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Provision Newsletter

Affordable school holiday activities

Posted On:Jul 03rd, 2018     Posted In:Provision Newsletter Articles    Posted By:Provision Wealth

We asked our readers for their top tips to keep the kids entertained during the school holidays without blowing the budget

Art and craft, board games and movies at home all proved popular, as did visits to the park, playground, picnics, riding bikes and camping.

And perennial favourites such as taking advantage of museums and galleries with free entry, and visits to

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We asked our readers for their top tips to keep the kids entertained during the school holidays without blowing the budget

Art and craft, board games and movies at home all proved popular, as did visits to the park, playground, picnics, riding bikes and camping.

And perennial favourites such as taking advantage of museums and galleries with free entry, and visits to the local library, also rated a mention.

Most creative low-cost school holiday activities

If you’re looking for some fresh school holiday inspiration, some of the most creative ideas included:

  • Looking through photo albums together and creating a family slideshow.

  • Putting on a concert or play for friends, getting the kids to create the show, make costumes and props, and make tickets and food for the guests.

  • Getting the kids to write books and turning them into movies.

  • Going on a park crawl, by setting a timer and after an hour at a park, moving onto another one.

  • Using old bottles and jars to create terrariums using succulents and plants from the garden.

  • Getting together with a group of friends and each taking all the kids for a day, so you only have one day to plan and pay for, and some child-free days during the holidays.

  • Making a list of things for the kids to spot then heading out in the car and playing car bingo.

  • Cutting out pictures from old magazines and cards and creating new homemade cards for upcoming birthdays and events.

  • Scouring the internet in the lead up to the holidays for free and cheap activities to create a lucky dip jar to draw from when boredom sets in.

  • Instead of just playing board games, making one, including planning the theme, rules, making the board, cards and questions, then playing it.

 Source : AMP 3 July 2018 

Important  
This article provides general information and hasn’t taken your circumstances into account. It’s important to consider your particular circumstances before deciding what’s right for you. Although the information is from sources considered reliable, we do not guarantee that it is accurate or complete. You should not rely upon it and should seek qualified advice before making any investment decision. Except where liability under any statute cannot be excluded, we do not accept any liability (whether under contract, tort or otherwise) for any resulting loss or damage of the reader or any other person.

 

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Do I need an accountant to do my tax return?

Posted On:Jun 29th, 2018     Posted In:Provision Newsletter Articles    Posted By:Provision Wealth

Depending on whether your finances are straightforward or more complex, you may choose to do your tax return yourself or engage a professional.

If you have multiple sources of income, various investments, possibly your own business or have lots of deductible work-related expenses, using an accountant (who’ll need to be a registered tax agent1) to prepare and lodge your tax return

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Depending on whether your finances are straightforward or more complex, you may choose to do your tax return yourself or engage a professional.

If you have multiple sources of income, various investments, possibly your own business or have lots of deductible work-related expenses, using an accountant (who’ll need to be a registered tax agent1) to prepare and lodge your tax return may be useful.

However, if the only income you earn is from your employer and you don’t have many deductions to claim, or investments you’re making money on, you might choose to lodge your tax return online yourself via myTax, which is accessible through the Australian Government’s myGov website.

If you’re not sure which way to go, here are a few pointers that might help you with your decision.

Lodging your tax return yourself

If your finances are relatively simple, you might consider lodging your own tax return (which you’ll need to do by 31 October, for the previous financial year), while saving money on what a registered tax agent might charge you.

According to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), the benefits of lodging your tax return online via the myTax system is it’s safe, secure and most of the information from your employer, bank and government agencies will be pre-filled for you by around late August2.

Meanwhile, even if your situation is a little more complex, you can still use myTax if you have investments, rental properties, capital gains or are a sole trader3.

On top of that, the service is available all day, every day so you can lodge your return at anytime and you’ll generally get your refund within two weeks, which may be faster than doing it another way4.

Engaging a registered tax agent

If you do want to use a registered tax agent to prepare and lodge your tax return, it’s important to note you will pay a fee for their service, but it’ll typically be deductible in next financial year.

Note, tax agents must be registered with the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) and you can find a registered tax agent or check whether a person is registered by visiting the TPB website5.

If your finances are more complex, going down this path may provide you with peace of mind, as it could save you time, highlight deductible work-related expenses you didn’t know about, while ensuring all your claims are legitimate.

On top of that, most registered tax agents have a special lodgement program, which means they can usually lodge returns for their clients after the usual 31 October deadline, but you’ll need to contact them beforehand to ensure that’s something you can take advantage of it you want to.

Other things to note

Whether you plan to lodge your tax return yourself, or use a professional, you can use the myDeductions tool in the ATO app to save a record of your deductions throughout the financial year, which you can upload at lodgement time.

To ensure you’ve got all the relevant information you need ahead of filing your tax return, check out the ATO’s tax time checklist .

If you seek futher assistance please contact us on |PHONE|  .

1, 5 ATO – Lodge with a registered tax agent paragraph 1
2, 4 ATO – Lodge online (Benefits of lodging with myTax)
ATO MyTax replaces e-tax paragraph 2

Source : AMP 28 June 2018  

Important  
This article provides general information and hasn’t taken your circumstances into account. It’s important to consider your particular circumstances before deciding what’s right for you. Although the information is from sources considered reliable, we do not guarantee that it is accurate or complete. You should not rely upon it and should seek qualified advice before making any investment decision. Except where liability under any statute cannot be excluded, we do not accept any liability (whether under contract, tort or otherwise) for any resulting loss or damage of the reader or any other person.

 

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Environmental and financial costs of fast fashion

Posted On:Jun 27th, 2018     Posted In:Provision Newsletter Articles    Posted By:Provision Wealth

You might have a friend who wouldn’t be caught dead in the same outfit twice. But what’s the real cost of fast fashion –  the buy it, wear it once, throw it away culture of cheap clothing that has hit the mainstream?

What is fast fashion?

Not dissimilar to the fast-food movement, fast fashion is about getting the latest trends from the

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You might have a friend who wouldn’t be caught dead in the same outfit twice. But what’s the real cost of fast fashion –  the buy it, wear it once, throw it away culture of cheap clothing that has hit the mainstream?

What is fast fashion?

Not dissimilar to the fast-food movement, fast fashion is about getting the latest trends from the catwalks to the stores in the shortest time possible and at the lowest price.

Pioneered by retailers such as Zara, H&M, Uniqlo, Gap, Forever 21 and Topshop, fast fashion is challenging the standard fashion industry cycle of introducing new clothes on a seasonal basis1.

The emergence of fast fashion has also been fueled by the rise of social media influencers, leading young women, in particular, to adopt a new way of consuming clothes – 25% of 14-to-17 year olds and 13% of 18-to-24 year olds say they’re buying more clothing than they were a year ago2.

What’s the problem with fast fashion?

The appeal is that the products are cheap, trendy and often, limited in number. But the financial downside is that to stay on trend, you need to buy more items more often.  One survey found that 21% of respondents estimate that they own over 100 items of clothing (excluding underwear or accessories)3.

Millennials (16-34 year olds) have the highest proportion of new clothing; 38% of millennials say they have purchased at least half of the clothes that they own in the past year, while just 9% of baby boomers (over 55s) have done the same4.

And fast fashion also has other costs. Workers’ rights, including fair pay and safe working conditions, are often sacrificed in order to provide clothes at the possible lowest price5.

But while the human rights challenges facing the garment production industry are relatively well known, what you mightn’t have considered is the environmental impact of fast fashion. In terms of the environment, the problem is two-fold:

  • Firstly, there are the immediate environmental impacts. Clothing fibres, such as non-organic cotton, require large amounts of water, plus pesticides and fertilisers, to grow6. And, further along the production line, huge amounts of water are used to dye clothes, with the water – polluted with bleaches, acids, dyes and inks – contaminating local waterways in developing countries, where the majority of clothes are produced7

  • And secondly, the disposable nature of fast-fashion means that more and more clothes are being thrown into landfill. Amazingly almost a quarter of Australians admit they’ve thrown away an item of clothing after wearing it just once, while 41% say they’re thrown unwanted clothes straight in the bin8.

What can I do?

If you’re concerned about the impacts of fast fashion both from a budget and environmental point of view, why not be part of the solution, not the problem? Below are a few things you can do to help.

Shopping checklist:

We’ve provided a checklist to use the next time you’re thinking about shopping for a fresh new look.

  • Do I need to buy new?

Consider secondhand stores or websites when shopping. Aside from snagging pre-loved bargains, some retailers even donate their slightly damaged goods (think missing buttons or make up stains) to these stores so you can actually find brand new clothes. And if you want to stand out from the crowd with a look that’s unique, where better than secondhand to find a fabulous one-off piece or rock a vintage look.

  • Think about fabrics.

Polyester, nylon and other plastic-based synthetics take a long time to break down in landfill while cotton farming is very water and pesticide intensive. Organic cotton, tencel, hemp, bamboo, linen, silk and wool are better choices9.

  • Buy quality, not quantity.

If you’re used to buying four or five new items at an average of $50 per item every month, instead consider pooling that cash and spending $200-$250 on one quality item that you can wear season after season.

  • Support sustainable labels.

You can do this via online ethical marketplaces such as Well Made Clothes or Sustainable Fashion, while most major retailers also list their approach to ethics and sustainability on their websites. It may take a little more legwork, but your conscience will thank you.

Clean-out checklist:

You can also help by thinking carefully about when and how you dispose of clothes and avoiding landfill where possible. Here’s another checklist to consider when you’re doing a wardrobe clean out.

  • Can it be fixed?

Instead of simply throwing away damaged clothing consider whether you can mend it, or if you’re not handy, have it fixed. If it can’t be returned to its original condition, perhaps you can embrace the visible mending approach and create an item that is totally unique by adding your own spin on it when repairing.

  • Would someone else love it?

Perhaps your trash could be someone else’s treasure, so consider whether the item could be passed on to younger siblings or family friends, sold secondhand via websites such as eBay or Gumtree, or traded at a clothes swap event.

  • Can it be donated to charity?

While in theory, donating to secondhand stores (especially those that support charities) is a great idea, with 82% of Australians donating to charity stores but only 53% buying from them, there’s an obvious mismatch in supply and demand10. Fast fashion donations have added to the problem, with charities reporting that the quality of the clothing received is often so poor it has little or no value, and then then have to pay for its disposal11. So, ask yourself if the item is really in good enough condition to be re-sold before donating.

  • Are there alternative recycling options?

Some large retailers are now looking to close the loop they’ve created through fast fashion. For example, H&M offers in-store recycling where used clothes (in any condition, from any brand) can be returned in exchange for a H&M discount voucher. They are then either re-sold as secondhand, made into new clothing or turned into other textile products such as cleaning cloths and fibres for insulation. Zara have introduced a similar scheme, however it’s not yet available in Australia.

Source : AMP 27 June  2018 

1 Investopedia, Fast Fashion, paragraph 1, 5.
2 War on Waste Survey, Understanding Australia’s waste attitudes and behaviours, pg. 24.
3, YouGov, Fast fashion: Three in ten Aussies have thrown away clothing after wearing it just once, 2017, paragraph 5.
4 YouGov, Fast fashion: Three in ten Aussies have thrown away clothing after wearing it just once, 2017, paragraph 6.
5 Oxfam Australia, What she makes: Power and poverty in the fashion industry, 2017, pg. 6, paragraph 7.
6 McKinsey & Company, Style that’s sustainable: A new fast-fashion formula, 2016, paragraph 7.
7 Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Can waterless dyeing processes clean up the clothing industry?2014, paragraph 1, 8.
8 YouGov, Fast fashion: Three in ten Aussies have thrown away clothing after wearing it just once, 2017, paragraph 4,9.
9 The Green Hub, Sustainable fashion – a quick guide to eco-friendly fabrics, 2017.
10, 11  War on Waste Survey, Understanding Australia’s waste attitudes and behaviours, pg. 16.

Important  
This article provides general information and hasn’t taken your circumstances into account. It’s important to consider your particular circumstances before deciding what’s right for you. Although the information is from sources considered reliable, we do not guarantee that it is accurate or complete. You should not rely upon it and should seek qualified advice before making any investment decision. Except where liability under any statute cannot be excluded, we do not accept any liability (whether under contract, tort or otherwise) for any resulting loss or damage of the reader or any other person.

 

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Superannuation and separation: Who keeps the money?

Posted On:Jun 15th, 2018     Posted In:Provision Newsletter Articles    Posted By:Provision Wealth

Depending on the situation, you might get some of your ex-partner’s super, or they may get some of yours. 

A divorce from your husband or wife, or a separation from your de facto, could mean a division of your assets and debts, whether they’re held separately or together, and superannuation is no exception.

Another thing to note is even if one of you

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Depending on the situation, you might get some of your ex-partner’s super, or they may get some of yours. 

A divorce from your husband or wife, or a separation from your de facto, could mean a division of your assets and debts, whether they’re held separately or together, and superannuation is no exception.

Another thing to note is even if one of you hasn’t contributed to super for many years, that person could still be entitled to a percentage of the other’s super.

We explain some of the key points below. And, if you’re a de facto couple living in Western Australia, remember different rules may apply as you’re not subject to the same superannuation splitting laws1.

How is super divided?

A superannuation agreement can be put in place before, during or after your relationship, as part of a broader ‘binding financial agreement’. This agreement can specify how super is to be split upon separation or divorce.

If you and your partner don’t have a binding financial agreement in place already but have agreed how you would like super to be split, an Application for Consent Orders can be filed in court without your attendance to formalise the arrangement you’ve both come to2.

If you can’t come to an arrangement together, you might instead look to obtain Financial Orders, under which a court hearing will determine how super is to be split between the two of you3.

Because there are rules around when super can be accessed (for instance, you may need to have retired from the workforce), remember that splitting super won’t necessarily result in an immediate cash payout, as super is treated differently to other assets and debts.

What does the process involve?

You may want or need to get information regarding the value of the superannuation that is to be split. And, you’ll need to provide various forms to the super fund to get this, which you can locate in the Superannuation Information Kit on the Federal Circuit Court of Australia website4.

You can do this if it’s your super fund, or your ex-partner’s super fund, but keep in mind fees for providing this information may be payable by the person who has requested the information5.

Depending on your circumstances, you may also wish to establish a ‘flagging agreement’ whereby the super fund is prevented from paying out any super until the flag is lifted, which may also result in a fee6.

Once the super splitting order is made, whether by consent or after a court hearing, you’ll also need to provide a copy of the order to the super fund for it to be effective7.

Splitting super – what to keep in mind

Some people prefer to avoid lengthy disputes by choosing to forgo some of their entitlements.

The trouble with doing this is that it may have significant financial consequences down the track, so it’s important to be armed with all the information you can to ensure the decisions you make are sound.

Working out what you’re entitled to can be complicated, which is why it’s important to seek legal advice, and regarding other financial matters please contact us on |PHONE| if we can be of asssitance .

Source : AMP June 2018  

Attorney-General’s Department – Superannuation splitting laws
2, 3, 4, 7 Federal Circuit Court of Australia – Family Law Matters (Superannuation)
5, 6 Attorney-General’s Department – Superannuation splitting frequently asked questions page 10, 21

Important 
 
This article provides general information and hasn’t taken your circumstances into account. It’s important to consider your particular circumstances before deciding what’s right for you. Although the information is from sources considered reliable, we do not guarantee that it is accurate or complete. You should not rely upon it and should seek qualified advice before making any investment decision. Except where liability under any statute cannot be excluded, we do not accept any liability (whether under contract, tort or otherwise) for any resulting loss or damage of the reader or any other person.
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Has the housing bubble burst?

Posted On:Jun 12th, 2018     Posted In:Provision Newsletter Articles    Posted By:Provision Wealth

Driven by falling markets in Sydney and Melbourne, national house prices fell 0.1% in May, according to figures from property analytics group Core Logic. For the year from 31 May 2017 to 31 May 2018, prices were down 0.4% marking the first annual fall since October 20121.

But AMP Capital’s Head of Investment Strategy and Economics and Chief Economist Dr Shane Oliver

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Driven by falling markets in Sydney and Melbourne, national house prices fell 0.1% in May, according to figures from property analytics group Core Logic. For the year from 31 May 2017 to 31 May 2018, prices were down 0.4% marking the first annual fall since October 20121.

But AMP Capital’s Head of Investment Strategy and Economics and Chief Economist Dr Shane Oliver says despite the falls, talk of a property market crash is overdone.

Sydney and Melbourne

Prices in Sydney fell 0.2% in May, while Melbourne prices fell 0.5%. In Sydney, the median house price is now $871,454 while in Melbourne it sits at $717,0202.

And depending on whether you’re a buyer or seller in those market, there’s more good or bad news to come.

“We expect prices in Sydney and Melbourne to fall another 4% or so this year, another 5% next year and to still be falling in 2020. Overall, Sydney and Melbourne are likely to see a top-to-bottom fall of around 15% spread out to 2020,” Shane says.

But in the other capital cities, where the housing markets haven’t boomed in recent years to the same extent as Sydney or Melbourne, the forecast is different.

Perth, Darwin and Canberra

Prices in Perth and Canberra were both down 0.1% in May, while Darwin prices were down 0.2%3.

However, all three markets are up for the quarter, and Shane says that prices in Perth and Darwin look to be at or close to bottoming, while Canberra is likely to see moderate price growth in the months to come.

Hobart

Still the star performer, Hobart property continued its upwards surge in May, rising another 0.8%. Prices there are up 12.7% for the year from 31 May 2017 to 31 May 20184.

“The Hobart market remains very strong and the boom in Hobart is likely to continue for a while yet,” Shane says.

Brisbane and Adelaide

In Brisbane property prices rose 0.2% in May, while in Adelaide they performed even better, up 0.5%, with Shane forecasting more moderate price growth to come for both of these cities5.

Regional areas v capital cities

Taken as a whole, the combined capital cities markets fell 0.2% in May, but regional locations are performing better – when combined, regional markets saw prices rise by 0.2% in May, with Geelong and Ballarat in Victoria, the Southern Highlands, Newcastle and Coffs Harbour in NSW and Queensland’s Sunshine Coast among the best performers6.

“Home prices in regional centres are likely to hold up better with continuing modest growth as, generally speaking, they haven’t had the same boom as Sydney and Melbourne and so offer much better value and much higher rental yields,” Shane says.

What’s driving the property market?

Shane says that a combination of factors is behind the falling markets, including: 

  • Investors, people looking for interest-only loans and borrowers with constrained incomes and high expenses finding it more difficult to get finance, as banks have tightened their lending criteria due to pressure from regulators,

  • Tougher restrictions being imposed on foreign buyers by state and federal governments, 

  • Rising levels of housing supply, and

  • Buyers with more realistic price expectations.

Shane says that interest rates are likely to remain at their current levels until 2020 but adds that with “home price weakness at levels where the Reserve Bank of Australia started cutting rates in 2008 and 2011, we can’t rule out the next move in rates being a cut rather than a hike”.

He says that unless interest rates or unemployment unexpectedly skyrocket talk of a property market crash has been overdone.

Please contact us on |PHONE|if you seek further assistance .

1-6 Core Logic, Hedonic Home Value Index, May 2018.

Source : AMP 6 June 2018 

Important 
 
This article provides general information and hasn’t taken your circumstances into account. It’s important to consider your particular circumstances before deciding what’s right for you. Although the information is from sources considered reliable, we do not guarantee that it is accurate or complete. You should not rely upon it and should seek qualified advice before making any investment decision. Except where liability under any statute cannot be excluded, we do not accept any liability (whether under contract, tort or otherwise) for any resulting loss or damage of the reader or any other person.
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Retirement planning – make the most of your money

Posted On:Jun 01st, 2018     Posted In:Provision Newsletter Articles    Posted By:Provision Wealth

Little things can make a big difference to how long your money lasts in retirement.

When it comes to retirement planning, you’ll want to make the most of your money, after all you don’t want to fritter away the savings you’ve worked all your life to achieve. So, whether you’re living a comfortable or modest lifestyle in retirement, there are still ways to

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Little things can make a big difference to how long your money lasts in retirement.

When it comes to retirement planning, you’ll want to make the most of your money, after all you don’t want to fritter away the savings you’ve worked all your life to achieve. So, whether you’re living a comfortable or modest lifestyle in retirement, there are still ways to make your money go further in retirement and make every dollar count.

Here are five things to consider:

1. Sell your second car

If it’s not critical to your daily routine, not only could you top up your savings with the sale proceeds, but you will save on annual registration, insurance and maintenance costs. Find out which concessions are available to you in your state to travel by public transport. Or catch a taxi occasionally as it will still be cheaper than maintaining a second car.

2. Renegotiate your bills

Check with your providers about bundling to save on services such as technology (phone, broadband), and energy (electricity, gas). Or check other providers’ rates through comparison websites. Ask if your provider offers a pensioner or seniors discount and then put what you save towards other expenses.

3. Investigate discounts and rebates

Visit the Department of Social Services or the Department of Veterans’ Affairs websites to learn about benefits and payments, such as pensions, allowances, bonuses, concession cards, supplements and other services you can access. Or find out about the Seniors Card for discounts on travel, health, lifestyle, government services and finance in your state. 

4. Save on groceries

Do some research online to check for sales, half-priced or discounted items before you go shopping. You can also buy in bulk and then share the costs with your neighbours or family. Remember to check details such as use-by dates and the policy on returning items, as well as how and when you can take delivery of your groceries if you buy online. 

5. Put your bills onto direct debit

You can have your bills paid automatically from your bank account by setting up a direct debit. Most suppliers have this facility, so go online, check your bill or ring your provider to get the details. If you normally pay your bills in person, you’ll save time and effort by not travelling to the post office (or wherever you pay your bills). And this way, you’ll qualify for the pay on time discounts that some providers offer, and you won’t have to check your bills tray every day to remember to pay them when they’re due.

How long will your money need to last?

These days we need to look after our finances for much longer than we’ve had to in the past.

Now, if you’re a male aged 65, you could expect to live for another 19 years (to age 84) while a 65 year old woman’s life expectancy is 87 – which is around 30 years longer than our Aussie ancestors of the 1800s.1

So it’s important to make sure your funds will last the distance – both now and in the future. Please contact us on |PHONE| if you seek further assistance .

1 Australian Government, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Life expectancy, paragraph 3, 5.

Source : AMP 28 May 2018 

Important 
 
This article provides general information and hasn’t taken your circumstances into account. It’s important to consider your particular circumstances before deciding what’s right for you. Although the information is from sources considered reliable, we do not guarantee that it is accurate or complete. You should not rely upon it and should seek qualified advice before making any investment decision. Except where liability under any statute cannot be excluded, we do not accept any liability (whether under contract, tort or otherwise) for any resulting loss or damage of the reader or any other person.

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