Super and how you can increase it

Retirement might seem like it’s a long way off in the distant future, and that can make it difficult to actively consider and review your super. The problem with this thinking, is that if you haven’t set your super up with careful consideration, you are most likely not getting the best possible return. If you want to have enough money to live comfortably in retirement – now is the time to grow your nest egg. The earlier you set your super up the better – however it’s never too late to rethink your super. Once set, we tend to leave our super to its own devices. Make sure to review your super, to ensure you’re getting the best return.  Start with these tips to make sure you’re making the most out of your super. How much super will you need to retire? The best way to find out how much super you will need to retire is to work out what kind of lifestyle you want to live in retirement. Next you’ll need to work out how much money you will need to fund this lifestyle.   For a general idea, according to the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) the retirement standard for those aged around 65 is (as of June quarter 2017): Modest Lifestyle Comfortable Lifestyle Single Couple Single Couple Total per week $467 $671 $840 $1,155 Total per year $24,270 $34,911 $43,695 $60,063 To check how you are tracking, use ASIC’s retirement planner. Tips to increase your super   Could you have lost super? Combine your super into one fund. According to the Australian Taxation Office... read more

Planning your transition to an Aged Care Home

Take the stress out of transitioning to an aged care home by planning ahead   The decision to look into moving into an aged care home can be an emotional one. There are difficult decisions to make, with many factors to consider. You will need to look into the best location, how much the facility or care will cost, how to fund it, and the transitioning process.   Aged care is a complex system to understand, and it’s highly recommended to contact a financial adviser to help navigate the rules with tax, entitlements and social security systems. Seeking advice at this stage can help you through a stressful time managing finances, understanding entitlements, considering investment options and the distribution of your estate. Australia’s aged care system helps support the elderly in their own home, with short-term care or in a residential aged care facility. Below are the fees you can expect to pay, if you’ve decided to move into a government approved residential care facility. Paying for accommodation When it comes to your accommodation costs, your income and assets will determine if you will receive government assistance. You will either have your accommodation costs paid in full, partially paid or need to pay them in full yourself.   If you will be paying for your accommodation, you will have 28 days after becoming a resident to choose from these payment options: A refundable accommodation deposit (RAD): a lump sum payment refunded when you leave the facility – capped at $550,000. A daily accommodation payment (DAP): a daily payment. A combination of the two. The Maximum Permissible Interest Rate (MPIR)... read more

EOFY tax checklist for small business

This EOFY – make sure your small business is prepared. Tax-time need not be words that induce heart palpitations and a cold sweat. The easiest way to reduce end of financial year (EOFY) stress is to start with a plan and break everything down into smaller manageable tasks. A small business entity is a sole trader, partnership, company or trust that has a turnover of less than $10 million and operates for all or part of the income year. By law businesses are required to complete certain tasks at the end of the financial year. Each year you need to make sure you’re up to date with any changes, including changes in tax breaks, deductions, employee award conditions, etc. As the end of the 2016 – 2017 tax year approaches, it’s time to complete tax returns, bookkeeping and take stock of finances. Putting some extra work into organisation will set you up for the year ahead. Review the previous year, and additionally, put into place strategies, look for ways to save money and start planning for future growth. Here is a checklist to start you off on your way to EOFY efficiency. EOFY checklist for small business: Conduct a stocktake to ensure you have accurate information on your stock levels Complete an income tax return. For more information on the tax differences between operating as a sole trader and a company; take a look at this fact sheet Ensure your Business Activity Statement (BAS) is completed Superannuation contributions up to date (these may be tax deductible) Provide employees with their PAYG Reconcile your payroll Review staff salaries and award conditions... read more

Saving for your children’s education

It’s never too early to start saving for your children’s education. We all want to give our children the best possible start in life, beginning with a good education. Paying school and then university fees gets expensive, and can be hard to maintain if you’re not prepared for.  The cost of private education is continually rising, with some schools charging fees of up to $20,000 per year. Public school is a cheaper option, but there are still those extra costs such as the school uniform, textbooks, tutoring, IT equipment and school excursions. The best time to begin saving for your child’s education is as soon as they are born. You may not yet know which school they will attend, but you can decide on how much you will need, and how much to put aside each week. Forward planning and saving for your children’s education early on will save you financial stress later in life. Where to begin Start saving early – it gives you more options and more time to build up a substantial fund. The savings don’t have to cover the entire cost, but can act as a pool to dip into to assist with extra expenses as they arise.   Work out how much you will need – will you send your child to public or private school; additionally will your child want to go to university or college. Take a look at the Money Smart savings goals calculator to estimate how long it will take to reach your goals. Talk to your family – instead of receiving a bunch of unused toys for Christmas and birthdays,... read more

Life Insurance: Back to Basics

Life insurance provides protection for you and your family Why You Need Life Insurance Life insurance is important when it comes to protecting your family’s future. Let’s take this back to the basics, and look at what life insurance is and why you need it.  In the event that something happens to you, an injury or even death, life insurance will help your family financially in the difficult period that follows. You can have peace of mind that your family will be looked after, especially considering dealing with your mortgage, school fees or debts.  The idea of life insurance can seem overwhelming, especially when looking into it for the first time. Terms may sound unfamiliar and the idea of planning for what happens after your death can be daunting. With a little research these terms will make much more sense, and with a few helpful tips you can organise your approach. Types of Life Insurance Life cover Assists your family with financial security in the case of your death Total and permanent disability (TPD) cover Provides cover for yourself and your family in the case that you are unable to work due to a permanent disability  Trauma cover Financial support for your family when you’re diagnosed with a serious illness or injury Income Protection Continue to receive income if you are unable to work due to an extended illness or injury What to Consider When Looking into Life Insurance Consider your unique circumstances before you begin looking for a policy for the first time.      Consider your needs and objectives Work out what is suitable for you What... read more

Aged Care Seminar

  Moving a loved one into Aged Care can be very challenging. Come along to our  free seminar to learn about the various costs involved. We will examine the complexities incurred in moving to an Aged Care facility, staying in your own home or building a granny flat to live in. Please see the link below for details on how to register. ACB... read more

New Year Financial Resolutions – make 2016 your best year

Losing weight, quitting smoking and getting finances under control are the top three New Year’s resolutions made by Australian’s every year. Whilst we’re not all that qualified to help you shrink your waistline or beat the cigarettes, we can certainly help with your finances. If you want to make some New Year financial resolutions, there’s no quick and easy solution (unless you happen to win lotto). With the odds of that happening not in your favour, a better solution is to make a sensible plan and stick to it. It won’t be long before you start to see some progress and realise the benefits. Here are some achievable tips to get you started.  Reduce your debt stress. Work out exactly how many loans, credit cards and store cards you have and the interest you’re being charged on each one. Pick the debt with the highest interest rate and make some regular, additional payments towards that debt. Once it’s paid off, do the same for the next highest interest debt.  Save for the unexpected – by using an online calculator, you can work out exactly what your income and expenditure is each month. By tweaking this and seeing which expenses you can reduce, you’ll be able to work out an amount you can reasonably transfer into a high interest savings account each month. This gives you a buffer and some emergency money if something unexpected occurs.  Grow your net wealth. This can be done by making some extra superannuation repayments, buying an investment property or investing in stocks. Talk to us to find out the most sensible... read more

How financial security can lead to happiness

There’s a saying that money can’t buy happiness. However, according to research, financial security is one of three areas that can provide you with happiness. A study done by Deakin University revealed that good personal relationships, financial security and a sense of purpose in life are the three key pillars for a happy life. When you have all three elements present in your life, you should be happy regardless of your age, income or health status. It’s interesting to note that it’s financial security, more than money alone that provides the key to happiness, and people on low incomes can still protect themselves financially. Having a sound financial plan can take away many of your worries, and there is a sense of calm and organisation that comes from creating stability for your loved ones. Knowing our loved ones are content, healthy and safe (physically and financially) is a major part of being happy. How can you create financial stability for you and your family? If you’re not sure if your family could financially survive a major life event, here are some things to consider: • Life insurance. In the event of a tragedy, your loved ones suffer emotionally, but it can be the financial burden that causes the most grief. Life insurance can relieve financial distress so your family have one less thing to worry about. • A superannuation plan. Super is complex and a lot of things can go wrong. It’s important to have the right plan for your circumstances so you know you can live happily and comfortably once you retire. • Investments. The right investments that... read more

10 Money Tasks to Complete Before You’re 40 How to Avoid a Mid-Life Money Crisis

The irony of having disposable income when you’re in your twenties or even thirties and not disposing of it wisely becomes apparent when you hit your forties. For many people at that time of their life there is a family to feed and educate, mortgages and bills to pay, and retirement to plan for. They quite often rue the days of spending their wage on partying, shopping and holidays and wish they had been a little more strategic with their spending. We see it quite often. People hit the big four-oh (!) and realise their finances are hurting them rather than serving them. So we thought we’d put a list together of ten tasks you can complete in your twenties and thirties to minimise the likelihood of a mid-life money crisis. 1. Pay off bad debt Credit card debt, personal loans, store credit, HECS loans – whatever the debt is, get into the habit of paying off bad debt completely. Don’t get sucked into the interest only vortex. You’ll end up with a debt headache at age 40, the very time you need that money for things like school fees and kids dental bills. 2. Set up an emergency fund This is so simple to do. Set up a separate savings account and direct debit a percentage of your income into it regularly. Only touch it in emergencies. This helps you to stop relying on credit card (more bad debt) to get you out of tight and unexpected financial situations. 3. Pay debts and bills on time Many people are surprised by how a bill paid late here or... read more
We have known Paul Blenkhorn for over 10 years now. During this time he has confidently taken care of all our financial needs. Paul is an honest gentleman who puts our best interests first and has always given us the right advice. Unfortunately there are not many people we can recommend in business today but Paul is an exception. Everyone we have referred him to have been extremely happy with his professional capabilities and extensive knowledge in his industry. William M

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