5 ways Australians will use their tax return this year image

With nearly one in three people planning to save their tax return, have you considered what you might do with yours? This year more than 75% of Australians expect to receive a tax return, with a large portion of the population planning to use the money they receive to take the edge off their financial commitments.i We look at the most common ways people intend on using their tax return and what other ways you could invest this money to get ahead. How people intend on using their tax return According to a finder.com.au survey of more than 2,000 Australians, the most common ways people said they’d use their tax return this year was towards:i Savings (31%) Household bills (23%) ...

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Helping your kids buy a home image

Increasing house prices are good news for property owners but can be a bit of a hurdle for people trying to get into the market. If, like many of our clients, your goal is to help your children buy a home, there are a few ways you can help. Perhaps some of the tips below might give you an idea or two to discuss with your adviser. 1. Start with the right emotional support. Supporting your children so they’re emotionally prepared for buying a property will help them make wise decisions. Some ways to do this are: encourage good money habits educate them around what’s involved in buying a property be realistic about what areas they can afford help them ...

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How much super should I have at my age? image

We look at the average super balances for different age groups in Australia so you can see how your super savings compare. A healthy super balance can be a key ingredient in being able to live the life we want in retirement. But for many people, retirement is a long way off, and it can be hard to know if your super is on track. If you’ve been asking yourself – how much super should I have at my age? – read on to find out. How does your super compare? The table below shows the average super balances for Australian men and women of different ages (excluding those with no super) so you can compare your balance to others ...

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7 Ways to Boost Your Super image

Investing in your super now may help you live the life you desire in retirement. By the time you retire, your super will likely represent one of your biggest assets. It’s real money and it’s your money, so putting some thought into making contributions today may help you achieve the lifestyle you want in retirement. But remember that the money you contribute into super will be subject to preservation and not accessible until you retire. While super might seem like basic maths – you just add to it – some contribution strategies might suit you better than others, so it’s important to understand your options. 1. Salary sacrifice (before-tax or concessional contributions) Ask your employer if you can put more ...

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Your Retirement Questions Answered image

If you’re wondering what you might do with your super money when you do access it, remember there will be a number of things to weigh up and look into. How can I take my super? Taking super as a lump sum A lump sum could help you pay off your home loan or other outstanding debts, but there may be tax implications to consider and you should think about what you’ll live on if you have no super left. The government’s Age Pension could be one option, although if you’re pinning your hopes entirely on government support, you should consider the sort of lifestyle it might fund. June 2017 figures show a 65-year-old retiring today needs an annual income ...

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How to Work Out Your Retirement Number image

The amount of money needed for retirement is not one size fits all. How you’d like to spend your retirement is as unique as you. From the big life changing goals, to the smaller, more personal ones that give your life meaning. There’s no defined age you must retire by, and it isn’t just about your finances. Your state of mind, where you’d like to live, how you spend your time as well as your goals, all play a big part. Living well in retirement Australia has one of the highest life expectancies in the world, and it’s likely to increase well into the 90s over the next 40 years.i Meaning you could be looking at around 30 years in retirement. ...

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5 Ways to Keep a Cool Head In a Falling Share Market image

Despite concern, falling share prices are not necessarily a sign of a mild or major bear market situation, according to Dr Shane Oliver. The share market correction many people are talking about at the moment is causing concern for a number of investors, including those accumulating super and drawing money from their super savings, which is understandable given the rapid falls we’ve seen in recent days. From share market highs to the lows witnessed recently, we saw United States and Japanese shares fall 10%, Eurozone shares fall 8%, Chinese shares fall 9%, while Australian shares fell 5%. Sharp falls, with talk of billions of dollars being wiped off the share market, are stressful for investors as no one likes to ...

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Australians Reveal Their Priority Goals image

Most Australians indicate their biggest life goal is a financial one, but many admit failing to plan is a roadblock. Increased household debt, record-high property prices and the aftermath of the global financial crisis have not impeded Australians’ belief in their ability to achieve their goals. In fact, an August 2016 research paper by The Financial Planning Association of Australia and McCrindle, showed four in five Australians were confident they could turn their goals into a reality.i We take a look at the achievements, aspirations and roadblocks that topped people’s lists. Key achievements The FPA and McCrindle study, which compiled responses from more than 1,000 people, aged 20 to 65, revealed Australians’ key achievements across generations. Check out the table ...

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Spread Your Money, Reduce Risk image

Six out of ten Australians own investments outside of the family home and super. That’s good news. The only problem is that many people are still putting all their eggs in one, or just a few, baskets. The latest investor study by the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) found 40% of investors admit they don’t have a diversified portfolio. Almost one in two investors think their portfolio is diverse, yet they hold, on average, less than three different investment products. The role of diversification Diversification plays a key role in long term investing. To understand why, it can help to think about what goes on at the racetrack, where the bookies always seem to win while the punters are invariably left ...

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Insurance Through My Super image

Am I better off buying insurance through my super? When it comes to arranging insurance it’s important to decide what types of insurance are available to you and what you’ll need for your particular life circumstances. From here you’ll need to consider whether you should keep it inside your super fund or set it up separately. What are the benefits of insurance through super? 1. Get more for less It can be cost effective to buy insurance through super. That doesn’t mean you won’t find cheaper cover outside your super fund. But it’s likely you’ll be better off because tax benefits mean you could end up paying less overall and group buying power—which normally comes with insurance through super—often gives ...

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6 Traits of Australians Living the Dream image

Almost one in four Australians (23%) believe they are definitely or mostly ‘living the dream’, according to recent research from the Financial Planning Association. Here are 6 traits that have helped them to achieve their dreams: 1. Strong personal habits Australians living the dream are family oriented, spending more quality time with their family during the week than the average Australian. And they’re five times more likely to meditate or engage in spiritual activity. 2. Dream about the future Australians living their dream life dream more about the future than others. Four in five (82%) often or always dream about their future, compared to just 61% of those who say they are not living the dream. 3. Plan ahead and ...

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Can Refinancing Save Me Money? image

By replacing your existing loan with a new one, you could take advantage of a better deal. Even if you secured a competitive package when you first took out your home loan, it’s worth reviewing each year to ensure the interest rates, fees and features continue to meet your needs. With interest rates also at an all-time low in Australia, now may be an opportune time to refinance as you may be able to pay off your home loan sooner. What is Refinancing anyway? Refinancing is where you replace your existing home loan with a new one that’s ideally more cost-effective and flexible. It may involve changing your home loan product with your current provider, but often it will mean ...

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2017 Has Been Kind to Investors image

As we head towards the end of 2017, it’s worth taking a look at how Investment Markets have fared over the year. It turns out we’ve enjoyed a pretty good 12 months – especially if you haven’t had a significant chunk of your wealth tied up in cash. The last 12 months have been steady on a number of financial fronts. Even the official cash rate has remained unchanged for the entire year, and that’s been a plus for local businesses. Reflecting this, Australian shares have performed well. Double digit gains on shares As I write in mid-November, the ASX 200 Total Returns Index has dished up gains of 11.27% for the year to date. This in turn has impacted ...

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Get ready for the First Year of Retirement image

Will you be a honeymooner, a go-getter or a relaxer? The first year of retirement is one of transition in which you will need to adjust to major changes that can bring big rewards. Some of the changes may include; preparing mentally for the shift to not working full-time, adjusting to not getting a regular salary, ensuring your money can last for about 30 years and keeping your mind and body active. Three paths Researcher Professor Robert Atchley identified a number of ways people react to leaving work permanently and split the period immediately after paid employment into three paths: the “honeymoon” path, for people who dive into many of the fun activities they did not have time for previously, ...

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It’s not too late to get More in Super image

There’s a small window left before new rules stop you from adding as much to super as you can right now. It’s crunch time. Time to get advice before super as we know it changes. From 1 July 2017, new laws will limit the amount that goes into super across the board. And that means you need to be prepared and you need to act before 30 June. After 1 July, the non-concessional contributions (NCC) you’ll be allowed to make into super will be significantly less. What to consider You still have time to explore any opportunities you may have to boost your super and benefit from the concessional tax environment the super system provides. After 30 June 2017, you’ll ...

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5 Tax Deductions to consider before EOFY image

You’re probably well aware you can claim a tax deduction for general work-related expenses. But did you know you may be able to claim if: 1. You take a course or study. You may be able to claim a portion of self-education expenses if it’s related to your ability to earn an income. 2. You travel to inspect your investment property. You may be able to claim for expenses like pest control fees, body corporate, rates, utility bills, advertising and marketing costs. 3. You belong to a union. You may be able to claim your union fees as a deduction. 4. You wear a uniform for work. You may be able to claim for buying and cleaning a uniform that ...

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Safeguard your Ability to Pay Off your Home Loan image

It’s not unusual that life can be smooth sailing one minute and throw you a curveball the next. You might be hit with an injury or illness, a reduction in income or redundancy, a separation from your partner, or even a death in the family—all of which can be difficult, emotionally as well as financially. If you happen to owe money on your home loan, having a financial backup plan, should such a situation arise, could go a long way. What you can do today Set up an emergency fund An emergency fund can give you peace of mind by creating a pool of rainy-day savings that can be used to pay unexpected bills in the event of a financial ...

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7 Tips to Travel on a Budget image

Careful planning can help you enjoy a great holiday, whatever your budget. Does it feel like ages since your last holiday? Maybe with responsibilities like paying off your credit card, saving for your first home, or paying back your university fees, your next holiday still seems a long way off… Well, don’t despair. There are plenty of ways to take a break without breaking the budget. 1. Go social Check out travel hubs like Trip Advisor and The Savvy Backpacker to decide where to go, what to look for and how to get the best bargains once you arrive. 2. Keep your eye on the exchange rate Before booking an overseas holiday work out what your Aussie dollar is worth ...

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Should we buy Off-The-Plan? image

With rising house prices, is buying off-the-plan for capital growth a good idea? When it comes to property investing, or any investment, there’s no such thing as a free lunch. Reasons to buy Off-the-Plan: Benefits can exist in buying off-the-plan if you do your homework and are not buying at the top of the market. First-home buyers can potentially get into the market and for investors it’s not a bad way to build a portfolio, particularly if buying at a discount. 1. Potentially pick up a bargain To get a bank loan, developers often have to show interest in the property. They also like a degree of certainty before starting the development, and they’ll try selling a number of properties ...

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Four ways to build an Investment portfolio image

Learn strategies to help you focus on long-term wealth accumulation, so you can fund your aspirations for retirement. An increasing number of Australians are hitting retirement age, and more people are now seriously addressing the question of how they actually want to spend their retirement and how they will fund those aspirations. If you already have investment strategies in place to cover your needs and wants, you have the capacity to grow your excess capital either for your own use later in life, to leave a legacy for your family or contribute towards philanthropy. The strategies supporting the attainment of these goals should focus on long-term wealth accumulation. There is also scope to adopt less liquid strategies which are typically ...

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