Posts Tagged ‘salary sacrifice’

Protecting the life (and people) you love

Monday, March 13th, 2017

With more Australians having children later in life, starting a second family and carrying significant levels of debt well into their 50s and 60s, life insurance has never been more important.

Life is full of unexpected twists and turns and you never quite know what is around the corner. Protecting your family against the loss of all the things you have worked hard for over the years is the cornerstone of a sensible strategy to defend your wealth and current lifestyle.

Although most people know this, being ‘underinsured’ – or holding insufficient life-related insurance cover – remains common across all age groups in Australia.

The underinsurance problem

Australians are famous for their laidback attitude and, unfortunately, that attitude often extends to taking out life insurance protection for their families. While research shows more than three-quarters of us understand the need for life related insurance, rating it as important or very important, only 52 per cent of those surveyed said they actually held some form of life insurance.i

Consulting firm Rice Warner has calculated that Australians should hold a total of $4,581 billion in life insurance to be considered adequately protected, but the actual figure held is only $1,811 billion.ii

Although the typical middle-income Australian family with two children needs an estimated $680,000 in life insurance cover to be considered adequately protected, Rice Warner found that the median level of life insurance held by these families is only $258,000.

Paying your bills and protecting your dreams

Without adequate life insurance protection, the financial burden arising from a serious illness, accident or death can cause severe financial hardship.

Such an event is not uncommon, with the Lifewise/NATSEM Underinsurance Report noting 18 families in Australia lose a working parent every day of the week. One in five families is affected by the death of a parent, a serious accident or an illness that renders a parent unable to work.iii

Increases in the number of second and blended families and ageing parents also mean many breadwinners now have more people than ever relying on them financially.

Life insurance protection is also essential for singles, as they often have fewer resources to fall back on to pay their debts and ongoing commitments such as rent and mortgage repayments if they become seriously ill or disabled.

Guarding your wealth

When it comes to developing a comprehensive strategy to protect your financial position, life insurance is a key component as it creates a safety net to protect your current lifestyle and the wealth you have accumulated.

Without adequate insurance protection, many families find themselves facing real financial hardship if the main or secondary income-earner, or the primary carer of the children, becomes sick or dies.

It’s important to look at your options in terms of life-related insurance as part of your financial goal setting. These products provide a highly effective way of protecting assets such as the family home, covering commitments such as credit card debts, paying large medical bills and avoiding being forced to sell off investments assets cheaply.

Life insurance benefits can be used in different ways depending on your personal circumstances and health, with the lump sum payment they provide easing the financial burden during what can be a very difficult time.

A tailored approach

For a complete wealth protection strategy, death cover is usually combined with other life-related insurance products such as critical illness and total and permanent disability (TPD) protection.

  • Life insurance pays a lump sum on your death or diagnosis of a terminal illness, 
  • Critical illness (or trauma) cover pays an agreed amount if you are diagnosed with a specified critical illness, such as cancer or heart disease,
  • TPD insurance provides you with a tax-free lump sum if you are permanently unable to work due to accident or illness.
    These life-related insurances are designed to provide protection against the most common adverse life events and provide you with peace of mind so that if the unexpected happens, you and your loved ones have some protection.

If you would like some advice on the right mix and amount of life insurance for your family and financial circumstances, don’t hesitate to give us a call.

i www.tal.com.au/about-us/media-centre/life-insurance-lacking-in-those-with-most-to-lose

ii http://ricewarner.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/INFOGRAPHIC-UnderinsuranceinAus2014.jpg

iii www.lifewise.org.au/downloads/file/aboutthelifewisecampaign/2010_0203_LifewiseNATSEMSummaryA4FINAL.pdf

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.

Mortgage paid? Now it’s time to build wealth for the future

Saturday, January 16th, 2016

It’s like buying $100 worth of apples every week — you get more when they’re cheap, so you end up with more cheap apples than expensive ones. Then, if apples go up in price, you’re investment should be worth more than you paid for it.

With your mortgage finally paid off, you can think about building more wealth for tomorrow.

Here are three ways:

1. Invest regularly in managed funds

Paying off a mortgage teaches you the healthy financial habit of investing a set amount each month. So, now the house is paid off, why not keep up that discipline with a regular investment into a managed fund?

Managed funds can help you gain exposure to a diverse range of assets, even for a relatively small investment. You’ll also get the benefit of the expertise of the fund manager who selects and manages the investments — so there’s no need to research and choose stocks yourself.

By regularly investing the same amount of money over time, you’ll be employing a strategy known as ’dollar cost averaging’. Because you automatically buy more units in the fund when prices are low, and fewer when they’re high, your average cost per unit is reduced, increasing your potential for profit.

It’s like buying $100 worth of apples every week — you get more when they’re cheap, so you end up with more cheap apples than expensive ones. Then, if apples go up in price, you’re investment should be worth more than you paid for it. However, the cost of apples will go up and down.

2. Salary sacrifice into super

Another good place to invest some of your income into your super, through a salary sacrifice arrangement.

It’s easy to do — simply arrange for your employer (if this option is available) to pay part of your pre-tax salary into your super, along with the compulsory superannuation guarantee super payments they already make.

Salary sacrifice may also be a very tax-effective strategy. That’s because it comes out of your pre-tax earnings, which means it may lower your assessable income. As a result, you could pay less income tax each year, while building your retirement savings.

What’s more, the money you salary sacrifice to your fund is taxed at just 15% within super. So if you’re in a higher tax bracket — for example, if you’re paying a marginal rate of 46.5% tax — this could reduce the tax you pay on this money by 31.5%.

3. Diversify into other types of investment

Many Australians like to put money into investment properties. And there’s no question that this could be a great investment, with potential capital growth and rental income. But don’t forget the importance of diversification, spreading your investments across a range of assets, markets and industries — including overseas.

For example, international shares can give you exposure to rapidly growing emerging markets, such as China, Russia and India. You can also enjoy access to the developed markets, and some of the world’s most successful companies.

You may also want to consider investing in fixed interest assets, like term deposits or bonds, for more predictable returns.

Or if you are keen to stay in property, indirect investment property is another option. By pooling your money with other investors into a property fund, you can gain exposure to commercial or overseas property, at a lower cost than investing directly.

If that all sounds too hard, there are plenty of managed funds to choose from, that can provide instant diversification — without having to do the legwork yourself.

Making your money work for you

Investing can be complex, and everyone’s financial situation is different. So it’s important to get the right financial advice. A financial adviser can work with you to determine the most tax-effective investment to make the most of your surplus cash.

Source: Colonial First State