Tag Archives: Jenny Brown

Planning for Dreams and Goals – Brodie

I’m one of those people that love to make others happy, especially my wonderful husband. I’ve written before about how he is a massive Arnold Schwarzenegger fan and this year will be his 70th birthday (Arnie…not my husband).  Anyway, I thought that as a fantastic wife, I’d organise for my hubby to go to Austria, Arnold’s birth country, to celebrate Arnold’s birthday at his childhood home that has now been converted into a museum. Now don’t worry, this blog piece isn’t going to be all about Arnie so you can keep reading. It gets better I promise.


What I actually wanted to write about was the process of how I did this. We have two (2) small kids now both at schools, a sizable mortgage (like everyone), our normal expenses and a few unexpected ones too. But what made this doable was deciding to do it. I’ve got the flights booked and paid for, accommodation all booked and deposits made, I just have transfers between places to organise and pay for. But how on earth did I find the casholla to fund it all – short answer is “I have no idea” but the long answer is that I decided that hubby should go. The timeframe was already set for me as everyone knows that Arnold’s birthday is the 30th July, so next was to get the money together and once you’ve decided to do something, the world moves in mysterious ways and it happens. It also happens through savings, selling unwanted stuff, birthday and Christmas presents, but because this was a priority to me, it happened.


Looking back in my life, there’s been a number of achievements like that. While I haven’t actively decided and written down specific life goals, I have decided the next thing that I want to do to the house, or with the kids or for my family. I’ve always got something on the go. The last major thing was fake grass in the backyard that set us back a bit, but I found the money as I knew I wanted it before Christmas a couple of years ago as I was hosting the festive celebrations and thought it would look nice for my guests. Before that I hated having lights on in the middle of the day but my kitchen was always so dark and thus a skylight was installed after some money management skills were put to work.


I’ve now decided that I need to keep this up. I’ve taken the Christmas break to decide what the next dream I can turn into reality. It seems I’ve already been doing it for a long time and never noticed it. I’ve also worked out that if I don’t have my next goal to work on, that I seem to have no money to do anything. It gets spent and I have no idea on what. I know I’ll never have enough money – most of us won’t – for everything that we want so let’s start focusing on the big things and try to get them. Achieve them. Tick them off a list.


It’s also an infectious process with my mum now taking baby steps to achieving the kitchen she wants. She know that she’ll never have the lump sum to do a massive kitchen reno so let’s plan bit by bit. Monday she had an electric cooktop installed that she’s always wanted. Tick and a step closer to her dream. I’m hoping by writing this blog piece that it will inspire you. What’s your next big ticket goal? I’m already saving for a family holiday to Disneyland in Orlando for my 40th birthday…(a few years away – I know you were thinking I looked too young to be 40 – thank you for your kind thoughts 🙂

Cash Flow Management

There’s something about starting a new year that brings with it a tonne of motivation. That fresh start where you can re-set, clean-up, and where energy levels are high and excitement at its peak. Where our passion for giving those dreams of ours a really good shot is reignited and our visions of living bigger and better are at the forefront of our thinking.


However, we get to March and the motivation starts to taper off and by April most goals have been abandoned or forgotten about. Research shows, in the end only about 8% of people stick with their good intentions.


So what do this 8% do differently? Are they just more willing to invest wholeheartedly to work towards their goals? Maybe, but experts say it has more to do with how they set themselves up for success. Specifically, they use January to re-set themselves and clean up any messes from the previous year, then invest the time and effort into effective goal planning.


So with the new year having now kicked off, here’s a list of the best results-driven tactics to ensure you are part of that 8% and make 2017 your best year yet:
Get Super Clear

Vague or generalised goals such as ‘save more’ won’t serve you. They need to be specific and well defined so that they can be measured.


–  What?

–  When?

–  And How?


Specific goals such as ‘pay off credit cards by March’ are easier to measure. By then mapping out the action steps required it is then easier to achieve the goal than not.


But there’s also the why? Connecting emotion with your goals will help you remember why they were important in the first place and will reignite your passion for reaching them when things get difficult.


Write it Down

Study after study has shown that those who write down their goals accomplish significantly more than those who don’t. Why? Putting pen to paper forces you to clarify what you want, it motivates you to take action and it makes it easier for you to see your progress and celebrate your successes.


Get Support & Accountability

We’ve all heard the importance of being around the right people, especially when chasing our goals.  When you’re in pursuit of a dream, there are many elements that can resist your path and block your forward motion.  Surrounding yourself with people that are genuinely cheering for you will help you disengage from this resistance and keep you moving forward.


That’s where JBS fits in. We believe (and know!) that the biggest influence of you achieving your financial and lifestyle goals is firstly to have clarity on what your goals are, then aligning your cash flow to help you achieve those goals. Fortunately for you we have a program designed to help you achieve this.


The JBS Cash Coach program is tailored to you, your needs, your goals, and the actions you need to take to achieve those goals.  We take the time to understand you, then design solutions to help you achieve your goals. We help you create a spending and savings plan that is aligned to your goals, and keep you accountable and motivated on a monthly basis to maximise the probability of achieving your goals so you can have the lifestyle you are entitled too in 2017 and into the future.


The early part of 2017 is the perfect time de-clutter your life of the excess build up from last year, clean up, clear your head, set motivating goals, and get moving towards those goals.


The JBS Cash Coach program will help you get the most out of 2017 but only if you take action. Make time and join the best support network around (aka JBS Cash Coach).

That’s a Wrap

Wow can you believe that 2016 is nearly over? What an exciting year for JBS – transferring to our own licence to allow greater control and flexibility within the business and also gaining some fantasic new additions to the JBS clan.


JBS Financial Strategists will be closing at 4pm on Thursday, 22 December and reopening on Wednesday, 4th January, 2017. During the holiday closure the business will be supported via email on strategies@jbsfinancial.com.au or Jen’s mobile phone on 0418 990 988 for urgent issues.


We would like to thank you for your ongoing support and commitment throughout 2016.


From all the team at JBS, we would like to wish you, your family and your friends a wonderful holiday break, a safe & prosperous New Year and we look forward to seeing you in 2017.


We hope you get a laugh from our video – we had plenty making it!!


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.





* 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.

Adaptive Change, Taking Advice Beyond The Horizon – Warren

Recently I was fortunate enough to go to the Association of Financial Advisers (AFA) 2016 conference in Canberra. The 3 day event was kicked off by JBS’s own Jenny Brown as conference chair and current AFA Vice President. JB launched the theme of “Adaptive Change, Taking Advice Beyond The Horizon”. The theme was very appropriate as our profession continues to go through change, not only with legislation, but also with other factors such as technology and an ever changing political and economic environment.



For me, it was a great chance to be able to come together with other professional advisers, practice owners and thought leaders to discuss ways to take advantage of these changes. The highlight for me, and no doubt the majority of the other delegates, was to hear from the Honourable John Howard.  It was fantastic how he spoke about where he sees Australia, lessons he has learnt from his time in politics, leadership and what we, as a nation, need in the current political environment. He talked about the current focus on the Australian banks as “strange” given the number of inquiries into them since the GFC, and the fact that they held Australia in such a strong position during this time. He spoke about leadership and how if you get into a leadership position you are going to make mistakes, the important thing is to get the “big things” right. But the final, and in my view, most important point was that as a leader, not everyone is going to agree with your decisions and thoughts but if you are passionate and decisive, the majority of people will respect you and your decisions.


Day 2 kicked off with Dr Ric Charlesworth, one of Australia’s most highly regarded sporting minds. He spoke about one of the biggest lessons business people can learn from elite sports people, is the emphasis on training and learning. He spoke about the amount of time that athletes spend training and preparing for their sports, rather than competing and how we, as a professionals, need to ensure that we are spending the time required to train to improve.


As previously mentioned, one of the great features of the AFA conference is the networking and peer learning. The “Meet the Professionals and Innovators” session was an intimate session where advisors are allocated to a table with one of 40 leaders in our industry. At JBS, our honour board and awards list shows that we are clearly cutting edge and industry leaders in our own rights, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t continue to learn from others. I used this as a great opportunity to pick the brain of the 2015 AFA Adviser of the year about his approach to business. There is no doubt much of what we do at JBS is cutting edge, but I was able to identify some small ideas that we can use to enable us to provide a more valuable service for our clients.


walking-woundedDay 2 finished with one of the most inspirational speakers I have ever heard, Brian Freeman, Founder of Walking Wounded. Brian’s story was amazing and I have recounted it to many people since the conference. Walking Wounded exists to reduce the incidence of suicide in our Veteran Australian Soldiers and service men and women returning from conflicts such as East Timor, Iraq and Afghanistan. Brian started the foundation in 2014 for the reason that since 1999, 239 soldiers have taken their own lives once they have returned home, not because 46 soldiers have been killed in combat. To raise awareness of the issue, Brian took it upon himself to carry the Roll of Honour containing the 41 Australian soldiers killed in Afghanistan, signed by Governor-General Peter Cosgrove and sealed in a metal push-upcanister on an epic journey. Over 7 months, beginning on Remembrance Day in 2014, Brian commenced with Mount Everest in April, prior to running 4,805km from the Tip of Cape York to the bottom of Tasmania, including kayaking unassisted across Bass Strait, all in 85 days. He then traversed the Kokoda Trail prior to ascending Mount Kilimanjaro, all to raise awareness.  Fittingly at the end of this amazing story, Brian was asked to join the MC for the day, and the audience, to complete 22 push ups as part of another awareness challenge, #22pups22days4ourmiltary, a campaign you may have seen on social media.


On day 3 we heard more from our industry leaders, once again with Jenny on the stage leading the way. We heard presentations about the benefits of taking time to work on the business, as well as in the business, a concept called the dance floor and balcony. The theory is based on a nightclub scenario whereby everyone gets the excitement of the day to day work of the dance floor, but often it is good to take a break from the day to day business to spend some time on the nightclub balcony and look at things from a different point of view. This is a theory that we spoke about at length at our JBS retreat, and this was a good opportunity for me to reflect and confirm that I spend enough time looking at how we do things rather than just getting caught up in the businesses of the ‘dancefloor’.


jbThe afternoon included another great session on “Cool Sexy Tech for your Financial Advice Business”. This session prompted us to think about how we see ourselves from a technological point of view in 5 year’s time. The presenters had recently completed a tour of the Silicon Valley where they talked about the 800 plus start-up companies that are looking to shake up the financial services industry across the world. We ran through a futuristic scenario of how our clients will potentially be relating with their finances in the future and how we need to be able to adapt our businesses and services accordingly. I was excited to hear of the technology that is potentially on the horizon, and will enable me to have more relevant, meaningful and time critical conversations with our clients about their goals, dreams and their ability to achieve them.


Dr Adam Fraser concluded the conference, presenting on ‘Peak Performance without the Collateral Damage’. He spoke about the importance of the “third space”. The third space is the transition gap between each task we do, not just at work but also at home. He talked about this as the new competitive advantage in business and life. It is the time that you take to get over what you have just been through and show up to the next meeting or challenge with the right frame of mind, to allow you to get the most out of what is coming next. He talked about how this separates elite athletes from the rest of the pack. For example in tennis, the 3rd space is the time between points, and the best players reflect quickly on the past point, put in behind them and move onto the next point. He spoke about it not being what the best players do during the point it is what they do between the points that makes them elite. For me, I found this really helpful as my third space is often the drive home from work. Up until recently, I had used the drive home to listen to work related podcasts or make telephone calls, but often this meant that I took my work home with me and wasn’t able to shut off to spend time with my children before bed. About a month ago, I decided to listen to podcasts that make me laugh or call mates to catch up. Without realising it, I was using it as my third space and it was meaning that I was coming home in a better frame of mind. This session really re-enforced the importance of this time for “me” and how it makes me a better father as a result. This is something I really want to ensure becomes ingrained in my daily routine.


I often get the feeling that people criticize conferences as junkets or don’t feel that they have time to attend however, for me, the right conference is a fantastic time to step out of the day to day routine, look at things with a fresh set of eyes and take the required “balcony” time to ensure that we, as a business, and me, as an individual, are doing things as best as we can to not only provide a great service to our existing clients, but also provide an offer that is appealing to potential new clients.

Worst Time To Invest

What if you only invested at market peaks?


Have you ever noticed that as soon as you buy an investment it tends to drop in value? Whilst this doesn’t really always happen, it just tends to be the investments we remember, what if it did happen? Even worse, what if it dropped by epic proportions?



Meet Tim who is the worst market timer that has ever existed. What follows is Tim’s tale of terrible timing of his stock purchases.


Tim, fresh out of school, begins his career in 1970 at age 18. He understands the importance of investing and saving for the future and therefore decides to start allocating $2,000 per year into a savings account. It’s now the end of 1972 and he has saved up $6,000. Into the stock market it goes. Unfortunately for Tim, after watching the stock market go up and up over the last two years, over the next two years it drops 48%. Tim loses a bit of confidence in the market and while he doesn’t sell, he continues to save up his money in a bank account waiting for things to improve.


15 years later and Tim decides that now is the right time to put more money into the market. It has been going up for years and he sees no reason why it won’t continue. He invests his entire $46,000 into the market. After a small decrease the market then drops suddenly on the 19th of October dropping a whopping 27% in one day. Tim’s had enough, no more putting money into the market. He leaves what is already in there as what’s the point in selling now and goes back to saving in his bank account.


After ignoring the market for 12 more years Tim can’t avoid people talking about the internet. Everyone is making money from the internet. Unfortunately Tim knows very little about the internet but the media informs him that there are plenty of companies on the stock market that do. He takes his $68,000 that he has in the bank and jumps in but this time decides to not even look at the market for the next two years. 2 years later he checks his investment and it have once again decreased by 50%.


It’s 2007 and Tim is now 55. He’s looking to retire in 2013 and decides he’s going to have one last dig at this share market thing. He’s managed to save up $64,000 and into the market it goes. Little does Tim know that once again he’s picked a terrible time to invest, the GFC is about to commence with losses of over 50%.


That’s it, no more investing for Tim…..ever! Once again he leaves the funds in the market but saves up another $40,000 in cash before he retires. So what did he end up with at retirement?


Over his working life Tim has managed to invest $184,000 saving an additional $40,000 over the last few years in cash giving a total investment amount of $224,000. Sure he picked the absolute worst times to invest including the bear market in the early 70’s, the infamous one day crash in 87, the technology bust in 2000 and the GFC in 2007. But he never went back on his investment decisions; he never sold any investments.




Tim ended up with a total retirement balance of $1.1 million. While Tim was a terrible market timer, he was a good investor. He saved a regular amount on a regular basis no matter what. He didn’t panic when the market went down and sold his investment. Instead he maintained his investments until he needed the money. Finally, he invested for the long term and even though he pretty much picked the top of the market each time to put the money in, over time the market continued to go up in value, even if he had to wait a little while after the big falls for it to recover, it always did recover and then go on to meet a new high.


We are not recommending anyone follow Tim’s strategy. He didn’t include diversification in his investment product options and if he would have implemented a dollar cost averaging strategy where he contributed his savings amount each year no matter what, he would have ended up with over twice as much.


This is based on a study in the US, given US market investments however Australian markets felt the same crashes and still illustrates the importance of standing strong with your investment decisions. Time in the market is more important than timing the market.


So what can we take out of Tim’s fictional experience?

1.    Losses happen and are part of the deal when investing in the share market. It’s how you react to those losses that will determine your investment performance over time.
2.    Invest for the long term and let compound interest work for you.
3.    The biggest factors when determining growing your wealth are time, and savings amount. The effect of the actual returns the investments generate on your portfolio pale in comparison to how much money you contribute and how long you invest. Get these two things right, and the rest will follow.


If you are thinking about investing or want to learn more about how you can start your investment portfolio, contact one of the advisers at JBS.

Non-Concessional Contribution Changes

In our last CPE article we talked about the recent changes the government has made to the previously proposed non-concessional contribution life-time cap of $500,000.  To re-cap, the Government has back tracked on this proposal and has instead changed it to an annual cap of $100,000, with the ability to bring-forward 3 years’ worth of contributions from 1 July 2017. Your super balance must also be below $1.6 million to be able to make the contributions.


Since then the government has provided further direction on how the proposed bring forward rule and the $1.6 million cap will work.


Under current rules you can make a total of $180,000 in one year or $540,000 if you bring-forward 3 years’ worth of contributions. If you as an individual have triggered the bring-forward rule in FY16 and FY17, but you have not used it fully by 30 June 2017, transitional rules will apply.


If you trigger the bring-forward provisions in FY17, the transitional cap will be $380,000 (which is the current $180,000 cap plus the new $100,000 annual cap for FY18 and FY19). If you triggered the bring-forward rule in FY16, the transitional cap is $460,000 (current annual cap of $180,000 for FY16 and FY17, plus the $100,000 for FY18).


The below table provides an example of how this may work in specific situations, with example one and two outlining how the $380,000 bring-forward cap may work, and example three highlighting how the $460,000 cap works with the example contributions:


In relation to the $1.6 million eligibility threshold, you are unable to make further non-concessional contributions if your super account is above $1.6 million.  Your balance will be determined as at the 30th of June in the previous financial year.  If your balance is close to $1.6 million, you can only make a contribution or use the bring-forward rule to bring your balance up to $1.6 million without going over, this is summarised below.


As always these measures are not yet legislated and therefore could change yet again.  The draft legislation is expected in the next few weeks.


If you have made any non-concessional contributions in the previous three financial years and are concerned how this may affect you and your future contributions, feel free to contact any of the team here at JBS.

And Yet More Change

Last week, the Government made further announcements in relation to proposed changes to the superannuation system. From Budget night, we had a list of changes that they sort to bring in, however, after industry and community consultation, the Government have made changes to these proposed changes….confused yet?



Ok, well some of the main changes include:

–  The $500,000 lifetime cap on Non-Concessional (NCC) (after tax) Contributions has effectively been scrapped.

–  The $100,000 annual cap replaces the existing $180,000 annual cap for Non-Concessional (after tax) Contributions from 1 July 2017

–  The bring forward rules still apply, so an individual under age 65 can contribute up to $300,000 over a 3-year period

–  The current work test rules still apply for those over 65. This means they cannot contribute, unless working at least 40 hours in a 30 consecutive day period. The removal of the work test proposal has been scrapped until future notice

–  It is expected that the current $180,000 NCC cap still applies until 30 June 2017, meaning that you can trigger a bring forward provision in the current financial year and be able to contribute a maximum of $540,000 over the three (3) financial year period

–  From 1 July 2017, those with a superannuation balance of more than $1.6 million will not be able to make non-concessional (after tax) contributions to their super

–  The 5 year catch-up concessional contribution proposal, that would see those with a balance less than $500,000 able to access their unused concessional contribution cap to make additional before tax contributions to super, has been delayed until 1 July 2018.


The ultimate aim of the Government’s changes are two fold; (1) to avoid superannuation being used as an estate planning vehicle where people are saving their wealth in a tax free environment to pass to children rather than for retirement funding, and (2) to strengthen the idea of superannuation being a mechanism to provide an income in retirement, which includes supplementing the Age Pension.


We must note again, however, these proposals are not legislation and therefore could again change before they are enshrined into our super system, however it can assist us to forward plan your contributions and superannuation options better by providing a strong indication of what the Government is wanting to achieve.


If you are considering any large contributions to super or would like to discuss your personal situation and what these changes could mean for you, please contact us here at JBS.

New Beginnings – Liam

Whenever you start anything new there is always a little bit of anxiety that comes with it.  For me, my new beginning was joining the JBS team in early July.  I’ve been in this industry for over 12 years. I know how to do my job, what could I possibly be worried about?


I was fortunate enough to be able to choose when I left my previous position before coming to JBS which meant that I had 4 ½ weeks for some doubts to build in my mind.  Had I done the right thing? Would I be able to handle the work? Would I fit in with the team? How are their processes different to my own?  As a father of 2 and a wife on maternity leave, it was imperative that I had made the right decision not just for myself but also for them as they were and will continue to rely on me.


LiamA few days before I was due to commence work at JBS, we celebrated my daughter’s 3rd birthday. A big Frozen fan, after her Frozen themed party on the Saturday, we took her to Disney on Ice on the Tuesday. It was her first time and to see the joy on her face as she watched her favourite life-sized Disney Princesses and other characters skate around in front of her put things in perspective. The skaters were professionals, like myself they had been doing the same thing for years honing their skills. Their ‘work’ became 2nd nature, they could do the routine with their eyes shut. What was I even worried about?


The first thing that happens when you join a new company is they introduce you to everybody else in the firm. So I’m greeted by a bunch of smiling faces who all tell me their name and within 30 seconds I’ve forgotten most of them. That’s alright, I’ve done this before, I’ll simply draw up a seating map of the office and whenever I hear anyone’s name I’ll simply write their name on the map at the place they sit. Problem solved.


The next thing that happens is they teach you the software. I’d used plenty of financial planning software programs before (including the JBS one years ago) so everything made sense and was easy to follow. Coincidently, after 2 days it just so happened to be our end of financial year drinks. So my first week in the job consisted of meeting new people, running through the software and eating a parma and chips while drinking beer and chatting about everything and anything. I was lucky in that this social environment allowed me to talk to everyone at the firm and get to know all about them, learn what their interests were, understand how they think, and after a few drinks find out what they really think of JBS. One thing that stood out to me was the fact that the staff have all been here for a long time. The firm had a low turnover of staff, a great thing to hear. The staff are all happy and it’s a great place to work.


Week 2 and the real work began. Working with the other guys in my team, Glenn & Andy, has been great. Glenn has the skill of being able to trust those around him. If he asks you to do something, he trusts you’ll be able to do it and do it well. This gives you a sense of worth, makes you feel valued and gives you a sense of responsibility. I am being trusted to complete this task. Not everyone is like this. There is nothing worse than being asked a question, providing an answer, and then the person ignores your answer and asks someone else. If you weren’t going to listen to me, why did you bother asking me in the first place?


Andy is great in that he is always ready to drop what he is doing and help you out. If I’m struggling with some abnormality in the software, or I need some client data that I can’t find, he’s always happy to help, smiling the whole time. He’s also the first to throw you under the bus if the Friday lunch order isn’t correct even though he didn’t order anything himself.


It’s now been two months, and I’ve been able to settle in nicely with the team at JBS. They are a great bunch of people always willing to help with anything. I have even been able to pick up some good Pokémon Go tips that I can use with my daughter, and with plenty of banter flying round the office, I feel very comfortable as part of the JBS team. New beginnings can be daunting, it’s the fear of the unknown that worries us all. However worry about what you can control, prepare yourself as best you can, and with the right attitude there is no need to be afraid of the dark.

Accessing your super before retirement

Ever get yourself in a financial spot of trouble and thought about taking money out of super to help? Well, generally speaking you can’t unless you’re retired but there are some limited instances where you can. They are limited to severe situations and you can’t just access the cash because you need a new car or the kitchen appliances need to be replaced.


Piggy BankThere are two ‘conditions of release’ (technical term for eligibility criteria to be able to access your super) for members to utilise under extenuating circumstances prior to retirement.


Severe Financial Hardship:
The first condition of release is Severe Financial Hardship. The rules around this condition of release vary depending on whether the member has reached their preservation age.


If the member has met the preservation age plus 39 weeks then they need to supply a letter from a government department showing the following:

•   At least 39 weeks of Government income support (like Newstart allowance) from the date the member met preservation age.
•   The member was not gainfully employed on any level on the date of the severe financial hardship application, and;
•   Evidence that the member cannot meet any reasonable and immediate living expenses; like you have missed your mortgage payments, can’t pay your electricity bill, however missing your repayment on your Ferrari won’t cut it.


If the client is younger than preservation age then the government department letter must show at least 26 weeks of government income support and evidence the member cannot meet their living expenses.


The amount that will be released also depends on whether the member has met their preservation age. The member can take their full balance if they meet the above criteria and are over their preservation age. If the member is under, then they can only withdraw between $1,000 and $10,000 in any 12 month period.


Compassionate Grounds:
The second condition of release is called Compassionate Grounds. Applications for this condition of release must be submitted to the Department of Health Services, as this condition applies to health related issues. SIS Reg 6.19A outlines what expenses they will release funds for:


•    Medical Treatment or transport;
•    To prevent bank foreclosure or sale of the member’s principle residence;
•    To Modify the members principle residence or vehicle to accommodate a disability; or
•    The pay for palliative care, death, funeral and burial expenses.


The member will need to supply evidence of these expenses to the Department of Health Services before a decision will be made. If the department comes back with a favourable outcome they will supply a letter for the trustee of the super fund stating how much can be withdrawn from the members account.


The member can apply for more than one of the above expenses at once. They will need to submit separate applications to the Department of Health Services with evidence of each expense.


These conditions are only available to members who are facing extreme circumstances.


So effectively, you have to almost be in dire straits (and I don’t mean the British rock band from the 80’s) to access super before retirement. Be warry of some providers that have touted that they can assist you to access your super early as these schemes are illegal and have been shut down in the past by ASIC however not until some clients have implemented the strategies and got themselves in trouble as trustees of their own super. Best way to look at super is that it is 100% a retirement savings plan and not an emergency or backup fund. If you’re concerned about your future and any road-bumps you may hit along the way, you may want to consider taking out insurances such as income protection or trauma cover so not to be disappointed when you cannot access your super for minor or short term issues.


If you have any concerns about your super or you want to look at personal insurances, why not give JBS a call to discuss your options.