The start of a new year is a great time to sit back, take stock of your financial situation and plan for the year ahead.
As accountants, we love End of Financial Year (EOFY), so put on your accountant hat and do a quick FINANCIAL EOFY REVIEW of your position, with some helpful hints from us.
We all know that keeping track of expenses and receipts is essential for getting the best tax outcome for ourselves and our businesses. So, let’s start the new year off on the right foot by getting organised and keeping track of those expenses and receipts. Excel is a tried-and-true option, but there are also a number of other software solutions that can make this process easier for you. If you are using Xero, take advantage of Hubdoc, a receipt processing software which is free with your Xero subscription. Hubdoc allows you to scan and upload your receipts directly to Xero, making it even easier to keep track of your receipts.
Getting the right structure for your business and investment assets is one of the most important investments you can make in your financial future. The right structure will deliver you the most optimal (read lowest) tax outcome this year and in future years to come.
The right structure will also ensure your assets are protected and that these hard fought for assets are not lost due to unforeseen circumstances, such as business failures, bankruptcy, or family separations.
- If you are buying an investment property or share portfolio, you may want to consider the type of structure you purchase the assets under. Are you going to purchase this in your own name, in a trust, in a company or in your superfund? Each structure comes with its own pros and cons, and it ultimately depends on your personal circumstances and risk profile. But getting it right will be the best investment you make.
- If your business is growing and you currently operate your business as a sole trader, you may want to consider moving your business into a company or a trust. This can help you to minimise the amount of tax you pay on your profits and protect your personal assets (usually the family home) in the event the business fails. By accessing tax and stamp duty concessions on offer by the ATO and State Revenue offices, changing your business structure may not come with any capital gains tax or stamp duty costs.
The best way to choose the right structure for your needs is to speak to an accountant or financial planner. If you’re interest in talking about the best structure for you and your personal circumstances, please contact us.
We are talking about the essential, but not so fun types of insurances:
- Income protection insurance. This cover provides monthly income in the event you can’t work for a while.
- Total and permanent disability (TPD) insurance. This cover provides a lump sum payment if you can’t work for a LONG time, or permanently.
- Life Insurance. This cover provides a lump sum death benefit to your nominated beneficiaries when you die.
If you already have these types of policies in place and they have been reviewed recently, great work! You’re one step ahead of many people – full points!
if you have these types of policies through your superannuation fund but you haven’t reviewed them to make sure they are going to deliver the financial outcome you and your family need, it’s better than nothing but not ideal – half points!
If you don’t have any of these policies, you should get them in place as soon as possible.
These policies should evolve with you over the course of your life. For example:
- Has your income increased significantly without a review of your income protection insurance limits? If so, you’re under insured.
- Have you purchased a new home and now have significantly more debt in your family group? If so, you may want to consider if your life and TPD insurance is sufficient to take care of your family in the event you are TPD’d or die.
Our Financial Planners are able to assist you with your personal insurance needs, even if it is just a general chat to sense check your cover. You will never regret looking into this and ensuring you and your family are taken care of.
A good business can be a valuable asset, but in the event of death or illness of the owners who are instrumental to the operation of the business, the value can quickly be lost, or it can be very hard to extract in a sale situation.
To protect the value of the business, business owners can take out life insurance, TPD insurance and Key Person insurance over owners and key personal to protect the value of the business.
If you have such policies in place, that’s great! But like all things, they need to be reviewed regularly to ensure they are adequate for the current businesses’ needs.
If you are interested in talking about your existing insurances or putting them in place, please contact us.
Wills and Estate Planning
Let’s be honest, no one likes to think about death, which is very apparent to us as we see too many people who either don’t have a will or have not renewed their estate plan for many years.
You should consider looking into your estate planning if:
- You don’t have a will. If you don’t have a will, you need to get one in place ASAP! Even if you think you don’t have many assets to pass on, it’s important to make sure that your wishes are known and that your assets are distributed according to your wishes. Please remember that all working Australians are likely to have a life insurance policy in their superannuation fund. This means that, upon your death, your loved ones could receive a payout of hundreds of thousands of dollars. This if often very helpful for your loved ones, so you want to make sure there is a seamless transfer of these funds (and more importantly ensure they end up in the right hands!).
- You’ve had a change in family or financial circumstances. Have you recently started a new relationship or have had a new bundle of joy arrive? If you have a major change in your personal circumstances, relationships or financial circumstances like the ones described above, it’s important to have your will reviewed to ensure that the terms remain appropriate for the transfer of your assets and for the care of your children.
Similarly, if you have recently started a business and/or established a company or trust that you control, it is imperative that these changes to your financial structure are dealt with in your will, so it’s time for an update!
If this is something that is keeping you up at night (or maybe it should be), we can refer you to an estate planning lawyer to put in place the appropriate measures to give you peace of mind that your loved ones will be looked after if the worst was to happen to you.
Loan interest rates
Interest rates have been increasing significantly over the recent months. We are still seeing too many people paying more interest than they should be. This is known as the ‘bank loyalty tax’, which is a term we use to describe the extra interest you pay when you stay with the same lender, even though there may be better rates available elsewhere. We often see people paying up to 1% more than what otherwise may be available.
There are a couple of ways we can help:
- Rate review. Our finance brokers can review your loans and contact your banks to request a rate review. This is a free service and you’d be surprised how often we are able to access rate reductions for clients!
- Refinancing. A more involved process by refinancing the loans to a more competitive lender. Again, you don’t pay us anything for this service. You may also be able to access equity which you’ve built up in the property after the large price rises over the pandemic, allowing you to invest further or utilise funds for personal purposes.
If you’re interested in learning more about how we can help you with your loan interest rates, please contact us.
Like everything else it seems at the moment, insurance premiums are skyrocketing. Now is a good a time as any to review your insurance policies to ensure you are not paying more than you need to, and most importantly ensuring you have sufficient cover over your assets if something was to go wrong.