Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Increasing your savings without decreasing quality of life…

Monday, August 21st, 2017

It seems not too many days pass in the Australian media without a debate on the savings habits of the younger generation. This seemed to reach fever pitch when last year an article suggested that giving up the café lifestyle such as expensive lunch orders with smashed avocado, can be a useful method to contribute funds towards a housing deposit.

I am sure you have come across numerous savings articles suggesting stopping spending on your takeaway coffees every day. They are often exaggerated and extreme in nature. Suddenly it assumes we all consume a minimum of three cups, they must be large, and the prices are $5.50 or higher. Supposedly there is $6,000 a year there that we are wasting and we need to quit cold turkey as of this afternoon. Other suggested measures often include never travelling outside of the country, and that a “smart” phone is always extravagant. Reading such articles can be a deterrent in making any effort to save and possibly result in giving up altogether.

Many of us love our coffee and it can be a social habit. In some cases, a chat at a café may replace an alternative more expensive form of pastime. Maybe a less extreme measure is to ask ourselves if we are grabbing a second take away cup ourselves each day, are we enjoying that as much, and could we sacrifice this? Regarding overseas travel, are there some cheaper destinations that we haven’t yet considered, that could be just as interesting as what we initially had our minds set out on? When it comes to phones, rather than give up our “smart” phone, have we shopped around for the best deals and data plans before committing? Likewise, with services such as banking and electricity it is generally only after shopping around and asking that you can get a better deal. With other areas that you spend on you may be able to have the savings come to you, by being on email distribution lists that alert you to bargains.

Are there some areas to save that many years ago we traditionally wouldn’t have thought about? Whilst sharing your accommodation may be considered a sacrifice to your lifestyle, Airbnb has at least made the process less of a long-term commitment to try. Classified websites may be a way where we can monetize items that otherwise we wouldn’t have used again. Owning a car has always been a major cost in our budget, but car sharing websites have come along way.

Increasing your savings does not always have to decrease the quality of your life and we don’t have to take an all or nothing approach, some small steps are better than nothing. Finally, automatically redirecting some of your pay over to a bank account where you can’t access as easily, can be a more modern way to help with the discipline needed to improve your savings habits.

An article created by Infocus Securities

Helping you navigate this year’s Federal Budget

Wednesday, May 10th, 2017

Last night the Australian Government handed down its Federal Budget for 2017. It’s important that you take the time to understand what the Budget proposals mean – and how they might affect you personally.
According to Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison, this year’s Budget is founded on the principles of fairness, security and opportunity. Mr Morrison claims that the government’s proposed measures will raise almost $21 billion in revenue over the next four years, returning Australia’s budget to surplus by 2021.Here are some of the key Budget announcements. Note that each of these proposals will only become law if it is passed by Parliament.

Additional non-concessional cap for retiree downsizers
From 1 July 2018, people aged 65+ will be able to contribute up to $300,000 into super from the sale of their principal home, if they’ve owned their home for at least 10 years. The existing restrictions for contributions over age 65 won’t apply for these non-concessional contributions.
What this could mean for you
You may be able to contribute an additional $300,000 to super (or $600,000 for couples), over and above your existing concessional and non-concessional caps. However, if you or your partner receives the age pension, this could cause your entitlements to be reduced.

Super savings scheme for first home buyers
From 1 July 2017, individuals will be able to make extra voluntary super contributions of up to $15,000 a year beyond their employer’s Super Guarantee payments, up to a total of $30,000. These contributions will be taxed at 15% and can be withdrawn to go towards the deposit on a first home. Withdrawals will be allowed from 1 July 2018.
What this could mean for you
When you withdraw your extra contributions to pay for a deposit, they’ll be taxed at your marginal tax rate minus a 30% tax offset. While the tax concessions for these contributions may allow you to save a larger deposit, you won’t be able to access your money until retirement if you decide not to buy a home.

A 0.5% Medicare levy increase from 2019
From 1 July 2019, the Medicare levy will increase by half a percentage point from 2% to 2.5% of an individual’s taxable income. The Medicare levy low-income thresholds for singles, families, seniors and pensioners will increase from the 2016–17 financial year.
What this could mean for you
The increased levy may also result in increases to many tax rates linked to the top personal tax rate, including fringe benefits tax and excess non-concessional contributions tax. Certain lump sum super payments that attract the levy may also be impacted, such as disability benefits paid to people under preservation age.

Extension of the deductibility threshold for small businesses
The government will extend the existing accelerated depreciation allowance for small businesses by 12 months to 30 June 2018.
What this could mean for you
If your small business has aggregated annual turnover below $10 million, you’ll be able to immediately deduct the purchase of eligible assets costing less than $20,000 where they are first used or installed ready for use by 30 June 2018. After that date, the immediate deductibility threshold will revert back to $1,000.

New levy for major banks
A major bank levy will be introduced for authorised deposit-taking institutions (ADIs) with licensed entity liabilities of at least $100 billion (indexed to Gross Domestic Product (GDP)). The levy will equate to an annualised rate of 0.06% – for example, the levy on a bank deposit of $500,000 will be approximately $300 pa. Superannuation funds and insurance companies won’t be subject to the levy.
What this could mean for you
It’s unclear at this stage how the levy will be implemented, and what the impacts might be on clients/customers and shareholders.

Incentives for investment in affordable housing
From 1 January 2018, resident individuals who invest in qualifying affordable housing will be eligible for an increase in the capital gains tax (CGT) discount from 50% to 60%. This increased discount will also apply to eligible Managed Investment Trusts (MITs) as of 1 July 2017.
What this could mean for you
To qualify for the higher discount, your residential property must be rented to low-to-moderate income tenants at a discounted rate and be managed through a registered community housing provider. You also need to hold the investment for at least 3 years. If you invest in an MIT, you’ll be eligible for the 60% discount if the trust invests in affordable housing that is available to be rented for at least 10 years, and you hold the investment for at least 3 years.

Restrictions on deductions for residential property investments
From 1 July 2017, depreciation deductions for residential plant and equipment (e.g. dishwashers and ceiling fans) will be limited to investors who actually incur the outlay – not subsequent owners. Also from that date, investors will be unable to deduct travel expenses related to inspecting, maintaining or collecting rent for a residential rental property.
What this could mean for you
If you’re a subsequent investor in a property, the acquisition of existing plant and equipment will be reflected in the cost base for CGT purposes. Grandfathering applies to plant and equipment that forms part of a residential investment property as at 9 May 2017 and will continue to give rise to depreciation deductions under current rules. The new rule around travel expense deductions applies to all property investors, including SMSFs, family trusts and companies.

Tax changes for foreign tax residents and property owners
Foreign or temporary tax residents will no longer have access to the CGT main residence exemption on properties acquired after 7.30pm AEST on Budget night (9 May 2017). Also from Budget night, foreign owners of residential property that is not occupied or genuinely available on the rental market for at least six months per year will be subject to an annual levy of at least $5,000.
What this could mean for you
If you’re a foreign of temporary tax resident and you held an existing property before Budget night, the property will be grandfathered and you’ll be able to continue claiming the CGT main residence exemption until 30 June 2019. However, from 1 July 2017, the CGT withholding rate that applies to foreign tax residents will increase from 10% to 12.5%.

New thresholds for HELP debt repayments
From 1 July 2018, income thresholds for the repayment of HELP debts will be revised, along with repayment rates and the indexation of repayment thresholds.
What this could mean for you
A new minimum threshold of $42,000 will apply, with a 1% repayment rate. A maximum threshold of $119,882 will apply, with a 10% repayment rate. Currently, the maximum repayment threshold for the 2017–18 financial year is $103,766 with a repayment rate of 8%.

Reinstatement of Pensioner Concession Card entitlements
Pensioners who lost their Pensioner Concession Card entitlement due to the assets test changes on 1 January 2017 will have their card reinstated. Those who lost their entitlement were instead issued with both a Health Care Card and a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card. However these cards provided access to fewer concessions than the Pensioner Concession Card.
What this could mean for you
If your Pensioner Concession Card entitlement is reinstated, you’ll have access to a wider range of concessions than those available with the Health Care Card, such as subsidised hearing services. Your Pensioner Concession Card will be automatically reissued over time with an ongoing income and assets test exemption. You’ll also retain the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card, ensuring you continue to receive the Energy Supplement.

Increased pension residence requirements
An individual currently needs to have at least 10 years’ residence in Australia (at least 5 of which are continuous) to qualify for the age pension or disability support pension. From 1 July 2018, they’ll need to have at least 15 years’ residence in Australia or either a) 10 years’ continuous residence including 5 years during their working life, or b) 10 years’ continuous residence and not in receipt of an activity-tested income support payment for a cumulative period greater than 5 years.
What this could mean for you
This measure may impact you if you have less than 15 years’ residence in Australia or less than 5 years’ residence between age 16 and age pension age. However, existing exemptions will be maintained for humanitarian reasons or if you became unable to work while you were an Australian resident.

Other proposals
• A new Jobseeker Payment will replace 7 existing working age payments from 20 March 2020
• Job seekers and parents who receive working age income support will have increased activity test requirements from 20 September 2018
• The maximum length of the Liquid Assets Waiting Period will increase from 13 weeks to 26 weeks from 20 September 2018
• A one-off Energy Assistance Payment of $75 for single recipients and $125 for couples will be paid for those who qualify on 20 June 2017
• Family Tax Benefit rates will not be indexed for 2 years from 1 July 2017
• A new upper income threshold of $350,000 pa will apply to the child care subsidy from 1 July 2018.

Article provided by Colonial First State

Colonial First State Investments Limited ABN 98 002 348 352, AFS Licence 232468 (Colonial First State) is the issuer of super, pension and investment products. This document may include general advice but does not take into account your individual objectives, financial situation or needs. You should read the relevant Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) carefully and assess whether the information is appropriate for you and consider talking to a financial adviser before making an investment decision. A PDS for Colonial First State’s products are available at colonialfirststate.com.au or by calling us on 13 13 36. Taxation considerations are general and based on present taxation laws and may be subject to change. You should seek independent, professional tax advice before making any decision based on this information.

Supporting you through the changes
Depending on your circumstances, the Budget proposals could have an impact on your financial situation and your financial plans for the future. If you have any concerns, or would like to discuss your financial strategy, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us on 08 93492700 or admin@activewealthmanagers.com.au to arrange an appointment.

 

Keeping your financial partnership on track

Monday, March 13th, 2017

“While money can’t buy happiness, it certainly lets you choose your own form of misery.”

Groucho Marx might have been joking when he said this, but there’s no getting around it: money is a prime source of tension in marriages and domestic partnerships right around Australia. A survey by Relationships Australia found that 70% of couples are affected by disagreements about money. 84% of respondents said money troubles would be more likely to push people apart than bring them together. Cooperating on financial matters is well worth it for most couples. It’s not just your bank balance which will benefit from working together. Working through money issues with your partner can help develop communication skills, improve bonding through a sense of teamwork, and set up shared values to pass on to children.

It’s easy to feel as though you’re drifting apart from your partner when it comes to money management. After all, many of us face the same recurring issues and squabbles: furtive spending, disagreements on priorities, and even hidden accounts. But the good news is that there are simple measures you can take to bring yourselves back on track.

Be proactive, not reactive

When tough times strike, it’s easy to lash out and make big decisions based on emotion. Accidents, illnesses and deaths in the family can set you up to make decisions more based on grief, anger or fear than cold hard facts. When you are faced with grave circumstances, it’s a good idea to give yourself a bit of breathing space before you make any binding choices.

Stick to your budget

If your savings are tied together, then your spending should be too. Not agreeing on a household budget is a recipe for disaster. Although it might take some time to agree on everything, having a written budget is essential. To avoid either partner feeling like their freedom is impinged upon, make sure to set aside a small amount each for discretionary spending.

Be conscious of your money personality

Find you’re getting annoyed at your partner’s perceived stinginess or lack of discipline? First, it’s time to step back and acknowledge that you may be a little biased, because we all have our own money management ‘personality’. Being aware of your differences in attitude is the first step towards compromising and changing where necessary.

Keep your Will up to date

This one is not just about the two of you – it’s about your dependants and loved ones. If one of you were to pass away, would everyone be clear on your wishes as to what happens with your estate? It’s worth spending an hour or two with a solicitor to work through your options, and ensure your wishes are enforceable.

Put it in both names

Whether it’s a credit card for bills, a mortgage, or an asset in your investment portfolio, make sure it’s in both names. This way, benefits and responsibilities are split straight down the middle. Neither partner gets to shirk responsibility, overrule the other, or claim all benefits/income in the case of a dispute. It’s an ideal way to generate conversation, communication and cooperation.

Share the fruits of your labour

Being frugal and budgeting well is serious work, so it makes sense to share the rewards of that work with your partner – otherwise, one of you may feel hard done by. When it comes to discretionary spending or saving for big ticket items, think of things you can share: holidays, new vehicles, entertainment etc.

Ready to implement some of these tips in your financial plan? Make an appointment with us to discuss your shared goals and challenges today.

i Relationships Australia, August 2015: Impact of financial problems on relationships

General Advice Warning This information is of a general nature only and neither represents nor is intended to be specific advice on any particular matter. Michael J Berinson Pty Ltd strongly suggests that no person should act specifically on the basis of the information contained herein but should seek appropriate professional advice based upon their own personal circumstances. Although we consider the sources for this material reliable, no warranty is given and no liability is accepted for any statement or opinion or for any error or omission.

PROTECTING YOUR FAMILY

Thursday, August 4th, 2016

3d-person-getting-it-right-

INSURANCE

If you are suddenly diagnosed with a major illness or experience a death in the family there is very little time to plan how the family will cope financially.

You might be thinking insurance is something you can sort out later but research shows that 1-in-5 Australian families will be impacted by the death of a parent, a serious accident or an illness such as cancer that leaves a parent unable to work during their working life. Yet 95 per cent of families do not have adequate levels of life insurance * There are things you can do to ensure that you and your family are covered.

UNDERSTAND THE DIFFERENT COVER TYPES

Unlike general insurance which covers assets such as your car and your home, life insurance can protect the financial contribution you make to your family.

There are different types of life insurance that generally cover different life events:

  • Life cover provides security for your family’s future by paying a benefit if you die or are diagnosed with a terminal illness.
  • Income protection can help replace a part of your income (for a set period of time) which can be used to cover living expenses if you are unable to work due to illness or injury.
  • Total and permanent disability (TPD) cover can provide financial support if illness or injury stops you from returning to work or normal domestic duties.
  •  Trauma cover allows you to protect yourself against the financial impacts of being diagnosed with one of a number of serious medical conditions, such as cancer or a heart attack, by paying a benefit.

In practice, you may need a combination of these products depending on your family’s needs and existing financial resources.

PLAN AHEAD

The best way to plan for your family’s future financial security is to ask ‘what if ?’. What if one parent died or was unable to work due to an accident, illness or permanent disability? With the loss of an income you and your family could struggle to meet their daily expenses and ongoing financial commitments.

While families with children have an added incentive to have adequate life insurance cover, young couples and singles may also need protection. What if you become critically ill and need to take time off work? Do you have enough sick leave to cover the rent or mortgage and other living expenses?

Once you have a clearer idea of the amount of money you would need to preserve your family’s current lifestyle, it’s easier to work out the right level of cover for your circumstances.

Life insurance and income protection insurance allows you to approach the future with confidence, knowing that the life you’ve built is protected.

As a financial adviser, I can help you determine the types and level of cover that you need to ensure so you protect your most valuable asset – you. Call me on 0893492700, and we can discuss this further.

Lifewise/NATSEM Underinsurance Report – Understanding the social and economic costs of underinsurance, Feb 2010

Volatile and weak sharemarkets

Tuesday, July 12th, 2016

Graph being drawn

Cash rates and bond yields globally are low and are likely to remain lower for longer, while equity market returns over the 2016 fiscal year have been generally poor. In this article we look at what’s been driving weaker returns and consider the outlook for returns over the medium term.

Sharemarkets were volatile during 2015/16 and delivered poor returns for the period. Sharemarket performance was adversely impacted by a number of concerns, including falling commodity prices and lacklustre global growth. Of particular note, economic growth in China has been weaker than expected; while in Europe, growth has been so sluggish that policy makers in many European countries have turned to negative interest rates to stimulate growth. In June, Britain’s decision to leave the European Union, or ‘Brexit,’ also contributed to market volatility and pushed most global share markets lower.

Australian equities ended the financial year with an annualised return of 0.6%. International sharemarkets delivered an annualised return of -1.4% on a fully hedged basis.

On the positive side, Australian listed and global listed property continued their positive trend, benefiting from the chase for yield, delivering annualised returns of 24.6% and 18.7% respectively. Australian and international bond returns also delivered solid positive returns.

Return on assets

Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance
Source: Bloomberg, AMP Capital, as at 30 June 2016; Australian shares: S&P ASX 200 Accumulation (AUD); International shares (unhedged): MSCI World ex AU Accumulation (AUD); International shares (hedged): MSCI World ex AU Accumulation Hedged AUD; Australian listed property: S&P ASX 200 A-REIT Accumulation; Global listed property (hedged): FTSE EPRA/NAREIT Developed Rental Hedged AUD; Global listed infrastructure (hedged): Dow Jones Brookfield Global Infrastructure Net Accumulation Index Hedged (AUD); Australian bonds: Bloomberg AusBond Composite 0+ Yr Index; International bonds (hedged): Barclays Global Aggregate Index Hedged AUD; Cash: Bloomberg AusBond Bank Bill Index.

Looking ahead – expect lower for longer

With cash rates and bond yields already so low, sharemarkets are likely to be a key source of return for investors.

However, as global growth and inflation are likely to remain subdued for some time, investment returns are likely to remain relatively muted. We anticipate that single-digit super returns are likely over the next few years.

Keep your focus on what really matters

With market volatility expected to continue in the near term, investments in well-diversified, actively managed portfolios will help to smooth out returns.

We expect active positions in the Australian dollar will be important going forward, but so too will investment in alternative assets, such as infrastructure, absolute return strategies and private equity, which have a low correlation with mainstream markets, such as shares.

Final thoughts

Recent market volatility has made it more important to review your investments and ensure they are still delivering against lifestyle and retirement objectives while being mindful that long-term – not short-term – performance needs to be the focus.

Article by D Alliston – Head of Multi-Asset Portfolio Management AMP

Are you a Small Business owner? If so, are you SuperStream compliant?

Wednesday, May 4th, 2016

hand holding bag of money

The SuperStream Data and Payment Standard introduces a streamlined method of sending payments and associated information electronically within the superannuation system.

The objective is to standardise the way employers pay super contributions so that information can be transmitted consistently across the super system – between employers, super funds, service providers and the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). It allows employers to make all their super contributions in a single transaction, even if they’re going to multiple super funds.

If you or your clients are an employer with 19 or fewer employees the SuperStream standard must be met by 30 June 2016 (assuming the business is not already compliant).

The ATO has begun contacting businesses with 19 or fewer employees about SuperStream. You or your clients may receive a reminder email, SMS, or letter from the ATO about the importance of getting ready for SuperStream by the 30 June 2016 deadline.

Larger employers should have been using SuperStream since 31 October 2015.

The link to set up your account with the Superannuation Clearing house is:

https://www.ato.gov.au/business/super-for-employers/paying-super-contributions/small-business-superannuation-clearing-house/.

Excerpt from article published by AIA

Why Financials Goals are so Important

Thursday, October 22nd, 2015

This article was chosen as it highlight the importance of having Financial Goals to achieve not just peace of mind, but more importantly to realize the importance of acting now to ensure that you are on your way to achieving financial freedom when you need it the most – in your retirement years.

The road you take to financial freedom can lead directly to your destination or to a dead end.

You wouldn’t start out on a long trip into unfamiliar territory without a road map, yet many people go through life without a concrete plan for their financial future. In fact, most people spend more time planning a single vacation than they spend on financial planning. Specific financial goals and written plans for meeting them, help you focus your efforts on the end result.

Starting in your twenties is a huge advantage. If you invest $5,000 at the age of twenty, and it earns 7 percent per year, at retirement (age sixty-five) it will total over $115,000. The same amount invested at the age of forty would total less than $29,000.

Goals are like the wheels on your car; they keep you moving in the direction you want to go, and you won’t get very far without them.

If you haven’t already started planning for your future, now’s the time to begin, no matter what your age. If you’re in your twenties, however, you have a distinct advantage. Saving and investing in your twenties will give you the most powerful financial tool available: time. You’ll have to work at it a lot harder if you start later in life. In fact, the smartest thing you can do in your twenties is save and invest. Ultimately, you’ll have to save and invest a lot less money at a time and will still come out far ahead of the person who starts a decade or two later.

As the saying goes, “Most people don’t plan to fail, they just fail to plan.” Without planning, even the best of intentions lead nowhere. Start mapping our your route now. Your entire future depends on it.

So why not call our office on 08 93492700 to book an appointment with Michael. You can start with a preliminary chat with Michael first, and then decide how you want to proceed – absolutely no pressure. And remember, there is not cost to you for your first meeting or for having a preliminary chat with Michael, so there is no excuse for putting off your decision to act now.

An excerpt of an article by Debby Fowles