Finance Quiz with Quizmaster Ash

 

Are you ready to put your financial knowledge to the test? Our office Quizmaster Ash has put together a set of questions designed to sharpen your skills and expand your money-minded prowess.

Here at Income Solutions we are all about empowering our clients with the tools and knowledge they need to make informed financial decisions. So buckle up, grab a pen and put your knowledge to the test! (answers at the bottom)

 

1.What is the primary purpose of the Super Guarantee (SG) in Australia?

a) To provide government welfare benefits

b) To mandate employer contributions to employees’ super funds

c) To offer tax breaks on personal savings

d) To subsidize healthcare expenses

 

2. What type of life insurance pays out a lump sum benefit to the policyholder’s beneficiaries upon their death?

a) Term life insurance

b) Whole life insurance

c) Trauma insurance

d) Income protection insurance

 

3. What is the term used to describe an investment strategy that aims to mimic the performance of a specific market index?

a) Active investing

b) Speculative investing

c) Passive investing

d) Growth investing

 

4. Which of the following documents allows individuals to specify their wishes regarding the distribution of their assets after death?

a) Superannuation beneficiary nomination form

b) Tax return

c) Last will and testament

d) Investment portfolio summary

 

5. What age are individuals in Australia typically eligible to access their superannuation funds?

a) 55 years old

b) 60 years old

c) 65 years old

d) Preservation age, which varies depending on date of birth

 

Thanks for playing along, stay tuned for more quizzes with Quizmaster Ash!

 

 

 

Answers:

  1. b) To mandate employer contributions to employees super funds
  2. a) Term life insurance
  3. c) Passive investing
  4. c) Last will and testament
  5. d) Preservation age, which varies depending on date of birth

 

Income Solutions Geelong No 2 Pty Ltd, ACN 644 550 078 T/A Income Solutions is a Corporate Authorised Representative of Personal Financial Services Limited ABN 26 098 725 145, AFSL 234459
The advice in this post 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.

September Newsletter 2023

 

Footy Finals Fever is here and so is our September Newsletter. The winter chill is slowly retreating and making way for warmer Spring days, perfect for getting out in the garden or enjoying the great outdoors. 

This month we discuss buying insurance through your Super, how the Aussie dollar impacts your investments and some out of the ordinary holiday destinations to spark the travel bug.

Read more

August Newsletter 2023

 

Our August newsletter highlights the potential for sunnier economic conditions as the rate of price increases slows down, according to the Consumer Price Index. Inflation has eased, leading to positive performance in share markets, particularly in the US. However, cost-of-living pressures persist, affecting retail turnover in Australia.

In this edition we delve into electric vehicles, boosting your super with a lump sum and the growing reliance on the Aged Pension in Australia.

Read more

April Newsletter 2023

 

Daylight savings is officially over, the mornings are getting chilly and Easter is just around the corner. To say we are egg-cited is an understatement!

In our April Newsletter we talk about how interest rates may be affecting your investments, Associate Will Clark talks about his pathway to becoming a Financial Adviser and we wrap-up our first Common Sense Investing information evening post Covid.

Read more

March Newsletter 2023

Autumn is here and with it the return of our Common Sense Investing information evenings for the first time post Covid. We are so excited and can’t wait to welcome everyone back into our auditorium, all of the details are in the March newsletter with the first presentation on Wednesday 29th March at 6:00pm.

Also in our newsletter we touch on the importance of being flexible when planning for retirement and the new star rating system for aged care making family choices easier when moving a loved one into aged care accommodation.

Read more

2022 Year in review

The year began on an optimistic note, as we finally began to emerge from Covid restrictions. Then Russia threw a curve ball that reverberated around the world and suddenly people who had never given a thought to the Reserve Bank were waiting with bated breath for its monthly interest rate announcements.

2022 was the year of rising interest rates to combat surging inflation, war in Ukraine and recession fears. These factors combined to create cost-of-living pressures for households and a downturn in share and bond markets.

Super funds also suffered their first calendar year loss since 2011. Ratings group Chant West estimates the median growth fund fell about 4 percent last year.

The big Picture

Even though investors have come to expect unpredictable markets, nobody could have predicted what unfolded in 2022.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February triggered a series of unfortunate events for the global economy and investment markets. It disrupted energy and food supplies, pushing up prices and inflation.

Inflations sits around 7 to 11 precent in most advanced countries, with Australia and the US at the low end of that range and the Euro area at the higher end.

As a result, central banks began aggressively lifting interest rates to dampen demand and prevent a price and wages spiral.

Rising inflation and interest rates

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) lifted rates eight times, taking the target cash rate from 0.1 percent in May to 3.1 percent in December. This quickly flowed through to mortgage interest rates, putting a dampener on consumer sentiment.

Australia remains in a better position than most, with unemployment below 3.5 percent and wages growth of 3.1 percent running well behind inflation.

Despite the geopolitical challenges, Australia’s economic growth increased to 5.9% in the September quarter before contracting to an estimated 3 percent by year’s end, in line with most of our trading partners.

Volatile share markets

Share investors endured a nail-biting year, as markets wrestled with rising interest, inflation, and the war in Ukraine.

Global shares plunged in October on interest rate and recession anxiety only to snap back late in the year on hopes that interest rates may be near their peak. The US market led the way down, finishing 19 percent lower, due to its exposure to high-tech stocks and the Federal Reserve’s aggressive interest rate hikes. Chinese shares (down 15 percent) also had a tough time as strict Covid lockdowns shut down much of its economy.

Australian shares performed well by comparison, down just 7 percent, thanks to strong commodity prices and the Reserve Bank’s relatively moderate interest rate hikes.

Energy and utilities stocks were strong due to the impact of the war in Ukraine on oil and gas prices. On the flip side, the worst performers were information technology, real estate and consumer discretionary stocks as consumers reacted to cost-of-living pressures.

Property slowdown

After peaking in May, national home values fell sharply as the Reserve Bank began ratcheting up interest rates. The CoreLogic home value index fell 5.3% in 2022, the first calendar year decline since the global financial crisis of 2008.

As always though, price movements were not uniform. Sydney (-12 percent), Melbourne (-8 percent) and prestige capital city properties generally led the downturn. Bucking the trend, prices continued to edge higher in Adelaide (up to 10 percent), Perth (3.6 percent), Darwin (4.3 percent) and many regional areas.

Rental returns outpaced home prices, as high interest rates, demographic shifts and low vacancy rates pushed rents up 10.2 percent in 2022. Gross yields recovered to pre-Covid levels, rising to 3.78 percent in December on a combination of strong rental growth and falling housing values. However, its likely net yields fell as mortgage repayments increased.

Despite the downturn, CoreLogic reports housing values generally remain above pre-COVID levels. At the end of December, capital cities combined were still 11.7 percent above their March 2020 levels, while regional markets were a massive 32.2 percent higher.

Looking ahead

While the outlook for 2023 remains challenging, there are signs that inflation may have peaked and that central banks are nearing the end of their rate hikes.

Even so, the risk of recession is still high although less so in Australia where the RBA has been less aggressive in applying the interest rate brakes.

Issues for investors to watch out for in the year ahead are:

  • A protracted conflict in Ukraine
  • A new COVID wave in China which could further disrupt supply chains across the Australia economy, and
  • Steeper than expected falls in Australian housing prices which could lead to forced sales and dampen consumer spending.

If you would like to discuss your investment strategy in the light of prevailing economic conditions, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Note: all share market figures are live prices as at 31 December 2022 sourced from: https://tradingeconomics.com/stocks.
All property figures are sourced from: https://www.corelogic.com.au/news-research/news/2022/corelogic-home-value-index-australian-housing-values-down-5.3-over-2022

https://www.chantwest.com.au/resources/another-strong-month-for-super-funds-as-recovery-continues/

https://tradingeconomics.com/country-list/inflation-rate

https://www.rba.gov.au/statistics/cash-rate/

https://www.rba.gov.au/snapshots/economy-indicators-snapshot/

https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/economy/national-accounts/australian-national-accounts-national-income-expenditure-and-product/latest-release

https://www.rba.gov.au/publications/smp/2022/nov/economic-outlook.html

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.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Future-proof

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.
https://www.incomesolutions.com.au/keeping-financial-calm-when-your-health-is-under-threat/

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.

Referenced for this article:

https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/australias-welfare/home-ownership-and-housing-tenure
https://insurancecouncil.com.au/resource/know-your-worth-and-avoid-underinsurance/
https://moneysmart.gov.au/home-insurance/choosing-home-insurance
https://www.corelogic.com.au/news-research/reports/cordell-construction-cost-index

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.

https://www.news.com.au/finance/real-estate/banks-huge-profits-as-aussies-hit-by-rate-hikes/news-story/d459be13aee5433fefcfc2f0c0d59b6e

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

FEDERAL BUDGET ANALYSIS ~ SIGN OF THE TIMES

BUDGET OCTOBER 2022: SIGN OF THE TIMES

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

LONGEVITY REFRAMING RETIREMENT

“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.

Referenced for this article:

https://www.moneyandlife.com.au/professionals/insight/longer-and-better-lives/

https://www.incomesolutions.com.au/why-invest-in-the-industrial-index/

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