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What to consider before taking out a business bank loan

Many businesses, whether they are only just starting up or have been in the market for a number of years, will need a bank loan at one time or another. However, before you apply for a bank loan, it is important to think things through to ensure that you know if you should get one, if you are getting it at the right time and how you can make the most out of a loan.

Here are some questions business owners should ask themselves before beginning their bank loan application:

How likely is it that I qualify for the loan?
If you believe that your business won’t qualify for a bank loan, then you will only hurt your credit rating if you apply for a loan you won’t get. Being rejected for a loan can also make it more difficult for a business to borrow in the future.

Will the loan help the business grow?
Instead of using the loan for aspects like routine operating expenses that don’t generate much revenue, owners should consider putting the borrowed money into parts of the business that will generate more revenue and help reduce future borrowing needs.

How much do I need?
Before making requests of the bank, try to make an accurate estimate of how much cash you’ll really need. You can do this by creating a cash flow forecast with projections of your monthly income and expenses.

Are my personal finances in order?
Until a business reaches a substantial size, many banks will rely heavily on the owner’s personal financial statements and credit scores to determine the business’s creditworthiness. This may involve bankers looking at your personal information like student loans, personal credit card debt and mortgage payments.

Do I have adequate documentation for the loan?
When applying for a business loan, you will need a lot of documentation. Requesting a loan when an owner is not fully prepared makes the business look unprofessional.

Do I have adequate cash flow to repay the loan?
When a business owner applies for a loan, their banker will require the owner’s estimated financial projections for the business. It is important for owners to include their debt repayment plan in those projections.

Posted on 19 March '20, under money. No Comments.

When do you have to pay tax on shares?

Investing in shares is a popular method of growing your wealth, however, there are tax obligations you need to be aware of to get an accurate sense of how much you’ll need to put aside for your investments.

When you own shares, you need to declare all your dividend income on your tax return. It is possible to claim tax deductions for certain expenses you pay to receive income from your shares. The deductions you are eligible for will depend on if you are carrying on a business of share trading or if you are an individual share investor, but they can include:

Individual share investors cannot claim a deduction for the cost of acquiring shares, such as costs for brokerage and stamp duty, however, they can claim deductions on the prepayment of expenses related to the shares such as internet fees or seminars.

Buying and selling shares can involve capital gains tax (CGT), depending on whether you make a capital gain or a capital loss on your shares. Your capital gains or loss is the difference between the price you paid for the shares and the price you sell them for. If you end up selling your shares for more than you paid for them, then you make a capital gain which may be taxed.

How much CGT you need to pay varies depending on:

Posted on 21 February '20, under money. No Comments.

What to know about reverse mortgages

A financial dilemma that is becoming increasingly common is finding a way to fund a comfortable retirement lifestyle without having to sell the family home. One solution to this is a reverse mortgage; a loan that allows homeowners to convert part of the equity in their home into cash.

Money from a reverse mortgage can then be received as a regular income stream, line of credit, lump sum, or a combination of these options. No income is required to qualify for a reverse mortgage, which makes them ideal for those who have retired from the workforce.

Given the nature of this type of loan, it is important that homeowners understand the risks involved and consider how they can protect themselves as much as possible. Risks associated with reverse mortgages include:

Posted on 6 February '20, under money. No Comments.

Bad money habits that are getting in your way

How you spend your money determines how well you can save you money. Spending more than you have or buying unnecessarily can severely impact how efficiently you can save. Sometimes you aren’t even aware of the small habits that are actually limiting your savings capabilities. Here are a few bad money habits that are getting in your way.

Not having a budget:
Spending a substantial amount of money each month on purchases and experiences adds up. Not preparing and sticking to a budget is a common mistake, as many people believe that a budget isn’t necessary for their lifestyle and income. Regardless of how much you earn, individuals need budgets to know where their money goes and what needs to be set aside to achieve their goals.

Eating Out:
Dining in restaurants or grabbing take away most nights in the week is a good way to deplete your finances. Save money by eating out one or two nights and cooking the rest of your meals in bulk at home. Preparation of food will help on those nights when you don’t want to cook and stops you from ordering food.

Impulse Buying:
Purchasing items without a second thought is an easy way to lose money. A good way to avoid this can be to ask yourself if you are buying something because you ‘want’ it, rather than if you ‘need’ it? Learn how to recognise when you do the action and force yourself to wait. You can then consider if you have the extra money to spend on that item, giving you time to properly think about your decision.

Posted on 22 January '20, under money. No Comments.

What you need to know about BFAs

A Binding Financial Agreement (BFA) is the Australian equivalent of a prenup. It is used to agree in advance on how a couple’s property and other assets would be distributed should their marriage or de facto relationship break down. The Agreement can cover financial settlement, spousal maintenance and any other incidental issues.

BFA’s can be entered into at any stage of a relationship, i.e. before, during or after a marriage or de facto relationship. Couples may consider entering into a BFA if one party has more property, assets or is expected to receive an inheritance at a later stage.

Some benefits of entering a Binding Financial Agreement include:

Properly drafted and executed BFA’s are particularly beneficial for those who want to establish a level of reassurance that there would be a harmonious division of property and assets in the circumstance of separation or divorce without the need for stressful court action. A BFA can also make both parties feel secure knowing that any property or assets accumulated before their relationship or marriage is safe.

Posted on 11 December '19, under money. No Comments.

What you need to know about investment bonds

Investment bonds are a practical investment option for those who earn a high income and seek long term tax efficiencies.

Investment bonds, also known as tax-paid, insurance or growth bonds, work similarly to a managed fund, except they are combined with an insurance policy. There is a ten year rule which allows tax free earnings on the bond if no withdrawals are made in the first ten years and contributions do not exceed 125% of the previous year’s contribution. Most investment bonds offer a range of investment options to cater for differing risk levels such as cash, fixed interest, shares, property or a range of diversified investment options.

Investment bonds are particularly suitable for high income earners with a marginal tax rate higher than 30% who want to build wealth without increasing their personal tax liability. They are also useful for estate planning purposes as beneficiaries other than dependants can be nominated and will not incur tax upon receiving proceeds.

Investments held in an investment bond are generally not subject to capital gains tax (CGT). Where an investment does not qualify for a CGT discount, the maximum tax rate of 49% may apply on earnings whereas an investment bond generates a maximum rate of 30%.

However, investment bonds do carry some risk that individuals should consider before making a decision. Common fees such as establishment, contribution, withdrawal, management, switching and adviser service fees may be applicable depending on your provider and the investment options you choose.

Posted on 27 November '19, under money. No Comments.

Strategies to increase profit

Whether you are struggling to keep up a steady income or wanting to grow your business, increasing sales revenue is often a central goal for businesses. Here are some strategies you can consider when looking to improve profit:

Redesign operations for maximum efficiency:
If you really look at the operation processes of your business, you’ll often find that there are certain systems and routines in place that may not be necessary. Try to eliminate the tasks and activities that do not make valuable contributions to the business. Look for any operation processes that can be streamlined to maximise efficiency and save time.

Increase marketing efforts:
Oftentimes, you’re going to have to spend money to make money. Many businesses benefit from investing in a strong marketing campaign or even looking for cost-effective marketing opportunities on social media. Sharing regular updates on social media about your business, pictures of your products or interesting content your followers will like is a great way to keep your business in people’s minds and build a rapport with your customers.

Take care of existing customers:
While it is easy to get carried away with getting as many new customers and followers as you can, don’t forget that it is often easier and cheaper to make a sale to an existing customer than a new customer who you have not developed a relationship with yet. Existing customers will have more trust in your products or services if they have already had a positive experience with your business. Put effort into maintaining a good relationship with existing customers and focus on cross-selling and upselling products and services to them.

Posted on 13 November '19, under money. No Comments.

Are you prone to emotional overspending? 

Online shopping is available 24/7, making it easy to indulge in retail therapy whenever you’re feeling low. With many consumers using PayPal or saving their credit card details on Google, spending money is so easy that it may not feel like a big deal when clicking the ‘order’ button. While treating yourself every once in a while is normal, making poor and impulsive spending decisions often occurs when you’re in a bad frame of mind.

A 2019 comfort spending report by Mozo found that 81% of Australians are spending money as something to do when they are bored, or to make themselves feel better when they are stressed or anxious. Nationwide, comfort spending reaches $25.5 billion a year, which averages out to $1,430 a year.

Here are some ways you can deal with comfort spending:

Posted on 30 October '19, under money. No Comments.

Start saving for the Christmas period early

If shopping centres aren’t even putting up their Christmas decorations yet, then the holiday period may seem to be a concern of the distant future. However, the season has a tendency to creep up on people and can often come with financial burdens. Planning your holiday expenses early can cut out one of the biggest stresses of the season and allow you to focus on enjoying the festivities and spending time with your loved ones.

If you’re worried you’re going to be tempted to dip into your savings, it can be a good idea to set up a Christmas saver account. This is typically done at the start of the year and is offered by some banks. You can make deposits throughout the year, but can only withdraw from the account when the festive season arrives, usually around 1 December. While interest is offered on these account savings, it should be noted that you can generally find better interest rates with other savings accounts such as a bonus saver or online savings account.

Alternatively, you can manually set aside an amount weekly or fortnightly in the months leading up to the holiday period. Setting up an excel sheet can help keep track of this, and can also be used to categorise different budgets for various needs (gifts, travel, food etc.). This can help you plan ahead and estimate how much you will need to cover the cost of the holidays, saving you from the bite of unexpected expenses and keeping you in control of your finances.

If you’ve left things a little late, it can help to cut out a few luxuries to save some extra money. Whether it’s having a cheap night in, or skipping a coffee run every now and then, a little can go a long way.

Posted on 16 October '19, under money. No Comments.

What you should know about using cryptocurrencies

In an increasingly technologically dependent age, it can be useful to keep up with new forms of currencies in the digital space. Cryptocurrency is internet-based, digital money that is not controlled by any central authority. Currently, the most prominent cryptocurrency is Bitcoin, which has a market capitalization of over 155 billion U.S. dollars.

How do you buy cryptocurrencies?
Ensure a cryptocurrency is legitimate and trustworthy by researching before you buy. Most of the time, it is a good idea to choose a popular one that is already widely used and trusted by other crypto users, such as Bitcoin. There are a number of popular websites and apps that simplify the process of buying cryptocurrencies. Once you have purchased cryptocurrencies, you can store them in a digital crypto wallet for security and easy accessibility.

Benefits:

Drawbacks:

Posted on 30 September '19, under money. No Comments.

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