Yearly Archives: 2015

Happy Holidays

For the majority of us Christmas is one of the best times of the year, but it can get a little hectic trying to organise lunches, parties and get all the Chrissy presents purchased and wrapped.

 

Tree

So we have a few tips to help you save time so you enjoy the festive season with your family and friends.

 

– By hiring a cleaner or gardener to get the house and BBQ areas spick and span before you have a house full of people on Christmas day can save a lot of stress leading into the break.

 

– Have a few extra gifts in the cupboard for those unexpected guest who tend to pop in over the holiday season. Stock your pantry with some boxes of chocolates, that way you won’t have to rush out should you get a last minute call from your friends up the road.

 

– Make a list of the foods you will be serving and then prepare as much as possible ahead of time. Fruit minced pies, shortbread and Christmas cake can all be cooked and stored in the freezer. If you have made Christmas Pudding and added a slosh of alcohol, it will keep in the fridge for up to six months.

 

– Don’t wait in long queues finding a park or at the checkout, jump online and do your groceries. You can “click and collect” through the drive through bay for free or have it delivered for a small cost.

 

– Ask your guests to bring a nibbles plate, salad or dessert that way it’s not all left to you to prepare on the day.

 

Want a quick and easy recipe for a yummy chocolate snack. Below is a recipe to make Tim Tam Cheesecake Bites that I’m sure will be a hit at every table – YUMO:

 

Ingredients
250g packet of Tim Tams
250g cream cheese/ can use condensed milk to make sweeter
300 g milk chocolate
100g white chocolate * optional

 

MethodTim Tam Bites
– Crush Tim Tams in a food processor, add cream cheese and mix well
– Roll into teaspoon sized balls. Freeze for a minimum of 30 minutes
– Melt milk chocolate, coat each ball well with chocolate while still frozen
– Melt white chocolate and drizzle over balls to decorate.

 

These make great presents too in a nice jar or in cellophane with ribbon.

 

From all the team at JBS we wish you a safe and relaxing break, and look forward to working together in 2016.

 


Christmas | Brodie

Is everyone excited? I know I am! Christmas is fast approaching and I love it. I really get into this time of the year. I decorate my house with all things Christmas; I even put up a fake fireplace just to hang decorations and stockings. I wear my Santa hat every time I’m in the car during the month of December just to put a smile on other people’s faces as they drive past me. You don’t have to be religious to enjoy it (I’m not), I just think this time of the year is for fun and enjoyment. Personally, I particularly love the collective secret that we all hold and abide by for our kids (wink, wink).

 

Fire placeI must say I love a white Christmas – I’ve had two of them so far but when they are in -32c maybe that’s stretching things and a little warmer would be nice. At those kind of temperatures, you can’t go outside so Christmas snow angles are off the list. There is something magical about snow on Christmas day, particularly when all the songs we sing talk about it.

 

We have the entire family around for lunch where we have a massive feast. This year I put my hand up for it at my place, mainly because I’ve got a new couch and I’m just finishing off the backyard and proud me wants to show it off. We’ll have a long table where we’ll all sit and stuff ourselves silly and then we’ll exchange our Kris Kringle presents (because it was getting too expensive to give everyone a present and the thought behind the present seems to be reducing directly in relation to the number of presents that were growing each year).

 

Gingerbread House

Whoever I get, usually gets the best present (presents I’ve previously given include a unicycle, a chair shaped in hand, a fighter pilot helmet, a 1.5 meter gumball machine; see fantastic presents), my grandmother will hand out moneyboxes to all the grandkids that she got from her bank and they’ll all have 3 x 50cent pieces in them and then my cousin will hand his present of an orange, his old hat with holes in it and about $4.50 in silver change to someone. We’re not drinkers so our fun is reserved to the ribbings that we all inevitable give to each other for our growing waistlines, increased wrinkles, jobs, girlfriends/boyfriends lost, and anything else anyone can ever think about.

 

We’ve had some separation in our family and not everyone attends anymore. And I know that everyone says things like ‘Christmas is a time for forgiving or for family’ but I say Christmas is about fun. Life’s too short to be doing things out of obligation. Do things that make you smile and bring you joy. I’m OK with some of my family members being missing at my Christmas table as I know that they are enjoying their own Christmas rather than sitting next to nosey Nana with a frown out of obligation.

Family

Whatever you are doing for Christmas make sure it’s something you love to do with a smile on your face!


Tips to Start Saving Money

No matter where you are on your financial journey, you need to know that it’s possible for anyone to turn their financial life around. As with most things, sometimes that very first step is the hardest part. We have created a list of tips to start saving money today.

 

None of these tactics will be life-changing on their own, but they can make a difference over time if you are able to implement more than one. Some of these suggestions take just a few minutes, while others require a bit of regular effort. Still, they’re all incredibly simple – anyone can do them.

 

So here we go with our money saving ideas:

 
– Have a save buddy. Saving while hanging out with spenders can mean your money goes Tips for Saving Moneyon impulsive or unnecessary items

 
– Review your bank accounts. Are you paying fees? Are there cheaper offerings? Are you restricted on what you can do with your money?

 
– Master the 30-day rule, waiting 30 days to decide on a purchase can give you better perspective on whether it’s truly worth the money, often the urge to buy the item has passed

 
– Write a shopping list before you go shopping to avoid impulse buying

 
– Lock up your credit card for a month and only pay for things with cash

 
– Set a limit for birthday and Christmas presents and don’t go over

 
– Buy in bulk

 
– Have a portion of your salary paid directly into your separate savings account

 
– Set a savings goal

 
– Pay your bills on time to avoid late fees

 
– Shop around for necessities such as car insurance, house and contents insurance, gas, electricity, phone, etc.

 
– Unsubscribe from sale email alerts. This is just constant temptation

 
– Stop buying bottled water! Buy a water filter instead if you can’t drink tap water

 
– Only purchase classic clothing that you can wear again. If you know you’ll only wear it once or twice, consider borrowing from someone rather than buying that sequent and lace floor length ball gown

 
– Empty your pockets and wallets of coins at the end of each day into a jar. But make sure to deposit into your savings account and not dive into because you want a coffee

 
– Double down. If you do have to buy luxury items, like makeup, wine or clothes, try saving the same amount. $15 on that gorgeous red lippy you had to have might not seem so great when it comes with another $15 savings requirement. If you can’t afford both, then you have to step away.

 

If you struggle to manage your money and wonder where your savings disappear to each month, fear not! Our comprehensive program will put you back into the driving seat, using high impact track and reporting technology teamed with expert advice. We’ll help you get your finances on track, so you can achieve your goals, plan for the future and say hello to a happier, healthier life where YOU are in control.

 

Cash Coach is a program run by JBS Financial Strategists. We believe that the biggest influence on achieving your goals is how you use your cash flow, so we start from there and help you develop great money management skills. Our aim is for you to consistently have money left over at the end of the month, so you can direct it towards the stuff that really counts!

 

If you’re not sure where to start – contact the team at JBS and we can run through a financial health check with you. This is a great way to understand your financial position and the team can identify any trouble areas, offer possible solutions and could also find growth areas you may not have considered.

 

Happy Saving 🙂


Moving out of home – Andy

“Move out of home” they say, “you’ll have all the independence you want”.  These are the words I often hear from relatives and friends.  I sometimes feel as though society demands that we must all move out of Mum and Dad’s house at a certain age.   However has anyone stopped to consider that some of our parents do not mind having us at home?  I can’t speak for everyone, but I contribute my fair share around the house.  I clean, cut the grass, pay bills when required and assist my folks with large expenses such as Kitchen renovations and purchase of a new car.  Furthermore as English is a second language for mum and dad, I take care of all incoming mail and admin work around the house.  Don’t think for a second though that it’s all my parents who benefit from me living at home.  I benefit as well as I don’t pay rent and mum’s cooking is the one of the best in the world, only rivalled by my lovely wife of course.

 

Andy Home

 

In my case it was because I continued to live at home, that I was able to save for a house. I realise that not everyone is in the same position as me so, given the opportunity I say stay at home for as long as possible and save as much as possible. Like most Aussies, I too found it very difficult to save enough for a house; however working in the financial planning space has assisted me in appreciating the value of budgeting and saving for my own place. I’ve since moved out of home and now live with my lovely wife and very active little son. So now that I’ve moved out of home, do I have all the “independence and privacy” I want? The answer is I don’t feel any different, as a matter of fact I found it strange living in a house with only 2 and half people. I feel as if the house is constantly empty. Over time however, I’m sure we’ll grow into it. Furthermore there are these little things called bills and mortgage repayments, which seems to constantly re-appear even though I pay them every week. I admit I never paid any attention to bills whilst living with mum and dad and would just pay them as they appear. Since moving out I would now analyse every bill I have to pay with a fine comb to ensure I’m not getting “scammed”.

 

I find there are merits to moving out of home and there are pitfalls associated with been “independent”, but not exactly what I had originally imagined. Whilst there were some things such as more house work which I expected, there were also some unexpected factors such the wife spending a fortune on flowers, which I never saw coming. Overall having my own place gives me a sense of achievement knowing I was able to save enough for my own house. Now it’s time to save for that house warming party everyone keeps asking about.

 


Having Life Insurance in Place

Life insurance is an effective way to protect your family against financial hardship if the unthinkable event happened and you pass away prematurely. Unlike other forms of insurance, such as income protection or critical illness insurance, life insurance can be put in place relatively easily depending on your health status and age.

 

Having appropriate life insurance policy in place, will mean your beneficiaries receive a lump sum payment to fund for everyday expenses, such as mortgage / rent, bills, childcare costs and kids’ education. The thought of losing our partner is unbearable, which makes the topic of implementing life Insuranceinsurance one we prefer to avoid however is necessary. Most Aussie families would find it difficult and almost impossible to meet daily living expenses should the main income earner pass away. This often leads to families having to move back in with relatives, increasing debt levels and even losing the family home.

 

Latest studies on the underinsurance issue of Australian families suggest the average household should have at least $680,000 of life insurance in place. This is because it takes into account not only debt and possibly medical costs but also lost income, even for the surviving spouse as the likelihood that you would need to take additional time on top of the obligatory 2 days bereavement leave is very high. In reality however the average household has less than half the required cover or even no insurance at all. Most Aussies believe that they have automatic insurance inside their Super Fund and this is sufficient enough. Furthermore hurdles such as having a perception of life insurance being expensive or time consuming to implement, further deters us from implementing life insurance covers.

 

Depending on your health and age, Life insurance is one of the most simple and cost effective types of personal insurance to put in place. It’s understandable that most of us would prefer to avoid the topic, however you do so at the risk of leaving your families without financial protection in the future. There are lots of options out there for setting up insurance; inside superannuation, through your bank, online or over the phone cover or insurance through an adviser. Any options outside seeing an adviser means that you have to determine the levels of cover and structure yourself, which is usually the part with the greatest benefit. Knowing how to calculate the level of cover required, including additional amounts if held through super and is ongoing to be paid to a non-tax beneficiary to cover tax, or making sure it’s structured right to pay the least amount of tax or even gain a tax deduction, is very important and shouldn’t be overlooked. This is more important than the product that you choose to take up.

 

So, before you go out and purchase life insurance, we strongly recommend you speak to an expert. Everyone has different needs for personal insurance and therefore it’s important to visit a financial adviser, like your friendly JBS team member, to discuss your own personal situation.

 


Longevity – only a risk for some!

One of the major concerns for people when they retire is, ‘how long will my savings last in order to support my lifestyle of choice’? This is what we often refer to as ‘Longevity Risk’, or the risk of outliving our money.

 

We are advised of the importance of putting money away into savings or superannuation to ensure that we are able to enjoy our retirement. However there is another perspective to consider – your health.

 

We need to take one step back and remember our health in retirement is just as important as our wealth. In the same way that we are diligent about saving for retirement while we are working, we need to also focus on our health during our working life.

 

A person’s health experiences later in life can be affected by their behaviours during their younger years.

 

So, you may ask ‘what is the health experience that could reduce longevity risk’? It could have something to do with our growing waist-lines:

 

More than five million Australians are obese;CPE Health

 

– If weight gain continues at current levels, by 2025, close to 80% of all Australian adults and a third of all children will be overweight or obese;

– Obesity has overtaken smoking as the leading cause of premature death and illness in Australia;

– Obesity has become the single biggest threat to public health in Australia;

– On the basis of present trends, by the time our kids reach the age of 20 they will have a shorter life expectancy than earlier generations simply because of obesity.

 

Dr. Joanna McMillan a leading nutrition and healthy lifestyle expert was recently speaking about the obesity epidemic and emphasised the need and importance of a balanced diet and the dangers of a sedentary life.

 

Inactivity is the second silent killer which can contribute to a person’s shortened life expectancy. Evidence is emerging that sedentary behaviour, such as sitting or lying down for long periods of time is not good for your health. Technology has made our lives easier, but also made us lazy. There are fewer of us doing manual work, many of us have jobs which involve very little physical effort. As a general guide, we should be looking to achieve 150 minutes of moderate intense physical activity in a week.

 

Tips for a healthy and happy retirement:

 

– Maintain a balanced diet, including vegetables and legumes, fruit, bread, cereals, rice, pasta and noodles, lean meat, fish, poultry, eggs, nuts and tofu, milk, yoghurt and cheese;

– Try to limit fizzy drinks, alcohol, chocolate, chips and fatty fast foods;

– Stay active – try to get 30 minutes of physical activity every day;

– Get involved with a social group or sports club, this can have many benefits – meeting new people, learning a new skill and overall keeping your mind and body active.

 

Whilst a planner can assist you with building a sufficient amount of assets to fund your retirement, your health is about you.   You are the one who has most control over a healthy lifestyle.  So get out there, get active, and enjoy life to the fullest, for the longest amount of time possible.  That’s what retirement is all about!

 


My First Year – Glenn Malkiewicz

My son, Ashton, turned 1 this October. Prior to Ashton being born, I was excited, scared to death, nervous and probably every other feeling possible. I had no idea what to expect. After all, how do you prepare for something you have never experienced? What do you do with that little human being once you bring him home?

Ashton

I think the best advice I got was ‘don’t drop him’

Bringing a baby into this world is truly a miracle and I can confidently say that the past 12 months have been the best 12 months of my entire life. This blog is my take on being a father, and some lessons I learned. Enjoy.

 

Nothing can prepare youAshton 2

I did a ridiculous amount of reading prior to Ashton being born.   Parenting books, books on how to stop your baby crying etc. How much of that information did we actually use? Some. A little. I found it’s best to respond in the moment. I had never experienced being a daddy, so there wasn’t really much I could compare it to so I was ready. So to me, there was no need to worry about it. That would be wasted energy. Just respond to the moment and take things as they come.

 

Being a daddy is unconditional love

A baby cannot take care of itself, so as parents we need to provide food, shelter and clothing. I have learned to love unconditionally, regardless of whether Ashton is in a happy mood or not. The good and the bad are all part of it so there’s no point complaining. I’m sure babies don’t purposely try to frustrate us (well I don’t think so anyway), so best not to take it personally.

 

It’s about the family

Now that I have a family, it was important to get the financial side of everything on track, in addition to making adjustments to my schedule and life. Family comes first, and my life is now more exciting and challenging, and I feel more fulfilled with Ashton on board.

 

We are all childlike inside

I am in my mid-30s and sometimes surprised at how silly I can be with Ashton. And we both love it! Ashton keeps me young and we both get a kick out of being together. Nothing can make me and my partner feel better than when Ashton is smiling and laughing away.

Ashton 3

By no means am I the perfect father and most likely will never be. But I believe the lessons I learned over the last 12 months have helped me become a better father, partner, son, friend and human being. And that’s the best gift of all.

 

Being a father creates a lot of emotions, mostly happiness, and it’s all normal and part of being a dad.

 


Binding Death Benefit Nominations – Who gets your super benefits?

It is a question that most of us will not have given much of a thought: who will receive our super benefits in the event that we pass away?

If you have particular wishes, simply writing a name or ticking a box may not be sufficient to realise your intended plans. In many cases, the absence of correct estate planning documentation will see decisions made by the trustees of your super fund on where the funds will be allocated, potentially following generic rules which may see an undesired outcome.

The following case is a general example:

A mother passed away, having been predeceased by her husband, and had previously signed a trustee minute that her benefits be paid to her three children, however not in equal amounts. She believed that her eldest two children were financially secure, having benefited from a previous inheritance decision, when compared to the third child who she wished to receive the bulk of the benefit.

The trustees of her super fund did not agree that her wishes were legally valid, since they believed that the correct procedures had not been followed, and decided to pay the super benefits out to her three children in equal amounts.

In the case of self-managed super funds, several court cases have provided an indication of Binding Death Benefit Nominationthe need for correct legal processes and forethought. The 2005 case of Katz vs Grossman saw a father intend to divide his $1 million SMSF balance equally between his son and daughter. Following the passing away of his wife several years previously, the father had appointed his daughter as a trustee of the fund alongside himself in order to remain compliant. On his death, the father’s intentions were not realised. The daughter appointed her husband as a replacement trustee for her father and, as trustees, decided to pay the balance of the fund to her. The son challenged this decision, however the court determined that she was legally able to do so as a trustee without a valid binding death benefit nomination from the father.

In both cases, the original intentions of the members of the super funds were not carried out.

One possible option is to complete a Binding Death Benefit Nomination. This will bind the trustees of your super fund to paying out the benefits of your super to either your dependents or your estate in the amounts specified by you.

Careful consideration must be made to ensure that the nomination is compliant with the fund’s trust deed and has been completed correctly. An example of incorrect completion was the recent case of Munro vs Munro where the deceased had named the “trustee of deceased estate” as the beneficiary, which did not comply with superannuation law – incidentally, the correct term should have been “legal personal representative” which would have also resulted in the estate receiving the benefit. As a result, the nomination was not deemed to be binding and, against the wishes of the deceased, the funds were not paid to the estate.

Other possible ways to direct your super benefits include non-binding death benefits, lifetime binding death benefits, reversionary pensions and wills.

Ensuring you receive the correct estate planning and legal advice is a vital part of ensuring your wishes are watertight. If you have any concerns regarding who you would like to receive your benefits, JBS can assist you with the process including the implementation of binding death benefit nominations.

 


Warren’s Grand Final Family Tradition

As September (actually October this year) rolls around so does the AFL Grand Final. This is a very special time in the Hanna family as we are fortunate enough to be MCC members. In 1950 my grandfather forgot to officially register my father’s birth (which caused a few issues when he was to marry my mum), but he didn’t forget to register dad on the MCC membership waiting list. 31 years later, my dad registered me and 30 years later I have registered my kids.

 

AFL Grand Final 2013 (12)

I have been lucky enough to be a member since the age of 16, as a restricted junior and then full member. My uncle and cousins are also MCC members and this has allowed us to carry on a great family tradition of meeting at the footy, particularly around finals time. Grand Final Day is a family tradition and I have been fortunate to go to 19 grand finals. In GF 2the early days I can remember lining up and watching the sun rise, running to our favourite seats and sitting there all day watching the under 19s, the reserves, the pre-match entertainment and then finally the big game.

 

Things are a bit different now with no pre-match games and the MCC these days offers the ability to go in the ballot for reserved seats for about half of MCC reserve. This provides a luxury for those of us with young kids, but a small part of me is disappointed this year that we won’t be lining up as I almost feel that it isn’t Grand Final day without the excitement of lining up in the cold and often wet conditions at 4am Grand Final day morning. To compensate, we have updated our tradition to include a BBQ GF 2013in the carpark, and every year either in the line, or at the BBQ in the car park before the game, the conversation always comes back to thanking Grandpa for starting, and our fathers for continuing, this great family tradition.

 

With two young kids and another on the way, spending quality time with family is a huge priority for me and I’m very conscious of the fact that it is so important to continue our family traditions so that my kids are able to have the same fantastic memories of growing up that I do.

 


Changes to Powers of Attorney

A Power of Attorney is a document that a person prepares to enable another person to make decisions on their behalf. On 1 September 2015 changes to Victorian power of attorney laws came into effect with the commencement of the Powers of Attorney Act 2015 (the Act).

 

Due to abuse of enduring powers of attorney, it was a necessary move to improve protection and to introduce a new supportive attorney appointment.

 

The new law sets out:

•    The General Power of Attorney will be called general ‘Non-Enduring Power of Attorney.’
A Non-Enduring Power of Attorney will undergo only minor changes and remain largely governed by the previous statutory and common law provisions.

 

•    The consolidation of the enduring power of attorney (financial) and power of guardianship into one enduring power of attorney.

 

This means that one form can now be used to manage a client’s financial and/or personal matters.

 

•    A new definition of ‘decision-making capacity’ and provides guidance in relation to the factors that should be taken into account when assessing decision making capacity.

 

Though ‘capacity’ is a key concept when dealing with powers of attorney, there was no clear definition of what that actually meant in any of the existing laws. Following new mental health laws enacted in 2014, this law defines decision-making capacity and therefore shows that a person is presumed to have decision-making capacity unless there is evidence to the contrary.

 

•    There will be a ‘Supportive Attorney’ role created. This allows a person to choose someone to support them to make and give effect to their own decisions such as banking and financial decisions.

 

The Act recognises that a person may have decision making capacity if they have practicable and appropriate support. The final decisions remain the decisions of the person and not the supportive attorney appointment. A person may have more than one support attorney appointment.

 

•    The Act adds safeguards to increase the protection of people making an enduring power of attorney or supportive attorney appointment.

 

The Act has also clarified VCAT’s powers in relation to enduring powers of attorney and has created new indictable offences punishable by up to 5 years imprisonment or 600 penalty units. One penalty unit is currently worth $151.67.

 

Powers of AttorneyEnduring powers of attorney (medical treatment) are not impacted by the changes and will continue to be regulated separately under the Medical Treatment Act. The new law does not invalidate existing powers of attorney.

 

The new Power of Attorney must be in writing and must be in the prescribed form. The form set out the minimum requirements for what to include in a form to make, revoke (cancel), resign or provide notification (where required) in relation to enduring powers of attorney and supportive attorney appointments under the new Act.

 

When considering making a Power of Attorney as a principal or if you are or are intending to act as an attorney, you should carefully consider the implications of the new laws.

 

Visit the Victorian Government Department of Justice and Regulation website for more information about the changes to power of attorney laws.

 

If you would like to discuss your estate planning requirements please give JBS a call.

 

This article is not intended to be legal advice and is not a substitute for legal advice.