OnePath Pricing Update: Presented by Alex Lee

OnePath Pricing Update: Presented by Alex Lee

As a result of recent correspondence received from OnePath in relation to upcoming premium pricing increases on Income Protection and Total Permanent Disablement polices, we wanted to touch base and provide you with our summation of the update. These pricing increases will come into effect as of the 3rd of November 2020. Whilst you therefore may not be impacted immediately, it is important that we inform you of these changes. Our Senior Adviser Alex Lee has put together the below short video with our summary of the upcoming changes. In addition, please find below for your reference a further outline of some of the key points Alex mentions.

If you would like to arrange a time to speak with your Adviser regarding these changes, or for any other queries, please contact our office on 1300 856 765 or email clientconcierge@mcqueengroup.com.au.

Things To Check With Your Financial Adviser Before June 30 Rolls Around

Things To Check With Your Financial Adviser Before June 30 Rolls Around

With June 30 just around the corner, we want to ensure the run towards end of financial year is as smooth as possible for you. Below we have included a few things you might want to check with your Financial Adviser before June 30 rolls around.

Topping up your superannuation

Saving more in super can come with tax and other benefits this financial year – but that’s just the start. Once money is invested in super, earnings are taxed at a maximum rate of 15% – instead of your marginal tax rate, which may be up to 47%. This low tax rate can help you build your savings for retirement.

Some strategies to consider include:

1. Tax Deductible Super contributions

a) Maximising your concessional contribution cap of $25,000 is a great way to build super and claim the tax benefits along the way.

b) Furthermore, in July 2019, the Government introduced the ability for individuals to access unused concessional contributions cap from 1 July 2018 on a rolling five year basis provided your total superannuation balance is less than $500,000. If you missed the opportunity to maximise your cap last Financial Year, this could be a great opportunity to top up your superannuation even further and claim a larger tax deduction! It could also be useful if you anticipate that your income will be greater this Financial Year than in future.

2. Spouse Contribution

If your spouse has assessable income below $40,000 this Financial Year, you may be eligible to receive a tax offset of up to $540. This is a great way to boost your spouse’s superannuation balance whilst also paying less in tax.

3. Government Co-Contribution

If you earned less than $53,564 this Financial Year, you may be entitled to a government co-contribution for any after-tax contribution you make. Under certain criteria, a $1,000 contribution will be matched by a $500 co-contribution, which is a 50% return!

4. Non-Concessional Contribution

For the current Financial Year, you can contribute up to $100,000 as a non-concessional (or after-tax) contribution into super, with the ability to “bring forward” two years of non-concessional contributions and contribute $300,000 in one go. This is a great way to boost your superannuation balance and have more of your funds in a tax-effective environment.

Before you add to your super, keep in mind that you won’t be able to access the money until you meet certain conditions. Please speak with your Financial Adviser to determine the suitability of the above strategies for your situation.

Prepaying interest on your margin loan

If you have a margin loan in place now could be the time to prepay the interest on your loan and claim the interest as a tax deduction.

Paying more interest on a margin loan now, rather than later, is also a good strategy for those who know they probably won’t earn as much next financial year.

Donations of $2 or more are tax deductible

If you usually give to charity and haven’t yet, now is the time to consider if this is something you would like to do. Making your donation to a registered charity before June 30 will ensure that you can claim the tax deduction in your 2019-20 tax return.

Aged Care

Aged Care

The wave of older Australians will continue to grow over the coming decades. As such, we can no longer afford to ignore the issues around aged care with over 1 million retirees already accessing aged care services in Australia.

Planning ahead can help to demystify aged care and reduce stress levels. With awareness and pre-planning, you can maintain control and choice, have access to the financial resources to pay for care and minimise the stress on you and your family. Getting the right information and advice now will help you make the best choices for your future care, security and happiness.

Most people are often surprised by the level and range of fees, and the amount you pay will often depend on the service you choose, and your assessable assets and income.

The cost of care can be divided into the following categories:

–  Baily Daily Fee, Means Tested Fee, Accommodation Costs and Extra Services Fee.

For most people, the biggest concern is how to pay the large amounts quoted for a room. These range from around $100,000 to $2 million but will commonly be between $400,000 – $600,000. These lump sum payments are called Refundable Accommodation Deposits – RADs.

Seeking financial advice on what options you have for payment and funding strategies may help to minimise your stress. Let’s examine some of the facts around accommodation payments.

 

Advice from a professional who is experienced in aged care can help you to make the right decisions and ensure your finances are structured correctly to optimise your financial position. If you or someone you know would like to discuss their aged care needs, please do not hesitate to contact our office for a no-obligation consultation.

9 Tips To Be Productive When Working at Home During COVID-19

9 Tips To Be Productive When Working at Home During COVID-19

When you’re not used to working at home, distractions can lead to lack of focus, procrastination and lower productivity.

During the COVID-19 outbreak, many companies are suggesting—even requiring—that more employees work from home. Working from home can be a lonely enterprise in this era of social distancing, but it doesn’t have to be. For those who are not used to working at home or who don’t have an organized work station, distractions can disrupt your productivity. After all, you’re in your personal space, not your usual professional environment. Laundry needs to be done, dishes washed and the house cleaned.

Plus, maybe you want to see The View since you’re always at the office when it’s on, or there’s a good movie on Netflix you’ve been longing to watch. Your pooch needs to go for a walk or you want to snuggle with him. And your spouse keeps yelling questions from another room, causing you to keep loosing your train of thought. Or on the flip side, maybe since being at home 24/7, you find yourself toiling overtime on the job long after you usually would have called it quits at the office. On top of it all, cabin fever could be sneaking up on you.

Productivity Tips For Working At Home

If you’re not used to working at home, it can take some getting used to new challenges that you might not have at the office. It’s important to have a defined schedule and stick to it. Avoid sleeping in or lingering over breakfast, and get to work just as if you’re driving across town to your office, although you might be walking into the next room. You might think blasting Lady Gaga’s latest hit is the most productive way for you to work. Or loud noises could be the worst thing for you to stay focused and get work done. Everybody is different. Some people work better in clutter while others can’t concentrate unless their work space is tidy. Regardless of your personal style, here are some tips to facilitate adjusting to your new situation during the Coronavirus outbreak:

 

1. Confine your work space to a specific area in your home so your job doesn’t intrude into the lives of other household members and you can concentrate. Have a space that you designate as your workstation instead of checking emails, voicemails or texting in front of TV or spreading work out on the kitchen table. Make your space a stress-free zone of quiet and solitude where you can concentrate. If you don’t have a separate room, find an area with minimum traffic flow or a corner of a room off from the main area.

2. Block the neighbor’s barking mutt, excess noise from household members or ambient traffic with noise cancelling head phones or ear buds. Studies show that a delicate blend of soft music combined with soothing nature sounds—such as waterfalls, raindrops, a rushing brook or ocean waves—activates the calming part of your brain, helps you concentrate and lowers heart rate and blood pressure

3. Go to the same designated place on a regular basis so your mind doesn’t wander, you can focus and increase your productivity. Establish water-tight psychological boundaries so you’re not constantly reminded of temptations around you (there’s chocolate cake in the fridge) or unfinished personal tasks—such as doing laundry, vacuuming or organizing your spice rack—that otherwise could compromise your productivity. And complete these personal activities outside of work hours as you normally would.

4. Set water-tight physical boundaries around your designated work space that is off limits for housemates. Treat it as if it’s five miles across town, and ask house members to consider it as such (e.g. no interruptions from another room when you’re engrossed in a project unless an emergency). If possible, only go to your designated space when you need to work. Stick to a regular schedule, and keep your work space at arm’s-length after hours. Try to maintain the same hours you log in at the office so you don’t get swallowed up by the workload.

5. After a reasonable day’s work, put away your electronic devices and work tools just as you would store carpentry tools after building shelves or baking ingredients after making a cake. Keeping work reminders out of sight keeps them out of mind and helps you relax and recharge your batteries.

6. Discourage personal intrusions. If you’re a teacher or doctor, friends don’t just stop by the office to chat, hang-out or interrupt your work. But sometimes well-intended friends, family members and neighbors think working at home is different. Interruptions and drop-ins can cause you to lose your focus, procrastinate or get behind on a deadline. It’s important to prevent intrusions into your work space by informing others that although the location of your job has changed, it is no different from any other profession requiring privacy and concentration. Notify others that during at-home work hours you’re unavailable and cannot be interrupted. And let them know the after hours when you’re available to connect.

7. Employ your video communications perhaps more than you normally would, now that you’re more isolated. Make sure you have your company’s telecommuting devices—such as Zoom—hooked up and ready to go so you can stay connected with team members or office mates and you’re available for video calls and teleconferencing. If you start to feel lonely, consider setting up a support group of friends and colleagues who are also working at home by satellite. Make plans to meet on a regular basis and share creative ways you’ve adjusted to the new situation.

 

8. Avoid cabin fever. Now that you’re spending a disproportionate amount of time at home, get outside as much as possible with gardening or walking around the block. Mounting research shows that spending time in nature lowers stress, helps you relax and clears your mind. After work hours, enjoy other areas of your home: watching a good movie, reading a book, or cooking a fun meal.The new normal is not to limit social devices but to take advantage of them. Use Facetime, Facebook or Skype with friends and family members so you feel connected to the people in your life that you care about.

 

 

9. Keep your attitude in check. Above all, be creative and don’t let your confined circumstances dwarf your tranquility, happiness or productivity. Your greatest power is your perspective. It can victimize you or empower you. When you look for the upside in a downside situation and figure out what you can control and what you can’t, it’s easier to accept whatever is beyond your control. Your best ally is to find the opportunity in the difficulty during an uncontrollable situation instead of the difficulty in the opportunity. Take advantage of this restrictive time to clear clutter out of your basement, pull weeds in the garden or get caught up on fun hobbies you’ve neglected for a while.

This article was originally published here: https://www.forbes.com/sites/bryanrobinson/2020/03/14/9-tips-to-be-productive-when-working-at-home-during-covid-19/#6395dbfc5a38

Economic & Market Update: Coronavirus – by Chris Lioutas

Economic & Market Update: Coronavirus – by Chris Lioutas

Coronavirus, whilst significant in the short term, will pass in the next few months largely as a result of the significant action taken by the Chinese to contain the virus. Nearly all the deaths have occurred where the virus originated (Hubei), and the deaths have been largely the result of not seeking treatment and complications regarding a pre-existing condition.

Given the actions taken by governments to close down ports, borders, and limit air and sea transfers, this will have a material effect on economic growth and corporate earnings in the short term.

Markets will likely look through the weaker data considering investors have largely taken Coronavirus in their stride, and central banks can and will provide short support if required.

Markets have continued to push higher on a few reasons:

  1. Less political risk with Brexit and phase one trade deal completed
  2. Fourth Quarter corporate reporting season in the US coming through better than expected with upgrades to earnings expected for calendar year 2020
  3. Continued central bank support which will remain in place for this year, keep cash rates and bond yields low, and thus encouraging continued investment into growth assets
  4. US Presidential race looking increasingly likely President Trump gets a second term, which is positive for equity markets versus the alternative.

Absent Coronavirus being a lot worse than we suspect or a Democrat winning the US Presidential election, there’s not a whole lot standing in the way of another equity rally this year. The US economy looks strong enough but not too strong so as to encourage the US central bank to remove stimulus. Europe looks to have found a bottom from an economic perspective, with Germany the weakest link and seriously considering embarking on fiscal spending for the first time in a very long time, which may encourage other European governments to embark on their own fiscal stimulus. Japan looks likely to embark on fiscal stimulus this year as the government needs to counter the effect of GST increases over the last few years.

Other issues to watch out for include a significant slip in Chinese growth (unlikely at this stage given government and central bank support), a re-escalation of US-China trade war (ie. further tariffs), a re-escalation of US-Iran tensions in the Middle East (ie. higher oil price), a significant and permanent spike in inflation (which would cause central banks to remove stimulus).

Closer to home, the Aussie economy is looking for a bottom, but it looks likely there’s further to go, with the bushfires and the Coronavirus significantly impacting tourism. The RBA likely has at least 1 more rate cut in them if not 2 before they get to their lower bound of 0.25%. They’ve recently made comments that they think quantitative easing is off the table, but it’s very premature to be making comments like that, unless they know something we don’t. That could be significant government fiscal pulse in the May budget, which looks unlikely, but is something the economy desperately needs. Outside of that, the only positives in the economy right now are a recovery in the housing market, largely in Sydney and Melbourne, and a falling Aussie dollar which is helping from an export perspective.

Key messages remain as follows:

  1. Diversification is key – across asset classes, regions, sectors, and investment styles
  2. Selectivity – given the wide dispersion that exists in valuations between sectors, styles, and regions, being selective (active management) will be more important this year than it has been for a long time
  3. Rebalancing is important – the best discipline in investment markets goes counter to human behaviour and biases – ie. trimming winners and topping up losers. It has been shown to add 1-2% in additional return per annum
  4. Time in the market – timing the market remains an impossible task, and trying to time the market in the current environment is likely to result in significant opportunity cost considering central banks continue to provide a floor under equity markets.