Growing Your Super Fund

A superannuation fund is an excellent way to grow your retirement nest egg for when you reach that age when you no longer have to work. Your employer’s contributions may not be More »

Property Investment with your Self Managed Super Fund (SMSF)

Using a self-managed super fund, or a SMSF, to fund property investments can be a great way to use your SMSF to build wealth for your future retirement. Investing in property with More »

Dealing With Redundancy

Being made redundant is indeed an uncertain and worrying time. For many Australians, the current economic climate could mean that they will experience redundancy at some point. Losing your job can be More »

A Basic Guide to Transition to Retirement

Transition to Retirement is a set of measures to help people who are coming close to retirement age, access their accrued superannuation in the form of a non-commutable income stream. This means More »

How to Gain Financial Freedom

The aim of most people who have worked hard for their money is to be in control of their finances and to enjoy their money rather than stressing about it. Most people More »

 

A Guide to Some Types of Super Funds

Your superannuation fund can be an excellent source of pre-retirement income and nest egg for retirement. Many super funds provide generous tax reductions and investment features that make them great for saving for your financial future. However, super funds can also be complicated and it may be difficult to decide which type of fund to invest in. That’s why seeking advice from a financial planner is beneficial when thinking about starting a superannuation fund. There are many super funds to choose from. Here we have compiled a list of some of the most popular types of super fund available.

MySuper

MySuper is a relatively new superannuation product that will in time replace default super accounts. A default super account means that your employer will choose it for you if you don’t decide on the kind of account you want within your super fund.

Included in a MySuper account is:

  • Funds are open to anyone
  • A large variety of investment options to choose from
  • Mid-high cost investment, but some now offer low cost alternatives
  • The fund provider will keep some of your fund as profit

Retail funds

Retail funds are delivered by banks or other investment organisations.

Here’s what you’ll normally get with a retail fund:

  • Funds are open to anyone
  • A large variety of investment options to choose from
  • Mid-high cost investment, but some now offer low cost alternatives
  • The fund provider will keep some of your fund as profit

Retail funds are managed by fund managers or financial planning groups so they are generally created for profit, however you will have access to superior levels of management, investment growth, and financial experience with these types of funds.

Industry funds

Some larger scale industry funds are accessible by anyone, although some funds are restricted to those who work in certain industries.

Industry funds:

  • Normally have 5 to 15 investment choices
  • Are mostly accumulation funds, although some older funds might be defined benefit
  • Are low-mid cost with a few high cost funds out there
  • Offer MySuper accounts in some instances
  • Won’t take a chunk of the fund for profit; all earnings are returned to the fund for all members to take advantage of.
  • Industry funds are some of the cheapest and most cost-effective super funds around while
    offering great investment options.

Corporate funds

A corporate fund is set up by an employer to pay into on behalf of employees or for employees themselves to add to. In this case, a board of trustees selected by the employer and employees will operate the ‘employer sponsored’ fund. Other kinds of corporate funds will be serviced by a sizeable retail or industry fund.

Corporate funds include:

  • Employer-run funds that pay out all profits earned to members of the fund. Corporate funds run by retail companies however, will keep some of the profits.
  • Industry and retail managed funds will have a large selection of investment options
  • Large employers will enjoy low-mid cost funds, but it may be quite a high cost for small business employers

Corporate super funds could be the ideal retirement investment option if you work for a large company that you plan on staying with throughout your working life.

Retirement investments take a lot of thought and long-term care; so it’s worthwhile to get some advice and assistance from an independent financial adviser or a specialist financial

Growing Your Super Fund

growing your superfund

A superannuation fund is an excellent way to grow your retirement nest egg for when you reach that age when you no longer have to work. Your employer’s contributions may not be enough to allow you to live comfortably or enjoy the lifestyle you hoped to have when you reached retirement age. That’s why making extra contributions to your super fund on a regular basis can help you grow your retirement funds. Doing it now when you have the cash to do so will mean you can relax and enjoy your nest egg well into the future. It’s always a good idea to hire a financial planner who can assist you with your long-term financial investments.

Why Invest in a Super Fund?

There are various reasons why you should attempt to grow your super fund now:

  • The cost of living is only going to increase over time, so what you thought you might need 10 years ago might not be true further down the line.
  • If you are fit and healthy you might live for another 30 years after you retire, which means you need enough money to last.
  • Your employer’s contributions or the government state pension may not be sufficient to cover living expenses and the lifestyle you hope to enjoy.
  • Tax reductions and benefits of super funds make them a great long-term investment for retirement purposes.
  • You may even be entitled to government contributions to your fund.

Look at your current financial situation and seek advice from a financial adviser about how much to put into your super and when is the optimum time to do so based on your current cash flow and debt levels.

How to Grow your Super

Alongside the 9.25% contributions that your employer will transfer to your super fund, there are other ways you can grow your nest egg:

  • You can ask your employer to pay a portion of your salary into your super fund as a tax-effective way to grow your fund. This is especially useful for people who earn over $37,000 per annum.
  • Put your own personal cash into your super fund each month. After tax has been deducted from your monthly salary, assess your financial standing and deposit as much as you think you can afford.
  • For people who earn less than $48, 516 each year before tax is deducted and who make regular after-tax contributions to their super fund can be eligible for government co-contributions.
  • If you earn a low income (below $37,000) you might be eligible for government assistance of up to $500 in contributions to your super fund. You are entitled to these contributions even if you don’t make extra payments to your fund after tax.
  • As a self-employed worker, if you don’t add to your super fund at all you will have nothing when you retire. However, if you do add to your super fund you are eligible for tax deductions when you contribute.

Super funds are very important for Australian workers on all income brackets and it is essential that you maintain and manage your super fund appropriately to make sure your investment is working to create a comfortable nest egg for your retirement. Speak to a financial planner about how to invest in a super fund.

Property Investment with your Self Managed Super Fund (SMSF)

Property investment with your SMSF

Using a self-managed super fund, or a SMSF, to fund property investments can be a great way to use your SMSF to build wealth for your future retirement. Investing in property with a SMSF can be tricky as there are many compliance regulations that you need to follow rigidly to ensure your fund is valid. Seeking the help of a financial adviser when thinking about using your SMSF for investments is a sensible idea.

What is a SMSF?

A self-managed super fund is a superannuation fund created by up to four trustees to build wealth for retirement. They are regulated by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and must comply with SISA rules and regulations. The fund benefits from group saving and tax reductions on income and capital gains of the fund.

Recent Changes

Before 2007, a SMSF was not allowed to borrow funds, so property investment wasn’t viable for many funds. Now, however, under some clearly defined rules a SMSF can borrow funds to be used in investments, including property investment.

Who Should Consider it?

Property investment is a viable investment option for SMSF trustees who:

• Are more than ten years away from their retirement
• Are financially stable and have an income that allows them to make regular payments to their SMSF
• Have more than 40% of the property purchase price in their super fund.

This kind of investment strategy isn’t for everyone and you should carefully consider all of your options and circumstances before investing in property from your retirement funds.

Rules of SMSF Property Investment

As well as strict criteria about the types of property that can be invested in using a SMSF, there are complicated rules governing how a property loan can be set up using an SMSF. Below are some of the rules regarding SMSF property investment:

• You can only borrow funds to purchase a single asset
• The asset must be held on trust with the SMSF holding a ‘beneficial interest’
• The SMSF should acquire legal rights to ownership
• Borrowers would only have rights to the initial asset that was purchased, not the entire assets contained in the SMSF.

For more comprehensive rules governing the types of property allowed to be acquired and the regulations surrounding assets, get the advice of a legal or financial professional.

Benefits of Property Investment Using a SMSF

There are several benefits to investing in property using your super retirement fund:

• Favourable tax reductions on rental income and offsetting taxable income
• Protecting yourself from being hit by Capital Gains Tax until retirement when it becomes tax free
• Protecting your finances from debt recovery or bankruptcy proceedings (excluding, of course, the loan on the asset that was purchased using the SMSF)
• Ability to transfer already owned commercial property to the SMSF can free up cash to invest in your business or other financial assets.

Challenges of Property Investment Using a SMSF

In any balanced guide, we must also look at the challenges involved in investing in property using a SMSF:

• As with all SMSF activities, you must ensure all investments follow ATO rules and regulations. Penalties for non-compliance can be steep.
• The trustees of the fund must constantly manage and maintain the fund to ensure compliance and that investments are working optimally.
• Property investment using a SMSF is a great deal more complicated than ‘normal’ property investment and should be researched thoroughly before embarking on this course of action.

Taking into consideration the benefits and challenges of property investment with a SMSF, this investment strategy is a viable method for wealth building that can grow your retirement fund significantly. Make sure to seek the advice of a financial adviser or property investment specialist to help you chart the terrain of SMSF property investment.

Dealing With Redundancy

Dealing with redundancy

Being made redundant is indeed an uncertain and worrying time. For many Australians, the current economic climate could mean that they will experience redundancy at some point. Losing your job can be devastating financially and emotionally, but during the stressful period of redundancy you need to ensure you make clear-headed and sensible financial decisions. Strategies for building a stable financial future in the face of redundancy involve assessing your current financial situation as well as addressing financial issues like government assistance, redundancy payments, and superannuation.

Assess your Personal Financial Needs

The first step to take after being made redundant is to assess your financial needs for you, your household, and your family. Think about how much money you need to cover basic living expenses every month as well as taking into consideration any financial commitments you have taken on that you cannot get out of. Next, you should analyse your debt and tally up how much you will need to cover monthly repayments. Lastly, consider your super fund or other retirement funds and how you will add to them during this period of financial uncertainty. It is a good idea to make a list of all your financial obligations and categorise them as ‘essential’, ‘important’, and ‘optional at this time’. This should make it easier for you to prioritise the use of your other income or redundancy pay-out.

The Value of Redundancy Payments

There are three different redundancy payments you might receive from your employer, depending on your years of service and the type of company you work for.

Let’s take a look at them:

Tax-free Redundancy Payments – to be eligible for a tax-free redundancy payment your termination has to be considered a ‘bona fide redundancy’. This means that you are under 65 years old and your position will not be filled by someone else. The maximum amount you can receive tax free is represented by the formula $8,806 + $4,404 for every completed year of service with your employer. If however, your payment is higher than this you will not be eligible for a tax-free payment.

Employment Termination Payments – you could be entitled to employment termination payments if your redundancy payments exceed the tax threshold, or due to ex gratia payments or accumulated sick leave. The amount you receive with employment termination payments depends on how long you have been in employment and what is stipulated in your work contract. You may be entitled to transitional or a non-transitional employment termination payments. Transitional means you can choose to receive the payments as cash or have them cashed directly into your super fund. On the other hand, non-transitional payments can only be received in cash.

General Termination Payments – most employees are eligible for some general payments on redundancy, such as accrued annual leave entitlement, accrued long service leave payments, and a final salary payment. These should give you some more financial flexibility and allow you to make long-term decisions with other redundancy payments.

Managing your Super Fund

Managing your superannuation is an important step to take when you are made redundant. Speak to a financial adviser about your options to decide whether to stay with your current super fund, change to another super fund, start an income stream investment, or take out a lump sum of cash from your super fund. What you can do with your super fund after redundancy depends on what type of fund you have and the current status of your fund.

Research Government Assistance Options

There is a government assistance program called NewStart which gives people financial aid if they are over 21 and below retirement age, actively seeking paid employment, agree to enter an activity agreement, and they are not involved in industrial action with their previous employer. NewStart can assist you with paying for living expenses and day-to-day costs while you look for a new job. This can be a good option for people who don’t have a super fund or who are not eligible for a large redundancy pay-out from their employer.

Redundancy can be complicated, that’s why it is in your best interest to seek the advice and help of a financial planner or financial adviser if you are facing the threat of redundancy or your employment has already been terminated.

A Basic Guide to Transition to Retirement

Retired couple

Transition to Retirement is a set of measures to help people who are coming close to retirement age, access their accrued superannuation in the form of a non-commutable income stream. This means that you are unable to withdraw a cash lump sum from super funds and a maximum withdrawal limit applies, but you can still build an income stream.

You must ensure that your withdrawals are compliant with Transition to Retirement measures, otherwise you may violate the rules of your super fund. The two forms of measures are ‘Transition to Retirement Account Based Pensions’ (known as TRABPS) and ‘Transition to Retirement Income Streams’ (known as TRIS). Of course, transitional means it is a temporary arrangement and can be replaced with a more fixed and definite retirement arrangement in the future. The no lump sum rule and withdrawal cap applies if you have not yet reached retirement age and you still plan on working in some capacity.

However, the ‘normal’ rules which govern these types of withdrawals will apply to you if you meet at least one of the following criteria:

• You decide to retire permanently between the preservation age and age 60
• You retire or leave your job after you are 60 years old
• You turn 65 years of age
• You become seriously injured or disabled, or you meet other conditions of release.

Seeking the assistance of a financial adviser can help you make sense of transitional retirement options and assist you in making the most of transitional income streams.

Benefits of Transition to Retirement Options

There are several benefits to transitioning to retirement before you reach retirement age:

• As you draw closer to retirement age you may find that you are physically unable to work full-time. Therefore, accumulated super funds are a way for you to work part-time while drawing from the fund to supplement your income.

• Superannuation funds can also be used to provide extra income to those nearing retirement age. You could use the cash to increase cash-flow, for other investments, or to achieve lifestyle goals.

• You will receive various tax and investment advantages when starting a non-commutable income stream from your super fund. This means that you can use the income from your super fund while sacrificing some of your salary back into your super fund to ensure it continues to grow well into retirement.

Speak to your financial planner before you discuss reducing your working hours with your employer. Using some of your super fund is a big financial decision and you need to make sure you are ready for a life of semi-retirement.

How to Gain Financial Freedom

how to gain financial freedom

The aim of most people who have worked hard for their money is to be in control of their finances and to enjoy their money rather than stressing about it. Most people want to keep safe the nest egg they have created and feel secure about their investments and savings. The optimum lifestyle is when peace of mind and financial freedom are closely linked.

Let’s look at some tips on how to gain financial freedom in your life:

1. Get rid of debts

There are certain types of debt which are considered ‘good’ debt, for example, a finance agreement for a car or the mortgage payments on your home. However, there are kinds of debt which are ‘bad’ debt, such as unsecured debt. Unsecured debt includes credit card debt, overdrafts, unsecured bank loans, store card debt, and pay-day loans. These lines of credit usually have inflated interest rates and high repayment amounts that sap your finances every month.

  • How can I manage my debt better?

    Consolidate all debts into one easy to manage monthly repayment with a financial professional who can help you understand interest rates and repayment schedules.

2. Invest wisely

Long-term investments often have a high level of risk associated with them. However in general, the higher the risk, the higher the return. If you feel financially secure enough to invest in different areas and locales and feel confident dealing with risk, then you could make a healthy long-term, lifetime return on your investments.

  • How do you invest wisely?
    Diversify assets and risk to avoid short-term losses and to maximise long-term investment performance.

3. Learn to budget

Budgeting is important in knowing how much money you have and where your finances are regularly being spent. If you have a good budget system in place you can see where changes can be made and where savings can be squeezed out.

  • What’s an example of a good budgeting system?
    Always pay yourself first by giving yourself a monthly allowance to live with. Then, cut out unnecessary expenditure, save extra cash you get, and pay off credit with high interest rates first.

4. Pay off your mortgage

It may sound like an impossible dream for some, but it doesn’t have to be. A mortgage is a long-term financial commitment that you will be living with for a large chunk of your life. Getting it paid off quicker will bring you so much more financial freedom and give you more assets to play around with in the future.

  • What can I do to pay off my mortgage sooner?
    Make extra payments as often as you can, and talk to your mortgage adviser about swapping to fortnightly repayments rather than monthly. Or, open an ‘offset account’ where your mortgage account, savings, and main bank account are all separate. Talk to a financial adviser or your bank for more information about this type of account.

5. Protect you money

It may sound like a given, but so many people fall prey to schemes and scams out there, particularly those who are not ‘money wise’. Elderly people or those who have not been in charge of household or personal finances before might find themselves unaware of how to control or protect their money.

  • What are some things I can do to protect my money?
    Stay in charge of your own money; don’t be reliant on someone else to deal with your finances. Don’t let your good manners allow you to be sucked in and hoodwinked by salespeople. Don’t make rash financial decisions. And always monitor your investments and accounts for any discrepancies or changes.

Being financially aware and staying in control of your money are some of the most important first steps to becoming financially free. Financial freedom means knowing where your money is being spent, investing in long-term opportunities, budgeting wisely, growing your assets, and protecting your finances.

Choosing the Right Personal & Business Insurance

Choosing the right type of insurance

You have worked hard to build a home, business, and life for yourself. And that’s worth safeguarding, isn’t it? Think about the risks you face in your personal and business life: what would happen if you were seriously injured and could no longer work? Take care of your home, family, health, and wealth with the right level of insurance coverage.

Personal Insurance

Protect against the impact of major events in your life that can cause death, illness, or disability. It may sound over-the-top, but traumatic events can happen to anybody, at any time. To protect you and your family financially if you are unable to work due to illness or injury it’s important to have appropriate and adequate levels of Personal Insurance coverage. Personal Insurance can cover medical expenses, ongoing living expenses, and financial obligations you might have, like loans or credit cards.

How Much is Enough?

The amount of cover you need is wholly dependent on your changing circumstances – mortgage, children, fluctuating financial markets. Think about what your family might need and how much financial help you would need in the event of illness, disability or death.

Super Fund

Your Super fund can assist you financially; however it generally won’t provide comprehensive cover in the event that a major catastrophe happened. Products available through superannuation are limited in features and benefits. It is advisable that you consult with a financial planner to ensure which products may be appropriate for you and your family.

Tax Minimisation

You have a few options to pay for personal insurance. These options will have different pros and cons, and may make you eligible for tax deductions. Your financial adviser can help you with these options.

Let’s take a look at the Personal Insurance coverage options:

  • Life Insurance – This type of cover is designed to pay for expenses and give short-term financial help for your family in the event of your death. A lump sum will be provided based on your stated level of cover, levels of your premium and years of payment.
  • Total & Permanent Disability Insurance (TPD) – This policy will pay out a lump sum in the event that you are totally and permanently disabled and can no longer return to work. This may be due to a loss of limb, injury, or illness. This insurance option can cover ‘own occupation’ or ‘any occupation’, which means it will either pay out if you are unable to work within the same role, or if you are unable to work in any occupation due to injury or disability. This coverage can be combined with Income Protection to extend into ongoing financial protection.
  • Income Protection – Income protection is different from TPD because the injury or illness doesn’t have to be permanent to receive financial benefit. It will pay out 75% of your normal monthly income up to the age of 65 or 70. Income Protection does not cover loss of employment or maternity leave, however.
  • Critical Illness Cover – This type of cover is designed to relieve the financial pressure in the even that you suffer a critical illness. The amount you receive depends on the level of cover, inclusions, and the insured party. It usually covers you financially in case of suffering one of the four main critical illnesses being cancer, heart attack, stroke, and open heart surgery. However the most recent products cover a wider variety of illnesses.

Seeking help from a financial advisor or insurance specialist is a good idea if you want to comprehensively understand your Personal Insurance alternatives and make the correct choice.

Business Insurance

If you own a business, it is essential that you have adequate levels of Business Insurance to protect you financially should you be unable to work due to illness, disability, injury, or death. Moreover, if your family are dependent upon the revenue created from your business, you will want to ensure they are financially safe and stable, should a significant event happen to you in the future. Business Insurance can cover business revenue, transfer of ownership, and business expenses in the event of injury, illness or disability.

How Much is Enough?

How much cover you take out is dependent on the size of your business, your business revenue, how much income you receive from your business and your reliance on this income.

Below are some Business Insurance options:

  • Transfer of Ownership Insurance – This coverage will grant payment to a principal or their family for their business interest in the event of their death or disability, ensuring the continuation of your business.
  • Business Revenue Protection Insurance – This type of insurance provides cover to recoup reductions in revenue to prevent suffering loss of business income due to illness or disability.
  • Personal Income Protection Insurance – This will protect business resources and ensures they will not be used to fund your personal income if you are injured.
  • Business Expenses Insurance – This covers fixed expenses if you can’t generate enough business income to settle them because of disability or injury.

Protect yourself, your family, and your business assets in the event of serious illness, injury, or disability. Get some assistance from a specialist business financial advisor or insurance broker to ensure you’re making the right decision.

Other Types of Insurance

Alongside Business and Personal Insurance are some other insurance types such as Home Insurance, Contents Insurance, Car Insurance, and Travel Insurance. Keep you and your family protected in any situation, be it car accidents, cancelled flights, robberies, or damage caused by natural disasters.

How to Manage Financial Windfalls

financial windfalls

Gaining new wealth such as inheritance or other large financial windfalls can create big changes in your life. Dealing with your personal finances becomes a lot more challenging due to managing new assets, tax, planning your estate, and thinking about sharing your wealth with charities or friends and family. The most important thing to keep in mind when faced with the mixed emotions of getting new wealth is to sit tight, breathe, and don’t make any rash financial decisions that you may regret at a later stage.

1. Get Professional Help

Seek the advice of a lawyer, financial adviser, or non-profit financial health organisation to fully understand your new position. A professional can help you reach your intermediate and long-term goals as well as offer advice on estate planning, tax strategies, and asset management.

Use PickAPlanner’s Financial Adviser Finder to locate financial advisers in Sydney and other areas near you.

2. Look at your Tax Situation

New wealth can change your current tax situation, especially if you have recently sold property or a business. If you have won a financial prize or came into inheritance, then the rules could be different still. Being informed about how much you have to pay in taxes can help you make better decisions regarding how to spend your new wealth.

3. Treat Yourself

Don’t get bogged down in being too cautious and worried about your new wealth – treat yourself… Within reason of course. Wasting your wealth could damage your financial stability in the future and leave you unable to support a lifestyle you’ve become accustomed to. Think about spending a small percentage of your new wealth only, say 1-5% of the total, on something you’ve always wanted.

4. Keep your Money Secure

Put your new wealth in a safe short-term investment account like a high interest savings account or cash investment trust. This means your money will be working for you by gaining daily interest while you decide on your intermediate and long-term investment and lifestyle strategies.

5. Consider What Will Change

Many aspects of your personal and financial life will change with a large cash windfall. Each new purchase or change you make to your life will impact on your personal finance, insurance coverage, and housing opportunities. There are also legal implications and charitable donations to consider when coming into new wealth.

6. Pay Off Debt

It is sensible and practical to pay off debts that are draining your finances. For example, if you have a high interest credit card or loan that you pay off with monthly installments, consider paying off these debts in full to save yourself long-term repayments and the interest associated with them. Mortgages, however, are a different situation and it is wise to speak to a financial specialist about whether it is a sound idea to pay off a home loan entirely.

Find a financial adviser near you now.

7. Make your Goals a Reality

Realising your intermediate goals with new wealth is rewarding and life changing. We’re not talking about buying a flash car or going on a trip to the Bahamas; we’re talking about goals that can change your life and even grow your wealth further.

You could buy a new house, study to create the career you’ve always wanted, start your own business, build a savings trust for your children, or retire early. New wealth can bring you financial freedom if you approach it in the right way and understand how to get the most out of your new-found cash.

8. Plan for Long-Term Goals

So, you’ve got your money safe in a short-term investment account, you’ve arranged your taxes and estate, and realised a dream of owning a holiday home on the coast – now what? Now is the time to set up your financial future. Creating a comfortable nest egg is an effective way to save for retirement and create the lifestyle you’ve always wanted in your later years. Speak to a financial planner now.

A Guide to Financing your First Home

financing your first home

A new home is a major financial investment that will house you and your loved ones for many years to come. Buying a home for the first time can be a daunting prospect. That’s why it is essential that you understand the ins-and-outs of borrowing, budgeting, and home loans.

Deposit

The larger the deposit you can make, the more manageable your mortgage repayments will be. Not only that, a bigger deposit will allow you to bid for the home of your dreams, as well as negotiate with lenders and build comfortable monthly outgoings. It can be difficult and time consuming to save a large deposit if you already have considerable financial obligations. However, some ways to save are to rent cheaply, live with parents or relatives, and learn how to live frugally for a while until you build up some savings.

Borrowing

When borrowing money from a bank or other lender you will need to consider the cost of the property you want to buy, stamp duty, loan costs, transaction taxes, and any other expenses and taxes you might need to pay on purchasing a home.

Budgeting

When thinking about financing your first home you must consider your monthly budget including council rates, body corporate fees, water and sewerage charges, and home maintenance alongside everyday living expenses. Take into account changes in interest rates if you have a variable rate loan on your home.

How to budget Successfully covers budgeting in more detail.

Government Assistance

There is some help you can get from your state government when buying a first home, such as the First Home Owners Grant (FHOG). The grant amount varies between states and territories, but normally covers $7,000 to $15,000 depending on whether the home is newly constructed or previously owned, and taking into consideration the total price of the property. Contact your local government housing office to find out more information about the rules governing the grant in your area.

There are also several states and territories that offer a stamp duty concession for first time buyers.

Finding the Right Loan

Trying to find a mortgage and loan on your own can be stressful and confusing. Make things easier on yourself by seeking the assistance of a mortgage broker or real estate financial specialist.

Here are some of the most common loan types available:

  • Variable interest – interest rates fluctuate with market changes
  • Fixed interest – interest rates are agreed with lender and cannot be altered
  • Capped interest – interest rates cannot rise above an agreed level
  • Split – fixed interest on a part of the loan and variable on the balance of the loan
  • Fixed for a period – interest rates are fixed for a short period and then change to variable.

The loan application process can be a lengthy one, so don’t expect things to happen overnight. Inform your lender about all your financial obligations and expenses so that they can offer you the most manageable monthly repayments possible.

What’s Next?

The next stages on your journey are finding the perfect property, putting in an offer, getting appropriate insurance, signing the contract, and moving in to your dream home! Find the right adviser to guide you through this confusing territory to bring you a stress-free house buying experience.

How to Find the Right Financial Adviser

Finding the right financial adviser

Are you feeling uncertain about how to afford the life you want? Are you unsure about how to provide for your family? Feeling financially stretched? Are anxious about investing money? If you are asking yourself these questions and more, then you could be in the market for a financial adviser.

A financial adviser can help you secure your financial future and peace of mind. Not only that, they can help you grow your income and financial investments to allow you to increase your personal or business wealth.

What is a Financial Adviser?

A financial adviser is a licensed professional who helps you plan your financial future and reach your financial goals. They should work together with you to understand your financial situation, help sort out financial problems, and aid you in attaining the financial position you want to reach.

What Should They Do?

A financial adviser has many roles and should be trusted by you to safely deal with your finances and investments.

They should:

  • Display long-term commitment to planning and reviewing your financial position
  • Identify your financial goals and provide guidance on how to reach them
  • Identify and secure all your financial resources
  • Help you prepare for lifestyle or financial changes e.g. having children or buying a home
  • Assist you in growing your investments and income
  • Protect your investments and income
  • Explain and simplify all procedures so that you understand all financial processes.

How the Choose the Right Financial Adviser

When selecting a financial adviser it is crucial that you consider your investment time frames, your assets and liabilities, your work/life balance, and the level of risk you are willing to take. Once you have ascertained your goals and ambitions, you can search for the ideal financial professional to take over and grow your financial investments. The most important thing to remember is that you must pick a financial adviser who has an Australian Financial Services (AFS) licence. It is also worth noting that a legitimate financial adviser will always supply a Financial Services Guide (FSG), which must be provided by law.

Below are some methods of finding a financial professional:

  • Speak to family and friends to find out if they have used a good financial adviser in the past
  • Listen to recommendations and referrals from other professionals e.g. accountants
  • Shop around and interview several advisers before settling for the right one
  • Check their reputation and customer testimonials online before you agree to work together
  • Check your local government Finance Department to ensure the adviser is fully licensed
  • We recommend trying the Australian Financial Planner search feature on Pick a Planner

Brokerage firms, managed fund companies, banks, accountants, and certified financial planners can offer financial advice too. They may also be able to point you in the right direction when it comes to choosing the right financial adviser for your needs and goals. Do some research and meet with several financial advisers before settling down with one that suits you best.

Once you have a list of potential advisers you would like to approach, we recommend reading How to choose a financial planner which goes into more detail about what to look out for to ensure you get the right type of advice your for needs. There’s even a free questionnaire you can download and take into meetings with you!