What you should be doing now to take advantage of record-low interest rates

What you should be doing now to take advantage of record-low interest rates

Home loan interest rates in Australia are currently at all-time lows and they may go even lower.

Rates are dropping because the Reserve Bank has cut the cash rate not once but twice, lowering costs for banks. In response, many lenders have announced cuts to their variable rate home loans.

These record low rates are great news for people who currently have mortgages or those intending to get a mortgage.  Unfortunately for those relying on bank interest from savings the news is not that good.

Here’s 4 ways you can make the most of the low mortgage rates.

  1. Don’t change anything

Doing nothing only makes sense if you have a variable rate mortgage and your lender is passing on the cash rate cut. You’re fortunate if this is the case because you’ll already be enjoying lower repayments without you having to do anything.

However, you still might want to consider the following options.

  1. Compare your rate and if you should refinance to a lower one

Even if your lender has passed on the rate cut it makes sense to compare your rate with what else is in the marketplace. With literally hundreds of lenders and thousands of mortgage products available you should at least be checking and keeping your bank honest.

Switching to a lower rate mortgage on the right terms could save you a considerable amount of money.  If you have a look at the marketplace now, some lenders are offering rates in the low 3.0% range.

To get a sense of just how low rates are right now you can check out our monthly lowest mortgage rates page.

  1. Make extra repayments with your lower rate savings

When your rate is reduced you benefit from lower minimum required monthly mortgage repayments. To maximise the benefit simply keep making the same monthly repayments as you were prior to your rate being reduced. The difference between what you need to pay vs what you pay if you maintain repayments will result in you paying back your loan faster and reducing your overall interest expense.

Let’s use an example to demonstrate how the extra repayments work. Say you borrowed $450,000 over 30 years @ 3.89% p.a.

  • Monthly repayments = $2,119

If your lender passed on the last two cash rate cut’s your rate would fall to 3.39% p.a.

  • Monthly repayments at 3.39% = $1,993

The interest you will save is $29,440 and you will be mortgage free two years and 11 months sooner.  How good is that.

  1. Accumulate savings to account for possible rate rises in the future

What goes down will inevitably go up.  Mortgages are usually repaid over a long time which would include different economic cycles. Despite current low rates, you should expect them to rise at some stage in the future. This means your repayments will rise too.

While rates are low you can use your savings from your lower repayments to build up a cash buffer to use if you need to cover higher repayments in the future. There are at two ways you can do this:

  1. Redraw

If your loan allows for extra repayments and has a redraw facility then you could follow the extra repayment strategy from tip 3 and then redraw the money if you need it later. Note that some lenders have restrictions on how much or how often you can redraw.

  1. Offset account

If your loan has an offset account you can simply add the savings to the offset and they’ll act like extra repayments, effectively helping you pay less interest. But if you need to cover higher repayments in the future you have access to the funds.

Contact your PrimeAdvisory Accountant or Financial Advisor to discuss how you can take advantage of the currently low interest rates to stay on-track.

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Tips for getting on track with your financial goals

Tips for getting on track with your financial goals

The end of the financial year is the cue for most of us to look at our financial position heading into tax time. Hopefully you’ve made progress towards your goals. But if you find that your expenses are trending higher than you’d like or—shock, horror!—higher than your income, this could be the perfect time for a fiscal makeover.

The starting point is gathering up as much information as possible, beginning with the household budget.

Take a budget snapshot

You can’t set realistic financial goals and savings targets without knowing how much money you have at your disposal. If you don’t already track your income and spending, then take an annual snapshot as you go through your records to prepare your annual tax return.

Deduct your total spending from total income and what’s left is what you have to work with. Any surplus could be used to kick start a regular savings plan. If you discover a budget black hole, identify areas where you are overspending and could cut back.

Pay yourself first

Did you manage to save anything this year or are you are constantly counting on this month’s income to pay last month’s bills? Do you spend first and hope to save what’s left?

Instead of making saving an afterthought, pay yourself first and allocate a percentage of your income to a regular savings plan. Setting up a weekly or monthly direct debit will remove temptation and encourage you to live within your means.

Review your mortgage

If you have a mortgage this is likely to be your biggest monthly expense so it’s a good idea to check your progress at least once a year. Why not use some of the savings you’ve identified and increase your repayments to save interest? If your mortgage has a redraw facility you could use this to create a cash buffer for emergencies. These are the type of strategies that PrimeWealth can help you with.

While you’re at it, go online and compare interest rates. If your rate is no longer competitive consider switching loans and enlist our help to negotiate a better deal.

Negotiate better deals

Your home loan is not the only expense worth haggling over. These days if you want to get the best deal on your electricity, phone, internet or insurance you need to ask. Before you do, ensure you understand what your current plan/policy covers and research what’s on offer elsewhere.

Make a practice of doing this once a year, when your plan or policy is due for renewal. The savings can be substantial and can be put to much better use reducing debt or growing your wealth.

Check your super

Do you know how much you have in super and how it’s invested? When you retire superannuation is likely to be your biggest asset outside the family home, yet almost one in four Australians don’t know which risk profile their super is invested in.* This can cost you thousands of dollars in retirement savings and takes only minutes to correct.

Instead, why not call your PrimeWealth Advisor and ask for your current balance and where it’s invested. As an example, a 25-year-old woman on $80,000 in a conservative option until she’s 70 could improve her retirement balance by $294,000 if she switched to a risk profile more in keeping with her age and circumstances. *

Protect your wealth

Reaching your life and financial goals is not just about growing your wealth but protecting it.

It’s important to review your insurance policies annually—or as your circumstances change—to make sure you and your family have adequate cover. Insurance can be a significant cost for families, but the income it provides when accidents or illness strike is worth every cent.

So why not go beyond the usual search for last-minute tax deductions this June to do a thorough review of your current position. Contact us if you would like us to help you make the most of the year ahead, give us a call.

*source: MLC Wealth Sentiment Survey, 5 April 2018

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How we helped manage a lump sum after the sale of a business

How we helped manage a lump sum after the sale of a business

Background:

Our client is 60+, a semi-retired professional living in Mosman, Sydney who is married and has adult children. Following the sale of a significant business asset our client had substantial investments in Super.  Having initially invested with a managed fund, he was looking for help from an advisor who could assist him in finding a better way to manage his lump sum.

Services:

PrimeAdvisory Assisted with:

  • Ensuring all concessional and non-concessional caps were utilised to maximise the dollar amount in super.
  • Strategic decisions around correct structures, including super, trust and personal names to ensure the best long term tax outcomes
  • Assistance with retirement plans and modelling

What the client says

“I started working with PrimeAdvisory as I was looking for someone to look after my super investment.  I was with a managed fund and I was unhappy that the fees were very high.  A colleague of mine suggested I speak to PrimeAdvisory to take over the management of my Super.

Because I was referred I was less sceptical than if I hadn’t known them.  I would have found it difficult to put my life savings into the hands of a stranger.  I felt more comfortable because he was trusted by someone else I knew and his personality was also a key factor.

When I met their advisor, he came across as a sincere person and when I walked into the PrimeAdvisory office it was obvious that they were very professional. In the office they display their values clearly, and they live those values, they’ve proven to me that they do that. For example, they say they will always get back to people with in the same day, and they do, even if it’s at 6pm at night.

I feel confident that investments are handled well and that they have a good understanding of the market conditions and my individual needs and situation.

I would recommend them to anyone looking for strategic financial advice and wealth management.”

 

 

 

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Important Budget 2019-20 Pre-Election Announcements That Are Now Law

Important Budget 2019-20 Pre-Election Announcements That Are Now Law

The Federal Budget announced a series of measures, some of which were legislated before the election was called.

Extension and increase to the instant asset write-off

The popular instant asset write-off for small business has been extended and increased. The new laws:

  • increase the threshold below which small business entities can access an immediate deduction for depreciating assets and certain related expenditure (instant asset write-off) from $25,000 to $30,000; and
  • enables businesses with aggregated turnover of $10 million or more but less than $50 million to access instant asset write-off for depreciating assets and certain related expenditure costing less than $30,000.

Assets will need to be used or installed ready for use from Budget night until by 30 June 2020 to qualify for the higher threshold. Anything previously purchased does not qualify for the higher rate but may qualify for the $20,000 or $25,000 threshold. Similarly, anything purchased but not installed ready for use by 30 June 2020 will not qualify.

The instant asset write-off only applies to certain depreciable assets.  There are some assets, like horticultural plants, capital works (building construction costs etc.), assets leased to another party on a depreciating asset lease, etc., that don’t qualify.

For assets costing $30,000 or more

For small businesses (aggregated turnover under $10m), assets costing $30,000 or more can be allocated to a pool and depreciated at a rate of 15% in the first year and 30% for each year thereafter. If the closing balance of the pool, adjusted for current year depreciation deductions (i.e., these are added back), is less than $30,000 at the end of the income year, then the remaining pool balance can be written off as well.

The ‘lock out’ laws for the simplified depreciation rules (these prevent small businesses from re-entering the simplified depreciation regime for five years if they opt-out) will continue to be suspended until 30 June 2020.

Pooling is not available for medium sized businesses which means that the normal depreciation rules based on the effective life of the asset will apply to assets that don’t qualify for an immediate deduction.

The amendments apply from 7.30 pm legal time in the Australian Capital Territory on 2 April 2019 until 30 June 2020

One-off energy assistance payments

A one-off energy assistance payment of $75 for singles and $62.50 for each eligible member of a couple, will be made to predominantly pension and social welfare recipients who were residing in Australia on 2 April 2019.  The payments are expected to be completed by 30 June 2019.

Medicare levy and surcharge income threshold increase

The Medicare levy low income thresholds for singles, families, and seniors and pensioners will increase from the 2018-19 income year, meaning more people will be excluded from paying the levy.

Please contact us if you have any questions about these changes to legislation and how they may affect you.

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What would happen if….?

What would happen if….?

Life does not always go to plan. While we logically know that, most of us don’t plan for the worst – it’s all a bit morbid and time consuming. However, as the late, great John F Kennedy said, “The time to repair the roof is when the sun in shining”. It might be uncomfortable to think about it, but it’s important to plan for the unexpected and sometime unpleasant aspects of life.

The downside of not planning, should you not be in a position to make decisions about your assets or business is the potential for these hard-earned assets to be squandered.

When people haven’t made firm binding arrangements for their estate, it’s often squandered through family fall-outs, and money handed to the Government that could have been distributed in accord with your wishes.

If you are a business owner, then the stakes are even higher.

As a population, planning is more important than ever right now because:

  • The ageing demographic – 1 in 7 of us are now aged 65 and over (3.8 million)
  • The baby boomer generation represent only 25% of the population but hold 55% of the wealth
  • We are entering a period of intergenerational wealth transfer from the baby boomer generation
  • Over the last 25 years there has been an explosion of wealth in Australia

Making plans for your Estate

Estate planning is simply identifying your assets and liabilities and what you want to happen to those assets if something happens to you. As part of that, you need to look at the issues that might arise and how best to manage them. All of this is then reviewed for tax outcomes and the legal requirements to provide the best care and protection for your beneficiaries.

If you are a business owner, there are also another set of issues to consider to ensure that the business can continue if you are not able to continue in your current role. Or, your beneficiaries can take their share of the value accumulated in the business. This planning will protect your beneficiaries, the business, and your business partners.

Estate planning does not have to be hard work, but it does have to be planned.

It’s also important to understand that actual wealth or the size of your estate is not the sole reason for estate planning. Estate planning is important for:

  • The care and maintenance of minor children.
  • Managing the respective rights and expectations of beneficiaries, particularly with blended families.
  • Avoiding disputes between family members.
  • Relationships outside of the immediate family.
  • Managing liabilities of the estate.
  • Assets which may not be capable of immediate realisation or where value will be diluted by realisation.
  • The transfer of assets through generations.

Estate planning seeks to not only distribute the assets of your estate but do so in a way that protects the estate, addresses issues within the estate, and fulfils your wishes.

What the stats say about our health and longevity

While 4 in 5 of us rate our health as ‘very good’, 50% of Australians have a chronic condition that is likely to cause their death, 63% of adults are overweight or obese, and around 45% of us will experience a mental illness in our lifetime.

Leading causes of death differ by age:

  • 1–44 years: suicide, land transport accidents
  • 45–74 years: coronary heart disease, lung cancer
  • 75 years and over: coronary heart disease, dementia and Alzheimer disease

It’s estimated that 138,300 people were diagnosed with cancer and 48,600 died from it in 2018.

Proportion of adults who are overweight or obese

Australia enjoys one of the highest life expectancies of any country in the world at 82.5 years (in 2015) and is ranked fifth among 35 OECD countries. Japan has the highest life expectancy at 83.9 years.

Men aged 65 in 2014–2016 could expect to live another 19.6 years (an expected age at death of 84.6 years) and the life expectancy of women aged 65 in 2014–2016 was 22.3 years (an expected age at death of 87.3 years).

We’re also working longer – 13% of Australians aged 65 and over participate in the workforce (17% for men and 10 for women). This is compared to 2006 when the workforce participation rate was 8%.

Our experienced advisors at PrimeAdvisory can help you structure and plan for your financial future, including any unexpected life events.  Take our free 5 minute financial health check to understand your current financial position or Contact us to arrange an initial consultation.

 

 

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