A Government Gift.

Are you 60 or over? Would Love a New Home? Did you know?

There is available for the 60’s and over age group a Seniors Housing Grant.

It works like this:

The Seniors Housing Grant (SHG) is a once off grant of up to $8500, available to natural persons, aged 60 years or more, who are purchasing or building a new home valued at up to $400 000 and will phase out for eligible homes valued at up to $450 000 for home owners. The SHG is not available in addition to the First Home Owner Grant (FHOG).

The SHG applies to: a contract to purchase a new home entered into between 1 July 2014 and 30 June 2016 (inclusive); a comprehensive home building contract for a new home entered into between 1 July 2014 and 30 June 2016 (inclusive) where the contract states that the building work will be completed within 18 months of commencement or the building work is actually completed within 18 months of commencement; a contract for the purchase of a new home off-the-plan entered into between 1 July 2014 and 30 June 2016 (inclusive) where the contract states that the building work is actually completed on or before 31 December 2017; and an owner builder where construction of the new home commences on or after 1 July 2014 and before 30 June 2016.

The SHG is available to natural persons aged 60 years and over who purchase or build a new home as their principal place of residence.

Only one SHG is payable in relation to a particular new home and at least one of the applicants must: satisfy the Commissioner that they are aged 60 years or over; and occupy the home as their principal place of residence for a continuous period of at least six months, commencing within 12 months after the completion of the eligible transaction.

In addition an applicant is ineligible to receive a SHG if the applicant or their spouse/domestic partner has previously received and retained a SHG.

If your family have left ‘the nest’ or you are thinking of downsizing, why not consider a new home,. Your dream home built to your specifications.  The dream may have to become reality as the build cost is maxed out at $400,000 but remember this includes the land value. For instance: if you purchased land for $180,000 then the full build cost would have to be $220,000.

There is a scale allowed to $450,000 where the SHG runs out to Nil.

If you are thinking along the lines of a new home, modern, easy to manage, clean and airy, then give me a call to discuss your situation and how this may be of benefit to you. The SHG runs out June 30, 2016.


Christmas Image

Give Your Family Peace of Mind This Christmas

TAlbert_Chevallier_Tayler_-_The_Christmas_Tree_1911o help start the conversation with your family I have prepared a list of seven estate planning ‘must-haves’:
1.Have a current Will
A properly prepared will is one of the crucial elements of estate planning. Your  will should not only state how your assets are to be divided, it should also nominate an individual (the executor) who will be responsible for carrying out your wishes. When preparing a will it is important that you make adequate provision for dependents, and document the reasons for their decisions to help minimise the risk of the will being contested.
2.Consider a Living Will
While most people are familiar with the purpose of a will, the concept of a Living Will is less widely known or understood. Sometimes called an Advanced Care Directive (ACD), it details your wishes in relation to your medical treatment decisions in the case of serious illness or accident. Such wishes might include that individual’s attitude toward:
– resuscitation if your heart stops beating
– life-extending treatments such as artificial breathing and feeding
– being able to die in your own home (where practicable).
A Living Will (which can work in tandem with a Power of Attorney) can be shared with your family or carer, as well as health professionals, and removes the burden of making tough decisions from caregivers. It can also be included in the new Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR), which can be accessed by healthcare professionals around Australia.
3.Establish a Power of Attorney
Designed to deal with your affairs while you are still alive, Powers of Attorney enable you to appoint an individual to deal with your affairs if you become incapable of making your own decisions. Powers of Attorney can be as wide ranging or as limited as required. In tandem with a Living Will, you should typically put in place a Medical Power of Attorney, granting a specific individual the power to ensure the directives expressed in the Living Will are followed.
4.Appoint a guardian for children
If you have young children, it is important you appoint a guardian to care for them. In doing so, they can provide that guardian with guidance about your child’s upbringing, and make provisions for your children’s financial future using the most tax-effective means available.
5.Make binding death nominations every three years
It is also important that binding death benefits nominations are made on superannuation and retirement income stream products as they ensure these funds bypass an estate, and in so doing, be excluded from any claims against an estate. And make sure it is current. Binding nominations last for three years after which they must be renewed to remain valid.
6.Set up a Testamentary Trust
These are generally set up to protect assets in situations where the beneficiaries are minors or have diminished mental capabilities.
7.Cover those assets not covered by your estate
One of the most common mistakes made in estate planning is leaving no instructions for those assets not covered by the estate, such as assets held in trusts and companies. Separate provision needs to be stipulated to ensure that control of these assets passes on to those you have intended.

Of course, with such an important process, there is a lot to cover – but you don’t have to go it alone.

Email or Call Me……to tap into the power of estate planning as a methodology, to better understand ultimately tailored estate planning advice.

Christmas Blessings to All and thank you for your support during 2015.


Personal Check Up

Some Easy Ideas for Financial Fitness and Health Fitness

10 Tips for Money Fitness

1. Be actively involved in your own income and expense each week, month or fortnight (depending on the frequency of your salary)

2. Speak up if you have any questions or concerns with your salary or with your superannuation or any discrepancies on your pay slip and check if you have any personal insurance cover in superannuation.

3. Learn more about your individual rights with Banking, Loans and Credit Cards, the conditions and interest rates. How they are set up. If you don’t’ know ask your bank or a Mortgage Broker or Financial Adviser to help you through the information.

4. Keep all your agreements like mortgage documents, rental agreements and all statements in a safe place

5. Make sure you understand the debt, how much you owe, to the assets, how much you own, and how long it will take to reduce all debts. This affects your future wealth.

6. Make sure you get answers to any questions you ask about your debts and don’t be fobbed off with unclear information. Ask for explanations in simple wording.

7. Talk to a Mortgage Broker or Financial Adviser about your options if you are not sure or think there maybe better options for your current financial situation.

8. Make sure you understand what will happen and have everything explained before signing any documents.

9. Make sure you, your partner, or anyone that any refinance or financial changes interferes with, especially family members that have been guarantors or used equity in property to help you in the past, all know and agree on exactly what will be the outcome for all.

10. Before any settlement of mortgages or finance arrangements, make sure all your direct debits are changed to the new loan account preventing any dishonours.

If you wish to have a copy of the “10 Tips for Health and Money Fitness” please ask me for a copy.

Feel free to contact me anytime for any financial assistance. Your questions are always welcomed.

10 Tips for Health Fitness
1. Be actively involved in your own health care
2. Speak up if you have any questions or concerns
3. Learn more about your condition or treatments by asking your doctor or nurse and by using other reliable sources of information
4. Keep a list of all the medicines you are taking
5. Make sure you understand the medicines you are taking
6. Make sure you get the results of any test or procedure
7. Talk to your doctor or health care professional about your options if you need to go into hospital
8. Make sure you understand what will happen if you need surgery or a procedure
9. Make sure you, your doctor and your surgeon all agree on exactly what will be done during the operation
10.Before you leave hospital, ask your doctor or other health care professionals to explain the treatment plan you will use at home.

Call your Doctor or Medical Centre for further information.


More Pension Money? Good News!

A change in Prime Minister and an increase in my age pension… did Malcolm make this his first priority as the new PM?

No, the change in the PM had nothing to do with an increase in the age pension.

Every 20 March and 20 September, the age pension is adjusted. This is based on a rather convoluted mathematical formula, which takes into account the movement in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and the Pensioner and Beneficiary Living Cost Index (PBLCI).

This is then benchmarked to 25 per cent of Male Times Average Weekly Earnings (MTAWE).

If you think this is a long-winded exercise you are correct but for the single age pension this is not the end.

Once the index figure, which is derived when the formula mentioned above is completed, it is then only applied to the maximum benefit rate payable to a couple to come up with the new age pension rate payable to couples. To ascertain the new single rate of age pension the new rate payable to couples is multiplied by 66.33 per cent..

Simple… but what are the new pension rates you ask?

Previous New
Single $860.20 $867.00
Couple $648.40 each $653.50 each

The other interesting fact is that when the pension increases, a small number of people whose assets or income may have precluded them from an age pension entitlement previously, now find that they do have an entitlement as a result of an increase in the asset and income levels at which no entitlement would be payable.

SINGLE Previous New
Upper income threshold $48,942 per annum $49,296 per annum
Upper assets threshold $779,000 $783,500

COUPLE Previous New
Upper income threshold $74,921 per annum $75,452 per annum
Upper assets threshold $1,156,500 $1,163,000

So if you do think that you may now have an entitlement make sure that you talk to your financial adviser or call Centrelink’s hotline on 132 300.

The downside to the increase in the age pension comes for those people who are residing in nursing homes, regardless of whether they are a pensioner or a self-funded retiree, the basic daily fee will increases from $47.49 per day to $47.86 per day.

Why does this payment increase?

It is based on 85 per cent of the basic single age pension, so it follows every time the pension increases the basic daily fee also increases.

So as a resident you will possible see your age pension increase by $6.80 per fortnight and your basic daily fee increase by $5.18 per fortnight – a net gain of $1.62 per fortnight! As my mum used to say: “Always be grateful for small mercies”.

And it is certainly a little difficult to get any smaller then a net gain of $1.62 per fortnight.

For those pensioners who have monies invested in the share market or in managed funds, the increase in your pension may not be the only adjustment made to your pension in March and September. Your pension can also be adjusted automatically depending on the movement in the markets to reflect the values of your investments at this time.

While you will receive notification re the changes, it can be quite confusing and so now could be a very good time to talk to me or your financial adviser about your current situation to ensure you are receiving your correct pension entitlement.