HOW TO MANAGE LUMP SUM PAYMENTS

Not many of us are lucky enough to win the Lotto, but some of us do receive a sizable inheritance or redundancy payout at one time or another. The problem is knowing how best to handle this large sum of money, because if mismanaged, it can soon be whittled away, leaving you with nothing.

I am sure that you have heard of lotto winners who have won millions of dollars and a few years later have lost everything. Well, if you come into a large sum of money, you don’t want to be in the same boat – do you?

The solution is to ask yourself some key questions, before you start writing cheques for that brand new 4WD, enormous yacht and Jet Ski you have always wanted! Of course, it’s fine if you want to splurge a little at first, but for the bulk of the money you need to have a plan, that’s if you want to benefit from the money for the long haul and not blow it overnight.

What are your financial goals?

This is the first question you need to ask yourself – how can this money help you to achieve your financial goals? Once you know what you want to achieve, then you can start to put things in place to achieve these goals.

For example, if you have always wanted to work for yourself and open your own business, you need a solid business plan, a gap in the market and a product or service that people will buy. There is no point is going at it gung-ho and losing all your money on a business that was not thoroughly researched. You may as well have spent the money on the 4WD and Jet Ski, because at least that would have been fun!

Like most people in Australia, you will most probably want to achieve a number of different financial goals with your lump sum. For example, setting aside an emergency fund, paying off the mortgage, personal loan, car loan or credit card, taking a well-deserved break from work or a long holiday, creating an investment portfolio or topping up your super.

Your age and family circumstances will also play a part in setting your goals. For instance, a young couple might want to use some money for a deposit on their own home, buy a reliable car and set money aside for their children. An older couple who are empty nesters, might give their children money for a new home deposit, buy a 4WD and caravan for themselves, and invest the rest in their super.

The one essential step you need to take, if you don’t want to end up with nothing in a few years, is to seek professional financial advice. Someone trained in the financial world can help you to put together a solid plan to achieve your financial goals. They can even help you to sort through your wants, needs and must-haves, so that you can get the most out of your lump sum.

If you need help to achieve your financial goals, call Amanda McCall on 07 3356 6929 or complete our online enquiry form.

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HOW TO SPEND YOUR MONEY WISELY THIS CHRISTMAS

Too many of us spend money we can’t afford at Christmas and then spend the rest of the New Year saying that we will never do it again! If this sounds familiar to you and you would love a few tips on spending your money wisely this Christmas - here are 12 ways to save money and not overspend this year.

1.      Make a list: We all know that if we shop without a list, we always overspend, so avoid impulse buying by making a list and sticking to it this year.

2.      Garage sale: Earn some extra cash for Christmas by selling all the unused items that have cluttered up your home and garage.

3.      Check online: Take some time and surf the online stores, because you can quite often find a similar item online for a cheaper price, but don’t forget to include the shipping costs.

4.      Cards & wrapping paper: The best time to buy Christmas cards and gift wrapping paper is during the post-Christmas sales, when they are going for a song!

5.      Gift cards: If you have unused gift cards that are about to expire, you can use them to pay for this year’s gifts and save yourself a bunch of money.

6.      Buy during sales: Check the sales for gift items on your list during the year or even substitute a listed gift for an item that is on sale prior to Christmas.

7.      Spending limits: It’s always best to agree on a dollar limit with friends and family, so no-one is caught out and everyone feels comfortable. Even better, agreeing to buy gifts for just the children helps everyone save money at Christmas.

8.      Buy cheaper items first: This way you will have the bulk of your Christmas shopping completed quickly with only one or two expensive items left to buy.

9.      Shopping locations: Make your gift list with one eye on the location, so you can do all your Christmas gift shopping in just one or two locations, saving you a lot of time.

10.  Look for grocery discounts: Grocery shopping is different to gift shopping, because you need to compare prices in various supermarkets and be prepared to shoot in for the advertised specials or discounts.

11.  Pare back the groceries: Don’t buy enough to feed a football team and don’t buy junk food you will never eat or wish you hadn’t! Instead, be sensible and buy enough food for a few special meals and treats over Christmas.

12.  Share the costs: If everyone is coming to you this year, ask people to contribute to the meals, snacks, soft drinks and alcohol. This way you won’t have to blow your budget feeding everyone.

You can also shop in the evening when the shops are open later during the Christmas period. This cuts down on the crowds and gives you more time to carefully consider your purchases, instead of feeling rushed and harassed, and spending more money on gifts than you had intended, just to get home quickly and away from the crowds.

For help organising your household budget in the New Year, call Amanda McCall on 07 3356 6929 or complete our online enquiry form.

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THE EFFECT OF DIVORCE ON A WOMAN'S FINANCIAL FUTURE

Divorce has many financial impacts on a family and is a problem that many women find pretty much unsolvable. Trying to maintain the same lifestyle, giving the kids everything they need, paying bills and even finding employment can have a terrible impact on your finances following a divorce.

All of this is true for a large number of women, regardless of age, income or motherhood. Financial hardship after divorce is simply a fact of life for many Australian women, particularly when you have spent years raising your children and have lost track of your career.

You can’t even rely on your superannuation in later years, because with no form of employment, your super has been unfunded for years. In fact, even without divorce, most women retire with half the super compared to men, so if you don’t own your own home outright when you retire, you can enter a never-ending cycle of financial hardship.

Then along comes divorce and you need to find a job that usually pays less compared to a man, and you need to put a roof over the kid’s heads, pay all the bills, and the list goes on.

Managing your finances after divorce

Of course, if you knew in advance that divorce was in your future, you might have put a few financial safeguards in place, but hindsight is always a pain, isn’t it? As many divorced women will tell you, losing your home and splitting all your assets leaves you in a financial trap, because you don’t have enough money to buy a house – half a house yes, but not a whole house.

Saving for a deposit can take a lifetime and even if you walk away with enough money for a decent deposit, a single person trying to pay a mortgage on one income is just about impossible. That’s not even thinking about taking on a 30-year mortgage at your age, because if your super won’t pay off your mortgage when you retire, making the repayments on a pension is just about impossible.

Taking control of your finances after divorce

Your first step is to know the value of your assets, how much child support you will be receiving and how much of your partner’s superannuation you will be able to access on retirement.  Once all the debts from the marriage have been paid, you will know the state of your financial affairs - even if you haven’t paid much attention to the family’s finances during your marriage.

At this point, you need to find a financial adviser who can sit down with you and take stock of your financial position, including any unpaid debts, insurances, assets, investments and your superannuation. Even women who are single can benefit from a financial adviser, as well as women in a solid relationship or marriage, because illness or bereavement can occur suddenly, leaving many married women in financial hardship. So, it doesn’t matter whether you are single, married, divorced or widowed, all Australian women can benefit from talking to someone who understands their situation and knows how to help secure your financial future.

Why not online enquiry form and start to look forward to a brighter future?

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WHAT DOES A FINANCIAL PLANNER DO?

A financial planner helps you to organise your money and assets to suit your needs both today and in the future.  You can use their advice to get yourself out of debt and save for a deposit on your first home, to recover financially after a divorce or to set up a plan to secure your retirement.

Whatever your current financial situation, a financial planner can help you to achieve your goals. Financial planning can be described as simply being sensible with your money and knowing how to navigate the best roads through all the available options to reach your goals.

A financial planner doesn’t just talk about investments and buying stocks however, this is simply one of the options that might be available to some people. The basis of good financial planning is all about savings and cashflow, because if you don’t have enough cashflow for your daily needs, you can’t save enough to plan for your future.

So, in general, a financial planner can help you with managing your budget, loans and debts, buying insurances and investments, and sorting out your superannuation. Let’s take a look at these topics right now.

  • Budgeting and cashflow: Your financial adviser will look at your income and your debts and discuss how you can achieve your gaols. This might be paying off your debts, saving for a new car, a deposit on a home or even a holiday or investment portfolio. Your adviser will then create a workable plan to achieve your goals in a given time frame
  • Loans and debts: If you have multiple credit card debts or personal loans, even a mortgage, your financial planner can help you to organise your finances so that you can comfortably pay these debts and still have a life! On the other hand, if you need to consolidate your debts and take out one loan to pay them off more easily, your adviser can also help you to achieve this outcome.
  • Buying insurances: Most financial planners also act as insurance brokers and can help you decide which insurances are the most suitable for your personal, business and financial situation.
  • Buying investments: If you are at a stage where you want to create an investment portfolio, your financial planner can help you to explore these options, deciding which type of investments might be the most suitable, as well as managing your portfolio.
  • Superannuation: Taking control of your super is important to your financial future, so it’s vital that your super fund is the best one for your needs, helping you to achieve your financial goals for when you retire. A financial planner can help you to change super funds and to decide whether it is best for you to increase your payments or if some other investment is more suitable to achieve your go
  • If you need help managing your finances, why not book a free 30-minute appointment with Amanda? Your age, marital status, occupation or current financial situation are not important, what is important is managing your finances, so that you can successfully achieve your goals, despite any negatives or setbacks in your life.

Call Amanda on 07 3356 6929 or complete our online enquiry form and take advantage of our free 30-minute financial assessment.

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DO YOU HAVE AN INVESTMENT STRATEGY?

Investment means something different to everyone, from saving to buy a new car or a deposit on a home to buying shares or investing in real estate. We all have different opinions, needs and experiences and we base our investment strategy on what works best for us as individuals. So if you are new to investing and are in the process of putting together a financial plan for your future, here are five questions to ask yourself.

1.     What do you want to achieve?

Do you want to save a deposit for a new home, a holiday or a car? Maybe you want to set up an investment portfolio for your future retirement or create a real estate investment plan? Without a clear goal in your mind, you can’t build a strategy to achieve this goal, so your first step is to set up one or more financial goals.

2.     How much money can you save each month?

This is where you need to become realistic and decide how much money you can save or invest each month. The best way is to examine your budget and find areas where you can cut down on expenses. Of course, you still have to live and enjoy your life while you are saving, but it helps to write down all of your essential bills, including money for an emergency fund, so you can clearly see how much you can save or invest.

3.     What are your time frames?

These will depend on the goals you want to achieve, so for example if you want to save a deposit on a new home, you might give yourself two years to reach your goal. In this case, you might have to back track to step two – particularly if you realise that you can’t save enough money in two years, and readjust your expenses to ensure that you achieve your goal within your ideal time frame. On the other hand, if you want to invest in your retirement, then you will be looking at longer time frames with a number of achievable goals along the way.   

4.     What’s your risk tolerance?

Some people don’t like to take much risk with their money and others are far more risk tolerant. How much risk you are willing to take will determine the type of investments you make, for example if you want to save for a deposit on a new home, you could put your money in the bank each month or you could buy shares. Knowing that the share market is quite volatile, your risk tolerance will determine whether you prefer the security of a bank or are willing to trust your money to the market.

5.     How will you invest your money?

Saving your money in a term deposit is a low risk option and suits many people, but there are other possibilities which might work for your situation and your level of risk tolerance. At this point, it might be sensible to discuss your options with a financial planner who can help you craft a plan that is tailored to your needs. Always remember however, that diversification helps to spread your risks, so it pays to consider including shares, property, fixed interest or a superannuation fund in your saving portfolio. 

For help creating a customised saving or investment plan that suits your needs, call us on 07 3356 6929 visit our our Contact Us page.

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