Make today count: #5 I will boost my super

Even though your financial strategy should be for the long term, there are things you can do each day to help you achieve your goals sooner. Here’s #5:

Your super has the potential to become one of your most valuable assets. The more you put into it now, the more you’ll get out of it when it’s time to retire – especially when you consider how your earnings compound over time. Here’s what you can do right now to help grow your nest egg.

First, make sure you only have one super account, (unless there’s a specific reason why you need multiple accounts). If you’ve changed employers over the years you might have ended up with multiple accounts in different super funds – which are all charging you fees. So choose your preferred fund and then ask them to track down all your lost super and roll it over into a single account.

Next, provided it’s right for your circumstances, you could talk to your employer about setting up a salary sacrificing arrangement so you can put some of your pre-tax dollars straight into super. Using ASIC’s Superannuation Calculator at www.moneysmart.gov.au you can see how even a small contribution on a regular basis can make a big difference at retirement. For example, if you’re aged 35 and earn $70,000 a year, salary sacrificing just $50 a week could add up to an extra $73,000 or more by the time you retire2.

How your financial adviser can help

No matter what financial position you’re in, there are plenty of things you can do today to start building the future you want. But the most important one is to talk to your financial adviser. With their experience and expertise, your adviser is in the best position to guide you at each stage of your financial journey. As well as helping you create a long-time financial strategy, your financial adviser will show how you can break it up into small, achievable milestones. Not only will this be easier to track your progress, it will also give you a clearer idea of what you can do to make each day count. Make today count.

Matthew Wood, Senior Wealth Advisor and Director, can help you with strategies to boost your super and achieve the lifestyle you deserve!

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2 Calculated using the MoneySmart Superannuation Calculator. Assuming an investment return of 5.7% pa and a retirement age of 67.


Disclaimer: This article has been prepared by Count Financial Limited ABN 19 001 974 625, AFSL 227232, (Count) a wholly-owned, non-guaranteed subsidiary of Commonwealth Bank of Australia ABN 48 123 123 124.

Information in this article is based on current regulatory requirements and laws, which may be subject to change. While care has been taken in the preparation of this document, no liability is accepted by Count, its related entities, agents and employees for any loss arising from reliance on this document.

This document contains general advice. It does not take account of your individual objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider talking to a financial adviser before making a financial decision.

Make today count: #4 I will protect what I love

Even though your financial strategy should be for the long term, there are things you can do each day to help you achieve your goals sooner. Here’s #4:

Insurance may not be something you think about on a daily basis, especially if you’re young and healthy. But the reality is that we never know when life will throw us a curve ball, so it makes sense to have a financial safety net in place. And even if you have personal insurance already, do you have the right levels of cover to take care of all your family’s needs?

For example, research shows that parents with two dependent children need an average of $680,000 in life insurance – but the typical default cover from a super fund is only worth about $200,0001. So if you’re relying on your fund’s default cover, it might not be enough to maintain your family’s lifestyle if you passed away. Or even if you became sick or injured and couldn’t work for a while, would you and your loved ones struggle to make ends meet?

Working out how much cover you need can be complicated, so be sure to ask your financial adviser to guide you. But you can get started today by thinking about this question: If something happened to you, how much money would your loved ones need to be able to pay off your debts, protect their standard of living and prepare for the future?

Matthew Wood, Senior Wealth Advisor and Director, can help you ensure that you and your family are protected!

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1 Rice Warner, 2015. Australia’s persistent life underinsurance gap.


Disclaimer: This article has been prepared by Count Financial Limited ABN 19 001 974 625, AFSL 227232, (Count) a wholly-owned, non-guaranteed subsidiary of Commonwealth Bank of Australia ABN 48 123 123 124.

Information in this article is based on current regulatory requirements and laws, which may be subject to change. While care has been taken in the preparation of this document, no liability is accepted by Count, its related entities, agents and employees for any loss arising from reliance on this document.

This document contains general advice. It does not take account of your individual objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider talking to a financial adviser before making a financial decision.

Make today count: #3 I will take control of my investments

Even though your financial strategy should be for the long term, there are things you can do each day to help you achieve your goals sooner. Here’s #3:

A long-term investment strategy is the best way to build wealth for the future. The longer you have to invest, the more time you have to ride out any dips in the market that could otherwise put a dent in your returns. That’s why it’s a good idea to build your investment portfolio as soon as possible – your future self will thank you.

If your investment goal is still quite a way off, you might want to invest in high-growth assets that will potentially give you higher returns over time.

A simple way to take charge of your investments today is to take a look at how your super is currently invested. If you’re using your super fund’s default investment mix, it may not be the best option for you. Instead, you might want to make some adjustments so that your investments are more in line with your stage of life and your future income needs.

If you’re in doubt, ask your financial adviser to create an investment strategy that will allow you to achieve all your lifestyle goals.

Matthew Wood, Senior Wealth Advisor and Director, can assist you with getting back in control of your investments today!

Get In Touch

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Disclaimer: This article has been prepared by Count Financial Limited ABN 19 001 974 625, AFSL 227232, (Count) a wholly-owned, non-guaranteed subsidiary of Commonwealth Bank of Australia ABN 48 123 123 124.

Information in this article is based on current regulatory requirements and laws, which may be subject to change. While care has been taken in the preparation of this document, no liability is accepted by Count, its related entities, agents and employees for any loss arising from reliance on this document.

This document contains general advice. It does not take account of your individual objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider talking to a financial adviser before making a financial decision.

Make today count: #2 I will start saving

Even though your financial strategy should be for the long term, there are things you can do each day to help you achieve your goals sooner. Here’s #2:

If you’re living from one paycheque to the next just to keep up with bills and household expenses, the idea of a long-term savings strategy can seem a bit out of reach. But here’s the secret to saving: every little amount adds up. That’s why you should start saving today – it might even be easier than you think.

First up, ask yourself: do you know where all your cash is going? If the answer is no, then it’s time to take control of your cash flow by creating a budget and sticking to it. For the next month, keep a record of everything you spend each day. You might be surprised at how much the little things can add up over time.

Then, think about how you can make some cuts. For example, you could ditch your morning coffee or take a packed lunch to work each day. With simple measures like these, another month down the track you’ll have a decent amount of surplus cash that you can put straight into a high-interest savings account.

No matter what financial position you’re in, there are plenty of things you can do today to start building the future you want. But the most important one is to talk to your financial adviser. With their experience and expertise, your adviser is in the best position to guide you at each stage of your financial journey.

As well as helping you create a long-time financial strategy, your financial adviser will show how you can break it up into small, achievable milestones. Not only will this be easier to track your progress, it will also give you a clearer idea of what you can do to make each day count.

Matthew Wood, Senior Wealth Advisor and Director, can assist you with starting your savings plan today!

Get In Touch

EMAILCONNECTCALL


Disclaimer: This article has been prepared by Count Financial Limited ABN 19 001 974 625, AFSL 227232, (Count) a wholly-owned, non-guaranteed subsidiary of Commonwealth Bank of Australia ABN 48 123 123 124.

Information in this article is based on current regulatory requirements and laws, which may be subject to change. While care has been taken in the preparation of this document, no liability is accepted by Count, its related entities, agents and employees for any loss arising from reliance on this document.

This document contains general advice. It does not take account of your individual objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider talking to a financial adviser before making a financial decision.

Boost your super before the rules change

Debt Management

On Wednesday 23 November 2016, the Federal Government’s proposed changes to super rules were passed by Parliament. This means that from 1 July 2017, the amount you can put into super each year will be reduced – which could impact your retirement plans. So before the changes happen, it’s a good idea to consider whether you should contribute a bit extra to your super.

Happy new (financial) year

Insight Financial Partners - Happy new financial year

As you prepare for the new financial year, taking action using these simple tips can help you make sure your finances are on the right track for the year ahead.

Regardless of your financial standing or the stage of life you’re in, conducting regular financial health checks is a smart way of fine-tuning your life goals and creating wealth – and there is no better time than the end of the financial year to do it. Reviewing your finances with the help of your financial adviser can give you clarity on all your money matters, while also helping to identify any specific areas you should focus on in the next 12 months. Here is a list of checks that can set you on the path to a smoother financial year ahead.

Reset your goals

Things change in life and work – and your financial plans need to reflect this. Perhaps you want to ramp up your savings, change your investment strategy or pay particular attention to cutting your debt this financial year. Start your health check by rethinking your short and long-term goals. Make them specific, but realistic – and write them down so you have extra motivation to see them become a reality. Work closely with your financial adviser during this process to get the best outcomes for your lifestyle and financial circumstances.

Redraft your budget

Perhaps you bought a new car, some new shares or will start to pay higher costs for child care in the coming year. These types of triggers can have an impact on your finances and they need to be factored in to ensure your budget works well for you. It’s obvious, but make sure you update your budget to reflect all your income, including any investment dividends or pensions and outline all your regular payments. Use this opportunity to review your bills and spending, identifying any non-essential costs that you could cut down on.

Get your debts down

It is important to get a handle on exactly which debts you are currently facing, and those that you know will arise in the coming year. To do this, write down a complete list of where you owe money. This could include any personal loans, credit cards, and home loans – and make sure you detail exactly how much you owe, the minimum repayments and the interest you are paying. Anything that incurs a high interest should be tackled first, which normally covers credit cards and personal loans. By consolidating these debts you may be able to get a lower interest rate, or even take advantage of an interest-free period. Always prioritise paying off any non-tax deductible debt that you have.

Maintain good records

Keeping a close eye on all your financial records will not only make the tax office happy – it also helps you understand your spending habits and any possible deductions. As well as keeping all relevant receipts, another way to do this is to apply for a credit card (with a low rate, of course) that you use strictly to pay for things that could be deductible at tax time so you will be well prepared for next year.

Examine your investment objectives

A sound financial health check should always include a reassessment of your investment objectives. With the help of your financial adviser, you need to determine your short and long-term goals so an investment strategy can be devised to achieve each aim. Positions can shift quickly for a range of reasons, so review your investment portfolio with your financial adviser.

Focus on your tax

It is crucial for you to review any tax deductions while ensuring, where possible, that the deduction can be claimed in the financial year when it has the most impact. This may mean incurring deductible expenses by June 30 this year to reduce your tax payable. Some of the deductible expenses you may wish to bring forward include repairs and other ongoing expenses relating to an investment property, ongoing expenses incurred in running a business; and any eligible self-education expenses. You may have other ongoing expenses which are tax deductible, such as interest on an investment loan or income protection insurance premiums. Or, if your marginal tax rate is expected to be higher next financial year, it may be worth delaying deductible expenses until after June 30.

Take control of your super

Whatever age you are, understanding your superannuation outlook can help you plan ahead. If possible, you could consider making contributions to boost your super. Salary sacrificing some of your pre-tax salary into your super fund can be one of the most tax-efficient ways to invest for retirement. Your financial adviser is best placed to help you, so discuss some of the following considerations with them too:

  • The concessional contribution cap is $30,000 for anyone under age 50, or $35,000 for anyone 50 or over. These caps apply for the 2015‑16 and 2016-17 financial years
  • The caps operate on a use-it-or-lose-it basis; if you wish to boost your super balance, but have not yet fully utilised your concessional cap, consider doing so prior to July 1 to avoid missing out on a potentially valuable tax saving. Note, the Government has proposed reducing the concessional contribution cap to $25,000 from 1 July 2017, so it is even more important to take advantage of the higher caps while they are still available. Make sure you speak to your financial adviser before making any concessional contributions.
  • If you are considering making personal non-concessional contributions, using after-tax money, the current non-concessional contributions cap is $180,000 per year or $540,000 every 3 years under the bring-forward rule. However, you need to be aware that in the 2016 Federal Budget the Government has proposed a change to the non-concessional contributions cap with the introduction of a lifetime non-concessional cap of $500,000, which is proposed to take effect from 3 May 2016. Under this proposal, prior contributions made since 1 July 2007 count towards this cap. Due to the complexity of these rules, it’s important that you discuss the implications with your financial adviser before making any contributions.

Start planning for social security changes

Upcoming assets test changes will apply from 1 January 2017. For many people this could lead to a cut in pension entitlements, which means that strategies to reduce assessable assets under the assets test will be more important than ever. Possible actions could include boosting the super balance of the younger member of a couple, if one is under the age-pension age, buying long-term annuities with a depleting asset value, and making principal home improvements. Stay on top of the area that is relevant to you.

Contact your financial adviser

Any changes you make to improve your financial position can help put you on the path to a more positive future.The start of a new financial year is the perfect time to give yourself the gift of a better financial future. Set aside some time and focus on these important financial checks – and once you’ve taken stock, take advantage of the expertise your financial adviser provides. They are here to help you.

The start of a new financial year is the perfect time to give yourself the gift of a better financial future. Set aside some time and focus on these important financial checks – and once you’ve taken stock, take advantage of the expertise your financial adviser provides. They are here to help you.


Disclaimer: This article has been prepared by Count Financial Limited ABN 19 001 974 625, AFSL 227232, (Count) a wholly-owned, non-guaranteed subsidiary of Commonwealth Bank of Australia ABN 48 123 123 124.

Information in this article is based on current regulatory requirements and laws, which may be subject to change. While care has been taken in the preparation of this document, no liability is accepted by Count, its related entities, agents and employees for any loss arising from reliance on this document.

This document contains general advice. It does not take account of your individual objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider talking to a financial adviser before making a financial decision.

Goal Setting For Success

As with most life goals, a financial objective is hard to meet without a plan. On the other hand, discussing the process with a professional, putting pen to paper and envisioning the steps to long-term success brings that goal into focus and makes it a reality.

Plans written down on paper give your dreams a direction, whether they are for short-term saving or long-term wealth. They help you to figure out where things are going wrong or could go wrong, and they keep you motivated by proving it’s possible and easing the fear of failure.

The process of making a financial plan identifies steps that must be taken and turns a hoped-for result into a viable goal.

Importantly, in a turbulent economic period such as the one we have experienced in the last year, a written plan allows you to keep your eyes on the long-term prize, rather than making a panicked decision. It also gives you the chance to make far more accurate fine-tuning decisions, with help from your financial adviser, to ensure everything stays on track towards the agreed goal.

The long-term nature of a financial plan can help ease any short-term concerns as it allows time for the market to smooth out the bumps and dips along the way, while providing the opportunity for growth. It also gives the investor time to make the most of compound interest.

The first and most obvious step is to determine your priorities. When it comes to retirement this means figuring out what type of lifestyle you’re hoping for. Are you looking to travel the world regularly and stay in five-star hotels or is a shack down the coast, and a few afternoons of fishing a week, your idea of retirement heaven? Armed with this information, your adviser will be able to crunch the numbers to work out what your final dollar amount needs to be.

A qualified financial adviser will show you numerous ways to make your long-term hopes a reality, including the utilisation of tax effective financial vehicles, proper budgeting, protection of your financial future through insurance and constant fine-tuning as regulations change and new opportunities present themselves.

A thorough plan will have milestones along the way that serve to break up the major plan into a number of smaller ones and also act as checkpoints to ensure you’re still on track. Such a strategy is known in some circles as a SMART plan. ‘SMART’ is a well-known and heavily researched guide to setting powerful but realistic objectives.

A SMART plan sticks to these principles:

S – Specific & simple
M – Measurable & meaningful
A – Actionable & attainable
R – Realistic & relevant
T – Timely & timetabled

Perhaps a final ‘R’ should be added to the plan to represent ‘Review’ and ‘Reassess’. As previously mentioned, once the plan is in place it must not be considered unchangeable. In fact, it should be fine-tuned at least once every 12 months during a visit to your adviser. Products develop, governments introduce new legislation, regulations are altered, changes to tax laws offer new opportunities and markets rise and fall. Whether in the name of change or simply to make you confident about your financial future, it pays to review your plan regularly.

After all, if you’re confident about your future, you’re more likely to enjoy the present!