Prepare For Life Spring 2018 

Are Australians having a personal debt crisis?

By Peter Kelly – Superannuation, SMSF and Retirement Planning Specialist (Centrepoint Alliance)

Credit seems to be everywhere.

Visit the local shopping centre and we will be enticed by interest-free terms on a new lounge, bed, TV, or white goods. More and more shops are offering access to ‘Afterpay’, and of course, credit cards are accepted everywhere.

On top of that, motor vehicle dealerships are offering very favourable finance allowing us to hop into the latest car, SUV, or more likely – the dual cab ute costing $50,000 or more.
But is this a good, or a bad thing?

Australians have amongst the highest personal debt in the world. Around $2 trillion spread over mortgages for owner-occupied dwellings (56.3%), investment debt, including property (36.5%), consumer credit, car loans and the like (3.1%), student loans (2.1%), and credit cards (1.9%).

Let’s put some perspective around the numbers.

According to the ABC (July 2018), Australians have $45 billion in credit card debt.

A $2,000 credit card debt will take 17 years to repay if only making the minimum monthly payments!

One in six Australians is struggling to dig their way out of the debt trap. As at June 2017, ASIC found that almost 550,000 Australian credit card holders are in arrears, an additional 930,000 have persistent debt, and 435,000 are repaying only small amounts.

Have we got something wrong in the mix?……Continue reading


Ten years, twenty headlines

By Jim Parker, Vice President, Dimensional Funds Advisor

Have you read the news today? Chances are there’s something happening in the world with the potential to keep you awake at night. But while it’s one thing to follow the news, it’s another to act on it in a way that can backfire on you as an investor.

Journalists define news as to what’s novel, startling, eye-catching, unusual or conversation-starting. Media companies use the news to maximise attention and help their clients, the advertisers, to sell their products and services to you.

While news coverage also unquestionably plays a civic function, much of what is given prominence in the media day-to-day is consciously workshopped by editors to trigger an emotional reaction and build engagement.

For long-term investors, this presents a challenge. How do you differentiate between genuinely important, far-reaching and reliable information on the one hand, and cynically chosen clickbait and inconsequential beat-ups on the other? Put another way, how do you tell the difference between signal and noise?

One approach is to look at past headlines in a historical context and ask yourself how you would have fared if you had acted on those in your own portfolio. …….. Continue reading


Pensioner or Seniors Concession Card?

By Mark Teale – Retirement Strategies and Solutions Specialist

Depending on where you reside in Australia, there is a wide variety of cards and concessions on offer to people over the age of 60 or 65.

But working out what card is right for you can cause a degree of confusion – do I automatically become entitled to a Seniors Concession Card when I retire and if so which one? How do I get a Pensioner Concession Card? If I lose entitlement to my pension can I still retain my Pensioner Concession Card?

These are all very common questions so let me try to explain.

If you are over the age of 65, you may find that you have an entitlement to at least one of the following cards;

  1. Pensioner Concession Card
  2. Commonwealth Seniors Health Card
  3. Seniors Card
  4. Gold Card: ‘DVA Health Card – for all conditions’

So, what is the value? …… Continue Reading


Disclaimer: This article contains general information only. The information contained in this article is not designed to be a substitute for professional advice as such a brief guide cannot consider and cover all individual needs, objectives, circumstances and conditions applying to the law as it relates to these items mentioned in this article. No responsibility can be accepted for errors, omissions or possible misleading statements or for any decisions or actions taken as a result of any material in this communication. Appropriate expert advice should always be considered from a professional financial adviser prior to making any financial decisions. 



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