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).

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).

 

How to Budget during the Silly Season

How to Budget during the Silly Season

The Christmas holiday period is one of the hardest times of the year to stay within your budget, with presents to buy and parties to attend and host your spending can easily spiral out of control. This is why they call it  the “silly season” because people do silly things at this time of year which they may wind up regretting. Last year alone Australians spent over $45 billion on retail in the period leading up to Christmas and this year the total is likely to be even more.

So where does all of this money get spent? The holiday period sees a drastic increase in money spent on books, tech and gadgets, clothing and alcohol. Many people feel pressured to overspend at Christmas so they can buy presents for all of the people in their lives and attend all of the parties and drinks they get invited to. Where do people find the money to spend on these extra expenses? Sadly, a significant portion of people use credit cards and other forms of credit in order to pay for Christmas and the holidays. This can mean that you enter into the New Year in debt and already on the back foot for another year.

There are a few simple steps you can take to ensure that this holiday’s fun doesn’t turn into next year’s financial pain. The first and most important step is to budget, know much how much extra cash you have to spend and stick to it. Ideally you should begin budgeting for Christmas all throughout the year, putting a little extra money aside every now and then. This will ensure that when the holiday’s roll around for another year you won’t be caught out financially. Unfortunately most of us aren’t that organised but that doesn’t mean you need to have a financially irresponsible ‘silly season.’  For example, although you may want to buy expensive gifts for love ones, buy them gifts you can afford. They will still appreciate it and understand that you are doing the best you can.

Secondly, avoid spending on credit cards as much as you possibly can. On average Australians get into 10% more debt in December compared to November. Credit cards simply defer the problem of having to pay until a later date and with high interest rates and fees you can wind up paying far more than you would have if you had paid up front. Instead use cash to buy your presents or go for a night out. This way you know when you’ve spent all of the money you can afford and won’t fall into debt during the holiday season.

Thirdly, look out for handy tips on ways to avoid overspending during Christmas. For example, instead of giving each family member a present you could organise a Secret Santa or set a spending limit for presents among your family and friends. This way Christmas will remain fun but you won’t have to spend more than you can afford.

These are just a few tips to help you have a sensible Christmas and holiday period without it turning into “silly season” for your finances. This time of the year shouldn’t be an excuse to blow out your budget and fall into debt. If you stay mindful of this and follow these tips you can still have a great Christmas holiday without the New Year’s hangover for your finances!

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).

Which #onechange will you make?

This article has been republished from AIA Vitality-Vlife 2018.

It’s our ongoing mantra: to create positive change in your life you need to start small. So, what will be your #onechange?


Who are you? What do you want to do with your life? What makes you happy?

These questions aren’t easy to answer. They’re far too big, far too complicated. When we feel like it’s time to create change in our life, rather than try and answer the Big Questions, it can be more effective to start breaking them apart.

How do you do that? We asked Rachel Service, founder of Happiness Concierge, for some guidance.

Notice your niggles

You might know you want to create some change – but you’re not sure what, and how. To figure out which areas of your life need attention, start noticing the issues that are front of mind on a regular basis. They won’t be hard to spot once you start paying attention – they’re re-occurring themes.

“Listen to the themes of your life,” says Rachel. “When we say something is justfine, or we don’t mind it, these are things you need to pay attention to,” she says.

Once you can identify the things that keep cropping up – issues to do with work, your living situation, fitness, or friendship group – then you can identify those areas as your focus points.

“My biggest piece of advice,” says Rachel, “is to start small, start something, and start now.”

Create an ‘I want’ list

Here’s where the breaking down begins. Rachel recommends completing an ‘I want list’ (free to download from her site).

Filling out this list – noting down in ideal terms how you want to feel, what you want to have, and what you want to achieve – helps to bring your desires into focus and segment them up in a realistic way. Via this list you can give your future vision a timeline, actionable steppingstones, and identify the long-term habit or habits that will get you to where you want to be.

And don’t be put off if you have to complete the list several times in order to get closer to what you really want. Rachel admits to filling it out five times herself initially, skipping from what she thought she ‘should’ want to what others expected of her. Drill down until you get to something that feels closer to you; a future vision stripped of external influences.

Lower your expectations

This may sound like a negative – it’s anything but. One of the reasons we ‘fail’ to keep resolutions, or make long-term changes in our lives is because we aim too high to begin with. Jumping straight to ‘I want to set up a global company’ or ‘I want to own my own house’ or ‘I want to have a body like my boxing instructor’ is too big a leap. Start small, then take consistent, incremental steps to achieving your long-term goal. For Rachel, who’s working on her fitness, that’s simply identifying where she’s packed her gym clothes after moving house. These small steps will give you the momentum you need to make the bigger change possible.

“The best salespeople say you should always make your next sale just after the last one, because of the momentum,” says Rachel.

“As our confidence grows, and we gain momentum, we’re more likely to tackle the bigger things,” she explains.

“Happiness Concierge wouldn’t be what it is today if I had planned to create a global training company. Where would I start? But I said – ‘I want to speak onstage somehow’. So I told people I wanted to do that, and then they started asking me to do things.”

Make sure you’re doing it for you

When identifying an area in your life where you’d like to make #onechange, it’s important to keep asking yourself who you’re doing it for.

“I encourage people to ask, ‘Is this activity giving me joy’? Or am I doing this activity out of a form of loyalty or service to others? If it’s the latter, it’s highly unlikely you’ll be motivated to continue to do it,” says Rachel.

“So many goals are for other people. What do you actually want to achieve? Make it about you,” she asserts.

Rachel recommends filling out a Life Audit in order to identify the activities, people and environments that bring joy – and those that drain you. Take yourself out for coffee and fill it out privately, to clearly map out how you should be divvying up your time.

The real power of #onechange

Now here’s the kicker: once you’ve identified areas of change, pinpointed the small steps you can take to build momentum and grow in the right direction, the best thing you can do is stop thinking about yourself.

“If you swap your focus to what can you do to help other people, you actually get a lot more done,” says Rachel.

If you can find a bigger reason to commit to your #onechange – like thinking about the positive effect it will have on your friends/partner/family/community/the environment – not only will you up your motivation (because purpose fosters motivation), you’re more likely to be creating positive change in the world too.

This article was originally published here: https://www.aiavitality.com.au/vmp-au/latest_news?selDate=1/2018&article=start-small

 

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).

Top ten tips for a healthy back

Back pain affects up to 1 in 4 of the Australian population on any one day and is one of our most common health conditions. It can happen at any age and last days or even years. 

Here are our top ten tips to keep your back as healthy as possible:

Exercise regularly – While walking, swimming, pilates and yoga are all excellent ways to strengthen your back and improve flexibility, any activity is good for you. Choose something that you enjoy to help you maintain your physical activity long term.

Keep active and avoid long periods of bed rest – Even when you have pain, gentle movement will help settle your back and strengthen your muscles. Your physiotherapist can tailor an exercise program to suit your fitness level and give you advice on where to start.

Learn correct lifting technique – Correct lifting can help prevent injury and avoid back pain.

  • When lifting a heavy object position your body directly in front of it to lift and turn with your feet, not your back.
  • Carry the object close to your body.
  • Bend your knees, using your legs – not your back – to bear the weight.

Maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle – Carrying excess body weight can put additional pressure on your muscles and joints, which can lead to pain. Maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle will help you achieve a healthy weight.

  • Enjoy a wide variety of foods from the main dietary food groups every day.
  • Limit saturated fat, added salt and sugars, and alcohol intake.

Don’t Slouch – Slouching doesn’t necessarily cause discomfort, but over time it can place strain on muscles and soft tissue.

Posture pointers:

  • Don’t let your head slump forward
  • Keep your shoulders relaxed, not hunched
  • Don’t cross your legs
  • When standing, distribute your weight evenly on both legs.

Quit Smoking – Smoking can reduce the blood supply to discs between the vertebrate, which can lead to disc-degeneration. You can find information about the ways to quit smoking at icanquit.com.au

Take breaks when driving – Take regular breaks when driving long distances. A firm seat provides better support and a rolled-up towel behind your back at waist level can provide extra lumbar support.

Adapt your work environment – Tips for sitting at the computer:

  • Use an upright chair that has good lumbar or back support
  • Position your monitor so your head and shoulders are relaxed
  • Keep your mouse close to your body
  • Don’t cradle your phone between your head and your shoulder
  • If your work is more manual and requires the use of tools:
  • Avoid working where the floor is cluttered, uneven, wet or slippery
  • Use long handled tools where possible
  • Perform a variety of tasks, changing position frequently.

Learn techniques to help manage stress – Relaxation is a crucial part of easing the pain caused by muscle tension. While you cannot always avoid stress, you cna learn to reduce and manage it. Learn to identify the signs of stress, identify its source, connect with friends and family who care, and make time for relaxation. Simple breathing exercises can also help. Try breathing in through your nose while counting slowly to five, then breathing out to five. Keep doing this for three to five minutes.

Seek a medical opinion – Most back pain disappears within days of weeks. If your pain persists, gets worse or you experience any other symptoms (like feeling unwell), see your GP or other qualified healthcare providers.

Myth Busters

Myth #1 – Moving will make my back pain worse

Fact – It is essential to keep moving. Muscles that are in spasm, due to pain, relax when gently moved or stretched. Gradually increase how much you are doing, and stay on the move.

Myth #2 – A scan will show me exactly what is wrong

Fact – There is a growing body of research that shows that not only do results of scans correlate poorly with symptoms in people with back pain, but also that most people without back pain have changes on scans that do not cause any symptoms at all.

Myth #3 – Pain equals damage

Fact – Recent research has changed our thinking of pain. Level of pain has little relationship with damage to the spine and more to do with your unconscious and conscious interpretation of the level of threat the pain represents.

 

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).