Handling Financial Stress

You’ve probably heard of social stress – fear of fitting in, feeling anxious about meeting new people. Or you might have experienced stage fright – the stress of public speaking, performing, or presenting in front of people. But there’s another form of stress on the rise that’s potentially affecting Australians much more regularly and seriously than getting butterflies before giving a speech. It’s a different type of stress to… well… stress about.

According to some researchers, close to one in three Australians suffers from significant financial stress. The consequences can be a lot worse than momentary embarrassment from tripping over your words. Alarmingly, nearly 35% of people experiencing financial stress have used drugs or alcohol to manage their negative feelings about money.i Chronic stress – something that’s experienced over a long time – can lead to physical symptoms, including sleep problems.

What is financial stress?

The definition of stress is ‘mental/emotional strain/tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances’. Financial stress is when those circumstances have to do with money. As with other sources of stress, money problems can make people prone to withdrawing or lashing out at their loved ones. This in turn, detrimentally impacts family dynamics.

One regular report series by an Aussie bank discusses a few types of financial stress that affect most of the population. The main one is housing payment stress, which is expected to worsen in the future. Then there’s bill stress; sadly, about 16% of households can’t always pay their power bill on time.ii Some families always have to work to make ends meet; they’re experiencing low level but constant financial stress, which can also be damaging.

How to reduce financial stress

It’s all too tempting to say that the solution to financial stress is ‘more money’. In fact, many studies on financial stress talk about how participants pin the blame for their stress on other people. On partners not telling them about joint account activity, or kids needing things they can’t say no to. And therein lies an important clue on tackling financial stress.

Sometimes (not always), arguments over financial matters – a cause of financial stress – are themselves caused by miscommunication. That said, talking about money is never particularly easy. Even when it’s with a partner or loved one. That’s why it can help to create parameters for these conversations. One common ‘rule’ that low-financial-stress couples have is that they agree to discuss purchases from the joint account over a certain amount. Some also like to set ‘free spending’ limits for each family member (taking the form of pocket money for kids) so everyone feels like they’ve got a bit of both accountability and freedom. This is basically a function of household budgeting.

Some other simple ways you can reduce your financial stress levels as a household include:

    • Revise your budget regularly. Every time your income or expenses change, it’s time to review your discretionary spending.

 

    • Thinking about large amounts of money and longer time spans can be overwhelming. If budgeting is stressful, try breaking it down to a daily or weekly calculation.

 

    • Sometimes, anxiety can be caused by thinking about the same things over and over. Get it out of your head and write down the financial problems you’re worried about.

 

    • Can’t keep up with which bills are due when? If you’re not already on direct debit (but could be), consider making the switch.

 

    • See how long you can go without buying anything non-essential. Introduce a bit of friendly competition with your partner or older children.

 

    • Approach each financial ‘problem’ as something that can, in fact, be solved. That’s the first step towards making an actionable plan.

 

  • If you have several different debts, make a plan to not take on one more debt unless you’ve paid off at least two. We can also assist you to decide whether debt management or consolidation is appropriate for your circumstances.

If you or a loved one are experiencing financial stress, let us help. Make an appointment today to discuss how you can tackle the source of your hassles head on.

https://financialmindfulness.com.au/personal-financial-stress-devastating-australian-lives/

ii https://www.mebank.com.au/getmedia/ce8faccb-4301-4cf7-afd7-871f9c45305e/13th-ME-Household-Financial-Comfort-Report_Feb-2018-FINAL.pdf

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.

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.

Are You Engaged With Your Super?

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

Hands up who knows where their super is invested and what fees they are paying for the administration services they receive?   Anyone..?  You aren’t alone in the unengaged zone.  What is also emerging is that women are less likely than men to regularly engage with their superannuation¹… which is another issue in itself.

Seems crazy doesn’t it.. our superannuation assets have ballooned to $2.3 trillion² yet we aren’t paying attention.  Most rental property owners pay attention to the rent they charge (asset performance) and get quotes on repairs/bargain with real estate agents (manage costs) – so how do we start paying attention to our super?

The ‘Compare the Pair’ advertising campaign for industry super has been around for a couple of years now, but what has become interesting is there has never been a better time to compare superannuation funds.

Recent legislative changes to Regulatory Guide 97 have required superannuation funds, industry funds included, to disclose their fees and costs in a more transparent way resulting in a raft of new Product Disclosure Statements being released.

Many of the clients I have worked with since these changes have been surprised to realise their ‘cheap’ industry funds, aren’t the cheapest option out there anymore.  But on the flip side, it isn’t all about being in the cheapest fund – especially if it is at the expense of asset performance.  Investing in cash because it has low fees is unlikely to be in your best interest long term.

Different assets (cash, term deposits, shares, property) have different performance characteristics, and your superannuation administrator is investing a percentage of your money in each of these assets on your behalf. Make sure you are paying attention to the percentages you have in each asset class as this is one of the main drivers behind investment performance.

So why not log in whilst you are winding down before Christmas and get engaged with your super – check out what fees you are paying and how you are invested.  If you aren’t confident reviewing your superannuation yourself, we are here to help.

1. https://www.commbank.com.au/content/dam/caas/newsroom/docs/2017-06-28-financial-security-report.pdf

2. https://www.superannuation.asn.au/resources/superannuation-statistics

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.

Capital VS Income – Which is more valuable?

When we ponder our wealth, most of us immediately jump to the capital value of our assets. We believe that if we own things that are worth more than what our neighbour owns, we are wealthier. But are we?

 

Firstly, most of us believe our house is our greatest asset, therefore representing the bulk of our asset base. There is a stark distinction between a financial asset and a personal or lifestyle asset. Centrelink does not assess the homes we live in as financial assets because by definition, our house is a lifestyle asset. This is mainly due to the simple fact that our house costs us money rather than making it for us. Yes, if you use your equity wisely, you can purchase a financial asset, but more on that another day.

I want to focus on comparing capital and income.

Australian’s believe simply owning as many financial assets as possible is the key to wealth creation. The more they’re worth, the wealthier they are. I challenge this theory. Imagine I owned a financial asset base in retirement worth $1million, and this generated around $25,000 of income a year. You own a financial asset base in retirement worth $800,000,¹ which produces income of around $35,000 a year. I am $200,000 wealthier than you in capital perspective, however you’re $10,000 worth of annual income wealthier than me. Who is the wealthier person?

Let’s say our ideal retirement income is $35,000pa. I would need around another $400,000² worth of the financial assets I own, just to generate that much income. You only need $800,000. My balance sheet might have a higher bottom line, however, your income statement is stronger again. Which is more valuable? An asset base that you would need to slowly drawdown on to reach your ideal income level? Or an asset base which produces your ideal income level without needing to sell any of it? And, you did not need to save as hard for it.

If you need to sell portions of your capital base in retirement just to breakeven, you bring in avoidable and unnecessary risk you just do not need. You might hypothetically own a parcel of shares, that historically have failed to pay regular dividends, and thus, to make your $35,000 you need to sell some. What if this happens on the same day President Trump puts out a ridiculous Tweet, and in a knee-jerk reaction from the public, the market drops? (In reality I would tell you to buy more shares, because in this situation I like to say that they’re on special so stock up, similar to bananas at Coles) What if this also happens on the same day the RBA raise the cash rate by 50 basis points so the offer to buy your investment property gets revoked? You cannot chip off a couple of bricks or sell the spare room to pay for your annual flights to Bali. Not to mention that whenever you sell shares or a property, you have to fork out relatively high transactional costs and in the case of property, wait around 90 days to see the cash in your account. And once you do sell your shares or property, you do not want to leave too much of the net sale proceeds in the bank, because 2% interest rates are not helping your income situation too much.

Income is spending power and spending power enables us to do the things we want to do. We do not want to see the retirement finish line on the horizon, to suddenly realize we are riding a truck full of assets, but are income poor. At income solutions, our definition of wealth is an absence of financial worry, an income stream you cannot outlive, and a meaningful legacy for those whom you love. This definition is deliberately ambiguous enough for anyone to apply his or her own situation to it.

I now ask you if the financial asset base you are slowly building meets this definition?

If you would like to organize an informal discussion about you and your financial situation, please do not hesitate to contact me at [email protected] or alternatively at 03 5229 0577.

 

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.
¹Assuming a growth asset base earning 4.35%
²Assuming an asset base of cash, earning 2.5%

Ignore the Hype

Gareth Daniels is an Authorised Representative, GWM Adviser Services Limited, Australian Financial Services Licensee

As I have mentioned before (and no doubt mention again) when reading articles in the papers, watching news on TV or even listening to the radio to and from work, it is always vital to objectively consider the information we are being given.

As a history student, I was taught to always consider who has produced the source of the information, who their intended audience is and why it may have been produced. That foundation can serve us well when considering decisions that relate to our long term financial security.

At the heart of this is accepting that popular media constantly misuses the word ‘investor.’ Many of you may have heard Peter Thornhill speak or even read his book Motivated Money. He correctly spends time focusing on the difference between speculation and investing; the first being the “buying or selling of commodities or stocks… in the hope of an unexpected rise in the price“¹ and the second being “use of money productively so that an income is obtained.

Peter goes on to note that “speculation is described as investment simply to legitimise activity that has nothing to do with investing.

I read with interest the article This asset manager thinks Australian property ‘calamity’ is coming, so he sold all the firms shares². Consider this article in conjunction with the process of analysing a source:

Who has produced it: A national media organisation that knows doom and gloom predictions sell papers

Who is the intended audience: The misconception that all investors are speculators and all speculators are investors means they are attempting to reach as many people as possible. Regarding the interviewee, I would suggest he is trying to reach future potential customers (pitching for business as he apparently knows better than the market) and those clients to whom they have just returned their money (justification for selling the fund).

Why has it been produced: Again, for the publication it is the desire to get eyeballs on their paper and website and for the interviewee, future potential customers by an apparent display or foresight whilst pacifying those clients to who they have just had their money returned by way of defense of their actions.

Philip Parker may be a top fund manager as the article notes, but by what bench mark? The ASX top 200 is cited in the article, all well and good but it is the capital value of this bench mark that is the apparent measure? I would prefer to measure against corporate profits shared out as income via dividend. I would also not like to get sucked into the yield trap, jumping in and out of different assets and significantly increasing the likely effects of market timing risk.

If values are over inflated then surely it is speculators that are at risk with their hopes of gains at considerable risk that should be worried. Investors who own quality assets for the long term to be in receipt of income, should not even dedicate a second of their time to read an article clearly aimed at speculators. It can become stressful to build wealth via a fund manager who believes that over the long term, through active management³ they can beat the market rather than simply owning the best that the market has to offer. The latter allows you to confidently ignore the short term fluctuations in perceived value and and enjoying the true value of a repeating, tax-effective and increasing income stream over time.

What is intriguing is the (potentially) strategic move by this fund manager. Despite the litany of unfulfilled doomsday predictions that regularly crop up, the article even sites a few, these are readily forgotten, whilst the ones that do appear to come true elevate those that predicated them to genius status. So, this firm and it’s investment team either get lauded as the special few that were able to read the tea leaves correctly, or they simply “enjoy their time off” before returning to the fold to make further predictions; attempting to reach those that believe in speculation rather than investing. All this whilst the rest of us carry on with our investment strategy, focusing on what is important to us and critically analysing the overload of information that we are unnecessarily bombarded with.

 

1. Thornhill, P. (2015) Motivated Money; Sound Financial Advice for the post GFC World, 5th Revision. Australia: Motivated Money, pg 12

2. Patrick Commins, B. (2017) This asset manager thinks Australian property ‘calamity’ is coming, so he sold all the firm’s shares. [online] Business Insider Australia. Available at: https://www.businessinsider.com.au/this-asset-manager-thinks-an-australian-property-calamity-is-coming-so-he-sold-all-the-firms-shares-2017-5 [Accessed 7 Jul. 2017]

3. The belief that a manager knows better than most can pre-empt economic cycles, property bubbles, threats of war and crisis around the world and a whole host of other fads. They are effectively trying to speculate their way to wealth via capital appreciation.

 

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.

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.

 

 

 

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.

Why You Need To Attend Peter Thornhill’s Presentation

Peter Thornhill has been preaching the Gospel of Australian Index Shares for more than 30 years now, and the message has been unwavering.

Shares in the Australian Index are the safest form of investment one can make.

With many people scared of shares after prices plummeted during the Global Financial Crisis in 2007, Thornhill has been quoted as saying he would relish another GFC, regretting not going ‘hard enough’ when prices were down.

And here’s why:

PT-Picture3-Mar16

The above graph is a case study between two people who invested $100,000 each in 1979. Person A (Yellow) invested $100,000 in an Index Fund, and Person B (Red) invested $100,000 into Term Deposits.

As demonstrated above Term Deposits were doing well in the 80’s when interest rates were high, but have remained steadily low since. The best Person B can hope for is a fully taxable 3%, or in his case $3,000 a year.

On the other hand, Person A’s dividends from investing in the share market are paying $75,000 a year, and the share portfolio is now worth $1.7 million.

Evidently, the graph demonstrates during the GFC the significant drop in both dividends and capital value, but even at it’s lowest point in 5 years, the returns generated from the share market still outweigh that of a Term Deposit nearly nine-fold.

Thornhill’s theory is all about making your money work for you, without having to do any work yourself. What’s so hard about that?

Discipline.

In simple, easy to understand and relatable terms, Thornhill will aggressively challenge your thoughts and explain why people’s impatient behaviour affects their generation of wealth.

Come for a nugget of information, stay for the gold mine of knowledge.

Register here.

 

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.

Financial Planning: FAQ’s

You're not the only one asking yourself these questions!

As a person who has spent majority of their life in the financial services industry, I was sure I was well versed in taking care of my finances. I understood the basic principles:

Have a diversified portfolio, stick to a budget, and save for the future.

Both my parents worked in the banking industry and I had been exposed to discussions about money from a young age. I streamlined into commerce subjects for Year 12, and went onto study semesters in subjects such as Financial Accounting and Income Tax Law which would probably put any other sane person to sleep. Nevertheless I genuinely enjoyed learning about finances, and I chose to study accounting both at an undergraduate and postgraduate level.

However, sitting in my first Common Sense Investing presentation given by Income Solutions, and on that day presented by the company’s founder, David Ramsay, I realised that I knew very little about my own finances.

I was also about to turn thirty, and with the end of our twenties we all have some real world experience under our belts – we’ve tried some things, failed at some and succeeded at others.

Living as a thirty-something brings a lot of new and interesting financial challenges.

Do we have enough money in our emergency fund for a rainy day?

Should we be spending all our savings on our wedding? (My other half glares at me as I write this second line).

I realised I needed to make a few changes if I was going to secure my family’s financial future. I have gained a lot of exposure to this area of planning for the future in my time with Income Solutions; working closely with David, Elise and the many team members of our Geelong office.

 

Here are a few questions that have struck me both personally and professionally now that I have hit the big 3-0 this year:

 

I do not have a lot of spare money to invest, nor do I have thousands in savings. Why do I need a Financial Planner?

Advice from a financial planner is not necessarily for people paying taxes in the highest tax bracket and earning a six figure salary. Making sound financial decisions in your early twenties can have a significant difference to your future. Financial planners can give advice on the choices you make, your lifestyle and not only where you see yourself in 10 years, but how to get there.

 

Where is the best place to keep my money that I do have?

The conundrum of a fixed deposit or investing in the share market. Managing your savings wisely is important to your long-term wealth creation plans, and can guard against financial disadvantage should the situation ever arise. Each savings strategy is different, based on the individuals situation.

 

When is the right time to sign up for a mortgage?

The first goal for most young professionals is to save up for that first house; whether it be the dream home, the older house that needs renovations or a house in a different area that can be leased and used as an investment property. There are a lot of options and factors to be considered such as risk, debt, interest rates and it is important to remember that what is right for you may not apply for someone else.

 

Where is my super and how does it work?

Your superannuation matters – most Australians rely on their superannuation balances to fund them in retirement. Most of my own friends working in a variety of fields – engineers, doctors and casual work – seem to not know where there super is and how it is invested.

 

How important is life insurance?

Under-insurance is a big problem –the possibility of becoming totally and permanently disabled is not something you consider in your 20s. However, these tough questions need to be asked and answered to help secure your future.

 

What is budgeting and why is it important?

Budgeting doesn’t mean you need to pinch your pennies and not enjoy yourself. It is more about having an idea of where you are spending your money and finding ways to cut down on that frivolous spending that drains your bank account. It is used for planning and for control. Financial planners can assist you with committing to a budget in order to make an agreed-on outcome happen.

 

 

There is no one right time to be thinking of the future. It needs to be happening, always. If you are working full-time, part time, in-between jobs, just taking a few months off work to spend time with the family, or you are pondering starting your own business, we will be able to help manage your goals and dreams. You may be, like myself, entering an age where the thought of retirement and other financial issues become a bit more ‘real’ or you just want a better understanding of how your money will deliver the lifestyle you want.

If any of the above queries have resonated with you as they did with me, or if you have any other burning questions and want to learn how to better strategize for your future, drop by Income Solutions and we’ll make time for a chat.

 

Tharaka Leeniyagoda

Associate 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.

Estate Planning and Expecting

I’m six weeks away from having my second child and all of the normal feelings of excitement and nerves are in abundance!

This time round however, I am feeling more comfortable that my children will be brought up the way I want, and be provided for financially, if the worst were to happen. If I were to die, or my husband and I were to die together, we now have a plan which gives us huge peace of mind. We know that our children will have the best guardians they could possibly have, and they will not be left under any financial stress.

As the reality of becoming a mum for the first time two years ago rushed towards me, it gave me that kick up the bum to take some important things out of the ‘too hard basket’ and get sorted. It was only while stocking up on nappies and onesies did I see the importance of having adequate personal insurances. My husband and I were about to become responsible for another human being! Our baby would be totally dependent on us. I quickly organised with a trusted adviser to review our situation and together we went through a process that analysed our position, understood our needs, and put appropriate cover levels in place prior to the arrival of baby Lachlan (just in the nick of time!)

This second time round, I have been a little more organised. I knew I needed to refresh the $30 Post Office will kit my husband and I put in place ten years ago when we got married. Our only dependent then was our beloved Golden Retriever fur baby, Max. He was going to be well taken care of in my or our absence, and our limited super balances would be passed on to each other in the first instance, or the people we wanted if we both passed away (or so we thought).

We still hadn’t changed this will since having Lachlan, so I decided to attend one of the Estate Planning sessions run monthly at our offices by Bronwen Charleson, (Principal Lawyer) or Daniel Black (Senior Lawyer) at Coulter Roache Lawyers—I soon realised that our post office kit was in fact not sufficient and neither were our assumed superannuation arrangements.

Bronwen spoke about various strategies to pass wealth on to intended beneficiaries in the most protected manner. Depending on circumstances this could be a simple plan to a more comprehensive trust that provides asset protection, tax advantages and a plan and statement of wishes around the care of minors. I met with Bronwen not long after the session and had her ‘refresh’ (i.e. completely rewrite) my will and even include and allow for number two!

If you would like to attend an Estate Planning Session, info and registration details can be found on our website and our next free information session is Monday 11th July, 5:30pm at our Geelong office.

As an additional tip, here is a link to an external site which outlines some of the important aspects of Estate Planning.

Erica Fountain
Head of Innovation 

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.

Book an Appointment

Accessing Income Solutions Accounting is as easy as clicking to book an appointment and completing our simple online form.

captcha
Book an Appointment

If you have any questions, or would like to book a free initial consultation, please enter your details, and any comments below.

captcha
Estate Planning and Expecting registration

Please complete the following registration form, and you will receive a confirmation e-mail. We look forward to seeing you at our upcoming event.

captcha
Apply Now:

To apply please fill out the form below, and upload your resume.

captcha
Book an Appointment

If you have any questions, or would like to book a free initial consultation, please enter your details, and any comments below.

captcha