Financial Health + Wellness – Does It Matter?

Many of us are aware of the importance of improving our physical and emotional health. We have heard it many times, that regular exercise and eating balanced and healthy meals can result in long term health benefits. But did you know there is a direct correlation between our physical well-being and financial health?  

What is financial health and why is it important to a happy and successful life?  

Financial health is a term used to describe the state and stability of an individual’s personal finances and financial affairsGood financial health is about taking control of your finances, having the financial freedom to make choices now, and in the future, and being ready to cope with unforeseen changes to your financial circumstances, such as job loss. It is important to review your financial health as poor financial health can lead to financial stress. Stress in itself is not necessarily harmful but when we experience prolonged financial stress, it can affect our physical and mental health.  Financial stress can create emotional exhaustion, anxiety, insomnia, depression, and can affect our relationships with family and friends.  

Understanding your financial situation is the first step to improving your financial health. Below are 6 strategies to improve your financial health. 

1. KNOW YOUR BUDGET

If you don’t already have one, create a budget to help you plan your expenses and identify areas where you can cut back on. For example, can you cancel memberships you no longer use? Work out what are your needs and wants and avoid buying under stress or impulse. Stick to your budget even though your income increases. Do an annual health check on utilities, insurance, phone bank charges, and mortgage to ensure you are not paying for expenses any more than you need to. 

2. SET SAVINGS GOALS

Once you have worked out your budget, work out a savings plan. Perhaps you are saving for a house deposit, new investment, or for a holiday. Saving for something takes time and its important to be realistic about how long it will take. But having a savings plan and sticking to it will help you reach your savings goal sooner. It will also give you a sense of achievement and satisfaction that you have worked hard for something without needing to borrow funds. Some people found setting up automatic transfers to a separate savings account which they could not easily access was helpful. 

3. HAVE AN EMERGENCY FUND

Do you have an emergency fund for that rainy day that you have set aside to access in the case of unexpected costs, such as a loss of employment, major repairs, or medical emergency? Generally, it is recommended to set aside 3 to 6 months’ worth of expenses for your emergency fund.  

4. PRIORITISE HIGHER INTEREST DEBT

 Credit cards and personal loans often have higher interest rates that are not tax-deductible and therefore considered bad debt. Focus on paying off these debts first or if possible, consider consolidating the debt to reduce what you pay in fees and interest. 

5. PAY MORE THAN THE MINIMUM

Your home loan is also another bad debt. Consider reviewing your home loan to ensure that you are getting the best deal on the market and look at whether you can increase your repayments on a weekly or fortnightly basis. By increasing your minimum repayments and making home loan repayments weekly or fortnightly rather than monthly you can significantly reduce the interest you are paying in the long run and repay your debt faster. 

6. SEEKING HELP

If you are feeling overwhelmed, remember it’s ok to ask for support. You may want to seek professional help from a Financial Planner or avail yourself of free financial counselling offered by community organisations, community legal centres, and some government agencies. 

 

Helen Yau – Manager + Financial Planner

CA, BCom, Dip Fp, SSA

How To Avoid A Tax Debt

Sometimes when you were expecting a nice little tax refund into your bank account and you end up with a tax debit, it can be a little hard to swallow and leave you wondering why!?  If you have been in this position, we have put together a few points on how to avoid this same situation happening next year and how you can prepare in advance!

If your refund is less than you expect, these are the most common reasons which you may not have taken into consideration:

  • The refund amount has been offset against another debt, either another tax debt (previous income tax bill, or activity statement debt), or another government agency debt (Centrelink, or Child Support Agency)
  • Compulsory payments, such as: Higher Education Loan Program (HELP); Trade Support Loan (TSL); VET Student Loan (VSL); or Student Financial Supplement Scheme (SFSS) repayments
  • You need to pay Medicare levy surcharge because you stopped paying private patient hospital cover and your income is above a certain threshold
  • New or amended income tests
  • Excess concessional contributions to a super fund
  • Your employer incorrectly reporting reportable employer superannuation contributions on your payment summary
  • Tax was not withheld from a taxable payment (such as Jobseeker payments) and your total income for the year was more than the tax-free threshold
  • You incorrectly claimed the tax-free threshold.
  • You are an employee and enough tax has not been withheld from the payments made to you by your employer
  • You are a sole trader and have not paid enough tax to the ATO throughout the year
  • Receive other income where no tax was withheld such as Centrelink payments
  • Working for more than 1 employer and have compulsory payments, such as: Higher Education Loan Program (HELP); Trade Support Loan (TSL); VET Student Loan (VSL); or Student Financial Supplement Scheme (SFSS) repayments

TIPS FOR AVOIDING TAX DEBT AT THE END OF THE YEAR

  • Claim tax free threshold only from 1 employer in a financial year
  • If you have HECS debt and you are working for 2 employers, you need to pay extra tax based on percentage of your total income from both employers. Check your HECS repayment rate on https://www.ato.gov.au/Rates/HELP,-TSL-and-SFSS-repayment-thresholds-and-rates/
  • Set up PAYG instalment payments with ATO if you are sole trader
  • Ask Centrelink to withhold tax on any benefits received from Centrelink
  • Seek financial advice if you are planning to contribute a big amount to your super fund.
  • If you are earning more than $90,000 or earning more than $180,000 as a family, seek advice to get private health insurance cover to avoid Medicare levy surcharge
  • Know in advance if you have any debts with ATO or Centrelink or another government agency.

 

Kim Sandhu – Senior Accountant

CPA – B.Com M.Acc

2020 Tax Returns + 3 Ways To Make The Most Out Of It!

Did you know that the average Australian received a tax refund of $2,381?  That’s enough to splurge on some new furniture or an LED Smart TV, right?  Well, before you head down to your local shopping centre with your tax refund in hand, take a look at three ways we’ve come up with to spend your tax return.  We’re confident that the following strategies will help you make the most out of your tax return and create positive change in your life.

#1 SET UP AN EMERGENCY FUND

Research conducted in last year’s Financial Consciousness Index found that a concerning 13.4 million Australian’s do not have emergency savings to fall back on if there were unable to earn an income for more than three months.  The study also found that 7.5 million Australian’s struggle to pay their bills and are not saving money regularly.  With this is mind, why not use this year’s tax return to set up an emergency fund and make this the start of your savings plan.  Our team at Canny Advisory can help you with budgeting and saving to ensure that you have the right financial plan in place to set yourself up for success.

TIP // speak to one of our Financial Planners or Advisers to find out the easiest way to make this happen without even noticing!

#2 MEET WITH AN ESTATE PLANNING LAWYER

As the saving goes, there are only two certainties in life; death and taxes.  Unfortunately, more than half of Australian adults do not have a will.  So, with this year’s tax return, why not protect your loved ones and sit down with an estate planning lawyer to draw up a will or testamentary trust.  Our team at Canny Legal can help you with your estate planning needs, including wills, enduring powers of attorney and medical power of attorney.  Getting this sorted can be the final way you say ‘I love you’ to the people you love the most.

TIP // check out www.cannygroup.com.au/wills to complete your Will in the comfort of your own home, without having to leave your couch!

#3 STARTING YOUR SIDE HUSTLE

If you have an idea of starting a side business, use this year’s tax return to kick-start this once and for all.  it doesn’t take much more than $2,381 to get started these days: a basic website and some Facebook or Instagram ads to attract your first paying customers.  Why not make this the start of your side hustle and see if you can generate a return on investment and get your business off the ground.  It’s also worth keeping in mind that our team at Canny Accounting can help you to take your side hustle to the next level.  We will ensure that you’re equipped with the knowledge to manage your side hustle the right way and take advantage of opportunities as they present themselves.

TIP // speak to one of our team to ask them about booking your ticket to our FREE Side Hustle webinar to help you get started the right way!

So, how will you spend your tax return this year?

 

Chris Graham – Client Services

HAPPY EOFY – Tax Tips for Small Business + Sole Traders

What a time we have had over the last six months, first with the devastating bush fires and now with the Covid-19 pandemic, it certainly has been a different time, the likes that many of us have not seen before.

Many small businesses and sole traders would have been entitled to receive Government assistance during this period including grants and concessional loans for those affected by the bush fires and JobKeeper reimbursements, cash flow boost for employers and State Government grants for those affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Of these assistance packages some will be tax-free, while others will be considered taxable income.  Here are some of the packages and their tax treatment:

  • DISASTER RELIEF PAYMENTS [BUSH FIRES] // these are non-taxable payments + do not need to be included in your tax return
  • JOBKEEPER REIMBURSEMENT [COVID-19] // as the name implies, these are reimbursements + are therefore considered taxable income
  • CASH FLOW BOOST [COVID-19] // these payments are tax free.  They are not required to be paid back once the business’ cash flow improves
  • STATE GOVERNMENT BUSINESS SUPPORT FUND GRANT [COVID-19] // this one-off payment to eligible businesses is considered taxable income

Due to Covid-19, your business income may have been affected to such a degree that you will not have any issues with the 2020 Financial Year tax, but if you will here are some tips to help reduce your taxable income:

  • SUPPLIER INVOICES // pay any supplier invoices prior to 30 June, even if they are not due until July or later.
  • SUPERANNUATION // pay the June quarter superannuation obligations prior to 30 June.  Generally, it takes 5-7 business days for payment to be received by the employees superannuation fund, so payment will need to be processed earlier to allow for this.
  • BUSINESS OWNERS // if you are a business owner, you could pay an additional superannuation contribution to maximise the $25,000 concessional contributions cap.
  • SOLE TRADER // if you are a sole trader, you may take a concessional contribution to your superannuation fund and claim a tax deduction for it.
  • INSTANT ASSET WRITE-OFF // the threshold currently stands at $150,000, so any piece of equipment or business vehicle, below this threshold, will be able to be deducted in full in the 2020 financial year, if purchased and in use by 30 June 2020.

 

Danny Grigg – Senior Accountant

BComm CA

 

HAPPY EOFY – Tax Tips for Individuals

It’s that time of year again, Tax Time! For individuals who have a tax agent, like Canny Group and their accounting team on hand, we will lodge your tax return for you on your behalf and you have until 15 May 2021 to do this.  However, if you are lodge your own tax return you have until 31 October 2020 to have it lodged.

Either way, we have put together some tax tips that you should consider before 30 June 2020 to help; reduce your taxable income, maximise deductions, take advantage of tax offsets, accessing free money from the Government as well as COVID-19 incentives and advice for retirees.  Everyone has been impacted by COVID-19 in many different ways, and we have put together these tips to help you be as prepared as possible and hopefully empower you to maximise your refund when it comes to lodging your tax return.

TAX TIP #1… Ways to reduce your taxable income!

SUPER CONTRIBUTION // make a personal deduction superannuation contribution.  Check with payroll to determine how much has been contributed so far.  The concessional contribution cap is $25,000 for the 2019/20 income year.

UNUSED CONTRIBUTION // do you have any carry forward unused concessional contribution from the 2018/19 income year?  If your total superannuation balance is under $500,000 at 30 June 2019, you may benefit from making a catch-up deductible super contribution.  This may be especially beneficial to those who have additional income due to sale of investments such as shares or property.

DEFER INCOME // are you nearing retirement?  It may be worthwhile to defer your income until after 30 June if your income will be smaller in the subsequent year.

TAX TIP #2… Maximise deductions!

MOTOR VEHICLE EXPENSES // individuals who use their car for work related travel can claim 68 cents per kilometre up to 5,000km for business travel or claim under the log book method of car expenses.  Canny Group’s team of accountants will be able to determine which method yields the greatest deduction.

WORK-RELATED EXPENSES // consider if you need any work-related items such as tools of trade, computer, subscriptions or work clothing and whether you could purchase or pay for those expenses before 30 June to increase your deductions.

DONATIONS // or gifts of $2 or more to a deductible gift recipient are tax deductible.  Where spouses are on different marginal rates, consider making donations by the spouse that is in the higher tax bracket to maximise the benefit of the deduction.

HOME OFFICE // if you have been working at home due to COVID-19, you may be eligible to claim a rate of 80 cents per hour for all your running expenses from 1 March to 30 June.  Multiple people living in the house could each individually claim the 80 cents per hour rate.

PROTECTIVE CLOTHING // did you buy protective items such as gloves, face masks, sanitiser to use at work due to COVID-19?  If your specific employment duties require you to have physical contact or be in close proximity to customers or clients while carrying out your duties or you are involved in cleaning premises, you can claim a deduction for protective items.  The ATO considers those that work in the following industries or occupations are exposed to the risk of illness in the course of working:

  • Medical Industry
  • Cleaning Industry
  • Airline Industry
  • Hairdressing + Beautician Industry
  • Retail, Cafe + Restaurant Industry

TAX TIP #3… Take advantage of tax offsets!

SPOUSE OFFSET // receive a $540 tax offset by making a personal contribution up to $3,000 to super on behalf of your spouse.  Only available if your spouse’s taxable income is less than $37,000.  A lower tax offset may be available if you contribute less than $3,000 or your spouse earns between $37,000 and $40,000.

LOW + MIDDLE INCOME OFFSET // individuals on a taxable income of $37,000 or less will receive up to $255 tax offset and those on taxable incomes between $48,000 and $90,000 will receive the maximum $1,080 offset.  Incomes between $90,000 and $126,000 will receive partial offset.  This is not a tax refund but a tax offset.

TAX TIP #4… Access free money from the Government!

CO-CONTRIBUTIONS // receive a Government co-contribution of up to $500 paid into your superannuation by making an after-tax superannuation contribution of $1,000 or more.  Full amount is available to those with taxable income less that $38,564 and a reduced amount is available to those with taxable income less that $53,564.

TAX TIP #5… COVID-19 impact!

JOBKEEPER + JOBSEEKER // JobKeeper and JobSeeker payments are assessable income and need to be included in your tax return.

STIMULUS PAYMENT // the $750 stimulus payment that was provided to social security, veteran and other income support recipients and eligible concession card holders is tax free and does not need to be included in your tax return.

CORONAVIRUS SUPPLEMENT // the $550 Coronoavirus fortnightly supplement is taxable income and will need to be included in your tax return as income.

EARLY RELEASE OF SUPER // individuals who have applied for and received the early release of superannuation will not nee to pay tax on the amounts release from super.

TAX TIP #6… Retirees!

REDUCE PENSION // the minimum drawdown requirements for account based pensions has been halved for the 2019/20 and 2020/21 income year.  This will benefit retirees with account based pension by reducing the need to sell investment assets to fund minimum drawdown requirements.

SOCIAL SECURITY // in light of the low interest rates on savings, the Government has reduced social security deeming rates from 1 May 2020.  You could be eligible for Centrelink entitlements such as the age pension or Commonwealth Seniors health care card with the lowering of deeming rates.

 

Helen Yau – Manager + Financial Planner

CA, BCom, Dip FP, SSA

Adapt to Change + Come Out Thriving

Life has changed for us on a global scale and we are experiencing a collective loss of the world we once knew.  We are all unique and experiencing the grief in different ways.  We may be feeling the loss of physical touch or connection, playing sport, change in routine, gatherings with family and friends, workplace changes, job loss, loss of someone we know due to the virus, and most of all; our freedom.

Children are experiencing it too and may be showing it in their behaviour as they too miss connection with their family and friends, their sports, activities and school.

Our workplaces have changed whether it is dramatically, slightly or somewhere in between.

As if our working day didn’t already include enough moving pieces to manage, a lot of the population are now working and living under one roof 24 hours a day.  You may be living with family, friends or housemates; emotions will be fluctuating and at times we may feel like we are on an emotional roller-coaster, but keep in mind that difficult emotions don’t often last and will pass.

Many of us are home learning our children while working.  Our kids are having virtual morning school sessions, we are on zoom meetings, we all have work/school deadlines that need to be met. We are trying to get as much work done while kids nap or in their recess time and many of us are attempting to wedge the rest of the workday into the early mornings and post-bedtime.

We are all juggling our role as best we can on a day to day basis.  Some days are great and others may be very challenging.  It is important to know we are all in this together and that even though we are physically distancing we need to remain connected socially to those that love and support us; our family, friends and colleagues.  We will help each other through this time.  We will forge stronger bonds with some friends and work colleagues and we may also notice the leaders or managers in your workplace that thrive during this and other’s that struggle with offering compassion, empathy and kindness.

In these unusual times keep things simple.  To maintain good mental and emotional health, here are some ideas to help you sail through the coming months and allow yourself to ‘Thrive’ and not just ‘Survive’.

  1. Complete one satisfying activity and one pleasurable activity each day. Anything more is considered a bonus.
  2. Focus on the things we can control, rather than those out of our control. This may include our mindset each day, finding the fun in our day, switching off the news, having a break from social media if we are finding it too negative, being kind and showing gratitude towards others and ourselves.
  3. Get good quality sleep. Sleep is essentially our life support system; our swiss army knife of good health.  It is not only vital for our physical recuperation; it is essential for our emotional and mental health restoration.  Following good sleep hygiene is high on my priority list for better brain cognition, emotional stability and physical endurance.
  4. Go outside and soak in the Vitamin D we receive from the sun. Not only is Vitamin D essential for our bone health but for proper brain development and functioning.  Low levels of vitamin D can be associated with depression, anxiety and seasonal affective disorder (SAD).  Sunlight is the best form of Vitamin D.  Your body also needs it to absorb calcium so it’s a double bonus; by walking or exercising outdoors, you get your dose of Vitamin D but you are also strengthening your bone density which helps prevent osteoporosis, muscle spasms and aches.
  5. Do something that nourishes and nurtures your mind, body and soul. We are bounded for many hours a day within our four falls with our family or friends and it’s important we have some time out from each other.  Whether it is talking a warm magnesium bath, reading a book, going for a walk, colouring or painting, dancing to an uplifting song, writing a story, swimming in the ocean, calling a friend for a chat, gardening or knitting.  These mindful activities will help enormously with your mental health and keep you sane over the months ahead.
  6. Drink water regularly. It is important to stay hydrated.  Water helps with our motivation, clarity, productivity and our mood, along with all the awesome things water does for our body.
  7. Check in with our emotions and tune into how you are feeling regularly. The best way to do this is take time to breathe.  Do some regular deep breathing exercises to instantly calm our nervous system, boost brain function, reduce blood pressure and feel more relaxed and focussed instantly.  There are lots of different techniques which include Box breathing, alternate nostril breathing, 4-7-8 technique, abdominal breathing, yogic breathing (pranayama) or just taking a moment to focus on our breathe.  There are also great ones for your kids too like finger breathing, hot air balloon, bumble bee breath, elephant breathing and shoulder roll breathing to name a few.  These are also great for adults and have the fun element too.
  8. If you are saving several hours a day from not travelling to work, what positive things can you do in this time? Some of the activities that may have popped into your mind after reading #5.
  9. Be curious about things you notice, see or read. It will enhance your creativity and improve both your mental and emotional wellbeing.
  10. Eat well! Nourish yourself with fresh foods.  Consume a variety of foods that are nutrient dense. Choose a rainbow of fruit and vegetables.  Eat when we are feeling calm, happy or relaxed, rather than when we are stressed or upset as our digestion switches off if our mind is in a flight/fight state.

It will be interesting to see what our workplaces look like after this.  Our leaders and managers have the opportunity to choose quality work over quantity of work from their team. They may now value the creative ideas that emerge after a midday walk, rather than having sat at our desk without a break.  They may stop rewarding the faster response over the better and more thought out response, or the longer workday over a more productive workday.

Will the values of the workplace change?  Will employers and managers rely more on the ‘soft skills’ like Emotional Intelligence including: resilience self-regulation, self-awareness, motivation, empathy and social skills which are all prime at this point of time more than ever.

As Ben Crowe, an expert on Mind Health said, ‘It’s our decisions, not the conditions, that determine our mindset, our attitude, our outcomes and our self-worth’.

We are often looking for the extraordinary moments, let’s look at making meaningful moments during this pandemic and these will be the most memorable when we look back on this time of our lives.  Our grandkids and their grandkids will be learning about this time in history class.

I would like to end with this quote.

‘Hard times are like a washing machine,

They twist, turn and knock us around,

But in the end, we come out cleaner, brighter and better than before’.

 

Let’s remain hopeful and optimistic.  See you on the other side!

 

Jo Surkitt – Revitalize Lifestyle

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________

For more information on Jo Surkitt head to www.josurkitt.com.au

Jo has just released a free meditation on Adapting to Change.  Here is the link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UAJKaRjYP_s&feature=youtu.be

Jo Surkitt runs a series of sessions on Creating Positive Change.

The series is called: Move from Overwhelmed to Empowered

Session 1: Resilience: Adapting to Change during a pandemic and mindful movement

Session 2: Excellent Sleep Practices – Create your best sleep hygiene

Session 3: Cleanse, detox, declutter your life – Creating optimal health

For more information about the online programs head to https://www.josurkitt.com.au/online-training

Business Pivot OR Business Adaptation?

As we look forward to relaxation of lockdown in our lives and businesses, it can be difficult to find or maintain motivation.  But let’s take a look at a quote attributed to Albert Einstein: “In the midst of every crisis, lies great opportunity”.So, the question is, what opportunities are there for you, or for your business?

Business Pivot or Business Adaptation – What is your “great opportunity”?

You might think in these JobKeeper days that you or your business has to undertake a significant “Pivot”, and radically change the way you do things to ensure not just survival but success.

But equally, that may not be what you want, or more importantly what your customers want. You may need to make smaller changes, refine processes, update your systems or even just modify the language you use to talk to your customers.

Be it Pivot or Adaption, considering your customer needs and wants should be a significant part of your plan.

Now, this article is about motivation, so the words above are about WHY you may want to change. The most difficult part can be making the first step.


STEP ONE // DO NOT LET THE OPPORTUNITY PASS

STEP TWO // WHEN IN DOUBT, REFER TO STEP ONE

 

Every one of you who has got this far does need to find your own motivation.  Is the crisis enough, or is there something about your situation that you really want to change?  Sometimes the biggest obstacle is not knowing how you can possible achieve your goals.  This is where the team at Canny Group can really help. We spend time with our clients understanding goals.

But it is the next part that can be the “secret to motivation”.  Rather than stopping at identifying goals, we can work with you to identify the action steps, what you actually have to do, to move toward your goals. Not only that, we can keep you accountable to those actions.

This could be to do with your business goals, where our Accounting team will work with you.

It could be to do with your financial or retirement goals, where our Advisory team will work with you.  And if you have goals with succession planning, litigation or asset protection the Legal team will work with you.  Best of all, if you have goals the encompass a mixture or all of these, you can rest easy knowing we will work together to help you achieve them all.

A FINAL WORD ON MOTIVATION FOR CHANGE:

“It is not the most intellectual of the species that survives; it is not the strongest that survives; but the species that survives is the one that is best able to best adapt and adjust to the changing environment in which it finds itself”

This quote could almost have been tailored to the times we find ourselves in today, but is also one that is often mis-represented as being a quote from Charles Darwin tied to his work “On the Origin of Species”.  It was actually written by the significantly less famous Leon C. Migginson in “Civilisation Past and Present” in 1963.  Fast forward 57 years and the quote holds true.

 

Adam Ramage – Senior Business Adviser + Accountant

B.Bus CA

Okki

Okki is a grown up version of Fiona McPherson’s previous childrenswear label that was fiercely successful, known as “Oishi-M”.  Okki was born from the demand of her glorious customers + the curiosity of adapting her famous designs into a womenswear brand… safe to say that she is bursting to unleash her complete unfiltered kookiness into her passion for her garments that are created from the inside out.  Coupling this ethos with uncompromising workmanship, it imbues each garment with a rich + race character + quality.

HOW LONG HAS OKKI BEEN UP + RUNNING FOR?

Two and a half years, Okki has been adorning and flattering a myriad of lovelies.

EVERYBODY HAS SOMETHING… what do YOU love about your job?

I get to create.  I am living my dream career.  Intrinsically, there is nothing else I would want to be doing.  If I was really going to push myself into another career path – it would be architecture. When you think of it though – I create all of my patterns in auto cad just like architects create their designs/patterns for buildings – basically I would be doing the same kinds of things in a different industry.  Makes sense I guess.  I simply love and adore what I live and breathe every moment of “da business”.  The good the bad and the ugly… I’ve learnt to love it all… it all propels you forward in whatever way you need it to.

With Okki, I get to come up with big ideas and work towards them.  This year I will be getting back into childrenswear.  I love it!  It’s something that I can unleash my complete unfiltered kookiness into and celebrate it.  We all love colour and love the idea of wearing the same garment with different twists… but as adults we let fear get in the way of what people may think if I stand out. Whereas, people tend to live these outlandish dressing goals through their kids.  Okki is for the creatively curious and OkkiD is for the kooki kids that just love rambunctious colour, patterns and all the good stuff.

Yup… I’m living life like a kid in a candy store.

IS YOUR JOB EXCITING… or you just play with clothes all day?

There is not one day that I have encountered whilst running Okki, that I have dreaded getting out of bed and going to “work”.  I say “work” because I really feel like I’m not “working”… I love it all. It’s hard work running a clothing label, designing, spec-ing designs, drafting patterns, making samples, refining samples, improving patterns, making fabrication samples, photo shoots, creating and thinking up ideas for photo shoots, cutting bulk fabric, sewing production whilst, talking with potential wholesalers, fabric suppliers, accountants [I love mine btw], bookkeepers [mine is gold and I love her dearly], PR guru’s [also… I love mine… just say’n]… brainstorming and creating marketing campaigns, applying and following through with markets, trade fairs and their stall designs etc…

This business is hectic and big and the opportunity is huge.  BUT most of all I love every bit of it.

What I have learnt through my experience is that you need to surround yourself with knowledgeable, experienced, quality professionals who take the things that you are not glorious at [and really don’t want to be] to give you the space to be creative and let your skills speak volumes.  My ducks are lining up and the professional positions that I have needed to fill have been carefully curated… now it’s “go” time.

LOOKING INTO THE FUTURE… what’s planned for Okki?

Okki has a big year ahead!  I’m launching OkkiD, Okki’s kidswear label.  This is an extension of what my old kidswear brand was with pattern refinements and new creations to spark intrigue, joy and comfort in every kids life [and their parents].  The clothes are all constructed on the premise that they will grow a size with your child… be good enough after a couple of hand-me-down moments to still wear due to being made out of quality fabrications, and the patterns will grow with your child.

Whilst launching OkkiD in April, I will also be endeavoring to inject new styles and fabulous-ness into Okki, whilst running our Geelong based factory and our growing employee base.

TELL ME MORE… how do I get in contact + find out more about Okki?

Please feel free to email me on fiona@okki.com.au OR check our our socials…

WEBSITE // www.okki.com.au

INSTAGRAM // okkicollective

FACEBOOK // okkicollective

Self-Education

It’s February and so in keeping with the ‘Back to School’ theme I thought I would revisit the opportunities that are available for self-education and professional development.

Whether you are supported by your employer or not you may be able to claim a tax deduction for self-education expenses if they relate to your current work activities.  You cannot claim the costs however if it is for the purpose of new employment or to open up a new income earning occupation. Some of the costs that you can claim are:

  • COMPUTER + STATIONARY CONSUMABLES EG. PAPER, PRINTER CARTRIDGES
  • COURSE FEES [IF PAID BY YOU]
  • PURCHASE OF EQUIPMENT, OR IF THE COST IS OVER $300, DEPRECIATION OF EQUIPMENT
  • INTERNET USAGE
  • STUDENT UNION FEES
  • TEXTBOOKS
  • TRAVEL; BETWEEN HOME + THE PLACE OF EDUCATION + BETWEEN WORK + THE PLACE OF EDUCATION

Likewise, there are also opportunities to claim the cost of professional development.  If you are in an occupation that requires a certain number of certified professional development hours, the costs of attending relevant seminars and conferences can be quite high, however if they are relevant to your employment they can be claimed as a tax deduction.  If you are a business paying this cost for your employees this is a claimable business expense.

Aside from the bonus of a tax deduction, it is a great idea to keep up to date with ideas, techniques and changes in the law no matter what industry you are in.  Maintaining your knowledge is both good for your self esteem and enhances your chances of maintaining your employability.

If you are thinking of taking on additional study and are unsure about how this will affect your tax or your business, just call our office and one of our qualified team will be happy to help you.

 

Amanda Wilkens – Director

CPA

Side Hustle

SIDE HUSTLE is a fresh new seminar to add to our FREE seminar series kicking off 2020!

Sitting down with director Amanda Wilkens for a session to discuss all things business and what you need to know about having a side hustle. She will talk about having things set up correctly, what you need to consider about having a job and a business on the side as well as;

  • WHERE TO BEGIN, WHAT TO DO + WHAT YOU WILL NEED?
  • WHAT EFFECT DOES MY SIDE HUSTLE HAVE ON MY MAIN INCOME JOB?
  • HOW TO MANAGE MY SIDE HUSTLE + JOB AT THE SAME TIME
  • WHEN IS IT TIME FOR MY SIDE HUSTLE TO TAKE OVER?

You will come away from this session with the knowledge of how to take your side hustle to the next level and be armed with the knowledge that you’re doing things the right way and not missing any opportunities.

FREE tickets available via eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/side-hustle-tickets-88964979649

REFRESHMENTS INCLUDED + ALL CHILDREN WELCOME!

Kick-Ass New Years’ Resolutions

It is common to come up with New Years’ resolutions in January that reflect the way we feel after all the celebrations over Christmas and New Year.  We can pretty much guess that the resolutions will revolve around:

  • Partying less;
  • Eating more healthily; and
  • Exercising more.

That’s all great, however these reflect only the prior three weeks.

What if we could put together resolutions that reflected the prior year or several years?  These resolutions would generally revolve around;

  • Holidaying more frequently;
  • Spending more time with family and friends;
  • Purchasing a house or paying off the one we have; and
  • Becoming more financially independent and secure.

These resolutions are great to work with, and the good news is that they don’t exclude the first set of resolutions – there is no reason why we can’t do both!  Here are the top three questions I am asked by clients starting their road to a “kick-ass” financial future.

  1. WHEN SHOULD I START?  NOW, NOW and NOW!  It’s easy to think that you don’t have anything yet and don’t earn a lot so can’t start – but it’s wrong!  I started saving at 18 years old by putting away $70 a month in a savings plan.  This isn’t a lot but I found I didn’t miss the money.  When it was time to buy a house 12 years later I was well on my way to a deposit.  Remember that everyone has to start somewhere.
  2. HOW OLD SHOULD I BE TO START PLANNING A “KICK-ASS” FINANCIAL FUTURE? There’s no age required, but start now! The sooner you start the sooner you are on your way.  We have probably all heard the Chinese proverb “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” and I suspect we all use this.  I know I think of that whenever I have to complete a mammoth task.  Runners often count steps on long runs, cyclists count kilometres and we all count sleeps to Christmas [even if it’s for our kids].  The best way to achieve anything is to simply start.
  3. OKAY, I’M GOING TO START – WHAT DO I DO?  There are several things to do – all steps on your journey to a “kick-ass” financial future.  Don’t be overwhelmed and don’t think you need to do them all today.  Here are a few things to look at, and I recommend aiming to tackle one item per month [or two months if your life is hectic]:
  • Review your income protection insurance. You may or may not need it, and it totally depends on your circumstances.  However, if you are the main income earner for a family and you have others relying on your income, you at least need to review it.
  • Have wills and powers of attorney prepared. Again, horses for courses, but if you have children you at least need to consider who will look after them if you are no longer able to.  Make sure you document your wishes as it isn’t enough to verbally pass them on.
  • Review your death cover. Once again, you may or may not need it, but if there will be debts within your family should you pass, you need to at least consider whether you should have death cover that is sufficient to pay off the debts.
  • Review your superannuation. Your super may be able to include income protection and death cover, so you may want to review this first.
  • Start saving. A financial plan, or even a small savings goal will put you on the right path.  Set a budget and put away even a few dollars each week.

If you decide you want to start your journey to a “kick-ass” financial future, contact us!  Our team can cover the financial advice, legal and accounting to get you on your journey.

If you just feel like you’d like more information and want to learn more before you start – our Health and Wealth seminar is for you.  It’s free and will give you lots of practical tips to start your journey.  You’ll also have the chance to meet our team in a casual relaxed setting.  Just go to our website and use the links to register.

 

Krystine Canny-Smith – Director

CPA

Christmas + Gift Giving

Christmas is a weird and wonderful time of the year, filled with family, friends, good times, presents, and that confusion of what day of the week is it, and how many days of leave are left.  Not to mention the confusion of still writing 2019 down as a date, three weeks in to the new year.

Christmas can also be very stressful when it comes to the awful topic of money, and spending money.  For those that are running a tight ship, it’s a stressful time, because they might not be able to do everything they can or want to.  Then there are those people that won’t be able to achieve what they can or want to.

The age-old adage of Charity begins at home doesn’t hold true as much as it may have in the past.  There are a lot of people doing it tough, and they need a hand through times such as this.  There are many great ways in which this can be done, whether it’s buying extra presents to donate under wishing trees, making up hampers as a work place, and donating to families in need, or simply through a cash donation to one of the many charities that help families have a great Christmas as well.  I know this is something we do at the Canny Group, and something that I do personally as well.

One hangover that you don’t want to have to deal with after Christmas, is the debt that we tend to rack up from overspending.  It’s not just credit cards, it is zip pay and afterpay as well.  As of 30 June, there was almost a billion outstanding in afterpay, and 60% of that was attributed to people aged between 18-34, which is staggering.

In December last year, $30 million was borrowed in Credit Cards.  Want to hear something scary?  If you owe $2,000 on a credit card and make the minimum repayments, it takes 17 years to clear the debt!  I guess the moral of the story is to not overspend or start planning earlier.  I know that in my family, on one side we do Kris Kringle, that way everyone gets one good present, rather than lots of presents that end up being forgotten or put away to never see the light of day again. Try not to let this time of the year overwhelm you and have loads of fun!

See you in 2020!

 

Steve Reynolds – Certified Financial Planner

BComm, Dip.FS[FP]