Tag Archives: Adviser

Pension Changes Means Reduced Tax Savings

Rule changes occur regularly with the Government in power tweaking legislation to make it fairer for all and ensure that the Government isn’t relied upon to fund everyone’s retirement through the Age Pension. This balancing act means that the strategy you implemented last year may no longer be beneficial for you or worse, not allowed. One change that is due to take effect from 1 July 2017 is the change of the tax treatment for Transition to Retirement pensions.

 

Transition to Retirement (TTR) pensions were introduced back in 2005 to allow those people that were easing into retirement by dropping their working hours to supplement their wages with an income from their super balance. However, while this was very useful for those in retirement transition, it also proved to be a powerful financial planning strategy, recycling funds through the super system to achieve the same take home pay however a reduced tax liability, meaning more funds are held in your superannuation account building for your eventual retirement. The Government and ATO knew of this strategy however as it was within the bounds of the laws in place, it has been accepted for use.

 

It does seem, however, that the Government now understands the additional tax that could be found and has implemented changes to take effect 1 July 2017 to make a TTR pension lose its tax-free status. This means that a TTR pension will have the same tax treatment as if it was in a superannuation account (15% tax rate). For those in the retirement transition space, it probably won’t change much as they need to subsidise their income and if the money wasn’t held in pension, it would be subject to the 15% super tax rate anyway. For those who have employed a TTR strategy to reduce tax, the tax savings will be reduced.

 

The strategy may still be beneficial, especially if you are able to achieve a significant salary sacrifice contribution from a higher income, however the tax savings will drop as the pension fund will now be subject to the 15% tax rate also.

 

Example:

pension-table

 

* For the purposes of this simplistic calculation, ‘Tax on Pension Investment’ is the 15% tax on investment income earned (4%) while money is held in a TTR pension. If assets were sold during the year, CGT would also be payable, making it again less tax effective. As this individual is under age 60, pension income is taxable.

 

Some clients situations allow them to maintain a tax-free pension or become eligible to establish one in the future. For this reason it is critical that all TTR strategies are reviewed prior to 30th of June 2017 as the new rules may not be applicable to you.

 

While you need to be making an appointment with your Financial Adviser to discuss the changes and determine if there’s still a benefit for you to continue with your TTR, more than anything this should highlight the need to have an ongoing relationship with a financial planner. Make sure you take up every opportunity to have a regular review of your financial plan, your objectives, determine if you are on track to reaching your goals and determine if the strategies in place are still appropriate. Your situation may not have changed but legislation may have.


Gardening | Amy

Flower 1I started gardening four years ago as a way of relaxing. What started as one small garden bed in the backyard quickly turned into me redesigning the entire front yard! My favourite time of year has to be end of winter through to spring. That is when all the bulbs that are hidden in the various garden beds come to life again and dazzle us with their colour.

 

In order to prepare for our spring garden we need to start planning now in January. I have learned that with gardening, I am always focussed at least 6 months ahead. Spring bulbs need to be planted in February/March, the exception being Tulips. Tulips need to be placed Flower 2in the fridge for five weeks and then can be planted in May. It sounds odd, putting bulbs into the fridge before planting, but they need to be chilled in order to flower.

 

This year we will be shuffling bulbs around, what I refer to as my ‘Bluebell garden’ will be dug up and halved to make room for more Tulips. The Ranunculus and Anemone gardens will be added to as well. The hardest part is limiting myself each year with how many bulbs to purchase! It is very easy to get carried away with ideas about what I want to add, I have to remember that it is very important to look after what is already there, the bulbs need fertilising and fresh compost every year. The same principle can be applied to retirement savings, it is important to look after what is there; because once it is gone it is costly to start again.Flower 3

 

It is always sad when the spring flowers start to fade and the garden looks lifeless once again. But, then I remember that summertime means David Austin Roses will bloom, colour will be restored and the next project begins: planting sunflower seeds!

 


Welcome Back

Bring on 2016 – the JBS team have all enjoyed some time off and are now ready to kick start the year.

Happy-New-Year-psd89985
For many of us, the start of a new year allows us a fresh start, a new beginning or a clean slate. This time of year also presents a great opportunity for you to review your financial strategies and goals.

 

Financial reviews should take place regularly when you have the opportunity to make informed decisions and factor any changes into your financial plan. Below are some simple tips to tidy up your finances for the year ahead.

 

Have your key financial goals changed?
Our lives are not constant and our goals change slightly (or greatly) from year to year. Also, major life events such as serious illness, the birth of a child, inheritance, marriage and the death of a parent or spouse can all result in significant changes to our wealth management goals.

 

Prioritise your goals
It is important to rank and prioritise goals and decide in what timeframe you want to achieve them. Being realistic about your timeframe is essential to ensuring that your goals will be achieved.

 

Short, medium or long term?
Most industry experts agree that a short-term goal is one that can be achieved within a year or so. Medium term goals typically require two to five years, and long-term goals usually take longer than five years.

 

If your financial goals have changed, how will this affect your financial strategy?
This is where the advice of a financial adviser is critical. Advisers have the tools and knowledge to create projections that take into account changes to your goals and changes to your timeframes for achieving them. These projections will help you to see where your plans for savings, assets or investment contributions may need updating.

 

Be savvy
Make sure that your investments and level of protection support your level of risk and your goals.

 

Be sure to contact the JBS team if any of your circumstances have changed to ensure you are on track to reach your financial goals.

 

JBS would like to wish you a fabulous year ahead and hope that you are sticking to all those resolutions and goals you have set yourself for 2016.

 


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.

 


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.

 


Tips to Save for a House Deposit

Buying your first home has never felt harder and it’s clear that people could use a helping hand.  Australian’s typically approach their finances with a ‘do-it-yourself’ attitude, and have quite a reactive, last minute approach when facing up to life-changing events such as home ownership.  House Deposit

We understand Australians have a high emotional drive for property ownership and we see the importance to satisfy this driver to create life satisfaction.

Here are some tips to help make it happen:

Tip 1 – Determine / Cut Down your Expenses:  Saving the house deposit is going to involve some sacrifice.  Try cutting down on a little luxury each week.  It all adds up.  As a first step, determine what your living expenses are so you are happy, whilst also ensuring there is money left over to save.

Tip 2 – Start Now:  It doesn’t matter if you don’t know exactly where you will buy.  It’s going to take some time to save for a house deposit, so start a regular savings plan now and sort the finer details later.

Tip 3 – Stash your Cash somewhere Sensible:  Investing short term in the share market is not usually a good option.  Whilst an online savings account doesn’t pay much in interest, it is most likely the right place to save for your house deposit.

Tip 4 – Avoid Paying Rent:  One of the hardest parts about saving for a deposit is saving cash whilst also renting.  Living with your parents is not always an option, however if this is possible it will supercharge your savings.

Tip 5 – Save like you’re paying a mortgage:  Many people say they find it hard to save because they’re renting and still have all the other expenses as well.  If you have to rent, then as a minimum you should be saving the difference between your rent and expected mortgage repayments.

Tip 6 – Don’t forget Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI):  If you can save 15% – 20% of the purchase price you will generally avoid paying LMI.  The aim should be to avoid LMI because the insurance isn’t actually for you, it’s to protect the lender.

Tip 7 – Allow for Other Extra Costs:  Costs such as Stamp Duty and conveyancing add up and need to be factored in.  The Stamp Duty amount will depend on the purchase price and the State in which you purchase, whilst conveyancing costs will range somewhere between $800 – $2,500.

How JBS can Assist

We believe the biggest influence on you achieving your financial and lifestyle goals is how you best utilise your cash flow.

This has driven us to develop the JBS Cash Coach program which aims to assist the Generation X & Y demographic, and anyone else requiring advice / coaching / mentoring / tracking / accountability regarding their cash flow and financial goals, such as purchasing a first home / debt reduction / retirement planning etc.

We assist clients to develop great money management skills.  This puts you back into the driving seat, using high impact track and reporting technology teamed with expert advice.  We help clients get their finances back on track, so they can achieve their goal.

We have helped around 10 clients this year purchase their first home, and this was achieved through the JBS Cash Coach program.

If this is something of interest and you are looking for accountability and ongoing advice around achieving your savings goals / house purchase please give JBS a call.

Please refer to this brochure for further details.

 


The Importance of Having a Will

Wills aren’t just for the sick or wealthy, if you’ve got a family, a home or investments you definitely should have one – especially if the asset is only owned by you. Your will is your voice after you die and can be drawn up to provide guidance around who gets what and the person in charge of the distribution process.Wills & Estate Planning

 

Dying without a will (intestate) leaves the decision to a judge. Your assets will be distributed by the law of the state where your property is located, regardless of what your wishes were. It could mean that your minor children could be awarded to someone not of your choosing.

 

If you have minor children, your will should name a guardian for them.  If your children are a little older and perhaps living with partners but not married; the court may deem their relationship to be “de facto” and their partner would have claim to your estate, even if they separate.  Testamentary trusts can assist with greater levels of protection for de facto and other relationships.

 

If you have a more complicated estate, you may want to consider a trust which can provide much greater levels of protection, control and tax effectiveness.  You should provide your lawyer with clear instructions on how to change the ownerships on your accounts or changing the deed of your assets to reflect your newly created trust.  For example, with a testamentary trust you could give your spouse the annual income from an investment property you owned but at the same time ensure the asset ownership passes to your children.

 

Trusts can also be useful to stagger an individual’s inheritance over time.  We all know of or have kids who are not the most responsible when it comes to having large amounts of money in their possession.  You could setup your trust to pay various amounts of the inheritance at ages 21, 25 and then 30, or you can tie the release of your assets to particular events, such as marriage, purchasing a house, education or overseas travel.

 

Having a lawyer draw up a will should generally cost about $500 to $1000. Your “will” should clearly state who gets what’s left to your estate.  Accounts with beneficiary designations (Property, Superannuation, Insurance and Investments) are typically distributed (or assigned) prior to “the reading of the will” – so it’s possible that very little could be left to your estate.  Nevertheless, dying with a will insures that any leftover assets will be awarded to the person or entity of your choice.

 

JBS can refer you to an appropriate solicitor who specialises in estate planning matters.

 


5 Unexpected facts about retirement we don’t often think about

For the majority of us leaving our office desks forever is something we can only imagine about as it’s so far away.  For the luckier ones that are much closer to retirement this can be a time of excitement and relaxation.  Spending our days at the golf course or with our community groups, families and friends all day every day sounds like heaven on earth.  The transition from full time work to full time play however may become unbearable.  Here are 5 facts about retirement that you should be looking at before retiring.

 

Retirement

1 – One of the first things retirees discover about retirement is that they have too much time on their hands with nothing to do.  Playing a round of golf with mates, or enjoying a drink at the bar will only fill up a certain amount of time in the day and you can’t go doing the same routine day after day.  Couples and singles alike will quickly become very unhappy once they run out of ideas on what to do with their time.  Having ideas in your head on what to do in retirement is one thing; however actually doing them is another.  Some experts are suggesting retirees have a day to day plan on what they want to do and even seek a therapist leading up to retirement.  You will never be as busy as you were pre-retirement so it’s important to map out ongoing hobbies, part time work and social events before embarking on retirement.

 

2 – Retired husband syndrome – Many couples get very excited about retiring together, travelling the world together and spending intensive time together.  If this is you then consider the fact that you and your other half may have been together for the past 30 years working full time.  Aside from weekends and holidays, you never have to see each other for more than a couple of hours in the morning and night.  Now all of a sudden you see each other 24 / 7 and may even start to discover that you can’t stand being together for a prolong period of time.  Each of you having your own hobbies, goals and friends will ensure you don’t spend intensive time together.

 

3 – Not having enough money to fund retirement – Once retired you might have the goal to travel, see the world and complete your bucket list, unfortunately you might not have the funds to do so.  Travelling can become very costly.  A single international trip can set you back several thousand dollars if not more.  By the time your second trip comes around you may find that you don’t have enough funds anymore, so eating out may be out of the question and this year you won’t be able to travel overseas to see your grandchildren.  Having a good financial planner early on can prepare you and set realistic goals for your retirement.  This way at least you have a more clear expectation of what you can afford in retirement and prevent any nasty surprises once you’ve retired.

 

4 – Entitlement to social security – At present, the Australian pension age is age 65, which is subject to rules, regulations and changes in the future.  During retirement some retirees aren’t aware of what social security benefits they’re entitled to.  Even if you are receiving funds from your Superannuation benefits, you may still be entitled to government age pension (subject to income and asset tests).  Having a good financial adviser will ensure you’re kept up to date regarding any social security payments you’re entitled to.

 

5 – Losing your identity from not being at work – For those of us who are passionate about our profession, this becomes our identity.  Anytime your friends or family think of Engineer, Accountant or Doctor, they think of you.  So it’s no surprise that once you retire you may feel like you’ve lost your identity, which may lead to discontent and even depression.  Without the daily interaction of your work colleagues, your mental and even physical health may start to deteriorate.  Retirees who are not very active tend to decline rather quickly mentally and physically.  Joining up to the local gym, taking up classes and just continuing to meet new people will have a longer lasting affect for you.  After all, we all need something exciting to look forward to in the future.

 

If you are one of the lucky ones thinking about retirement, make sure you talk to the team at JBS so there are no nasty surprises.

 


Changes to Term Deposits

Do you hold some of your cash in a term deposit? Maybe you have term deposits in your self-managed super fund? Or do you plan on investing in one in order to earn a higher rate of interest than your standard savings account? Well, recent changes to banking legislation may affect you and how you save your money.

 

The key difference is that banks will now demand at least a 31 day notice period if you try to withdraw your money early from a term deposit. This means that if you want to quickly access the cash you have locked away, you cannot just pay a fee and lose part of your interest, but will hSafeTermDepositave to wait at least a month as well.

 

These new requirements were introduced on 1 January 2015 in response to the new “Basel III Liquidity Reforms” which demand higher levels of liquid assets to be held by banks in order to provide protection against short term events that may prove a threat to the bank’s ability to pay its obligations, such as a bank run. The reforms expect banks to hold enough high quality liquid assets (such as cash) to cover total net cash outflows for up to 30 days and, in order to achieve this, the banks have applied these new restrictions on term deposits, ensuring that the money held as term deposits does not count as part of the total net cash outflows.

 

So what does this change for you?  In most cases this should, hopefully, not cause much concern. If you intend to hold your term deposit for the full term until maturity, this legislation will not cause anything to happen differently. If you believe, however, that you may be relying on accessing the funds in your term deposit before the term deposit matures, then you should consider alternative arrangements such as holding part of your funds in a savings account. While some banks have stated that they would relax this requirement in the case of financial hardship, this would be reliant on their assessment.

 

If you’re concerned about what this change may mean for your savings plans or your retirement savings then please contact the team at JBS to discuss your personal situation.

 


Working Weekend | Warren

Warren 2On the weekend of the Queen’s Birthday, I was lucky (or unlucky some might say) enough to spend the time repairing the fences around my family home. Kristyn and I had a few helping hands with my mum and dad coming down from Shepparton to help; my brother and sister in law were roped in too.

 

After much debate and discussion about design and strategy we began to dig the holes to lay the foundations. 17 holes in all were dug over 45 metres, all having to be evenly spread and of equal depth to ensure that everything lined up. The posts were finally cemented into position using a combination of a string line and the naked eye, mainly due to the windy conditions. This was a very slow process that seemed to take forever, but we needed to make sure that it was done correctly, otherwise any imperfections would only be magnified once it was complete. We worked together closely as a team, each performing our roles to ensure that we succeeded together.

Warren 1

 

Monday morning was the moment of truth and it was time to hang all the rails. Once again, there was a lot of work involved with ensuring that they were hung straight, with the plinth board along the bottom being used as our guide to ensure that the height of the fence was consistent. After 2 solid days of not really seeing any significant improvement, by lunch time of day three we could really see things coming together. Then it was time to nail the paillings. Dad was on measuring and I was on nailing. 480 paiings, 2 nails at 3 heights, meant that I essentially did 480 squats, but the job was finally done. We finished up on Monday afternoon and although my knees were a little sore, I’m pretty proud of our achievement. Clearing and building 45 meters of fencing over 3 days was a monumental achievement that couldn’t have been done without the support of my family. The effort really shows how much can be achieve in such a short period of time when you work together as a team.Warren 3

 

The other thing that really stood out throughout this experience was that although building the foundations can often seem to take a long time and can often be the less exciting part of any process, it is critical to ensure that it is done correctly otherwise you will have to deal with imperfections for a very long time.