4 Things You Must Include in Your Budget

 

Before or when consulting with an advisor, it's crucial to have a firm grasp of your budget.

When new clients approach us, we invite them to fill out a form that will help us understand their financial situation. This form gathers information about their assets and liabilities, and budgeting practices.

Are our clients budgeting experts? Some of them have been tracking their income and expenses for years, but often the skill of budgeting isn’t a very popular one to practise. That’s why we’ve broken it down into some essentials. These are the most critical elements to include in your budget.

Understanding how to budget effectively and navigate financial crises without everything falling apart are key to whether or not you are able to make financial progress. The key to mastering this lies in the four essential components of a budget. It’s helpful to calculate how much percentage of your budget each element uses, so you can check if your budget is well-distributed and balanced. 

Illustration of the percentage in budget. 45% with home, 15% with bills, 20% with food and 20% with transportation.

1. Food

Food is undoubtedly the first essential you must prioritise in your budget, just like the bottom level of Maslow's hierarchy of needs. By "food," we mean groceries, such as those purchased from Woolies and your local weekend market, not your preferred degustation restaurant.

Takeaways and dining out are NOT essential expenses, as they can become costly when accumulated over time. Based on my personal experience of ordering takeouts for the past month without a proper budget, I discovered that I spend more on takeouts than on my utilities. By gradually transitioning to meal prepping and cooking at home, I can enjoy my favourite meals at a fraction of the price!

Percentage: Food should take around 10-15% of your budget. 

2. Housing

Housing or shelter is one of the four most basic needs that should be factored into a budget. It is important for both physiological needs, such as rest, and security and safety needs. Rent and mortgage is the primary cost in shelter however they can occupy up to half the portions of your budget. In the worst-case scenario, you could potentially move to a lower-cost shelter (cheaper rental), but it is very important to include this as one of the four things to include in a budget.

There can be several elements included under the ‘housing’ title, but primarily we're using it to define your rent or mortgage payments and potentially maintenance costs. We are excluding additional costs like utilities or insurance in this case.

Percentage: Ideally, housing should take around 25-30% of your budget.

3. Utilities

Another significant item to include is your utilities. These are electricity, water, gas, phone bills, or any other essentials that you need to pay to maintain a healthy and habitable living space. According to data from Finder, the average annual power bill ranges from $1,016 up to $1,448. These costs can vary significantly depending on several factors, including:

  • your location
  • the household size
  • the energy efficiency of your appliances
  • the service providers

The season may also affect your utility expenses. You’re likely to incur higher electricity costs during summer or winter if you make use of air conditioning or heating. Remember to budget on the higher side of these expenses, especially during the hottest and coldest months, to ensure you are budgeting for these fluctuations.

Percentage: Utilities should take around 5-10% of your budget. 

4. Transportation

Transportation is an essential expense that must be accounted for in your budget. The cost of how you get around can vary depending on your lifestyle and location. Whether you drive a car, take public transportation, or rely on other means of getting around, it's important to track your transportation expenses so that you can make informed decisions about your budget.

Here are some of the factors that can affect your transportation expenses:

  • Fuel costs: If you drive a car, fuel costs will be a major factor. The cost of fuel can fluctuate regularly so budget a little extra.
  • Public transportation: If you take public transportation, your top-up cost should be about the same each month. However, remember that, from time to time, disruptions might mean you choose an unplanned Uber trip to get to work on time. 
  • Car registration and insurance: Car registration and insurance are fixed costs that you will need to pay regardless of how much you drive. These annual costs can be broken down into weekly or monthly budgeting and saved throughout the year.
  • Parking fees and tolls: Parking fees and tolls are likely consistent especially if you have the same routine daily.

If you are fortunate enough to walk to work or most places, you may not have to worry about transportation expenses. Add those funds into your emergency fund or put it towards another significant segment of your budget, such as insurance.

Percentage: Transport should take around 10-15% of your budget. 

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While these are the things you MUST include in your budget, there are quite a few more elements to consider, including insurances, recreation and savings. 

After covering the essentials, gradually incorporate additional budget categories for protection, such as insurance or private health coverage. Consider your personal and entertainment expenses, such as dining out with friends, enjoying a hobby, joining a gym or hiring a personal trainer. 

Budgeting doesn’t have to be an unpleasant experience. We suggest finding an app that you enjoy using to help track your expenses in an enjoyable and rewarding way.

Financial advisors can make a significant difference in helping people make informed decisions about their money and investments. When selecting a financial advisor, you may come across the term “Independent Financial Advisors”.

Independent financial advisors, just like any financial advisor, are professionals who offer financial planning and investment advice. What sets them apart is that they are not tied to specific financial institutions, banks, or product providers. The independence allows them to offer a broader range of financial products or solutions to match their client's goals.

It's important to note that this does not mean non-independent financial advisors cannot offer a personalised approach; they also have the capacity to tailor their advice to individual needs and objectives. However, there are several key factors that distinguish independent financial advisors from their non-independent mates.

What makes a Financial Advisor Independent?

When it comes to choosing between independent and non-independent financial advisors, there really aren't many significant distinctions. Whichever path you eventually opt for, both options can be incredibly valuable in guiding you toward a more secure financial future.

You see, the choice between independence and being part of a larger team doesn't necessarily determine their quality. In fact, there are instances when signing up with a bigger team of financial advisors and associates might be the right choice for you. Ultimately, it's about finding the right advisors that fit your unique financial goals and needs.

However, if you want to keep your options open, here are 3 ways you can confirm their independence:

1. They have no association with the recommended products 

Being fully independent means having no affiliation with a product or firm like a bank, brokerage or insurance company. They are completely separate from major banks and large financial institutes, operating autonomously, and do not have predetermined financial products in hand.

2. They do not receive any commission or incentives for endorsing these products 

An independent financial advisor should not be compensated for recommending superannuation products, insurance products, or any specific stocks in any way.

3. They do not charge asset-based fees

Independent financial advisors typically charge fees for service or flat rates on their services rather than using a percentage-based fee structure.

Financial planners that are not independent might receive commissions for recommending certain products, or might work for a specific financial organisation and be limited in recommending their products. There are also advisors in between, who function fairly independently but receive some commissions for certain products. It is helpful to ask the advisers you are speaking to about how they work in this area.

However, many financial planners today, whether independent or affiliated with a financial institution, have shifted away from percentage-based fee structures to fee-for-service models. This shift can be seen as a positive development in the financial advisory industry for some reasons. One reason is the transparency of the fee-for-service structure, allowing clients to see all the costs involved in their financial planning process. Moreover, this fee model can also be cost-effective, especially for clients with larger assets compared to percentage-based fees.

The Best Interests Duty

It's important to note that both independent and non-independent financial advisors are bound to act in the client’s best interests. This means that financial advisor has to prioritise your interest and provide appropriate advice regardless of their independence. However, this duty does not necessarily extend to other financial institutions, such as superannuation funds. It's always a good idea to do your research and understand the level of duty that your financial institution is bound by before making any decisions.

Should I Hire an Independent Financial Advisor?

Choosing between an independent financial advisor and one from a large company depends on your individual needs and preferences.

Independent financial advisors are typically small businesses or individuals who operate on their own. They may have limited support staff, and you may work directly with the advisor without a team to assist them. While independent advisors can provide you with a close working relationship, they may have fewer resources to handle urgent matters. While they are not influenced by financial benefits to sell you financial products you may not need, there is also less oversight on their advice from a larger network.

On the other hand, advisors from larger firms or financial institutions are backed by extensive support networks. They have access to a broader range of resources and can provide more immediate assistance when needed. These firms often have dedicated customer service teams and technology platforms that can enhance your overall experience. However, they may recommend products or services that they will get a commission for.

Ultimately, the decision of whether to choose an independent advisor or one from a large company comes down to your specific financial situation and personal preferences. Here are some questions you should ask yourself to decide whether to go with a particular financial advisor:

  • Do I trust this advisor? This is the most important question. You need to feel comfortable with your advisor.
  • Am I comfortable with the advisor's communication style?
    • Do you understand the advisor's explanations?
    • Do you feel like you can ask questions and get honest answers?
  • Do they believe in their investment strategy?
    • This is crucial because if a financial advisor believes in the strategy they recommend to you, it's worth considering their services, even if their independence is not guaranteed.
  • Can this advisor help me achieve my specific financial goals, such as saving for retirement, paying for my child's education, or buying a house?
  • Does this advisor have experience working with clients with similar financial situations to mine?
  • Does this advisor use a financial planning process that I am comfortable with?
  • Am I confident that this advisor will be there for me in the future when I need help?

By asking yourself these questions, you can get a better sense of whether a particular financial advisor is right for you.

How to Verify that your Financial Advisor is Independent?

Finding out if your financial advisor is independent is quite simple. Just ask them. 

They should be able to tell you about their licences and any restrictions they may have. You can always double-check on their website, as most independent financial advisors will mention this.

Conclusion

Working with an independent advisor is a choice, but not essential.

It is however essential to find the right financial advisor, as they will be working with you for a long time.

The key is to pick the one that fits your financial needs and what you're comfortable with. Don't hesitate to ask questions. This is your money we're talking about, and you deserve the best guidance. So, explore your options and choose the advisor that feels right for you.

If you are in your 20s, you're likely figuring out your career or relationships, but your finances are also important. This is the perfect time to create good financial habits and set achievable short-term goals. By making wise decisions, you'll be better prepared to handle any financial challenges that may come up later on.

A financial planner can save you a lot of time and hassle, and help you reach your financial goals sooner. As the old saying goes, "If you wish for good advice, consult an old man." A financial planner can be a valuable asset to anyone, but they can be especially helpful for people in their 20s who are just starting out.

Here are 4 reasons you need a financial planner in your 20s to improve your financial future:

1. To Create A Personalised Financial Plan

A Financial planner can help you analyse your current income and create a financial roadmap for you to follow. Whether you’re earning a larger salary now and you’d like to make the most of it, or if you have big goals coming up like buying a home, planning a wedding, or growing your family, a financial advisor can guide you through these exciting financial situations. 

Beyond these major life events, a financial planner can help you develop good financial habits from a young age, teaching you the importance of budgeting and saving for the future. They will teach you things like how to save for your emergency fund, and calculate the unexpected expenses and personal burn rates. 

As your family grows, they can guide you on how to protect your loved ones with insurance options, ensuring that your financial future remains secure.

Top 10 Financial Planners - 4 Reasons you need a financial advisors in your 20s

2. To Design You A Tailored Investment Strategy

Investing can be tricky, but it's one of the best ways to grow your money over time. A financial advisor can teach you the basics of investing, get you into the stock market and help you choose the right investments for your risk tolerance and financial goals.  Investing becomes even more powerful if you start at a young age, but it’s really important to make sure you have the right advice to invest wisely.

Superannuation is another significant investment that you can get help with. A financial advisor can help optimise your superannuation so that it is more effective over the long term.  For example, finding the right fund with lower fees and higher returns, or helping you select the best investment strategy for your situation. 

3. To Help You Pay Off Debt Faster

Most people have some form of debt, such as HECs, car loans, credit card debt, or a mortgage. Debt is most often a burden on your finances, but there is a way out. Finance advice can help in areas such as debt repayment plans, finding better interest loans or advising on whether you should consolidate your debt, or even advanced strategies such as debt recycling. Strategies like these can save you thousands of dollars and help you escape your debt faster. 

And of course, financial advisors can help you avoid making financial mistakes that can lead to more debt.

4. To Start Planning For Retirement

It may seem early, but retirement is something you should start thinking about in your twenties. This is because, the earlier you start planning your retirement savings and investing, the more time your money has to grow. Retirement is a long-term goal and savings journey that requires planning and consideration. Starting early allows you to leverage the power of compounding. Even small contributions to retirement savings in your 20s can grow substantially over decades, providing a comfortable nest egg when you eventually retire.

You might have heard of the term FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early). This is basically you having the choice to retire when you want to, maybe quite a bit earlier than most people, and using your time to do what makes you happy. This is much more achievable if you start planning as early as possible. 

Find out how much money you will need to retire and how soon you should begin saving.

Conclusion

So, there you have it! Four reasons why you need a financial planner in your 20s. If you're ready to take charge of your financial future, you could find a financial planner who specialises in working with young adults and early-career professionals. 

Bonus tip: Don't be afraid to ask questions. A good financial advisor will be happy to explain things in a way that you understand.

Take the initial step toward your financial future with the assistance of our Top 10 Financial Advisors. Contact us today.

Christmas is a wonderful time of the year.  There is a buzz in the air at the prospect of a special time with friends and family, travel and time off work, or special gifts from loved ones. Even our grinchy friends can be influenced by the irrepressible joy of carols on the radio and fragrant cinnamon-flavoured goodies.

However, for many Australians, Christmas is a stressful time financially. This stress can take its toll and rob the holiday of its joy.  A study by Finder found that the average spending per Australian is $1,232, with 55% using savings to fund their Christmas, and 23% going into debt. Australians spend the most on presents, closely followed by food and travel. With the cost of living rising, and inflation putting pressure on average families, now is the time to prepare financially in order to make the Christmas memories you'll treasure without the money stress. In this article, we'll give you 5 ways to make a difference in your Christmas starting now.

1. Put Money Aside Now

For many families, Christmas is worth significant amounts of effort.  We recommend you start saving now to ensure you have a stockpile of cash to make your gift-giving and Christmas dinner that bit more special without the financial hangover.  How to do this well? Calculate how much you usually spend or how much you're likely to spend on Christmas and divide that by how much time you have to save. This will give you a weekly amount to put aside.  If the weekly amount to put aside is out of reach, you might want to adjust your planned Christmas spending. Of course, the earlier you start saving, the more money you'll be able to spend on that big Christmas lights installation in your front yard!

2. Don't Budge on your Budget

It can be so easy to be influenced by what other people are doing for Christmas. Instead, know what you can spend and plan how you'll stay within your means. The Salvation Army reports that 41% of people are financially stressed by Christmas. 26% are concerned they won't be able to afford Christmas expenses, but 23% of Australians feel pressure to spend more than they can spare.

Make a choice now to put yourself and your family first - and this means being financially responsible for the future. Spending as you go is disastrous to your bank balance - instead plan out how much you'll spend per person, and how much you have available for food and decorations.

Over time, this process will save you stress, credit card debt, and that feeling of dread you get when you think about Christmas shopping!

3. Say No to the Rubbish

One thoughtful gift is worth so much more than 100 cheap plastic gifts. For the sake of the environment and the minimalist aesthetic, make a choice of quality over quantity. One thoughtful, special and lasting gift will make a bigger impact than a whole bunch of smaller gifts that won't last. This particularly applies to kid's toys!

One way to do this is to make a list and don't buy gifts outside of the list. This way you can make sure that you don't have those last-minute splurges on body-wash sets for everyone you have forgotten.

Another option to reduce excessive gifting is Secret Santa - a favourite tradition shared by workplaces & large families!

You're not alone in trying to find the best way for your family - Finder's research shows that 22% of Australians put a limit on gift-giving, while 10% opt for handmade gifts. Get creative this festive season and say no to unnecessary and rubbish gifts!

4. Set a Christmas Tradition​

Family traditions are truly the most precious memories that many of us have of our childhoods, and for many adults they provide a warm sense of home and belonging. Whether you have a family of your own or not, setting Christmas traditions can provide the love and atmosphere you are looking for, without the price tag.

Some simple ideas include baking together or cookie exchanges, gifting hand-made ornaments, decorating the tree together or spending time together visiting the local Christmas light displays. Or you could bring the meaning into Christmas by observing Advent together, attending a midnight mass or carols singing event, or donating your gifts to children in need.

Christmas traditions pay off hugely over the long-term in memories and meaning, while in the short term, they can help you slow down and focus on what really matters instead of spending lots of money.

5. Share the Burden

With travel and food making up the rest of the Christmas spending, it's time to consider if what you're doing really works for you. Travelling to see family and great food are both non-negotiables at Christmas for very good reasons. If you can afford it, you should do it. However, if you need to reconsider your spending in these areas, perhaps you can work with your loved ones to share the cost of Christmas dinners by 'bringing a plate' or BYO alcohol. If travel is an issue, negotiate to take it in turns to travel - and maybe start saving up for next year!  A holiday at home can be just as exciting - take the opportunity to explore your area and do something touristy you haven't done before.

Family expectations can make life complicated at times. We recommend setting expectations early and providing backup for your decision. If you are working to create a more secure financial future for your family and therefore you are limiting spending at Christmas time this year, then good for you.

We hope you have a wonderful Christmas and come out the other side without a cent of Christmas debt.

If you need assistance in taking the next step toward your financial future, our Top 10 Financial Advisors are here to help. Contact us today.

New rules coming into force on July 1 will create opportunities for older Australians to boost their retirement savings and younger Australians to build a home deposit, all within the tax-efficient superannuation system.

Using the existing First Home Super Saver Scheme, people can now release up to $50,000 from their super account for a first home deposit, up from $30,000 previously.

Another change that will help low-income earners and people who work in the gig economy is the scrapping of the Super Guarantee (SG) threshold. Previously, employees only began receiving compulsory SG payments from their employer once they earned $450 a month.

But the biggest potential benefits from the recent changes will flow to Australians aged 55 and older. Here’s a rundown of the key changes and potential strategies.

Work test changes
From July 1, anyone under the age of 75 can make and receive personal or salary sacrifice super contributions without having to satisfy a work test. Annual contribution limits still apply and personal contributions for which you claim a tax deduction are still not allowed.

Previously, people aged 67 to 74 were required to work for at least 40 hours in a consecutive 30-day period in a financial year or be eligible for the work test exemption.

This means you can potentially top up your super account until you turn 75 (or no later than 28 days after the end of the month you turn 75). It also opens up potential new strategies for making a big last-minute contribution, using the bring-forward rule.

Extension of the bring-forward rule
The bring-forward rule allows eligible people to ‘’bring forward” up to two years’ worth of non-concessional (after tax) super contributions. The current annual non-concessional contributions cap is $110,000, which means you can potentially contribute up to $330,000.

When combined with the removal of the work test for people aged 67-75, this opens a 10-year window of opportunity for older Australians to boost their super even as they draw down retirement income.

Some potential strategies you might consider are:

  • Transferring wealth you hold outside super - such as shares, investment property or an inheritance – into super to take advantage of the tax-free environment of super in retirement phase
  • Withdrawing a lump sum from your super and re-contributing it to your spouse’s super, to make the most of your combined super under the existing limits
  • Using the bring-forward rule in conjunction with downsizer contributions when you sell your family home.


Downsizer contributions age lowered to 60
From July 1, you can make a downsizer contribution into super from age 60, down from 65 previously. (In the May 2022 election campaign, the previous Morrison government proposed lowering the eligibility age further to 55, a promise matched by Labor. This is yet to be legislated.)

The downsizer rules allow eligible individuals to contribute up to $300,000 from the sale of their home into super. Couples can contribute up to this amount each, up to a combined $600,000. You must have owned the home for at least 10 years.

Downsizer contributions don’t count towards your concessional or non-concessional caps. And as there is no work test or age limit, downsizer contributions provide a lot of flexibility for older Australians to manage their financial resources in retirement.

For instance, you could sell your home and make a downsizer contribution of up to $300,000 combined with bringing forward non-concessional contributions of up to $330,000. This would allow an individual to potentially boost their super by up to $630,000, while couples could contribute up to a combined $1,260,000.

Rules relaxed, not removed
The latest rule changes will make it easier for many Australians to build and manage their retirement savings within the concessional tax environment of super. But those generous tax concessions still have their limits.

Currently, there’s a $1.7 million limit on the amount you can transfer into the pension phase of super, called your transfer balance cap. Just to confuse matters, there’s also a cap on the total amount you can have in super (your total super balance) to be eligible for a range of non-concessional contributions.

As you can see, it’s complicated. So if you would like to discuss how the new super rules might benefit you, please get in touch.

Combining downsizer and bring-forward contributions
Australians aged between 60 and 74 now have greater flexibility to downsize from a large family home and put more of the sale proceeds into super, using a combination of the new downsizer and bring-forward contribution rules.

Take the example of Tony (62) and Lena (60). Tony has a super balance of $450,000 while Lena has a balance of $200,000. They plan to retire within the next 12 months, sell their large family home and buy a townhouse closer to their grandchildren. After doing this, they estimate they will have net sale proceeds of $1 million.

Under the new rules from 1 July 2022:

  • They can contribute $600,000 of the sale proceeds into their super accounts as downsizer contributions ($300,000 each)
  • The remaining $400,000 can also be contributed into super using the bring-forward rule, with each of them contributing $200,000.

By using a combination of the downsizer and bring-forward rules, Tony and Lena can contribute the full $1 million into super. Not only will this give their retirement savings a real boost, but they will be able to withdraw the income from their super pension accounts tax-free once they retire.

source: ATO

None of us could have expected Covid-19 to do the damage it has done (and continues to do), not only to our health but also to our finances. As we move to a more remote, online world for work, we must understand where our money is best spent to stay on track. Here are 3 tips to help you stay focused on your financial goals:

​1. Analyse your budget

The budget you followed in 2020 and 2021 probably looked very different from that of previous years. Consider what spending habits you liked and disliked during these years and focus on the important costs like rent/mortgage, insurance, groceries, utilities, transport, savings/debt, and childcare. Keep in mind that food costs have risen, so more money may need to be allocated to this area. The government gave many of us more money throughout the pandemic for childcare and living costs, so make sure you are prepared for increases in these areas.

2. Where to save money

If you started working remotely or online during 2020/2021, you might want to continue this permanently. Making meals at home rather than eating out and not commuting to work will save you money. If you lost your job because of Covid-19, you may be entitled to more discounts than you're aware of. Talk to your bank, workplace, insurance company, utility company, etc., to see where you could be saving extra money. Having an emergency fund set up protects you from future financial difficulties. If saving is difficult for you, take advantage of your bank's saving programs.

3. Taking care of debt

If you have very little money, forgoing debt responsibilities might cross your mind. But you don't have to make that difficult choice. Contact your debt institution to work out manageable repayments in a reasonable timeframe and stay in contact with them if you continue to have financial trouble. If the debt came from financial difficulty during Covid-19, you may be entitled to get it reduced or wiped altogether. Try to reduce financial stress by contacting organisations to assist you with payments and any difficulties you're experiencing.
So, as we enter the changed economic landscape of 2022, consider personal budgeting carefully and with the future in mind. If you are looking for a financial expert to help you create a financial plan, Top 10 Financial Planner can connect you with the financial advice and planners you need. Get in touch with us today to learn more.

Some people hear about the services of professional financial planners and think planning for the future isn't something they need to worry about yet. However, professional financial advice isn't just for the future - it can help you save money, pay less tax, grow your assets, protect your income, and build your investment portfolio today. As you near retirement, you'll find that your home is paid off sooner, your super balance is bursting, you've paid less tax, and you've given your kids the head-start you wish you'd had.

In a nutshell, it's all win if you jump onto the financial planner train. But how do you know that your financial planner is worth their weight in gold? Here are the traits and features to watch out for when browsing your options:

1. They have a great reputation

Anyone can big themselves up - the key here is word-of-mouth referrals. If the claims sound too good to be true and there's not much to back them up, skip to your next option.

2. They are pro-active & inspire trust

If you're waiting for a reply from your prospective financial planner, why would those wait times be any different when you actually engage them? But great communication is not everything; once you do get in touch, a great planner will turn complex concepts into a language you can understand. If your planner seems frustrated by your questions, or you're hassling them just to get back to you, move on.

3. They won't panic

There's something about planning in general: it's a calm process. Often, a financial issue may be ripe ground for some serious panic stations - but when things go wrong, a great financial planner will simply lay out your options for getting out of the pickle. And if they're really worth their salt, the strategic plan will be so well thought out that panicking is something that is never even a possibility.

4. They understand you

​Some financial planners are all "me, me, me". Actually, professional financial advice is exclusively about YOU. What that means is that your planner needs to take the time required to understand you: Your income, your assets, your situation, your spending, your debt - your goals. Only by really getting to know you will the best financial planners be able to develop the most meaningful and fulfilling strategy.

But that's not all! Great financial advisers also have equally-great support teams, contacts and colleagues, and ensure that the only way they really get ahead in the game is by delivering amazing results for you.

Do you have great financial advice? Why not get in touch today to talk about how it could transform your life today - and unfurl your wildest dreams for the future.

"The rich invest in time, the poor invest in money." So said Warren Buffet, the American recognised as one of the most successful businessmen of all time.

Buffet's guiding principle certainly still rings true as we live through the COVID-19 pandemic, but following a couple of years that turned the world on its head, there are some investment avenues that might hold even more potential. In this blog, we take a look at some post-pandemic investment ideas which could offer a handsome return after the hands of time do their job.

Robotics

From depleted workforces to social distancing procedures - the effect of the COVID-19 virus looks to be leading us towards a higher degree of automation in manufacturing settings, and robotics is right at the forefront of this trend. In many cases, using robotics in manufacturing processes can also offer businesses cost savings. Robotics is one sector which seems to be 'future-proofed' in the sense that once automation is implemented, a return to human methods of completing tasks can be unlikely.

Healthcare

It might seem an obvious investment choice; but what are the reasons why the healthcare sector might offer a fruitful post-COVID opportunity? It comes down to the emphasis on avoiding a repeat of the pandemic, which will see a renewed focus on technological advancements in the industry. A new wave of healthcare innovations, encompassing prevention, hygiene, vaccines and testing, virus treatments and artificial intelligence to facilitate rapid data exchanges and processing has recently been tipped.

Sustainability

From environmental policies to social change - companies who have been involved in influential sustainability initiatives could be worth considering for investment in the post-pandemic environment. Look to brands that can offer a demonstrable commitment to sustainability and are leading the way in the battle to help protect the planet and its people. Of course, the long-held principles attached to investing in stocks, including companies that can show high profitability, have done little gearing, and demonstrate low-profit variability, are still very much relevant.

So, as we look to 2022 with renewed optimism, consider these ways to invest your capital and watch your money grow. If you are looking for a financial expert to help you plan your investments, Top 10 Financial Planner can connect you with the financial advice and planners you need. Get in touch with us today to learn more.

There is no specific age or date an individual or couple should begin to plan for their retirement, but it is generally considered the earlier the better. Many people begin planning for their retirement once their children have reached adulthood, as they no longer have financial obligations such as paying for their children's education.

How to start planning for your retirement

It can seem incredibly overwhelming to begin considering your retirement, but it doesn’t have to be. First, establish an accurate picture of your finances, such as your income and any large, long-term outgoing expenses you have. Next, think about what you would like your retirement to look like, for example, what age would you like to stop working and where you may like your permanent residence to be once you have retired. From here, you will have a better idea of the investments, strategies and targets you need to achieve to ensure you have the retirement you want.

Why work with a retirement planning advisor?

There are many benefits to working with a financial retirement expert, including…

Diversification

A financial expert will help you diversify your investment portfolio, so should there be an unexpected fall in some of your investments (such as a property market crash), your diverse portfolio will provide you with the financial stability you need to guarantee a comfortable retirement.

Goals

If you are currently working, you may not have the time or knowledge to achieve your investment and retirement goals. An industry expert will be able to dedicate the time and attention your portfolio needs to ensure all of your retirement goals are met.

Returns

Should you choose to trust a financial expert with your retirement investments, you will be able to maximise any potential returns and live a more comfortable and enjoyable life in your retirement than you could have ever thought possible.

Contact Top 10 Financial Planner

If you are looking for a financial expert to help you plan for your retirement, Top 10 Financial Planner can connect you with the financial advice and planners you need. Get in touch with us today to learn more.

In our current COVID-19 pandemic environment, there are many situations that are unprecedented. One of these is the Australian Government's relaxation of the rules relating to accessing superannuation.

Throughout the pandemic period, laid-off workers or those not working are able to access $10,000 of their superannuation funds per financial year, to the value of $20,000, to help them through this tough time.

It sounds like a great idea, but what are the considerations that you should be aware of before you dip into your retirement savings? Let's discuss the pros and cons.

The pros

These might seem blindingly obvious, as having access to your compulsory savings can really help out when money is tight and work is scarce. Accessing this money can help make ends meet and cover the day-to-day bills that keep rolling in, regardless of your work situation.

From an economic point of view, it's also good for the economy when people are spending, i.e. economic stimulus. And, from the Government's point of view, why not let people access their own money to spend and drive the economy? It's cheaper now and places less strain on the tax system and deficit in the future!

The cons

The magic of superannuation is that of compounding interest. This is growing your money quickly by getting interest on interest. This is a great system, until you take money out. Lowering your superannuation by even a relatively small amount now can mean the loss of a significant amount in the future. The younger you are when you withdraw money, the larger the impact will be when you retire, with studies showing that impact of a 25-year-old withdrawing $20,000 from their super will mean a difference of over $102,000 when they retire. That is a very scary figure!

The conclusion

If you really need it, accessing your superannuation can be a good tide-over until your financial or working situation improves. But be very aware of the long-term impacts of this on your balance at retirement. The long-term impacts may outweigh the short-term benefits.