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,... read more

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... read more

Aged Care Seminar

  Moving a loved one into Aged Care can be very challenging. Come along to our  free seminar to learn about the various costs involved. We will examine the complexities incurred in moving to an Aged Care facility, staying in your own home or building a granny flat to live in. Please see the link below for details on how to register. ACB... read more

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... read more

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... read more

10 Money Tasks to Complete Before You’re 40 How to Avoid a Mid-Life Money Crisis

The irony of having disposable income when you’re in your twenties or even thirties and not disposing of it wisely becomes apparent when you hit your forties. For many people at that time of their life there is a family to feed and educate, mortgages and bills to pay, and retirement to plan for. They quite often rue the days of spending their wage on partying, shopping and holidays and wish they had been a little more strategic with their spending. We see it quite often. People hit the big four-oh (!) and realise their finances are hurting them rather than serving them. So we thought we’d put a list together of ten tasks you can complete in your twenties and thirties to minimise the likelihood of a mid-life money crisis. 1. Pay off bad debt Credit card debt, personal loans, store credit, HECS loans – whatever the debt is, get into the habit of paying off bad debt completely. Don’t get sucked into the interest only vortex. You’ll end up with a debt headache at age 40, the very time you need that money for things like school fees and kids dental bills. 2. Set up an emergency fund This is so simple to do. Set up a separate savings account and direct debit a percentage of your income into it regularly. Only touch it in emergencies. This helps you to stop relying on credit card (more bad debt) to get you out of tight and unexpected financial situations. 3. Pay debts and bills on time Many people are surprised by how a bill paid late here or... read more

Do I Need a Financial Planner?

We often get asked this question. Do I really need a financial planner? Is it worth it? What will a financial planner do that I can’t? When we respond, we’ll often use a few different analogies. Think of buying a new car. You get advice from other people and the car dealer and work out which model is best for you based on what your needs are at the time. The car runs beautifully for a while but what happens if you don’t take it in for a service? Things start to go wrong. Or what if your needs change? What if you have more children or your job changes and you are now commuting a lot more so you need a more fuel efficient car? If you don’t change your car, it won’t fit in with the changing needs of your life. Look at financial planning from that point of view. Getting that initial advice is great but if you don’t have someone to help you as things change, it’s all a little pointless. Let’s look at another analogy. You’re re-designing your backyard. You get advice on what to plant and where based on what you need at the time. It all makes sense. Yet forgetting to water the plants, not fertilising them and basically neglecting the garden will lead to overgrowth, weeds and the plants dying. But how did you expect them to survive? Why would you have an expectation that something will thrive without constant monitoring? It’s the same thing with financial planning. How can you expect your financial health to prosper if you don’t keep... read more

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... read more

Life Insurance Cover in Australia: Time to talk about the elephant in the room

In the media recently, we have heard plenty of dialogue around the cost of housing and unaffordability. How difficult it is for young families to purchase houses that are – to be honest – outrageously priced. Especially if you are in Sydney. We hear anecdotes of older parents, often at retirement age, helping their children out with house deposits or a fantastic new trend where parents build granny flats on their property for them to live in and their child’s family move into the main house. How’s that for thinking outside of the box? But all’s quiet on the media landscape around the topic of parents helping adult children out when they face times of financial hardship brought on by illness, trauma, and accidents and in worst case scenario, death. One story we heard recently – and it will tug at your heartstrings – was of a single mum who returned home to live with her Dad. He is retired and was happy to have his daughter and his five year old grand-daughter live with him to share expenses and help his daughter get back on her financial feet again after a tough relationship break-up. Sadly, the mum died unexpectedly. The grandfather, the beautiful man that he is, is raising his granddaughter and has found his retirement savings doesn’t cover off on the costs of raising a five year old and her future needs. It’s a sad story and quite often we don’t want to think about or even take action around the ‘what ifs’ but it’s so important we do. Financial planners are seeing more and more clients who are... read more
We have known Paul Blenkhorn for over 10 years now. During this time he has confidently taken care of all our financial needs. Paul is an honest gentleman who puts our best interests first and has always given us the right advice. Unfortunately there are not many people we can recommend in business today but Paul is an exception. Everyone we have referred him to have been extremely happy with his professional capabilities and extensive knowledge in his industry. William M

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