Christmas is a Tonic for our Souls. It Moves us to think of others rather than ourselves.
It directs our thoughts to giving.

Quote: B.C. Forbes

In an unpredictable economic climate, the best place to start when planning your Christmas spending budget is to be completely honest with yourself, face facts and know how much money you can and want to spend and stick to it. While it can be exciting to avoid reality and head off with Christmas bells chiming in your head to commence your shopping…. the dinging and the donging may not seem so lyrical if you find yourself (unwittingly) paying off Christmas debt into the New Year.

It is a good idea to be upfront with family and friends if you are on a tight budget. Be honest if your finances are a little more constrained this year, or if there is a change in your Christmas spending philosophy. Managing expectations can keep everyone on the ‘same page’ and may even start a conversation around other options such as a family gift instead of individual gifts, which could be a board game or puzzle that everyone can play? Whatever the change it is a good idea to arrange upfront and discuss beforehand.

Sticking to a Christmas budget can inspire us to be more creative in choosing our gifts, applying your gift giving strategies to suit the individual:

– If someone is a practical person, a beautiful pair of socks is a great idea as they will appreciate something that they need and is useful.
– Nostalgia can really work for people who you have known a long time, such as family and long-term friends. What could be better than giving a gift that brings back happy memories from the past?

Giving a gift to attend an event or workshop sounds fun but consider taking it a step further and organising a group of you to attend and join in the activity together, making the experience even more meaningful. When giving to older people or grandparents, consider arranging an experience that they would not be able to do without you, an example of this is maybe taking an elderly parent or grandparent to the ballet each year for Christmas, that because of mobility issues this is something they would otherwise be unable to do ~ further expanding the gift to be a gift of opportunity!

While it can sometimes sound a clique, “it is not the money it is the thought” is true. Who amongst us has not been guilty of giving little thought to a gift and has hurriedly run out hours before the event, and spent more money than we could afford in a haphazard manner? Taking time to think about a person and buying a gift that shows it, may really be the absolute best of presents.

Now back to the hardcore facts and figures! Our Christmas Holiday budget should include more than just our budget for gift giving, the following budget template includes Packaging, Travel, Holiday Meals, Entertainment and there is even a section for Miscellaneous expenses, basically providing you with all the information you need, to know exactly how much money you will be spending at Christmas. Christmas Budget 2022

Consumer confidence has plunged below the levels seen during the global financial crisis, causing a record number of households to slash their Christmas spending plans.

Michael Janda, ABC News, 8 Nov 2022

Remember you are not alone if you need to reassess your Christmas spending plans this year, studies show that while last year the average Christmas spend for 2021 was approximately $1,200 per person, this year people are reporting that it will more likely be around the $800 mark, still equating to close to eleven billion dollars. We can contribute to ensuring this Christmas spending creates the maximum ‘happiness’ and social impact by buying thoughtfully and with care for our family and friends while adhering to the parameters of what we can afford.

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Future Proofing Your Home and Finances

Future-proofing is the process of anticipating the future and developing methods of minimizing the effects of shocks and stresses of future events.


Reading the recent federal budget, the term ‘Future Proofing’ was applied to the strategies that were to be implemented to ensure the nation is protected against whatever the future may bring. As individuals we could take this term and apply it to our homes, finances, and lifestyles too, developing strategies to future proof against the inevitable ‘shocks and stressors’ that will arise.

One of the most obvious strategies in Future Proofing our homes is Insurance, however while this sounds straightforward it is worth noting that when it comes to insuring our homes and buildings, replacement construction costs have risen by 12.3% over the 12 months to September 2022. This has resulted in close to 80% of homeowners being under insured.

To Future Proof against under insurance, a good place to start is to accurately calculate your replacement building costs and reassess annually. Insurance companies provide online Building Insurance Calculators that will estimate the cost of rebuilding your home based on data that they have received from recent sales and construction in your suburb or region. Also, it is worth investigating total replacement cover or ‘safety net’ cover, as while this may be more expensive it will allow for fluctuations and changes in replacement costs.

Understand and check exclusions, homes insurance covers loss and damage caused by defined events, such as fire, flood, storm, or vandalism. However, it may not necessarily cover landslides, sea damage or power failures. Future Proof by reviewing your policy and knowing how much your excess is (the amount you pay if you make a claim on your policy) and make an assessment whether it would be best to pay more to have a lower excess or pay less to have a higher excess.

Future proofing our home does not stop with house insurance, as it is worth noting that 67% (6.2 million) households are homeowners. 32% without a mortgage and 35% with a mortgage. Having a mortgage on your house will obviously require you to pay monthly repayments, but even without a mortgage you will still need to cover maintenance, rates and running costs. Income Protection Insurance may be the perfect solution to Future Proofing your income against the stressors caused by accidents or illnesses, which can result in people not having the ability to earn an income and pay their mortgages and maintain their homes.

While the concept of future proofing is outlined when it comes to our homes, it can also be applied more broadly to our finances. By working with the support of a qualified financial planner and focusing on what you can control, staying invested, accepting volatility, and understanding the importance of diversification, a financial future that is future proof is possible.

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The Yin and Yang Approach to Investing

The following article has been written by Income Solutions Director & Senior Financial Planner, David Ramsay. David outlines how his love of Yoga combines perfectly with his Financial Planning Philosophy:

Yin and Yang is a Chinese philosophical concept that describes opposite forces which are interconnected. Yin is the receptive and Yang the active principle, common references being light and dark, day and night and good and evil, to name a few.

As many of you may be aware over the last 10 years, I have been practicing yoga which I can recommend as a great way to help with your health.

There is a form of yoga called Yin, which leaves you feeling very calm, relaxed and stress free. The Yang to this form of Yoga is Bikram or Flow which is more strenuous, your heart is pumping and you can find yourself short of breath. Your brain can be screaming get me out of here.

This Yin and Yang philosophical concept is relevant to investing. Let me explain.

An asset is two-dimensional, Capital Value and Income, the Yang and the Yin.

If you follow Capital Values (Price) you will have noticed the NORMAL fall in prices over the last 6 months. The ASX fell from around 7,600 points to 6,540, which is about 15%.

Due to this fall the media scaremongers use adjectives such as sink, plunge and wipe off just to name a few. This may lead to some individuals being stressed, their heart pumping and short of breath. YANG!!!

Their brain starts screaming to get me out of here and they make terrible financial decisions in a state of panic.

For 35 years I have tried to get our clients to follow dividends (Income) as these dividends have proven to be a consistent, ever-increasing Income stream. Please refer to articles below on the increasing income and profits of some Australian business.

As Income is what will pay for our desired lifestyle why worry about capital values?

If individuals concentrate on INCOME, they will live a life being calm, relaxed and stress free. YIN!!!

This will allow individuals to live doing the things that are really important to them, e.g., time with family, travel and relaxation.

It is in individuals’ choice to live in Yin or Yang. I hope that Income Solutions has given you the knowledge and strength to live in Yin.

If you or a friend or family member are feeling a little ‘Yang’ with the NORMAL fall of share market prices please get in touch, I would be happy to conduct a ‘Yin’ investment class for you or them.


ASX dividends_ BHP’s monster dividend to fuel record week of returns



In his first Budget, Treasurer Jim Chalmers’ emphasised the three Rs – responsible budget repair and restrained spending, right for the times.

For good measure, resilience also got a mention with spending targeted at building a more modern economy to deal with the challenges ahead.

This is the first budget from a federal Labor government in almost a decade, barely five months since Labor was elected and seven months since the Coalition’s pre-election budget in March, so it was bound to be a little different. Read more in the following detailed analysis:
Federal Budget Analysis


“The number of people aged 85 and over has more than doubled in the last 20 years ~ an increase of 110 per cent.” (1)

Traditionally working with a financial adviser to plan for retirement, we were presented with three distinct life stages of education and training, work then retirement but over recent years the lines have blurred, and many people are working part-time well into their 70’s. Also, throughout their whole working lives many people are undertaking education and further learning, with statistics showing that one in three men and one in five women aged between 65-75 were engaged in some work and or study. As we are living longer, we are moving away from a three-stage process into a more flexible and less linear planning process.

Longevity sees a shift away from seeing an aging decline as a life stage, but instead we need to reframe aging as a transitional period to inventing what we move on to next, such as changing from full time work to part time work. Much the same way as younger people are studying longer but are more inclined to take on work in their field before they finish their studies, or people are now reskilling or requalifying for one or more new careers over their working lives. The stages of work, education and retirement are becoming much more intertwined.

“Between 2008 and 2018 the employment rate in people aged 55 years and older grew by 100 per cent” (1)

From a financial planning perspective, the fact that people are living longer provides a critical focus on client’s health and finances. While there are great opportunities in harnessing experience and insights people have to offer as they enjoy longevity, there are also the challenges presented as they know they will need to have an income in retirement that they don’t outlive. Never has it been more important that clients are presented with a continuous and regenerating income stream that they know will be available whatever age they live to.

The successful investment strategy that Income Solutions has developed over the last 30 years perfectly caters for the emerging increase in longevity. We focus first on the income component of an investment and its potential for long-term sustainable growth (2). Over the long-term and into retirement, this will provide our clients with a continuous income throughout their lives no matter how long they live, and by not relying on their capital base for expenses, they will be able to leave a meaningful legacy for those that they love rather than a depleted or nonexistent Capital Base.

Further describing an ‘income that you don’t outline’ is the following 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 or Capital Base.

At Income Solutions we adopt an investment and financial planning strategy that ensures that living longer into retirement is an exciting life stage, free from financial stress.

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A Retirement Upheaval

Among baby-boomers who retired between 2013 and 2019, one third did so involuntarily.
COTA, Council on the Ageing
Submission to Senate Subcommittee, April 2021

We usually plan for our retirement over our working lives and depending on our goals and chosen lifestyle, set an age that we would like to retire at, and if we are lucky get to say goodbye to our work mates and exit from the workplace according to our plans. For some of us this is a reality and for others this scenario may look a little different, in fact many of us are presented with a Retirement Upheaval.

Everything is in place for your retirement at your chosen age of 65 years, you have meet with a financial planner over the years and know you are on financial track. However, a Health, Redundancy or Business closure may present you with a Retirement Upheaval that you will need to respond to.

Firstly, work with your financial planner to immediately review your financial position, calculate your living expenses, know when you can access your super and explore ways in which your super can become a regular income. Armed with the facts, figures, and financial information you are now ready to embark upon a process of change and potential growth.

Once you have worked through the immediate financial issues with the right expertise and advice, it could be the time to ask yourself do you want to retire? Just because you are made redundant in your late fifties or sixties does not automatically follow that you must retire, in fact it can be seen as an opportunity for career or personal reinvention.

Life Isn’t About Finding Yourself ~ Life is about Creating Yourself
Quote: George Bernard Shaw

Retirement can release us from onerous work, provide us with opportunities for leisure and travel and free up our time, however it can also present us with a severe loss of income, loss of status, loss of meaning and in cases of layoff and redundancy a feeling of rejection.

Like a financial plan, a plan to reinvent who we want to be and how we want our lives to look going forward can be the first step in moving on from a Retirement Upheaval. Some strategies for your reinvention plan could include:

– Developing Survival Skills that allow you to reframe you situation. It may now be a great disappointment that you no longer have the opportunity of socializing with work friends, but rather than spending too much time thinking about what you are missing, develop a new community or link into a social opportunity which will be different but just as fun.

– Shaking up your passions, and really give thought to how you want to spend your time in the future. Having a broader goal of travelling is great but also think about what it is you want to do on an everyday level too.

– Remembering that habits and everyday choices are important, and mindfully choosing to adopt new habits that reflect how you want to spend your time and day will assist you to reach your reinvention goals. If you want another job, set aside a block of time each day to research opportunities and apply, or if you want to travel spend time planning where you will be going and better understanding the places and people you plan to visit.

Change can be scary, especially change that arrives unexpectedly, but there can be real opportunities in overcoming initial fears. Just as seeking the right financial support is important so too is seeking professional emotional support should it be required.

Working with our clients at Income Solutions we know that there are great advantages in planning and preparing for what we can control, as this provides a framework and foundation in which to fall back on when the situations that are out of our control arrive.

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Increased Centrelink Payments


In September this year the Albanese government announced the largest increase to Centrelink payments in 12 years. This was a direct response to cost-of-living pressures created by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) which exceeded the increase in the Pensioner and Beneficiary Living Cost Index.

Annual CPI inflation increased to 6.1 per cent in the June quarter, predominantly due to higher building costs and fuel prices. In measuring CPI, the ABS uses a basket of goods and services such as Housing, Clothing, Transport, Education, Recreation, Medical Care and Food. All these directly affect the incomes of over 80 million people, with close to 5 million people impacted who are on Centrelink payments.

Pensioner and Beneficiary Living Cost Index, direct measures the effect of changes in prices on the out-of-pocket living expenses experienced by both age pensioner and other government welfare recipient households, rather than the broader CPI Index that measures across all households in general.

The above economic measurements have been the impetus to the federal government increasing the Centrelink payments detailed below:

– Pension, Disability Support Pension and Carer Payment are all set to rise by $38.90 a fortnight for singles and $58.80 a fortnight for couples.

– The maximum rate of pension will increase to $1026.50 a fortnight for singles and $773.80 for each member of a pensioner couple or $1547.60 per couple (including Pension Supplement and Energy Supplement).

– JobSeeker Payment, Parenting Payment, ABSTUDY and Rent Assistance will also increase.

– The rate of JobSeeker Payment for singles without children will increase by $25.70 a fortnight to $677.20 including Energy Supplement, while Parenting Payment Single will increase by $35.20 per fortnight to $927.40 including Pension Supplement and Energy Supplement.

– The rate for partnered JobSeeker Payment and Parenting Payment recipients will increase by $23.40 a fortnight to $616.60 including Energy Supplement.

Further, at the September 2022 Jobs and Skills Summit the government announced that recipients of the Aged Pension can now earn more without having their pension affected. This broadly equates to people being able to earn $180 a fortnight if your single, and $320 a fortnight if you are a couple. However, further details are available via: https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/income-test-for-pensions?context=22526

Whatever measurements are being used, the figures released around the rising costs of necessities that people need in which to live, such as housing and medical costs, are placing financial pressure on households. It is important if you receive some form of government assistance, to review how these changes may affect you and check your current payments to ensure any increases that you are eligible for have been passed on.

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Footy Lessons to Finance Lessons

~ The Cats prove that perseverance and process will bring results ~

The recent AFL Premiership win by the Geelong Football Club, while providing footy followers with great inspiration, it also allows us to reflect on the lessons learnt and how we as individuals might apply these sporting principals across other areas of our lives, with a particular focus on finances. Of course, this does not only apply to AFL but to any sportsperson who has reached a pinnacle in their career. However, as the AFL Grand Final is barely in the rear vision mirror in Geelong and Melbourne, we will be focusing on the recent Premiership win by the cats and some of the lessons we can learn.

It was coach, Chris Scott’s 2nd Premiership win at Geelong with his first win being back in 2011. During this period, he had five heartbreaking preliminary final defeats and one grand final losses. This highlights that the path to success cannot exist without failures but with a commitment to a process and self-belief we can move through obstacles when they can and will present themselves. When we are faced with obstacles to our investment goals it is important to remember to keep our eyes on the long term and stick to our process and plan as evidence shows this is key to success. https://www.incomesolutions.com.au/emotionally-handling-downturns/.

Geelong captain, Joel Selwood told a reporter “They’re so hard to win.” While many teams and players will have the stated goal of one day winning an AFL Grand Final, it is usually those applying and developing processes and everyday work habits that may actually achieve it https://www.incomesolutions.com.au/creating-good-money-habits/  . Remember, having a goal to retire at 40 is unlikely to be achieved without the right support, plan and discipline.

“We had a plan and we stuck to it” was a phrase often stated by players and coaching staff in the media. Starting off with a plan is a great idea and committing to a process to follow it, however the need to review and update it is important too. It was Geelong’s plan to play Max Holmes but because of injury the plan was readjusted to include Mark O’Connor instead. They were prepared for things to not go according to plan with match ready players and strategic recruiting. Much like being prepared for an unbudgeted expense and insuring you have adequate strategic savings for those ‘rainy days!

The constant striving by the Geelong Football Club to be better has had the wonderful corresponding effect of also changing and improving the lives of the broader Geelong Community, membership, fans, family, and friends. Footage of proud families, ecstatic fans, and the general vibe around town in Geelong shows us that powerful ‘ripple’ effect. Striving for financial security doesn’t just change and improve our own lives as individuals, it makes the lives of the people around us better too, continuing the ripple effect! https://www.incomesolutions.com.au/the-power-of-striving/

Lastly, the best broader life’s lesson comes from the co-captain of the Sydney Swans, Dane Rampe who was the perfect example of how to keep it classy when things do not go your way. His gracious comments in the runner up speech paying tribute to Geelong Captain Joel Selwood:

“I just want to touch on Joel Selwood’s record as well – sometimes you just have to pinch yourself when you share the field with the giants of the game mate, and you’re an absolute giant – congratulations.”

The above demonstrates that rising above a situation in the moment when you are hurting or defeated, enables you to think with clarity and empathy, leading to good decision-making. This is a powerful lesson as we will probably fail as much as we win!

The lessons learnt from the Cats recent Grand Final win could go on and on as there are just so many examples and highlights. However, the lessons learnt to achieve this success are general principals and these are no different when applied to financial success and financial security. As the Cats needed their coach and expert specialist support, so too do individuals when they are planning for a financially secure future. Taking to the ‘finance field’ with Income Solutions can give you the expertise and specialist support you need to reach your personal financial pinnacle.

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~ A Financial Future that reflects what you value most ~

In reading a recent article on the founder of clothing giant ‘Patagonia,’ Yuon Chouinard, the central theme of being driven by your values and what matters to you most shines through. And while most of us are not multi billionaires running large companies, our own lives can reflect a commitment to what we too care most about. Further, a well-constructed financial plan can provide a road map to achieving a lifestyle the aligns with this objective.

Building a career, business or long-term financial plan should be far more than a process with an end goal to be achieved, Yuon Chouinard demonstrates in the above-mentioned article that it should be a living out everyday of who we are and what we believe in, reflecting how we want to live. At Income Solutions, the stated core of our ‘Four Step Process’:

An individual’s goals are personal. Sharing your goals with others is a crucial success principle. By sharing your aspirations with us, we can understand what it is that you want to achieve and assist you in achieving your goals.

Income Solutions, Our Process

Being driven by a purpose that we are passionate about, no matter what we are working towards, motivates us to achieve. Yuon Chouinard states Patagonia’s purpose as:

Patagonia’s purpose is: We’re in business to save our home planet.

This is straight forward and direct, highlighting that your own purpose and values that drive your own plans and goals can be simple when accurately articulated. Income Solutions process is designed to ensure your identified ‘purpose’ informs your stated individual goals! It will then follow that the ‘success’ we achieve together is the ‘success’ that you value most.

Further, the theme of succession planning is highlighted throughout the ‘Patagonia,’ Yuon Chouinard story, his individual and business succession planning once again mirrors his values and purpose. We do not need a net worth of Patagonia’s $1.7 billion to set up a legal structure that protects our assets. At Income Solutions we are passionate about working with our clients to set up a structure that transfers your assets in a way that best reflects your purpose and values.

A quote from this article can apply more broadly to all of us:

“Each year, the money we make after reinvesting in the business will be distributed as a dividend to help fight the crisis.”

While Patagonia’s decision is to reinvest in fighting issues that affect the planet, it is totally up to you what you would like to reinvest your investment earnings in, whether it be planning for a secure retirement, financially assisting family or having enough money to spend your time on causes and issues that you care most about. Of course, it does not have to be any single one, but a collection of all. Yuon Chouinard and his family have the financial security to live the life they choose, just as with the right planning, you and your family could too!

Income Solutions purpose is to create Real Wealth https://www.incomesolutions.com.au/creating-real-wealth/ for our clients, planning for a life free from financial worry and allowing for the smooth transition of assets from generation to generation. Highlighting once again, that we do not have to establish a multibillion-dollar company to achieve according to our purpose and values.

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“We all spend time, so much time, on social media, we tend to overspend because we see all the lifestyles on Instagram and Facebook.”

Farnoosh Torabi
Finance Author & Host of ‘So Money’ Podcast

Social Media provides the perfect platform to create an environment that entices people to seek to emulate their ‘neighbors’’ holidays and travels, events or parties, food, and entertainment. In a recent study 25% of social media users admitted to spending more to impress followers.

FOMO or ‘Fear of Missing Out,’ a mix of envy, jealousy, and disappointment, can cause us to spend our money to appear more successful to our online community, motivating us to appear to be living a lifestyle that more closely resembles that of people we follow and most admire. This of course continues the perpetuating cycle as those following us on social media will similarly be affected.

Further, many people make online purchases because they reported to being bored or needing distraction. While 27% admitted making a purchase while they were watching television and 13% admitted to making a purchase because they needed something to make them feel better. These spending habits lead to 60% of people being disappointed with what they purchased online, 40% then trying to return goods for a refund and only 5% are successful with getting their money back (1)!

Marketing and advertising are becoming increasingly sophisticated in exploiting and understanding the above dynamics, leaning more and more to user generated content and influencer campaigns that comprehend the need of people in a specific online community, and focusing marketing strategies that motivate people to spend money to feel part of and belong to a particular group or ‘tribe’.

Research has shown that Generation Z (born on or after 1997) and millennials (23 – 38 years) may be particularly vulnerable to social media when it comes to overspending, being a demographic that relies heavily on social media to obtain information and form social connections. Also, people will post exciting images of their travels and expensive restaurant meals; however, they usually don’t post about their savings and investment plans!

Further complicating the financial and social media landscape has been rise of Finfluencers, Social Media and Unlicensed Financial Advice social media influencers who are not only providing unlicensed financial advice but are often being paid by finance companies to promote a particular product or online service. Most are not compliant with the Australian Investment and Securities Commission or qualified financial planners, offering no legal accountability for consumers.

In navigating the contemporary complexities of planning for your financial future, Income Solutions believes it has never been more important to work together with a qualified and professional financial planner away from the distractions of social media or fluctuating commentary. This will ensure you have individualized financial advice that directly correlates with your identified goals and objectives, detailing a framework that will guide and provide you with long term financial security.

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