current finances and your financial future.

When you are planning or have a young family, there are a lot of important tasks that are on your mind. It is easy to let every day things like managing your finances fall to the wayside.

Paying the bills is quick and easy, but thinking about the big picture in 10, 20 or 30 years down the track can feel like a daunting task. Many people think retirement is so far away and that they have plenty of time before they need to start looking at planning for that phase of their lives. There is also the belief that it will just work itself out.

But you are reading this, so take the time now to think about your life in 30 years’ time.

You don’t want to regret not planning for your future.

By engaging an advisor, it forces you to take time out once or twice a year to chat about your goals and strategy and make adjustment where needed. This helps you to not only be aware but also re-evaluate what’s important to you and what your goals are year to year.

Research shows that by writing down your goals, you are more likely to plan and work towards achieving them.

By having a trusted financial advisor to look at your goals and create a tailored strategy, you will have to spend less time thinking about your financial future, and you will be in a much better position in the future.

At Income Solutions, we place a lot of time educating our clients on our investment philosophy so that they walk out of their meetings with complete understanding of what their strategy will be and how it will help them reach their financial goals.

It’s never too late to re-assess your financial position and change your strategy, and it’s never too early for your teenage children to start understanding their finances.

We run 4 events each month that will help you start making a plan, no matter what stage you are in for planning your finances:

Common Sense Investing

Common Sense Estate Planning

Kickstart: Your Financial Future

Pivot: Choose Your Financial Direction

We urge you to have a look at our website – www.incomesolutions.com.au/events or have a chat to one of our financial advisors to see which event would help you to achieve your goals, for you and your family.

 

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

From Frivolous to Finance – Getting Your Money in Order.

Savings.

Growing up I’ve been lucky enough to live a really good Aussie life.

Mum, Dad, two little brothers, a Dalmatian dog named Stripes (I wish that was a joke) and a white picket fence. I received an above average education, studied overseas, taken many family holidays and have never gone without.

I’ve had it really good.

So you can imagine my shock and embarrassment when after thirteen years of schooling, four years of tertiary education and my abundance of worldly experiences, I was ill-equipped to handle my finances.

I can tell you about Pythagoras’ Thoerum, go into detail analyzing Euripedes Medea, and Peut parler un minimum français! (I took a little French in school, if I’m being honest it was just to go on the Year 10 trip to Paris.)

But up until recently, I couldn’t tell you how my bank accounts worked.

I couldn’t tell you what the interest rate was on my Credit Card, and I definitely couldn’t tell you ​​why I thought it was OK to go into the bank and take out a loan to travel Europe for 4 months.

But don’t worry guys, I know how to solve for x using  x + 9 = 18 + -2x …phew!

So when I returned from gulping my way through the beer halls in Germany and skiing the slopes in Switzerland, it was time to return home and face the music.

But how?

I was so ashamed to admit that after all the education my parents had provided me with and the privileges life had thrown in my direction, that I was in this position.

By a stroke a fate, I had applied for a job in admin support here at Income Solutions, and got it. I couldn’t help but laugh at the irony! Me, who can’t get her account out of the red working at this financial firm?

What has struck me over the last six months is how the key skills you need are so simple. They are based on common sense. Why is this not being taught to us at high school?

But it’s ok, I know HBr is Hydrogen Bromide… I’ll use that one day!

No matter your history or your circumstance, it’s important to make a decision to want to help yourself and do something about it.

Once you’ve made that decision, it’s about education and discipline.

Education isn’t just for the young, you need to keep educating yourself throughout life. Education in knowing where your money is going, where you’re being taxed or getting charged interest and what options are available to you.

Discipline in sticking to your plan, being able to say ‘not yet’ to those shoes you want, living within your means and not relying on credit.

If you would like to take the first step towards improving your financial situation, go to www.incomeoslutions.com.au/events and register for our First Steps to Financial Success seminar. Topics that are covered include Setting Goals, Managing your Cash Flow, Debt Management, and strategies for building and protecting wealth.

It’s free, no obligation and the purpose is to provide tips and education to people who want it.

What have you got to lose?

Celeste Smith – Marketing Coordinator

Please note: The advice in this article 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.

153 Mercer Street, Geelong

WOMEN – Professional Self-Taught Jugglers

Spotlight on Women - WEbsite SizeWhether you are single or in a relationship, one thing we all have in common is that we are juggling many roles all at once. I learnt quickly that once you begin to add little munchkins to your clan, the number of balls that you are juggling dramatically increases. When I thought I had achieved some rhythm to my new found skill of juggling, it was time to return to work. I had no idea what I was in for in regards to the level of organisation it would require trying to fit in my own personal time, setting goals for now and later, while continuing to run a house!

Returning to work is a big decision. For some it is financial and for others it is to assist with self-fulfilment. Whatever the reason, finding the right work life balance is crucial. There is no right or wrong level of work life balance. The solution that works for your family is individual.

Following returning to work, I began to experience guilt. Guilt for not being able to spend more time with my little ones, that I wasn’t completing as much at work as I had (in comparison to my old, full time employed, child free self), that the house wasn’t as tidy as it used to be and the list goes on! I had to find a way to put a positive spin on what I was doing and the reasons as to why I had returned to work. I realised it was to achieve my goals! Our goals often take second place to day to day activities, however even without realising it, it is another one of those balls we are juggling. Understanding and knowing why I was back at work and the benefits my employment brings to myself and my family was very important, empowering and motivating. Without goals, it is easy to question why. It helps you stay on track towards reaching those goals which are important to you. Also, it is hard to know if you are on the right track, if you don’t know where you are heading.

Goal setting doesn’t just end with the things you want to do in the next 12 months. Goal setting should include what you and your family want to do in 5 years – family holidays, education for your children, a new car, when it is that you and your partner would like to stop work or wind back into retirement. As far away as these milestones may seem, without having an active plan in place, time will continue to fly by. Without a solid plan our goals rarely materialise.

Planning your exciting goals and aspirations doesn’t have to be a weighted time consuming ball that you have to learn to juggle along with everything else. It is easier than you think if you work with someone who can help you plan and keep you motivated. It is very rewarding when you realise you are actually living and experiencing the achievement of the goals you wrote down.

We use systems all the time without realising. Just like we put systems (well try to!) in at home to make our home life easier, it is vitally important to establish systems that ensure your money is working for you, and your family.   Something as simple as structuring your banking correctly can have a big impact on how hard your money works for you.

Now that you are back at work and earning additional money to put towards your household, it is important to ensure that all the sacrifices that have been made to earn this money have not gone to waste. You need to ensure that your hard earned money is working for you.

I have written about my own personal experience, as a Mum working part time. In my professional life I am a Financial Planner with Income Solutions.   I regularly hear stories just like mine, which provided me with the motivation to create a tailored presentation for women which provides some examples of the impact receiving financial advice can make to your day to day lifestyle as well as your long term goals. For more information, book a one-on-one meeting or a workplace Income Solutions for Women session.

Invest in yourself – it could be the best investment you’ll ever make!  

Jess Hall, Financial Planner

 

Please note: The advice in this article 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.

BRIDGING THE GAP – FINANCIAL EQUALITY

Recently our very own Alison Adams wrote the below article for RUBY magazine. The message is just too important so we thought the article should also feature as blog post:

get riled, it irks me, it makes me cringe.  Do we really need events specifically targeted at women? 

As a woman, I have had a successful career which has allowed me flexibility and choices and sees me treated with respect in my workplace – I’m treated the same as any male counterparts in an industry that has traditionally been male dominated.  As a mother of two young girls I don’t feel like there are any limitations or restrictions to their future just because they are female.

So if this is how I feel, why is it that:

  • Women remain behind men in the pay scale, earning an average annual gross income of $67,000 compared to men who are paid about $82,500 per year.
  • The Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia tell us that in 2011-12 average super balances were $82,615 for men and $44,866 for women.

I feel equal but these statistics don’t feel equal.  Combine this with the fact that:

  • Women have a longer life expectancy than men.
  • Women are more likely to have breaks in employment or work part time, either caring for children or elderly parents.
  • Women could spend 30+ years in retirement. Put another way, on average a 65 year old woman will spend 25% of her life in retirement.

OK, I don’t like to generalise, however we have noticed a trend where women have a tendency to avoid seeking financial advice.  This trend doesn’t seem to discriminate – it applies to single women, women in relationships, divorced women, professional women and stay at home Mums.   Women are great at being busy.  We juggle a lot of roles.  We also tend to be competent at managing our households – we definitely seem to have day to day finances under control.  The same can’t be said for long term planning – and it’s long term planning that can make the world of difference.

All of these factors seem quite grim.  So I’m going to earn less, save less and need to fund a longer retirement.  On top of that I’m going to ignore the situation and not seek advice.  Situation hopeless, right?  Wrong.

In direct response to these issues Income Solutions have developed a targeted presentation for women, helping to break down the issues and provide solutions.   There are so many things that can be done to bridge this gap.  Every woman should feel empowered to take control and make a difference to their future financial fitness.  I’m going to quote on of our advisers, Gareth Daniels “It doesn’t matter how much you earn, it doesn’t matter where you are in life – you can make some informed decisions and sensible choices.  You really can design a lifestyle that you are passionate and excited about”.  Gareth’s comment wasn’t particularly female focused but boy, his message hits the nail on the head!  Ivana Trump once famously said “Don’t get mad, get even”.  She was of course talking about making her soon to be ex-husband pay dearly in their divorce.  Think about it though – getting even is exactly what we want to achieve.  Financial equality…….and we can show women how they can create it themselves without the need to marry and then divorce the rich husband!

How can women get started if they don’t know where to start and are not likely to seek help?  In developing Income Solutions for Women, we’ve made sure the presentation is portable.  We know Geelong is full of great businesses and inside these great business are owners and managers that care about their employees and their future.  After all, that’s just smart business.  Our philosophy at Income Solutions has always centred around education – it is the key to empowerment.  As a result Income Solutions for Women is now available as a work place session. Come on employers, its history in the making!  To book a session or to talk about Income Solutions for Women or any of the other information sessions in our range, give us a call on 03 5229 0577, drop us a line to [email protected], or visit our website.

Alison Adams, Business Development Manager

OPENING UP TO A NEW WORLD

Before I started working at Income Solutions in January of this year, I had absolutely no idea that I could invest my superannuation in shares, or that having a Financial Planner could help me in the slightest – when I had almost nothing in the bank. My super sat in a “cash hub” for years as I happily watched it slowly grow every time my employer made a contribution. For a few years I worked at universities, where I enjoyed 17% super contributions, and I remember thinking “how great is that, 17%?” It was pretty good, but it would have been even better if I had been educated on how to invest it.

According to mainstream society I should be married with a couple of children, have a mortgage, be taking the kids to music lessons or sporting games, and be drinking wine with other mothers reminiscing about the 1990s and how great it was in our 20s.

But what if you find yourself (happily I might add) single, childless, living alone with two cats, with just a little in the bank, and with a history of being a terrible saver and a serial mover? In the past twenty years, I’ve lived in almost ten cities and have started over again more times than the average person my age. I never paid much attention to saving money and I didn’t think about my super and how living overseas for 10 years would affect it.  I also didn’t think about getting old; retirement was so far away that there wasn’t much point giving it a second thought.

What I’ve learned in the past nine months from working at Income Solutions is that you can be any age, with a little or a lot of money, with some knowledge of Financial Planning or none at all – and you will still benefit from professional, expert advice that can get you on the path to saving money, growing your super, and investing for the future. There is also no need to feel guilty for not owning your own home. In fact, it’s actually not the right path to take for everyone and you could be better off investing in other ways. Wow. Now I feel better – because I previously felt the pressure to get that home loan.

So what does a woman like myself need to do to get her finances in shape?

  1. Find a Financial Planner who understands you as an individual
  2. Make sure you have a bank account with a “money tracking” facility to help you budget simply and effectively – it’s actually empowering to discover where your money goes!
  3. Work at having a “buffer” amount in your bank account at all times
  4. Work with your Financial Planner to invest your super to help it grow
  5. Get the right insurance in place to protect yourself
  6. Listen and take on board the advice you receive from your Financial Planner – you’ll most likely learn much more than you thought you would

So, whether or not I’m a gypsy or a “crazy cat lady” (or both), I am now on my way to securing my financial future and feel safe in the knowledge that I will retire in 25 years or so with more than enough money to live on. When I stop working and wish to travel some more (or move interstate), I most certainly can – but much more comfortably than before.

Want to learn more about what Income Solutions has to offer women? We run free workplace information sessions called Income Solutions for Women in the Geelong region. We’ll come to you. Tell your colleagues, boss, or HR manager about us and book a group session via our website. Coming soon to this blog section – a fabulous article (recently featured in RUBY magazine) by our Business Development Manager Alison Adams. You’ll learn how statistics show that we can be disadvantaged due to breaks in employment and lower super balances – but luckily there are ways to fix this!

Rebecca Lee, Marketing Manager

 

 

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