New Year Resolutions that Will Make A Real Difference To You + Loved Ones

Now that the dust has settled on what was hopefully a fun-and-family-filled Christmas and New Year period, it is a great time to reflect on those hastily-made New Year’s resolutions, and consider the difference it will make if you actually see them through.

Perhaps you resolved that in 2019 you will exercise more, quit smoking, drink less, or spend less time looking at your phone.

For others, you may have decided that 2019 is the year you get your personal, financial or business affairs in order. That may include getting those Wills and Powers of Attorney prepared (which you’ve been meaning to do for years), getting that accounting or financial advice you know will make a difference, or kick-starting that business which you’ve been daydreaming about.

Now these are New Year’s resolutions that will make a real difference to you, your loved-ones, your financial health and your current/future employees.

The most important part is getting the process started. The second-most important part is making sure that each of the elements of your plan complement, and do not contradict each other. For example, the superannuation or asset planning which you undertake with an accountant or financial advisor should be reflected in your will, your business plan should be supported by adequate funding arrangements and succession agreements, and your business tax planning and compliance must be complemented by appropriate employment agreements for your staff.

Ideally, this means you should be seeing a lawyer, accountant and financial adviser contemporaneously, and have them talk to each other to ensure each element is consistent. But who has the time and energy for that?

This is where Canny Group can help you stick to your New Year’s resolutions. We have a team of experienced accountants, lawyers and financial advisers under one roof who are ready to listen, identify your needs or the needs of your business, and work cohesively to get your affairs in order, or your dream off the ground, for the best possible start to 2019.

 

Stefan Manche

Senior Associate Solicitor – LLB, BComm (Finance) 

We Bring Home an International Award

The PANALITIX conference is a premier annual even where accountants from across the globe converge to learn on accounting best practice from industry influencers, thought leaders, technology and solution providers as well as international outstanding accounting firms.

Directors, Amanda Wilkens and Krystine Canny-Smith and Manager Helen Yau travelled across the globe to San Diego in November to take part in the conference.  Not only bringing back extra suitcases and excess baggage, they also managed to bring home the Best in Team Development Annual Award for 2018 from 12 awards.

The ‘Best in Team Development’ category aims to reward those who strive to create an amiable work environment for their team, while consequently providing continuous team development and engagement, resulting in business growth.

http://atthepac.com/thepac-awards/

The History Behind Our New Home

Following on from our exciting announcement last month, we sat down with Cam Hamilton of the David Hamilton Property Group (DHPG) to find out the history behind our new home and why he’s so passionate about what he does.

 

WHAT DOES THE DHPG DO?

We specialise in the purchase and development of under utilised buildings in Geelong, from there we turn them into transformations of vibrant commercial office spaces.

WHAT IS THE STORY BEHIND THE FEDERAL MILLS?

The Federal Mill opened in 1915 and was built by the Commonwealth Government to manufacture woollen cloth for the Australian Army Uniforms for World War One.  In 1923 it was sold into private hands and continued to be a successful textile manufacturer under various ownership right up until the 1970s.

The David Hamilton Group purchased The Federal Mill in 2013 in a derelict state and began the restoration of the site.  The buildings themselves were in reasonable condition but the site was littered with rubbish and many of the original fittings had been removed.  To date we have completed about 75% of the renovation works and we house many new local businesses.

WHAT WAS IT ABOUT THE FEDERAL MILLS THAT ATTRACTED THE DHPG?

The Federal Mills presented a fabulous challenge to restore the buildings to their former glory and create a new story in Geelong.  The design of The Federal Mill was quite innovative in that it was single story and designed to optimise natural light and ventilation, which was a departure from the multi story factories built in those dates.  Today those same design qualities attract new tenants from within Geelong and nationally to set up their tech-based businesses here.  It’s a perfect environment for the new breed of entrepreneurs and start-ups in Geelong.

WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?

Purchasing a property with a clear vision of what we want to achieve, seeing that project through to completion and then leasing all the tenancies.  Sometimes the more successful projects can be the ‘ugly ducklings’ so I get a lot of satisfaction transforming them into great investments.

WHAT’S PLANNED FOR THE FUTURE OF THE DHPG?

We are forging ahead with our vision for the Pivot City Innovation District which is our ‘big picture’ vision for the PowerStation, Federal Mills and the Glasshouse (old Pilkington’s building) as well as a number of renovations of four buildings in Newtown and the CBD.

 

 

Header Image: ‘Federal Woollen Mills’

Image courtesy of Geelong Heritage Centre

Our New Home in 2019

We have an exciting announcement to share with you…but before we start, lets rewind to 1960.

We started from humble beginnings, with our founder, Stan Canny working from the offices of business clients before moving to a portable office cabin on Station Street. The business grew fast and there was a clear need for a bigger premises. This brought us a few hundred metres down the same street to what is still our current office at 10 Station Street, Norlane.

Fast forward almost 59 years later and we are in need for an even bigger premises and we’re pleased to announce that Canny Group is re-locating to new offices located in the Federal Mills business precinct in 2019.

The decision to relocate was not taken lightly, but the move to Federal Mills was an easy one, as we could continue our proud heritage which is nearing close to 60 years of commitment to our clients and our northern suburbs community.

As we have always done, we look forward to sharing the next exciting chapter of our story with you and we can’t wait to welcome you in 2019 to our new home at The Federal Mills.

We will write to you again just before Christmas with our new address and the date we will be opening our new doors.  In the meantime, should you like any further information on the move, please contact us on 03 5278 9500.

Kindest regards,

Amanda Wilkens & Krystine Canny Smith
Directors

Superannuation Beneficiaries and their importance

Not a lot of people are aware that superannuation is a non-estate asset. This means that it will not automatically be dealt with, through your Will if you were to pass away. It could be your wish that your partner receives your superannuation, and you could state in your Will that that is what you want to happen, but without a valid beneficiary nomination on your superannuation fund, the Trustee of the fund may grant your money elsewhere.

There are several varieties of nomination, including non-binding, binding, and non-lapsing binding beneficiary.

Nomination of Beneficiary

A ‘Nomination of Beneficiary’ is a direction that a member provides to the Trustee of the super fund in relation to distribution of his or her funds on death. It can be done by a simple one page document setting out the member’s preference and appropriately signed and witnessed.

A member can choose to make:

A Binding Nomination

  • The Trustees MUST pay the death benefit as nominated.

A Non-binding Nomination

  • The Trustees have the discretion to follow the stated wishes of the member or direct the entitlements to another person (or persons) or pay the entitlement directly to the Estate.

No Nomination

  • If you do not make any nomination, you are not breaking any Laws. The surviving Trustees simply have full discretion to distribute the funds to the Estate or any Dependent that they chose.

As important as it is to ensure that you have nomination made, it is important to make sure that it is a valid nomination.

 

Who can I nominate?

There are restrictions on who you can nominate under the Superannuation Industry Supervision Act (SIS). Valid nominations can be made to:

  1. The Legal Personal Representative in which case the benefit is paid to the Estate; or
  2. A dependant which is defined as follows:
  • Spouse (current or de facto or former spouse and can include same-sex and living with a person in a genuine domestic basis in a relationship as a couple);
  • A child of the member (including adopted, stepchild, ex-nuptial, child of your spouse);
  • Any other person with whom the member has an interdependency relationship, which covers persons where there is a close personal relationship and one or more provides the other with financial support, domestic support and personal care. We recommend seeking advice if you have circumstances that you think may qualify.

Common mistakes that we see are Nominations being made to parents, brothers or sisters or other relatives, but there is no interdependent relationship so the Nomination is invalid. A Nomination can have “if, then” clauses to allow you to nominate persons should certain beneficiaries have already passed away – such as “100% distribution to my spouse. If I survive my spouse, or if I divorce from current spouse, then distribute to my children on equal proportionate basis”.

So please ensure that you review your beneficiaries and ensure that they are the right type for your situation, and valid. If you would like to update your superannuation beneficiaries or have a chat to one of our financial advisors, we are always here to help. Please get in touch with our team.

 

Steve Reynolds – Certified Financial Planner

BComm, Dip.FS(FP)

Downsizing your home and contributing to superannuation

The downsizer superannuation contribution applies to those aged 65 years or over. Who may want to contribute some of the proceeds from the sale of their home to superannuation.

Legislation enabling the downsizer superannuation contribution measure was passed in December 2017. This meant, people aged 65 and over, who sold their principal/main residence could contribute up to $300,000 each to their superannuation fund from the sale proceeds.

The downsizer superannuation contribution may appeal to those individuals who previously could not contribute to the tax-advantages superannuation provides. Mainly due to age based eligibility and work test restrictions.

Eligibility requirements

The downsizer superannuation contribution eligibility criteria:

  1. You must enter the contract to sell the property after 1 July 2018.
  2. You make the downsizer superannuation contribution when your are 65 years of age or older.
  3. The property must be located in Australia and cannot be a caravan, mobile home or houseboat.
  4. You and/or your spouse must have owned the home for at least 10 years prior to the sale.
  5. The property is the person’s main residence. Or is eligible for at least a part main residence capital gains tax exemption, including a residence purchased pre-September 1985.
  6. An election form is provided to your super fund before or with the contribution.
  7. You have 90 days from settlement to make the contribution.
  8. You have not previously made a downsizer superannuation contribution to your fund from the sale of another home.

A person can contribute a maximum of $300,000. However, the actual sale proceeds of the house can potentially limit this.

Examples of the downsizer superannuation contribution

John and Kate (both aged 65+)

John and Kate sell their main residence for $400,000. They also have $200,000 in the bank. John and Kate are limited to contributing a combined total of $400,000 in any ratio. Which does not exceed the $300,000 per person contribution cap. Such as Kate making a contribution of $300,000 and Rob contributing $100,000.

Peter and Lily (both aged 65+)

Peter and Lily sell their main residence for $700,000. Both Peter and Lily could contribute up to $300,000 each as downsizing contributions. They could contribute the remaining $100,000 as a non-concessional contribution (NCC). This would be subject to meeting the over 65 work test and their previous 30 June total super balance.

Other things to consider
Superannuation

Your total superannuation balance does not impact your ability to make a downsizer superannuation contribution. This will however, increase your total superannuation balance and may affect your eligibility for future contributions.

This measure does not necessarily allow this contribution to be moved to a tax-exempt pension phase. As the amount that can be moved to a tax-exempt pension phase in super is limited by the $1.6 million pension transfer balance cap.

Centrelink

Your main residence is an exempt asset for Centrelink. However, Centrelink will asses the sale proceeds leading to a reduction or loss of social security benefits.

Time to talk about your superannuation?

Our team of financial advisors can help in all areas of superannuation. So let’s talk.

Our 2018 Federal Budget Wrap-Up

It’s that time of year again when the Federal Budget is handed down. These are a few things that we took from the 2018/19 Federal Budget and what they mean for you.

  • Level playing field for small business
  • Instant Asset Write-off extended
  • Income Tax relief
  • Green light on Child Care subsidy
  • Super superannuation changes

 

Level playing field for small businesses

Small businesses that play by the rules may have just had the playing field levelled. For many years small businesses have complained about losing contracts to competitors. Competitors who have lower costs and don’t do the right thing in regard to wages, contractors and tax payments.

From 1 July 2019 the Government are looking to target tax evasion and under-payment of wages in several ways that may help small business.

  • The ATO will be denying a tax deduction to businesses that withhold payments from employees and contractors and do not forward those amounts to the ATO. This includes where the employer fails to report amounts withheld to the ATO. Meaning businesses that fail to withhold tax correctly, report it and pay it to the ATO will find the entire payment no longer tax-deductible.
  • Reporting amounts paid to contractors to the ATO in the form of Taxable Payments Annual Report will be extended. This is currently required for businesses in building and construction. In future, TPAR will also cover security, road freight transport and computer system design industries. This measure is designed to bring contractor payments within these industries in line with payments to employees generally. Making both the contractor and the ATO aware of the exact amount paid from each business to its contractors.
  • Businesses will no longer be allowed to receive cash payments of greater than $10,000 for any goods or services provided. Non-business transactions, and transactions with banks remain unchanged.
  • Reform in corporations and tax laws to deter illegal phoenix activity. Some of these measures will limit circumstances in which directors can resign if a company is left with no directors. Also extending the Director Penalty Regime to include GST, luxury car tax and wine equalisation tax, making directors personally liable for the company’s debts.

Overall, it is hoped these measures will reduce the ability of businesses to underpay staff, avoid reporting of payments for contractors and ensure directors are accountable for their actions.

 

Instant asset write-off extended

There will be continued relief for small businesses as the $20,000 instant asset write-off is extended for another year to 30 June 2019. First introduced on budget night 2015/16, this tax concession was  originally set to end on 30 June 2017. The last Federal Budget announced a 12 month extension and it has been extended yet again for another 12 months.

The benefits to business considered small, under current legislation, relate to tax-deductibility of assets used in the business. Therefore it varies based on each small business’ structure and profitability.

If a business then purchases an asset up to the value of $20,000 it may claim a full tax deduction in the current financial year. Rather than depreciating the asset over several years. The $20,000 limit applies per asset, rather than per business or per year. This means businesses may claim several assets provided each individual asset cost less than $20,000 to purchase, including installation.

The write off provides a great tax benefit to those businesses considering purchasing assets, by bringing forward deductions. However, business with carried forward losses or that made a loss over the current financial year, the benefits may not be so great.

 

Income Tax Relief

Tuesday night’s Federal Budget delivered reductions in personal tax that will be phased in over the next seven years.

From 1 July 2018 to 30 June 2022, the Government will introduce a new non-refundable Low and Middle Income Tax Offset (LMITO). Designed to provide tax relief of up to $530 for taxpayers earning up to $90,000 and will be in addition to the existing Low Income Tax Offset (LITO). The offset phases out from $90,001 to $125,333.

The Government has decided not to increase the Medicare Levy and it will remain at 2%.

Rate 2018/19 – 2021/22 2022/23 – 2023/24 2024/25 – onwards
0% $0-$18,200 $0-$18,200 $0-$18,200
19% $18,201-$37,000 $18,201-$41,000 $18,201-$41,000
32.5% $37,001-$90,000 $41,001-$120,000 $41,001-$200,000
37% $90,001-$180,000 $120,000-$180,000 N/A
45% $180,001+ $180,001+ $200,001+
LITO Up to $445 Up to $645 Up to $645
LMITO Up to $530

Tax rates and thresholds (not including 2% Medicare Levy)

 

Green light on Child Care Subsidy

In last year’s Federal Budget we reported on the planned new Child Care Subsidy (CCS) which will replace the two current child care payments. The Government have confirmed that this will go ahead from 2 July 2018.

So this is an important reminder to make sure you register before this date.

The family income caps:

Family Income Your CCS Percentage %
$0-$66,958 85%
$66,599-$171,958 Percentage reduces by 1% for eery $3,000 of family income
$171,959-$251,248 50%
$251,249-$341,248 Percentage reduces by 1% for every $3,000 of family income
$341,249-$351,248 20%
$351,249+ 0%

Your CCS percentage by family income

 

Mature aged individuals in the workforce

To assist pensioners in working part-time or to be self-employed and not jeopardising their fortnightly pension, the work pension bonus will increase. Going from $250 to $300 a fortnight and allowing those individuals to earn up to $7,800 per year. This is an additional $1,300 per year on top of the current allowance.

The government will provide wage subsidies of up to $10,000 for employers who take on employees aged over 50. With further incentives provided to up-skill mature aged workers.

 

Super superannuation changes

Superannuation funds will have all exit fees banned from 1 July 2019.

There will be a fee cap of 3% on charges by a superannuation fund to protect super balances below $6,000. This threshold will also apply to superannuation accounts deemed inactive, these are funds that have not received a contribution in 13 months. Additionally, inactive accounts will need to be transferred to the ATO.

There will be an opt-in for life and TPD insurance for those under 25 with a balance of less than $6,000.

Currently, those aged 65-74 who want to contribute to superannuation have to meet the work’s test. This means working 40 hours in a consecutive 30 day period. Coming in from the 1 July 2019, there will be a one year exemption on the work’s test. Only if the customer’s balance is below $300,000 and the work test was satisfied in the previous year. For example, if Mary aged 66, stops working in 2018/19 and her balance is below $300,000. Mary would be able to contribute to superannuation in 2019/20 without meeting the work’s test.

Self-managed super funds were not left out of this year’s Federal Budget. Currently the maximum number of members an SMSF can have is four. There is a proposal to increase this to a maximum of 6 members. Additionally, there is also a proposal to increase the time between audits to three years. This is only for funds with good record-keeping, a clear audit history for three consecutive years and that lodge their annual returns on time.

 

That’s the Canny Group wrap from the 2018/19 Federal Budget. Let us know if you have any questions.

The buzz around Cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrency was the buzz word for much of 2017 and it seems 2018 has many of us even more captivated. Nearly everywhere you go or look you can be sure that someone is talking about or making reference to cryptocurrency.

What exactly is Cryptocurrency?

A cryptocurrency is a digital or virtual currency designed to work as a medium of exchange. It uses cryptography to secure and verify transactions, as well as to control the creation of new units of a particular cryptocurrency. You also might hear about the Blockchain. This is essentially a digitised and decentralised ledger of all cryptocurrency transactions.

The cryptocurrency market has been through the mincer to start off the year. Some of the coins losing 40-50% of their value or more. Bitcoin peaked at around $25,000 AUD late last year and currently sits at just below $10,000 AUD. Whereas at the start of 2017 it was valued at less than $1,000 USD.

Given the huge drop in recent times, is there a need for concern?

If you follow the trends, over the last few years there has been a market downturn mid January, with the overall market finishing substantially higher than where it started.

Thinking of investing?

Like with all investing you need to do your research before diving in. You also need to make sure that you are invested in line with your specified risk profile. You can invest in shares, cash, property and alternative assets; which is where Cryptocurrency would fall. Given the high risk and volatility involved, it would be recommended that the percentage of your total investment portfolio is limited, unless you’re willing to risk everything you have.

It’s also important to find out any tax implications before investing. As like with any money making schemes, the ATO want to ensure that they are receiving their fair share.

The future of Cryptocurrency

At present, Venezuela are looking to utilise a cryptocurrency for their national currency, as their economy is struggling at the moment. This shows that there could be a real future in Cryptocurrency.

 

Accessing super for medical procedures

There has been a growing trend in recent times of people accessing superannuation early for a variety of reasons. At present, early access to superannuation could be due to; severe financial hardship or on medical grounds, as well as some other reasons.

In 2016-17 alone 15,000 Australians accessed their superannuation for medical procedures, this is three times the number in 2011. Weight Loss Surgery and IVF topping the list. In dollar terms, there was $290M released in the 2016-17 year for medical procedures.

In certain cases, without these procedures some may not even live to see retirement age. Let alone be able to enjoy the superannuation they’ve already worked hard to accumulate. The issue they will face however, is that accessing super early to fund these surgeries could have a considerable impact on their end retirement balance.

What can they do?

For those that choose to access their superannuation early for medical procedures, it’s important to give some consideration to the shortfall. For instance, noting an intention that making additional ongoing contributions can help reduce any potential gaps by retirement.

EXAMPLE

A 30 year old with $50,000 in super and earning $55,000 per annum would have around $475,000 in today’s dollars at age 67, or a future value of $998,325. If this person accessed $20,000 at age 30, their superannuation would drop to $415,000 or a future value of $863,484. Making the balance approximately $125,000 less by retirement.

To bridge this gap, the 30 year old could salary sacrifice approximately $20 every week, from age 30 to age 67 to have the same or similar balance. If they did not want to salary sacrifice, the equivalent non-concessional contribution would be approximately $850 per year.

Should you withdrawal superannuation to fund IVF and achieve a successful result, you may decide to take time off work or reduce your hours to care for your child. In this case, another way of getting money back into super and to take advantage of tax breaks, is spouse contributions. This is where a spouse can contribute monies into their spouse’s fund and claim a tax deduction. You can receive a maximum tax offset of up to $540, if your spouse earns less than $40,000. To receive the full $540 offset, the income must be under $13,800 and the spouse contribution needs to be $3,000.

The ability to access superannuation can provide these individuals with a life changing opportunity they may not have otherwise had. It’s just important to give some thought to not only looking after themselves now, but all the way through their retirement. If you want to know more about how this might reflect your current situation, get in touch with us.

Your business premises and a SMSF

One of the simplest but most effective strategies for a business owner to save money is often overlooked and regrettably not always utilised to its full potential. This strategy provides tax benefits, allows capital to accumulate over time and offers business owners the opportunity to pay themselves rather than third parties. All with the added bonus of creating a plan for retirement, something that so many business owners don’t prioritise. It’s the crème de la crème of the small business world. The strategy: renting your business premises from your self-managed superannuation fund (SMSF).

Benefits of a business premises in a SMSF

Owning a business premises in a SMSF provides a plethora of benefits. One such benefit is tax savings by paying rent from the business into the SMSF. The business is then able to claim a tax deduction, potentially saving 30%-45% tax (depending on the business structure). The SMSF declares income and pays 15% tax on that income (or even 0% if the SMSF is in pension mode). The tax savings also apply when considering selling the premises and any capital gains that arise from the sale.

Another benefit of owning the business premises in a SMSF is asset protection. As the SMSF is a separate structure and regulated by its own set of laws, the premises has a solid chance of being protected from creditors and should be considered with other asset protection strategies. However, these strategies are not always iron clad and should be discussed at length with the appropriate advisor.

This strategy also provides more flexibility when trying to put more money into super. Rent can be used as a means to accumulate more funds for retirement and the best thing is rental income does not count towards the contributions caps. This means more money can be injected from the individual member’s hands into their SMSF, resulting in a larger funds pool for retirement.

So, how do you get the premise into a SMSF?

Well, herein potentially lies additional benefits from implementing this strategy. Don’t have enough capital to purchase the premises through your own means? Your SMSF might have enough funds to purchase it instead. If financially sound to do so, a SMSF could even obtain financing through a limited recourse borrowing arrangement to secure the premises.

Own the premises but desire a more effective way of saving tax and better funding for retirement? Contribute the premises into a SMSF as an in-specie (non-cash) contribution and watch your retirement savings grow (keeping in mind the contribution cannot exceed the caps). Small business tax concessions could apply to ease the burden of moving the premises into super.

A combination of the above may also better suit individual needs. As long as the premises is real property, it can be contributed into or purchased by a SMSF, without contravening the SMSF rules. Buying through a SMSF using retirement funds could be a useful way of owning an asset that cannot be purchased through other means. All while ensuring rent paid by your business goes to fund your own retirement rather than a third party.

Implementation

Timing and planning is crucial when implementing this strategy as there are many considerations and one size does not fit all. There are also some disadvantages to owning a business premises in a SMSF, such as; increased administration and compliance costs, locking funds and assets up until retirement, and potentially severe consequences for deliberate non-compliance.

If you want to look at a self-managed super fund

Protecting your biggest asset

Do you ever stop to think about what you would do if you were suddenly unable to produce an income?

Financial worry is the leading cause of stress among Australian’s, that’s while in the capacity to earn an income. Statistics suggest that most of us put our ability to survive on no income at less than a month. So it’s a wonder that we don’t do more about it.
We talk freely of different insurances to protect assets, such as the house or car. But not so much about protecting our biggest asset – ourselves. While thinking about becoming seriously unwell or sustaining a life altering injury isn’t a great thought, the reality is it can and does happen. Planning for the ‘what if’ has the ability to provide a silver lining in what would already be a heartbreaking and life changing situation.

You may already be aware that there are four main types of personal insurance; Life, Total and Permanent Disablement (TPD), Income Protection and Trauma Cover.

Leading causes of claims

Why do I need personal insurance?

With the above in mind, could you afford to maintain your current lifestyle if one of those was to happen to you as well as the costs associated with your recovery?

Even in your 20’s when you may have minimal responsibilities, having some type of personal insurance in place to pay for your lifestyle and/or outstanding debts may be a better option than relying on and placing that financial strain on parents. And for the parents, what would your child do if they became sick or injured? So often now when they’re supposed to be thinking about their own retirement, parent are having to take on financial responsibility of their children who haven’t protected themselves. Having the conversation about personal insurance may prove to be an economical one to encourage with them.

How much do I need?

It’s hard enough to get people to think about their superannuation alone. However, many of us may be aware and probably have some type of personal insurance in our super fund. While an Income Protection policy will cover up to 75% of your wage, knowing what insurances you have and whether the policy benefit is enough should be regularly reviewed.
NOTE: A Trauma policy cannot be held in super.

When considering your Life and TPD policies, think carefully about three principal areas;

  1. What would be needed to cover any immediate costs? As well as that of a funeral in the event that you did pass away.
  2. How much is required to pay off any existing debts? Such as a mortgage.
  3. How much would be needed in legacy? Such as the amount required to pay for your child or children’s education and lifestyle as they grow up.
Time to do something about your personal insurance?

Personal Insurance is very tailored. Knowing what type of policy would be most beneficial, the benefit amount to have and the best provider for you and your circumstances, are all factors we will work out with you.

If your policy has been in place for some time, there is every chance it may not reflect your current circumstances. Things like changes in income level, assets/liabilities, marital situation, family members and so on are triggers that should prompt a review.

If you would like more information or to schedule an appointment, please call our office on 03 5278 9500 or send an enquiry.

Your New Year’s resolution

2018 is almost here and for many of us a new year represents a new start. A chance to really commit to giving something a red hot go. Most New Year’s resolutions involve losing weight, maintaining a healthier lifestyle, living life to its fullest and spending more time with friends and family.

While we can’t help you lose weight or with any of the above specifically, we can help with another common intention. If your New Year’s resolution is to get on top of your finances, we have come up with few tips to help you do just that.

TIP #1 – DO A BUDGET

Allocate some time to going through your finances. Look at where your money is going. This is now easier than ever with internet banking. Most providers give you the ability to view your overall spending. Breaking things down into categories such as groceries, transport and health, just to name a few. Keep an eye on the discretionary spending areas such as shopping, home, eating out and entertainment. Do you really need to go to Kmart this weekend? Or Bunnings to buy yet another spare Ryobi battery on the chance the lawn mower, chainsaw and blower vac all go flat at the same time?

TIP #2 – CUT DOWN ON TAKE-AWAY

Well this tip might actually be us helping you with the lose weight resolution. Being time poor is a frustrating part of being an adult. However, being organised doesn’t just come down to which particular Zodiac sign you belong to. Do some meal preparation on the weekends or in the least, plan the week ahead and get all of the dinner ingredients when doing the groceries.

TIP #3 – SEEK OUT A 0% INTEREST CREDIT CARD

Statistics from ASIC’s Money Smart Guide estimate that the average credit card debt per card holder is just over $4100.

For any existing debt, seek out and transfer the balance to a 0% interest rate credit card. There are plenty out there. Just make sure you set yourself up to pay it off within the 0% interest period. Cut up the old credit card or if you really need to keep it, reduce the limit.

TIP #4 – START A SAVINGS PLAN

Statistics from ASIC’s Money Smart Guide also suggest that 43% of Australian’s don’t have a clear financial plan.

When starting a savings plan it needs to be achievable. Even starting with something as simple as saving $1 for every week of the year. $1 in the first week, $2 in the second, $3 in the third and so on. If you did this for the entire year with $52 being the amount deposited in the final week, you will have saved $1300. Plus any interest. You will earn more interest starting with $52 in the first week, $51 in the second and so on.

TIP #5 – IF YOU HAVE A MORTGAGE, GET AN OFFSET ACCOUNT

If you don’t already have one. Putting your money into an offset account can cut years off your mortgage and save you tens of thousands of dollars. An offset account allows you the flexibility of having savings as well as using it to reduce the amount of interest you are paying on the balance of your mortgage. Instead of earning interest on that savings.

So there you have it. We wish you all the best in 2018 and hope that you successfully achieve any resolutions you challenge yourself to.

Want a more personalised approach to your financial plan? We can be there to assist you throughout your financial journey. We will help you set clear goals and implement a plan to achieve them in all stages of life.