SAVING ON YOUR EASTER GETAWAY

Taking the time for a trip away over the Easter long weekend sounds fantastic. But it needs planning. Not to mention the price hikes that always seem to take place just before Easter, so you’re paying 20 cents more per litre for fuel and accommodation, costs triple over normal prices.

If you can avoid going away for Easter, you will be saving so much that you could probably afford to go away for a week, somewhere even nicer, at another off-peak time. You will also save yourself from stress of being stuck in traffic on a 3 hour trip that’s ballooned out to 7 hours (I speak from experience!) or at the airport, with what seems to be half the city, waiting to board a delayed flight…

Stay at home and enjoy time with the family. Take the kids to the local park for a picnic and you’ll probably have it all to yourself, and for free. Check out some of the local sights, you might be surprised at some of the beautiful places not 20 minutes away, that you have never seen. You can take your visitors there next time they come.

If you absolutely must travel at Easter, make sure your car is prepared and you have plenty of water, and maybe a snack or two on hand for those hours sitting in traffic, if it’s a road trip you’re going on. For air travel, make sure your devices are charged to 100% just before you leave and you’ve got some entertainment installed on your phone or tablet. Most importantly for either case, dress comfortably!

For overseas travel, check that your credit/debit card doesn’t charge foreign transaction, foreign exchange or foreign ATM fees. These very quickly add up, especially for big sums like accommodation or flights, which sometimes add their own credit card fee to the mix.

Whatever you do, try to relax this Easter - and look forward to a nice trip away some other time.

FINANCIAL PLANNING KNOWLEDGE FOR WOMEN

Did you know that currently only 10% of Australian women retire with enough savings to fund a comfortable lifestyle.  Recent studies also show that 2 in 5 Australians lack confidence when it comes to financial decision making.

It is vital for women to build their financial literacy.  It can mean a change or improvement to your whole way of living.  It can mean the difference in enjoying a comfortable retirement or depending on social services like the pension alone in retirement, just to make ends meet.

WHERE TO START

Women are already on the back foot with gender pay gap issues.  Although these have improved over time, women’s salaries are still 17.3% lower than those of men doing the same job. 

Women tend to retire earlier than men, and live longer.  Another vital reason you need to ensure you money will last the distance.

This makes it doubly important for women to improve their financial literacy and make the most of their money. 

PAY OFF YOUR DEBTS

The first step is to make your number one priority paying off your debts.  Consider whether you really need that credit card and pay extra on your home loan if you’re in a position to do so.

INVESTING IN THE FUTURE

Overall, women are generally more cautious when it comes to investing, which isn’t a bad thing, however they could be missing out on bigger returns.  Ensure your investment/s match your stage in life.  This will help ensure your investments have the best chance of growing over time.

I AM HERE TO HELP

Everyone’s circumstances are different and there isn’t a one size fits all.  This is where I come in.  To make the best decisions for your money it is important to ask questions. Your financial adviser is here to help you make wiser financial choices.

I am available for a 30 minute free consultation.  Please don’t hesitate to contact me via this link https://amandamccall.com.au/contact-financial-services-brisbane

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LOVE AND MONEY

Couples keeping their finances separate is a growing trend in Australia.  To keep finances separate or combined is an important conversation to have with your partner and potential husband/wife.  There is no right or wrong answer, at the end of the day it is about whatever works for you.  However, talking to your partner about money is important and whether you have similar or different spending and saving styles.

Here are some guidelines to get the conversation started:

YOUR RELATIONSHIP

What are your goals and plans for the relationship?  Do you plan to marry, buy a home or have a baby in the near future?

YOUR CURRENT FINANCIAL STATUS

Do you have any outstanding debts?  Will this jeopardise your relationship goals, particularly if not discussed?  Deliberately hiding your finances from your partner is dangerous.  It is important to be upfront about any debts you may have? Are you able to reduce your spending to save for your goals.

YOUR SPENDING AND SAVING HABITS

Are you a spender or a saver?  A recent survey found that 22% of couples kept some spending habits from their partners, predominantly on clothes, gambling and guilt foods.

WHO WILL BE CFO?

Will one person look after household expenses, mortgage and savings, or will you share the responsibility? Make sure you're both happy with the decision.

Communication is the key to any strong relationship.  If you and your partner share the same attitude to money and be open and discuss ongoing money concerns, you will build a secure future for yourselves.

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PENALTY RATE CHANGES - WHAT THIS MEANS FOR EVERYONE

I am sure you would have heard, the Federal Government has agreed to cut Sunday penalty rates for hundreds of thousands of Australian workers. 

According to the Fair Work Commission, the cuts will lead to increased services and trading hours on public holidays and Sundays.

WHAT THIS MEANS FOR THE EMPLOYEE

The workers who will be hardest hit are those in the retail, hospitality and fast food industries.

Australians who rely on penalty rates generally earn a relatively low wage. The ACTU estimates the FWC decision will cost low-paid workers up to $6000 a year.

WHAT THIS MEANS FOR THE EMPLOYER

Small business owners are cheering. Employers in these industries are the ones who have been pushing for these cuts. They say the penalty rates have hindered their business by making it too expensive to operate efficiently on the days that demand extra pay.

WHAT THIS MEANS FOR THE CONSUMER

This could mean the end of public holiday surcharges or is this wishful thinking?

Consumers can expect to pay no less for their Sunday breakfast, however the decision could mean increased trading hours on a Sunday.

You can read more about the decision here http://www.fairwork.gov.au/pay/penalty-rates-and-allowances

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AGED CARE

It can be heartbreaking watching a parent become frail and requiring more and more care. Besides the emotional strains there is the more practical financial issues that need to be considered.  It may not be needed immediately but it is a good idea to have the following in place for when the time approaches.

Organise important documents

Start by prepareing a folder with their important documents. This should include items such as his or her:

  • Will
  • power of attorney documents
  • bank details
  • documents from any investment or insurance policies
  • details of any prearranged funeral arrangements.

Having everything in one place will make it far easier to deal with organisations in the future.

Arrange to meet with a financial adviser

It is a good idea if you can accompany your parents to an appointment with a financial adviser if they don’t already have one.   A financial adviser will be able to assist you in planning for any future changes, such as if your parent needs to downsize their home or move into an aged care facility.

Dealing with Centrelink

If your parent or loved one receives a government entitlement such as the Age Pension, it is important that you are aware so you can assist them in managing their entitlements.

You can complete a form to allow you to enquire or act on your parent’s behalf with Centrelink about their payments and services.

Getting help with daily tasks

If the daily duties at home are becoming increasingly difficult and help is required, or you are considering moving your parent into an aged care home, you should arrange a free assessment by an Aged Care Assessment Team.

To be eligible to enter an aged care facility, it is first necessary for a person to undergo an assessment of their physical and mental ability by ACAT.

This assessment will generally occur once a referral has been received from a general practitioner. Based upon the results of the assessment, ACAT will determine whether a person requires home care or residential aged care.

There are other options where they may be able to receive help at their own home.

Caring for an ageing loved one can be challenging. It is important to remember that help is at hand and that there are places to turn. Being organised and following some of the above tips will give you a good start. If you have siblings, try to share some of the responsibilities so that the burden is not left to just you.

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