Tag Archives: JBS

Financial Agreements

Family law disputes are usually complex, often difficult to manage and generally a costly process. These days families come in all shapes and sizes and at some stage in your life, you may require advice from a family law specialist. Financial agreements are a way of avoiding costly (and often stressful) family disputes.

“Pre-Nuptials” and Financial Agreements

Family Law

Financial Agreements, also colloquially known as “prenups”, can be useful as a risk management tool for couples seeking to document how they will divide their property if they separate at a later time. It allows a private agreement to be formalised and precludes the later involvement of the Family Court. Having such an Agreement can therefore save a significant sum of money, including the costs associated with property settlement negotiations or litigation if the couple separate. It can be compared to income protection insurance or life insurance.

Financial Agreements can be particularly useful for:

1.    Mature couples with significant assets who have been previously married or been in a previous relationship and who are now entering into a new relationship. These couples may have children from previous relationships for whom they wish to protect their future inheritances;

2.    Young couples who are likely to be gifted or inherit significant wealth from their parents;

3.    Relationships where there are significant differences between what each party is bringing into the relationship.

There must be strict compliance with the legislation and there cannot be any form of duress applied towards a party to the Agreement. The parties must have provided each other with full disclosure of their financial circumstances. Each party to the Agreement must have obtained independent legal advice before signing the Agreement. People with complex business structures need to take particular care that they consider problems under any commercial contract with third parties. They also need to seek taxation advice as to any taxation implications. It is advisable for parties to review their overall financial planning or succession planning strategy when considering entering into a Financial Agreement.”

If you require family law advice or would like to set up a financial agreement contact JBS as we work with a number of family lawyers who would be happy to help.


First Home Super Saver Scheme

Introduced as part of the 2017-2018 Federal Budget, the First Home Super Saver (FHSS) scheme aims to make housing more affordable for first home buyers. Essentially the FHSS scheme allows you to save money in your super fund that will go towards your first home.


If you are making either concessional or non-concessional contributions into your super fund, you will be able to apply to have your voluntary contributions, as well as associated earnings, released to help you purchase your first home. Since your concessional contributions are taxed at 15% as opposed to your marginal tax rate, the FHSS scheme can be an effective tool in helping you save for your first home.


When making a withdrawal from super to help purchase a home, you are able to withdraw total voluntary contributions of up to a maximum of $30,000 across all years, with a maximum of $15,000 from any one financial year. The contributions are ordered by a first-in first-out approach. For example, Joe has made $10,000 of eligible non-concessional contributions each of the past 3 financial years. He finds a house he would like to buy. He can withdraw a total of $30,000 to purchase the house as each year he has stayed within the maximum of $15,000 per year. If Joe had made eligible non-concessional contributions of $20,000 and $10,000 in the past 2 financial years, he would be limited to only withdrawing $25,000 (maximum of $15,000 from the first year and $10,000 from the second year).


Once your first FHSS amount has been released to you, within 12 months you must do one of the following:

– Sign a contract to purchase or construct your home – you must notify the ATO within 28 days of signing the contract
– Re-contribute the assessable FHSS amount (less tax withheld) into your super fund and notify the ATO within 12 months of the first FHSS amount being released to you.


There is a strict set of criteria you must satisfy in order to be eligible for the FHSS:

– You must be at least 18 years old when you request a release from your super account
– You must never have owned property in Australia (this includes investment property, vacant land, commercial property, a lease of land in Australia or a company title interest in land in Australia).
– You must not have previously requested the Commissioner of Taxation in Australia to issue a FHSS release authority in relation to the scheme.


You may be eligible for the FHSS even if you do not satisfy the above conditions. More details of this can be found here.


There is also criteria on what you cannot purchase through the FHSS and these include:

– Any premises not capable of being occupied as a residence
– A houseboat
– A motorhome
– Vacant Land


One thing to note is that just because it can be done, doesn’t mean that every super fund offers it so if you believe you are eligible and would like to explore it further, it would be worthwhile contacting JBS.

Celebrate Your Financial Goals

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 wandering 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.

Suffering a Financial Hangover?

The holidays are great time for families and friends to get together to enjoy the warmer weather and sunshine together. However, this time of year is also when spending can go a little overboard and people end up with an overwhelming credit card debt.


Below are a few ways to get yourself back on track this New Year:


Sell, Sell, Sell
Selling items you no longer use is an easy start. You can make a dent in the amount you overspent during the holidays and you can also make a jump on decluttering your house. Try to sell in local areas to reduce the cost of shipping items. By grouping items together such as 10 x books or bag of kids clothing size XX for a set price reduces the time you spend advertising items and increases the chance of a quick sale.


Eliminate non-essential items
Small inexpensive items add up over the month. If you don’t purchase that morning coffee or afternoon soft drink you could potentially save yourself between $150-200 a month. Consider cheaper alternatives like taking your coffee with you in the morning and making your lunch the night before.


Stop Shopping
This time of year can be tempting to purchase in the post-holiday sales, but if you are already in debt you cannot afford the items no matter how good the deals are. Unsubscribing from e-newsletters offering sale items is a great place to start, if you don’t see the deals you can’t buy them. Ensure you don’t do your grocery shop when you are hungry and take a shopping list so you don’t impulse buy.


Make this year’s financial hangover the last, contact JBS today and we can help you give your finances that bright New Year feeling.

Problem with Direct Life Insurance

In August of last year, ASIC completed a review of the direct life insurance industry and revealed some startling statistics in their report (Report 587).


Direct Life Insurance is defined as being sold to consumers by insurers or their sales partners, by outbound telemarketing, inbound phone calls from consumers, online or face to face (through bank branches). These products are sold with general advice or no advice given meaning that the consumer’s circumstances are not taken into account.


The report revealed that:

– 1 in 5 of all policies taken out were cancelled in the cooling off period

– 1 in 4 of all policies that remained in force beyond the cooling off period were cancelled within 12 months

– 3 in 5 of all policies sold were cancelled within three years

– 15% of claims from direct life insurance are declined and 27% of claims are withdrawn


The average declination of claims across the entire industry is 7%, less than half of that compared to direct cover.


ASIC believe that these high rates of cancellations and claim declines is due to consumers being sold products they don’t want, can’t afford, or don’t perform as expected.


ASIC also found that consumers struggled with the sales experience and complexity of the products, and consumer understanding of key features is often poor. ASIC identified a failure by the salespeople to provide adequate information about important aspects of the cover, including key exclusions and future premium increases. It is hypothesised that this lack of understanding about the product resulted in the high cancellation and claim declines.


A 2015 report, Underinsurance in Australia, with data compiled by Rice Warner revealed that that median level of:

– Life insurance meets 61 per cent of basic needs

– Total and permanent disability insurance meets just 12 per cent of basic needs; and

– Income protection cover meets just 16 per cent basic needs


So not only are people cancelling their covers early, even if they do hold the policies for a long time, the insured amount is often quite low compared to what they require.


At JBS we know that insurance can be complex with often slight differences between policies, but you do not have to try and organise it on your own. As well as selecting the best product for you, we can also help determine the appropriate amount of cover required ensuring that all of our clients are properly insured to protect themselves and their families. Finally, in the event of a claim, we will also be there guiding you through the process making everything as painless as possible.


If you are worried about your insurance levels but are too scared or time poor to go at it alone and would rather seek the help of a professional, please contact our offices at 03 8677 0688.


– Liam Rutty –

2018 JBS Wrap Up

As 2018 draws to a close, we look back and reflect on the year which has seen the JBS Team grow and change both individually and as a group. Warren joined Jen as a partner within JBS, Peter got married and the JBS team were there to help celebrate. Both Peter and Liam became Associate Advisers, Aakash is now a permanent resident and we have welcomed Varsha as a new full-time team member. Richard’s and his mates from school Nick and Locky have joined the team to help with administration and all things client services while they complete their university degrees and all celebrated their 21st birthdays. Liam purchased a new car and continues his reign of “Nugget Challenge Champion” in the office. Pj left the Victorian winter behind to conquer the summer in Europe and had an absolute blast. Jen and Bren are loving their lifestyle change and move down to Mt Martha.


From a business perspective, JBS has had an awesome year, we’ve continued with our educational series Join with Jen, Retire Right, and launched Partner Protect so if you haven’t yet seen any of our videos, jump on our website and take a look.


As we reflect on the positive year our team has shared together, there will be people going into this holiday season who are less fortunate than ourselves. Throughout the year, JBS has supported Make A Wish Australia, and in the spirit of giving we have again decided to donate to this charity instead of sending Christmas cards to our valued colleagues, clients and team. You too can make a donation to Make A Wish who grant the wishes of children suffering from life threatening medical conditions.


Holiday Opening Hours

JBS Financial Strategists will be closing on Thursday, 20th December and re-opening on Monday, 7th January 2019. During the holiday closure the business will be supported via email or Jen’s mobile phone for urgent issues.


We would like to thank you for your ongoing support and commitment throughout 2018.


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 2019.


Below is a little snippet from our recent Team Christmas Event – it was a fantastic day, what a great team we have!

Insurance Premium Structures

Life insurers will generally offer you the choice to have either Level or Stepped premiums, or a combination on their policies. The type of insurance premium structure you choose will affect the initial cost as well as the total cover over the life of the policy. Generally speaking the duration of the cover may help to determine the appropriate premium structure you should use.


Stepped Premiums – Stepped premiums increase as you age, reflecting the higher likelihood of a potential claim. Stepped premiums have a lower upfront cost over the short-term (when compared to Level premiums), however as you age, the Stepped premiums start to increase, and the longer it is held, the more significant the increase becomes. Therefore, if you plan to hold the level of cover for a long period, generally greater than 10 years, it may be more beneficial to take-up a Level premium.


Level Premiums – Level premiums can provide you with peace of mind as they are designed to remain stable. The premiums will remain stable from the policy commencement until you reach a predetermined age (e.g. age 55 or 65), at this point the premiums will switch to a Stepped premium. Level premiums can still increase due to indexation or other increases to the sum insured. Level premiums can also change if the underlying assumptions and/or expenses of the insurer have changed since the policy started – however this will generally affect the stepped premiums as well.


At the beginning of the policy, Level premiums generally have the higher upfront costs when compared to Stepped premiums. This is due to the increased risk of claim as the insured person ages have already been factored in.


Hybrids Premiums – Some insurers may provide you with the option of a hybrid premium structure that allows you to use Stepped premiums for a portion of the cover, together with Level premiums for the remainder of the cover. This allows the premium structure to be aligned to short-term or long-term needs within a single policy.


From the beginning it’s important that you implement the correct cover and policy structure, as replacement policies can result in Level premiums being calculated based on your age at the time of amendment. If you take out new cover later on, you may also have to undergo medical tests and the like, which could result in the possibility of loadings or exclusions being applied to your policy, if you end up changing. This could result in your new cover becoming more costly or even unattainable and therefore effectively locking you into your current cover with the incorrect policy structure and/or cover.


JBS can assist you with all your personal insurance needs and can help determine the right level of cover for you and assess which premium structure is more suitable for your needs.

Structures Matter

We often ask ourselves what we should be investing in. Should we invest in shares? What shares should we buy? Is now a good time to be buying shares? Should I instead look at putting my money into a more defensive asset like a term deposit? Or even look at an investment property.


While all these questions are good, the first question we need to ask ourselves is who should own the investment, in other words what structure should we use?


When purchasing an investment we have a number of options available to us when it comes to ownership. Do we own the asset personally, jointly, within superannuation or another trust structure or even within a company of our own.


The majority of investments that we can choose can be owned by any of these entities. There are some exceptions however this article will not go into specifics. For the most part though, one of the main differences between the different ownership options is the tax treatment.


When you own an asset as an individual, the earnings are attributed to you personally and hence you will need to pay tax at your marginal rate. You will also be eligible for a 50% capital gains discount when you hold assets for longer than 12 months. As you will be paying tax at your marginal rates, owning assets as an individual can be beneficial for someone with a low income and hence low marginal rate but detrimental for someone who is already on a high income and high marginal tax rate.


The tax rules around jointly owned assets are very similar to that of an individual with one main difference. The earnings and hence tax is split between each of the owners. A husband and wife for example can split the earnings 50/50 between the two of them. This comes in handy when both partners are on high incomes for example although other options may be preferable.


A common misconception is that superannuation is an asset in itself. This is not the case, it is simply a structure that owns the investments. The main benefit of superannuation funds is that the tax on the income is charged at 15% and capital gains (if the asset is held for longer than 12 months) are taxed at 10%. Current legislation also states that when the superannuation fund is turned into a pension account the tax on the earnings within that pension account attracts 0% tax. This is clearly the best way to hold assets from a tax perspective however the obvious downside is that you aren’t allowed to access the money/investment until you meet a condition of release. The government has also put a cap on the amount of money that you are able to contribute into superannuation each year and also the amount of money that you can transfer into a pension account. These restrictions have been discussed in detail in previous articles so I will not go into them here.


There are lots of different types of trusts (superannuation being one of them) however here we will cover unit trusts and discretionary trusts in particular.


In the majority of circumstances the trusts themselves do not pay any tax and instead the tax is paid by the beneficiaries as all income is distributed through to the beneficiaries. For a unit trust, the distributions are paid according to the amount of units owned. For example, if a unit trust has 10 units, and person A owns 7 of those units, then person A will receive 70% of the distribution and hence will be required to pay tax on the amount. As the income flows through to an individual in this example, they will receive a 50% capital gains discount for the unit trust holding the asset longer than 12 months. A unit trust may be applicable for someone running a business with other people who are not part of their family with distributions to be allocated according to the % ownership.


A discretionary trust while similar to a unit trust has one distinct advantage. The earnings can be distributed to any beneficiary on a discretionary basis. That is, you can choose how much of the distribution gets paid to each individual beneficiary and this can vary from year to year. You can therefore allocate more income to those on lower tax rates and less or even no income to those on higher tax rates. This is often used for family owned businesses where money is often allocated to children, non-working spouses or even retired parents in order to keep the tax low and is where the name “Family Trust” originated from. This is the most flexible of structures to hold investments in although you need to remember that all earnings need to be distributed to the unit holders and there are costs associated with the setting up and running of the trust.


Companies are similar to Unit Trusts in that the amount of income that is distributed to shareholders is determined by the share of the company that they own. If you own 70% of the company you get 70% of the distributions. However there are some big differences.


The first one is that the company pays tax (ranging from 27.5% – 30% depending on the size of the company). This means that as dividends are distributed to the company owners they receive what is known as franking credits to offset the tax already paid by the company.


The second difference is that unlike a trust, earnings can be kept inside the company structure rather than being paid out to the company owners. This can help build the assets inside the company where the tax rate is only 27.5% compared to the individual where that tax rate may be up to 45%.


The main disadvantage when it comes to companies is that they are regulated by ASIC. Unlike other ownership options, there is some compliance that needs to be adhered to when running a company and hence more fees may be payable and more work is required.


Structuring the investments in the right way to ensure the minimum tax payable is extremely important but tax is only one factor that needs to be taken into account. If you want to know more, not just about investments but about setting up the correct structure for your goals and needs please contact our offices today.

Protecting Your Earning Capacity

In previous articles, we have written about the importance of ensuring that your biggest asset – your earnings capacity is protected.


A question we often get however is how do I know if what I have is ok?


There are many Income Protection policies on offer with many options but one of the biggest differences you need to understand what happens in the event of a claim with an Agreed Value Policy compared with an Indemnity Policy. The wrong option can have catastrophic consequences to your financial position when you need the cover the most.


In order to make the right choice, you must first understand the differences between these two options.


An Agreed Value Policy is signed off at the start, i.e. what level of income they’re willing to cover. It provides you with certainty at the time of insurance application, the amount that you have been insured for will be paid, if you need it.


Whereas with an Indemnity Policy, the benefit amount is estimated at the start but not financially assessed until the time of claim.


In both instances, you generally are able to insure up to 75% of your income, but the difference in the event of claim can be significant.


So which one is advantageous for you?


Indemnity Value Policies are usually cheaper when compared to Agreed Value. However, there is no certainty on the monthly benefits received upon the claim. Although Agreed Value income protection might be a little more expensive, it holds more value as it provides you with certainty on the benefit amount you will receive.


Indemnity value covers are suitable for people with a steady income over the years. However, it is quite common for things to change which may lead to the decline (sometimes only short term) of your income.


Possible reasons for a decline in income (which would impact on an indemnity claim but not an agreed value claim):


– You may be in a stable employment now but have you ever dreamt about starting your own business? Clearly, the goal would be to return to a similar or high income but this move can often lead to a short-term income drop and provide an exposure.

– You may wish to change your career entirely. This could involve further study and again a reduced income for a period of time.

– Your current industry or expertise may be subject to disruption which could affect your earning capacity or require further study.

– You may wish to reduce your working hours or start a family.

– You may have your hand forced and need to give up your career or dramatically alter your hours if a family member becomes very ill.


Unfortunately, one of the most tragic situations we have seen was with a middle-aged man who overtime had his work hours, job performance and income gradually get affected as a result of a debilitating mental health illness. The illness caused him to have to reduce his hours and responsibility and even take periods of unpaid leave. Rather than going on a claim in the initial stages, he struggled through perhaps in denial. The gradual decline in health eventually resulted in a claim; however, the claim was reduced as his pre-disablement income was actually lower than what it was when he took the policy out. Had he taken out an Agreed Value Policy, he would have been entitled to a higher level of income which would have provided much more financial support to him and his family and would have allowed him to focus on his recovery.


For anyone who has default Income Protection cover through work or a Superannuation provider, it is critical to understand these differences as often default insurance is on an Indemnity Policy basis.


It is also important to understand that the older we get the more “uninsurable we become” so locking in a good policy now while you are young and healthy can make a significant difference when you need the policy the most.


At JBS we help people assess their need for cover every day. We provide clients with piece of mind which allows them to get on with their lives in comfort knowing that they are covered. Please contact us so that we can provide you with the same level of comfort.

Downsizer Contributions

From the 1st of July 2018, if you are at least 65 years old and meet the eligibility requirements, you may be able to choose to make a downsizer contribution into your Superannuation fund of up to $300,000 from the proceeds of selling your home. Normally after age 65 you would need to meet a work test in order to contribute into Super, the great thing about this is that you don’t need to meet the work test to be eligible.


The contribution will not be counted as a Non-Concessional Contribution and will not count towards any contributions caps. The downsizer contribution can still be made even if you have a total super balance greater than $1.6 million, however if your balance is above $1.6 million you are still restricted to having $1.6 million in the pension phase.


The contribution is only able to be made once on the sale of one home, therefore if you sell a second home you can’t make the contribution again. There is also no requirement that you have to purchase another home or actually downsize your home as the name may suggest. In order to be eligible you must tick all of the following criteria:

– You are 65 years old or older at the time you make a downsizer contribution (there is no maximum age limit)

– The amount you are contributing is from the proceeds of selling your home where the contract of sale exchanged on or after 1st of July 2018

– Your home was owned by you or your spouse for 10 years or more prior to the sale. The ownership period is generally calculated from the date of settlement of purchase to the date of settlement of sale

– Your home is in Australia and is not a caravan, houseboat or other mobile home

– The proceeds (capital gain or loss) from the sale of the home are either exempt or partially exempt from capital gains tax (CGT) under the main residence exemption, or would be entitled to such an exemption if the home was a CGT rather than a pre-CGT asset (acquired before 20th of September 1985)

– You have provided your super fund with the Downsizer contribution into super form either before or at the time of making your downsizer contribution

– You make your downsizer contribution within 90 days of receiving the proceeds of sale, which is usually at the date of settlement

– You have not previously made a downsizer contribution to your super from the sale of another home.


It is important to note that if your home was owned by just the one spouse, the spouse that did not have an ownership interest may also make a downsizer contribution, provided they meet all of the other requirements.


The maximum contribution you can make under the downsizer rules is $300,000, or $300,000 each if a member of a couple. However, the contribution can’t be greater than the total proceeds of the sale of your home. For example if you and your partner sell your home for $400,000 you’re only eligible to make contributions of $200,000 each, or it can be split in another way such as $300,000 and $100,000.


You must also make your downsizer contribution within 90 days of receiving the proceeds of sale, which is usually at the date of settlement. In some circumstances the ATO may at their discretion extend this 90 day period, but you will need to apply for it. It is also possible to make the contributions in multiple batches, but the total amount can’t exceed $300,000, and all contributions must be made within the 90 day period.


If you’re thinking of downsizing your home and wish to explore your options in relation to making downsizer contributions, please don’t hesitate to contact JBS and we can assess your options and eligibility. It is a really great opportunity to help build your wealth in a tax effective manner.



* indicates required