Knowledge and Information Centre

FINANCIAL WELLBEING

What’s the difference between being wealthy and financial wellbeing?

Financial wellbeing is not the same as being wealthy or being perceived as wealthy.  Wealth is typically measured by how much money someone has and the assets they own, such as property or shares. The reality though, is clients can have these things and still lack financial wellbeing, as it depends on how they manage their money.

Rather than just a tally of wealth, financial wellbeing should be viewed as:

  • Being able to keep up with any debt repayments, living costs and other financial obligations.
  • Having some savings and being able to cope with any unexpected expenses.
  • Being free from financial stress.
  • Having the financial freedom to live an enjoyable lifestyle.
  • Feeling secure and in control of finances – now, in the future, and if life takes an unexpected turn.

The easiest way of working towards financial wellbeing is to create a plan, a road map to achieving this, and the sooner you start, the better the outcome can be.

SUPERANNUATION

When the time comes to retire, it would be nice to feel confident that your life after work will be comfortable and that you’ll have the time and money to enjoy life, and maybe some of the things you couldn’t do when you were working, perhaps because of time restrictions.

What is Superannuation?

Very simply, it is a pot of money that you are trying to grow so there are some funds available for you in retirement – hopefully, enough for you to be able to live the life you want to when you are no longer working.  The Government provides some fairly good tax incentives on this pot of money because it is generally invested for a long period of time and is not something you are normally able to access until you meet certain criteria.

How much is enough?

There is no right answer to this.  The more things you want to do in retirement, and the more these things cost, the more money you will need to be able to fund them.  If travelling business or first class around the world regularly is your thing, this is likely to cost more than if you want a holiday every few years in Australia, hence you will probably need to save more to pay for this.

This is why a tailored financial plan specific for your goals and dreams is so important, as is regularly reviewing this to ensure you remain on track to achieving these over time.

RETIREMENT

Retirement can mean different things to different people, but what it definitely does mean, is it is the next chapter in your life – hopefully one that allows you to do the things you want to, whatever that is for you.

We would all like to work towards having financial freedom to give us the choice of being able to do what we want to do, so in the lead up to your retirement, information and advice are crucial in helping you assess your situation, identify your retirement goals, and develop a practical and achievable plan.

Whilst there are various investment products that can help provide an income for you in retirement, these are just that, products.  It is much more important to focus on you and understanding your needs and goals in retirement, so you have a tailored plan to achieve them.

Reviewing this plan regularly ensures you remain on track to meet your goals and your future financial freedom in retirement, hence the earlier you start to assess your options and build this financial plan, the easier it is to achieve.

INVESTING

What’s the difference between saving and investing?

Saving is putting money aside in cash accounts (such as bank savings accounts) for short term plans or emergencies – your ‘buffer’.

Investing is putting money in assets to grow in value and build long term wealth and security.

So, put simply, savings are for now and investing is for the future.

There are many things to take into account when considering investing, as there are a variety of investment avenues depending on what you are looking to achieve, but which one will suit you?

The most important consideration when making plans for the future, is to know what you want to achieve and by when.  When there is clear direction in what you are looking for, a tailored plan can be put together to help you achieve your goals, whilst reviewing this plan regularly ensures you remain on the right path during the journey.

INSURANCE

We would all like to think we are fit and healthy, and will be for the rest of our lives, but unfortunately, this is not always the case, as accidents and illness can happen at any time to anyone.

Whilst most of us protect our cars, our home and our possessions, this is not always the same with the most valuable asset, our ability to provide for our loved ones.

How would your family manage if you could not work due to an accident or illness, or worse still, pass away?  Without a regular income, it can be a challenge just paying for everyday essentials like food and power bills, let alone bigger ongoing bills, such as mortgage or rent payments, with any savings potentially eaten away very quickly.

Insurance is therefore relevant no matter what stage of life we are in and is never a luxury.  You may go for years without making a claim, but if that day comes, not having to worry about money to pay bills and look after your family will mean you and your family can focus on the non-financial things that matter.  Having money available when you need it most, is what makes insurance so valuable.

Do you have enough cover, and is it the right cover?

As with all other areas of financial planning, everyone is different, and that is the same when considering this question.  There are different insurances which provide different things, so understanding your personal situation and needs, ensures a tailored financial plan appropriate to meet your requirements can be put together.

The main personal insurance areas are:

  • Life Insurance
  • Trauma (Serious Illness) Insurance
  • Total & Permanent Disablement Insurance
  • Income Protection Insurance

ESTATE PLANNING

When you’ve worked hard all your life, providing for your family, building your wealth, and then hopefully enjoying your retirement, it seems logical that you would want to have some control over how your assets are distributed once you are gone.

Good estate planning does this.  It is about protecting your loved ones, ensuring assets are preserved, managed and transferred into the right hands, at the right time, as per your wishes, including those things which do not form part of your direct estate, such as your superannuation and pension accounts. 

It is also about setting out your wishes in the event you are unable to make decisions about your assets or your health when still alive.

Common estate planning terms:

  • Will – a legally binding document that details your final wishes with regard to the distribution of your estate after you die.
  • Beneficiary – a person or organisation who receives something in your Will.
  • Executor – the person responsible for administering (dealing with) your Will and the distribution of your estate.
  • Power of Attorney (POA) – a legal document allowing you to appoint someone else to act on your behalf either financially (such as a General Power of Attorney or Enduring Power of Attorney) or medically (such as a Medical Power of Attorney).

Common mistakes:

  • Not having a Will – it is not just the wealthy or retired that need a Will, no one can predict the future, and if you’re over 18, you’re not too young (or invincible) to have one.
  • Not updating your Will – ensuring your Will is up to date with your wishes is essential to ensure your assets go to the right people.
  • Not telling anyone you have made a Will and hiding it away – you need to make sure your chosen Executor knows where you Will is! This way, they can carry out your wishes as was intended.
  • Thinking a Power of Attorney is only for old people – just like a Will, it is not just the wealthy, retired or old, and again, no one can predict the future, so if you’re over 18, you’re not too young, but equally if you’re over 80, you’re not too old either.

Estate planning is important for everyone.  If you own anything or have people who rely on you, it is a good idea to have a good estate plan as it is an important part of managing your financial affairs.  The more complicated your personal and financial situation, the more important estate planning is.

Although we cannot construct or write your Will or Power of Attorney for you, we can, in conjunction with the expertise of your solicitor, ensure your estate planning needs and requirements are correctly in place, and most importantly, meet your desired wishes and help protect the financial future of your family.