There’s no doubt that our jobs aren’t as secure as they once were. With ever changing employment laws and a fragile economy, the risk of the main breadwinner in a family being made redundant is all too real. Unfortunately despite an individual’s employment status, the daily costs of living don’t go away, and neither does the school fees or the mortgage.

Unforseen unemployment can affect anyone. It can be financially crippling and can take a major personal and emotional toll on those affected. To avoid the stress of wondering how you will pay the bills, it’s worth having plans in place to secure your family’s finances. These tips will help your family to feel more financially secure. If you fall upon financial hardship, plans will be readily in place so that you’ll be able to make ends meet.

Take out Income Protection Insurance

Income protection insurance can provide up to 75 per cent of your current income should you become sick, injured or unemployed. This could shield your family from the devastating financial impact of these circumstances. The level of cover and other circumstances including your lifestyle, financial commitments and profession will determine the premium that must be paid. Premiums can often be deducted directly from your wage.

If you are unable to work due to an injury sustained at work, Sinnamon Lawyers and other teams of legal professionals can help you explore the avenues available to receive compensation and other financial assistance. While this won’t automatically heal the injury, it can provide some peace of mind and alleviate some of the stress during a difficult period.

Draw up a Budget

It’s important for every family to live within their means. Make the effort to better understand your financial obligations and where your money is being spent. A financial planner can help you figure out where you can best make changes to make the most of your income and ensure that all commitments that you have can be managed more effectively. There are many free budget-planning tools online. If you make one, work hard to stick to it!

Search for Better Deals

A significant proportion of a household income goes to the home loan, credit cards, insurance premiums and phone and Internet contracts. Often there are better deals to be had on these premiums, policies and contracts and changing could result in thousands of dollars of savings over the long term. It’s worth shopping around for the best deal when it comes to ongoing expenses. Look for the most competitive deal that suits your needs.

Start Forced Savings

While paying a mortgage is a form of forced savings, the equity you have built up can be difficult to access. Another savings account where automatic contributions are made regularly could be of value. This will ensure that emergency funds are ready to access if they are needed. Families that are renting should make even more of an effort to save since there is no asset like a home to fall back on.

Ideally, families should strive to save as much as possible each pay period. Saving for a rainy day is always important to shield yourself from unexpected bills, or circumstances where you may need to take unpaid leave from work.

Supporting a family on any income can be challenging. It requires ongoing assessment to ensure the best use of money that is available, while keeping funds available for unforseen situations.

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NoSpendver - No Spend Challenge #Nospendver

My sister is the brains behind NoSpendver aka No Spend November! It’s a month long no spend challenge and this month we are stepping it up. We will have daily reminders, posts with tips to make and save money in many areas of your budget/life, social media mentions and more. If you want to join in with the mailing list for a daily to do sign up below. We also have a couple of giveaways planned.



What is a No Spend Challenge?
A No Spend Challenge is a challenge you set yourself, for a period of time to not spend money on non-essentials. Since we are doing it for the month of November, it mean 30 days of no spending unless you have to. You decide what is essential and what is not, but here’s a guide:

Essentials
– Mortgage/rent
– Debt repayments
– Bills such as internet, phone, electricity, gas, water, insurance etc. Any bill you get due that month, pay it.
– Groceries

Non Essentials
– Take away food, coffees and snacks
– New clothes, shoes, handbags etc
– Home decor items
– Toys for the kids
– Food in groceries not on your list or part of your menu plan

Exceptions
Unexpected expenses or if you have a birthday party, a new job or any major event you can spend if you need to. It is preferable you have this budgeted in and set aside as separate from the challenge, however, as life happens and can throw curveballs, don’t get hung up if something unexpected pops up and you have to spend. Try to find ways you can do it without spending (feel free to ask on my Facebook page or message/email me and I can post it as a question for everyone to see on there and respond).

The Rules And Advice
The beauty of Nospendver is you set your own rules! Here are the rules I will be abiding by:
1.) Have a “why”
Why are you doing NoSpendver? What do you want to achieve from it? Enough money set aside to cover Christmas and the school holidays with cash only? An emergency fund? A family holiday? A new freezer? Having a reason to stop you spending and knowing it is only for 30 days can help stop impulse buys.
Whatever your reason is write it on your mirror, put a visual reminder in your wallet, on your phone and anywhere else that will help.

2.) Record everything now
Take note of how much money you have in each bank account, how much you owe where such as credit cards, mortgage, personal or car loans etc. Get all your paperwork together for bills, insurance, electricity, gas, all of it. We will be reviewing things over the month and it’s great to see where you are at financially right now, so you know how much you have improved by the end of the month.

3.) No takeaway or cafes.
I do a fair few meetings in cafes now and I don’t like it. For one, I have to drive there and two, I spend there. My office will be set up again soon and meetings will either be there, a park or at someone else’s office. With all that running around, we have had a bit of takeaway too and I don’t like it.
I will menu plan properly, cook ahead and freeze. I have a chest freezer now and it is so good. I will have paid for itself within a month.

4.) Drive only when necessary
We live too far away from school to walk now so I have to drive every day, however I could drive less elsewhere. My aim is halve my driving this month which will save me time, petrol and wear on my car.

5.) Stick to a wants/needs and wishlist
There are some needs for our new home. I am making do at the moment but they are on the list to buy as soon as the house is properly set up. With this I have a definite lists – wants, needs, wishlist. On the needs list are items that are real needs, not items I want to buy and so have justified the purchase or made up a reason I ‘need’ them. They are things like a mop and ironing board.
On the wants list are items I want such as bar stools, but they are not needs. I will get them eventually, but not this month. My wants list is often items others would deem as justified needs, but I am very clear about what is a want and what is a need.
The wishlist has items I really want, but I can do without or are my ‘dream’ version of something. At the moment there isn’t a lot on there, but I do have a vision board.

6.) 30 day wants
Along with the list, I have a 30 day rule. Instead of buying things on impulse, I put it on a list and see if I still want that item in 30 days. 90% of the time I don’t. On the rare occasion I do want an item on the list after the 30 days, I then budget it and check for the best price.

7.) Free first
Look for free things such as events, activities, attractions and entertainment and plan them into your month to keep you entertained.
If you have items on your lists (wants, needs, wishlist), search to get them for free. Tell people what you are looking for, check classifieds, Facebook, everywhere to see if you can source it for free.

8.) Get the family involved
My daughters are aware we are doing a no spend month and they know the money is going to a family holiday. It will sit in savings until then. They are very excited, we have a map of where we are going and they are saving their own money too.

9.) Plan ahead
If you have the time before November 1st, set some goals, get a vision board and get it all in place before the month starts. Know where you will be, what you will be doing, ways to stop boredom and impulse purchases etc. Have plans in place to prevent spending and reduce the desire to spend.

A few years ago I switched off the TV for a month. At first it was hard, but by the end of the month I no longer had the desire to watch TV. Many habits are like that, if you can stop them for 30 days, you are pretty much done with it. It’s my hope NoSpendver will be like this to help curb spending.

10.) Get rid of temptation
Delete the eBay app from your phone, put blocks in place for other ways you are tempted to spend. Get rid of the temptation for the month to help you reduce your spending and stay focused.



Social Media
Use the hashtag #nospendver to see what others are posting, saying and doing. Also, on Instagram we will have a daily visual reminder about what we are doing and you can join in by posting your own pictures, using #nospendver. Plus if you tag me @kylieofiu (on Instagram or twitter) I can check out and reshare what you are posting.
NoSpendver Instagram

Here are some suggestions and clarification on the visual reminders:
1.) Wallet – Take a picture of your wallet, handbag or purse
2.) Freebie – What is something you got for free lately?
3.) What is your why? – Why are you doing NoSpendver? If it’s a holiday post a picture of where you want to go, if it’s Christmas post a Christmas picture, if it’s debt you could draw a graph of how much you have to pay off etc.
4.) Free fun – What fun things have you done for free or are free to do near you?
5.) Fashion – Show us a great frugal fashion score of yours
6.) Transport – How do you get around or wish you got around eg your car, a bike, public transport, your dream car or bike. (I wish I had a cute vintage looking bike to get around!)
7.) Communication – we communicate in many ways, show us a picture of your phone, cute stationary, a picture of catching up with friends over a yummy afternoon tea.
8.) Gift – what great gifts have you given, gifts you have made, gorgeous wrapping ideas
9.) Beauty – your favourite products, DIY beauty options, natural beauty or anything you think is beautiful
10.) Sport – what sport do you play, watch or wish you did? Maybe you admire ballet dancers, or love to watch football. You could even post a picture dressed in your teams gear.
11.) Grocery – a picture of your groceries, or a must buy item, where you shop or what your pantry/fridge/freezer looks like right now.
12.) Hobby – what is your hobby? Share a picture of you doing it, something you have made, what supplies you have or something you want to do that involves your hobby.
13.) Charity – what charity do you support and why? Share a picture of how people can help in the community, things you have done or seen others do, a picture of your favourite charity or someone you think does great work.
14.) Wishlist – share a picture of something on your wishlist or you could share your wishlist.
15.) How you feel – share a picture showing how you feel today
16.) Favourite drink – what is your favourite drink? Chocolate milk, juice, wine, cocktails?
17.) View you love – it doesn’t have to be the view you have today, just a view you love.
18.) Piggy bank or cash jar – your own, your kids or a cute one you’ve seen
19.) Books – What book has inspired you? What book are you reading now? What is on your to read list? Or share a picture of you bookshelf.
20.) Light – sunrise, sunset, light filtering through the clouds, city lights, any sort of light.
21.) Water – the beach, the river, a lake, a bath, any sort of water.
22.) Dream home – do you have a picture of your dream home? Or things you want in your dream home?
23.) Grateful – what are you grateful for?
24.) Garden – share your garden, a garden that inspires you, flowers or plants you want in your garden.
25.) Holiday – share pictures from a holiday you have been on, want to go on or a dream destination.
26.) Health – a smoothie, you exercising, meditation, anything that makes you think of health
27.) Sanity – what keeps you sane? Your family, sport, a bath, a special meal?
28.) Home decor – something in your home you love, your favourite room in your home or something you want for your home.
29.) Money – money from your money jar, wallet or international money, anything relating to money.
30.) Selfie – take a selfie, because you did it! You finished NoSpendver.

BONUSES

My aim this month is to get as many people as possible to review their finances, get real with their money and get control of their money and life again. To do this I have arranged a few giveaways as well as the social media, daily posts and emails.

How can you win stuff?
By sharing, liking, commenting, doing a blog post yourself and by getting involved in NoSpendver. I have Tupperware, Kikki.K, a Wish giftcard and a few other things that will be given away throughout the month.

Are you going to join in?

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Do you really know about your superannuation and your retirement? Do you know how much you have in superannuation, how long it will last you, what fees you pay and what you will do in retirement?

There have been a few changes to superannuation with the current government you need to be aware of. Superannuation doesn’t have to be tricky and since it is an important part of your financial independence as you age, you should know how to maximize it.

Simple superannuation basics
Retirement age
When most people say ‘retirement age” what they often mean is preservation age, which is the age you can access your superannuation. Preservation age varies depending on when you were born but is between 55 and 65. With the current life expectancy of 82.10 years in Australia, that is 12 – 27 years you will need to support yourself.

How much the average Australian has and how much you need
The average male Australian has less than $200,000 in their superannuation fund and the average female has almost half that with less than $120,000.

This infographic from CareSuper based on figures from The Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) helps illustrate the gap.

If you have been living a $50,000 per year lifestyle and wish to continue that lifestyle into retirement, then you really only have a few years worth of retirement based on average superannuation accounts. How much you need is determined by your lifestyle.

Employer contributions
Your employer is required to pay the equivalent of 9.5% of your income to your super. Check your employment contract for specifics. The average Australian income is around $75,000 a year. If we take out the first few years after university and count from ages 30 to 60, in that 30 years if you earn $75,000 a year, your employer will have contributed $208,125. This doesn’t take into account government super contributions tax, interest, any time off unemployed/with family/illness or account fees.

Co-contributions
The Australian Government offers a co-contribution up to $500 for those earning under $48,000 per annum. This means if you are eligible and you contribute extra into your super, even $10 a week which equates to $520 a year you are personally contributing, the government will deposit up to $500 extra into your super account.

Consolidate accounts
According to research by the Grattan Institute, Australians pay an average of one third of their superannuation in fees – one reason is we pay the highest super fees in the world, another is because we haven’t consolidated our superannuation accounts. Many of us have had multiple jobs by the time we are 30. Gone are the days of getting a job and sticking with that employer until you retire. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, over 50% of Australians have been employed with their current employer less than 5 years and 20% less than 12 months. If you start working at 15, something part time while at school and change jobs every 5 years, by the time you retire that is potentially 9 superannuation funds and you would be paying fees on all of them, unless you take the time to consolidate your accounts into one and nominate your chosen super fund when you start a new job.

Consolidating your accounts needn’t be difficult and you need to do it now. On May 31st, 2013 the ATO started collecting lost superannuation funds with under $2,000 in. Previously the limit was $200. Would you willingly give the ATO $2,000? If you wouldn’t then you should take the time to consolidate your superannuation accounts and check the ATO’s lost member register for your lost super.

Industry Super Funds
There are many different funds, it can be hard to know which are best. Typically industry super funds have lower fees and great knowledge about your industry, for example CareSuper, which has won Industry Fund of the Year for the second consecutive at the Smart Investor Blue Ribbon Awards.

Superannuation investing
There are various levels of risk and ways to invest your superannuation within your fund. You may have the ability to change this risk at any time. For example, you might feel safer with a low risk option such as cash, whereas your partner may prefer a higher risk option such as shares. Low risk often means low returns, but is safer. High risk often means higher returns, which can be great for your retirement, but as the risk is greater, it does mean there is more potential to lose money. As with all investments, do your research and invest at a level you are comfortable with.

How to get the most out of your superannuation
Hopefully the above has made superannuation clearer for you, so how do you get the most out of it?

  • Check insurance

Some insurance such as life insurance is available through your superannuation. Check what is, check the level of cover and stop paying double for insurance. If you were paying for life insurance separately, you could redirect that money to your superannuation account.

  • Co-contributions

As mentioned above, this is a great way to grow your superannuation if you are eligible.

  • Salary sacrificing

Another option to contribute more to your superannuation is to salary sacrifice some of your salary into your superannuation. This reduces your taxable income, helps grow your superannuation and as a result you may pay less tax but are better prepared for retirement.

  • Consolidate super

Another tip mentioned above, but it is so important. Get all your superannuation together, stop paying excess fees and get a fund that works best for you.

  • Watch your superannuation

Instead of being set and forget, be proactive about your finances. Check you balance regularly to see how it is performing and how close you are to your retirement goal.

  • Pay yourself superannuation

Many sole traders do not pay themselves superannuation. It is not a requirement by law for them to, but it can leave you severely short when it’s time to retire.

  • Protect what you have

One issue many face is being scammed. The most common scam for superannuation funds are phishing scams where they ask for personal details or require you to click on a link within an email. These scams allow the scammers to glean your information and gain access to your accounts, taking the money and leaving you with nothing. Never give out information or click on links in emails. Always check directly with your superannuation fund yourself.

  • Have a plan

It is much easier to save when you have a plan. Know how much you need to retire on, what you want to do in retirement and plan accordingly.

Superannuation doesn’t need to be complicated and it is a great way to support yourself when it comes to retiring. With the added benefits such as life insurance, it makes sense to get to know your superannuation better.

Do you know how much is in your superannuation account, how many accounts you have or how much you need for retirement?

What are your retirement plans?

This post contains factual information and my own opinion about super in general. It doesn’t take into account your situation. While I am not personally recommending CareSuper, information about superannuation can be obtained from their website caresuper.com.au and it’s always good to get your own advice about financial matters.  CareSuper has paid a fee for me to post this blog about super.

Statistics and information referred to in this post were obtained through the ATO, Australian Bureau of Statistics, ASFA, The Grattan Institute and MoneySmart.

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Young Australian Of The Year ACT Finalist + Anti Poverty Week

October 10, 2014

I am officially one of four finalists for Young Australian Of The Year 2015, in the ACT. I am so amazed. There are four categories for the Australian Of The Year Awards. Here are the ACT finalists: 2015 ACT AUSTRALIAN OF THE YEAR Glenn Keys – Business and philanthropic leader Lieutenant General David Morrison AO – Equality […]

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How to get money fast without a loan

October 7, 2014

How can you get money now? You’ve got a bigger than expected bill or your car tyres just blew or something happened and now you need an extra $500. How can you possibly find it? Having been in this situation myself before, I know a few ways you can find or make money quickly. Look […]

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JAXQuickfit Tyres Taree New Store – Sponsored

September 30, 2014

JAX Tyres Taree is now open for your convenience at 62-64 Victoria St. The store provides tyres, wheels, brakes and suspension servicing for local residents. Glenn Porter, a local since 2011, will use his experience from Porter’s Tyres in Rockhampton and management of Capricorn Tyre and Brake in Yeppoon to provide peace of mind around […]

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