18 March 2020
Unfortunately, scammers are taking advantage of the spread of coronavirus to exploit and play on the fears of consumers across Australia.
Scammers are doing things such as falsely selling coronavirus-related products online, and using fake emails or text messages to try and obtain personal data.
Other scams include phishing emails and phone calls impersonating the World Health Organisation, government authorities, and legitimate businesses including travel agents and telecommunications companies.
Common types of coronavirus scams
We have received reports of:
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Money and Life
(Financial Planning Association of Australia)
Keeping busy with work and family year after year can make it tricky to decide how to spend time in retirement. Discover ways to feel your best and make the most of life after work.
1. Keeping active
According to research from Sydney University, people who have retired generally adopt a healthier lifestyle than their working peers. With more time on their hands, retired people are getting a better night's sleep and more exercise. The study of 25,000 older Australians shows that retired people sleep 11 minutes longer and spend 93 minutes more per week keeping physically active, compared with the same age group still in the workforce. These findings could be part of the reason why Australians are living longer. "We hope this information could translate to better health in older Australians, preventing cardiovascular disease and diabetes," says Dr. Melody Ding, lead researcher for the study.
So what could your healthy lifestyle in retirement look like? If you already like to run, hike or cycle, you'll have more time to enjoy these activities and won't need to budget for extra equipment. Joining a gym or sports team is another way to add exercise into your weekly routine, and make new friends too.
2. Staying social
Your social networks in retirement are just as important to your health and wellbeing as a regular commitment to exercise. In a 2013 research study, Oliver Huxhold from the German Centre of Gerontology found a significant difference in life satisfaction among older people who regularly take part in activities with friends. Not only does this social activity improve mental health and boost positive feelings, it can also protect people from the negative effects of ageing.
Work can often play a big part on our social life. In retirement, you can find yourself feeling isolated when you've been used to daily contact with colleagues and friends from work. So it's important to strengthen social ties with friends, new and old, who share your interests. There are all kinds of ways to reach out to like-minded people in your community, through volunteering, joining clubs or local interest groups.
3. Working and volunteering
Not everyone sees retirement as their chance to stop working altogether. Continuing to work in some capacity can be a very positive lifestyle choice, giving your days and weeks a welcome routine and purpose. Part-time work can also be a great way to supplement your income in retirement and help your savings last longer. Having more time on your hands can also allow you to set-up that business you've always wanted to try or start a hobby that could turn into an extra source of income.
After a lifetime of work, you're likely to have knowledge and skills to offer others through a mentoring or tutoring arrangement. This can be a very rewarding way to develop your social network and you can choose whether to accept payment or offer your time and skills as a volunteer. This is one of many types of volunteering that can give you the sense of purpose you enjoyed in your work and enable you to make a positive contribution to your community.
4. Spreading your wings
With fewer demands on your time, perhaps you can get around to ticking some destinations off the bucket list? Whether you're planning to head overseas or pack up a caravan and join the growing ranks of grey nomads, travel in retirement can be a very rewarding experience. According to Tourism Research Australia, the Grey Nomad trend - people age 55+ spending long periods travelling around Australia is growing, with a massive 90% increase in the number of 55 to 70-year-old domestic travellers since 2000. Many people find they can live on a more modest budget as they travel. Others are just drawn to the lifestyle that comes with road tripping their way through retirement.
If you're heading overseas, many companies organise travel programs specifically for people who are retired. These trips can be ideal if you're looking to meet and travel with likeminded people and have all the hard work and planning taken care of. When travelling for extended periods, it's worth organising a Power of Attorney to make it easier to manage your personal and financial affairs from abroad.
5. Family commitments
Having more time to spend with family can be one of the greatest rewards of retirement. Many retirees love to be involved with caring for grandchildren. Having finished work, they have fewer responsibilities to juggle and may welcome the chance to focus attention on their newest family members.
However, taking on too much responsibility for the care of others - whether that's grandchildren and/or elderly parents - can limit the time you have to look after yourself and do other things you enjoy. And when it comes to helping family out with money, be sure you're not putting yourself in a vulnerable position with your own finances and be aware of any circumstances where a family member is taking advantage of your goodwill and generosity with money. Cases of elder financial abuse are most likely among family members and there is support and help available if you think you may be experiencing financial abuse.
6. Location, location
Where you live can often be one of the most important choices to make for your future wellbeing in retirement. It can have a big impact on what you'll do with your time and who you'll spend it with, as well as your retirement budget. Sometimes downsizing can make sense for practical reasons, as it can allow you to move somewhere that's easier to maintain and 'lock up and leave' if you're planning to travel. For others, it's a way to use the equity in their home to fund their retirement.
If you're planning to sell and make a sea change, this can bring more budget benefits if you're moving to a location where the property and lifestyle is more affordable. But it's also important to think about the possibility of starting from scratch with your social life in a new neighbourhood and having access to activities you enjoy and the transport and health facilities you might need as you grow older.
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A sudden death can place financial stress on those who depend on you. If this happens, life cover can help them pay the bills and other living expenses.
What is life cover
Life cover is also called 'term life insurance' or 'death cover'. It pays a lump sum amount of money when you die. The money goes to the people you nominate as beneficiaries on the policy. If you haven't named a beneficiary, the super trustee or your estate decides where the money goes.
Life cover may also come with terminal illness cover. This pays a lump sum if you're diagnosed with a terminal illness with a limited life expectancy.
Accidental death insurance is different from life cover. It will only pay out if you die from an accident. It will not provide cover if you die from an illness, disease or suicide. This type of cover often has a lot of exclusions.
To understand what's covered under a policy and the exclusions, read the product disclosure statement (PDS).
Decide if you need life cover
If you have a partner or dependents, life insurance can help repay debt and cover living costs if you die.
If you don't have a partner, or people who depend on you financially, you may not need life cover. But consider getting trauma insurance, income protection insurance or total and permanent disability (TPD) insurance in case you get sick or injured.
How much life cover you might need
To decide how much life cover to get, consider how much money you or your family would:
The difference between these is the amount of cover you should get.
Work out if you need life insurance and how much cover you might need.
If you need help deciding if you need life cover, and how much, speak to a financial adviser.
How to buy life cover
Check if you already hold life insurance through super. Most super funds offer default life cover that's cheaper than buying it directly. You can increase your level of cover through your super fund if you need to.
You can also buy life cover from:
Life cover can be bought on its own or packaged with trauma, TPD or income protection insurance. If it's packaged, your life cover may be reduced by any amount paid on other claims in the package. Check the PDS or ask your insurer.
Life cover premiums
You can generally choose to pay for life cover with either:
Your choice of stepped or level premiums has a large impact on how much your premiums will cost now and in the future.
Compare life cover
Once you know how much life cover you need, shop around and compare:
A cheaper policy may have more exclusions, or it may become more expensive in the future. You can find information about the policy on the insurer's website or in the product disclosure statement (PDS).
Compare how long it takes different insurers to pay a life cover claim and the percentage of claims they pay out.
What you need to tell your insurer
You need to tell your insurer anything that could affect their decision to insure you. You need to give them this information when you apply, renew or change your level of cover.
Insurers usually ask for information about your:
If an insurer doesn't ask for your medical history, it may mean that the policy has more exclusions.
The information you provide will help the insurer to decide:
It is important that you answer the questions honestly. Providing misleading answers could lead an insurer to deny a claim you make.
Making a life cover claim
If someone close to you dies and you need to make a claim, or if you need to make a terminal illness claim, see how to make a life insurance claim.
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Family Trusts: What Are They and When Should You Have One?
A family trust simply refers to a trust set up by a family group who wish to safeguard their collective assets. Such trusts can be used to provide tax benefits to the group in question, to protect assets from individual liability, or to ring-fence them for inheritance or investment purposes.
Read on to discover more and to decide if this type of trust is right for you;
Before getting down to the benefits of a family trust, it is important to establish a few key terms;
The trust deed is a document which outlines the provisions of the trust, and the terms and conditions it is bound by. This document will be signed by the settlor and trustee(s) before it becomes valid.
The trustee is basically the manager of the fund, the person who is trusted with certain executive powers and responsibilities as outlined in the trust deed.
The settlor is a third party, not otherwise involved in the activities of the trust. They are responsible for handing over assets to the trustee on behalf of the beneficiary.
A beneficiary is anyone named in the trust deed who can benefit from the assets and wealth held in the trust.
Family Trust Benefits, Explained
Family trusts enable beneficiaries to enjoy the following benefits;
When Is a Family Trust Useful?
Any family which has assets worth protecting or comes into a substantial amount of money is recommended to set up a family trust. Remember that there can be more than one trustee just as there will usually be more than one beneficiary so creating a family trust does not just sign over the family's assets to the control of one member.
It is difficult to predict when someone might get into financial trouble or when an inheritance may need to be paid to a family member in the next generation. As such, it is better to set up a trust when times are good. This will then act as a financial shield on rainier days.
If you think a Family Trust might work for your family's assets, first talk to your lawyer, accountant or financial adviser for more specific advice.
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A good estate plan will help make sure your wishes are carried out when you die. It can also help if you become unable to make your own decisions.
An estate plan records what you want done with your assets after your death. It can include documents such as:
It also covers how you want to be cared for medically and financially if you can no longer make your own decisions. This part of your estate plan may be in documents such as:
The documents you choose will depend on your situation and what you're comfortable to trust others with. Get legal advice if you're not sure.
You must be over 18 and mentally competent when you draw up your estate plan.
A will is a legal document stating what you want to happen to your assets when you die. It is part (but not all) of your estate plan.
Your will can cover things like:
It's important to have an up to date will. If you die without one, the law decides who will get your assets and this may not be who you wanted.
Making your will
You can get your will written by a solicitor (for a fee) or by a Public Trustee. A Public Trustee may not charge if you:
If you use an online will kit, get it checked by a solicitor or Public Trustee. They can make sure it's been done properly. If your will isn't done properly, it will be invalid.
Make sure you put your will in a safe place and tell someone close to you where it is.
Updating your will
It's important to update your will as your situation changes for example, if you:
Super and your will
A binding nomination directs who your super fund trustee gives your super benefit to when you die. If you don't nominate someone, the super fund trustee will decide who your money goes to.
Family trusts and your will
If you have a family trust, it continues after your death. The trust determines who gets your assets, even if your will says something different.
A testamentary trust is a trust that is written in your will. It takes effect when you die, and it's administered by a trustee, who you usually name in your will.
The trustee looks after your assets until your beneficiaries can get them. This is set out in your will, and is either when:
You may want to consider setting up a trust if your beneficiaries:
Another reason to consider a trust is to avoid family assets being:
Powers of attorney
A power of attorney is a document where you give someone else the legal right to look after your affairs for you.
It's important to nominate someone that is trustworthy, financially responsible, and likely to be around when you need them.
There are different types of powers of attorney:
General power of attorney
This allows someone to make financial and legal decisions for you. It's usually for a specified time for example, if you're overseas and can't manage your affairs at home.
If you become unable to make decisions yourself, a general power of attorney becomes invalid.
Enduring power of attorney
An enduring power of attorney (or EPA) allows someone to make financial and legal decisions for you. If you become unable to make decisions yourself, an enduring power of attorney will still be valid.
Medical power of attorney
This allows someone to make medical decisions for you if you ever become unable to do so yourself. It doesn't allow them to make other kinds of decisions.
Legal and financial housekeeping
It will help your family and your executor if you list all the documents you have and where they're kept.As well as the documents talked about above, other key documents to keep handy are:
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