Superannuation can be a highly tax effective method of saving for your retirement in Australia, potentially helping you fund and enjoy the retirement lifestyle you desire.
Though while it is important to contribute towards your retirement, it is also important to make sure your superannuation is working effectively for you. There's a wide variety of funds and super options available, with different opportunities that could help you throughout your life. Assessing and navigating these can be tricky, that's why it is important to make an educated decision on what can work best for your lifestyle and goals.
We provide a tailored advisory service where our advisors can help you with identifying and assessing superannuation options, along with developing superannuation strategies to help you maximise your super.
Making Your Super Work for You
Depending on your scenario, there are many different ways you can help give your super a boost. For example, consolidating your funds into one fund could reduce fees and make it easier to manage your super. Additionally, some super funds may provide access to more comprehensive and competitive life insurance, which could help ease the financial cost if you're looking for cover.
From consolidating funds to identifying more competitive insurance, our team are able to help you with advice on maximising your super.
Our superannuation advice services include:
- consolidation of superannuation funds
- salary sacrificing to help boost your superannuation where possible
- reviewing insurance options within your fund
- assessing and recommending investment options to suit your goals and lifestyle
- advice on strategies to contribute towards your superannuation savings
Personal Risk Insurance
Personal risk insurance can provide you with cover whether you're living by yourself and building your business, or want to ensure your family will have support if you were to become ill or pass away.
There's a wide variety of insurance options available today, each tailored to a different aspect of people's lifestyle and career. When choosing an insurance plan, it is important to make an educated decision on what will best suit you and those you want to include in the plan.
Here at SGA, we provide professional advice on personal risk insurance plans for individuals, couples, families and business owners. Our advisors will sit down with you to discuss your plans, assessing insurance options to suit your lifestyle and goals.
Life insurance pays out a lump sum to you in the event of your death or terminal illness. This lump sum can assist your family with meeting their financial requirements such as funeral costs, mortgage payments and school fees.
Total and Permanent Disability insurance (TPD) provides a lump sum in the event you are totally and permanently disabled from illness or injury. This can provide financial support to assist with:
- medical expenses
- pay off debts
- lifestyle changes
- providing support for your family
- renovations around your house
Income Protection / Salary Continuance
Income protection pays out a monthly benefit which can cover up to 75% of your salary/income, in the event you were to suffer from an accident, illness or major trauma that stops you from working.
Income protection insurance can help you with covering day-to-day expenses, supporting your family and recovering until you return to work. The annual premium for income protection is also generally tax deductible.
Business Expenses Insurance
Business expenses insurance is similar to income protection insurance, though tailored for business owners. It provides a monthly benefit to cover business costs (generally for up to 12 months) if you were to suffer from illness or injury and unable to work. What business costs are covered varies from plan to plan, thus make sure to review the appropriate insurance plans for the cover you require.
Trauma / Critical Illness
Trauma / critical illness insurance provides a lump sum on the diagnosis of a specified medical condition or procedure. The applicable medical conditions vary between insurers and can cover cancer, heart attack and stroke or organ transplant.
The financial support provided by trauma / critical illness insurance can help you with focusing on recovery, while providing you with funds to cover costs such as bills, loan payments and living expenses.
What does insurance cost? How much cover is enough?
The cost of insurance plans and the appropriate amount of cover can vary based on different aspects including your age, gender and income. As such, it is best to discuss your insurance options and plans with a professional to determine what would suit your lifestyle and goals before committing to an insurance plan.
Budgeting and Cashflow maximisation
An efficient cash flow and budget is one of the most important parts of business and covering your day-to-day living expenses. The Financial Tools on this site are a very good resource for you to use for this purpose.
Here at SGA, we can provide you with professional and tailored advice on developing budgets and maximising your cash flow.
There are many cases where people want to gain control of their finances, they simply don't know where all their money is going, or have difficulty managing it.
Constructing a budget and cash flow management program can enable you to efficiently organise your living costs and goals for you and your family. This can help you with putting away savings, reaching financial goals, identifying expenses and managing your living costs.
We can provide you with in-depth advice and assistance with creating a budget to suit your lifestyle. Whether you're living by yourself, starting a family or even happily retired, a budget can be useful for people in many different types of financial situations.
Our budgeting and cash flow advice services include:
- budget creation
- assessment and review of your income
- assessing and maximising your tax savings
- advice on paying back loans through more effective methods
- advice on managing and maximising your cash flow
- saving funds for your goals
Business Succession and Shareholder Protection
Business succession and shareholder protection can assist business owners with developing strategies and cover for issues that your business may face, such as the loss of key staff, retirement, serious illness or death.
At SGA, we offer professional advice in the areas of business succession and shareholder protection. Our advisors can help you and your business partners with developing comprehensive plans and strategies to protect against the risks associated with running a business.
Planning for the day you leave your business is important. If you were to leave unexpectedly (due to serious illness, death or disability), your shares and responsibility within the business may be transferred to your spouse or family, potentially leaving your business partners in a difficult position.
Developing a succession or exit plan details who will take over your business. This can be useful for avoiding disputes, along with ensuring your business smoothly transitions and continues to operate.
Salary packaging (or salary sacrifice) is an ATO approved method of restructuring your income and can result in a reduction of your taxable income. This can save you money as you could pay less tax, depending on your situation and industry.
When salary packaging, an employee can replace some of their cash income with some items of similar value, paying for them with your pre-tax income rather than after-tax income. This can include laptops, cars, school fees and many more day-to-day items.
What can I package?
What you can package depends on your employer and the industry you are working in, such as if it is a ATO approved not-for-profit organisation, a not-for-profit hospital or a private organisation, to name a few.
Items that could be packaged (depending on your industry and employer) include:
- mobile phones, tablets and laptops
- work related self-education
- educational professional memberships and subscriptions
- relocation expenses
- remote area housing related to work
- airline lounge membership and taxis
If working for a not-for-profit organisation or public hospital, what could I package?
- meal entertainment
- living expenses
- mortgage and loan repayments
- credit card payments
Wealth Creation and Tax Minimisation
Tax Minimisation Strategies
There are a wide variety of methods which can be utilised to legally reduce the amount of tax you pay. Our advisors can help you with identifying taxation options to help you, such as:
- identifying tax deductions and options that are applicable for you
- reviewing tax effective investments
- salary packaging
- assessing insurance premiums
Salary packaging allows you to pay for various living expenses or items with your pre-tax salary, rather than after-tax salary, depending on your industry and employer. This is an ATO approved method that can potentially reduce the amount of tax owed for you.
Borrowing to Invest (Gearing)
Gearing, also known as borrowing to invest, can be used as a method of building your wealth. It is a strategy which gives you the ability to invest more than would be normally possible. Investors can use methods of positive gearing, neutral gearing or negative gearing.
Before taking the plunge into gearing, there are a range of risks that you should consider. Some of these risks to consider are that an investment or asset may not provide the expected return, the investment may produce little or no income during periods and that gearing can multiply your loss.
In Australia, superannuation is a method of savings where money is put into a fund by your employer or you and invested towards your retirement. It can be a tax effective method of saving for your retirement.
Borrowing to Invest - Gearing
Borrowing to invest (gearing) can be an effective method of creating wealth through investments by giving you the ability to invest more than you otherwise would be able to normally.
There are a range of advantages, disadvantages and risks related to gearing, thus it is best you make an informed decision before settling on your investment strategy.
Our advisors can provide you with education and detailed advice on gearing, the risks associated with it and what options could be appropriate for you and your investment goals.
Positive gearing is when you borrow to invest and your investment asset produces returns/income greater than the costs of borrowing.
An example of this would be if you were to invest in a property. Your property could provide better returns from tenants than the running costs and loan repayments. This property would be positively geared.
Neutral gearing is when you borrow to invest and the interest payments on your loan and the income from your investment asset are relatively closely aligned.
Negative gearing is when you borrow to invest and the interest payments on your loan cost more than the income from your investment asset.
An example of this would be if you were to invest in a property where the running costs and interest/loan repayments are higher than what you receive from the tenants. This property is negatively geared.
Is borrowing to invest (gearing) right for me?
Before diving in, there are advantages, disadvantages and risks associated with gearing that you should assess beforehand to determine if gearing is appropriate for you. Some of the risks associated include:
- Assets may not provide the expected return.
- While gearing can improve your earnings, it can also multiply your losses.
- If you rely on investments as a source of income, there may be times where your investment produces minimal to no income. In some cases, there could also be losses.
For professional advice on gearing and borrowing to invest, contact us to arrange a free no obligation consultation with our advisors.
If you, or your family, need to decide about aged care suddenly the added emotional stress and working a way through the process can make finding an agreeable solution seem impossible. By thinking ahead early you can consider alternative options, seek appropriate advice and put plans in place - then you can move on to enjoying your retirement.
Paying for Aged Care
When the time come to move yourself and/or your parents into residential aged care the associated costs will be determined by a means test applied to your personal income and assets, including the family home.
Homeowners with insufficient cash to cover the cost of aged care accommodation are tempted to sell or rent out their property. For example, if they rent out their home, a combination of rental income and part-pension may provide enough money for living costs, while retaining the family home. Selling up on the other hand, could reduce an individual’s pension entitlement if the value of the home far outstrips the cost of care.
It’s really important to seek financial advice on what the best option is for you or your parents so you can make sure you’re living the best life you can. Structuring your affairs appropriately prior to or as early as possible when Aged Care becomes a reality can ensure you achieve the following:
- Determining whether or not to sell the family home.
- Most appropriate method of funding your RAD/DAP (e.g. Bond) upon entry to an Aged Care home.
- Minimise the ongoing costs of Aged Care.
- Maximise your incomes from both Government (e.g. Centrelink Pension) and your own investments.
- Position your financial assets appropriately for your children to inherit.
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