Achieving financial freedom 

Achieving financial freedom 

What does financial freedom mean to you? The ability to travel the world and build a dream home? Or to be able to enjoy a simple but active retirement, and support some good causes?   We all have different desires and goals in life, but most of us share the dream that one day we would like to achieve our particular version of ‘financial freedom’. The challenge is that most of us don’t really know what it takes to turn our goals, be they vague wishes or burning desires, into reality.   However, with just a little bit of forethought, some expert advice, and by acting on that advice, we are much more likely to reach that goal of financial freedom.  Making the list  Your key ally in achieving financial freedom is your financial adviser, and amongst the most important things your adviser will need to know is what your goals are. So make a list and prioritise it. Which of your goals are essential, and which ones are you willing to compromise on?  Reality check   Just as we have different goals, so do we have different financial resources. One of the first things your adviser will do is run a reality check. Given your income and expenditure, job outlook, health and family situation, are your goals realistic and achievable?   Your adviser will also check if key goals are missing. For example, life insurance can be an essential tool for protecting your family’s future financial freedom, yet many people overlook it.  With the big picture now clear, your adviser can develop strategies that will bring that goal of financial freedom closer to fruition.   Perfect timing  When’s the perfect time to start your journey to financial freedom?  Today.   Because the sooner you get started, the sooner your goals will be achieved.   So think about your goals and desires. Importantly, write them down. Then make an appointment to sit down with your financial adviser, and take those critical first steps towards achieving your financial freedom.  The information provided in this article is general in nature only and does not constitute personal financial advice.  

Harvesting Financial Success

Harvesting Financial Success

Spring is the perfect time to rejuvenate your financial habits as well as your garden!  Here are 5 ways to set you, and your garden, up for success:  1. Plan your garden: Start with deciding what type of garden you want. In other words, get clear about what goals you want to achieve and by when. Once you have your list of goals prioritise them, so you know where to focus your efforts.  Tip: If a goal is large and will take some time to achieve, set yourself some smaller goals with shorter timeframes along the way.   2. Pull out the weeds: You don’t see garden designers on TV rushing in to plant a new garden without getting rid of the weeds first. In financial terms this is the same as eliminating bad debt. Bad debt is debt used to purchase things that don’t go up in value, like cars and household goods. Financing purchases with credit card debt (where the entire balance isn’t paid off each month), personal loans and perhaps ‘buy now, pay later’ facilities mean paying very high interest rates or late fees. Your total cost ends up much more than the original purchase price. These are your weeds – pull them out and don’t let them take hold again!  3. Prepare the soil: A key element to a flourishing garden is good soil. For us this is managing our cashflow. For many people our income is fairly consistent, so the focus is on managing outflows. Think of this as a spending plan not a budget. The ‘B’ word has a strong association with denial and, much like a diet, too much restriction can be counter-productive. Be honest when completing it as you need to know exactly where your cash is going. Your adviser can be a huge help with this. It’s an opportunity to look at your spending and think again about your goals. Is the enjoyment you get from three streaming services more than what you’ll get from achieving your goal? What do you want more?  Tip: Ways to reduce spending often require some planning. Taking lunch to work can save a heap of money. Too rushed to do it in the morning? Make something the night before – and remember to take it with you the next day!  4. Plant your garden: This is where things start to take shape! Gardens often start small so think of this as your initial investment which over time becomes larger and larger. In your financial life this is the power of compounding. To help those initial plants fill out your garden quicker you can add other small plants over time. This is known as dollar cost averaging or adding regularly to your initial investment to boost the effect of compounding.   5. Protect from pests: Your garden will appreciate some help to guard against pests and disease. In the same way it’s a good idea for you to protect your biggest asset – your ability to earn income. Income protection and other types of life insurance can protect you against unexpected events and prevent all the hard work you’ve put into your financial garden from unravelling.  Success requires commitment because, just like droughts which affect your garden, there will be times when reaching your goal seems hard going. Don’t abandon your dreams! With clear goals, elimination of bad debt, a realistic cashflow plan, disciplined regular saving and protection of your biggest asset, you’ll be harvesting rewards season after season!  The information provided in this article is general in nature only and does not constitute personal financial advice.    

Financial Education for a Successful Future 

Financial Education for a Successful Future 

Think back to when you got your first job and that sweet taste of financial independence. Regardless of what age you started working, it’s unlikely you knew how to manage that first paycheck.  Let’s face it; our world isn’t particularly adept at teaching financial literacy to the younger generation.   I don’t know about you, but when I was in school, we learned trigonometry (SOH-CAH-TOA is still permanently etched in my brain), which has been helpful for all the times I’ve needed to solve the missing sides and angles of a right triangle, but not so much for managing my financial affairs as an adult.    It’s time we change that narrative by sparking open, honest discussions about money and giving our young adults the financial tools they need to flourish.  The Need for Open Discussions About Finance  Money talk has often been cloaked in secrecy, even considered taboo in some households. This needs to change.   Parents can play an integral role in setting their children up for financial success by fostering an environment where money conversations flow freely. Open dialogue demystifies the world of finance and empowers young adults to make informed decisions.  Using Positive Language  As we foster an environment of open discussions around money, it’s important to remember that the language we use significantly impacts the subconscious beliefs and attitudes our children will develop.    Just as negativity can breed fear and anxiety, positive language can cultivate a healthy relationship with money.   Instead of saying, “We can’t afford this,” try saying, “Let’s work out how we can save for this.” This small shift in dialogue encourages a mindset of abundance and possibility rather than scarcity. It helps young adults view financial challenges as opportunities for growth, aiding them in building a positive and proactive belief system around money.  Financial Goal Setting  Goals give us direction and purpose.   Whether saving for a first car, paying off a student loan, or investing in their first property, encouraging young adults to set and work towards financial goals from an early age is a great way to help them build discipline and a future focussed mindset.  It’s equally important to celebrate milestones, no matter how small. This positive reinforcement nurtures a sense of achievement and motivation, propelling them further on their financial journey. The Essentials of Budgeting  Ever heard of the saying, “Failing to plan is planning to fail”?   That’s precisely why budgeting is so important. Budgeting is not about limiting yourself; it’s about making your money work for you.   The 50/30/20 rule, where 50% of your income goes towards needs, 30% towards wants, and 20% towards savings, is a great place to start for young adults because it’s simple and gets them in the habit of saving from an early age.    Understanding and Practicing Responsible Spending  Managing your money doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the things you enjoy. It’s all about responsible spending.   Need versus want is a timeless debate, but helping young adults to understand the difference is key.   Impulse spending is something that can often sabotage budgeting and saving efforts. A great tip for young adults to help them avoid impulse spending is to implement a 48-hour waiting period for non-essential spending. This allows time to consider whether the purchase is within their budget and aligned with their financial goals.    We’re not just equipping our young adults with financial knowledge but empowering them to build a successful financial future.   So, let’s keep the money conversations flowing and start helping our young adults build habits that will set them up for financial success. The narrative changes today!     The information provided in this article is general in nature only and does not constitute personal financial advice.   

Discovering Your Financial Mindset

Discovering Your Financial Mindset

In the quest for financial stability and success, we often focus on tangible elements like earning more money, saving diligently, or investing wisely. But have you ever stopped to consider the role your financial mindset plays in achieving your financial goals. Understanding financial mindset Your financial mindset is a set of beliefs and attitudes you hold about money — how you earn it, save it, spend it, and invest it. This mindset largely influences your financial behaviours, decisions and ultimately your financial success.   Each mindset carries a unique perspective about money, influencing your financial decision-making process.   There are four common financial mindsets: 1. The Spender enjoys the thrill of the present, often overlooking long-term financial security for immediate gratification. If you frequently find yourself making impulsive purchases, or your credit card balance perpetually outweighs your savings, you may identify with this mindset. 2. The Saver is characterised by frugality and a steady focus on long-term financial security. If you diligently maintain a budget or feel a sense of accomplishment when growing your savings, the Saver mindset most likely resonates with you. 3. The Avoider, often plagued by financial anxiety, tends to shy away from money matters. If you find bills and bank statements overwhelming, or frequently procrastinate financial planning, you likely have an Avoider mindset. 4. The Investor sees money as a tool for wealth creation. If you appreciate the potential of assets and are willing to take calculated risks for future returns, you are most likely aligned with the Investor mindset. Identifying Your Current Financial Mindset  So how do you uncover your financial mindset? It begins with self-reflection –    Do you often worry about money, or do you feel confident about your financial situation?   Are you comfortable taking calculated financial risks, or does the thought of investing scare you?   Do you view money as a tool for achieving your dreams, or a necessary evil to be managed?  Examining your feelings and behaviours around money can provide valuable insights into your current financial mindset. This process is beneficial because it sets the stage for potential shifts in perspective that can improve your financial life.    Once identified, you can analyse your money behaviours, uncover potential blind spots, and take action to optimise your financial decision-making. For instance –   If you identify as a Spender, incorporating a budget and automating savings can provide some balance to your financial outlook.   Savers could benefit by introducing an element of investment to their financial strategy, allowing their savings to work harder for them.   Avoiders must confront their fears and actively engage with their finances, perhaps by seeking professional guidance.   While Investors generally have a positive approach, ensuring a balanced portfolio to mitigate risks is essential.  Transforming your financial mindset requires commitment, patience, and time. Take it slow and make gradual changes as you grow more comfortable with your changing perspective on money.  It’s not just about money; it’s about your attitude towards it. Adjusting your financial mindset means transforming both how you see money and how you engage with it, paving the path to financial success.     The information provided in this article is general in nature only and does not constitute personal financial advice.

Financial Success: More Than Just Money

Financial Success: More Than Just Money

When discussing financial success, many people tend to use the terms “rich” and “wealthy” interchangeably. While being rich is often associated with having a lot of money or material possessions, being wealthy is about having financial abundance that is sustainable over the long term. Being Rich Being rich is often associated with having a high net worth, a large income, or significant assets. It’s a term used to describe people who have accumulated substantial money or wealth. However, being rich does not necessarily guarantee financial success. Someone who is rich may have a lot of money, but they may not have the financial stability or security that comes with being wealthy. Being Wealthy On the other hand, being wealthy is a more sustainable form of financial success. Wealth is often created through long-term investments, passive income streams, and wise financial planning. A wealthy person has accumulated enough assets and income-generating investments to provide a steady income stream, allowing them to live comfortably without relying on external factors. Financial success requires more than just having a lot of money… it is about having financial security AND freedom: Financial security means having enough money to cover your basic needs and some comforts. Financial freedom is the ability to make choices based on what you truly want rather than being constrained by financial limitations. The path to financial success requires a good understanding of financial literacy, clearly defined personal values, a long-term perspective, and the ability to establish, and stick to, a strategic plan. Financial Literacy Understanding how money works, including managing, investing, and saving it, is critical to achieving financial success. This knowledge will help you make informed decisions about your finances and enable you to take control of your financial future. Personal Values Successful people achieving financial freedom often clearly understand what is most important to them. They know their values and use them as a guide when making financial decisions. This approach helps them focus on their priorities and avoid impulsive purchases that jeopardise their long-term financial security. Long Term Perspective True financial success and wealth isn’t built on the back of “get rich quick” philosophies. There is no “magic pill” for financial success; it’s a lifestyle, not an overnight fix. Building wealth takes time. It requires focus, discipline, patience, and long-term commitment. Strategic Planning Achieving financial success requires strategies such as creating a budget, investing wisely, and building passive income streams. Again, these are all strategies that require patience and commitment. It is essential to stay focused on your goals and take the necessary steps to achieve them. While the above factors each play a critical role in your journey to financial success, the secret ingredient lies in defining what financial success and wealth mean to you personally, as someone else’s definition of financial success may look very different to yours. Some ways to achieve this are to: Assess your lifestyle – Consider what your ideal lifestyle looks like; where are you, who are you with, what are you doing? Define your values – Figure out what is important to you and define your values based on this. Your values can then provide a framework to make decisions based on what is important. Set Financial Goals – Be clear on what you want to achieve in life. You can then define your vision further by setting specific financial goals. If you are ready to start your journey towards achieving financial success, a financial adviser can help. They will assess your financial situation, identify your goals, and create a long-term financial plan tailored to your individual needs. With their guidance and support, you can take control of your financial future and achieve the financial security AND freedom you deserve. The information provided in this article is general in nature only and does not constitute personal financial advice.    

It’s time to get focused on super in your 40s

It’s time to get focused on super in your 40s

Typically your forties is a time of established careers, teenage kids and a mortgage that is no longer daunting. There are still plenty of demands on the budget, but by this age there’s a good chance there’s some spare cash that can be put to good use. A beneficial sacrificeAt this age, a popular strategy for boosting retirement savings is ‘salary sacrifice’ in which you take a cut in take-home pay in exchange for additional pre-tax contributions to your super. If you are self-employed, you can increase your tax-deductible contributions, within the concessional limit, to gain the same benefit. Salary sacrificing provides a double benefit. Not only are you adding more money to your retirement balance, these contributions and their earnings are taxed at only 15%. If you earn between $90,001 and $180,000 per year that money would otherwise be taxed at 39%. Sacrifice $1,000 per month over the course of a year and you’ll be $2,880 better off just from the tax benefits alone. It’s important to remember that if combined salary sacrifice and superannuation guarantee contributions exceed $25,000 in a given year the amount above this limit will be added to your assessable income and taxed at your marginal tax rate. What about the mortgage?Paying the mortgage down quickly has long been a sound wealth-building strategy for many. Current low interest rates and the tax benefits of salary sacrifice, combined with a good long-term investment return, means that putting your money into super produces the better outcome in most cases. One caveat – if you think you might need to access that money before retiring don’t put it into super. Pay down the mortgage and redraw should you need to. Let the government contributeLow-income earners can pick up an easy, government-sponsored, 50% return on their investment just by making an after-tax contribution to their super fund. If you can contribute $1,000 of your own money to super, you could receive up to $500 as a co-contribution. Another strategy that may help some couples is contribution splitting. This is where a portion of one partner’s superannuation contributions are rolled over to the partner on a lower income. Your financial adviser will be able to help you decide if this strategy would benefit you. Protect what you can’t afford to loseWith debts and dependants, adequate life insurance cover is crucial. Holding cover through superannuation may provide benefits such as lower premiums, a tax deduction to the super fund and reduced strain on cash flow. Make sure the sum insured is sufficient for your needs as default cover amounts are usually well short of what’s required. Seek professional adviceThe forties is an important decade for wealth creation with many things to consider, so talk to us and we’ll help you make sure the next 20 years are the best for your super.   This is general information only

Pay attention to super in your 30s

Pay attention to super in your 30s

If you are in your 30s, chances are life revolves around children and a mortgage – not super. And as much as we love our kids, the fact is they cost quite a lot. As for the mortgage, this is the age during which repayments are generally at their highest, relative to income. And on top of that, one parent is often not working, or working only part time. Even if children aren’t a factor, career building is paramount during this decade. Don’t be alarmed, but by the time a 35-year-old couple today reaches retirement age in 32 years’ time, the effects of inflation could mean that they will need an income of about $150,000 per year to enjoy a ‘comfortable’ retirement. To support that level of income for up to 30 years in retirement they will want to have built a combined nest egg of about $2.7 million! If you are on a 30% or higher marginal tax rate, willing to stash some cash for the long term, and would like to reduce your tax bill, then consider making salary sacrifice (pre-tax) contributions to super. For most people super contributions and earnings are taxed at 15%, so savings will grow faster in super than outside it. Even if you can’t make additional contributions right now there is one thing you can do to help achieve a comfortable retirement: ensure your super is invested in an appropriate portfolio. With decades to go until retirement, a portfolio with a higher proportion of shares, property and other growth assets is likely to out-perform one that is dominated by cash and fixed interest investments. But be mindful: the higher the return, the higher the associated risk. For any young family, financial protection is crucial. The loss of or disablement of either parent would be disastrous. In most cases both parents should be covered by life and disability insurance. If this insurance is taken out through your superannuation fund the premiums are paid out of your accumulated super balance. While this means that your ultimate retirement benefit will be a bit less than if you took out insurance directly, it doesn’t impact on the current family budget. However, don’t just accept the amount of cover that many funds automatically provide. It may not be adequate for your needs. Whether it’s super, insurance, establishing investments or building your career, there’s a lot to think about when you’re thirty-something. It’s an ideal age to start some serious financial planning, so contact us today about putting a plan into place.   The information provided in this article is general in nature only and does not constitute personal financial advice.

Super in your 20s: Boring? Doesn’t have to be!

Super in your 20s: Boring? Doesn’t have to be!

Superannuation is for the oldies, right? In some ways that’s true, but even in your twenties there are good reasons to take a bit more interest in your super. The average 25-year-old has around $10,000 in super, but the decisions you make now, even with relatively small sums of money, could earn you hundreds of thousands of extra dollars over your working life. Are you getting any? Earn more than $450 in any given month? Then every three months your employer should be paying 9.5% of that into your super fund. Usually you can choose your fund; if you don’t, it gets paid into a super fund of your employer’s choice. If you don’t know if your super is being paid, or the fund it’s being paid into, ask your employer. If you think you’re missing out, search ‘unpaid super’ on the tax office website (ato.gov.au) to see what you can do. This is your money. Where have you got it? Had more than one job? If you have a lot of little super accounts the money can disappear in a puff of fees and insurance premiums. Simple fix – combine your super into one account. Is it working for YOU? Your money is going to be stuck in super for a long time, so you want it to be working hard for you. Most funds offer a range of investment choices and some will do better than others. What do you want? Buying a new car. Travelling, Having fun. Let’s face it, there are lots more exciting things to do with your money than sticking it into super. The choice is yours but think about this: If Mum and Dad retired this year, they would need a minimum of around $61,909 per year to enjoy themselves. If that doesn’t sound like much now, by the time YOU retire inflation could have pushed that annual amount to around $214,248. That means you will need to have at least $3.71 million in savings! Sure you’ve got 40-plus years but that’s still a lot of money to save up! It can be done if you start early enough – and you don’t need to miss out on enjoying life now. Starting early and adding a bit extra when you can makes a big difference. Let’s work on another 40 years before you can retire. If you start now by making an extra post-tax contribution of just 1% of your annual income to super, ($350 from a $35,000 salary – and the government could add to that with a co-contribution) at an 8% investment return could add an extra $149,000 to your retirement fund. If you wait 20 years before starting to make that extra contribution, you’ll only get a boost of $49,000. $100,000 less! Continuing this small extra contribution as your salary increases will turbo boost your super fund balance. Imagine your retirement party?! So, still find super boring? That’s okay; you’re not alone. But instead of finding the time to organise all this yourself, contact us today and we will review your current super, any insurance required, the investment choices and prepare a strategy to get your super into shape – then you can get back to enjoying life!   The information provided in this article is general in nature only and does not constitute personal financial advice.

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