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Lost Super?

There are about 14.8 million Aussies with a superannuation account, 40% of which hold more than one account.

Some of that 40% make up the $18 billion in ‘lost super’. Is some of that yours?

Find it

Moved home? Changed your job? Don’t quite remember where your teenage self stashed your super? It’s really pretty easy to track it down.

Combine it

Save on fees, reduce your paperwork, keep track of your hard earned money, grow your retirement fund.  But maybe get advice first!  If your health has changed and getting new insurance is problematic, it may be worth keeping more than one account open.

Get online

Many websites and super funds offer to help find and combine your super. It is quick, easy and free. You can check with your known superannuation provider/s, your MyGov site or the Australian Tax Office.

Grow it

A qualified financial adviser can help you find an appropriate superannuation fund that will grow your hard-earned income ready for your retirement – and the sooner you get on top of this, the better!

Fees are just part of the story, do you also know how your fund has performed?  Are you able to choose your own insurance levels?  Or opt-out of insurance if not required?  Do you know your investment risk profile and which style of investing is best for you?

Truth is, most of us get excited when we find $20 in a pocket or an old handbag… your superannuation is likely worth thousands, and it is YOUR money!  Take care of it!

 

Source: https://www.ato.gov.au/About-ATO/Research-and-statistics/In-detail/Super-statistics/Super-accounts-data/Super-accounts-data-overview/

What should I expect when seeing an Adviser?

What should I expect at my first meeting?

Your initial consultation with a financial planner will give you a chance to get to know each other.  Most provide an initial consultation at their own time and expense.

Your financial planner will explain how their service works, and how it can work for you.  You should receive a Financial Services Guide and an Adviser Profile and have these documents explained to you.  You’ll have the opportunity to talk about your current financial situation and your financial goals.

Some questions to consider before your first meeting:

  • Reflect on what you want in life. Start with the next few years. Are there any changes you’d like to make, or things you’d like to do? What about 5, 10 or 25 years from now? Where do you want to live? What do you want to be doing?  Is retirement on your radar?  Are there specific goals you’d like to meet in the near future?
  • Consider your attitude to money.  Are you a spender or a saver? A risk taker or someone who prefers more certainty? When it comes to spending and managing money, what do you enjoy and what keeps you awake at night?  You can complete a Risk Profile questionnaire that can provide you with you personal risk profile in relation to different investments.  You might be much more aggressive when investing your superannuation than you would be if saving for a home deposit.
  • Think about the financial issues you find most challenging.  Where do you think you could be making better decisions?  What do you think you need to better understand?  Do you know you have downfalls in specific areas?

Talk to your spouse or partner about these issues too. When you visit a financial planner, you’ll want to discuss what it is you want to achieve together as well as your individual dreams.

Many people also neglect to educate their children about money.  What issues did you wish you knew about when you were younger.  Is there something you could pass on to make their life a little easier going forward?

What to bring along

To help your financial planner gain a clearer understanding of your current finances and the services that could be right for you, a little preparation can go a long way. If possible, try to gather the following information before your first consultation:

  • Your income. If it’s easier, feel free to bring in tax documents, especially if you have income from multiple sources or you’re self-employed.  Otherwise, a recent payslip is helpful.
  • Your assets. Including property, superannuation, savings and investments.  Do you also have different structures like Trusts that hold assets?
  • Your budget.  An estimate of where your money goes each month, including your mortgage or rent, personal or business loans and credit card debt will be helpful.
  • Insurance covers. Especially life, disability and income protection policies, if you have them.
  • Questions. In addition to a list of your short and long-term financial objectives, bring any questions or concerns you may have.  And write them down so you don’t forget any!

Your first meeting is informal so don’t worry about gathering all the details if you can’t lay your hands on everything.  The important thing is to get started thinking about your financial future.  If you choose to proceed with your Adviser, you can nail the details in subsequent meetings.

To find out more, contact us and we can guide you through the process.

Educate yourself on financial advice

You might be surprised to know, that working out how to achieve your financial goals is easy and you don’t have to earn a high income to do it.

Whether you’re looking to get your financial affairs in order, buy a first or subsequent home, start a family or prepare for your retirement, seeking quality advice from a qualified financial expert can help you achieve your goals sooner, and with more confidence.

So just what is financial advice?

Financial advice is about much more than just making money. It’s about creating new opportunities to help you achieve whatever you desire in life. A financial planner can help work out what’s important to you. They can help develop a plan that aligns your financial decisions to your lifestyle goals.

Priorities can change over time, as can economic conditions, government legislation and investment markets. Advisers can help re-focus your plan, track your progress and keep you accountable along the way, whether you’re starting out, building wealth or planning for retirement.

Seeking financial advice will help you identify solutions to important questions like:

  • Will I have enough income to live comfortably in retirement?
  • Is my family protected should something unexpected happen – what do I need to know about life insurance?
  • How can I make sure I have enough money to fund my children’s education?
  • How can I invest and structure my finances in the most tax effective way?
  • How can I manage my debt and pay off my home sooner?
  • How can I make my money work harder for me?
  • What’s the best structure to protect my investments and assets?
  • How can I maximise my entitlements to government benefits?
  • How does estate planning fit?

At its best, financial advice is an ongoing long-term partnership centered entirely on your goals.

If you’re weighing up whether financial advice is right for you, consider booking an initial complimentary obligation free appointment.  We’d be happy to help!

Stay on top of your business finances

As you know, your finances can make or break your business, so it’s vital to keep them in check. Here’s some tips!

Don’t miss out on entitlements

Take advantage of recent tax and regulatory changes, such as:

Also, the lower 27.5% tax rate for businesses with a turnover under $25 million came into force starting in the 2017–18 financial year.

Brush up on basics

Have a clear idea of your where your income streams are coming from and where your funds are going in expenses. It’s a good idea to always overestimate business expenses and to keep an emergency fund in case something goes wrong… simply becuase it can. Constantly review your budget as it will keep changing over time.

Cash flow is the fuel that keeps a business running smoothly and you need to keep a close eye on it.  Do you understand your break even point?  How many sales are required before you cover costs and then turn a profit?

Get help with bookkeeping

You might save money by doing your own bookkeeping, but seriously, do you want or need to?  If you aren’t good at it or have trouble finding the time, it can actually hurt your business. Hiring a bookkeeper or accountant with the expertise to dissect your numbers, help you calculate deductions, organise your cash flow and keep your records in order might just be one of the best investments you’ll ever make.  I know it was for me!

Despite being a finance chick myself, it’s not what I love doing or am especially good at.  I’d rather be sitting with my clients and assisting them any day of the week!

Also, if you’re tech savvy, consider using a finance app or cloud accounting solution that provides real-time insights into your finances and saves you even more time.

Be proactive

Don’t be afraid to shop around for new suppliers or to negotiate better deals.  Loyalty is lovely, but not when it hurts your bottom line.

Encourage clients to pay quickly and email invoices as soon as you complete a job.

Most importantly, take time off to work on your business, rather than just working in it.  It might be ‘easier said than done’ but it’s a fabulous and worthy investment of your time.

Get Retirement Ready!

Planning is key… and so is getting advice!

Avoiding pinching pennies in retirement because you haven’t saved enough means serious planning.

First, figure out how much you’ll need!

Find out how much income you will need by answering a few simple questions:

  • What are your personal retirement goals?  Do they include climbing mountains, lawn bowls, sky-diving or spoiling the grand kids?
  • What kind of lifestyle do you want?  Are you quite frugal or want to live it up?
  • What is your life expectancy?  Do you have good genes and are likely to outlast your cronies?  Or have you lived a little harder than most and might not see the great-grand kids arrive?

While it’s relatively easy to set goals and have some lifestyle expectations for retirement, estimating how long you’ll live can be tricky, but is crucial to your retirement decisions. It can help decide your own asset allocation or when to stop working to ensure you have enough funds for your retirement.

Although there are tools and calculators you can use for working out life expectancy, your financial adviser can help guide you through the process too. Your adviser can also help you come up with an estimate of your required retirement income based on your lifestyle expectations, risk profile and life expectancy.

Second, ensure you’ll have enough income!

With an estimate of how much you’ll personally need, your adviser can make recommendations to help you meet your required retirement income. These strategies may include transition to retirement or contribution strategies, growing your retirement fund by investing some or all of it or even growing wealth outside of superannuation.

Most investment products carry some sort of risk, so it’s important to choose ones that suit your risk appetite and need for returns.

If you want a regular flow of income in your retirement, there are options available for you, as well as ensuring you won’t outlive your funds.

Always seek professional advice and how you can get appropriate outcomes for you.  And of course, I’d love to help!

Sticking to it!

I’m seriously not a New Years Resolution kind of girl, but definitely like to set goals… and preferably ones I know I can achieve.

One year, it was Eat Slower. Being a bit of an inhaler of food, that was a good one… and I’m much better at it now.

Another time, it was Do Something you Love, so I took up singing lessons.  (I clearly note the distinction here between What you Love and not What You’re Good At!) See, it’s not epic like Do Base Camp or go Diving with Whale Sharks… they’ll come later! They’re on the To Do List, but can hardly be considered Resolutions!

At the start of this year, I decided Move More was achievable.

I HATE exercise… and I’ve tried a lot… I don’t like to sweat and I’d probably only run if I was being chased…with an axe!

I’ve never had an endorphin rush in my life from working out and certainly have never felt that I’d improved my life by struggling through a personal training workout or gym session, and truly, I’ve tried!

A woman told me today she feels ‘holier than thou’ when she’s worked out in the morning, meaning she can go enjoy the rest of her day knowing she’s already done herself a whole lotta good. I guess I get that!

And I have persevered in trying to find something, anything that I don’t mind doing and may have just finally found what does the trick!

Well, I’ve been going for 8-9 months now, so that’s pretty epic for me.

A girlfriend asked if I’d try Deep Water Running with her and like you, I immediately said ‘what’s that?’

Basically, it consists of pretend running, cycling and cross-country skiing your way up and down an Olympic sized swimming pool with a few other exercises thrown in and trying to ensure your buoyancy belt doesn’t ride up under your boobs or armpits for much of the time to blaring music while being told what to do by your perky instructor for an hour.

The weightlessness is completely brilliant for anyone who has ever had an injury, dodgy hip or a bad knee.  Consequently, I’m one of the youngest in the class of gorgeous old chooks and a few brave men… and quite considerably too. Bless!

(I rarely admit to having had three compressed discs in my lower back these days as it totally ages me… and it also means that cobra pose in yoga is totally out of the question.) Usually now, you’ll find me on Saturday and Sunday mornings at the local pool in my cozzie and ready to jump in with anywhere between 15 and 35 regulars, weather dependent.

It’s a bit of a social outing for many and you’ll be pleased to know that oversized sunglasses and floppy hats are out in full force! As is hot pink or red lippy (occasionally running into the wrinkles,) tennis visors, serviceable caps and some who, bless them, thought it was an Easter bonnet parade.

Apparently even chewing? smacking? gum open mouthed for the hour is also completely acceptable.  As you see, anything goes!

Nearly all appears serene on the surface as we leisurely coast up and down, sticking diligently to the left of the lane. Underneath however, there’s a frenzy of frenetic activity as our legs and arms pump, shuffle, scoot and paddle us up and down.

My freckle to flesh ratio is on the increase and my motley Celtic completion may be said to almost be approaching light tan.  I think I’ve even freckled in new places never before terribly exposed to the Aussie sun!

Anyhoo, it’s been pretty fun and allowed me to consistently meet my Move More goal, which is a great thing.

On Sundays we also get the added bonus of the gents of the Beer Belly Brigade who pop by early in their short shorts with their buoyancy belts and pool noodles to watch the last of our gyrations before jumping in themselves.

Brilliant!

Also assisting with the Move More Mantra is that we’ve had to rent a flat while renovating our future classroom in the country and walking up and down four stories in heels every day also counts… even if I’m heavy breathing at my front door of an evening, or more so if I head up to my bedroom… five floors!

So, whoever said New Years Resolutions were a waste, just didn’t set the right ones.  Why not try again yourself sometime?  I’d love to hear how you go… oh and yes, I’m still singing (warbling) regularly too!

Now, where are those Latin Dance classes held?

A couple of questions for your adviser

With all the drama currently surrounding the Royal Commission, banks, financial institutions and advisers are heavily in the spotlight.

Whether you have an adviser, or you want to start looking, what are a couple of questions you should ask before you get started?  Remember, you’re looking for the best person to fit your needs.

1  What is your background? What formal qualifications do you hold?

In dealing with any professional, it is important to have an understanding of their professional background and qualifications.  Doctors and Lawyers usually have their certificates proudly displayed on the wall.  But how can you be sure?

All financial advisers in Australia must meet minimum educational requirements and these standards are constantly being raised, soon to a degree level minimum as the Industry works toward becoming a Profession.  That said, there’s already many professionals working in the financial advice space.

And, the more qualified and experienced your adviser is, the better for you. Your Adviser should also show a commitment to continual ongoing education. When looking at an adviser’s qualifications, consider their formal education and their life and business experience:

  • What degrees, diplomas or post-graduate qualifications do they have? Do they hold a basic diploma or a Masters Degree?
  • Do they have professional designations that have been earned or paid for?
  • What specialist accreditations do they hold? e.g. life risk specialist, SMSF specialist, estate-planning or aged-care specialist etc.
  • What is their experience as a financial adviser?  How many years have they been advising or in the financial services space?  And how long do they plan on continuing to give advice?
  • Are they a member of any industry associations or professional bodies that adhere to a code of ethics, such as the Association of Financial Advisers or the Financial Planning Association?

If you think someone might be fudging the certificate on the wall, you can always check an adviser’s qualifications through the financial advisers register on the ASIC MoneySmart Website.

2 What is the scope of your advice?  What can you advise me on?

In a similar way to lawyers or medical professionals, not all financial advisers provide the same services.  Some offer holistic advice, covering everything, others offer advice in limited areas such as insurance or superannuation. It is important to ask a potential adviser if they are capable of providing all of the services you require. It’s no surprise that an adviser that suits one individual may not suit another.  These areas should all be explained on the Adviser Profile that accompanies their Financial Services Guide.

Some advisers may not have the experience or qualifications to advise on a particular specialist areas that you require, such as self-managed superannuation funds, direct shares or gearing and margin loans.

Have a think about your long-term needs and objectives and make sure the adviser you choose can meet them all.

This is a person you will be trusting to shape your financial future and have a long-term relationship with.  Also ask your adviser what actions they will take to implement, update and maintain any plan you devise together.  How often will you meet with your adviser? Do you have access to a team of experts or just the adviser?  If your adviser is on leave or uncontactable, who can they turn to?

 

These are just a couple of questions at the start of any conversation you can have.  And the beauty of the internet means that you can even do some snooping before you meet to qualify your potential adviser before you arrive.

There’s lots more to cover, like fees and charges, whether the adviser is ‘aligned’ or ‘non-aligned’ with a large institution or how long they’d like to keep practicing for…  But, you might just get a feel of whether or not they’re the one for you from these couple of questions.