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The following links are to the latest state and federal government plans, schemes, programs, and initiatives to help businesses and individuals manage the impact of yet more COVID-19 restrictions.

 

 

Covid resources updated 1-12-2021

We have added some new links under States and Territories that help further clarify what each is offering.

Let’s hope the new strain (Omicron) does not mean more need to extra help into the future. These links are themselves always being updated by the relevant government and semi-government departments and agencies and other organisations.

Centralising all these resources on our website means it’s easier for our clients to stay on top of what is available, which will also make it easier to take action and avoid missing out on initiatives that will help.

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Australians are anticipating higher inflation in the coming years, particularly those in regional areas.

 

 

The inflation expectations of Australians have continued to rise with annual inflation of 4.9 per cent now expected for the next two years.

A survey of nearly 6,000 Australians conducted by Roy Morgan this month found that inflation expectations had increased for six consecutive months and were now at their highest level since November 2014.

The measure has increased 1.5 percentage points during the past year for the highest annual rise on record.

“This is the largest cycle of increases in the history of the index, easily beating an increase of 1.2 percentage points during the ‘Mining Boom’ in 2010-11 from 5.4 per cent in August 2010 to 6.6 per cent in January 2011,” said Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine.

“There is every reason to expect the measure will continue to increase over the next few months as energy prices remain elevated and there are continuing issues with supply chains worldwide.”

Headline inflation in the year to September was 3 per cent according to the Reserve Bank, which expects inflation will remain between 2.25 and 2.75 per cent in 2022 and 2023.

Roy Morgan found a significant difference in the expectations surrounding inflation between Australians living in capital cities versus those in country areas.

Respondents in the capitals expected annual inflation of 4.7 per cent over the next two years while those living in country areas expected a significantly higher inflation rate of 5.3 per cent.

The biggest divide between capital and country was identified in Queensland, where Brisbane residents expected inflation of 4.5 per cent compared to 5.8 per cent for individuals in the country areas of the state.

“The large differences between people in rural and regional areas and those in the largest capital cities is set to be a crucial area for the major parties heading towards next year’s federal election due by May 2022,” said Ms Levine.

“The impact of rising prices, and the possibility inflation will increase even further next year, are sure to be front and centre issues for the electorate as we consider whether to re-elect the L-NP government for a fourth term.”

Tasmania had the highest level of inflation expectations out of all the states at 5.6 per cent, while South Australia had the lowest expectations at 4.4 per cent.

 

 

Jon Bragg
26 November 2021
smsfadviser.com

 

 

Average life expectancies in Australia are now at a record high, and while that's a positive, longevity can also come with potential financial risks such as outliving your retirement savings. So what can you do to ensure you have the best chance of experiencing a financially secure retirement?

The Australian Bureau of Statistics had some good news to share earlier this month, with new data showing average life expectancies in Australia are now at a record high and among the highest in the world.

The data showed that the average male life expectancy at birth had reached 81.2 years in 2018-2020, increasing from 80.9 in 2017-2019.

The average female life expectancy had also increased to 85.3 years, from 85 years.

Around 30 years ago (1990), the average life expectancy at birth in Australia was 73.9 years for males and 80.1 years for females, a gap of 6.2 years. That gap has now narrowed to 4.1 years.

The financial side of living longer

Of course, there are generally two sides to every story, even when it comes to living longer.

From a financial perspective, a key question for most of us is whether we’ll have enough money to last all the way through our retirement years?

In fact, it’s such a common question that in financial circles the prospect of running out of retirement money before death is officially known as “longevity risk”.

Longevity does certainly have a potential financial risk. Research conducted earlier this year by the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) found most Australians will spend all their superannuation in retirement.

ASFA used data from the Australian Tax Office and Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (which both regulate segments of Australia’s $2.1 trillion superannuation sector) together with Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey results.

The research found that:

  • the proportion of the population with superannuation drops sharply with increasing age.
  • 80 per cent of people aged 60 and over who died in the period 2014 to 2018 had no super at all in the period of up to four years before their death.
  • for those aged 80 plus, over 90 per cent had no super in the four-year period before their death.
  • for the age 80 plus group, only 5 per cent of that group had more than $110,000 in superannuation in the period of up to four years before their death.
  • even in the case of those who died aged 60 to 69, less than half had any super at all.
  • men are more likely to have superannuation than women. For those who died in the period 2014 to 2018 only 15 per cent of females aged 60 plus at death had any superannuation compared to around 25 per cent of men.

How much do you need?

The million dollar (or more) question for many of us is how much accumulated superannuation money do you actually need to last through retirement?

Unfortunately, there’s no straightforward answer. It varies from person to person and couple to couple.

The ASFA Retirement Standard is of some help. It benchmarks the minimum annual cost of a comfortable or modest standard of living in retirement for singles and couples.

As at the end of the September quarter, it calculates that based on the current cost of living a single person needs $45,239 a year to live a comfortable retirement and a couple needs $63,799.

To live a modest retirement, a single needs $28,775 a year and a couple needs $41,446.

The above figures are based on the average person and do not take into account your unique circumstances and lifestyle, which might be substantially different. They don’t differentiate between whether the money needed per year comes from your superannuation savings, other investments, the Age Pension, or a combination.

That’s not really that relevant, although money from superannuation does have obvious advantages.

That’s because any income earned on money held within the superannuation regime, once converted into an account-based pension, will be tax-free in retirement. Income on money held in an accumulation account will be concessionally taxed.

In any event, generating the sort of annual income needed to match ASFA’s Retirement Standard calculations will ultimately depend on your investment strategy.

Staying financially active

Taking an active role in your investments, to ensure you have the best chance of protecting and growing your capital, is just as important in retirement as it is before you stop working.

For many retirees, low-risk assets such as cash and government-backed bonds are often seen as the safest ways of protecting capital over the long term.

Yet, depending on your broad retirement goals and tolerance for risk, putting all your eggs into one or two asset classes will most likely expose you to investment hazards over the long term.

That’s because asset classes perform differently from year to year. What you may see as a safe investment strategy today could easily become the opposite over time.

Investing across a range of asset classes during pension drawdown phase, including more volatile growth assets such as shares and listed property, will help smooth out poor returns from other asset classes from year to year.

While there’s no guarantee your retirement savings will last until you die, a diversified investment strategy will inevitably deliver steadier, tax-effective long-term returns.

Tony Kaye

16 Nov, 2021

 

vanguard.com.au

Having a strategy in place to pay for your childrens school education is essential. Here are a few ways you can approach paying for tuition that will help you stay ahead of the school fees curve

How often have you heard the phrase about children, that they grow up so quickly?

It's true. The years from birth through to kindergarten, and then to the start of primary school, generally seem to go by in a flash.

So does the time to build up savings to pay for their schooling.

Which begs the question. How well financially prepared are you to cover the ongoing education fees and other costs associated with your children's schooling?

To put that into context, it's useful to consider the average costs of school education around Australia.

Various available data shows that, based on a child attending school for 13 years, average costs currently range from around $80,000 for government schools to more than $340,000 for independent schools.

On an annual basis, that roughly equates to between $6,100 and $26,150. Of course, depending on the school, some annual school costs are considerably higher.

Then, on top of school tuition fees, there are other costs such for uniforms, textbooks, electronic devices, excursions, and private tuition.

Getting ahead, and staying there

How you approach paying for your children's school education is a purely personal decision.

You may opt to start a regular savings plan before they reach school age, even starting from when they're born.

Alternatively, some people prefer to focus on other savings goals such as paying down a home mortgage and choose to fund their children's schooling costs from the time they actually start school.

Either way, having a strategy in place to pay for your children's school education is essential.

And, ideally, your strategy should involve some form of savings plan to ensure your regular income – whether that's from a salary or other means – isn't doing all the heavy lifting.

That will allow you to get ahead of the school fees curve, and hopefully stay there.

The five-year plan

In most Australian states and territories children must attend a school from the age of six.

If you started saving towards your children's schooling from their birth, that essentially gives you five full years to build up a sizeable education nest egg.

Let's call it the five-year plan. Over that first five years you could put aside a set amount, every fortnight or month, so that by the time your child is ready to start school you have a great head start.

If you're able to have some money already put aside, which can be used for an initial investment to kick start your education savings plan, that's even better.

The higher your investment balance, the higher your compounding investment returns over time.

The overall returns from your school savings strategy largely comes down to your investment risk appetite.

If you wanted to have virtually no risk, and just chose to put money aside into a bank savings account, at current interest rates your returns would be very low.

On the other hand, if you started off a five-year education savings plan in 2016 with an initial investment amount of $5,000 and made regular contributions of $300 per fortnight ($39,000 over five years) into a managed fund, by now you would have accumulated approximately $51,500 (before tax and investment costs).

That's based on an average annual return of 5.6 per cent, which corresponds with the average annual total return (as at 31 October 2021) over five years of the Vanguard Conservative Index Fund.

Do keep in mind that these are historical returns figures. Past performance is not an indication of future performance.

Using the same criteria as above, and taking on slightly more investment risk, your total return after five years based on a 7.8 per cent average annual return would have been around $55,000.

That corresponds with the average annual total return over five years of the Vanguard Balanced Index Fund.

A 9.9 per cent average annual return over five years, which corresponds with the total return over five years of the Vanguard Growth Index Fund, would have built an initial $5,000 investment to around $58,000.

Going higher up the investment risk scale, with a high exposure to shares, would have resulted in $62,000 of savings by year six.

That corresponds with the 11.95 per cent average annual total return over five years of the Vanguard High Growth Index Fund.

The returns numbers could be much higher based on a larger initial investment amount and larger regular ongoing contributions.

The pay-as-you go plan

Having an initial investment amount set aside and a five-year head start isn't an option for everyone.

However, it's never too late to start an education savings plan that incorporates regular investment contributions.

Combining the benefits of a savings plan and compounding returns, together with other income, will help lighten the education costs load.

Using the same returns examples in the five-year plan, and the same contributions strategy, your education savings fund will continue to grow over time.

It can be used to build up your school education nest egg for future years, or to supplement your pay-as-you go schooling payments.

Costs and discipline

Two important life skills you can teach your children are the importance of not overspending, and the power of discipline.

Costs and discipline are equally important in the investing world.

In terms of saving for schooling, lower investment costs mean you get to keep more money in your pocket to spend on your children's education.

That's one of the key benefits of investing into a managed fund or exchange traded fund structure.

The discipline to put aside regular amounts of money to pay for their schooling also will deliver substantial long-term benefits.

With the 2021 school year about to end, and the start of the 2022 school year not that far away, now is a good time to think about a savings strategy for your children's education.

 

Tony Kaye

30 Nov, 2021

 

vanguard.com.au

 

While there is a very rapid escalation with watching and monitoring the economies of Asia, especially China, it is always interesting to look back over time, in this case 60 years, to see how they have evolved. Doing so adds great perspective.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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