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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BALANCING INVESTMENT OPTIONS TO SECURE YOUR FINANCIAL FUTURE

If you’re paying off your home loan but you also understand the importance of building up your super, you may find yourself trying to balance your present needs with those you’ll have in your future.

PROS OF INVESTING IN SUPER

Superannuation is one of the most tax-effective ways to save.  Depending on your age, it can be wise to channel as much money as possible into Superannuation.

If you plan to retire in the next 10 or more years, with more money in super you have the potential to benefit from compound interest and dollar-cost averaging: two of the most powerful ways to build long-term wealth.

Salary sacrifice works much the same way.  You can contribute money from your gross wage into super which means less tax is applied to your income.  There is a limit on how much you can deposit each year via this method.

PROS OF INVESTING IN PROPERTY

Buying can be an important investment too. However, because of property price rises, many people are finding property is becoming less accessible.  This is significantly changing the Australian way of life.

If you are already paying off a home then this can be a good thing, depending on how long you have before retirement. You can end up building enough capital growth to help you in retirement. By putting extra into your home loan, you’ll also pay less in interest charges as the principal amount owed on your home loan decreases.

We also generally expect the value of most homes to rise over time, therefore the more you repay, the more equity you may be able to build.

When it comes to property, you generally have to use after-tax dollars to repay your home loan. But in super you can deposit pre-tax dollars, often with minimal or no impact on your take-home pay packet.

What’s the answer?

There is no right or wrong answer. The way you prioritise will be unique for you depending on your own circumstances, your current super balance, income, needs and goals.

That’s where financial advice can make a big difference. We can show you the specific pros and cons for your individual circumstances.  You may not need to choose one option over the other. You may be able to have the best of both worlds.   https://amandamccall.com.au/contact-financial-services-brisbane

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CREDIT CARDS AT CHRISTMAS

Credit cards are a convenient way to pay for the things you want, and ever so tempting at Christmas time, but this convenience can come at a cost. It can be very easy to rack up more debt on your card than you expect or are comfortable with, so it's important to stay in control.

Here are some things to consider whilst using your credit card at Christmas:

1.    OVERSEAS TRANSACTION FEES

If you do Christmas shopping online with an international retailer, you could end up paying an international transaction fee worth 2–4%.

2.    OFFERS TO INCREASE YOUR LIMIT

Banks sometimes offer you a higher credit limit on your card.  If you receive an offer to do this around this time of year if could be very tempting to take them up on this.  However, getting a higher credit limit can be bad for your Christmas budget, since the temptation to overspend will be magnified. You could easily end up spending more than you should and paying much more in interest charges too.

3.    CONSIDER REDUCING YOUR CREDIT LIMIT

If you want to avoid the temptation to overspend on your card, ask your credit provider to reduce your credit limit. You can do this by phone or by visiting a branch. In most cases, your account will be updated within 1-2 business days.

4.    PAY ON TIME

When you get your credit card statement, check the date the payment is due, and make sure you pay on time. This will help you avoid extra interest charges or hefty late payment fees.

To make it easier to pay on time, consider setting up a direct debit to pay a fixed amount off the balance owing each payday. Just make sure these payments cover at least the minimum monthly payment due on the card.

5.    MAXIMISE YOUR REPAYMENTS

If you only make the minimum repayments on your card each month, you will pay a lot of interest and it could take you a long time to pay off your balance.

Why not make a plan to get rid of your credit card debt and pay more than the minimum repayment each month.

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IT’S 2017 – TIME TO START SAVING

Christmas has come and gone.  You have spent too much money on presents and the holiday season.  The New Year is the perfect time to implement some simple tips to get ahead and stay there!

SET A SAVINGS GOAL

Set a realistic goal that is achievable.  A goal that needs you to show some restraint but at the same time not having to sacrifice too much.  Visualise your goal.  Studies have shown that visualising your goal makes you more likely to achieve it.  It might be a $ value written down or a picture of a holiday destination for example.

SET UP A DIRECT DEBIT

Keep your savings in a different account to your everyday account.  You may be able to find one that earns a little extra interest.  Set up a direct debit from your everyday account to your savings account. 

BE MONEY SMART WHEN SHOPPING

A little bit of extra research can save dollars.  It might only seem like a few dollars for each item, but these soon add up.  A lot of items at the shops these days end up being discounted.  If you don’t need it right away, why not just keep an eye on it and make that purchase once it is discounted.

REFLECT AND REVIEW

Track how your savings are going on a regular basis and if you have got off track, alter course and get back on track. 

Constantly think about ways you can save money in your day to day living.

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TIPS TO STAY ON TRACK WITH YOUR CHRISTMAS SPENDING

There is no doubt Christmas is a time to be enjoyed.  However, it is an expensive time of year, with gift giving, more social outings etc. It can really stretch the budget.  Here are some tips to help you stay on track this Christmas:

1.       TRACK YOUR SPENDING

I know it sounds boring, but it will help.  Set a budget for things like presents, food for Christmas Day.  After each day’s shopping, record what you have spent and what you have left. 

 2.       ‘BAKE’ YOUR GIFTS

Are you a bit of a MasterChef in the kitchen?  Why not bake some gingerbread cookies, fruit mince pies or any festive treat.  Package them up in some cellophane or cardboard boxes and give these as gifts.  A lot cheaper than buying them already made, and I bet they will be a lot tastier as well.

 3.       RESEARCH AND BE PATIENT

Retail is so competitive these days.  Don’t just purchase an item the first time you see it.  Research online or wait until a discount is offered.  Most retailers are having Different offers each day so you really shouldn’t need to pay full price.

4.       SHARE THE COST

If you are hosting Christmas lunch, ask everyone to bring a plate of food.  Most people won’t mind and this will save a lot of money and time.

5.       DON’T SPEND MONEY YOU DON’T HAVE

Carefully consider putting purchases on your credit card or arranging some kind of quick finance with high interest.  You will regret it come January.

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