Gifting

It’s fine to give away your money or other assets to family members, friends or charities, but if you currently receive or expect to qualify for a pension or other allowance, bear in mind that Centrelink does apply limits to how much you can gift.  Launch video

Give Yourself a Pep Talk

Life is full of long and windy turns, obstacles and tough decisions, which is why some of us may take the path of least resistance and subsequently find ourselves falling short of what we set out to originally achieve. Taking the ‘road less travelled’, towards building personal wealth, begins with believing in ourselves.  Once we are in tune with our thoughts and feelings we can start to realise where we want to go.  Give yourself a pep talk.

Your consumer rights – do you understand what they are?

Australians buy goods and services almost every day, but how many of us really understand what we’re covered for when it comes to making a purchase?   

When you purchase an item from a retailer or manufacturer, there are a range of provisions that protect you and your purchase under Australian Consumer Law, manufacturer’s warranties and extended warranty options.  

Automatic consumer guarantees apply to many purchases

As a customer you have rights under the automatic consumer guarantee for many products and services you buy.  These enable you to apply for a refund, repair or maintenance of a purchased item. The type of protection and the length of cover provided will typically depend on the price of the item and the fault or problem.
You may already be aware of some of your rights under the automatic consumer guarantee, but did you know:

  • You don’t have to return an item in its original packaging.
  • If you don’t have a receipt as proof of purchase you can use other items such as a credit card statement or confirmation or receipt if purchased online.
  • Retailers need to assist you to rectify the problem with your purchase. They can’t just refer you to the manufacturer.
  • If the item is broken or faulty, the retailer cannot charge you to fix it.
  • If the item is large then the retailer should pay for the transportation costs to get the item fixed.
  • Repairs have to be made in a reasonable time. Some items get priority for replacement or fixing including mobiles and fridges.
  • A manufacturer will need to inform you if they fix or repair your item using second hand or refurbished parts.
  • Even if a sign says “no refunds” or “exchange or credit note only for sale items” you are entitled to return something if the quality isn’t up to scratch or it doesn’t perform the way it is supposed to.   

Understand the detail of manufacturer’s product warranties

On top of the Automatic Consumer Guarantees many manufacturers will offer standard product warranties for goods purchased.

When you buy a new appliance, electrical item or car from a retailer it carries its own warranty from the manufacturer which usually covers general defects and faults that occur within a limited period of time.  The terms offered and the length of time protection is provided will vary from one product to the next and from manufacturer to manufacturer. Generally speaking, the more expensive the item, the longer the warranty that may be offered.  

What most of these warranties do not cover is accidental damage to the item purchased if you drop, damage or break the item.

To compensate for this, many retailers offer the option of purchasing an extended warranty at the point of sale. Whilst you may feel pressured to buy an extended warranty it is an optional extra and in some cases an unnecessary expense, so it’s important that you do your research up front.

Extended warranties may give you options that aren’t guaranteed under consumer laws or the standard product warranties.  These can include cover for accidental damage or replacement items whilst yours is being repaired and/or access to technical support or dedicated help desks.

While extended warranties can buy peace of mind, this comes at a cost. Whether you benefit from the extended warranty will depend on the type of product you purchase, the likelihood of damage or breakage and the cost to replace or repair. You shouldn’t feel forced into taking this warranty.

If you’re considering a major purchase and not sure whether to get an extended warranty, ask the supplier to list what the warranty actually gives you above the automatic consumer protection and manufactures warranty. This way you can weigh up the benefits against the cost and make an informed decision on whether the protection offered is worth the additional cost.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission provides information on your consumer rights, you can also obtain information from the consumer affairs or protection agencies in your State.

Disclaimer - Information current as at 5 June 2016 - This information is of a general nature only and has been prepared without taking into account your particular financial needs, circumstances and objectives. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information, it is not guaranteed. You should obtain professional advice before acting on the information contained in this publication. You should read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) before making a decision about a product.

An end of financial year checklist for SMSFs

Having a self-managed superfund comes with a range of responsibilities.  In this video we explain the things SMSF trustees need to do at or around the end of each financial year.  See more in the video here.

Why not schedule a meeting with a Financial Adviser today?

Disclaimer - Information current as at 12 November 2015 - This information is of a general nature only and has been prepared without taking into account your particular financial needs, circumstances and objectives. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information, it is not guaranteed. You should obtain professional advice before acting on the information contained in this publication. You should read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) before making a decision about a product.

 

When is a self-managed super fund a good idea…and when is it not?

Self-managed super funds are also known as DIY super funds. They can have up to four members and are generally established by an individual or a family to manage the investment of their own superannuation savings. Members of the fund must also be trustees, unless a corporate trustee is appointed in which case all members must be directors of the corporate trustee. Consequently, members are responsible for all investment and compliance decisions of the fund, including administration, trusteeship and taxation.

Managing your own super can offer greater control and access to a broader range of investment options such as shares, direct property and alternative asset classes not available to conventional super funds. However, they can be costly to run and all members are held responsible for their decisions, such as where legislative compliance is concerned.

When determining whether a self-managed super fund is right for you there are some simple steps you can follow.

  • Seek professional advice
  • Make sure you have enough assets, time and skills
  • Understand the risks and laws
  • Make sure your trust deed and investment strategy are tailored to suit the member
  • Make sure you can meet your record keeping and reporting obligation
  • Make sure you understand the auditing obligation

While self-managed super funds can be a very good way of looking after your super, it is extremely important that trustees understand what they are doing, and if in doubt, get some advice and/or assistance. The penalties for getting it wrong and becoming a non-complying fund are severe.


Your financial adviser is available to provide advice about whether or not a self-managed super fund is right for you. Why not schedule a meeting with your financial adviser now?

Disclaimer

Information current as at 14 May 2015. The advice is general in nature only. Before acting you should consider the appropriateness of the information having regard to your personal objectives, financial situation and needs. You should read the relevant Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) and Policy Document before making any decision about a product.

The Hidden Dangers of an Unplanned Estate

While most of us are aware of the importance of making a Will, there are other estate issues that may not be so obvious and can have dramatic consequences on family security. It’s not just the wealthy – all families need to plan for financial, legal, medical and child care decision making to ensure their wishes are carried out accurately.

Estate planning may sound a little intimidating or irrelevant, but this umbrella term covers a range of essential financial and legal arrangements that any individual can and should make for the proper care of what they own and the people they love. It is integral to your future planning if you want future situations handled with minimal impact on family and in alignment to your wishes.

Your will is a starting point
Even with modest assets and property, there can be severe delays, disputes and upheaval if you were to suddenly pass away without a Will. A Will clearly specifies what you want to happen and who you want to benefit if you are no longer around. The absence of a Will leaves your family in the hands of an appointed administrator who may make decisions that are not consistent with your wishes and may result in unnecessary delays and costs in estate distribution. Once in place, it is essential that it is reviewed periodically to make sure it adapts to your changing circumstances.

How will medical decisions be made?
The reality of medical and health issues impairing decision making is a critical issue to deal with in an estate plan. A sudden accident can leave your family with massive decisions to make about treatment, accommodation and assets, so it is essential that they have some formal reference point to avoid undue stress.

It is not just the elderly who need to plan for this situation. Serious and chronic medical conditions can occur at any age and can dramatically and permanently affect your ability to manage your own health decisions or financial affairs.

Fortunately, there are ways to cope with this eventuality and relieve stress on your loved ones. An Enduring Power of Attorney gives a legal basis for passing your decision making authority to someone you trust if you are unable to make decisions for yourself on legal and financial matters.

Enduring Guardianship can also delegate your authority to someone you trust for making critical decisions on issues such as medical treatment and nursing home care, if you are not able to yourself. These tools are there for your benefit and to help you ensure your wishes are carried out effectively and responsibly to your satisfaction.

Providing for the care of children
No one would ever knowingly compromise the welfare of their children, but we can unwittingly leave things up in the air if we don’t make formal plans to set out our wishes. An Enduring Guardianship lets you specify who you want to care for your children if you suddenly die or suffer a medical event that prevents you from providing care for them.

It is a simple step to take, but can make a huge difference to their future and the peace of mind that comes from knowing your children will be well looked after is well worth it.

Failing to attend to this valuable provision for their future may leave them exposed to the judgements of external authorities and may leave your family with the prospect of applying to a government tribunal in order to allocate guardianship responsibilities.

Ask for help to secure the future
Your adviser can be a valuable facilitator on these issues. They can refer and consult with other professionals to make sure your situation is well managed and your beneficiaries are left with security.

Disclaimer - Information current as at 28 April 2016 - This information is of a general nature only and has been prepared without taking into account your particular financial needs, circumstances and objectives. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information, it is not guaranteed. You should obtain professional advice before acting on the information contained in this publication. You should read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) before making a decision about a product.

Copyright © 2016 Matrix Planning Solutions, AFSL & ACL No. 238256. All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email as part of the Matrix Adviser Network

Don't Gamble on Financial Advice

In an age of information overload and pervasive social media it seems everyone has an opinion they want to share. Being able to discriminate between what is useful and what is fanciful is increasingly important– especially when it comes to financial issues.

A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing
Ever had the temptation to jump on the web whenever you get an unusual pain to try to ‘self-diagnose’ what it might be? Or perhaps you have noticed a new wonder diet on your social media news feed that just happens to contradict the diet you read about last week. A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing and when it comes to the internet a lot of discretion needs to be applied to the relentless clamour of opinion and advice from sometimes dubious sources.

Of course having the ability to access information and do research at the touch of a button can be extremely useful. The Internet has empowered us through the democratisation of information, but while the benefits are undeniable, there is also a danger of ill-informed opinions and vested commercial interests being mistaken for well-considered and independent advice. This is particularly important to recognise when it comes to something as critical as your financial wellbeing.

Be careful who you listen to
The Internet is not the only place where you may find questionable financial advice. Many of us have friends or family who feel compelled to give their heartfelt opinions on investment ideas. We open the newspaper and we are assaulted with exaggerated commentary about markets being a “blood bath” or in “free fall”. Then there is the hysterical reporting on the property market.

The bottom line is that advice on critical areas of our lives should always be taken from professionals. If you have an illness you see a doctor. If you have a legal problem you talk to a lawyer. For your financial future it is always best to use a professional planner who can give you advice that is independent, well researched, takes into account your priorities and goals and provides a sober long-term view of what is right for your situation. Your adviser is committed to those principles.

Disclaimer - Information current as at 5 May 2016 - This information is of a general nature only and has been prepared without taking into account your particular financial needs, circumstances and objectives. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information, it is not guaranteed. You should obtain professional advice before acting on the information contained in this publication. You should read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) before making a decision about a product.

Copyright © 2016 Matrix Planning Solutions, AFSL & ACL No. 238256. All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email as part of the Matrix Adviser Network

Women and superannuation: Tips for success

When it comes to super savings, women in Australia are likely to have significantly less than men. The average Australian woman retires with around half the balance of the average man. This is because women (still!) earn less than men for equivalent jobs and they’re more likely to have a career break to raise children. Combine this with a longer life expectancy and women are less likely to have enough for a comfortable retirement. Very few women think their super will be enough for retirement, and unfortunately many women don’t know how much they’ll need for a comfortable retirement or are leaving this issue to their partners.

Superannuation is one of the most important and efficient investments you can make. It is concessionally taxed, has flexibility with insurance and can provide added incentives when you contribute money.

Acknowledging that wages for women are still generally less than those of men and that women are more likely to take time away from paid employment to raise their families, growing superannuation can seem almost impossible. 

However, none of the above will matter as retirement draws nearer. So, regardless of age or circumstances, women need to understand superannuation and start contributing as soon as possible.

Here are some tips that may help the process:

1. Have one Superannuation Fund
Many women have worked for a number of different employers and can end up with relatively small amounts in a number of Superannuation Funds. Multiple Super accounts usually equals multiple fees. Consolidating your superannuation into one account will make it easier for you to track your retirement savings.

2. Find any lost Superannuation
If you have changed jobs a few times, or had short term work contracts, you may have Super accounts that you have forgotten or didn’t know about. You may have moved house and lost track of your superannuation. To search for lost Super visit www.unclaimedsuper.com.au or call the tax office on 13 10 20.

3. Use Salary Sacrifice into Superannuation
If you are currently working, you could talk to your employer about sacrificing some of your pre-tax income into Super. Salary sacrifice can have tax advantages as you may reduce the amount of income tax you pay. This is not for everyone so you should seek financial advice as to whether this would be beneficial to you.

4. Make Additional Contributions
If you have some spare cash, you may want to make after tax contributions to superannuation. Many of the superannuation funds have the option to set up a regular direct debit, Bpay or electronic funds transfer. Making additional contributions may give you access to the government co-contribution.

5. Government Co-Contribution
You may be eligible for a free boost to your superannuation. If you earn less than a specified amount and make a voluntary after-tax contribution to superannuation, the government could contribute up to $500 each financial year to your Super account. This is a great incentive and could give your superannuation a real boost. Of course, these figures may change with Government policy.  To ensure you understand the conditions, seek financial advice. 

6. Super Splitting
You may be able to share part of the Super contributions you or your partner make each financial year. Most funds now have Super splitting available.

7. Tax Deductions
Are you self-employed? That is, do you earn less than 10% of your income from an employer? If so, you may be eligible to claim a tax deduction for any voluntary Super contributions you make. Be careful as contribution limits do apply.

8. Check your insurance
You may be surprised to find that you have Death and Total and Permanent Disability insurance through your superannuation fund. Some superannuation policies also offer Income Protection insurance. This is often a cost-effective way to structure your insurances. Insurance is a vital part of your financial security and you should make sure you have enough cover to protect you and your family. Again, this is not relevant for everyone so you should seek financial advice as to whether this would be beneficial to you.

9. Choose your Super Fund
Many of us do not make an active investment selection for our superannuation entitlements. Most people do have choice and you should make sure you are comfortable with how your retirement savings are invested. Do your research or seek advice.

10. Seek advice
There is a common theme. Research your fund and make informed choices when it comes to superannuation as this can make a real difference come retirement time. The internet has many great websites if you would like to do your own research.
 
Why not schedule a meeting with your Lakeside financial adviser now?

Disclaimer - Information current as at 21 April 2016 - This information is of a general nature only and has been prepared without taking into account your particular financial needs, circumstances and objectives. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information, it is not guaranteed. You should obtain professional advice before acting on the information contained in this publication. You should read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) before making a decision about a product.

Copyright © 2016 Matrix Planning Solutions, AFSL & ACL No. 238256. All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email as part of the Matrix Adviser Network

An Overfiew of the 2016 Federal Budget

Another year, another Federal Budget, this time on the back of a cut in the cash rate to a new record low.

This year’s Budget is about creating a stable economic platform to move forward. It is a fairly safe Budget given the election is around the corner. In saying that, there are changes which will affect many people directly. Even if it does not affect you directly, it should impact all of us if it has the desired effect of stimulating growth.

Below we have provided some more detail on how the Budget will affect you and some videos we believe might be of interest if you want to know more.

Please feel free to contact us on 02 9899 4555 if you wish to discuss any aspects of the Budget or how this may affect you.

2016 Federal Budget Overview – How it affects your family and your wallet. 

The 2016 Federal Budget may affect you more than you think, mainly because your tax dollars go towards making it happen, but also because of changes to tax rates, superannuation and small business.

Read more...

Scott Morrison talks to ABC’s 7.30

In this video Leigh Sales challenges Scott Morrison. Mr Morrison discusses the current deficit and what the government's plan is for the future economic growth for Australia.  

Launch video...

The IPA's view on the 2016 Australian Federal Budget

Institute of Public Accountants General Manager Technical Policy, Tony Greco outlines the IPA's view on the 2016 Australian Federal Budget. 

Launch video...

 

Timing your investment decisions

It is very easy to let emotion control our investment decisions when experiencing market volatility: especially when we are being bombarded with constant media coverage reporting gloomy performance and falling share prices.

Many people put off investing simply because they don’t know when to start – they are seeking “the best time”. Others who are already in the market worry when the news is negative and are tempted to join in the panic and sell. Often, this is the worst thing to do! 

There’s a lot of evidence to suggest that “timing the market” has little to do with long term success. The key is to make decisions calmly and after seeking professional and reputable advice.

Here’s some advice from the experts:

Keep a cool and informed head!

Question your decisions: Are you making a choice based on emotion or informed financial analysis? You should always be able to provide a sound justification for your decision.

Keep informed. Read a range of balanced economic analysis, such as that produced by reputable research houses or organisations such as the Reserve Bank of Australia. Learn to sort fact from sensationalist media articles. Your Financial Adviser is a good source of high quality financial information

Don’t try to pick the best time to invest

Many people try to pick when is the best time to invest. They aim to invest when the market is low, hoping to get more for their investment dollars. They wait until the market falls, and then wait some more just in case it falls further. Unfortunately, markets are unpredictable, and waiting to invest may mean you miss out on periods of strong returns.

By abandoning your long-term investment plan when the market is falling, and then investing again when the market improves, you could miss the opportunity to purchase your investments at a lower price.

A more appropriate strategy is to invest as soon as you have the money available – and keep it invested. This ‘buy and hold’ strategy means that you do not allow yourself to be influenced by the ups and downs of the markets. You just have to remember that it’s your ‘time in’ the market that can make all the difference – not your ‘timing’.

Add to your investments regularly

Making regular contributions means you can grow your investments without worrying if it is the right time to invest. It allows you to ride out market changes and can help you build your wealth sooner, due to the power of compound interest (i.e. earning interest on your interest). Regular contributions into your investments mean that you automatically buy less when the markets are high and more when they are low, averaging out the amount you are paying for your investments. This is known as “dollar cost averaging” and works regardless of whether markets are going up or down.

Maintain a well-diversified portfolio

Diversification can assist in avoiding investment biases by helping you to see your portfolio as a whole, and part of a long term strategy. Investing through a managed fund can also help you avoid becoming attached to certain stocks and can be an effective way to diversify if you don’t have a huge amount to invest.

Get professional advice

Professional financial advice is critical to investment success. Financial Advisers have access to a range of material not available to individual investors. When you are making investment decisions, your Financial Adviser can help by offering guidance and a balanced viewpoint

Start investing as soon as you can

As we’ve said, don’t wait for the best time to invest – start as soon as you can through a regular investment plan, or using any lump sums that you may receive. The sooner you start; the sooner you can commence growing your wealth.

Disclaimer - Information current as at 24 March 2016 - This information is of a general nature only and has been prepared without taking into account your particular financial needs, circumstances and objectives. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information, it is not guaranteed. You should obtain professional advice before acting on the information contained in this publication. You should read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) before making a decision about a product

What is Market Volatility and how do I deal with it?

In 2016, Share market volatility has become a daily part of news headlines. 

The unusual volatility that has taken hold of financial markets in recent weeks is resulting in some impressive moves up in asset prices and many more harrowing declines. Analysts suggest this will be with us for a while. 

It's only natural to be concerned about how these fluctuations might be affecting the value of your investments. It can also be tempting to take actions that, in the longer term, may prove to be inappropriate.

Everyone has heard of the term “market volatility” but what is it exactly?

Market volatility is the term given to the investment market when prices go up and down – this can sometimes be sudden and unexpected. The cause of volatility is anything that could potentially affect company earnings. 

The Global Financial Crisis in 2008 is a perfect (albeit extreme) example but it highlights how volatile share prices can be. Today, with changes in emerging markets, the price of key resources and the on-going disputes in the Middle East, we are experiencing a return to volatility.

When it comes to dealing with the volatility, it is important not to get distracted by short term movements in financial markets – even the good ones. Instead, it is best to stick to your long term strategy based on your circumstances, risk tolerance, goals and recommendations from your Adviser.

In most cases, the longer you stay invested, the more likely it is that you will ride out the highs and lows of market volatility.

Investment markets can and do change overnight. They are affected by other markets, the publication of annual and bi-annual results; political and economic changes around the world – and rumours! But that doesn’t mean you have to change with them. Here is some information to help you stay focused on what’s important.

1. Stay calm

Do not rush any investment decision.

2. Diversify your investments

It’s notoriously difficult to predict what’s going to be the best performing asset class in any given year. Diversifying investments across asset classes allows you to benefit from each year’s best performing asset classes. It can also help you smooth out the volatility of your returns.

3. Spend time in the market

One of the most powerful features of long-term investing is the ability to benefit from compound returns. By staying invested, as opposed to regularly entering and exiting the market, your investments have more time to grow and earn returns.

4. Monitor and review your investment strategy

Like most things in life, it’s a good idea to regularly review your financial plan to make sure it’s still right for your current financial situation.

5. Seek professional financial advice

A Financial Adviser can help ensure your strategy meets your needs, and even help you update it as your circumstances change. With a clearly defined strategy and goals, you can have the confidence you need to withstand market fluctuations.

Why not schedule a meeting with your Lakeside Financial Adviser now to discuss any concerns?  Call us on 9899 4555 to make an appointment.

Disclaimer - Information current as at 24 March 2016 - This information is of a general nature only and has been prepared without taking into account your particular financial needs, circumstances and objectives. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information, it is not guaranteed. You should obtain professional advice before acting on the information contained in this publication. You should read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) before making a decision about a product

Periodic Reviews Are More Than A Necessity

One of the biggest challenges we have when planning for our financial security is determining the difference between what we really need…and what we’d like.

Working with a financial adviser can help identify the difference. This happens when the relationship is first established: when the adviser becomes familiar with your lifestyle, career and financial situation. The adviser will work with you to determine your tolerance for risk and identify those things that are really important to you.

Many things can influence what people want and how they choose to manage their finances. And, these things can change over time. Similarly, legislative and economic factors change. 

When planned and managed astutely, the review is one of the most powerful advice and relationship activities provided by financial advisers. Regular review meetings are important to ensure the existing financial plan is always working as best as it can – and is still relevant. 

Periodic reviews can be far more than a compliance requirement. They provide the opportunity to proactively manage the achievement of financial goals. 

In the review meeting you are encouraged to address possible changes to the following issues. Your adviser can then make subsequent recommendations to adjust your financial plan accordingly: 

  • financial planning needs and objectives 
  • income and expenditure 
  • family situation and health 
  • life insurance needs 
  • deductible and non-deductible debt 
  • the economic environment 
  • investment and superannuation portfolio performance 
  • taxation position and any relevant changes in the current tax law 
  • any opportunities to reduce tax payable
  • social security issues 
  • new investment opportunities 

While this is not a conclusive list, it suggests a long list of what can change and the issues to address when participating in an ongoing financial planning review. Ultimately, this is an opportunity for your adviser to demonstrate their competence and commitment to helping you achieve your goals. 

Why not schedule a meeting with your Lakeside Financial Adviser now?

Disclaimer: Information current as at 17 March 2016 - This information is of a general nature only and has been prepared without taking into account your particular financial needs, circumstances and objectives. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information, it is not guaranteed. You should obtain professional advice before acting on the information contained in this publication. You should read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) before making a decision about a product. 

What is TPD Insurance and do I need it?

A serious injury or illness can make it difficult or impossible for you to continue to work. If this happens, you will need to find a way to support yourself and your family.

Total and permanent disability cover (TPD) is designed to take the pressure off you financially if you suffer an injury or illness that leaves you totally and permanently disabled.

It is almost always purchased together with life cover and can provide a lump sum payment paid to yourself generally after a medical specialist has advised that you will never work again due to your injury or illness. The payment is most often used to clear out debts, provide funds for medical costs and annual income streams to ensure you maintain the best quality of lifestyle possible. 

Each insurer has different definitions of what is and isn't considered to be totally and permanently disabled. Depending on the policy you choose, they may define TPD as either when:

1. You can't work again in any occupation, or

2. You can't work in your usual occupation

for which you are reasonably suited by education, training or experience.

Have you thought about what you would do if, all of a sudden, you could no longer work?

Your Lakeside Financial Adviser can assist with personal life insurance to protect your income in the event of death, injury or illness.  To find out whether you have appropriate and accurate cover, why not schedule a meeting with your financial adviser now?

 

Disclaimer: Information current as at 10 March 2016 - This information is of a general nature only and has been prepared without taking into account your particular financial needs, circumstances and objectives. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information, it is not guaranteed. You should obtain professional advice before acting on the information contained in this publication. You should read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) before making a decision about a product.

Income Protection Insurance can be a real life saver!

Have you thought about what would happen to you and your family if suddenly you found yourself unable to work? 

Would you be able to support your family if you were injured or sick and needed to take several months off work? 

Income protection insurance, sometimes known as salary continuance, can help provide you with income to manage your expenses if you are unable to work for a certain amount of time.

Unlike other life insurances that are paid as a lump-sum, Income Protection is a monthly benefit that pays you up to 75% of your income and covers you for accidents, illnesses or major traumas. It generally pays you up until you return to work (after your waiting period) or, if you can’t return, up until the benefit period. This can be up to age 65 depending on the policy and your occupation. 

Income protection is tax deductible and is designed to ensure that you can continue to pay the mortgage, general household expenses and carry on financially until you are able to return to work.

It is an important part of an insurance portfolio for anyone who is the main income earner for their family or for anyone who relies on the income from their ability to work especially self-employed people or professionals.

Each income protection policy has its own definition of disability and range of benefits. Some important options you need to consider when choosing an income protection policy include:

  • Waiting period – this is the amount of time before you can make a claim.  It can be anywhere from 30 days to 2 years.
  • Benefit period – this is the length of time the income payments will be made. Generally, the benefit period ranges from 2 years to age 65. 

Your Lakeside Financial Adviser can assist with personal life insurance to protect your income in the event of death, injury or illness.  To find out whether you have appropriate and accurate cover, why not schedule a meeting with your financial adviser now?

 

Disclaimer: Information current as at 3 March 2016 - This information is of a general nature only and has been prepared without taking into account your particular financial needs, circumstances and objectives. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information, it is not guaranteed. You should obtain professional advice before acting on the information contained in this publication. You should read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) before making a decision about a product.

 

Determining Your Life Insurance Needs

If you need life insurance, it is important to know how much and what kind you need. Although generally renewable term insurance is sufficient for most people, you have to look at your own situation. As with investing, educating yourself is essential to making the right choice.

A large part of choosing a life insurance policy is determining how much money your dependents will need. Choosing the face value (the amount your policy pays if you die) depends on:

How much debt you have: 

Aim to pay off your debts in full, including car loans, mortgages, credit cards, personal loans, etc. If you have a $250,000 mortgage and a $10,000 car loan, you need at least $260,000 in your policy to cover your debts (and possibly a little more to take care of the interest as well). 

Income Replacement: 

One of the biggest factors for life insurance is for income replacement, which will be a major determinant of the size of your policy. If you are the only provider for your dependents and you bring in $80,000 a year, you will need a policy payout that is large enough to replace your income plus a little extra to guard against inflation. To err on the safe side, assume that the lump sum payout of your policy is invested at 6%. If you do not trust your dependents to invest, you can appoint trustees or chose a financial adviser and calculate his or her cost as part of the payout. 

Future Obligations: 

If you want to pay for your child's education, you will have to estimate the costs of those obligations and add them to the amount of coverage you want. So, in your calculations, include your yearly income, mortgage, and education costs.  

Once you determine the required face value of your insurance, you can start shopping around for the right policy for you. There are many online insurance estimators that can help you determine how much insurance you will need. 

Insuring Others: 

Obviously there are other people in your life who are important to you and you may wonder if you should insure them. As a rule, you should only insure people whose death would mean a financial loss to you. The death of an income-earning spouse creates a situation with both emotional and financial losses. In that case, you need to determine how much you'll need to insure your spouse for. This also goes for any business partners with which you have a financial relationship (for example, shared responsibility for mortgage payments on a co-owned property). 

The amount of cover you require will affect the premium of your policy.  However, the most important factors that affect the price of life insurance premiums are your age, sex and any pre-existing medical conditions. 

Older people will generally pay more for a life insurance policy so the earlier you take out a policy the better. Heart conditions, high blood pressure, mental illness, or a strong family history of heart disease or cancer will raise your insurance premiums. Insurance companies also offer higher rates to people who participate in "dangerous" hobbies like skydiving or scuba diving. Smokers can also expect to pay higher rates.

So, rather than putting this issue in the “too hard” basket while you are still relatively young and fit, address it now and protect your family.

Your Financial Adviser is there to help you work out how much you need based on your situation and can assist with personal life insurance to protect your income in the event of death or illness.  To find out whether you have appropriate and accurate cover, why not schedule a meeting with your adviser now?

Disclaimer

Information current as at 25 February 2016 - This information is of a general nature only and has been prepared without taking into account your particular financial needs, circumstances and objectives. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information, it is not guaranteed. You should obtain professional advice before acting on the information contained in this publication. You should read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) before making a decision about a product.

What is TPD Insurance and do I need it?

A serious injury or illness can make it difficult or impossible for you to continue to work. If this happens, you will need to find a way to support yourself and your family.

Total and permanent disability cover (TPD) is designed to take the pressure off you financially if you suffer an injury or illness that leaves you totally and permanently disabled.

 

It is almost always purchased together with life cover and can provide a lump sum payment paid to yourself generally after a medical specialist has advised that you will never work again due to your injury or illness. The payment is most often used to clear out debts, provide funds for medical costs and annual income streams to ensure you maintain the best quality of lifestyle possible. 

Each insurer has different definitions of what is and isn't considered to be totally and permanently disabled. Depending on the policy you choose, they may define TPD as either when:

1. You can't work again in any occupation, or

2. You can't work in your usual occupation

for which you are reasonably suited by education, training or experience.

Have you thought about what you would do if, all of a sudden, you could no longer work?

Your Lakeside Financial Adviser can assist with personal life insurance to protect your income in the event of death, injury or illness.  To find out whether you have appropriate and accurate cover, why not schedule a meeting with your financial adviser now?

 

Disclaimer: Information current as at 10 March 2016 - This information is of a general nature only and has been prepared without taking into account your particular financial needs, circumstances and objectives. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information, it is not guaranteed. You should obtain professional advice before acting on the information contained in this publication. You should read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) before making a decision about a product.

Why have Life Insurance... do I need it?

Let’s start with a quick quiz:  

  • Are you married?
  • Do you have dependent children?
  • Do you have other dependent relatives?
  • Do you have major financial obligations?
  • Do you own a business?
  • Do you have a large estate that will take time to distribute?

If you answered yes to any of the questions above, you probably need life insurance. 

Now that you know this is important for you, here are some starting points.

Life insurance protects you and your loved ones financially should something go wrong.  In much the same way as you can take out cover on your house or your vehicle, when you take out life cover you pay a premium to your insurer and if something goes wrong, your life insurance helps cover the financial side with a lump-sum payment.  

When you have financial commitments such as a mortgage, personal loans or credit card debt or a family who depend on your income, you need to think about what would happen if you suddenly took ill and could not work – or were no longer around. 

Life insurance can make sure you have enough money to feed your family and pay your bills if you become ill, suffer a serious injury or became permanently disabled.  Life insurance is like the life jacket in the boat – you hope you never have to use it but it’s comforting to know it is there.

Should even worse happen, life insurance is even more important.  The death of a family member is traumatic enough without having to add financial stress as well!  There are far too many tragic stories of families whose financial status and lives dramatically changed for the worse after the death of the main breadwinner.

There are five basic life insurances that are available to make your life financially secure no matter what happens to you in a physical way.  These are:

  1. Term Life Insurance
  2. Total and Permanent Disablement (TPD)
  3. Trauma Insurance
  4. Income Protection
  5. Business Expenses

Each of these products provide for different circumstances – and the products offered by differing providers vary in terms and the extent of cover.  It is important to choose the policy that is right for you.  Over the next several blogs we will take a closer look at each type of life insurance.

Products vary between companies, and consumers should always read their Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) before they purchase cover. You should always purchase an appropriate level of cover for your situation. 

We understand that it can be difficult determining what types of cover and amounts you might need, let alone choosing an insurer. Your Adviser can assist by helping you determine your needs and recommend an insurer that is right for you. 

Disclaimer

Information current as at 18 February 2016 - This information is of a general nature only and has been prepared without taking into account your particular financial needs, circumstances and objectives. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information, it is not guaranteed. You should obtain professional advice before acting on the information contained in this publication. You should read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) before making a decision about a product.

It's never too early to do something about insurance

When life is going smoothly, we tend not to think about insurance.  And, when we do, we usually think about it in terms of its expense or perceived complexity. Often, people end up putting this issue of insurance in the “too hard” basket.

But this is risky!  As far too many people have discovered, the cost of not being insured can result in major financial setbacks. Over the next few months, we will provide an explanation of the types of insurance available, the purpose of each key type and how to manage your policies and any claims you may need to make.

Insurance is not really an expense:  it is a form of saving.  Insurance allows people to save for unpredictable life events in an efficient way, providing a safety net for when we need it most. 

Insurance is a way to manage risk. As you go through your life, there’s always a chance that you’ll be in a car accident, twist your knee, or that your home will burn down. The risk of these accidents is small, but if one of them were to happen, the effects could be catastrophic. Without insurance, you’d have to come up with the money on your own to repair your car, have knee surgery, or rebuild your home.

Most people buy insurance for four main reasons:

  • High value:  To protect something they have purchased that has a high value (such as a house, a car or perhaps jewellery or a painting) and which would be expensive to replace. Often a loan has been taken out to purchase the items
  • Catastrophe: To protect their property and possessions against a disaster, such as a fire, flood, cyclone or other calamity
  • A specific event:  To protect them when they are doing something not covered by their normal insurance policies, such as travelling overseas
  • Liability:  To provide financial protection if sued – for example, if a visitor should sue you for negligence after injuring themselves on your property

It is an unnecessary risk to gamble away your future when insurance can provide easy cover.  Considering and addressing your insurance needs is an important part of your overall financial planning strategy.

To find out more, contact one of our friendly advisers who are ready to answer any of your queries. We’re here to assist you in securing your financial future.

Why not schedule a meeting with your financial adviser now?

Disclaimer

Information current as at 11 February 2016 - This information is of a general nature only and has been prepared without taking into account your particular financial needs, circumstances and objectives. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information, it is not guaranteed. You should obtain professional advice before acting on the information contained in this publication. You should read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) before making a decision about a product

How long is it since your financial plan was updated?

How long is it since you reviewed your financial plan? Maybe it’s time to set up an appointment with your Lakeside financial adviser now?

Developing a financial strategy with which to achieve your financial and lifestyle goals is a critical step on the road to financial security and success. Congratulations if you have a plan. Now there are two additional steps to help ensure your plan becomes a future reality!

First, if you have not yet consulted with a professional financial adviser to develop your plan, it is time to do so. There are many ways in which an adviser can help.  An adviser can: 

  • Avoid costly mistakes, manage risk, save time, and improve your overall investment results.
  • Guide you through the maze of retirement options - and can put you on course to have the type of retirement you've always dreamed of.
  • Decrease your estate tax liability, thereby aiding the financial stability of your loved ones.
  • Determine the type and amount of insurance you need to protect yourself, your family, and your assets.
  • Minimize your taxes and plan to reduce future tax impact.
  • If you own a business, develop a strategy to manage your business finances, including cash management, financing, employee benefits, and corporate taxes.

But having established a plan is not enough:  it needs to remain relevant – and there are many reasons why it may no longer be so.  Many changes can impact your current plan. These can include:

  • The birth of a child
  • A change in employment
  • A change in your family situation
  • Health issues
  • Social security issues
  • New investment opportunities
  • Changes in legislation

Meeting with your financial adviser on a regular, periodic basis is important. The review meeting is a critical ingredient in maximising the likelihood that you will achieve – or exceed – your financial objectives. 

This meeting provides an opportunity to confirm that everything remains on track – or to modify or change the plan to suit new conditions. During the review process, your adviser will ask about your current circumstances – your family, employment and lifestyle. Your adviser will review your current financial plan in regard to:

  • your financial planning needs and objectives
  • your income and expenditure
  • your life insurance needs
  • deductible and non-deductible debt
  • the economic environment
  • investment and superannuation portfolio performance
  • your taxation position and any relevant changes in the current tax law
  • any opportunities to reduce your tax payable
  • any other legislative changes that may impact you and your family

While this is not a conclusive list, it gives you a glimpse of what can change. Ultimately, the review process is all about reaping the benefits of having a trusted financial adviser working with you over time to ensure that you are reaching your financial and life goals, and that you are doing it as efficiently and effectively as possible.

Working with a financial professional provides the emotional discipline required to make sure plans are acted upon. Your adviser provides guidance, reassurance, support and stability to help you stay on course and reach your long-term goals.

How long is it since you reviewed your financial plan? Maybe it’s time to set up an appointment with your financial adviser now?