Stretching Your Travel Budget Further

Stretching Your Travel Budget Further

Many Australians will soon be jetting or sailing away on their annual overseas getaway. Unfortunately, the value of the Australian dollar has been falling against the US dollar, British pound, euro, yen and even the Indonesian rupiah. Here are some suggestions on how to maximise your travel budget and have a memorable holiday. 

Get the right cover

Taking out travel insurance is a sensible precaution, but you don’t want to pay more for it than necessary. Or pay for it, then discover it’s worthless.

Always read the fine print about limits, excesses and exclusions. As with all insurance, the more comprehensive the policy, the more it is likely to cost. If you’re motorcycling down Route 66, the expensive policy with greater coverage is probably a good investment. On the flip side, if you plan to laze away the days on a Fijian beach, you may be able to get away with a more basic policy.

While it’s convenient to arrange insurance via a travel agent, airline or credit card, it can pay to shop around for the best price and most relevant cover. Some credit cards come with free travel insurance but, be warned, the coverage is often modest.

And while your health, car or home insurer may also offer you a discount on travel insurance, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re getting value for money. Thanks to comparison sites, it’s now easy to get quotes from a variety of insurers. So do shop around before making a final decision.

Go online

Travel agents have their uses but booking your own flights and accommodation can save hundreds, even thousands, of dollars.

Hotels are great if you want to keep things simple and stress-free. But if you’re travelling as a group or wanting to immerse yourself in the city outside the walls of a hotel, Airbnb may be a cheaper alternative that gives you your own space to relax.

Thanks to the internet, you may even be able to arrange an international home-swap although this can take time. The two most popular sites for this are lovehomeswap.com and homeexchange.com.

A warning though – the digital age isn’t all upside for holidaymakers. If you use your mobile while abroad, keep an eye on your data usage and phone calls, so you don’t return home to eye-watering international roaming charges. Consider buying a local SIM card once you reach your destination (it will have a pay-as-you-go option or a flat rate for a set period). And only use your phone when you have access to free Wi-Fi at hotels, cafes and airports.

Choose the best payment option

Most travel experts these days suggest you carry a ‘mixed wallet’ for overseas trips, with a combination of some or all the following:

  • Cash. You can exchange your Australian dollars for foreign currency before or after departure. Typically, the more conveniently located the money changer, the higher the commission. (This is why savvy travellers avoid changing money at airports.)
  • Pre-paid travel cards. These are available at places such as banks and post offices. You pay to deposit specific amounts of foreign currency onto the card. You can then use the card to make purchases and withdraw cash from ATMs in your destination country. ATM fees are lower than if you used your regular bank cards, but you are generally also charged fees for loading up the card, using it to buy something in a currency other than the one it’s loaded up with and deactivating the card.
  • Your Australian debit or credit card – the upside of using these is convenience. The downside is having to pay significant withdrawal fees, currency conversion fees, foreign transaction fees and cash advance fees.

Dodge the ‘tourist tax’

It’s also worth keeping in mind that you can save money and get a richer experience of the country you’re visiting by acting like a local rather than a tourist.

For instance, buy alcohol from a supermarket rather than ordering it on room service. Catch public transport and dine where the locals eat rather than at overpriced restaurants next to major attractions.

Watching your travel spending does not mean you have to compromise on fantastic experiences and with a little bit of planning, you can still enjoy your overseas trip without breaking the bank.

McQueen Financial Group is a corporate authorised representative of Total Financial Solutions Limited. AFSL No. 224 954, ABN 94 003 771 579. This information is of a general nature only and does not consider your investment objectives, financial situation or particular needs. You should not act on any information in this report without first consulting a professional investment adviser in order to ascertain whether the information and any investment decision is appropriate. This information is believed to be accurate however no warranty of accuracy or reliability is given in relation to any advice or information contained, and neither TFSA or its Representatives and officers, agents or employees of either of the aforementioned shall not be held liable for any loss or damage whatsoever arising in any way for any representation, act or omission, whether express or implied (including responsibility to any persons by reason of negligence).

Commemorating Twenty-Five Years of McQueen

Commemorating Twenty-Five Years of McQueen

Twenty-Five Year Anniversary Party

On Thursday 24 October 2019 we celebrated the twenty-five-year anniversary of McQueen Group.

Joined for a cocktail party by many of our valued, long-term clients, it was a wonderful evening dedicated to recognising the achievements of the company, and to pay tribute to those who have played a vital role in the growth and prosperity of the company throughout the years.

Our Chairman Angus McQueen was elated to welcome a room filled with colleagues and clients alike, all brought together thanks to his dedication and hard work.

Founding the company in 1994, Angus’s determination, passion, and drive has enabled the company to thrive and grow into the business it is today.

The evening dazzled with smiles from familiar faces, bringing together friends and family and highlighting the many client relationships that have formed into lifelong friendships.

We were incredibly honoured to have our long-term client John Lazzari speak on the evening. John captured the crowd through sharing his journey with McQueen. John, and his wife Pat, have been clients of McQueen for over fifteen years and have developed a wonderful relationship with Angus and Nowaki in particular. We cherish the ability to continue to support John and Pat for the years to come.

One person particularly proud of Angus and all the company has achieved, is Angus’s Father, Don McQueen. Expressing his commendation through a toast, Don noted where the company began and how much has been achieved since.

Don, with his own professional experience in financial planning, reflected on the foundations of the company with admiration for what Angus has built, and what the team as a whole have shaped and accomplished.

The team at McQueen would like to thank all that attended the event, as well as everyone who has ever been involved in McQueen over the last twenty-five years.

McQueen would not be the same without our dedicated clients, positive supplier relationships and the commitment and passion our entire team demonstrate every day.

At McQueen we pride ourselves on the value we create, both internally and externally. There is no I in McQueen, and with this embedded in our culture, we are certain that the next twenty-five years will be just as successful.

Commemorating Twenty-Five Years of McQueen

On Thursday the 24th of October, the McQueen team had the pleasure of commemorating the twenty five year anniversary of McQueen Group. Celebrating together with our top clients, we were able to have an evening dedicated to recognizing the success of the company and pay tribute to those who have played a vital role in the growth and prosperity of the company throughout the years.

Angus McQueen, Founder, was able to visualize his success through a room filled with people, staff and clients alike, all bought together thanks to his dedication and hard work. Starting the company in 1994, many adversities have been faced, however Angus’s determination has allowed the company to thrive and grown into what we see today.

The evening dazzled with smiles from familiar faces, bringing together friends and family, highlighting the value of McQueen, where client relationships have formed into life long friendships. We were honored to have our long term client John Lazzari speak on the evening, capturing the crowd while sharing his story and experiences. Lazzari has been a part of McQueen since…. And holds such trust and dedication to have planned out the next twenty years with us. We are honored by his commitment, and cherish the ability to continue to support him through the following chapters in his life.

One person particularly proud of Angus and the McQueen company, is Don McQueen. Expressing his commendation through a toast, noting where the company started, and how much has been achieved since. Don, with his own professional experience in financial planning, allows him to reflect on the foundations of the company with admiration for what Angus built, and what the team as a whole have shaped and accomplished.

Market Update – Presented by Shane Oliver AMP Chief Economist

We regularly meet with best of breed fund managers to review, analyse and authenticate their offering with the view to building quality portfolios for our clients. On a quarterly basis we select one of our fund managers to provide a quarterly update for our clients.

Following the end of the quarter we asked Allan Evans from Magellan to provide an economic update on the past quarter.

McQueen Financial Group is a corporate authorised representative of Total Financial Solutions Limited. AFSL No. 224 954, ABN 94 003 771 579

This information is of a general nature only and does not take into account your investment objectives, financial situation or particular needs. You should not act on any information in this report without first consulting a professional investment adviser in order to ascertain whether the information and any investment decision is appropriate. This information is believed to be accurate however no warranty of accuracy or reliability is given in relation to any advice or information contained, and neither TFSA or its Representatives and officers, agents or employees of either of the aforementioned shall not be held liable for any loss or damage whatsoever arising in any way for any representation, act or omission, whether express or implied (including responsibility to any persons by reason of negligence).

How much does it cost to raise a child in Australia?

How much does it cost to raise a child in Australia?

Raising a child will provide you with countless experiences that money can’t buy. But it is still an expensive business. Here’s your guide to the likely cost of raising a child in Australia.

With over 300,000 babies born in Australia every year according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, more and more families are adapting to life with little ones. We run through a few of the big milestones to help you calculate the likely cost of kids.

Parental Leave

Generally, the financial impact of having a baby begins before it is born. A fantastic first step for any parents-to-be is to think about parental leave – how much would you like to take and how much could you afford? After all, your little bundle of joy won’t just cost money to look after, you’re also likely to receive a reduced income from one or both parents depending on the arrangements you choose to make.

One simple way to start planning is to use ASIC’s parental leave calculator to establish your likely income over the course of parental leave. You can change the parameters of the ASIC calculator to assess how your earnings could be affected by taking more or less time off.
Child care

For many parents, going back to work after a maternity or paternity break can be a difficult decision, but it’s usually financially necessary for one or both parents to resume their employment.

Returning to work will likely mean that the household income is increased, but when figuring out when to take the leap, consider the likely cost of child care for your little ones. There are a number of different types of child care to consider, as CareforKids.com.au outlines, all range significantly in cost. As well as listing approximate costs on the website, CareforKids.com.au also has a tool to help you calculate the approximate cost of your preferred type of child care.

There are government benefits available for families. To find out more and to learn about what benefit may apply to you, check the Australian Government’s Family Assistance Guide.

Education

Giving your child a great education is top of the list for most parents, and whether your child attends public or private school, the ongoing cost of education is something to keep in mind.

Aside from any tuition costs, there are also uniforms, sports clubs, school trips and lunchboxes to think about.

Ultimately, the cost of education depends on a number of factors, so if you’d like to find out more about your situation ASIC’s MoneySmartsite has plenty of information on calculating how much your family may need to save.

Living Expenses

Finally, there are the everyday living expenses to consider. Research by ASIC in 2015/2016 suggests that the average couple without children spends $1,572/week to $1,833/week when the couple has children under five, and $2,085/week once the children are between 5-14 years old.

Holiday costs increase too, with the average family in Australia saving $77 per week for their next trip away, according to the same ASIC research.

Having children is the most remarkable and fulfilling experience, but it’s also a huge amount of responsibility. Talk to us and we can help ensure you have properly budgeted and planned your finances into the future to make sure that you are prepared and confident to raise a child.

This article was originally posted here:

https://www.aiavitality.com.au/vmp-au/latest_news?selDate=&article=planning_on_a_new_years_revolution

McQueen Financial Group is a corporate authorised representative of Total Financial Solutions Limited. AFSL No. 224 954, ABN 94 003 771 579.This information is of a general nature only and does not take into account your investment objectives, financial situation or particular needs. You should not act on any information in this report without first consulting a professional investment adviser in order to ascertain whether the information and any investment decision is appropriate. This information is believed to be accurate however no warranty of accuracy or reliability is given in relation to any advice or information contained, and neither TFSA or its Representatives and officers, agents or employees of either of the aforementioned shall not be held liable for any loss or damage whatsoever arising in any way for any representation, act or omission, whether express or implied (including responsibility to any persons by reason of negligence).

Market Update presented by Paul Moore from PM Capital Companies Fund

 

We regularly meet with the best of breed fund managers to review, analyse and authenticate their offering with the view to building quality portfolios for our clients.

McQueen Financial Group is a corporate authorised representative of Total Financial Solutions Limited. AFSL No. 224 954, ABN 94 003 771 579

This information is of a general nature only and does not take into account your investment objectives, financial situation or particular needs. You should not act on any information in this report without first consulting a professional investment adviser in order to ascertain whether the information and any investment decision is appropriate. This information is believed to be accurate however no warranty of accuracy or reliability is given in relation to any advice or information contained, and neither TFSA or its Representatives and officers, agents or employees of either of the aforementioned shall not be held liable for any loss or damage whatsoever arising in any way for any representation, act or omission, whether express or implied (including responsibility to any persons by reason of negligence).

International Women’s Day with Business Chicks

International Women’s Day with Business Chicks

 

In celebration of International Women’s Day this week, we invited ten of our amazing female clients to join our table at the Business Chick’s luncheon at Crown Palladium. The event was a wonderful opportunity to celebrate and acknowledge the fantastic achievements of women around the world, represented by three incredible guest speakers; Marita Cheng, Susan Alberti AC and JoAnna Ferrari.

 

Marita Cheng, founder of Robogals & aubot, shared her inspiring journey of persistence which led her to be named the 2012 Young Australian of the Year at a tender age of 23. Along with running robotics workshops for over 70,000 girls across 11 countries, Marita recently launched Teleport Brain Control that allows people with a disability to attend school or work remotely via a telepresence robot.

 

Susan Alberti AC, now an icon of the building industry and key contributor to the formation of the Australian Football League Women’s, shared how her life story of humble beginnings and tragic loss propelled her to become instrumental in promoting juvenile diabetes research in Australia.

 

JoAnna Ferrari showed how she has turned the many challenges in her life into a powerful comeback story and the strategies she has developed over her 30+ years as a successful business leader to embrace change and “harness the power of transitions”.

 

It was an incredible feeling to be surrounded by 1,500 women in the one room who are passionate about empowering and supporting each other.

 

“It doesn’t matter how old you are or how smart you are. All that matters is your imagination and how your creativity can conquer reality.” – Marita Cheng

 

           

 

McQueen Brisbane Office Grand Opening

McQueen Brisbane Office Grand Opening

 

As some of you may recall, our goal in 2018 was to establish a new Brisbane office where we could provide a proactive & personalised service to our Brisbane client base.

After finding the perfect location, last week we held the Official Opening Party for our brand new Brisbane office located on Eagle Street.

It was a wonderful night, with our Chairman Angus McQueen and our very special guest James Tomkins cutting the ribbon and officially opening the office.

 

Our Chairman Angus McQueen & Special Guest James Tomkins OAM

 

Our Brisbane team – Mitch Raabe, Ben Warren, Jackie Crane & Lucy Noye were thrilled to host the evening and proudly showcase their new office. Boasting spectacular river views, we know our Brisbane clients will feel very comfortable in this stunning new space.

 

McQueen team members (from L-R) – Ben Warren, Mitch Raabe, Jackie Crane, Nick Gunner, Lucy Noye, Nowaki McQueen-Tokita, Alex Lee & Angus McQueen

 

If you know anyone in the Brisbane area that may benefit from speaking with one of our Advisers, please contact our Brisbane team on 07 3736 1533 or via contact@mcqueengroup.com.au.

 

 

McQueen Financial Group is a corporate authorised representative of Total Financial Solutions Limited. AFSL No. 224 954, ABN 94 003 771 579.
This information is of a general nature only and does not take into account your investment objectives, financial situation or particular needs. You should not act on any information in this report without first consulting a professional investment adviser in order to ascertain whether the information and any investment decision is appropriate. This information is believed to be accurate however no warranty of accuracy or reliability is given in relation to any advice or information contained, and neither TFSA or its Representatives and officers, agents or employees of either of the aforementioned shall not be held liable for any loss or damage whatsoever arising in any way for any representation, act or omission, whether express or implied (including responsibility to any persons by reason of negligence).

Quarterly Update December 2018 – Presented by Allan Evans from Magellan

 

We regularly meet with best of breed fund managers to review, analyse and authenticate their offering with the view to building quality portfolios for our clients. On a quarterly basis we select one of our fund managers to provide a quarterly update for our clients.

Following the end of the quarter we asked Allan Evans from Magellan to provide an economic update on the past quarter.

McQueen Financial Group is a corporate authorised representative of Total Financial Solutions Limited. AFSL No. 224 954, ABN 94 003 771 579

This information is of a general nature only and does not take into account your investment objectives, financial situation or particular needs. You should not act on any information in this report without first consulting a professional investment adviser in order to ascertain whether the information and any investment decision is appropriate. This information is believed to be accurate however no warranty of accuracy or reliability is given in relation to any advice or information contained, and neither TFSA or its Representatives and officers, agents or employees of either of the aforementioned shall not be held liable for any loss or damage whatsoever arising in any way for any representation, act or omission, whether express or implied (including responsibility to any persons by reason of negligence).

Planning on a New Year’s revolution!

Planning on a New Year’s revolution!

It happens every 31st of December. Millions of people all over the world promise themselves to improve at least one important aspect of their lives and make it their New Year’s resolution to do so.

The most popular resolutions remain unchanged year after year, drawn from a list that includes getting fit, reducing stress and importantly, saving money so that you can reach your dreams sooner. Sound familiar?These are all important and worthwhile goals, but here’s the sad thing. Research indicates that by January 7th, 25 per cent of these resolutions will already be broken. And this attrition rate will continue, so that up to 80 per cent are likely to have been abandoned within two years.So how can you make sure that you will be one of the minority who do not break their New Year’s promise to themselves?

Perhaps the answer lies in our word choice. Rather than making a resolution which can be defined as ‘a firm decision to do or not do something’, why not aim for a revolution, ‘a sudden, complete or marked change in something’. The difference here is between thought and action. And actions when repeated become habits. Good habits achieve goals.

 

Crucial steps

Your first step will be deciding how you will make the time to achieve the change you want, because if your life is already overcommitted you are more likely to fail than to succeed.

If your day is already overcrowded, for example, it is unlikely that you will find the extra 30–60 minutes each day to jog, swim, ride a bike or go to the gym unless you drastically reorganise things.

Secondly, you’ll need to research how you’ll reach your goal long before New Year’s Day. Don’t promise yourself to start spending less from the first of January and then do nothing about it until your credit card bounces at the Boxing Day sales. Investigate budget templates now, and review your past few month’s spending patterns (there are heaps of apps to help with this), this will put you in the best possible position to make sure your revolution sticks.Thirdly, use this research to create an informed plan with measurable outcomes. This way, you’ll be able to hit the ground running come January first.

 

Revolutions take time

When you think of the great revolutions throughout history, they are often painted as sudden regime changes, overnight shifts in popular thinking. But remember the revolution itself is just the tipping point. Usually the ideas driving the change have been fermenting for a long time. And the hard work that comes with establishing a new system endures long after the revolt.Your New Year’s revolution will be the same. January first is the tipping point, but the momentum behind your revolution may have been a long time coming and the hard work will continue long into the New Year. So be patient and kind to yourself and forgive any lapses, stay focused on your goal and you will get there.Finally, tell all your friends about your revolution so you can earn their praise if you succeed and feel their scorn if you fail — peer pressure is a powerful incentive! And revolutions rarely work without the support of the people. This is particularly important if your goal is a budgetary one, as direct but sensitive communication around money is key to avoiding financial stress.As you can see, the difference between wishful thinking and real behavioural change is commitment and a plan, and this is never more important than when planning a brighter financial future. If you need help reaching your goals in the New Year, give us a call. We’re always here to help.

 

Keys to an achievable revolution

Simple. You should be able to state your cause in one sentence. E.g. to save enough for a house deposit

Tangible. Make your goals quantifiable and specific. E.g. I will put away $500 a month towards my deposit

Shareable. Tell everyone about your goals, this will make you accountable to them.

 

This article was originally posted here:

https://www.aiavitality.com.au/vmp-au/latest_news?selDate=&article=planning_on_a_new_years_revolution

McQueen Financial Group is a corporate authorised representative of Total Financial Solutions Limited. AFSL No. 224 954, ABN 94 003 771 579.This information is of a general nature only and does not take into account your investment objectives, financial situation or particular needs. You should not act on any information in this report without first consulting a professional investment adviser in order to ascertain whether the information and any investment decision is appropriate. This information is believed to be accurate however no warranty of accuracy or reliability is given in relation to any advice or information contained, and neither TFSA or its Representatives and officers, agents or employees of either of the aforementioned shall not be held liable for any loss or damage whatsoever arising in any way for any representation, act or omission, whether express or implied (including responsibility to any persons by reason of negligence).