Category Archives: Blog

5 Ways To Be Better With Your Money This Year

A new year is a great time to check over your finances and determine your short and long-term goals. While many people want to spend less and save more, following through is the hardest part. Here are 5 simple ways to be better with your money this year.

Track spending on non-essentials

Your essential expenses rarely vary month-to-month, such as rent, mortgage repayments, groceries and car maintenance. However, non-essential purchases can have a significant impact on your saving goals. Think takeaway food, tickets and coffees. By tracking spending, you can figure out the best ways to save money. You might find that you’re spending several hundred a month eating out and might forego a meal out or choose a less-expensive restaurant.

Use the 24-hour rule for purchases

With online shopping so prevalent now, it is very easy to find yourself browsing your favourite stores. A great way to avoid impulse purchases and wasteful spending it to implement the 24-hour rule – wait 24 hours before purchasing an item. Take the time to decide if you genuinely want or need the item. Chances are you will decide that you don’t need it. If you still really want it after the 24 hours, you know that it will be a worthwhile purchase. For more expensive items, consider a one-month rule.

Get a money buddy

Money is a taboo topic for most people. However, talking about money can help you reach your goals and feel a little less alone. Trying to achieve financial goals can seem never-ending, and people may become disheartened. Find a friend, family member or co-worker who has the same financial goals as you, and pair up to motivate and keep each other accountable.

Enlist the help of professionals

Guidance can be essential to financial success and saving more. At The Farm Protectors, our strategic advisers will help you reach your goals, improve your health and ensure you have adequate protection against any future contingencies.

We’re here to help you reach your goals, now and into the future. Take strides this year to bridge the gap between where you are now and where you want to be.

Include Yourself in Your Business’ Succession Plan

Everyone has to leave their business one day. If you are planning the succession for your business, you need to remember to include yourself! The company needs to prepare for life without you, but you need to prepare yourself for life without the company.

So often, succession plans forget to consider the exit strategy of the business owner. Consideration needs to be made regarding their personal readiness. Without careful planning, many retirees often find life difficult after exiting the business. Some retirees get bored and choose to re-join the workforce, or alternately are forced to re-join because they are unable to support themselves financially long-term.

What are you going to do once you exit the business? While you might think that pursuing a passion, hobby or sport a few times a week sounds great, it won’t sustain you long-term, and you might find yourself without any real purpose.

It can be a great idea to start with a well-earned break. But after that, you need to plan. To feel great and make the most of life after work, you can:

  • Volunteer and help the community – it is incredibly fulfilling to volunteer and help your local community. You might like to support local charities. You could even put your skills and knowledge to work, offering mentoring or tutoring to others.
  • Spending more time with family – many retirees love to spend time with family, especially caring for grandchildren.
  • Working part-time – maintaining part-time work is a great option for those that want or need to continue earning a form of income. We are living longer, so it can be a great option to help your savings last longer. It also enables you to create a routine and a sense of purpose.

You will have to exit our business one day, so make sure you are prepared and include yourself in your business’ succession plan. Talk to the team at The Farm Protectors today to build your succession plan and prepare yourself for life without work.

Banana Date Pancakes

PREP: 10 MINS | COOK: 10 MINS | MAKES: 8

What you’ll need…

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp caster sugar
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 extra large eggs
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 8 pitted dates, finely sliced
  • Additional banana, blueberries and honey for serving

Method

  1. Combine flour, baking powder and sugar in a large mixing bowl.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs and mashed banana. Add to flour mixture with dates and mix until smooth.
  3. Pre-heat a frying pan over medium heat, lightly spray with olive oil or brush with butter. Spoon ¼ cup measures of batter into pan and cook for several minutes until bubbles appear and base is golden. Turn over a cook a further 1-2 minutes.
  4. Serve pancakes with sliced bananas, blueberries and a drizzle of honey.

What Assets Are Not Covered by My Will?

Assets included in your Will are called estate assets. These are assets that you own, in your personal name, at the time of your death. Estate assets are dealt with in your Will, but people often include items that are not allowed to be included. So what assets are not covered by your Will?

Superannuation

Superannuation is not an estate asset and Will therefore not automatically pass per your Will. What happens with your superannuation will be determined by either: a binding death benefit nomination, the discretion of the fund’s trustee, or the rules of your superannuation fund.

Assets you own jointly with someone else

Any assets that are owned jointly with another person are automatically transferred to the surviving partner. This happens in accordance with survivorship laws. These assets often include bank accounts, property, shares and term deposits. However, if the other joint tenant has predeceased you, the asset Will at this point form part of your estate and therefore pass per your Will, so it is a good idea to include it.

Assets in a family trust or other trust

Family trust assets belong to the trust and will be dealt with in accordance with the trust deed.

Assets owned by a company

Assets from a company Will remain owned by the company. However, any shares you have in the company are part of your estate assets and can be left with whomever you wish in your Will.

Life insurance policies

When you set up your life insurance policy, you can nominate a beneficiary. The proceeds Will generally be paid directly to this beneficiary, without the need to be included in your Will. If you want your life insurance policy included in your Will, you need to nominate your estate as the beneficiary.

If you wish to review your assets or establish an estate plan, please don’t hesitate to contact us today.

Government Bushfire Assistance and Support

Below we have outlined the government assistance and support available to those affected by the recent bushfire emergencies.

Federal Government Support

National Bushfire Recovery Agency

The Government announced the launch of a new National Bushfire Recovery Agency in January. This agency will lead and coordinate the response to rebuilding communities affected by bushfires.

Australian Tax Office (ATO)

The ATO will assist those affected by the bushfires. They will help with lodgement/payment deferrals, help people find lost tax file number information, as well as re-issuing statements and notices of assessment.

National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA)

The NDIA has created a resource page for NDIS participants. This includes information on who to contact for support and urgent assistive technology repairs.

State Government Assistance

  • Emergency Victoria – emergency relief assistance payments and financial counselling are available to those affected.
  • VIC Rural Finance – assistance for primary producers, small businesses and not-for-profit organisations affected by the bushfires.

General Assistance and Support

Choc Date Balls

PREP: 15 MINS | MAKES: 16

What you’ll need…

  • 1 cup pitted dates
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp raw cacao
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1/4 tsp finely grated orange rind
  • 1/4 cup pepitas, chopped

Method

  1. Place the dates, sultanas and oats in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until pureed.
  2. Gently warm the coconut oil and honey in the microwave until oil is liquid. Add to the date mixture with the cacao, water and orange rind. Mix well.
  3. Roll teaspoonsful into balls and roll in pepitas. Refrigerate until required.

Take Control of Your Super in 2020

Change your financial future for your better by taking control of your superannuation in 2020. Here are just a few ways that you can start boosting your superannuation to fund your retirement.

Look for lost superannuation

Communication with superannuation funds can sometimes get lost, especially when changing jobs, addresses or your name. If you have more than one super account, you’ll be paying more than one set of fees. Combining all your accounts into one fund will save you thousands of dollars of your career.

Check your payslips

It is a good idea to double-check that your employer is contributing the correct amount into your superannuation fund. The amount on your payslip should equate to 9.5% of your pre-tax ordinary time earnings. If you can’t find this information, check with your employer to ensure they are paying contributions into your account at least quarterly.

Contribute more

You can make payments into your superannuation fund, on top of the 9.5% your employer pays on your behalf. Contributing to your fund can make a big difference to your future. You can make either concessional or non-concessional contributions. Concessional (before-tax) are made before you pay tax, such as the contributions made by your employer or salary sacrificing. Non-concessional are contributions made after-tax, where you made personal contributions into your account from your take-home pay or savings. You can contribute up to $25,000, inclusive of your employer’s 9.5% payment.

Check your insurance cover in your super

Most superannuation funds will offer insurance cover when you join. This can include Income Protection, Death and Total & Permanent Disablement Cover. While insurance through your super can be a cost-effective way to protect you and your family’s future, it can be one of the most significant costs involved. It is essential to check your insurance cover to ensure that it suits your current needs and lifestyle, and does not double up with any cover you have outside your fund.

Get in touch with the team at The Farm Protectors to take control of your super this year.

Look Out for These Business Changes in 2020

There are lots of changes happening this year, including new regulations, state elections, and overseas events like Brexit. It would be best if you kept an eye out for these changes, as they could have an impact on employers and business owners in 2020.

  • The Single Touch Payroll (STP) 12-month penalty waiver will finish at the end of this current financial year. This means that from 1 July 2020, penalties will be applied if companies fail to comply with the new digital reporting system. Small businesses face up to $1050, $2100 for medium businesses and $5250 for large companies. Make sure you have your lodgements in on time!
  • A new law came into effect from 1 January 2020! Employers are now banned from using any salary sacrificed contributions towards meeting their superannuation guarantee obligations, regardless of the amount employees elect to salary sacrifice. Employers are required to pay 9.5% of the employee’s ordinary time earnings (OTE) base, the amount before any salary sacrifices are made.
  • The Paid Parental Leave Act was amended on 1 January. The work test has been changed to allow more women to qualify. The government have extended the break between working days from eight to 12 weeks and now allow women to move their work test period if they stop work due to a workplace hazard.
  • From 1 January 2020, eligible employees with multiple employers can apply to opt-out of receiving super guarantee from some of their employees. This will help individuals to avoid unintentionally going over the concessional contributions cap.
  • Keep an eye out for the federal budget out in early May. The government is facing increased pressure to boost the economy, so there could be some positives for small and medium businesses.
  • There are several reviews and inquiries currently underway that may affect companies in 2020. These include the aged care royal commission, Insolvency Practices Inquiry, and a review into Supply Chain Financing. Findings will be handed down this year.

If you have any questions about how these changes could impact your business, please contact the team at The Farm Protectors today.

Chocolate Raisin Brownies

PREP: 10 MINS | COOK: 20 MINS | MAKES: 15

What you’ll need…

    • 200g raisins
    • 100g dark chocolate
    • 200g milk chocolate
    • 250g salted butter
    • 400g soft light brown sugar
    • 4 large eggs
    • 1 cup plain flour, sifted
    • 1/2 cup cocoa powder, sifted

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Line a 20 x 30cm baking tray tin with baking paper.
  2. Place the chocolate, butter and sugar in a pan and gently melt over low heat, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon.
  3. Remove from heat.
  4. Stir the eggs, one by one, into the melted chocolate mixture.
  5. Add flour and cocoa, and stir through. Stir raisins through mixture.
  6. Spread out evenly in baking tray and bake for 30 mins. Allow to cool before slicing into squares.

How to Get Your Finances in Shape at Every Stage of Life

As you go through life, your financial goals will shift and change. Very few people have the same goals as they did a few years ago. Below is a general guide for how to get your finances in shape at every life stage.

20s

You might not be earning a whole lot of money in your 20s, but it is the time to get good habits in place. Your focus should be on creating a budget and sticking to it, resisting the urge to borrow to supplement your income. Once you’ve mastered your budget, you’ll want to start building some savings. Saving will give you the financial freedom to make smarter choices about what to do with your money. It is a good idea to start by creating an emergency fund.

30s

Your 30s might feel like a constant battle of working to pay the bills. You will need to be strict with your budget to ensure that you can meet your short-term goals (like a holiday with the kids) and your long-term retirement goals. You will need to consider how important your goals are and be realistic about the timeframe you want to achieve them.

40s

At this stage in your life, you will likely be reaching your maximum earning potential and will have some substantial financial commitments, such as a mortgage. Many people struggle with lifestyle creep in their 40s. Lifestyle creep is the gradual increase in spending as your wage increases. This often results in extra purchasing, at the detriment of your savings. Before making purchases, you need to ensure you stick to your budget and prioritise purchases, so you can still save for retirement.

50s

Your 50s should be all about maximising your superannuation. If your balance is low, you might find that you need to implement a strict budget to get back on track. Think about making contributions right up to the concessional cap.

The team at The Farm Protectors are here to help, whatever stage of life you are at. We can provide guidance on budgeting, savings, and retirement planning. Contact us today.