Spring Cleaning Your Finances

SPRING CLEANING YOUR FINANCES

Who doesn’t love spring? The days are longer, the weather is getting warmer, and flowers and trees are starting to blossom.  And, it is often a time to clean those things we don’t do regularly.  I am going to suggest it is also a great time to spring clean your finances!  Here’s how:

  • Take stock of your current position by completing a budget. There are many free apps available that link to your bank account and do all the hard work for you!  They automatically categorise your spending into different segments.  If you notice an error, it is easy to reassign the transaction to the correct category and your app will remember the next time.
  • De-clutter financial paperwork around the house. You only need to keep tax related documents for seven years.  You could even go one step further and save the remaining required documents electronically.
  • Review your life insurance policies! How much cover do you need?  Do you have enough?  Do you still have insurance cover inside super?  Many people inadvertently lost their insurances held inside inactive super funds or funds with smaller balances when some sweeping rules were introduced during the past couple of years.
  • Consolidate bank accounts. If you have multiple accounts, is there a specific purpose? If there is no valid reason, simply your affairs and potentially save on bank fees in the process.
  • Review current debts. Have you approached your lender for a better rate? If you have credit card debt, can you switch to an interest free one until you pay it off?

Canny Group have an army of financial advisers and we are more than happy to help you give your finances a spring clean!  All you need to do it get in touch.

 

Samantha Butcher – Financial Adviser

BComs Dip FS

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

Financial Mistakes To Avoid During A Crisis

Although none of us could anticipate the world going into lock down due to a pandemic, I cannot help but wonder how many of us were financially prepared for a crisis.  Prepared or not, I have witnessed some mistakes that people are making as a result of Covid-19.

1. MAKING EMOTIONAL FINANCIAL/INVESTMENT DECISIONS.

When the share market suffers sharp falls, it is a natural reaction for many to panic, or at least lose confidence in the market.  However, history shows that after every financial crisis, the market experiences a recovery.  It is important that you regularly review your investment strategy and stick with it for the long term, rather than make rash decisions as a result of market fluctuations.  When you sell assets during a downturn, you are essentially crystallising that loss.

2. ACCESSING YOUR SUPER EARLY DUE TO COVID-19

This measure was introduced to provide relief for those experiencing genuine hardship as a result of Coronavirus, but have you considered the long-term effects?  Depending on your age and current super balance, accessing the maximum $20,000 under the temporary Covid-19 early access to super could end up resulting in a loss of up to $100,000 by the time you retire.  Also, if the withdrawal results in your fund being left with $6,000 or less, this may result in a loss of insurance cover also.

3. NOT HAVING AN EMERGENCY FUND

Everyone will have a different amount they are comfortable with having access to any point in time for those unplanned expenses.  Ideally, you would have enough to cover between three and six months of non-discretionary expenses.

4. NOT HAVING A BUDGET

Having control over your expenses and having an understanding of where your money is going, will hold you in good stead at all times, but particularly during a financial crisis.  Knowing where you could save money during difficult times can help reduce the possibility of increasing household debt.

5. NOT HAVING A WILL

Over half of Australians do not have a will.  Passing away intestate creates havoc for your loved ones.  Establishing a will is a simple process and help to ensure your assets are distributed according to your wishes.

Our team at Canny Group are here to help you and support you with all financial aspects of your life.  Nobody was able to predict what a year 2020 would be, but what we are able to do now (if you haven’t already) is plan ahead and do it the right way.  Get in touch with our team to find out how we can help you set and achieve your financial goals.

 

Samantha Butcher – Financial Adviser

BComs Dip FS

Staying Motivated With Your Money

When it comes to our finances, it’s easy to lose sight of our goals and become demotivated when unexpected events derail our plans.  It’s especially difficult during times like these where there’s likely more uncertainty and concern for our financial futures than ever before. In this article, we’ll touch on four ways to stay motivated with your finances in these trying times.

1. REVISIT YOUR FINANCIAL GOALS

In order to improve any area of our life (including our finances), we need to have a strong ‘why’ associated with our goals to stay motivated.  When setting financial goals, it’s important that we understand and define the reason behind the goal and how it will positively influence our life.

For example, will becoming debt free mean that we’ll have more surplus income to save and invest for our future?  Does contributing more to superannuation now mean that we’ll be able to afford a more comfortable lifestyle in retirement?  It’s important to focus on these reasons and remind ourselves of why we set our financial goals in the first place, if we hope to stay motivated, especially during difficult times.

2. BREAK DOWN YOUR GOALS

We often overestimate what we can achieve in one year and underestimate what we can achieve in five years.  We set audacious, sometimes unrealistic goals that cause us to become demotivated when we fall short of achieving them.  We feel excited and motivated when we set our financial goals, only to lose sight of them when unexpected life events occur.  If you feel that the financial goals you have set for yourself no longer seem achievable, a useful strategy to consider is to break these goals down into smaller, more achievable goals.

For example, you may have set a goal to pay off $5,000 of credit card debt this year.  If this goal now seems unachievable, set a new goal to pay off $2,500 this year and contact your lender to assess your options and see if you can negotiate a lower interest rate.  By breaking down your goals in this way, you’ll continue to make progress towards your larger goals while accomplishing important milestones to help you stay motivated.

3. REMAIN OPTIMISTIC

When our financial plans don’t work out as we hoped they would, we can become demotivated and feel hopeless about our financial situation.  It’s easy to stay positive when things are going well, but it becomes more difficult to maintain the same outlook in the face of adversity.  That’s why it’s especially important to take the time to identify reasons to remain positive and optimistic during tough times.

Start by acknowledging all of the financial goals you’ve already accomplished.  It’s important to reflect on what you’ve already achieved and be proud of your accomplishments.  It’s also important to identify things in our life that we’re grateful for.  This doesn’t have to be related to our finances, but it’s essential for our motivation to find reasons to remain optimistic.  This will allow us to shift our focus away from the negative and towards the positive, providing us with a more optimistic outlook on our financial future as we strive to maintain motivation towards our goals.

4. SEEK ASSISTANCE

When our motivation is dwindling and we’re finding it difficult to remain positive about our financial situation, often the best thing we can do is to seek help.  You don’t have to go through tough times alone.  Financial support is available to help keep you on track during times like these.  Our team of Financial Advisers at Canny Group are here to help with any questions you may have about your financial situation, Centrelink entitlements or retirement planning.  You may also wish to speak to a Financial Information Service Officer at Services Australia for free confidential, financial information.

If you need any help or financial advice, please get in touch with us and we would be happy to assist you!

 

Chris Graham – Client Services

Super Women

RETIREMENT!  The very thought of it appeals to many hardworking persons.  They think about a time for doing the things that bring them pleasure, recreation and fun.  Sadly, many, in particularly women, will not have sufficient superannuation savings to fund the lifestyle they are hoping for in retirement.

On average, women retire with 39% less super than men and surprisingly an estimated 40% of older single retired women live in poverty in retirement.  This group of single retired women are the fastest growing cohort of homeless people in Australia.  What are the reasons for this?  Australia’s gender pay gap is currently 13.9% so on average, women earn less than men and since compulsory employer super is based on wages, women will have less in super in retirement.  Women are also more likely to take time off work for maternity leave and to care for their families.  As a result, a lower superannuation balance may mean a reliance on receiving a government pension.  For some, this may limit their independence and affect their quality of life.

Alan Lakein, a well-known author on personal time management said, “Planning is bringing the future into the present, so you can do something about it now.”

What little steps can you take now to prepare for the kind of retirement you want?

  1. CONSOLIDATION… Do you have multiple super funds?  If so, consolidating your super will likely reduce the management fees you are paying to different funds.
  2. INVESTMENT CHOICE IN SUPER… Most super funds allow you to choose from a range of investment options and asset classes.  These may include, growth, balanced, conservative and cash.  Do you know what investment options are available to you and have you reviewed how your super is invested?  Your investment choice will affect the earnings in your super and ultimately will impact the balance you have in super in retirement.
  3. INSURANCE IN SUPER… Most super funds offer life, total permanent and disability and income protection insurance for their members.  Premiums are deducted from your super to pay for your insurance cover.  Have you reviewed your level of insurance cover?  Do you know if you are over or under insured?  Do you know how much you are paying in insurance premiums for your cover?
  4. CONTRIBUTIONS… You can boost your super and get the power of compounding to work for you by making additional contributions.  If you make personal [after tax] contributions, you may be eligible for the super co-contribution and the low-income super tax offset of up to $500 each.  You can also salary sacrifice part of your salary and have it paid to your super fund.  By salary sacrificing to super, you may be able to reduce your tax because you are only paying 15% tax on your contributions you make rather than your marginal tax rate.  Salary sacrifice to super is considered employer contributions so its important to ensure that you don’t exceed the annual contribution cap of $25,000 for concessional contributions.  From 1 July 2019, if your super balance is less than $500,000 and your employer contributions have not exceeded $25,000 for the year, you are able to carry forward the unused part of the contribution cap for up to 5 years.  This may be a valuable opportunity for those who suddenly have a lump sum assessable income resulting from a disposal of a property.

If you would like to know more or come in for a free 30 minute appointment to speak to one of our team on how you can make the most of your superannuation, get in touch here!

 

Helen Yau – Manager + Financial Planner

CA, BCom, Dip Fp, SSA

Health + Wealth

Health + Wealth is an informal presentation on the importance of looking at your financial health alongside your mental, physical and emotional wellbeing.

We have teamed up with Donna Lindsay of Bodhi & Co. who will be presenting alongside our own financial adviser Samantha Butcher to give you an overview on how all facets of wellbeing work together, including:

  • FINANCIAL HEALTH
  • FINANCIAL WELLBEING
  • APPROACH TO FOOD
  • NUTRITION vs DIET
  • MINDSET + FOOD
  • TIPS + TRICKS TO SAVE YOU MONEY + much more

FREE tickets are available via eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/health-wealth-tickets-88979631473

REFRESHMENTS INCLUDED + ALL CHILDREN WELCOME!

 

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]

Financial Plans Are COOL

IT IS PRETTY COOL TO HAVE AN ACTUAL FINANCIAL PLAN AND NOT JUST ‘ONE IN YOUR HEAD’

Whilst seeing a client, our discussion often turns to managing personal cash flow.  Some people are happy just living from pay-to-pay and don’t give much consideration to plans for the medium or long term.  Others haven’t really given the idea any thought but think it will all be “OK”.  However, more and more people are thinking about this, but don’t know where to start.

Financial management and retirement planning help people determine their personal saving targets, what they can afford to spend, and how best to arrange their financial affairs.  Retirement planning can quantify how much you need to have saved to retire.  When you are years away from retirement and your personal finances are ever-changing, this can seem like a challenging concept, but it is important to remember that a financial plan is a process, not a product.  It is something that requires discipline to start and at least annual maintenance and review.

A financial plan should include:

  • INVESTMENT PLANNING;
  • INSURANCE + RISK MANAGEMENT;
  • FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT;
  • RETIREMENT PLANNING;
  • TAX PLANNING; +
  • ESTATE PLANNING + LEGAL ASPECTS

Most people insure against at least some of the risks of financial loss due to death, medical issues and damage to property.  You could look at a well-structured and maintained financial plan as insuring against financial difficulty later in life.

Estate planning may also be an overlooked financial planning exercise.  The thing about estate planning is that it should go beyond simply preparing a will just to check off a box and say that it is done.  In a financial planning context, it is important to consider things like who your beneficiaries will be, joint asset ownership, income tax liabilities.  In the same way a married couple may plan for retirement together, it is important to consider what might happen if one spouse or the other died prematurely.  This may be as much a financial planning exercise as an estate law one.

Our financial planners – Samantha Butcher and Helen Yau can get you started on this journey and will assist and advise along the way.  Why don’t you call and make an appointment today, it’s that easy!

 

Amanda Wilkens – Director

B.Comm CPA

Buy Low Sell High

Buy Low Sell High is the first seminar in our free Property Seminar Series.

Buy Low Sell High is designed to provide an overview of the sale process, from engaging a real estate agent right through to handing the keys to the purchase.

We delve into:

  • WHO // you will need to engage to sell + why
  • WHAT // who does what, from the agent to the stylist right through to the broker + lender
  • CONVEYANCING // the general conveyancing process
  • SETTLEMENT DAY // what to expect + what happens if there is a delay
  • TRAPS + PITFALLS // that you should be wary of when consider to sell your property

So when the time is right to move on to your next dream home, selling your property for the best price will be a breeze!

Secure your FREE ticket through Eventbrite here.. https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/buy-low-sell-high-tickets-75801936633

REFRESHMENTS INCLUDED + ALL CHILDREN WELCOME!

State of Wellness Summit

STATE OF WELLNESS SUMMIT // Creating Sustainable Positive Changes In The Lives of Women

We are honored to be sponsoring this amazing wellness movement that is all about creating sustainable positive changes in the lives of women.

You will be able to find our team on Thursday 10th October at GMHBA stadium sharing our knowledge with everyone on how NOT to sweat your finances.

Hosted by Geelong’s charismatic and life-changer Roxie Bennett, there will also be speakers including:
LAUREN BURNS // Olympic Gold Medalist, Naturopath/Nutritionist
JANE KINNEAR // Positive Change Coach, Speaker + Registered Nurse
REBECCA WINKLER // Naturopath + GAPS Practitioner
JO SURKITT // Though Leader, Speaker, Leader + Positive Change Creator
CAL STEWART // Feng Shui Consultant
MADELINE WEST // Food and Mood Centre at Deakin University
KIM BYRNE // Female Mentor, Author + Acclaimed Surfer
AMANDA WILKENS // Canny Group Director, CPA, Chief Financial Operator + Supporter of Women in Business
SAMANTHA BUTCHER // Financial Adviser
DR. CAROLINE TAYLOR-WALKER // Principal Doctor + Lecturer

THURSDAY 10TH OCTOBER 2019
HIGHER MARK @ GMHBA STADIUM GEELONG

Director Amanda Wilkens along financial adviser Samantha Butcher are going to be on stage from 3.30pm for the Q+A Expert Panel answering all of the questions related to women finances.

By using the following link, https://www.stateofwellness.com.au/ we are lucky enough to be able to offer a $50 discount on all tickets that are purchased, just enter CannyFriend as the promo code to apply your discount.

Advantages + Disadvantages of Investment Properties

Advantages + Disadvantages of Investment Properties

Purchasing an investment property can be a very exciting time and can help build your wealth over time.  However, before rushing out to buy an investment property, it is important you consider the pros and cons.

ADVANTAGES

  • Provision of rental income to help top of other income
  • Help reduce income tax if the property is negatively geared i.e. the rental income is less than the interest on the loan
  • Potential capital growth in value of the property
  • Can be less volatile than shares or other investment options

DISADVANTAGES

  • Lack of investment diversification
  • A lot of money is tied up in one asset that can take time to sell
  • Buying and selling costs can be high
  • Tenancy risk. There is a chance your investment property will have periods of time where it is not tenanted.
  • You are responsible for all ongoing maintenance
  • Capital gains tax will be payable if the property is sold at a profit
  • Interest rate risk – a rise in rates will result in higher loan repayments and a potential reduction in net income
  • A substantial amount of capital is required from the outset

As always, we encourage you to seek professional advice to ensure the decision is right for you.

 

Samantha Butcher – Financial Adviser

BComs Dip FS

Financial Savvy

Mark it in your diaries ladies.. FRIDAY 31ST MAY + FRIDAY 21ST JUNE!

We are hosting a FREE seminar for women who would like some education on their finances + most importantly their financial security!

Our in-house Financial Planner, Samantha Butcher will be covering topics such as:

  • Women’s Money Challenges
  • Life Events + Women
  • Women’s Money Goals
  • The Need for Insurance
  • Tax Effective Ways to Contribute to Superannuation
  • Superannuation Beneficiaries
  • Superannuation Investment Options
  • Budgeting/Credit Card Debts
  • Wills + Powers of Attorney

Refreshments included + all children welcome!

LIMITED TICKETS VIA EVENTBRITE: https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/financial-savvy-tickets-62243498981