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IS TRANSITION TO RETIREMENT STILL VIABLE? As many readers will be aware, legally getting access to superannuation before retirement can be rather difficult. But, back in 2005 things were made just a little easier. Find out more
Prepare for Life



Summer 2020

There are times in life when things don't go as we plan, or as we would like them to go.  For example, a good friend of mine recently took their dog for a run on the beach.  The dog loves chasing thrown sticks and generally running on the beach.  But this day's excursion did not end well.  The dog turned suddenly in the soft sand and, as a result, suffered a torn crucial ligament. 

Spring 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted the superannuation savings of most Australians.  Firstly, the economic downturn resulted in investment markets heading south.  Asset values have fallen, so superannuation balances have fallen, impacting both people saving for retirement and current retirees. 

Winter 2020

Many businesses simply closed down overnight with employees retrenched, stood down, or simply told not to bother showing up for work.  For others, working hours were reduced with their wages following suit. 

Autumn 2020

As people approach their retirement, it is important that they have a clear vision of how they want to live their life in retirement and how they will fund that lifestyle.


Issue 36

New Year resolutions come in many shapes and sizes and range from the really challenging - I am going to get fit, healthy, drink less, lose weight - through to the less strenuous - stop watching reality TV, meditate more, read some good books, or take a break from Facebook.



Issue 35

It seems that the beginning of every financial year brings changes to superannuation, and 2019 is no different.  If you didn't get a chance to read the fine print of the legislative changes that came into effect from 1 July 2019, here's a summary of the big three.



Issue 34

Did you know that Australia's household debt nears the highest in the world.  While governments use retails spending as an indicator of economic 'health', the sad reality is that personal debt and the lack of savings are likely to be a major cause of mental health issues amongst individuals and families.



Issue 33

PAYING IT FORWARD. Do you ever get to the stage when you think you have just got on top of your finances and then a big bill arrives? You know what it is like... one of those bills that come in on a quarterly, half-yearly or annual basis. It may be house insurance, council rates, body corporate fees, electricity, gas or private health insurance.

Issue 32

CHISTMAS SHOPPING: PROTECTING YOURSELF ONLINE. As we get closer to Christmas, our thoughts turn to shopping for the holidays.  As a modern and technologically advanced society, a large percentage of our Christmas shopping will be done online - depending if we start early and allow enough time for our purchases to be delivered.  The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) have issued guidelines to protect your rights and hard-earned savings.

Issue 31

ARE AUSTRALIANS HAVING A PERSONAL DEBT CRISIS. 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?

Issue 30

ARE YOU PREPARED? This article may appear a little morbid, but the reality of life is that in most cases we do not get to choose the timing of our passing. In 1990, my dad passed away two weeks before his 62nd birthday, I was 34. Dad passed away without a Will, which meant my mum's financial position remained uncertain for a period of time which caused her an unnecessary degree of anxiety that could have been avoided.

Issue 29

SWITCHING OR CONSOLIDATING SUPER FUNDS CAN BE A VERY RISKY BUSINESS.  Super fund members are regularly encouraged to consolidate their super accounts into one account to reduce paperwork and avoid paying multiple administrative fees and charges for accounts they don't need.  But, in my experience, making unadvised financial decision - no matter how simple they appear on the surface - is a very risky business.

Issue 28

CHRISTMAS - A TIME OF REFLECTION AND RENEWAL. Christmas, for most people, is a joyous time and a time to give thanks.  But it is also a great time to look back over the last 12 months and try to fathom not only where the time went, but what we have achieved.  Have we achieved the goals we set ourselves at the beginning of the year or did they just get lost in the everyday activities of living?




Issue 27

COULD SELFIES BE YOUR PASSPORT TO HEALTHIER INSURANCE.  We all do it - well, most of us.  Taking pictures of ourselves on our smartphones for the sole purpose of posting them online for other people to see, like and comment on.  Social media is awash with selfies.  They have - quite literally - become the face of a generation.  Up to this point, selfies have just become part of our modern culture.  but what if they could do so much more? What if they were about to become one of the most powerful predictors of your future health and wealth? 



Issue 26        IS THAT ON PAYPASS?... technology IS WONDERFUL, ISN'T IT.  These days we don't need to carry any cash.  Just one small plastic card, or our mobile phones (hello ApplePay!) and the world is our oyster.  We can buy almost anything we like simply by hovering our card over a small terminal at a shop of our choice.  Recently, a new coffee shop opened in the foyer of my building.  I was intrigued that the shop advertises itself as 'cashless'.  That is, you can only buy your coffee using EFTPOS or PayPass.  No doubt this is an emerging trend, and we will see more of this in the future.




Issue 25

DO HAPPIER PEOPLE LIVE LONGER. I am no doctor, psychologist or research scientist so the following blog is written not from a scientific point of view but from my own experience, observations and readings over a long period of time. I have always enjoyed physical activity, whether it be running, biking, surfing or paddling.  I have found that over the years if I feel a little moody, down in the dumps or stressed that going for a surf, bike, ride or run will wash away all those feelings.  I find that after the activity I am a less stressed, happier and nicer person to be around.

Issue 24    

ON THE BRINK OF ANOTHER SHAKE UP.  As you may be aware: a person's Age and/or Service Pension entitlement is based on an assets and an income test.  The test that yields the results of a lesser amount of pension is consequently which pension is applied.  In the 2015 budget the government announced a major change to the assets test - which are set to take effect from the 1 January 2017.  

Issue 23

SPRING CLEAN YOUR AGE PENSION. If you are in receipt of an age pension from Centrelink, or a service pension from the Department of Veteran Affairs (DVA), every year in March and September your pension is adjusted to be in line with the highest of the following indicators: Consumer Price Index (CPI), the Average Weekly Total Earnings (AWTE) rates, and any pensioner and beneficiary living cost index increases.

At the same time both departments automatically update the value of the listed shares and units in managed funds held by pensioners to reflect the current market value. So - depending on the ovement in the market your pension may increase, or decrease, as a result of these regular departmental reviews.

Issue 22

Change is as good as a holiday.  No matter where we turn - change seems to be a constant part of everyday life.  It reminds us that things we have come to accept as normal are never the case.  Moreover: this applies to all aspects of life.

In early May 2016, the government brought down a budget that heralded significant changes to superannuation.  At the time of writing most of the superannuation announcements were due to take effect from 1 July 2017.

Issue 21

Australians are typically very good at spending money, but there comes a time when many of us need to exercise financial restraint. This may be due to starting a family, getting a mortgage, educating children, losing a job, or a reduction in income.  For some, the need to gain control of personal finances comes with the realisation that their debt has spiralled out of control, and cannot be paid off effectively.


Issue 20           

We all borrow money to buy things when we don't have the money to pay the full price.  Most people borrow to buy personal assets like a home but you can also borrow to access investment opportunities to help grow your wealth.

But not all debt is the same and it is important to understand how it works and consider the implications of particular strategies.  While it can be a great tool to grow your wealth, if it is not carefully managed it can have the opposite effect.

Issue 19

We all have ideas about how our dream retirement would look.  Many of us would like to travel, pursue hobbies, treat our grandchildren and live a comfortable lifestyle.  But how big does our next egg need to be to afford all of this?  The 'aging' of Australia's population will put immense pressure on the availability of social security assistance for retirees.  Ass this to the proposed tightening of the age pension assets test and the proposed increase of the Age Pension age to 70 by year 2035, and the need to save effectively for your retirement is more important than ever.


Issue 18

As Winston Churchill said "Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference," So this financial year, take a fresh approach to your finances.  Use that budget you made - You've probably made budgets before - but do you stick to them?  Don't look at your budget as deprivation, but as a tool to help you get what you want.  Set it up so it's easy to use.  For instance, create direct debits from your savings account to automatically pay your regular bills.

Issue 17          

Why does my bank require a month's notice if I want to withdraw from my term deposit early? Many of us have money set aside for no immediate purpose, so we have often deposited the money in a term deposit offered by our bank. Banks traditionally offer term deposits for periods ranging from one month to five years. The interest rate the bank pays is set at the time we make the deposit. However, from time to time, a situation may arise where we need to access money that is in a term deposit.


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  • Andrew looks after us as if we were his only clients, even though we know we are not. He is generous with his time, easy to talk to, he clarifies issues in simple terms and talks to us in a friendly and professional way. Andrew helped us make the big decisions involved in our retirement, and has never given me the impression that as a female my views are not important in any conversation or decisions making process and this is important to me. Both Don and I feel important and valued by Andrew and the staff at M Financial Services, and that has helped us feel safe and secure in our financial future. - Read more
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