Coming Soon!…

I’m just a little bit excited!

My first book is now at the publisher’s and in editing phase!  What a huge job!  And by November, I should have a hard copy in my hot little hands!  CAN’T HARDLY WAIT!!

Writing a book was always something I’d wanted to do, but wasn’t sure whether a bodice busting romance or business book would manifest itself first… Guess the finance chick won in the end.  I knew what I didn’t want to do was another wanky adviser book on how to do a budget, spread over 30,000 words, so can assure you, that it isn’t that!

I’ve put together a collective wisdom from some amazing men and women in business, in financial services and everyday heroes.  I’ve been incredibly nosy and asked about their life growing up, what lessons they learned from their family around money, the greatest advice they’ve ever been given and what are the best financial tips they’d love to pass on to their nearest and dearest!  I ask about setbacks along the way and how they’ve recovered too.

I can’t wait to share tips over the coming weeks as a bit of a teaser from some of the various people I’ve interviewed, so stay tuned for more…

Huge Thanks to MDRT Foundation!

MEDIA RELEASE:

The Hunger Project Australia Receives Grant from Million Dollar Round Table Foundation

 16 August — The MDRT Foundation has awarded a USD 1,000 grant to The Hunger Project Australia via Amanda Cassar’s fundraising efforts for the Unleashed Women movement.

Through its global grants programs, the MDRT Foundation is committed to building stronger families and communities around the globe. This year, the MDRT Foundation will award over

$1 million in MDRT member-endorsed grants to more than 200 charitable organizations worldwide.

Amanda Cassar is an Unleashed Woman and has also visited The Hunger Project’s work in Uganda and Malawi. The USD 1,000 grant provides for example 16 women with a microfinance loan and financial literacy training so they can start a small business, earn an income and support their families. During her visit to Malawi, Amanda met women who have been empowered by The Hunger Project in this way.

Unleashed Women is a powerful global movement empowering women to end hunger. For more, visit www.unleashedwomen.org.au For more on The Hunger Project Australia, visit www.thp.org.au

 

About the MDRT Foundation:

The MDRT Foundation was created in 1959 to provide MDRT members with a means to give back to their communities. Since its inception, the Foundation has donated more than $30 million in more than 70 countries throughout the world and in all 50 U.S. states. These funds were raised by MDRT members and industry partners. For more information, visit mdrtfoundation.org.

About MDRT:

Founded in 1927, the Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT), The Premier Association of Financial Professionals®, is a global, independent association of more than 49,500 of the world’s leading life insurance and financial services professionals from more than 500 companies in 70 countries. MDRT members demonstrate exceptional professional knowledge, strict ethical conduct and outstanding client service. MDRT membership is recognized internationally as the standard of excellence in the life insurance and financial services business.  For more information, visit mdrt.org.

Women’s Money Toolkit

I’m a big fan of ASIC’s MoneySmart website and love their Women’s Toolkit.  Have you had a chance to check it out as yet?

The women’s money toolkit has been designed with tips and tools to help you manage your money, gain an edge on your finances and deal with life’s ups and downs.  And we know there’s plenty of them!

The kit was developed because women face unique financial challenges such as having less super than men, living longer and taking time out of paid work to care for others.

It’s designed to have you answer some simple questions and receive a tailored list of topics that may include having a baby, relationships and money, sorting out your super and many more.

Create a personalised to-do list of the actions you need to focus on right now to make the most of your money and enhance your well being.

Remember, you can always:

Do yourself and favour and check it out here: ASIC Women’s Toolkit

Women & Superannuation

I’ve met plenty of people skeptical about our superannuation system over my years as a planner and I get it.  Believe me, I have to devote hours ever year to keeping up with the annual federal budget, managing legislative changes and getting my head around constantly changing tax and super laws.  It can be a drag!

It’s also true that we retire with about half the retirement savings of most men, and some women retire with no super at all!  But the reality is this, women live longer than men, making it even more essential that they accumulate enough superannuation to last them through retirement.

Having said that, women also face unique challenges when it comes to putting away retirement savings. Chances are, you’re still on lower pay than your male counterparts, you’ll take more time out of the workforce to raise the kids or care for your parents, and for those running a single-parent household, it can make it even more challenging to build a reasonable amount of super savings.

However, there are some simple strategies make it possible for women to overcome some of these hurdles, or make them less of an issue anyway…

Try and remember, that superannuation is actually your friend.  It is a very tax-effective way to save retirement. Your super fund pays a low rate of tax on contributions and investment earnings while growing your nest egg.  From age 60, you can withdraw your super tax-free.

Without any superannuation savings, many women are forced to rely solely on the age pension in their senior years.  Remember, the pension is designed as a safety net and won’t provide at all for a comfortable old age.  I’m not sure I could go back to a lifestyle that’s funded on around $23,000 per annum and you probably don’t want to either!

Firstly, don’t let your super funds get ‘lost.’  Try and ensure your funds are consolidated – this can help save on fees, but make sure you’re not losing valuable insurance coverage when doing so.  When possible, try to put extra away into super.  The ATO and website MyGov are making it easier than ever now to stay on top of your funds.

Affording an extra $20 – $50 per week now may not take food off the table but the additional money, plus years of compound interest will add up, and after all, your investing in your future self.  Sounds like a win to me!

Understand your fund and make sure your employer is putting your full entitlements in regularly on your behalf.  At the time of writing, this was 9.5% of your gross wage. Mostly now, we have super choice meaning that we’re able to choose the fund we want, and then check where your money is invested within the fund.  Is it in line with your investment profile?

To grow your fund, you’re often able to make pre-tax contributions (Salary Sacrifice) or even post-tax contributions where no tax is charged.  Depending on your circumstances, your partner may also be able to make contributions on your behalf and receive a tax offset for their efforts.

However you go about it, remember that you’re investing in your future and that superannuation is your money.  It certainly pays to be savvy with your super!  Sitting down with your financial adviser may reveal new and innovative ways you can make the most of your retirement savings!

The Truth about Investing

Plenty of people tell me, “I’ll come and see you when I have money to invest!”  Great!!  (Mostly, I’m still waiting…)

So how much does it really take to start investing?

Truth is, you really don’t need a lot.  Some start with a small lump sum and others put small amounts away regularly.  It’s really what’s best for you.

The best advice I can give you for free… is to start!  Then keep adding to your investments regularly.

You’ve probably heard it before, but remember – don’t put all your eggs in one basket! And, the higher the earnings or return you expect from an investment, the more risky it’s likely to be. Investments that offer lower returns are generally less risky.

A financial adviser can assist in working out your risk profile – that’s the level of risk you’re comfortable with, and that can depend on what you’re investing or saving for.  You may have a much higher tolerance for volatility for your superannuation or retirement funds than you would when saving for the deposit on a home.

Advisers are also qualified to assist when you’ve had an inheritance, lost or divorced a partner or had a major change in circumstances.

Sit down and work out your personal budget and see just what’s left each pay period that you can use to either bring down debt or start your savings plan today!  If you don’t know where to start, an adviser can definitely assist.  So stop putting it off and waiting for the magic to happen… chances are you’re more likely to get ahead by starting, than waiting.

Women & Retirement

Seeing there’s actually no fixed aged when you can retire, it’s really completely up to you.  What it does come down to usually is, can you fund it?

Most start thinking in their’s 50’s about how it’s all going to work, as entitlement to the Age Pension is somewhere between 65 and 67, depending on when you were born.

Often a gradual transition is the way to go, slowly cutting back on days at work, going part time before finally exiting the work force for good.  Other conditions to consider when approaching retirement and leaving the work force for good are the loss of social interaction provided by work and the mental stimulation that’s provided.

Do you have hobbies that can take the place of your usual schedule or will boredom quickly creep in?  Exiting slowly can help you keep a hand in, whilst transitioning slowly, giving you a taste for what lies beyond work.

Some may choose to continue working part-time towards their 70’s as life expectancy moves forward.  Others have always wanted to volunteer for a local school or charity and now enjoy giving back to their local community.

If you still have a partner, discussing expectations and plans for life after work is essential to ensuring you’re on the same page.  Suddenly being together 24/7 isn’t everyone’s ideal start to their retirement years.

For others, it’s time to buy that caravan or Harley (or both!) and join the multitudes of Grey Nomads touring the country!

For others it’s not so easy.  Forced retirement may be brought on by having to assist in caring for aging parents or unwell children or grandchildren.  This can seriously impact your ability to put away additional funds to help in your retirement years.

And still, financial considerations remain top of mind.  How much you’ll need in retirement is completely dependent on the lifestyle you’ll be living…  And what you have saved to boost your pension will often dictate that lifestyle.

You might want to sit down with your planner long before retirement is on the horizon and discuss strategies that may suit your circumstances.  If your debt is low, it may be time to give your superannuation funds a boost by implementing salary sacrifice strategies.  For those closer to retirement, it might be worth considering a Transition to Retirement strategy.  Those on a lower income may be able to take advantage of the Government’s Co-Contribution strategy.

Getting the right advice for your situation is likely the best investment you can make in your future.  So how does retirement look for you?

The end of another Financial Year

It’s hard to believe we’ve just clocked the end of another financial year.  It really doesn’t seem that long ago we just completed our last round of tax returns!  I hope you managed to make the most of your deductions and income.

And it’s been a big year too for what was formerly known as the financial planning industry.  2016 is the year the Government began to view us as a profession… although, you may agree that that still needs a bit of work.

Now is the time where many advisers will have to choose whether or not they will earn the right to continue as planners.  The proper qualifications will be needed and recognised, ongoing training and accountability measures will be put into place, and all are aimed at protecting the consumer.  That’s a win, right?

Building consumer trust has always been the end game and following in it’s wake, better recognition and respect for professional planners.

We’ve also managed to have enshrined the terms Financial Planner and Financial Adviser which will make it easier for the public to find professionals to provide them with advice.  From 1 January, 2019, anyone claiming to be a financial planner without the qualifications to do so, will be breaking the law, so you’re less likely to end up in the wrong hands.  Another win!

So, we’re pretty sure you’ve had a big financial year, and we hope you’re set for an even more cracking year ahead.

It’s time to take a load off and enjoy the weekend.

Happy EOFY everyone!