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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.

Getting to know your credit score

Your credit score is an important number in your life as it can affect many financial aspects of your life. The three-digit number is a representation of your credit history, based on an analysis of your credit file, that helps a lender determine your credit worthiness. When an individual applies for a loan, such as a mortgage or car loan, the provider will use a credit score to help them decide whether to lend the money, the amount to lend and the interest rate.

An individual’s credit score is calculated by credit reporting agencies who collect financial and personal information and document it on a credit report. The information is then used to calculate your credit score. Areas agencies assess are;

A credit score is rated on a five-point scale with the position of your credit score on the scale helping lenders work out how risky it is for them to lend to you. The scale goes excellent, very good, good, average and below average.

To prevent a negative credit score, individuals should try to spread applications over a larger amount of time; lower credit card limits; ensure their credit card is paid in full each month; and pay their rent, utilities and other loans on time.

Posted on 18 September '19, under money. No Comments.

Spring clean your finances

When it comes to your money, whether it be loans, insurance, savings or superannuation, having a ‘set and forget’ attitude can be detrimental to your long term finances. Checking in on the different aspects that make up your finances every now and then to see if they need freshening up is a good way to ensure you are getting the most out of your money.

Your budget:
Since a person’s income and expenses will change over time, making sure your budget is up to date can help keep track of your spending and calculate how long it will take to reach your savings goal. This is also impacted more by day to day and surprise expenses you may incur so regular assessment will better your planning.

Your savings:
Spring is the perfect time to reconsider the type of savings product you currently have and whether the return you receive on your savings is at the best rate out there. For those with a term deposit that is about to mature, consider whether there is another savings account that pays higher interest or if another term deposit is a better option.

Your superannuation:
To get to know your superannuation better this Spring, find your latest super statement and check the following:

Posted on 3 September '19, under money. No Comments.

Short-term vs long-term financing

Maintaining healthy cash flow can be challenging; between ongoing expenses and bills, poor cash flow can severely impact your customers, staff and bottom line. Business owners need to understand the differences between short and long-term financing when developing a cash flow strategy.

There are various sources of financing available, with each being useful for different situations. Choosing the right source and mix is key for good cash flow, with financing options often being classified into two categories based on time period: short-term and long-term. To find the right plan for you, determine your needs and then match a financing option to meet those needs.

Short-term financing:
Short term financing, or working capital financing, looks at needs that arise in relation to financing current assets – for a period of less than one year. Working capital is the funds that are used in the day-to-day trading operations of a business. Short-term financing can help you to pay suppliers, increase inventory and cover expenses when you do not have sufficient cash on hand.

Long-term financing:
Long-term financing options can help you invest in overall improvements to your business, for a period of more than 5 years. Capital expenditures, such as upgrading equipment, buying additional vehicles and renovating are funded using long-term sources of finance.

Posted on 19 August '19, under money. No Comments.

Getting on top of cash flow

Managing cash flow is critical to the success of a small business. While it is necessary to be profitable, your profit is a number that shows up on your accounts at the end of the year whereas your cash is the money you have in the bank. By incorporating the following tricks, you can help to maintain the flow of money coming in and keep the business running smoothly.

Prepare a cash flow projection:
There are always unforeseen challenges or changes in the marketplace. While you won’t always be able to predict or forecast these, you can gain a better grasp on industry trends and patterns. Drawing up a cash flow projection can help you plan the ups and downs of your spending. In your projection, be sure to include:

Generate new business:
The business is going well; you’re meeting your targets, money is coming in, and you’re happy. This is not a time to relax, it is a time to be seeking out and generating more business. Cash flow may keep your business alive, but sales are what keeps cash flow alive. Keep expanding and preparing your business to cater for growth. This will help prevent you from chasing your tail when times are tough.

Posted on 6 August '19, under money. No Comments.

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