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Understanding the dangers with downsizing and super

There are often upsides and downsides in any piece of legislation, especially when it comes to superannuation.

       

That's the case with the Federal Government's “downsizer measure” announced in the 2017-18 budget, which came into effect on 1 July, 2018.

On the surface, there are significant upsides for individuals and couples wanting to top up their superannuation accounts either in retirement, or just before.

The measure allows individuals aged 65 years old or older, who meet specific eligibility requirements, to contribute up to $300,000 into their superannuation using the proceeds from selling their home. Couples can contribute up to $600,000, and a downsizer contribution can still be made even if one's total super balance is higher than the Government's mandated $1.6 million pension transfer balance cap.

There are various rules around the legislation, including that the home sold must have been owned for at least 10 years, and contributions into superannuation need to be made within 90 days of receiving the proceeds from the sale.

The downsizing data

To put some context around this article, we contacted the regulator of the downsizer legislation, the Australian Tax Office (ATO).

Since coming into effect 18 months ago, neither the Government nor the ATO has published data on how often the home downsizing measure has been accessed. However, the ATO has advised that, as of 17 January, 2020, it had received $2.19 billion in downsizer superannuation contributions on behalf of 9,429 individuals.

The ATO says downsizer contributions have been reported for every state and territory, with 55 per cent of contributions having been made by women. The average superannuation contribution has been approximately $232,000.

But the regulator adds that, as its data is based on individual contributions, and there can be multiple superannuation contributions made for the same home, for example from a husband and wife, it does not have data on the number on homes sold since the legislation was introduced.

Based on the aggregated numbers, the downsizer measure is proving popular for some retirees. Adding more than $200,000 in additional contributions into superannuation by freeing up equity from a home, and which will generate tax-free income for those in pension phase, can go a long way to funding one's needs in retirement.

Yet, it's also important for individuals and couples considering the downsizer measure to fully understand the potential downsides of downsizing.

A potential pension trap

Having enough money in retirement to maintain a comfortable lifestyle is obviously an aspiration for most Australians.

Longevity risk – the risk of running out of money in retirement – is a clear danger for many.

Yet, while the home downsizing measure may seem attractive for those aged over 65 wanting to get more into their superannuation or pension account to offset longevity risk, it also presents potential financial risks.

Those risks primarily relate to eligibility for a full or part Age Pension, because a large cash injection into a superannuation account may result in a breach of the assets test rules.

Consider that the family home is an exempt asset when calculating entitlements for the Age Pension, while all other assets outside of the home including superannuation are taken into account.

Under what's known as the taper rate, Age Pension entitlements are reduced by $3 per fortnight for every $1,000 in assets over the Government's asset test thresholds.

The current assets test limits are shown in the table below.

Full Age Pension Homeowner Non Homeowner
Single $263,250 $473,750
Couple $394,500 $605,000
     
Part Age Pension Homeowner Non Homeowner
Single $574,500 $785,000
Couple $863,500 $1,074,000

Source: Department of Human Services, limits effective 20 September 2019

 

The problem is that, in the current environment of record low interest rates and forecasts of lower investment returns for longer, some retirees could find that they are actually worse off.

Once an individual or couple breach the limits for the full Age Pension, their fortnightly payments will gradually reduce using the taper rate. Those on a part pension could find their payments cease altogether if they move above the maximum thresholds.

So, even with a higher superannuation balance as a result of their home sale, their total income stream could be less than what they received when they qualified for a full or part Age Pension.

Look before you leap

Average superannuation account balances at retirement already put many Australians close to the Age Pension assets test thresholds.

Using the data provided by the ATO, where the average downsizer superannuation contribution has been around $232,000, it's likely that some of the individuals and couples that have taken up the measure will have breached the maximum assets test levels.

What's most important for individuals and couples considering the downsizer measure is to review your personal circumstances to determine if it is going to work for you financially.

Do the numbers stack up? Keep in mind that any additional tax-free superannuation income earned in pension phase may be completely offset by a loss of Age Pension income if you breach the assets test rules.

For those wanting to downsize, how your home proceeds are reinvested, to maximise investment returns in retirement, is key.

It's therefore essential to seek out professional financial advice before proceeding, especially with respect to social security means testing.

 

 

Tony Kaye
Personal Finance Writer, Vanguard Australia
18 February 2020
vanguardinvestments.com.au

 

 

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Retirement Planning

Retiring on your own terms is not always easy to achieve, however it is evident that those who plan for retirement are more likely to do so. Results also show that obtaining professional help during the pre-retirement years further improves the probability of attaining your retirement objectives.

The earlier you start implementing a plan the better the outcomes.

During one’s working life there is always an income to make ends meet when raising children, paying off a mortgage, etc.

Retirement planning is about the lifestyle you will have after you stop work and receiving employment income.  Planning focuses on issues such as how much superannuation is enough, taking a super pension, claiming the Age Pension, making superannuation contributions while receiving a pension from a super fund, estate planning and looking after your family.

Planning properly is becoming even more important now we are expected to live longer.  This greater need means that professional help has never been more important.

At Wybenga Financial we will provide the time and expertise needed to help you implement the best pre-retirement plan possible.  Contact us today to discuss how we can work together on: 02 9300 3000 or info@wybengagroup.com.au

Building Wealth

Investing your hard earned savings can be a complex task.  There are many issues such as levels of risk, market timing, asset classes, and your own goals, objectives and preferences that need to be considered. It can often seem a daunting task. At Wybenga Financial we have the expertise to assist you in taking control of your finances and making sure you are generating the wealth you need both now and in the future.

The first step is to create a plan. At Wybenga Financial we take great care in getting to know our clients and their future goals and objectives. We combine our knowledge of your personal goals together with an analysis of your current situation, to create a detailed, personalised plan that will help you meet your objectives. This plan will become your road map which outlines how we are going to meet your goals, whilst aligning all investment decisions to your specific risk tolerance.

After we have created your personal plan, we move to implementation. This is where we action the immediate changes set out in your plan, and put in place reminders for anything that is to occur in the future. As your professional advisers, we can action many steps on your behalf making the implementation of changes as painless for our clients as possible. We aim to make the process smooth and seamless, providing a holistic service that can be executed with ease.

The final and most important phase of the relationship with Wybenga Financial is the ongoing management and monitoring of your wealth. This ensures you are sticking to your plan and that your portfolio is aligned to your needs and attitude toward risk. An ongoing relationship ensures that we know when your circumstances change and that these can be recognised and reflected in changes to your investment approach.

While we are monitoring your portfolio from the perspective of your personal goals and situation, we also take into account the wider economic landscape and changes to legislation. We continually review and analyse our preferred investments in a structured and objective way. The benefit to our clients is that we are unemotional. This can be significantly beneficial over the long term.

At Wybenga Financial we can provide the time and expertise that will help you invest intelligently and prudently.  Contact us today to discuss how we can work together:  02 9300 3000 or info@wybengagroup.com.au

Personal Insurance

Life insurance isn’t just a cost, though it often feels like it.  You buy peace-of-mind that should a serious issue effect you then the consequences won’t unduly affect your family.  Insurance provides you with the ability to manage the financial and emotional impact of some of the more drastic events, whether personally or in your small business.

Insurance can’t replace a loved one but it can help reduce the financial burden by providing the capital to ensure your family has choices.

Many Australians are underinsured and the consequences can be very serious for families should there be a death or serious injury. A yes to any of the following questions means you may have a need for insurance coverage:

  1. Do you have a mortgage?
  2. Do you have school fees?
  3. Do you have any personal loans?
  4. Do you have any credit card debt?
  5. Do you have dependents?
  6. Would your financial position be affected if you were to suffer from an illness or injury?
  7. Do you want to have enough capital to look after your dependents if you were unable to care for them for an extended period of time or perhaps indefinitely?

We understand that it can be difficult determining the type and level of cover you might need, let alone choosing an insurer. We can assist by helping you determine your needs and recommend an insurer that is right for you.

At Wybenga Financial we know how to protect your wealth and will recommend solutions that best suit your needs.  Contact us today to discuss how we can work together:  02 9300 3000 or info@wybengagroup.com.au

Superannuation

Superannuation is mandatory but taking an early and active interest in your retirement planning is critical to ensuring your benefits are maximised by the time you retire.  Many will have a superannuation scheme through employment but increasing numbers are starting their own Self-Managed Super Fund (SMSF).

For many, simply relying on employer contributions may not be enough to provide the lifestyle you desire at retirement. We can assist in building strategies to ensure your retirement goals are met and your required lifestyle is maintained throughout retirement.

It is always best to start saving and planning for your retirement as early as you can. 

At Wybenga Financial we know our job is to help you meet your retirement needs and we have the skills and experience to do this for you.  Contact us today to discuss how we can work together:  02 9300 3000 or info@wybengagroup.com.au

Self Managed Super Funds

Self-Managed Superannuation Funds (SMSFs) offer a good strategy option for many individuals, families and small business owners to build tax effective wealth and to protect assets over time. SMSFs are becoming popular for those who are ready to take control of their own super investments as they give you ultimate control and flexibility to manage your retirement benefits.

It must be noted though, that you will have increased responsibilities as a trustee of the fund. As a SMSF Trustee you need to keep up to date with all required regulations and keep up with the fast paced financial markets.

Wybenga Financial can work with you to understand your personal financial situation and decide whether a SMSF structure is appropriate for you. We will also make sure your assets are invested in the most effective way to maximise your retirement benefits.

Should you wish to consider establishing a SMSF then we can help with all aspects of the process from establishment to managing your compliance obligations.

Wybenga Financial would welcome the opportunity to discuss how we can help maximise your opportunities to grow your wealth through a Self Managed Superannuation Fund (SMSF).  Contact us today to discuss how we can work together:  02 9300 3000 or info@wybengagroup.com.au

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Your estate is made up of everything you own. This includes your home, property, furniture, car, personal possessions, business, investments, superannuation and bank accounts.

Having an estate plan is extremely important.  Having a will is just the first step in your estate plan. It is critical to consider what outcomes you would like for your estate and to ensure a plan is in place to achieve those outcomes, both including and beyond the terms of your will.

Wybenga Financial would welcome the opportunity to discuss how we can help ensure your estate is organised to ensure your plans are implemented as you wish.  Contact us today to discuss how we can work together:  02 9300 3000 or info@wybengagroup.com.au

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Loans and loan management are central to overall financial management.  Obtaining the best loans for your needs is crucial and Wybenga Financial can help you with solutions that meet your short and long term needs.

At Wybenga Financial we work with experienced mortgage brokers that can assist you in obtaining the best loan for your needs and objectives. Whilst this is an external service, we work closely with the brokers to ensure the process is as easy and smooth as possible.

Property

We have partnerships with many respected property agents and research firms. This enables us to source suitable properties for individuals, couples and families looking to make an investment into property.

At Wybenga Financial we will provide the time and expertise needed to help you implement the best property investment plan possible.  Contact us today to discuss how we can work together:   02 9300 3000 or info@wybengagroup.com.au

Strategic Planning

Strategic planning is determining how an investor is going to meet their goals and objectives. It is about helping clients define their goals, gathering information and analysing data to make a plan, then implementing the plan and monitoring the results. It is also monitoring and updating goals and objectives as clients move through different phases of life.

At Wybenga Financial, this is the most critical service we provide. For more information please visit our Building Wealth through Strategic Planning page or contact us to discuss how we can work together:   02 9300 3000 or info@wybengagroup.com.au

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General Calculators

Please enjoy the links to these free tools supplied by MoneySmart – a great resource for general financial information. Please get in touch if you would like to discuss any questions that you may have as a result of using these calculators.

Tess Uncle

B.Sc, M.Com, CA, DipFP

Tess has over 15-years experience in Chartered Accounting Firms and in this time has had a broad range of experience in superannuation, taxation, business services, and financial strategy.

Over the last two-years, Tess has turned her attention to Financial Planning, earning a Diploma of Financial Planning in 2015 and leading the newly established financial division of the Wybenga Group as a director of Wybenga Financial.

Tess’s mission is to bring the ethics and integrity of her Chartered Accounting background to the area of wealth management.

As a woman in a male dominated field, Tess is active in promoting gender equality in the industry through various programs and mentoring opportunities.

Using her depth of knowledge and experience in tax and accounting Tess is able to demonstrate a level of competence that is unique in the Financial Planning sector.

  • 2001 – Commenced employment with Wybenga & Partners and part-time accountancy studies
  • 2004 – Graduated Masters of Commerce from the University of New South Wales
  • 2005 – Admitted as an Associate Member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia
  • 2007 – Promoted to Manager at Wybenga & Partners
  • 2012 – Appointed as Associate Director
  • 2015 – Awarded a Diploma of Financial Planning
  • 2016 – Appointed as Partner of Wybenga Group and Director of Wybenga Financial

Adam Roberts

B.Bus, B.Sc, CA, DipFP

Adam has over 13-years experience in Chartered Accounting Firms and in this time has had a broad range of experience in superannuation, taxation, business services, and financial strategy.

Over the last two-years, Adam has turned his attention to Financial Planning, earning a Diploma of Financial Planning in 2015 and leading the newly established financial division of the Wybenga Group as a director of Wybenga Financial.

Adam’s mission is to bring the ethics and integrity of his Chartered Accounting background to the area of wealth management.

Combining traditional accounting and financial services has been a welcome move for Adam, allowing him to operate and advise in the financial sector that has been a long time personal passion.

Using his depth of knowledge and experience in tax and accounting Adam is able to demonstrate a level of competence that is unique in the Financial Planning sector.

  • 2005 – Graduated Bachelor of Science from the University of Western Sydney
  • 2005 – Commenced employment with Wybenga & Partners and part-time accountancy studies
  • 2007 – Graduated Bachelor of Business from the University of Western Sydney
  • 2010 – Admitted as an Associate Member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia
  • 2010 – Promoted to Manager at Wybenga & Partners
  • 2012 – Appointed as Associate Director
  • 2015 – Awarded a Diploma of Financial Planning
  • 2016 – Appointed as Partner of Wybenga Group and Director of Wybenga Financial

Advisory Cadetships

What is an Advisory Cadetship?
An Advisory Cadetship enables you to commence your career whilst attaining the necessary university qualifications by studying part-time.

How does it work?
Generally, our cadets complete a relevant business or accounting degree at the University of New South Wales, the University of Technology Sydney, Macquarie University, or the University of Western Sydney.

The Firm provides 3-hours paid study leave per week to attend university. This can either be taken at the one time or broken between days depending on the individual’s requirements. In addition, the Firm provides paid study leave for both mid-semester and end-of-year exams.

We take the work life balance very seriously at Wybenga Financial and our cadets are encouraged to have a fulfilling life outside the office. A typical day will have you arriving at the office at around 8.30am with most days concluding at 5.30pm.

What are the benefits of an Advisory Cadetship with Wybenga Financial?
Our cadets benefit from the following:

  • Career path – on completion of their degree our cadets have significant practical experience which will assist them in advancing their careers
  • Work helps your studies – by working full-time our cadets are able to apply their practical knowledge in the university subjects
  • Camaraderie with other cadets – the Firm has a number of cadets at various stages of their career
  • Mentoring – cadets are paired with a senior staff member who oversees their progress and training both at work and with their studies
  • Communication and feedback – the Firm has an open door policy which enables all cadets to interact with all members of staff including Directors
  • Culture – the Firm promotes a friendly social culture with a number of functions throughout the year
  • Modern environment – including ‘socialising’ areas such as pool table and break out area
  • Training – ongoing support and technical training. We also provide internal and external training on a monthly basis
  • Remuneration – working full-time provides a market salary and independence with salaries being reviewed every 6-months

What happens when I complete my degree?
The completion of your degree is the first step of what we hope to be a long and successful career with us. The next step is the commencement of a Diploma of Financial Planning followed by completing the requirements to become a Certified Financial Planner (CFP).

There are always progression opportunities for the right cadets and we are dedicated to the long term development of our staff.

Who should apply?
Current Year 12 students or first/second year University Students who:

  • want to commence their career in financial advisory;
  • are due to commence or are currently completing a part-time business or commerce degree at university with an advisory major;
  • want to gain valuable hands-on experience while completing their qualifications;
  • are looking for a friendly working environment;
  • are team players who display initiative;
  • have a commitment to self-development;
  • possess excellent personal presentation and communication skills; and
  • are motivated and mature minded.

How do I apply for an Advisory Cadetship?
To apply for a Cadetship position at Wybenga Financial send us your details. Please also include in your covering letter why you wish to do a cadetship, include relevant qualities you possess, main interests / achievements, and any previous employment.

Interested candidates should initially forward a resume/covering letter of no more than 3-pages. Please provide full details of contact information (telephone or e-mail).

What if I have more questions?
For further information about our Cadetship program, please send your enquiry to info@wybengagroup.com.au