In spite of the cost of living, it's still popular.
Status update: it's complicated
9 May 2013
...But, when it comes to money at least, it doesn’t have to be!
Relationships Australia says the four main stressors on relationships are: finances, communication difficulties, different expectations and values, and lack of trust.
Are you shocked and astounded to hear that moolah can turn up at the centre of any of these relationship issues? Us neither.
4 things you need to know
Here are four things you and your partner should both know so you can avoid misunderstandings.
1. What’s coming in and going out
Salary and wages, investment returns and government benefits versus electricity bills, credit card payments and child support (in or out). Share, write it all down and update it if it changes.
2. Investment info
Note investment details like your financial planner’s name and firm, account numbers and balances and investment types.
3. Where financial documents are
Whether paper or digital, keep your financial records – taxes, insurance policies, loan documents – together plus have a backup offsite.
In particular, discuss any life insurance policies – which company they’re with, the policy numbers and the value of the policies.
4. The plan for ‘just in case’
Make plans for health insurance, income protection and long-term care.
Don’t be in the dark
Many couples choose to take on specific roles in a marriage. He weeds the garden, she cooks dinner – or vice versa. One spouse may be responsible for the finances; another may handle other household tasks.
Even if this is the case, neither spouse should ever be in the dark. Make sure you and your spouse are communicating with each other regularly, so neither of you is ever put in the vulnerable position not knowing the state of your finances.
3 creative ways to refuel your money motivation
25 April 2013
Is your financial focus flagging? When you first set a target, you’re probably shining with excitement and raring to go. When you misplace your motivation, bright and shiny turns to grey and dreary, and it’s darn near impossible to keep striving.
Here are three creative ways to refuel your money motivation:
Recall the reasons you want to achieve a particular goal and write down at least five. Then, expand them.
Here’s an example:
Goal: save $20,000
#1 reason for goal: save enough money to take my daughter on a world cruise.
spend time with my daughter and strengthen our relationship
really get to know her as a person
learn new things together
show her that I love her
create memories together.
You’ll end up with a long list of rewards which will act as a magnet pulling you toward your goal.
Create a personal mantra that makes you feel pumped, like ‘Not dead, can’t quit’, ‘Don’t look back’ or ‘Just do it’. Say or write your phrase when you feel your motivation slip sliding away. Pin it over your desk. Email it to yourself. Carry it on a card in your wallet. Print it on a t-shirt. Tattoo it on your forehead (okay, maybe not that last one).
Use a thermometer (no, not a real one). Draw a thermometer and write each level of your goal on it. For example, if your goal is to make $20,000 this year, you could make marks at $2,000 increments up the side. As you reach each level, colour the area below the line. Soon your thermometer will be filled to the top.
5 super changes and what they mean
11 April 2013
The Gillard government announced five key super changes, last week. They are not law and may not ever become law.If we have a change in government, for instance, the proposals could all fall down.
Nevertheless, here’s a quick rundown:
1. Earnings from a super income account
Earnings above $100,000 a year will no longer be tax-free but will be taxed at 15%.
This will likely impact 16,000 people in 2014–15 – less than half a percent of Australia's 4.1 million retirees.
It will save the government $350 million over four years.
2. Concessional contributions cap
From 1 July, people aged 60 and over will be able to pay $35,000 a year to super without paying penalty taxes. Ditto for those aged 50 and over from 1 July 2014. The general concessional cap will reach $35,000 from July 1 2018.
This will save the government $365 million over four years.
3. Excess contributions
Excess before-tax contributions will be charged at your marginal tax rate, plus an interest charge, rather than a flat of 46.5%.
This is likely to reduce 41,000 people’s tax bills by $1,300 (on average)in 2013–14. On the other hand, 59,000 people on the top marginal tax rate will have a bigger bill because of the interest charge.
This will save the government $55 million over four years.
4. Deeming rules
Super income you receive from new accounts will be assessed under the pension income test rules after 1 January 2015.
All products pensioners hold before this date will be assessed under existing rules for the life of the product.
This will save the government $158 million over four years.
5. Lost super
The government will pay interest at the rate of inflation on lost super accounts reclaimed from the ATO. However, from 31 December 2015, lost accounts over $2.500 must be transferred to the ATO and from 31 December 2016, lost accounts over $3,000 must be transferred .
This will save the government $123 million over four years.
The bottom line? Combined, these measures will raise $900 million a year for the government over four years.
A faster retirement plan
28 March 2013
In the back of your mind, you worry about retirement. You know you need a retirement plan but planning probably seems like just one more boring chore that you can’t be bothered with and don’t have time for. However, a half decent plan can help you achieve your goals fast and without fuss.
So how do you throw together a brilliant retirement plan in a hurry?
Sorry, but this is not the time to make half-baked, off-the-cuff decisions.
The investments you choose need to provide income for the rest of your life and you can’t afford to mess them up. So, take the time to research carefully and think things through.
Better still; seek advice from a retirement specialist like a Quadrant financial expert. We can tailor, streamline and simplify your retirement planning experience. (And while the process won’t rival the speed of light, we’ll make it as quick as we can.)
Winston Churchill said, ’Let your advance worrying become advance thinking and planning’. We reckon Winnie had a point. Call us today on 1800 222 209 and get your retirement plan underway.
14 March 2013
If you play your ‘Learn to speak Italian’ podcast every time you get in the car, by the end of the year you’ll be conversational.
If you spend five minutes a day doing sit-ups, even if you can only do one to start, by the end of the year you’ll be heaps stronger.
If you eat just one healthy thing each day, it will pay off over time. Eat an apple instead of an ice cream; down some water instead of a beer. Do that for a couple weeks. Then add a carrot to lunch. Do that for a few weeks. Then swap a Chiko roll for a sushi roll. Each step won’t seem hard but things will change, little by little.
If you cut out one small daily expense (a latté, bus fare, fundraising chockie or newspaper) and instead, make regular automatic transfers every payday to your super, you will be amazed how quickly that small change can add up – especially with the magic of compound interest.
Check out our calculator at www.quadrantsuper.com.au/smallchange to see what a difference small changes can make.
Oh! And go in the draw to win $1,500 in groceries.
Does this sound like you?
28 February 2013
You look at the bottom line of your super statement – and your mood nose-dives. You think about how much you might need to live on in retirement. Before you even get past the potential grocery tally, you realise there’s no way you can make the numbers work. You are so far short of the mark, you figure retirement is a lost cause. You file it in the too hard basket in your mind. You try not to think about it – ever. You figure that maybe if you ignore it, it will go away.
But every now and then, the subject of your super savings pops up in your mind and fills you with a sick, panicky, overwhelmed feeling. You know you should do something about your super – but what? And how? Will it be hard to fix? Will it take a lot of time? Will you have to fill out zillions of forms? Will it cost you a heap of money you can’t spare right now? What questions do you even need to ask? And who do you turn to? Will the staff at your super fund think you are a complete twit? Is it too late to get your super on track?
We find that often, people who think they are ‘retirement poor’ are actually not as far behind as they imagine (compound interest is a pretty powerful tool); and they are generally rich in opportunities to improve their super savings – if only they could see them.
Quadrant’s financial experts are here to help you get on track and they’ll do whatever it takes to ease your retirement worries – whether it’s projecting how much you’ll have in retirement, pointing out some quick easy changes that will boost your super right now or swinging by your workplace to help you tackle any paperwork.
Call our financial experts on 1800 222 209 today. We employ them to help you get happier about the bottom line on your super statement, year after year.
We employ super nerds
14 February 2013
Around 44% of people think super’s too complicated to understand properly – and just 26% reckon it’s easy peasy.
There’s no question that super is complex and constantly changing. You just about need a PhD, a licence and a GPS to navigate it all.
To make matters worse, the super rules are full of stupidly convoluted terms that only super nerds can understand – like ‘non-concessional contributions cap’ and ‘eligible termination payment’. I mean, seriously? Who makes up this garbage?
Luckily, Quadrant employs a whole troop of super nerds who get job satisfaction out of translating ‘nonsense super speak’ into words you can understand and advice you can act on to fix your finances.
Call us on 1800 222 209 to get some bite-sized chunks of plain English that you can actually use to plan your retirement.