Yearly Archives: 2018

Growing Strawberries

To say I have a green thumb wouldn’t be an exaggeration, it would be an outright lie. However I have 2 kids under 5 that would go through a punnet of strawberries every 2 days and therefore I decided it was about time to start growing some strawberries.

 

Having never grown anything before in my life (does grass count?) I decided to do some internet research to give the strawberries the best chance of survival.

 

With strawberries you need to have well drained soil, ideally planted in late winter/early spring, and when they start to fruit, you can’t have the strawberries touching the wet soil. Well I managed to have the correct set up and the strawberries began to grow. The kids ate the strawberries and we all lived happily ever after.

 

Unfortunately it didn’t quite work out that way. It turns out that my kids aren’t the only ones that like strawberries. I found out that growing them wasn’t a problem. It was stopping the local wildlife from eating them that was the main issue.

 

I got frustrated, I needed to reset and refocus my energy on fixing the problem. My method for growing strawberries was fine so hopefully just some slight tweaks to my strategy to keep the birds away would provide me with the outcome I was after.

 

 

My mother in law told me that birds do not like shiny things. Taking her advice my wife and I put foil over the planters and hung foil strips across the front of the plants to try and scare away the birds. Would you believe it, it worked! For about 2 months I had delicious strawberries grown from my own garden.

 

 

The strawberry plants have since grown considerably and they now cover up the foil strips and the birds are back to eating the strawberries before I can get out there and pick them. Once again I need to reset and refocus and solve another problem. The next thing I am going to try is bird spikes that will hopefully keep them far away so the kids and I can go back to enjoying our home grown strawberries.

 

 

Whether it’s growing strawberries, losing weight, investing or any other goal there will always be hiccups and challengers along the way. It’s important not to give up, refocus on the end goal, reset your strategy, keep what’s working and change what’s not. If you keep with it, I can guarantee you’ll be in a better position than you would be if you would have simply given up.

 

– Liam Rutty –


Meeting a Condition of Release

It’s been more than 6 months since the Superannuation reforms came into force on the 1st of July 2017, and now with the Christmas break over and done with and most likely back to your day to day routine, now is as good a time as any to re-focus on your Superannuation.

 

One of the more prominent changes to Super that came into effect was the removal of the concessional tax treatment of Transition to Retirement Pensions (TTR Pension). Pre 1 July 2017 any money held within a TTR pension received a 0% tax rate on any income or realised capital gains, however post 1 July 2017 money held within the TTR pension is taxed at 15% (same as accumulation).

 

However, any funds that are held within an Account-Based Pension still receive the 0% tax rate (for balances up to $1.6 million). Unless you’ve met a condition of release, such as attaining age 65, you’re unable to commence an Account-Based Pension. The most common conditions of release are:

 

– Reaching preservation age (currently age 57 – depending on your date of birth) and retiring
– Reaching age 65

 

For superannuation purposes, a member’s retirement depends on their age and future employment intentions. A person cannot access Superannuation benefits under the retirement condition of release until they reach preservation age. At this stage, the definition of retirement depends on whether the person has reached age 60.

 

If you’re under age 60, then meeting a condition of release is a bit harder, effectively you generally have to completely cease employment and have the intention never to again work more than 10 hours per week. However, if you’re over age 60 (but under age 65), simply having a change of employment post age 60 means you may be able to satisfy a condition of release, opening up an opportunity to move your Super wealth into the tax-free pension environment.

 

For example, let’s say John (age 62) works full-time in a Supermarket, but for 6 weeks he was contracted to work on the Weekends as a Labourer. After 6 weeks John has stopped work as a Labourer, because of this John has now met a condition of release and can move his Superannuation savings into the tax-free environment. However, any later contributions made (employer and personal) and earnings will be preserved (i.e. can’t be accessed until a new condition of release is met).

 

Based on the above, if you’ve been operating a TTR Pension and potentially could meet a condition of release, you may be able to continue to receive the tax-free pension on your Superannuation benefits. Here at JBS we can help assess your options in relation to meeting a condition of release.

 

– Peter Folk –


It’s Time to Reset

The great thing about welcoming in a new year is it gives us an excuse to reset things in our lives, whether it be our lifestyle, expenses, finances and the list goes on. We find the best way to do this, is setting yourself some goals that you can work towards.

 

Start off by sitting down, including with your loved ones, and write out all your goals. Write them down no matter how small, silly or crazy you may think they are. They also don’t necessarily need to be goals that involve spending money, and can even be things you want to work towards over the next few years.

 

Once you’ve written down all your goals, you then need to work out which ones are the most important to you, and start prioritising all your goals from the ones you feel are really important and want to achieve first, to the ones that maybe can wait until you’ve achieved the others.

 

The final thing to do is work out the cost (if any) of achieving each of your goals and your expected time-frame on achieving that goal, i.e. is it something you want to achieve in the next 6 months or something that you want to achieve by 2020 for example. Once all these details have been panned out, it can then make working towards your goals easier, because now you know which ones you want to work towards first, how much it’s going to cost you (so you know how much you need to start saving), and finally what your time-frame is.

 

Another handy thing to do is sit down with someone else and talk through your goals with them, who knows they may even be able to give you some insight on how best to achieve them, or potentially help you get your priorities right. Here at JBS we are big believers in setting goals and working towards them so we’re always happy to talk through your goals and work on a plan to achieve them, so don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and give us a call!

 

– Peter Folk –


Celebrate Market Performance

What a year 2017 was for investment markets with equities providing double digit returns across the board with Asian Shares being the outstanding performer with a whopping 41.10% return. Australian Shares were more modest with a 10.15% return while International Shares as a whole had a return of 20.25% for the year.

 

In this growth stage it is understandable that defensive assets such as fixed interest and cash did not perform quite so well, with International bonds performing the best of the defensive assets at 7.70% and cash having a 12 month return of 1.7%.

 

While we should celebrate the performance, the job is only half done as this performance may have done some interesting things to portfolios and in particular asset allocations.

 

Many clients come to us with a default Balanced portfolio (as listed below) within their super and investments, if we assume this, then the asset allocation as a result of 2017’s performance may have the following unintended asset allocation changes.

As you can see, the risk of this portfolio is now greater than what is was a year ago with an extra 2% allocated to growth assets and in particular to International Shares. The longer this goes on the more variance the portfolio will have from the initial allocation if your portfolio is not reviewed regularly.

 

You may think that this is a good idea as it means that more funds are allocated to the highest performing asset class of the previous year and less funds are allocated to the lowest performing asset class of the previous year. However this is often not the case.

 

The below table shows the return of each developed market (the different colours) from 1997 to 2016 as at the time of this writing the 2017 figures had not yet been updated.

 

 

As you can see the returns are completely random and what happens one year has no impact on what may happen in future years. Very rarely does the previous best performing market continue to be the best performing market in the next year and it may even turn into the worst performing market. The reverse is also true when it comes to poor performing markets.

 

A set and forget investment strategy may seem simple and a good idea, but it can result in you taking on more risk (or less risk) than what you initially intended. This means that your portfolio may not match your intended return characteristics and you may find yourself disappointed in the outcome.

 

At JBS we regularly revisit our clients portfolio’s to ensure that they continue to match expectations around risk and returns. If you would like us to review your investment allocation to ensure it continues to match your goals, call one of our financial advisers who will be happy to help you.

 

– Liam Rutty –


Celebrate the positives in your life

We live in a seriously fast paced world where we are surrounded with negative information on a daily basis. Majority of us have access to at least one smart device that will notify and keep us up to date with news/major events and keep us connected on social media. Taking on negative information or experiences on a regular basis can interfere with our mental health and can have a negative effect on our work, relationships and our everyday functioning.

 

There are many things that happen in our life that can disrupt our emotional health, these things include:

 

– Financial stress
– Dealing with the death of a loved one
– Suffering illness or injury
– Moving or selling a house
– Having children

 

Poor emotional health can weaken the immune system so developing good emotional health, having positive surroundings, regular routine, support network and understanding your thoughts and feelings are all ways to help reduce feelings of stress, sadness and anxiety. Ideally we should try to escape our busy schedules at least once a day, find our ‘happy place’ (gym, yoga, read, meditate) and just take some time for yourself.

 

 

Celebrating your daily wins can make a huge difference with your emotional health. You may want to use a journal to keep track of things that make you feel happy or peaceful. Relaxation methods such as mediation, playing/listening to music or exercising are ways to relieve tension and shift your mind from negative thoughts.

 

There is also an app called “WinStreak” where you can set daily affirmations and reflect on the top 3 wins to celebrate for the day and 3 things to focus on or you look forward to the following day. If you do this before bed, no matter how bad your day has been, you can end your day in a positive mindset.

 

JBS is here to help relieve the financial stress from your life, get in touch with us today so you can live a positive balanced life.

 

– Pj –


Celebrate your family’s financial security

Towards the end of each year we always focus a lot on celebrating Christmas and New Years, however there’s something else we could also celebrate post-Christmas. We’re talking about celebrating your family’s financial security by having personal insurance in place. Having personal insurance cover in place means you and your family won’t have to deal with financial stress in the event of you being unable to earn an income or even passing away. Ideally all your personal insurance covers should be in place prior to the “Silly Season”, however if you haven’t done so already the new year is a perfect time to review your insurance needs.

 

With all the festivities and celebrations over and done with, for most of us it’s now time to pick up the pieces and start the New Year a fresh, which is a perfect time to review your personal insurance needs. Research from one of Australia’s largest personal insurance companies have found that only 37% of Aussies aged between 18-69 actually have life insurance and even more disturbingly only 18% have disability cover and income protection insurance. Further findings include how Australians are grossly underinsured. It’s estimated that the underinsurance gap in Australia is approximately $1.8 Billion, meaning there are a lot of Aussies out there who believe they have sufficient insurance cover, but in fact don’t. For most of us, we don’t like to think about insurance and when asked about how much we have, the first response is usually “I don’t know”.

 

So we come to a point where you should ask yourself, do you need personal insurance? The main reason you would put in place insurance cover, is to secure your family’s financial wellbeing. So if you have a mortgage, loans, kids etc… chances are you will need personal insurance. The question you have to ask yourself is, “if I’m unable to earn an income tomorrow, what would happen”? Then for those of you that already have some form of insurance cover in place, the question you should ask is “how do I know the level of insurance I already have in place now is adequate?” The short answer is to seek professional advice.

 

Whether you don’t have any insurance at all or looking to review your insurance needs, the best thing to do is see someone who is a professional in the area. Financial Planning firms such as JBS Financial Strategists will be able to determine what your insurance needs are and then formulate a strategy to ensure you have the correct and adequate cover in place. So as a new year’s resolution, do yourself a favour by ensuring you have adequate cover in place so you’ve got something else to celebrate about (your family’s financial security).

 

– Andy Lay –


Welcome Back

At the start of every new year, many people set new goals for themselves however not everyone is successful. Many of us identify what we want to achieve, however we don’t think about and plan how to achieve it. It’s proven that people who develop action plans can experience less anxiety, increased confidence, improved concentration, greater satisfaction about achieving their goals and are more likely to succeed.

 

We can often also have goals wondering around in our mind that we end up forgetting so “ink it, don’t think it”. By writing down your dream or goal, you make a conscious commitment that this is what you want to achieve. Once you have made this commitment, put it in places that can easily be seen. Put it on your home screen of your phone, tablet or computer, your bathroom mirror, in your gym bag or on your kitchen fridge. These reminders and a positive mindset will help you stay motivated for achieving your goals.

 

One of the most exciting things that JBS are fortunate enough to do is celebrate with our clients who achieve their financial goals and are living out their dreams. Contact the team at JBS to book an appointment so we can help you achieve your financial goals.

 

Bring on 2018!!