Saving for your children’s education

It’s never too early to start saving for your children’s education. We all want to give our children the best possible start in life, beginning with a good education. Paying school and then university fees gets expensive, and can be hard to maintain if you’re not prepared for.  The cost of private education is continually rising, with some schools charging fees of up to $20,000 per year. Public school is a cheaper option, but there are still those extra costs such as the school uniform, textbooks, tutoring, IT equipment and school excursions. The best time to begin saving for your child’s education is as soon as they are born. You may not yet know which school they will attend, but you can decide on how much you will need, and how much to put aside each week. Forward planning and saving for your children’s education early on will save you financial stress later in life. Where to begin Start saving early – it gives you more options and more time to build up a substantial fund. The savings don’t have to cover the entire cost, but can act as a pool to dip into to assist with extra expenses as they arise.   Work out how much you will need – will you send your child to public or private school; additionally will your child want to go to university or college. Take a look at the Money Smart savings goals calculator to estimate how long it will take to reach your goals. Talk to your family – instead of receiving a bunch of unused toys for Christmas and birthdays,...

Life Insurance: Back to Basics

Life insurance provides protection for you and your family Why You Need Life Insurance Life insurance is important when it comes to protecting your family’s future. Let’s take this back to the basics, and look at what life insurance is and why you need it.  In the event that something happens to you, an injury or even death, life insurance will help your family financially in the difficult period that follows. You can have peace of mind that your family will be looked after, especially considering dealing with your mortgage, school fees or debts.  The idea of life insurance can seem overwhelming, especially when looking into it for the first time. Terms may sound unfamiliar and the idea of planning for what happens after your death can be daunting. With a little research these terms will make much more sense, and with a few helpful tips you can organise your approach. Types of Life Insurance Life cover Assists your family with financial security in the case of your death Total and permanent disability (TPD) cover Provides cover for yourself and your family in the case that you are unable to work due to a permanent disability  Trauma cover Financial support for your family when you’re diagnosed with a serious illness or injury Income Protection Continue to receive income if you are unable to work due to an extended illness or injury What to Consider When Looking into Life Insurance Consider your unique circumstances before you begin looking for a policy for the first time.      Consider your needs and objectives Work out what is suitable for you What...

New Year Financial Resolutions – make 2016 your best year

Losing weight, quitting smoking and getting finances under control are the top three New Year’s resolutions made by Australian’s every year. Whilst we’re not all that qualified to help you shrink your waistline or beat the cigarettes, we can certainly help with your finances. If you want to make some New Year financial resolutions, there’s no quick and easy solution (unless you happen to win lotto). With the odds of that happening not in your favour, a better solution is to make a sensible plan and stick to it. It won’t be long before you start to see some progress and realise the benefits. Here are some achievable tips to get you started.  Reduce your debt stress. Work out exactly how many loans, credit cards and store cards you have and the interest you’re being charged on each one. Pick the debt with the highest interest rate and make some regular, additional payments towards that debt. Once it’s paid off, do the same for the next highest interest debt.  Save for the unexpected – by using an online calculator, you can work out exactly what your income and expenditure is each month. By tweaking this and seeing which expenses you can reduce, you’ll be able to work out an amount you can reasonably transfer into a high interest savings account each month. This gives you a buffer and some emergency money if something unexpected occurs.  Grow your net wealth. This can be done by making some extra superannuation repayments, buying an investment property or investing in stocks. Talk to us to find out the most sensible...

How financial security can lead to happiness

There’s a saying that money can’t buy happiness. However, according to research, financial security is one of three areas that can provide you with happiness. A study done by Deakin University revealed that good personal relationships, financial security and a sense of purpose in life are the three key pillars for a happy life. When you have all three elements present in your life, you should be happy regardless of your age, income or health status. It’s interesting to note that it’s financial security, more than money alone that provides the key to happiness, and people on low incomes can still protect themselves financially. Having a sound financial plan can take away many of your worries, and there is a sense of calm and organisation that comes from creating stability for your loved ones. Knowing our loved ones are content, healthy and safe (physically and financially) is a major part of being happy. How can you create financial stability for you and your family? If you’re not sure if your family could financially survive a major life event, here are some things to consider: • Life insurance. In the event of a tragedy, your loved ones suffer emotionally, but it can be the financial burden that causes the most grief. Life insurance can relieve financial distress so your family have one less thing to worry about. • A superannuation plan. Super is complex and a lot of things can go wrong. It’s important to have the right plan for your circumstances so you know you can live happily and comfortably once you retire. • Investments. The right investments that...

How the Latest Property Prices Impacts Your Financial Wellbeing

Its boomtown time again. Sydney’s average house price has soared through the $1 million mark for the very first time with home prices rising by 8.4% during the June 2015 quarter according to the Domain House Price Report. We’ve surpassed median prices in London and are just a smidge away from New York! While this seems like great news for homeowners, we like to err on the side of caution during real estate boom times. Remember there is a bubble and bubbles burst. If you are a home owner or renter, the latest property prices can impact other areas of your financial wellbeing. The key to success is to be measured and smart with your financial decision making. Don’t get caught up in the real estate craziness. Look beyond a year and consider how decisions you make now will impact you long term. Here is some of our advice around keeping your financial wellbeing on track while everything is going crazy around you. 1. Don’t get caught in the sell sell sell trap Real estate agents are knocking on doors in Sydney asking people to sell their homes. And yes, you WILL get a good price but remember you have to buy in this market too which means buying a potentially overpriced house in a boom market, moving costs and outrageous stamp duty. If you’re thinking of moving interstate or to the country, it’s a different story. But don’t sell your house if you can’t afford it. 2. Cater for future interest rate rises If you are buying a property in this market, do your sums on your mortgage...

5 ways to choose a Financial Planner

Why is it such a big decision for choosing the right financial planner? Sharing your deepest, darkest financial secrets with someone is a big step to take. We are often told stories of our client’s parents or grandparents hiding money around the house or in the back shed because they felt it was safer to do that than entrust either a bank with the money or a financial planner with their future. Thousands of dollars hidden in books, tyre rims and inside crockery statues! Thankfully times have changed somewhat and now the financial planning industry is regulated by ASIC and has some great industry associations that focus on keeping the standards of this industry high and authentic. And yes, there will also be sharks in any industry. That’s a given. So here are our tips on how to choose the right financial planner and keep those sharks at bay by separating the financial planning wheat from the chaff. 1. Check Industry Association Membership The Financial Planning Association and the Association of Financial Advisors are the two main industry associations in Australia. Members are bound by a code of ethics and professional practice and must meet continual professional development requirements. 2. Ask for Qualifications While experience is great, a qualification gives that experience credibility. It quantifies the experience with theory and currency. 3. Who is Really Running the Show? A number of organisations such as banks and insurance companies also offer financial advice. While that’s great, it also means that sometimes the focus is on that company’s products and signing clients up to use them. Blenkhorn Financial Planning is privately...