Tag Archives: Wealth Protection

Why insurance is important: real benefits for you and your family

By Robert Wright /June 11,2021/

Insurance plays a central role in providing financial security for you and your family when it’s needed most.

You insure your car and your home. But nothing is more important than your life and your ability to make a living. So it makes good sense to insure your greatest asset – you!

As we move through life, find a partner, raise a family, and maybe start a business, the importance of insurance in a long term plan increases. That’s because insurance is all about providing a financial safety net that helps you to take care of yourself and those you love when you need it the most.

5 reasons why insurance matters

Why is insurance important? Let’s look at five key reasons.

1.  Protection for you and your family

Your family depend on your financial support to enjoy a decent standard of living, which is why insurance is especially important once you start a family. It means the people who matter most in your life may be protected from financial hardship if the unexpected happens.

2.  Reduce stress during difficult times

None of us know what lies around the corner. Unforeseen tragedies such as illness, injury or permanent disability, even death – can leave you and your family facing tremendous emotional stress, and even grief. With insurance in place, you or your family’s financial stress will be reduced, and you can focus on recovery and rebuilding your lives.

3.  To enjoy financial security

No matter what your financial position is today, an unexpected event can see it all unravel very quickly. Insurance offers a payout so that if there is an unforeseen event you and your family can hopefully continue to move forward.

4.  Peace of mind

No amount of money can replace your health and wellbeing – or the role you play in your family. But you can at least have peace of mind knowing that if anything happened to you, your family’s financial security is assisted by insurance.

5.  A legacy to leave behind

A lump sum death benefit can secure the financial future for your children and protect their  standard of living.

Case Study

Tony and Karen – Young Family

The following scenario is illustrative only to demonstrate the importance of insurance and is not based on an actual event.

Tony (34) and Karen (33) recently upgraded to a new home to allow their twin boys Nicholas and Rocky (aged 4) more room to play.  This also meant taking on a bigger mortgage on one income, as Karen is a homemaker.  To protect the family, Tony decided to take out Income Protection Insurance.

During a simple Saturday afternoon game of backyard cricket with the twins, Tony tripped and broke his leg.  What appeared to be a simple break was more complicated than initially realised and Tony required several reconstructive operations followed by physiotherapy.

It meant Tony was out of the workforce for over six months, and while his employer was sympathetic, Tony only had two weeks of sick leave owing to him.

Thankfully, Tony’s Income Protection insurance meant he received a stream of payments equal to 80% of his regular wage (including super). The couple needed to tighten their belts a little until Tony was back on his feet but they were able to keep up with their home loan repayments, which would not otherwise have been possible without their Income Protection cover.

Source: BT

How to start saving for your future in your 30s

By Robert Wright /February 04,2021/

Some big life changes – and big expenses – can occur in your 30s. The key to maximising your retirement savings now is making savvy, forward-thinking financial decisions. 

This becomes even more relevant when you’re surrounded by the current economic uncertainty. Short-term needs and expenses are front-of-mind and you might prioritise saving more money for a rainy day. Even so, it’s still possible to balance this with preparing for retirement while in your 30s to help make sure you eventually leave the workforce with sufficient financial freedom. 

Set a budget – and stick to it

Your budget shouldn’t be static, and it’s a good idea to reassess it at different stages of your life. This is particularly important from age 30, when you’re potentially faced with a lot of large expenses, both expected and unexpected.

Start saving as much as you can

You’re no longer new to the workforce and, with a decade of experience under your belt, you may be in a position to receive a promotion or pay rise.

But just because you’re earning more doesn’t mean you should spend more. In fact, as your income grows, so too should your financial and savings goals. If you developed strong savings habits in your 20s – now’s a good time to save and invest to set aside even more for your future.

Boost your super

It’s time to get serious about super, so your retirement savings are maximised – like consolidating funds where appropriate, choosing a fund that’s in line with your values and understanding where and how your money is generating an investment return, then it’s time to think about these tasks.

Next, if you were one of the thousands of Australians who withdrew their superannuation under the Federal Government’s early super access scheme, start thinking about how you might be able to replenish your super balance. You could do this by making a personal super contribution – you could then try claim this amount as a tax deduction in your tax return or potentially receive a government bonus to your super in the form of a co-contribution.

If you’re an employee, on top of the compulsory superannuation guarantee (SG) from your employer (currently 9.5%) you might also consider salary sacrificing, which is where your employer makes additional voluntary contributions to your super account. You choose the amount your comfortable salary sacrificing, and it’s paid directly from your before-tax income.

Whatever strategy you choose, by setting up payments as an automatic contribution, you’re less likely to even notice them coming out. Plus, putting these tactics in place now means you’re taking a small but vital step toward ensuring your financial wellbeing and a comfortable retirement.

Identify additional income streams

Help save for retirement in your 30s through a side hustle or by regularly getting rid of the stuff you no longer use. It’s also potentially a fun way to meet new people and spend more time doing the things you love. Consider putting whatever you earn from these side projects directly into your retirement account – you’ll be building funds for your future, while decluttering or getting your creative juices flowing.

Assess your insurance needs

With more responsibilities, and possibly debts, it’s probably a good time to make sure your financial future is protected with insurance. You might consider taking out private health insurance before you turn 31, to avoid paying a lifetime health cover loading on top of your premium.

While it may not seem like something you need just yet, income protection and life insurance are not just for oldies. They’re relevant for Aussies at all life stages, especially those of working age with ambitions for the future. Imagine if you couldn’t work because of illness or an accident – taking out insurance can protect you from having to dip into your savings to pay for unforeseen expenses whilst you’re off work.

Save and invest wisely

This is the decade where you might consider investing more aggressively for your future, however it’s important to make considered decisions with advice from those in the know.

If you’re a newbie investor, there are a lot of factors to take into consideration, including what level of risk you’re comfortable with and how diversified you’d like your portfolio to be. Start small, set clear goals and continually re-evaluate your progress.

Get personal finance advice

Whether you talk to your partner, use savvy friends as a sounding board, or get advice from your parents, it’s good to have honest conversations about personal finance. But it’s also important to understand the value of qualified professional advice. Consider making an appointment to see a financial adviser to help you better understand your financial situation, so you can set and reach your retirement goals.

Source: AMP

Why it’s important to think about insurance ahead of retirement

By Robert Wright /November 18,2020/

If retirement’s coming up on your horizon, you’ll be keen to make sure your plans stay on track. It makes sense to concentrate on things you can control, such as insurance.

Too-high premiums can chew away at the foundations of your savings, at a time when they’re more important than ever. Under-insure and one day your floor may collapse, undone by events you can’t foresee.

Cover for a changing life

As you get close to retirement, you may want to make sure you’re holding the right insurance for the lifestyle you want. Here’s a simple checklist that may help:

  • Ask yourself how much money your family would have if you were to pass away or become disabled.
  • Compare that with how much money your family might need in the same situation, including how they’d manage paying for day-to-day costs like child-care and mortgages.
  • The difference between the two can help you work out how much insurance you may need.

Many of us take out insurance and are done with it – it’s enough to know we have the proverbial rainy day covered off. However, with economic clouds gathering, now’s a good time to review what you’ve already got and assess if it’s still right for you and your needs.

So, dig out your existing insurance agreements, taking special note of when they’re due to expire and your continued eligibility for the policies they hold.

An important area for many Australians is insurance held inside superannuation.

Insurance inside super

Insurance inside super can help us out when we really need it. Like any type of insurance, it works best when you’ve got the right level of protection for your situation. As you head towards retirement and your life changes, so might your priorities.

As well as life insurance, you might have total and permanent disablement (TPD) inside super. TPD cover may provide you with a lump-sum payment if you suffer a disability that prevents you from ever working again.

TPD could help you pay for ongoing medical expenses, alterations to your home to make day-to-day life easier and help provide future financial stability.

Total salary continuance, also known as income protection, is designed to pay a monthly benefit of up to 75% of your pre-disability regular income if you’re unable to work due to injury or illness.

Typically, within super, income protection provides you with cover either for a two-year or five-year period or until you turn 65, depending on the terms in your employer plan.

What to look out for

There are pros and cons of insurance within super. Things to think about if you’re approaching retirement include:

  • Cover through super may end when you reach a certain age (usually 65 or 70). That’s generally different to cover that’s outside a super account.
  • Taxes may be applied to TPD benefits depending on your age.
  • Claim payments may take longer, as the money is normally paid by the insurer to the trustee of the super fund before it’s paid to you or your dependants.

Don’t double up and stay flexible

As part of your review, it’s also a good idea to check insurance you hold inside super against other policies you might have outside super.

Then compare your cover, check whether you have any insurance double ups – if you have more than one super account with the same type of insurance, you may be paying for more insurance than you need.

As well as comparing the level of cover you get, consider any exclusions, such as the treatment of any pre-existing medical conditions, and waiting periods. Remember that if you do cancel your insurance, you might lose access to features and benefits and may not be able to sign back up at the same rate.

It’s also important to disclose your situation to your insurer honestly. Otherwise, the insurer may be entitled to refuse your claim.

Any change calls for flexible thinking, whatever age you are. The lead up to retirement is a great time to review your insurance and adapt to changing circumstances.

Source: AMP

How to make a financial plan

By Robert Wright /November 03,2020/

A financial plan can help you build wealth over time, aiding the protection of your financial future. If that sounds like a good idea, it could be good to find a trusted financial adviser who can help you on this journey.

Australians are increasingly recognising the value of financial advice with 27 per cent having received financial advice and 41 per cent of us intending to seek the expertise of a financial adviser in the future.

But that’s not all.

According to research by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), Australians are seeking financial advice for a multitude of reasons, including expertise in areas they might not have, their access to investments that are hard to find, as well as their assistance in helping to create a financial plan to build and protect wealth.

A financial plan helps to set out your future goals and outlines strategies to help achieve them. It’s a way to map your financial path to important events such as planning for a wedding, having a family, saving for a house or having a comfortable retirement – to name a few. Regardless of why you’re in need of one, a financial plan will be different for everyone, depending on life stage, priorities or financial goals.

Financial planning building blocks

The first part of the financial planning process is to find a financial adviser you’re comfortable with. A good place to start is the Financial Planning Association of Australia’s (FPA’s) Find a Planner web site, which hosts a range of different options in your local area, along with their specialisation to help you choose what’s right for you.

When choosing which financial adviser you’d like to work with, it’s a good idea to factor in their expertise and costs, as well as references from other clients or testimonials on their website.

Starting the journey

Once you’ve found a financial adviser you’d like to build a relationship with, sit down and discuss your goals, aspirations and attitude to money. This important fact-finding exercise will give your adviser information to help build out your financial plan.

During the financial planning journey, your adviser may give you advice on potential investments, as well as ways to increase your super balance when planning for retirement. They may also help pull together a budget or recommend insurance policies to suit you, and your family’s, needs.

Since that’s a lot to get through, for your initial meeting, it’s good to come prepared with basic information such as details about your salary, the superannuation you have already accumulated, as well as any debts or assets you have. If you can, also bring along your monthly budget and expenses so they have more visibility of your comings and goings.

It’s important this meeting is also a two-way flow of information, so you can ask questions such as:

  • The adviser’s own philosophy on wealth creation
  • How they will communicate with you, and, give you information about how your investments are performing
  • How and when they will review your plan
  • Any fees or charges.

After this initial meeting, the adviser may prepare a statement of advice, which will include a strategy for how you may be able to meet your personal goals and objectives. This will include:

  • A summary of your existing financial position and your life goals.
  • A list of recommended investments and an explanation for why they have been recommended. 
  • Suggested insurance policies
  • Fees and charges, you will pay to the adviser.

It’s also a good idea to go through this with your adviser so you understand the consequences of accepting or rejecting their advice.

Protecting your position

Part of developing your financial plan is working out how to protect your assets and your income sources along the way. This will often involve taking out different insurance policies including:

  • Life insurance: to protect you and your family if you die.
  • Total and permanent disablement insurance: which may pay out should you suffer an injury, accident or illness that means you are unable to work.
  • Trauma insurance: which may provide cover should you be unable to work due to conditions such as cancer or heart attack.
  • Income protection insurance: which may replace your wage if you are unable to work due to illness or injury.
  • Insurance can help you meet your mortgage repayments and other obligations if you suffer an accident or illness or protect you and your family if you are unable to work.

It’s important to consider the right cover for you, your family and your circumstances as part of your financial plan.

Key considerations

It’s easy to assume you don’t need a financial plan because you don’t yet have substantial wealth or assets, or, even because you are too young. But the sooner you start taking control of your wealth, the more confident you will feel about your future and the financial steps you need to take to get there.

Source: BT