“Don't sail out farther than you can row back.” This Danish saying is sound advice for anyone thinking of borrowing to buy a home, particularly now that interest rates are low and house prices are generally rising.
I could fill a book the size of Tolstoy's War and Peace with all the stories of dreadful Centrelink experiences my clients have come to me with over the years. Except it may as well be written in Russian as it won't make any difference to their backlog...
How would you cope if you suddenly had to take over the management of your parent’s finances? If your parent(s) were to fall ill or become incapacitated, someone has to take over the payment of bills, managing their money, and general well-being.
Interest rates are very important for many Australians, and rightly so – after all, whether it's the returns on savings accounts or mortgage repayments, the rate of the day can have a significant impact on the household budget for millions of Australians. So what influences interest rates, and why are they changed?
Over 80% of the actively trading businesses in Australia have 0-4 employees*. This means that many businesses are heavily reliant on their principal owners or key people to keep the business operating.
I read an excellent article from Marcus Padley (Marcus Today) recently and thought I would share a paraphrased version of it. It offered 10 Commandments of equity investing for new investors:
Not everyone has to pay to enter residential aged care, but if you are like most people and have assets or income of some sort (whether that’s from investments, superannuation, or rent from your home), you will need to contribute toward the cost of your care.
A granny flat right is established when accommodation is provided in exchange for a payment or a transfer of assets. It is important that Centrelink has provisions for people to transfer assets or make payments to live with another person so that the transfer is not counted as a gift under the deprivation of asset rules.
On our regular 5AA radio talkback session this week, Sam Martin and I were sharing some alarming statistics about scams.
In my previous article, I provided a brief overview of the superannuation changes coming in to effect from 1 July 2017. This article provides a more in depth look at the changes to the rules for making a concessional (before-tax) super contribution.
There are 4 possible costs associated with a move into residential aged care, with 2 of those based on a person’s income and assets (refundable accommodation deposit (RAD) and means-tested care fee).
I always encourage people to start retirement planning as early as possible, but this might be taking it a little too far.
The Transition to Retirement (TTR) strategy was introduced many years ago with a number of benefits in mind. It allowed people to be able to access their superannuation (via a TTR account-based pension) while still working, thereby generating additional income.
Life Insurance in Australia is undergoing a silent revolution. A small handful of insurers have finally understood that they should be acknowledging, and rewarding people who are actively engaged in their own health and wellbeing.
About 40 years ago the psychology research of Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky changed the world's understanding of the human mind forever. It also changed our understanding how people make investment decisions.
We live in an era where the internet offers us an ‘answer’ to nearly everything in life. Whether it be Dr Google, renovating a dining suite, MasterChef-worthy meals or craft; there is generally a You Tube clip or internet reference that we can go to.
Placing a parent or loved one into an aged care facility can be a stressful and distressing time for a family. It is not a pleasant financial experience either!
Recently we have seen some organisations and politicians promoting the idea of first home buyers being able to dip into their superannuation to fund the purchase of a home.
Hot on the heels of the Centrelink reforms, a series of major new superannuation and pension rules will come into effect 1 July 2017. With only a few months left of this financial year, it is timely to consider what the changes could mean for you.
Since the Howard Government introduced the First Home Buyers Grant nearly 17 years ago, first home buyers (FHBs) have been dominating property headlines with the ever challenging housing affordability issue. As those FHBs back in 2000 are now on their second and third homes, this is not a new issue.
Quite often, the decision as to whether a loved one needs to access the Aged Care System in Australia is taken out of the hands of families.
You may have heard the theory about the left vs right brain and how it affects our interests, the way we think, feel, make decisions and learn. But what about the way we invest?
In less than 6 months, a big window of financial opportunity will get smaller. From July 1, Superannuation non-concessional contributions cap will nearly halve from $180,000 to $100,000 per annum.
In July 2017 Super SA members are expected to lose a major benefit of being in that fund.
What a ride we have seen in the world markets over the recent US election. Every financial commentator was throwing their 2 cents worth in and then some.
Apparently only around 4% of the Chinese population have passports according to an Asian investment guru at Macquarie Bank. Compared to other western countries such as the US where the passports per population is more in the 30 -40% range.
I wanted to introduce you to a colleague of mine - Susie. Earlier this year, Susie was diagnosed with breast cancer and following surgery, a number of weeks away from the office and follow up tests she has been able to return to work.
You want your children to have the best future possible. And that means teaching them good savings habits that will pay off when they’re older.
After 30 June 2017 it is likely that the concessional contribution cap (amounts put in to super before tax) will be reduced to $25,000, including Super SA members who previously benefited from an uncapped limit.
In our recent Retirement seminars, the conversation among attendees inevitably heads towards scandalous, successive governments wanting to stick their fingers in that fabulous pot of honey, our Super.
Succession planning is a topic that is often only considered once it's too late; by that I mean the business owner wants to get out suddenly, or worse, has passed away and the business is dragged through the probate process.
If you are an employee and earn more than $450 gross per month and are over 18 years of age or under 18 years of age and work over 30 hours per week your employer is required to contribute 9.5% of your salary into superannuation.
I was recently at a serious fund manager briefing full of serious people addressing serious matters. It was all very serious. Until the serious presenter gave a less than serious overview about a more than serious issue, arguably even sinister.
It is commonly known that the biggest influence on your investment returns is your portfolio’s asset allocation. That is to say the proportion of shares, property and cash that make up your portfolio will determine its performance more than anything else.
I’m often asked “when is the right time for me to obtain financial advice?”. As a rule, my response is that it’s never too early and never too late to seek the advice of a professional financial adviser.
Everyone should have a Will, and it’s even more important if you have children, investments or you own a business. However, a Will is not the only consideration to ensure your wealth is passed correctly to your loved ones.
Since 1986, there has been an entertaining slinging match between the superannuation behemoths of Industry Super funds, Retail Funds and Employer funds as to which option is best at looking after our collective retirement benefits in what is Australia's greatest financial honeypot.
It is a difficult time for retirees at present with interest rates as low as they have ever been. With the cost of living rising every year, most are wondering how they can support their retirement capital if returns are less than what they need to drawdown. For the purpose of this article I have excluded any reference to additional age pension benefits.
If you’re looking to invest or plan for the long-term, whether or not you need financial advice will depend on a number of factors. These include: how complicated your finances and personal circumstances are, what investments you are looking for and your short and long-term goals.
Since the May 2016 federal budget the word retrospective has come up quite a bit so I thought I would talk about retrospective changes in relation to superannuation, what it means and why it is treated with such contempt.
At the beginning of this month the RBA cut the cash rate to 1.75% and slashed its forecast for inflation from 2-3% to 1-2%. Markets are now betting that interest rates will be cut again to 1.5% by October 2016.
Here’s a strategy that could save many people thousands of dollars but is often overlooked. You might be aware that self employed people can claim a tax deduction on their super contributions.
I would receive many calls throughout the year from clients or other general enquirers who have either sold properties or shares and want to know how they can reduce their capital gains tax liability at the end of the financial year.
From 1 January 2017 many retirees will lose access to the Age Pension due to CentreLink’s Assets Test changes. One very thin silver lining to all of this is that those who lose the Age Pension will automatically receive the Commonwealth seniors health card (CSHC).
Negative gearing has been in the news a lot of late. It’s shaping up to be one of the hot topics of 2016 as both sides of politics consider it as an area for potential reform.
The sharemarket downturn in the first few weeks of this year has to some degree taken the spotlight away from the constant speculation about possible future changes to superannuation and how it will be taxed
Goldsborough Financial Services is a financial planning practice that we can once again say is "independently owned"! Since its inception in the 1990s the ownership structure of Goldsborough has seen some changes, but with a consistent thread - some of the people who work in the business also own the business.
A new CSIRO study shows many Australians are retiring with a modest lifestyle resulting in them leaving behind a significant nest egg for others to enjoy after they die. This is an interesting study and raises two discussion points in my mind.
Total and permanent disablement (TPD) is your financial back-up plan. It gives you the confidence to seize life's possibilities knowing you've made plans to secure your family's financial future... just in case!
Whether it's the 1980's book or the movie, the War of the Roses tells the story of a couple who grapple with marriage separation and make each other miserable by both refusing to move out of the family home.
The best fisherman I ever met was a Greek octopus fisherman when I was living in Europe. No fancy boats or fishing tackle; he just had a dinghy, a length of fishing line and a rock covered in alfoil.
I am very often asked “is it better to pay more into my mortgage or put more into super?"
I was taught at a very young age that there are two things that are certain in life – death and taxes! Something I have learned as a financial planner is that, whilst not a “certainty”, redundancies happen on an all too frequent basis.
On the first Tuesday of the month the RBA board meets to decide whether interest rates are going to move up or down or remain unchanged, the board meeting in November always coincides with the Melbourne cup.
For retirees I can't remember a time where legislation has conspired to create a more difficult environment to plan one's retirement. The squeeze is coming from all directions but particularly the ability to receive an Age Pension. The changes are happening gradually so year on year we hardly notice but between 2015 and 2017 major changes will be taking place.
As with any type of insurance the decision to put cover in place is a personal one.
The Actuaries Institute is presenting a report that suggests they could be!
As a financial planner I receive a lot of information via email or snail mail. Every so often something catches my eye and a little extra time is taken to read through and understand what it's about.
Financial abuse of the elderly is more common than you may think.
Dreams of travelling can keep the mind busy for hours. One day I'll find a statistic that estimates what percentage of our lives are spent daydreaming of such things, be it a short trip to the Barossa Valley or swanning through Bordeaux... Much of my time with clients is spent discussing travel and importantly, how to fund it!
As a financial planner I reckon that every other person (couple) that I see does not have a valid Will – or a Will at all for that matter!!
Given the significant volatility in world sharemarkets over the past few years and given what is happening in Greece (and China), it is not surprising that investors would feel nervous about investing larger sums of money, such as accumulated retirement savings, inheritances or other windfalls.
Thinking of cashing up? There are implications that come from selling units in your investment, especially in volatile markets.
How much risk should you take with your retirement income investments? Here is a great illustration to help you develop a deeper understanding of “sequencing risk.”