Economic update

Market and Economic overview Australia Australian interest rates were lowered by 0.25% to 0.75% in October but left unchanged in November. Most observers expect borrowing costs to be lowered further in the next few months. The latest reading of Australian consumer confidence fell unexpectedly sharply. This was a little surprising given generally buoyant labour market […]

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What assets can you have before losing your pension

There are many benefits to receiving a pension or even a part pension, but there are limits to what level of income or assets you can have to be eligible. Regarding assets, the key limits as at 1 July 2019 are as follows: To receive a full pension, assets (excluding the value of the primary […]

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Tips for boosting retirement savings and investments in a lower-for-longer world

Retirees now face a bold truth: investing in traditional safe haven assets do not provide the returns they once did. So, where to from here? The first thing is to accept that today’s returns are lower on retiree favourites, like cash and bonds. Second, there are tools available to provide forecasts for what the market […]

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The search for dividend yield in a low-growth environment

Investors have faced a low-growth environment with low yield for some time now and this does not appear to be changing anytime soon. Global economic activity is slowing notably, reflecting a combination of factors affecting the major economies. Historically investors who look for income in the form of interest payments – also called yield, have […]

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Putting a value on your potential

What is your most financially valuable asset? The answer to this question could be quite different depending on your age. A younger person may say their car or a possession, such as a musical instrument, is their most valuable asset. As people age their home or super is likely to be what they consider most […]

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Going solo in retirement

While divorce rates have fallen in Australia in recent years, there is one age group where it’s becoming more common. In the two decades to 2017, the divorce rate for men aged 55-59 more than doubled. For women in the same age group it has tripled. We explore the pros and cons for your lifestyle […]

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Do falling markets signal a good time to open an SMSF?

Historically, self-managed super funds (SMSFs) have been seen as a direct way to take control of your retirement savings. By taking charge of your investment selection and asset allocation, there may be the perception that you could outperform your retail or other super fund by taking control over your choice of investments. Hence, when investment […]

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6 ways to stay well in retirement

A fulfilling retirement isn’t just about money, it’s about staying healthy, active and connected. So much of preparing for retirement is about the dollars and cents: Working out whether a transition to retirement strategy works for you. Deciding which type of income stream is appropriate to deliver the right balance between income and capital gain. […]

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Stay one step ahead of online scams

Just as the internet continues to surprise us every day, so do online scammers and fraudsters. It’s good to stay in the know with the cyber dark arts so you can quickly spot them. Keeping your computer secure The first place to start is right under your nose. Spyware and Malware can snoop on your […]

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My partner doesn’t have super – should I be worried?

Picture the scene. You’ve moved past the honeymoon period of a new relationship and you think this could finally be the one. You’re starting to think about the medium-term future and setting up your lives together. So you’re at your favourite restaurant discussing joint finances when your partner drops a bombshell by revealing they hardly […]

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Getting your investment property rent-ready

When you’re looking at properties it’s hard not to pick features you love. A great view. Beautiful leafy garden and pool. Moments from the beach. But purchasing an investment property is very different from purchasing your own home. You have to leave the ‘dream home’ thinking behind and start thinking in numbers, probabilities and what […]

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Ka-Ching! Talking money with kids

Parents and guardians want to send children out into the world armed with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed. So we talk to them about the birds and the bees, we teach them to catch a ball and drive. But oddly, many of us never talk to them about money and how to […]

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Opening up about money

Funny thing, money. On the one hand it can get us excited or give us a real sense of achievement (think reaching a savings goal). On the other hand, it’s something we tend to keep to ourselves. Whether our finances are in great shape or need a bit of TLC, talking about it openly with […]

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Three reasons why fun should be in your budget

It’s fair to say that most of us aren’t crazy about budgeting. Even with the latest budgeting apps that aim to make this common sense habit into something easy and fun, the thought of keeping tabs on what we’re spending from month-to-month fills many people with boredom or anxiety. In their Know your Numbers survey […]

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Where could responsible investing take you?

Estimates of the size of the sustainable investment market vary from around $23 trillion to almost $31 trillion, with responsible investment taking into account environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors in investment decisions, whereas ethical investing being more of a values-based approach. In Australia, investments managed in an ethical or responsible manner came in at […]

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Is Buy Now Pay Later a better way to borrow?

In the 21st century era of digital transformation, being able to browse, choose and pay for our purchases anywhere, anytime has taken shopping to a whole new level. The way we consume and spend has changed dramatically as a result. Here in Australia, Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) arrangements have emerged as a very popular […]

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How to budget for a baby

With a little bit of planning you should be able to successfully avoid having the joy of starting a family compromised by the financial burden of doing so. Based on research by the National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling (NATSEM) it costs over $406,000 to raise one child from birth until they finish their […]

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From bartering to smartphones—how our money habits have evolved

Ever since King Alyattes of Lydia minted the first coin in 600BC, humanity’s relationship with money has been constantly evolving. Fast forward to more recent developments and mobile banking was offered to European consumers as early as 1999, with contactless payment cards appearing in the UK in 2008. When it comes to money, fashions come […]

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5 tips for planet-saving, money-saving lifestyle

A lot of us are looking for ways to use less plastic. But did you know that doing so could save more than the planet – it could also save you money? Here are five ways you can save money at the same time as helping the environment. Buy a re-useable coffee cup It’s not […]

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Feel freedom after defeating debt

If you’ve taken a look at your finances recently, you may have found yourself with a few debts. While it’s possible to pay them off by simply keeping up your minimum repayments, you may want to get them sorted quicker. If so, here’s a few simple steps to help you pay off your debts sooner […]

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Buck the spending trends

According to recent research from Mortgage Choice and Core Data, 35% of Australians give in to the temptation to spend money to keep up appearances. It seems that more than a third of us can’t help but follow the urge to upgrade our current lifestyle, even if that means missing out on important future goals […]

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Boost your savings for spring

In the cooler months we spend a lot more time getting cosy inside. Why not use some of that quality indoors time to give your finances and future plans a little love? Dust off your budget Has your budget been gathering cobwebs? Or maybe you haven’t made one in a while, if at all? There’s […]

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Rent vs lifestyle—can you have it all?

So you’ve found the apartment of your dreams. It’s a stone’s throw from the CBD’s trendiest shopping street, boasts fabulous views of the sea and comes with a fully-equipped kitchen boasting European appliances plus luxury spa bathroom. OK, it’s a bit pricey but it ticks all the boxes, and you can worry about the rental […]

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Can money buy happiness?

Is money the key to happiness? Numerous research reports and studies agree having more money can lead to improved wellbeing, but only up to a point. It seems that once your personal income cruises past roughly the six-figure mark, you can’t expect to get any happier from having more. How you spend your money, on […]

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Can I go back to work if I’ve already accessed my super?

When you access your super at retirement your super fund may ask you to sign a declaration stating that you intend to never be employed again. But there may be compelling reasons why someone would subsequently return to work. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) the most common reasons retirees return to full […]

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Economic Update

Market and Economic overview Australia The Reserve Bank of Australia lowered interest rates in June by 25 basis points to 1.25 per cent, and again in July by a further 25 basis points – moving the official cash rate to 1.00%. In a July speech, the Governor of the Reserve Bank suggested it would be […]

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What are the best investments for your retirement?

In the simplest terms, investing your money means buying an asset with the expectation of earning returns from ownership of that asset. If you own an investment property, for example, you can expect to receive rent as income. But if you then sell the property for a higher price than you paid, you’ve increased your […]

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Five global themes that may impact your investment portfolio

When running a self-managed superannuation fund (SMSF), it’s important for investors to be aware of some of the key global and economic environmental factors that may impact their investment portfolio.  Here we look at five global themes that are currently playing out in world markets, and how they may potentially impact their investment portfolios. Trade […]

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Investment strategies for your super

Your super returns may be doing ok, but could they be better? Being actively involved in how and where your super is invested, could make a real difference to your retirement savings over the long-term. This article considers four examples of investment strategies for your super. The importance of diversification Before we discuss the various […]

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The Impact of Falling House Prices

Housing is the most important asset owned by the majority of Australian households, according to the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA). A house not only serves as a place to live, but as a long-term investment, a measure of household wealth and a source of consumer spending. Therefore, a change in house prices can have […]

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How do Managed Funds work?

If you want to diversify your investment portfolio to spread your risk across different asset classes, sectors or geographic markets, you may be limited by the amount of money you have available to invest. Managed funds are popular with investors looking to build their wealth over the long-term. By pooling your money with a group […]

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Should I borrow to invest in shares?

Borrowing, or gearing, can help you accelerate your wealth creation. It can allow you to buy assets such as an investment property, or shares that you may not be able to afford outright. However, borrowing to invest is considered a high risk strategy and can result in you losing more than your invested capital. Before […]

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Six cognitive biases that influence how we save, spend and invest money

We like to think we’re rational beings. But the reality is that a lot of our daily behaviour is influenced by our subconscious. Behavioural scientists have looked at the way human beings are wired and discovered some ‘cognitive biases’ that influence our everyday behaviour. So if you find yourself clicking on that Amazon special or […]

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Federal Budget 2019: What it means for you

The Federal Treasurer, the Hon. Josh Frydenberg MP, delivered the 2019 Federal Budget on 2 April 2019. As widely predicted, the announcement included a range of tax cuts for both individuals and businesses. The Treasurer also announced increased funding for regulators to encourage tax and superannuation compliance, a number of positive changes to superannuation, and […]

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How to protect your loved ones after you’re gone

As the old saying goes, there are only two things certain in life: death and taxes. Unfortunately, most of us spend too much time worrying over the latter and not enough discussing the former, uncomfortable though it may be. But while no one enjoys contemplating the end of their life, planning for your death is […]

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Understanding SMSF contributions.

Understanding SMSF contributions Contributions can play an essential role in a self-managed superannuation fund. Your contributions can be made in two ways – by cash or an asset (known in the trade as ‘in specie’ contribution). Typically, your SMSF can accept: employer contributions personal contributions salary sacrifice contributions super co-contributions eligible spouse contributions The Australian […]

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Six things to consider when investing for retirement

Many people aged between 50 and 65 are uncertain about being able to cover living expenses in retirement. In the past retirees could rely on the age pension to secure their retirement. Many retirees are now less confident about this source of support, as a growing number of baby boomers are retiring and the number […]

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Economic Update

Market and Economic overview Australia The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) again left interest rates on hold at 1.50% in July, extending the record period where policy has been unchanged. The chances of official borrowing costs being amended in the foreseeable future remain low, particularly with inflation only approaching the bottom of the RBA’s 2-3% […]

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Role-reversal: When your parents are relying on you

In the later stages of life, many seniors want to stay independent for as long as possible, but there usually comes a time when they need more support. So how can you do more for your parents to keep them safe and comfortable, without taking away their sense of independence and dignity? Here are some […]

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Retire on your own terms

As the novelist C. S. Lewis once observed, “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” Retirement should be the start of a new chapter in your life – perhaps the most exciting of all. The big question, of course, is how you pay for it without a […]

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New rules to benefit those downsizing for retirement

Australians aged 65 and over who are downsizing for retirement can now contribute the proceeds from the sale of their main residence (up to $300,000) into super. We take a look at what this could mean for you, bearing in mind that like with all important financial decisions, it’s a good idea to get financial […]

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Who is the boss of your super?

It’s tempting not to think too much about your super when retirement is still a long way off. After all, it’s growing just fine by itself … right? But the reality is, if you don’t take control now, you might be left with less than what you need when it’s time to put it to […]

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Economic Update

Market and Economic overview Australia As anticipated, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) left domestic interest rates on hold a 1.50%. Official borrowing costs have been at this level since August 2016 – the longest period that Australian interest rates have remained unchanged. CPI data confirmed that inflation ran at an annual pace of 1.9% […]

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How to stay focussed in volatile markets

Investing in markets means volatility. When done well, you are getting paid for taking on risk. So why is it that sharp drops in the market have such a visceral impact on us? We only have to go back to early February, when markets dropped 4.6% in a few days to recall such a time […]

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7 budgeting apps to help you save in 2018

Where does all that money go? A host of apps are available to help you easily answer that question and even budget better, so you don’t get caught short in the event of a ‘rainy day’ and can feel more comfortable and in control of your finances every day. The best place to start is […]

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Maximising your retirement benefits

After working hard for so many years, naturally you want your retirement to be as comfortable and enjoyable as possible. That’s why it’s worth knowing which types of government support you may be entitled to when you’re transitioning into this new phase of life. If you’ve been putting money into super throughout your working years, […]

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How to help ensure your superannuation contributions don’t exceed the caps

Changes in the superannuation contribution caps, which kicked-in last year, give an added reason to keep a close eye on your contributions. From 1 July 2017, the concessional (before tax) contributions cap was reset to $25,000 for everyone (irrespective of age). For those earning a salary in excess of $210,000 or more – the compulsory […]

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SMSFs and your retirement horizon

Self-Managed Super Fund (SMSF) trustees often ask themselves, “What is the right mix of investments for my SMSF?” It’s a very common question, and one that will need to consider individual preference and the time until retirement. The answer will not be the same for everyone, even for members within the same SMSF. The ‘right’ […]

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Understanding different types of retirement pensions

If you’ve heard the term ‘pension’ being thrown around, you may have picked up that there are many types of pensions available in Australia. We explain the difference between three commonly used pensions, including the government’s Age Pension, a transition to retirement pension, and an account-based (or allocated) pension, so you’re across how they work […]

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Making money and doing good – the rise of sustainable and impact investing

There is no doubt that interest in responsible investments is growing. Not only in Australia but globally, investors are increasingly interested in how a company makes its money not simply how much it makes. Whilst some investors may focus on the longer-term viability of a company and its behaviour, others may hold particular values they […]

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Economic Update

Economic Update

MARKET AND ECONOMIC OVERVIEW Australia ·         Various data releases in November disappointed investors and suggested overall economic conditions remain subdued. ·         Inflation data, for example, was lower than anticipated. This release was followed by uninspiring wage data for the September quarter. In spite of a rise in the minimum wage on 1 July, wages have […]

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Understanding How SMSF Contributions Work

Understanding How SMSF Contributions Work

Contributions can play an essential role in a self-managed superannuation fund (SMSF). Your SMSF contributions can be made in two ways – either by cash or an asset (known in the trade as ‘in specie’ contribution). Typically, your SMSF can accept: ·         employer contributions ·         personal contributions ·         salary sacrifice contributions ·         super co-contributions ·         […]

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6 Tips For Retiring Earlier

6 Tips For Retiring Earlier

Are you dreaming about an earlier retirement, but unsure how to go about it? According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 40 per cent of Aussie men and 35 per cent of Aussie women are planning to work past age 70 because they are worried about their ‘financial security’ in retirement. But what if your […]

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Boost Your Retirement Income With Salary Sacrifice

Boost Your Retirement Income With Salary Sacrifice

By contributing into your super, you can reduce the amount of tax you pay while adding to your future retirement income. What is salary sacrifice? Put simply, salary sacrifice is where you pay a portion of your pre-tax salary or wages as an additional contribution to your superannuation account. How does it benefit you? When […]

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Funding Retirement Income In A Low Interest Rate Environment

Funding Retirement Income In A Low Interest Rate Environment

While a traditional bank deposit is generally regarded as one of the safest forms of investment, it also currently offers amongst the lowest returns. For those relying on bank deposits to fund their retirement income, the current record low interest rate environment offers little reward. For those approaching retirement, low interest rates could mean having […]

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Economic Update

MARKET UPDATE MARKET AND ECONOMIC OVERVIEW Australia  The RBA’s July interest rate decision was complicated by the recent strength of the Australian dollar, largely driven by a weaker US currency. The RBA noted that: “the higher exchange rate is expected to contribute to subdued price pressures in the economy. It is also weighing on […]

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Millions but not all to benefit from 2017 super changes

Millions but not all to benefit from 2017 super changes With changes to super now in effect, numerous Australians will get a leg up, many being low-income earners. According to the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA), more than four million Australians will benefit from the super changes that came into effect on 1 […]

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Don’t be driven by short term Sentiment and Emotion

Don’t be driven by short-term sentiment and emotion Arguably, the most common fear holding an investor back from achieving a great return is a misunderstanding of what happens when markets fall (as they invariably do). In order to use fear to our advantage, we would be well served to seek to understand the following three […]

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Super Savings for your First Home

Super savings for your first home Let’s face it, getting your foot on the first rung of the property ladder is not only hard, for an increasing number of younger Australians, it’s downright impossible. As housing prices, particularly in capital cities, continue to outstrip wages growth, even saving for a deposit to buy a house […]

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Travel Tips to help you spend less on your next Holiday

Travel tips to help you spend less on your next holiday It’s that time of year again when it feels as though everyone you know is escaping winter to head off across the world on a fabulous holiday (and sharing many photos to prove it). Whether you’re about to head off on a travelling adventure […]

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Economic Update May

Economics overview Australia – The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) Board met on 4 April and as widely expected, left the official cash rate on hold at 1.5%. At the time of writing the RBA also left the official cash rate on hold at its 2 May 2017 meeting. There has been no change in […]

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The Australian Housing Market – What are the Key Issues?

The Australian housing market – what are the key issues? The cooling in the Sydney and Melbourne property markets evident in late 2015 in response to macro prudential tightening deployed by APRA has proved ephemeral. Price gains have reaccelerated and auction clearance rates & lending to property investors have rebounded. Over the last five years […]

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How to Boost Your Age Pension with the new Thresholds

How to boost your pension under the new threshold rules To help you enjoy a more comfortable retirement, here are some tips to make the most of the new Age Pension rules which took effect on 1 January 2017. When you’re relying on the Age Pension to fund your retirement, every dollar you receive from […]

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The Clock is Ticking on Major Super Changes

The clock is ticking on major changes to superannuation that come into force on 1 July 2017. The changes are wide-ranging and are likely to affect everyone’s retirement savings. But it can pay to plan ahead both to take advantage of the existing rules, and to make the most of the new super landscape. Here […]

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Don’t let your emotions get in the way of smart investing

It’s often said that the share market is driven by two emotions – fear and greed. While this might be an over simplification, it helps to explain investor behaviour and why so many people are unsuccessful at investing. Emotional investing refers to the way in which investors have a tendency to make investment decisions based […]

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Market Update – January 2017

United States  US equities rose over the month with the S&P 500 recording a gain of 1.9%, achieving a new all-time high, as did the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which surpassed 20,000 for the first time. The market continued to react positively to the plans of newly inaugurated President Trump to cut taxes, boost […]

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Why Insurance is Important – Benefits to you and your family

Insurance is all about protecting what you have now and what you need to have in the event of the unexpected. As you travel through life, the protection you need is likely to change. The key to selecting the right insurance is understanding your present needs and making sure you have both the right sort […]

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2017 Assets Test Changes – What you need to know

Changes to the assets test have come into effect as of 1 January 2017 and could impact anyone who qualifies for the age pension. If you are currently 65 years of age or more, you must undergo an income test and an assets test in order to determine whether you are eligible to receive an […]

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How Super Contribution Caps Work

How super contributions caps work One of the most tax-effective ways to boost your retirement savings is to put additional money into your super – and once you know how the caps on super contributions work, you can take advantage of the available tax concessions. This makes sense as, by staying within the super contributions […]

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Market Update – September 2016

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) left the official cash rate on hold at its record low level of 1.5% when it met on September 6. The Q2 Capex survey released in early September was weaker than expected, -5.4% per quarter compared to the -4% per quarter anticipated. The decline was mostly related to mining […]

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Boost your Super in 3 Easy Steps

Want to see your super grow faster? Here’s how you can — by choosing what happens to compulsory contributions from your employer. Make the super payments from your employer go further by choosing an investment strategy that suits your stage of life and retirement goals. Boost your super by salary sacrificing part of your income […]

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Government Pulls Back on Proposed Changes to Super

The government has announced changes to three key 2016 Federal Budget proposals—the most significant being that it would not go forward with its proposal to introduce a $500,000 lifetime cap on non-concessional (after-tax) super contributions. In a nutshell the new proposals include: • From 1 July 2017, the existing annual cap of $180,000 on after-tax […]

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Investing for Retirement Pays off

More than half of Australians with investment properties or shares are proactively preparing for retirement, according to MLC’s Australia today report . In comparison, only 15% of people without investment properties or shares feel prepared for retirement. It’s clear investing is one way to significantly boost confidence in retirement. The “Retirement-ready” movement We’ve all read […]

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Estate Planning – Making sure your money goes where you want it

Estate planning is not just about making a will. It’s about deciding how you want to be looked after (both medically and financially) if you can’t make your own decisions later in life. It’s also about documenting how you want your assets to be distributed after you die. Estate plans can be a complex area. […]

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Make my Retirement Funds Last

Make my retirement funds last the distance Retirement should be a time when we reap the rewards of our working life, and being able to enjoy your preferred lifestyle calls for some planning. Australians are living longer and if you hang up your work boots at, say, age 65 and live to age 90, you […]

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Estate planning: not just for the wealthy

Most people don’t like to think about estate planning. In fact according to studies, almost half of all Australians don’t have a legal will. Yet if you have some assets; such as your home or some nice furniture or collectibles you still need an estate plan, especially if any minor children are involved. Contrary to […]

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Would downsizing be worthwhile for you?

It seems to make logical sense. You retire, sell the now cavernous family home, buy a cosier place and use the cost difference to boost your retirement income – win-win right? The answer is – “it depends.” Downsizing can be an excellent strategy to supplement your income and simplify your lifestyle, but it’s not right […]

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Wind down your working days sooner

3 things to know about transition to retirement pensions. Super isn’t just an ideal investment to help you save for retirement. Superannuation savings can also hold the key to when you decide to hang up your work boots and how you manage that transition out of the workforce. It’s all thanks to a type of […]

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MARKET UPDATE

  MARKET AND ECONOMIC OVERVIEW Australia – The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) left the official cash rate on hold at 2% at its meeting on 6 October 2015 and again on 3 November 2015 – where it has remained since May this year. – In announcing the November policy decision the RBA delivered a […]

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When there is a Will there is a family member

It’s probably not something you want to think about much less discuss with your kids but like it or not, one day we all pass away, and giving our loved ones a heads up on some of our financial affairs may make the process a whole lot easier. That’s why when it comes to estate […]

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What should you do during market volatility?

When markets are volatile, many investors become anxious about their investments and begin to question whether their investment strategy is really working for them.   Anxiety is a normal reaction when markets are falling but making investment decisions based on emotions is more often than not an unwise course of action. It can be tempting for […]

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Dollar Cost Averaging

Trading on the share market is widely regarded as being motivated by two powerful human emotions; fear and greed.   In recent weeks, share market volatility has many investors fearful and compelled some to sell off their investments. More often than not, basing investment decisions on emotions and following the herd tends to be a poor […]

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September Economic Update 2015

Australia The RBA left the official cash rate on hold at 2% at its meeting on 1 September 2015 where it has remained since May this year. In making its decision the Board noted that “the global economy is expanding at a moderate pace, with some further softening in conditions in China and east Asia […]

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When you retire but your partner doesn’t

Many couples dream of sharing a life of leisure together. But what happens when things get out of sync? When we think of retirement, we often imagine a happy couple strolling hand in hand on the beach. But even if you and your partner are similar ages, chances are you won’t retire at the same […]

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Funeral Insurance: a morbid idea or a smart strategy?

It’s difficult to watch television these days without being bombarded with advertising from insurance companies, the latest trend offering low cost funeral insurance. It seems so easy, pick up the phone and within a matter of minutes you can be covered for the cost of your funeral. None of us want to pass on financial […]

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Should I take my super as a lump sum or not?

You’ve spent your working life accumulating super. So when the time comes, are you better off taking a lump sum, regular income or both?   Let’s weigh up the alternatives so you can start to consider what may be best for you. Taking a lump sum If your super has been managed on your behalf during […]

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Estate Planning Essentials

We’ve all heard the terms “estate plan”, “will” and “trust”, however not everyone understands what they mean. Estate planning is the process of putting in place structures to ensure that the wealth you have accumulated over your lifetime is transferred to your beneficiaries in a tax-effective manner and in accordance with your wishes. A will […]

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