We’re all worth more dead than alive!

We’re all worth more dead than alive!

Over the past 6 months we have had quite a few clients, friends & trustees of self-managed super funds ask us about their estate planning. It’s an important issue: what do you want to happen to your assets when you die? For many it’s a simple topic of ‘each to the other and then the kids’ where we have a nuclear family. It’s not as simple as that now, blended families in particular add a complexity that needs to be addressed. Ask yourself this question now: do you know exactly what happens when you die? If you don’t know, aren’t sure, think you have it covered via a Will, it’ll be worth spending 5 minutes to read on. About Us How do we help? Firstly we have a chat about your personal situation, and what you would like to happen with your estate. It starts with a simple question: who is going to look after your estate if you die? We discuss the assets in your life and what you would like to do with them, identify how these could be dealt with. Do you know how your super and life insurance is dealt with if you die? Will your spouse or dependant children receive a pension or a lump sum in their bank account? A Common Scenario Here’s an issue to think about: you are the sole surviving spouse, and you have a home, some money in super that you’re receiving a pension from, some savings, maybe a few shares or an investment property. Or maybe you are a younger couple with kids under age 18. Whilst you...
Super vs Mortgage: a handy way to choose

Super vs Mortgage: a handy way to choose

A new online tool aims to help Australians settle that crucial investment question: should I put extra money into superannuation, or pay down my home loan? It is a pressing concern for many families, as Australia continues to rank highly in the world for household indebtedness. Borrowers concerned that the banks will continue to lift variable rates may want to build up an equity buffer, while those nearing retirement may lean towards boosting their super. To help Australians choose, the MoneySmart team at corporate regulator ASIC (Australian Security and Investment Commission) has developed a handy tool to help simplify the choice.   Help is at hand Miles Larby is the head of financial literacy at ASIC. His team created the tool because the choice between home ownership and superannuation impacts a large section of the nation. “For many people these are amongst the biggest financial decisions they will face,” Mr Larby told The New Daily “A good place to start is to ask yourself if you want to access your money before retirement or not. The answer may differ depending on your financial goals and whether you’re planning to retire in the next few years. “As with any important financial decision you should consider the option that best suits your financial and lifestyle priorities. Seek professional advice if need be.” What’s best for me? Putting more money into superannuation can also be a good way to diversify an investment portfolio, rather than putting every spare cent into the property market. But paying debt feels good. Everybody enjoys the freedom of chipping away at the mortgage hanging over their heads. So, as suggested by ASIC, it is important...
Up to $3.6 billion in unpaid worker’s superannuation entitlements

Up to $3.6 billion in unpaid worker’s superannuation entitlements

Call-to-action: We recommend that you (a) check your last payslip in June 2016, and look for the “superannuation payments” line. Then (b) check your super fund annual statement which will tell you what was actually paid in. Ensure these amounts are similar. If they aren’t, talk to us. What’s this all about? It has been reported that up to a third of workers are not being paid part, or all, of their compulsory super. At the present time employers appear to have withheld at least $3.6 billion in superannuation payments to 2.4 million workers in 2013/14. Without this money going into your super accounts, it means that you may not have the retirement savings you thought you would. There are longer term implications: for example, less money in retirement to live off. Under the superannuation guarantee, employers are required to contribute at least 9.5% of their employees salary to the accounts of every worker earning over $450 a month. This covers majority of Australians and is required under law, based on your award conditions, or your employment contract. Your employer (if a small – medium business), is required to make super contributions at least once a quarter. Many larger employers do so monthly. Last week the Senate agreed to investigate the non-payment of the super guarantee, with a committee to report in March. Action: If you feel you haven’t been paid what you’re entitled to, or are unsure, please contact us for support. Aspect Wealth are offering to review this for any individual on a pro bono basis (i.e. no fee). We will help you design an action plan if it turns out you have...
Superannuation reform legislation passed

Superannuation reform legislation passed

The Australian Government Senate has passed the proposed legislation which gives effect to the much discussed superannuation reforms. Summary of changes to superannuation The legislation contains the measures originally announced in the 2016/17 Federal Budget with some changes. The majority of measures commence from 1 July 2017. The key measures include the following which we’ve separated into two categories: (1) those paying money into super, and (2) those who are either retired or approaching retirement. Putting money into super: Reducing the concessional contributions cap to $25,000 for all taxpayers. This includes employer contributions and any monies you may salary sacrifice to super pre-tax. Great news for people with broken work patterns (i.e. especially stay at home mum’s and dad’s). Introducing a concessional contributions ‘catch-up’ opportunity for those with total super balances of less than $500,000 from 1 July 2018. This will allow you to increase your contributions in the current year, above the maximum, by allocating to prior years. Allowing a tax deduction for personal contributions. This previously not available to majority of employees. What does this mean? As an employee, you basically had to predict what your income and expenses will be for the year. Then, calculate the amount each pay that you would salary sacrifice into super. You could not make a personal contribution from your bank account at the end of the year if you had spare cash and claim a tax deduction. From 1 July 2017 you will now be able to. This will help people with income that may vary due to shift work, bonuses, casual employees, or whose expenses may vary (i.e. with kids). Reducing the post-tax contribution cap...
“Trump, unicorns & pixies. But this is no fairytale.”

“Trump, unicorns & pixies. But this is no fairytale.”

So Britain thought they had the story of the decade with outcome of the Brexit vote. Now America, as always, comes in and does it bigger & better than all others. So what does a Donald J Trump presidency look like? We’ve already seen the share market fall, and then have 5 straight days of gains … the Armageddon some predicted that would happen so far has not occurred. A man that has never run or held a political office, no experience in politics at all, made statements that alienated half the country, did not follow the election play book and did not have a traditional campaign. Half of the Republican party had distanced themselves from him. His candidacy was looking shakier than the Australian cricket teams top order there for a while, thanks in no small part to some astonishing events. Not anymore though (Trump that is, Australia’s batting woes are going to continue I fear), “The Donald” has – somehow – managed to convince enough of the American voters to place a tick next to his name. This to me shows how disenchanted middle America really is with the possibility of another Democratic term. And isn’t this somewhat of a theme the world over? Voters looking outside the ‘norm’ for answers to a period since the GFC that has challenged many people’s resolve in an environment of low growth, low interest rates, higher unemployment and negative wage growth. I’ll say this: I like Obama. He was the charismatic leader we like to see from Presidents / Prime Ministers. Sharp, quick witted (if you haven’t, have a look...
8 Times when you really should get Financial Advice

8 Times when you really should get Financial Advice

It’s never a bad idea to get financial advice but there are times when it’s particularly important. 1.  Getting started – lifestyle planning You’re starting to earn more than month-to-month survival money. A financial plan now will set you up to fund the lifestyle you want. It’s also the best time to start the ball rolling (in a modest way) toward long term retirement funding.  Make life easier for yourself by putting a budget and savings plan in place and taking advantage of the amazing power of compound interest. 2.  Partnering – merging lifestyles… and finances With or without marriage, moving in with your partner is an exciting time so it’s easy to forget that it’s not just the two of you getting together. Your lifestyle (and to some extent even your relationship) will be affected by how well you merge your finances. As well as offering an objective point of view, a financial adviser can help you plan a new budget and ensure you have the right insurances in place. 3.  Buying a home – or planning to… Buying a home is the biggest investment most of us make and a massive challenge especially with Australian property prices at record levels. An adviser can help you create a plan to save for a deposit, then later help you choose a mortgage and manage your repayments.  Perhaps just as importantly, they will help keep you on track toward your other financial goals… so you’re not just a slave to your mortgage. 4.  Kids – a huge responsibility Kids bring huge joy but also great responsibility so it may be worth doing a financial stock-take. They will...