Viewing posts categorised under: All

Be different today so you can be different tomorrow

All / 09.08.20170 comments

Every generation thinks life will be different – and of course, each one is right – but when it comes to planning for the future, while we’re young we have a habit of thinking there is still plenty of time. After all, when you’re in your mid-thirties or even early forties, retirement is still decades away; later if the government decides so!

However, like anything forgotten too long, the years pass quickly and the time we could have used constructively has disappeared. For example, early Generation X is now on the countdown to retirement.

If you want to be different today, plan to be different tomorrow.

Start with your grandparents

What did their working life and retirement look like?

Let’s imagine your grandparents are both in their eighties. It’s likely that Grandad started working in his teens and stayed with one employer for most of his life. Structured superannuation was available to the very few. He retired at 55. Grandma may not have had much paid employment, if any. Their lives can be broken into three phases – education, work and leisure.

But they didn’t anticipate retirement being as long as it’s turned out to be. They’re still healthy, have outlived their savings and are relying solely on the age pension to fund their frugal lifestyle.

Then your parents…

What did their working life look like? How will their retirement be different?

We’ll envisage your parents are aged in their sixties – typical baby boomers. They were better educated than their parents and both worked; though Mum took years off to raise the kids. They accumulated quite a bit of superannuation; Dad has more than Mum.

Their lives can be broken into the same three phases. Education may have extended into their early twenties or they studied later during their working lives. They worked for a couple of employers and, thanks to technology, ended up in careers they never imagined in their youth.

Whilst they have long talked about retirement, now that it’s almost here they face it with some trepidation. They may consider moving to part-time work that will give them more freedom, keep their minds stimulated and still have enough to pay the bills. After all, now they are independent and the mortgage is paid off, life is cheaper.

It would be nice to have more time to travel and do the things they would like to do. They’re both fit and healthy and if they live as long as their parents that will be 20 or 25 years of leisure.

Will Mum and Dad have enough money to live a comfortable lifestyle for that long?

And what about you?

You and your siblings are not going to rely on one employer or one lifetime career. Balancing life and work is more important as you take time off to travel, do volunteer work or try new adventures earlier in life. And being so versatile, when you resume your career you simply re-train.

What this means is that you will have multiple periods of education-work-leisure in your life, and as you will probably be much healthier than previous generations you don’t see working longer as a problem.

But will you be able to afford 20 or 30 years with no income? That’s a sobering thought at any age.

It’s time to be different now.

Many social commentators class Generation X as stuck in between the two “noisier” and more well-known generations – Baby Boomers and Gen Y – but that doesn’t mean you should fade into insignificance. Be the first generation to truly take control of your retirement at a younger age. Stop the trend and talk to us about the many strategies available to give your retirement savings the boost it needs.

Be different today so you can be different tomorrow.

 

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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5 Key Steps of financial planning

All / 02.08.20170 comments

Financial Planning is for everyone and this Infographic outlines the 5 steps of the financial planning process

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Take advantage of NOW!

All / 21.07.20170 comments

After Kylie completed university and had landed a well-paying job, her only plan was to enjoy her new financial freedom. She had living to do – the future was a long way off and would take care of itself … wouldn’t it?

Kylie’s first purchases were a trendy new hatchback car and expensive clothes suitable for climbing the corporate ladder. Enjoying her exciting lifestyle, she regularly visited restaurants and bars, and took an overseas holiday each year.

According to research conducted by Impact Leaders, Kylie’s way of life is common with one third of 18–34 year olds having no savings and excessive debt.

It’s understandable, after all, when you’re in your twenties and early thirties, thoughts of saving for a home, much less retirement, are easily put aside. But time has a nasty habit of getting away from you – just ask your parents!

A survey by Leading Edge Trends, found that the majority of 18–24 year olds won’t own their own home by retirement, fostered by a ‘buy now, pay later’ mentality. The result is that many will be excluded from home ownership, while others will struggle with late-life mortgages and financial insecurity at retirement.

Back to Kylie.

A few weeks after returning from an African safari, Kylie was informed that her position at work had been made redundant. With no savings behind her, she borrowed from her parents to pay her rent and other regular bills.

Shortly after, Kylie was forced to sell her car and use her credit card to manage everyday expenses.

Fortunately, within six months Kylie found a new job, again with a good salary, but during her brief period of unemployment she’d racked up considerable debt. A large portion of the new salary would go towards her debts. It would take years to recover.

What can you do to ensure your story doesn’t end up like Kylie’s?

Savings – a savings plan doesn’t mean restricting yourself. Even small amounts deducted directly from your wage quickly add up and can become a future home deposit or a safety net for emergencies.

Budget – sounds boring, but a realistic budget can help you to live within your means without relying on credit or feeling like you’re missing out.

Income protection – an insurance policy that pays an income if you’re injured or become too ill to work – perfect for young people starting out on a big career!

Get advice – not just for older or well-off people, a financial adviser helps you to create your budget and savings plan so you can take advantage of enjoying life now.

You might not be interested in buying a house just yet, but how cool would it be if the money were available when you were ready?

You’ll probably be surprised at how inexpensive advice is. Contact us to find out how your future can gain a head start.

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

All / 18.07.20170 comments

 

Super in your 20s
This article explains where super comes from, how it grows, how much might be needed to retire on in 40 years’ time and ways to achieve it.

Super in your 30s
This article covers super for the short and long term, options to increase the balance, how much might be needed to retire on in 30 years’ time and ways to achieve it, and insurance through super.

Super in your 40s
This article calculates how much will be needed for retirement in 20 years, how to increase the balance, salary sacrifice vs paying off mortgage, government contributions, and insurance through super.

Super in your 50s
This article explains what to do to improve super balances in potentially the last decade before having to rely on it. It covers salary sacrificing, TTR, investment focus and insurance, and a recommendation to seek professional advice soon.

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The essential ingredient of a financial plan

All / 12.07.20170 comments

Here’s a recipe for a basic financial plan:

Take one or more income sources and pour into a big pot. Add appropriate amounts of life, income protection and permanent disability insurance. Simmer for a few decades while slowly adding superannuation contributions and a dollop of non-super savings. Stir in some constructive debt, but take care to keep a lid on it. Dip into the pot occasionally to taste. Simmer steadily, and consume regularly after retirement.

Hmmm. Pretty bland, isn’t it? More like medicine than minestrone.

What’s missing, of course, is the most important ingredient of all – a generous sprinkling of dreams.

Finding the dream

In a world of almost limitless possibilities and with new things constantly clamouring for attention, it can be surprisingly hard to decide on which dreams you want to pursue. The basic goals of securing your income, protecting your family and building financial independence through retirement are all very sensible and worthy, but what’s going to put the zing into life? What do you really want?

One way to pin down what matters most to you is to make a note every time something sparks a strong visceral response or a genuine interest. It might be a good cause to support, a skill to learn or a new career to pursue. Or it could be an exotic place to visit or a situation you want to change. In fact, it can just about be anything, but whatever ‘it’ is, it will spark a consistent and enduring emotional desire. And you aren’t restricted to just one dream, of course. You’re allowed as many as you like.

Share it

So you’ve found your dream, something that you are prepared to commit time, money and energy to. What next? Well, to become a reality your dreams need to be turned into goals, and that means building plans around them. It also means running your dreams through a reality check, and maybe modifying them if necessary. A trip to Mars next year? It ain’t gonna happen. Next birthday in Paris? That’s much more doable.

While your financial planner may not be the first person you think of sharing your dreams with, it really is worth doing early in the relationship. Whether it’s a specific goal or your lifetime wish list, your adviser can help with the reality checks, work out the financial requirements and craft a strategy that gets you as close to your goals as possible. And yes, that strategy probably will include boring things like superannuation, insurance and savings.

However your adviser will be equally interested in whatever it is that leads to your personal fulfilment. He or she may even help you dream bigger, discover more possibilities and opportunities, and help you stay on track.

The best laid schemes

For all the value of having clear goals life has a knack for tossing up both random obstacles and opportunities. So be flexible in your outlook. Enjoy the journey, whatever life serves up. After all, it might turn out to be a tastier dish than any you originally dreamed.

 

For more information or to speak to one of our Financial Advisers please contact TNR Wealth Management on 02 6621 8544.
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The ‘what, why and how’ of contributing to super

All / 05.07.20170 comments

Despite frequent changes to its governing rules, superannuation remains, for most people, a tax-effective environment in which to save for retirement. Here’s a quick Q&A on the what, why and how of contributing to superannuation from this point on.

Why should I contribute to super?

Some super contributions and the investment earnings within super funds are taxed at 15%. As this is lower than the marginal tax rate for people earning more than $18,200 per annum, less tax is paid on the money going into super than if it was paid to you as normal income. The higher your marginal tax rate, the greater the benefit.

Earn less than $37,000 per annum? You will receive a Low Income Superannuation Tax Offset (refund) on the tax you’ve paid on contributions, up to an annual cap of $500. This is paid to your super fund and prevents your super contributions from being taxed at a higher rate than your normal income.

What types of contributions can I make?

  • Concessional contributions. These are contributions on which you or your employer has claimed a tax deduction. They are taxed at 15% within the super fund. If you earn more than $250,000 pa you will be taxed an additional 15% on the concessional contributions above this threshold. Concessional contributions include:
    • Compulsory employer (Superannuation Guarantee) contributions. Your employer must pay 9.5% on top of your ordinary time earnings to your super fund when you earn more than $450 per month.
    • Salary sacrificed contributions made from your pre-tax income.
    • Personal contributions on which you claim a tax deduction.

Cap: $25,000 pa. The unused portion can be carried forward and used in future years if your total super balance is under $500,000.

  • Non-concessional contributions. Contributions on which a tax deduction has not been claimed, including:
    • Personal contributions on which you do not claim a tax deduction, for example those in excess of the concessional cap or you are seeking a government co-contribution.
    • Spouse contributions. These can generate a tax offset of up to $540 if your spouse earns less than $40,000 pa.
    • Government co-contributions. Worth up to $500, co-contributions are available if your taxable income is less than $51,813 pa and you make a non-concessional contribution.

Caps: $100,000 pa, or $300,000 if a further two years of contributions are brought forward.

Note: you cannot make non-concessional contributions if your total superannuation balance exceeds the general transfer balance cap (the amount that can be transferred to pension phase), currently $1.6 million.

Who can contribute to super?

You can make personal contributions to super if:

  • you are under 65 years of age;
  • you are aged between 65 and 75 and were gainfully employed (including self-employed) for at least 40 hours over 30 consecutive days during the financial year.

You can claim a tax deduction for these contributions, but make sure you don’t exceed the $25,000 annual cap for concessional contributions from all sources; or the $100,000 cap on non-concessional contributions.

Spouse and government co-contributions can only be received up to age 70 provided you pass the work test.

You are eligible for mandated employer contributions, including Super Guarantee payments, regardless of your age.

Get it right

A successful super contribution strategy can mean the difference between looking forward to retirement and dreading it. This article is provided as an overview. Super is a complex area and further rules apply in some situations. Getting things wrong can be costly so talk to your qualified financial planner, and get the right advice on the best ways to boost your super.

For more information or to speak to one of our Financial Advisers please contact TNR Wealth Management on 02 6621 8544.
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Super in Your 50’s. It’s time to push the pedal down!

All / 05.07.20170 comments

The last article in the series of super through the generations explains what to do to improve super balances in potentially the last decade before having to rely on it. It covers salary sacrificing, TTR, investment focus and insurance, and a recommendation to seek professional advice soon.

If 50 really is the new 40, then life has just begun. The kids are gaining independence or may have left home, and the mortgage could be a thing of the past. Bliss. But galloping towards you is… retirement!.

How are you tracking?

According to the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA), a ‘comfortable’ retirement today costs close to $59,000 per year for a couple. If you and your partner are planning to retire at 55, to afford this retirement lifestyle and secure your future, at least into your mid-eighties, you should be looking at having around $1.02 million in super[i]. Over time, inflation will push these figures higher. Leave retirement to age 65 and a couple will need around $79,300 a year[ii] from a nest egg of about $1.08 million[iii].

Find those numbers a bit daunting? Here are some ways to boost your retirement savings.

Increase your pre-tax contributions

You can ask your employer to reduce your take-home pay and make larger contributions to your super fund. If you are self-employed, you can increase your level of tax-deductible contributions. This strategy is commonly known as ‘salary sacrifice’.

If you are earning between $87,000 and $180,000 per year, any income between those limits is taxed at 39%. Salary sacrifice contributions to your superannuation fund are only taxed at 15%. Sacrificing just $1,000 per month to super will, over the course of a year, see you better off by $2,880 on the tax differences alone. Plus, the earnings on those super contributions will be taxed at only 15%, compared to investment earnings outside of super being taxed at your marginal rate.

Don’t overdo it though. If your salary sacrifice plus superannuation guarantee contributions add up to more than $35,000 this year, the excess is added to your assessable income and taxed at your marginal tax rate. This point will become even more important when the cap reduces to $25,000 per annum from 1 July 2017.

Retiring slowly

Once you reach your preservation age[iv] you might start a ‘transition to retirement’ (TTR) pension from your superannuation fund. The idea is to allow people to reduce working hours without reducing their income.

Keep your money working

There is a tendency to opt for more secure, but lower-return investments as we approach retirement. However, even at retirement your investment horizon may still be decades. With cash and fixed interest producing some of their lowest returns in history, it may be beneficial to keep a significant portion of your portfolio invested in growth assets.

Insurance and death benefits

With the mortgage paid off or much diminished and a growing investment pool, your insurance needs have probably changed. You may be paying for cover you no longer need, premiums may be quite high due to age, and that money might be better applied to boosting your savings. This is a good time to review your insurance cover to ensure it continues to be a match for your changing circumstances.

It’s also a good idea to check the death benefit nomination with your super fund. By making a binding nomination you can ensure that your death benefit goes to the beneficiaries of your choice, and may mean they receive the money more quickly.

Get a plan!

Superannuation provides many opportunities for boosting your retirement wealth. However, it is a complex area and strategies that benefit some people may harm others. Good advice is absolutely essential, and the sooner you sit down with a licensed financial adviser, the better your chances of having more when you reach the finishing line.

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

 

 

[i] Sum required to fund an annual income of $59,000 for 30 years at a return of 4% pa after inflation, fees and tax, disregarding any age pension.

[ii] Value of $59,000 today in 10 years at 3% inflation.

[iii] Sum required to fund an annual income of $79,300 for 20 years at a return of 4% pa after inflation, fees and tax, disregarding any age pension.

[iv] Depending on your date of birth, your preservation age will be between 55 and 60. It is the age at which you can access your superannuation under certain conditions.

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Balancing Life, Work and Money

All / 30.06.20170 comments

Work-life balance. It’s something everyone seeks, but achieving it can seem an impossible task. Not only does the ideal balance vary from person to person, it can change frequently throughout life. If your wheel of life has developed a wobble, it might be time to do some repairs to regain stability for the journey ahead.

What’s the problem?

The source of your imbalance may be clear. Too many hours in the office; too long spent commuting; or maybe you need to support elderly parents or to care for young children. Sometimes it’s more subtle – the desire to unleash your inner artist; a yearning to find more meaning in your life; or to simply have enough time to “get everything done”. Once you’ve identified the source of your wobble you’ll be in a better position to fix it.

What are some options?

The available options will depend on the problem, the type of job you have, and the attitude of your employer. Here are some thoughts:

Is the daily commute getting you down, or do you need to help care for young children? Maybe you can work from home one or more days a week.

Are you looking for some time to start writing that best-selling novel, or just some breathing space for yourself? Working nine days a fortnight might be the solution.

Too busy to keep up with household chores? Consider hiring a domestic cleaner or gardener.

Frazzled business owners or managers might consider hiring additional staff. Or perhaps the solution is simpler, such as improving time management skills, or turning off electronic devices when not at work.

Empathetic employers actively help employees achieve a better balance. It helps to retain good staff, and happy workers are more productive. Once you know what you want, it’s time to talk to the boss. He or she may even suggest solutions you haven’t thought of. If your boss is uncooperative you may need to revise your plan. Maybe start looking for a new, more accommodating job.

What’s the financial impact?

If you are working excessive hours and headed for a burnout, a sensible boss will encourage you to cut back to a sustainable level of effort without financial penalty. However, anything that reduces your working hours and productivity below the norm is likely to result in a reduction in income, which raises a number of questions.

  1. Can you afford it and for how long?
  2. Does cutting back your hours allow a spouse or partner to increase theirs?
  3. What are the implications for tax and childcare benefits?
  4. How will it affect the growth of your superannuation?
  5. If you are over 55, can you use a transition-to-retirement pension to offset a drop in employment income?

These are all questions your financial adviser can help you address.

Career consequences

Historically it has been women who interrupted their careers to care for young children, often finding it difficult to regain footing on the career ladder. With more men seeking a better balance between work and family, career progression is a key consideration. The long-term financial impacts of lingering on lower pay rungs may be substantial and cause issues in later life.

Getting the work-life balance right can deliver many rewards: greater contentment, improved health, and better relationships with the people you love. Finances may suffer a bit, but what’s the price of happiness? Still, if you plan any big changes in your life, talk to your licensed financial planner to make sure there aren’t any consequences you haven’t thought of.

 

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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To stay, it pays to look back

All / 23.06.20170 comments

Financial planning is, by its nature, forward-looking. What counts is where you are now and what you do in the coming months and years. That said; there’s good reason to pause and take a look over your shoulder to see how far you’ve come. Why? Because taking stock of what you have achieved so far can spur you on to even greater things in the future.

Aside from congratulating yourself for having the sense to take advice and work to a plan, pausing for a look at where you’ve come from also provides an opportunity to review your current circumstances. Even the best of plans need some tweaking to make sure they are optimised for the next few years.

Don’t have a financial plan? In that case it’s well worth looking at what you may have missed out on, and making a decision to do something about it.

Has compounding been working for you?

Much of our future financial security relies on regular savings coupled with the power of compound interest. For example, if you’d set up a savings plan five years ago with an initial deposit of $10,000 plus weekly contributions of just $100, and assuming an after-tax return of 6% per year, by now you will have earned $7,797 in interest.

Underwhelmed? If you’d had that same savings plan running for 20 years, the interest earned is a more impressive $120,056, more than doubling the amount of money you invested. Keep going and the interest component will continue to accelerate.

Maybe you’ve done better than that, upping your savings as your income has increased. But if instead you’re thinking about what might have been, remember that the sooner you start the sooner you’ll reap the rewards.

Are you protected?

A financial plan is about more than savings. Protecting what you have is critical to your family’s security. Over the years have you enjoyed the peace of mind of knowing that your loved ones would have been financially stable if you had died or been unable to work? Now may be the time to review personal life insurances. As children become independent and savings grow, you may find yourself paying for cover you don’t really need. But if your family is growing or you have taken on more debt, maybe your life insurance needs a boost.

Where to from here?

So how do you feel as you look back at the past five, ten or twenty years? Can you give yourself a pat on the back, or do you feel like giving yourself a kick in the pants? Are you glad you took advice, or regretting that you didn’t?

Whether it’s time for a review and a tweak or laying the foundation stones of a brand new plan, your licensed financial adviser is ideally placed to help you make the most of the coming years and decades.

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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Design your own super adventure

All / 16.06.20170 comments

A popular series of books originally published over a twenty-year period was the ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ series. As the name suggested, the reader could actually decide what the characters did at key moments in the story. They could choose (to a certain extent) how the adventure played out and how the story ended.

Many people treat their superannuation like the traditional story book, believing that their employer pays the contributions and someone else looks after the investments, and that’s how the story goes until the end of their working life.

But the reality is that superannuation funds allow members a level of choice in relation to how the money is invested, which means it can be up to you to create what your retirement adventure might look like.

What’s available?

The first step is to find out what investment options your super fund provides. There may be a couple of options, or there may be many. It all depends on the type of fund you are currently in or are looking to join. Once you know what’s available, you can match it to your personal requirements.

The fund’s investment menu should show you where your money would be invested based on your selection. Typical characteristics of investment choices within super funds are:

  • Growth – aims for higher growth but accompanied by higher risk;
  • Balanced – aims for reasonable returns and more acceptable risk;
  • Conservative – focuses on lower risk which usually means lower returns;
  • Cash – aims to guarantee your capital but with little or no growth.

If you don’t choose a super fund, your employer must pay your super into a fund that offers “MySuper” – a default fund that provides only two investment options which depend solely on your age. From 1 July 2017, MySuper will replace the existing default accounts offered by super funds. A default option may be a good strategy, but it is still best to compare it to others on offer rather than accepting it blindly.

What is your style?

There is also no single answer to determining which superannuation options are the best to invest in; there is no “one size fits all”.

Obviously from time to time shares will perform the best, while at other times it will be more beneficial to have a higher investment in cash or fixed interest. In reality, for most people the right allocation will be somewhere in between.

What’s right for you will depend on your age and timeframe; your attitude to fluctuations; and the level of certainty you need to fund your own retirement.

If you are close to retiring, think about how soon you want to access your super. On the other hand, if you won’t retire for 20 or more years and short-term share market fluctuations don’t bother you, then this will impact on your choice.

When it comes to your journey before and after retirement, don’t be afraid to choose your own adventure!

Contact us now to help you enjoy it.
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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