As another year draws to a close we reflect on the events and changes we have seen and how life seems to pass by more quickly every year. For those of us approaching or in retirement, it’s a great time to take stock of your situation and make some decisive moves for a more secure financial future.
For those on the other side of 60, thoughts may turn to the delights of a well-deserved retirement that suddenly doesn’t seem so far away. Perhaps you have been putting serious retirement planning on the backburner up until now?
If so, you could be missing out on taking full advantage of the many opportunities available to you.
For those already in retirement, new assets test rules are not too far away, so it may be time to reposition your finances to protect from any negative impacts and see what opportunities there are to improve your overall income and lifestyle.
The end of year period is a great time to ‘take stock’ and start the new year with a real sense of purpose. On the reverse of this flyer you’ll find a handy checklist of issues that you may want to discuss with your financial adviser. It’s your chance to take action now!
Your handy year-end checklist for a secure future
Assets test changes are looming large
The new rules on assets assessment may have a major impact on those entering or already in retirement.
Effective from 1 January 2017, the thresholds under which you receive full pension benefits have been increased, but this is coupled with a doubling of the rate at which pension benefits are reduced once you exceed those thresholds, (from $1.50 per $1,000 in assets, to $3 for every $1,000 in assets). The new asset limits to retain full entitlements are:
Current level New level
We can help you understand how the new rules will affect you and suggest possible strategies to minimise the impact, such as:
- Contributing to the super of a partner who is still under pension age
- Directing funds into home improvements on your principle residence
- Gifting to family members
- Using lifetime annuities
Control your estate your way
Approaching retirement is a time to seriously consider how our assets will be passed on and how we want medical and legal issues handled if we ever become unable to manage them ourselves. Leaving such issues until it’s too late can cause enormous stress on families. An adviser has the experience and know-how to help you plan your estate your way.
These strategies include:
- Working with your solicitor so your will protects from disputes, challenges and the risk of inheritance being squandered
- Planning the correct distribution of assets that are not always covered by your will, such as life insurance and superannuation
- Advice on ownership structures and trusts to help manage your estate tax effectively
- Delegating your decision making authority to deal with aged care and medical issues
Be realistic about aged care
For many who are approaching retirement age the issue of care for elderly parents can become an all-consuming one. The emotions and practical challenges of coping with failing health and mobility are compounded by the financial decisions that need to be made – particularly in relation to the family home and aged care accommodation.
Fortunately, help is available to alleviate confusion and stress, while giving clarity and confidence about making sound decisions that protect both the care of your loved ones and the integrity of their finances. Your financial adviser can help to put your mind at ease:
- Deciding whether to sell or retain the family home when moving into aged care
- Explain aged care fees
- Protecting Centrelink entitlements
- Structuring assets and investments to provide the most effective solution for ongoing income
Wrap up the year with a sense of clarity and purpose
It’s a great feeling to know that your financial security is in shape for the end of this year and ready to launch into the new one.
Speak to your Judge Adviser now on 02 4032 7934
Matthew McCabe is an Authorised Representative of RI Advice Group Pty Limited ABN 23 001 774 125, AFSL 238429. This editorial does not consider your personal circumstances and is general advice only. You should not act on the information provided without first obtaining professional financial advice specific to your circumstances. From time to time we may send you informative updates and details of the range of services we can provide. If you no longer want to receive this information please contact our office to opt out.