Aged care spots for 13,500 approved

Posted on 8 March 2019
Aged care spots for 13,500 approved

(Australian Associated Press)

An extra 13,500 spots will be made available at residential aged care centres across Australia in the coming years, with the federal government set to spend $907 million each year on the fresh places.

The new spots have been approved through a process in which aged care operators vie for public funds.

Australians with financial challenges, who are Indigenous or from the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex communities will have priority access to almost a quarter of the places.

When they become available will vary, depending on the time taken for aged care providers to undertake necessary constructions.

The Morrison government will also spend $60 million on such construction projects, to build new aged care homes and extend others.

More than 5,000 of the new places are based in regional areas, in an effort to tackle challenges faced by those communities.

"Every one of these new places will mean senior Australians can age with more confidence, knowing they have future care options in locations as close as possible to their families and communities, whether in the city of the country." Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt says.

The announcement comes after the government announced last month it would spend an extra $662 million on aged care, including rolling out $320 million to residential facilities by June to boost services.

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Living longer, women could invest more

Posted on 7 March 2019
Living longer, women could invest more

Greta Stonehouse
(Australian Associated Press)

Women need to look at making their money work harder to help offset the double impact of earning less than men while living longer.

Funds manager Fidelity International says women are grossly underestimating how much money they will need to retire comfortably.

Ahead of International Women's Day on Friday, Fidelity has found men estimate they need about $1.5 million in retirement, while women cite a figure closer to $1 million.

But the survey of 1,222 people with a minimum of $20,000 in investable assets outside superannuation, found that women are still more prone to worry about their financial future despite investing less than men.

Of those surveyed, 73.5 per cent of men said they felt they had the right level of knowledge regarding investment compared to only 58.8 per cent of women.

Managing director of Fidelity International Alva Devoy says, with many falling behind in seniority and super savings because they take more career breaks to raise children, women need to maximise gain later down the track.

"If women's ability to earn and then save during their working lives is less than men's, then it's more important than ever that they have access to the tools to make their money work hard for them," Ms Devoy said.

The report pointed to an example showing $10,000 invested in cash in S&P/ASX200 in the year 2000 would be worth $45,000 today, while the cash would be worth $21,780.

The research suggests not having enough money, a lack of confidence, and being more risk-averse as factors holding women back in this area.

More women said they were interested in paying off their debt, before investing and capitalising on interest.

"Having enough money to provide for their families, paying off their mortgage and having enough money for the lifestyle they want in retirement all ranked as top priorities", Ms Devoy said.

Ms Devoy said unlocking women's financial power would not just benefit women, but society and the economy as a whole.

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Pensioners set for income threshold boost

Posted on 15 February 2019
Pensioners set for income threshold boost

Rebecca Gredley
(Australian Associated Press)

Pensioners will soon be able to earn $300 a fortnight without it hurting their welfare payments under draft laws which passed the first hurdle of parliament.

The proposal cleared the lower house alongside two other measures means testing pooled-retirement-income products and allowing more older Australians to access the pension loan scheme at an overall cost of $258.6 million over the forward estimates.

"Overall, this bill gives retirees greater choice and flexibility when it comes to managing their finances in retirement," Social Services Minister Paul Fletcher said on Wednesday.

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5 money mindsets that hold you back

Posted on 4 February 2019
5 money mindsets that hold you back

Money and Life
(Financial Planning Association of Australia)

What's holding you back from taking control of your financial future? Discover the five mind tricks that can stop you from achieving financial success and what you can do to avoid them.

Fear of failure

Earning and saving money from your salary is all very well. But setting up an alternative income stream from an investment portfolio can help you make the most of your personal wealth potential. So what is it that holds people back from taking their first steps into investing? According to recent surveys, 70% of millenials would rather keep their savings in cash1 instead of investing it and getting the benefit of compound interest. And one of the main reasons for their reluctance is their fear of losing what little money they have.

Fear is certainly one of the biggest reasons for avoiding the risks, large or small, that come with investing money. And no-one has a magic wand to eliminate these risks altogether. But with advice from a professional who understands your financial circumstances and goals, you can get off to a successful start in investing that builds your confidence as well as your wealth.

Waiting for wealth

It's all too easy to just wait for someone else to sort out your financial future. You might keep saying that you'll start building your savings and wealth when that golden goose lays its egg for you. And that egg you're counting on whether it's a higher salary, bonus or redundancy payout for your employer or a gift or inheritance from your family may never arrive.

If this is the fairy story you've been telling yourself, it's time to rewrite it with yourself as the hero. By sticking to a budget, coming up with your most important goals and creating a financial plan to help you reach them, you'll soon become your very own golden goose.

The high price of inertia

We're all busy people and we all have a comfort zone. And that's why inertia can so often stand in the way of spending less and saving more. In fact, inertia is seen as such a big problem for personal financial security in the UK that a new Institute of Inertia has been established at the University of Sheffield to study behaviour that's estimated to cost the nation £7.6 billion2.

Inertia can mean spending more than you need to on your energy or grocery bills. It could also be stopping you from tracking down lost super and/or bringing together all your super savings in a single fund to save on fees. Or it could mean sticking with the same mortgage when you could be saving thousands in interest by switching. Whatever it is that you're not getting around to doing to save money, having a financial coach personal or professional can keep you accountable in taking small steps towards big savings.

The lifestyle inflation trap

The "earn more, spend more" phenomenon has been dubbed "lifestyle inflation" and it's something that can really get in the way of preparing for a better financial future. The dangers of behaviour that comes from lifestyle inflation are twofold. The first is what's known as the Diderot effect3. This happens when you buy something new, stylish and beautiful and it makes all your other stuff seem shabby and old. So you start to replace everything else as well.

The second issue is your new level of wealth can't last forever. Even if you keep earning more a time is going to come when you'll stop. We call it retirement and if you're not saving and planning for it, the fall in your spending and standard of living is going to be very steep indeed. So if you're finding it hard to save even when you're earning more, try looking into the future and imagining how much you'll be enjoying life when you have to budget carefully to pay for food and other essentials, let alone buy anything new.

Winging it won't work

Leaving your finances to chance won't bring you the peace of mind that comes with prosperity. Having the money to back future choices for your career, family and lifestyle isn't going to happen by accident. People who make it look easy have probably put in quite a lot of time and effort to ensure they're in a good place financially.

If you're naturally a happy go lucky kind of person you're probably well-liked for your carefree generosity. Especially when you're the first among your friends to open your wallet and pay the lion's share of the bar or restaurant bill. Sticking to a budget doesn't have to mean being stingy. It's more a case of picking and choosing your generous moments so you can still cover your day-to-day expenses and put some of your money towards providing for your future.

Whatever obstacle you're trying to overcome on the path to financial success, a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® professional can offer valuable advice on making changes to get you in control of your finances.

For more tips and tricks on how to manage your money, avoid mistakes that can derail your financial future, and secure your financial freedom, download our free eBook.

Footnotes

  1. Nerdwallet, "Fear keeps millenials on investing sidelines", Brad Sherman, 2 August 2016,https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/investing/millennials-fear-investing/?trk=nw-wire_305_283020_24452
  2. The University of Sheffield, "Britain's psychological inertia contributes to 'financial hardship'", 23 September 2015, https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/news/nr/psychological-inertia-contributes-to-financial-hardship-1.510235
  3. Lifehacker, "The 'Diderot Effect' Turns You Into A Weak, Mindless Consumer," Kristin Wong, 16 September 2015, https://www.lifehacker.com.au/2015/09/the-diderot-effect-turns-you-into-a-weak-mindless-consumer/
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Live for the moment vs save for the future

Posted on 1 February 2019
Live for the moment vs save for the future

Money and Life
(Financial Planning Association of Australia)

Want to boost your financial wellbeing without giving up completely on being spontaneous?  Get on top of your finances and enjoy life more at the same time with our five step guide to living in the moment while saving for the future.

Don't be a slave to your savings

Mastering money starts with a budget and there's no doubt that feeling in control of your money is linked to your overall wellbeing. But you might be reluctant to set a budget when it makes you feel like all your money is spoken for. Life can seem very limited if you've already decided on the exact destination for each and every dollar.

So instead of becoming a slave to saving for the future, here's a five-step approach that keeps your options open for doing some spontaneous spending once in a while, without losing out on your future financial stability as a result.

1. Get cash flow savvy

Figuring out just where your money is going right now night seem like a hassle. But it's absolutely necessary if you're going to achieve your goal of saving and also spending a little just for the sake of it. Understanding your spending habits and patterns can shed some light on where you're spending more than you need to, so you can start to make better choices with your dollars in step 2.

Doing this weekly makes it much easier to take control of cash flow. A week of overspending can be balanced out quickly in the following week simply by making a few small sacrifices.

2. Budget based on what matters

Now it's crunch time for making good on those cash flow lessons you've been learning. By looking at where your money has been going, you've got the knowledge you need to stop spending on things that are less important. This frees up more dollars for your savings and what you really value.

Let's take dining out for example. If you have your heart set on an overseas holiday once a year, ask yourself if weekly restaurant meals are as important?  By cooking at home for three out of every four Saturdays and saving that money towards travel instead, you're directing your budget towards what matters to you.

3. Limit fixed commitments

Having more to spend in the present also depends on limiting how much of your income is already spoken for. Mortgage and loan repayments, utility bills, insurance premiums, memberships and subscriptions are all regular payments that can add up to a big chunk of your outgoings. While some of these are essential, avoiding buying things on credit or using a loan can reduce your ongoing costs and free up money to save towards your goals or spend spontaneously.

4. Automate your savings

Whether it's saving for a new car so you won't have that long-term commitment to paying off a loan plus interest a holiday, or just a rainy day, setting up separate accounts for these goals helps you see that you're making progress. And making automatic deposits from your income into these accounts is the ideal way to ensure you're making regular contributions towards your goals.

5. Plan to spend spontaneously

As these savings balances start to grow, it can bring a sense of freedom in your current and future spending choices. Knowing your goals are getting closer allows you to spend money freely and still be financially responsible for your future. And if you want to look forward to a guilt-free splurge, think about dedicating one of your savings accounts to spontaneity. With a pot of cash on hand to spend at will, you can enjoy 'live in the moment' experiences now and again without your future goals or cash flow taking a hit.

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