Viewing posts from: October 2017

Planning Ahead for the “Sandwich Generation”

All / 26.10.20170 comments

Planning Ahead for the “Sandwich Generation”

Are you taking care of elderly parents? Do you still have adult children living at home? Do the words ‘meat’ and ‘sandwich’ strike any chords with you? You could be a member of the “Sandwich Generation” without realising it!

Sandwich Generation refers to people who are ‘sandwiched’ between caring for elderly parents and adult children still living in the family home.

As a society we are living longer but unfortunately longevity comes at a cost.

It’s not uncommon for older people to become the primary carer for elderly parents. Caring for someone is difficult emotionally, but can also affect the household finances as work hours are reduced or careers cut short to accommodate carer responsibilities.

At the other end of the spectrum, adult children pursuing higher education are continuing to live in the family home longer than previous generations as the costs associated with moving out prohibit them from achieving their independence.

Additional financial pressures

People with elderly parents and adult children all living in the one home, often find themselves in an unexpected financial situation. At a life stage when most are planning to downsize their homes, the Sandwich Generation is forced to consider other options such as renovating to increase space or provide more privacy. No longer are “Granny flats” inhabited by older family members; now it’s the kids who have taken over these coveted domains.

Of the three generations potentially living under these arrangements, only one is usually in the position to pay for expansions, yet the retirement strategies of these people hadn’t anticipated issues such as late-life mortgages.

For those already in this situation, a range of government services is available. Contact My Aged Care on 1800 200 422 or visit  www.myagedcare.gov.au

Looking ahead

Financial advisers are helping a growing number of clients create strategies for managing these future financial pressures. Already highlighted is a current lack of trauma and disability insurance. This will provide a lump sum to cover costs if a critical illness is brought on by the extra stress of these situations, placing the in-between generation in a better position to manage this phase financially and emotionally.

Other strategies to start considering now include:

  • dollar cost averaging to grow savings,
  • increasing superannuation contributions,
  • nominating superannuation beneficiaries,
  • establishing powers of attorney and maintaining wills.

Your financial adviser can discuss these and other individual strategies with you to determine the most appropriate for your current situation and your future needs.

As housing costs increase and we continue to live longer, the pressures of multi-generational accommodation will affect today’s younger generations, tomorrow.

The key to achieving financial security is planning. Speak to your financial adviser about the right strategy for you; it’s never too early, and it’s certainly never too late either.

For more information or to speak to one of our Financial Advisers please contact TNR Wealth Management on 02 6621 8544.

Disclaimer
Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. The information and any advice in this publication does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs and so you should consider its appropriateness having regard to these factors before acting on it. This article may contain material provided directly by third parties and is given in good faith and has been derived from sources believed to be reliable but has not been independently verified. It is important that your personal circumstances are taken into account before making any financial decision and we recommend you seek detailed and specific advice from a suitably qualified adviser before acting on any information or advice in this publication. Any taxation position described in this publication is general and should only be used as a guide. It does not constitute tax advice and is based on current laws and our interpretation. You should consult a registered tax agent for specific tax advice on your circumstances.
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Does money bring happiness?

All / 19.10.20170 comments

Does money bring happiness?

The short answer is ‘yes’, but only up to a point. People in richer countries are, collectively, happier than people in poor countries. Within countries, people with higher incomes are generally happier than people on low incomes. Surprisingly, once basic living needs are met, the amount of happiness gained from each additional dollar of income rapidly declines.

What is ‘happiness’?

What is it about money that contributes to happiness? And what does happiness even mean? Perhaps what people are really expressing is contentment or satisfaction with their lives.

Rather than putting us into a perpetual state of bliss, money is more likely to contribute to a sense of security, better health, less stress and, perhaps above all, choice.

It’s interesting to see what choices boost happiness. For example, in something of a paradox, giving money away makes people feel happier than spending it on themselves.

And experiences such as travel or skydiving, or even just going to a movie, provide more enduring satisfaction than material purchases. Good memories, it seems, provide better value than physical possessions.

Happiness planning or financial planning?

What does this have to do with financial planning?

Well, for many people, their financial plan is all about milestones: buying a house, meeting school fees and funding retirement. Important as these things may be, what’s missing is the journey – and no, that doesn’t mean the insurance premiums, super contributions and mortgage repayments. It means Santorini sunsets, sand between the toes and, perhaps more important than anything, time spent with family and friends.

On that basis, instead of financial planning maybe we should call it ‘happiness planning’?

Of course your plan will have a financial component, but it will be focused on the journey of life, rather than financial destinations; on achieving a balance and knowing what’s ‘enough’. It will be more about experiences, bucket lists and relationships than annuities, tax refunds and superannuation.

Putting it into perspective

Yes, money is important in providing choices and experiences, and that’s probably a major reason why richer people report higher levels of happiness.

And yes, your financial planner is going to mainly focus on super and investments and insurance as the means of opening up more options for you. Just don’t let that become the be all and end all.

More people are happily rejecting the idea of a conventional retirement. Technology is helping to blur the lines between work and play, and Millennials are opting to pursue experiences now with the expectation that they will work in some form well beyond today’s typical retirement age.

So ask yourself: what makes you happy? What sort of choices do you want to be able to make? Then share the answers with your financial planner, and ask for a plan that will not only meet your long-term needs but also allow you to indulge your shorter-term whims and desires.

For more information or to speak to one of our Financial Advisers please contact TNR Wealth Management on 02 6621 8544.

Disclaimer
Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. The information and any advice in this publication does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs and so you should consider its appropriateness having regard to these factors before acting on it. This article may contain material provided directly by third parties and is given in good faith and has been derived from sources believed to be reliable but has not been independently verified. It is important that your personal circumstances are taken into account before making any financial decision and we recommend you seek detailed and specific advice from a suitably qualified adviser before acting on any information or advice in this publication. Any taxation position described in this publication is general and should only be used as a guide. It does not constitute tax advice and is based on current laws and our interpretation. You should consult a registered tax agent for specific tax advice on your circumstances.
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Switch and Save

All / 12.10.20170 comments

Switch and Save

When developing a budget, it’s easy to think that you have no control over costs for essential items such as electricity, particularly when every bill seems to be higher than the last. But if you look closely at your energy usage at home and make a few small changes to reduce your consumption, you will be able to use that extra cash in more enjoyable ways than paying it to an electricity provider. In addition, you are making a valuable contribution to the environment.

The following five tips can help put more money in your pocket.

  1. Install efficient appliances. Compact fluorescent light bulbs use 80% less energy and can last up to eight times longer than conventional bulbs. Similarly, installing a water-saving showerhead can cut water usage by up to 50% and save on water heating costs.
  2. Control the temperature. Set the air-conditioner thermostat at an appropriate level that is optimum for comfort and efficiency. 25°C is the recommended temperature. Wearing appropriate clothing for the climate and installing insulation can reduce the need for additional heating or cooling.
  3. Go natural. Using the sun and fresh air to dry your laundry is a free alternative to the clothes dryer.
  4. Consult the stars. When purchasing new appliances, check the star or energy rating. The more stars, the greater the energy efficiency, and the more you can save.
  5. Turn it off. Turn off appliances if you are no longer using them; even turning off the standby function on electronic equipment will save dollars. A very simple habit is to switch off the light every time you leave a room.

There are many more ideas– just look around your home to discover ways you can switch and save. Don’t forget to involve your kids. It will help them to learn about saving money at the same time.

And finally, with so many energy companies vying for your business, shop around for the best deal for you. Visit the Australian Government’s website https://www.energymadeeasy.gov.au/ to compare energy offers.

For more information or to speak to one of our Financial Advisers please contact TNR Wealth Management on 02 6621 8544.

Disclaimer
Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. The information and any advice in this publication does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs and so you should consider its appropriateness having regard to these factors before acting on it. This article may contain material provided directly by third parties and is given in good faith and has been derived from sources believed to be reliable but has not been independently verified. It is important that your personal circumstances are taken into account before making any financial decision and we recommend you seek detailed and specific advice from a suitably qualified adviser before acting on any information or advice in this publication. Any taxation position described in this publication is general and should only be used as a guide. It does not constitute tax advice and is based on current laws and our interpretation. You should consult a registered tax agent for specific tax advice on your circumstances.
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If you think you’d never fall for a scam, read this…

All / 05.10.20170 comments

If you are over 50, male, highly educated, financially literate and manage your own super, beware. You’re at a higher risk of being the target (and victim) of organised investment fraud.

This isn’t necessarily because your demographic is particularly gullible. Rather, it’s because you’re more likely to control higher levels of wealth, perhaps as the trustee of a self-managed super fund (SMSF); you’re accustomed to making financial decisions; and you’re actively looking for attractive investment opportunities. What scammer wouldn’t want to target you?

Scams take many forms but when it comes to superannuation, two stand out:

  1. fraudulent investment schemes, and
  2. schemes offering early access to superannuation.

Either way, the result can be a major financial loss and dreams destroyed.

Golden opportunity

One clear warning of a scam is an unsolicited approach. Someone contacts you, usually by phone or email, offering an investment that is ‘both safe and delivering high returns’. This person will often know a lot about you, reciting accurate personal details they claim you provided in a questionnaire you completed earlier. Their story is supported by an apparently authentic website and, enticed by the attractive returns and smooth sales talk, you make an initial investment. At the beginning you receive statements showing your investment is growing steadily prompting you to add further funds. Then things go silent. Their phone number is disconnected, emails bounce and the website disappears, along with any hope of recovering your funds. Your stomach lurches. A cold sweat saturates you. You’ve been scammed.

Wonderful as modern technology is, it makes it easier for fraudsters to appear legitimate and transfer money in an instant. They close down one operation and set up another with ease. It doesn’t help that we give away much of our personal information, and what isn’t available for free can often be purchased by criminals.

Early access

The other major scam that lures many who need money quickly is the promise of early access to superannuation. This is how it works.

Bob’s superannuation is just sitting there, the solution to his financial problems if only he could access it.

He searches the internet for options and an advertisement promising early access to super pops up. This puts Bob in touch with a ‘specialist’ who helps him set up a SMSF, telling him that as the fund trustee he will be able to get hold of his super money. Bob signs the paperwork to set up the fund and rollover his super, but the money doesn’t turn up where it should. Eventually Bob discovers that his retirement savings were transferred to a bank account controlled by the scammer then moved overseas.

Not only has he lost the lot, Bob now faces a big tax bill for accessing his super prematurely. The scammers didn’t tell him that early access to super is only available:

  • in cases of incapacity,
  • to pay for medical treatment if seriously ill,
  • if in severe financial hardship and can’t meet immediate living expenses, or
  • if terminally ill.

Protection is the best cure

A few simple precautions can help protect your super (and other savings) from scammers.

  • Hang up on unsolicited phone calls and delete suspicious emails.
  • Take care when sharing personal information.
  • Visit scamwatch.gov.au for updates on scams that are doing the rounds.
  • If you suspect a scam report it to Scamwatch, even if you haven’t lost any money.
  • Seek advice from a licensed adviser. Legitimate advisers and investment managers appear on ASIC’s list of Australian Financial Service Licence holders.
  • And beware of dating and romance schemes. They are more common than fraudulent investment schemes, result in bigger financial losses, and are targeted at the same demographic!
For more information or to speak to one of our Financial Advisers please contact TNR Wealth Management on 02 6621 8544.

Disclaimer
Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. The information and any advice in this publication does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs and so you should consider its appropriateness having regard to these factors before acting on it. This article may contain material provided directly by third parties and is given in good faith and has been derived from sources believed to be reliable but has not been independently verified. It is important that your personal circumstances are taken into account before making any financial decision and we recommend you seek detailed and specific advice from a suitably qualified adviser before acting on any information or advice in this publication. Any taxation position described in this publication is general and should only be used as a guide. It does not constitute tax advice and is based on current laws and our interpretation. You should consult a registered tax agent for specific tax advice on your circumstances.

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