Financial Tips and Treasures



Injury and illness are a fact of life.

Sadly, we all know someone who has been diagnosed with cancer, was injured in a car accident, experienced a bout of depression or lost a partner suddenly.

No-one wants to think about worse case scenarios but the way to feel financially secure is to plan for the worst and hope for the best. Taking out the right level of insurance will give you peace of mind and protect you when you need it most.

When something unexpected happens, the last thing you need to be worrying about is money.

During 2015, Life insurance companies paid out almost $27.6 million every working day. That’s $6.9 Billion for the entire year. Over the last 10 calendar years they have paid almost $40 billion in claims.

Not one of these people expected to claim on their insurance.

Perhaps you think you have enough insurance inside your super? The sad fact is only 30% of young families Life insurance needs are covered by default within superannuation, and 60% families could not cope more than 12 months should main breadwinning parent die.

Maybe you think the Government will look after you? From 20th March 2016 Centrelink will pay a maximum disability pension of $794.80 (single) and $599.10 (each) for couples. Imagine trying to live on that amount of money for an extended period of time, while you were sick or injured. It’s a frightening prospect.

When it comes to protecting yourself and your family you need to ask yourself these questions

  • What would my life look like without my income if I was sick or injured?
  • Could my family survive on one income?
  • Could I afford to pay the mortgage/rent/car loan/medical expenses and put food on the table?
  • Could I keep the kids in school?
  • Could I afford the best medical care?

So what are the types of Insurance should you be considering?

Income Protection

An income protection policy will give you the peace of mind knowing if you were unable to work because of illness or injury, you would receive up to 75% of your income until you return to work. It can also to contribute to superannuation while you are on claim.

Think about it, almost everything depends on your income. What if sickness or injury prevented you from earning income for months or even years? Even when the income stops the bills don’t, mortgage repayments/rent, telephone bills, medical and everyday living expenses just keep coming.

No one enjoys paying for insurance, but income protection really is one of the “must-haves”. Without it, should illness or injury occur you could potentially wipe out your savings, just to cover basic living expenses. You might even go into debt. Income Protection It is there to protect and preserve your lifestyle.

Life Insurance – pays a lump sum on your death or terminal illness. It can cover your mortgage and any other debts and provides a lump sum that can be invested to meet the ongoing financial obligations and the education of your children.

Total and Permanent Disability Insurance – pays a lump sum if you become disabled for a period of three months or more and are unable to ever work again. You can use this lump sum to pay off your mortgage and debts, cover medical costs, renovate your home, and invest so that you have an annual income to help maintain your lifestyle.

Trauma Insurance – pays a lump sum on diagnosis of a range of serious illnesses, including heart attack, stroke and malignant cancer. These benefit payments can be used for specialist medical attention, covering the cost of home modifications, repaying debts such as your mortgage or travel for recuperation.

By Nicole Heales: read more about her here.

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Nicole Heales is an Authorised Representative (No. 312479) of Capstone Financial Planning Pty Ltd. ABN 24 093 733 969. Australian Financial Services Licence No. 223135.

Information contained in this document is of a general nature only. It does not constitute financial advice. The information does not take into account your objectives, needs and circumstances. We are not Registered Tax (Financial) Advisers. If you intend to rely on this tax advice you should request advice from a Registered Tax (Financial) Adviser or a Registered Tax Agent. We recommend that you obtain investment and taxation advice specific to your investment objectives, financial situation and particular needs before making any investment decision or acting on any of the information contained in this document. Subject to law, Capstone Financial Planning nor their directors or employees or authorised representatives:
• gives any representation or warranty as to the reliability, accuracy or completeness of the information; or• accepts any responsibility for any person acting, or refraining from acting, on the basis of the information contained in this document.




A relationship breakdown changes many aspects of your life, including your finances. It is a time when you need to make many decisions about your money which is why the Australian Securities and Investments Commission have developed new tools to help.

The Divorce and separation financial checklist and the Asset stocktake calculator provide practical steps you can take to separate your finances and getting your money back on track. You can also use these tools to help a friend or family member going through a divorce or separation.

By selecting the items relevant to you, the checklist can be tailored to your situation. You can then email your completed checklist to yourself to work through it at your own pace. The asset stocktake calculator can be used with or without your ex-partner to give you a clear picture of your overall financial position to help you start making plans about how to divide your assets and debts.

Remember, going through a separation and divorce can be a very difficult time, so it important to look after yourself and seek support if you need it. The Divorce and separation financial checklist and the Asset stocktake calculator are available on ASIC’s MoneySmart website.

Watch this FREE online workshop recording about how to find Domestic Bli$$: relationships and money

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HELP (Higher Education Loan Programme – used to be known as HECS) is a government scheme which provides a loan to students to fund the cost of tuition of Commonwealth Supported university places, many people know this as HECS. The cost of your tuition is calculated and you have a loan account established for you. Unlike a standard bank loan there is no set interest rate on the debt, instead the value of the debt rises with the Consumer Price Index. The current indexation rate is 1.5% for 2016, this compares very favourably with bank loans. Repayments on the loan are not required until you reach a minimum level of income, currently $54,869 (for 2016-17). When your income is above the minimum threshold your repayments are based upon a proportion of your wage (starting at 4%) and increase as your wage reaches higher income levels (to a maximum of 8%, for incomes over $101,900). These thresholds change on a yearly basis. If you choose to repay your some of your HECS early, repayments of over $500 are eligible for a 10% discount, however this discount is due to be removed from 1 January 2017. More details about the HELP scheme are available at the Study Assist website.

If you have cash available should you pay make a voluntary repayment or do something else with the money? Well the answer on that depends upon when you do it and your particular circumstances.

We’ve looked at a scenario where someone has $10,000 in their transaction account and is wondering whether they should use that to repay their $10,000 off their HELP debt, their mortgage, their credit card or put it into a high interest savings account.

Before 31 December 2016

The 10% reduction on debt means that with a $9,000 outlay from your bank account you could wipe out $10,000 worth of debt, leaving you with $1000 in your bank account, essentially you are in front by $1000 by making the repayment off your HELP debt due to the discount. Alternatively you could look to pay off your home loan, assuming you paid $10,000 off your home loan you would save approximately $325 interest over the next year assuming an interest rate of 4.75%. Alternatively you could repay $10,000 off your credit card and save approximately $1750 over the next year in interest. Finally you could decide to put your money in a term deposit or high interest savings account and earn around $300 before tax.

Based on the calculations above, the discount on your HELP debt is pretty attractive, you struggle to do better than that unless you have high interest lending such as credit cards. A good rule of thumb is that if your interest rate is above 11.5% then saving on your interest outweighs the benefit of the discount available on your voluntary HELP debt repayment.

After 1 January 2017

The loss of the discount makes a big difference to the economics of repaying the HELP debt. Once the discount has disappeared you can make a reasonably straightforward comparison between the interest rate you are paying on your home loan, credit card and the HELP debt. As with the previous example credit card debts are usually the ones with the highest interst rate so it makes sense to pay these first (around 19%), next usually comes personal loans (around 13%), home loans (around 5%) and lastly your HELP debt (around 1.5%).

The HELP debt is one of the cheapest forms of debt around, it was designed that way. Once the discounts have gone you will have very little incentive to repay it early and unless you are a high income earner with a high tax rate it may even make sense to earn a modest rate of interest in an high income savings account rather than repaying the debt.

Other considerations

To qualify for the discount your payment must be processed before 31 December 2016, given the Christmas period and the public holidays, you should plan for this well in advance. If you are trying to access the discount, aim to have it all done and dusted by the middle of December.

If your cash flow is very tight, you might want to think twice about repayment of your HELP debt, even if you would benefit from the discount. Many debts such as home loans and even credit cards have the option to redraw on them if you find you need access to those funds again. HELP doesn’t have a redraw facility, so if you have decided you are going to repay the debt make quite sure that you are not going to need that money in the near future.

If you are getting close to paying off your HELP debt in full then it might be wise to give some thought to what you are going to do with your surplus cash. You might find that your fortnightly net pay goes up when your repayment obligations have finished and/or you get a large tax return because your employer has withheld more than was required to repay your debt. In these instances it is really easy (and tempting) to absorb this new income and adjust your spending up. A much more constructive use for the funds is to think about how you might be able to make real headway in your financial independence and security whether its through increasing the payments off your other debt, increasing the savings to your home deposit or putting a little more into super? Whatever you decide to do, make it a conscious choice.

Rhiannon Robinson is a 10thousandgirl Trusted Advisor.  Read about her, here.
MBA (Prof), BCom (Fin), Adv Dip FS (Fin Plan)

AFP® Member of Financial Planning Association of Australia & Senior Associate of the Financial Services Institute of Australia.

Mobile: 0479 006 071

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Important information and disclaimer

Finance Women Pty Ltd ABN 86 601 109 960 (Corporate Authorised Representative number 1000187) and its financial planners are authorised representatives of Dover Financial advisers Pty Ltd. AFSL 307248. This document has been prepared for general information and education and not as specific advice for a particular person. You should seek professional advice prior to acting upon any recommendation or other information contained within this document. Alternatively, you should carefully consider the appropriateness of the advice in light of your personal objectives, financial situation and needs. You should also obtain and consider the Product Disclosure Statement before making any decisions in relation to a financial product. The information contained in this document has been taken from sources believed to be reliable. Although every attempt has been made to verify the accuracy of the information contained in this document, liability for any errors or omissions is specifically excluded by the Licensee.”



Often clients jokingly say to me: “Oh they will know what to do. And I won’t care anyway – as I’ll be dead!

Those of you living in rural areas may be only too familiar with the heartache and despair that can ruin a thriving family when inadequate provision has been made for sensible succession of the family assets.

Succession planning starts very much with ownership. It sounds simple, BUT many of us do not know or understand the manner in which we hold our assets. Our real estate, our share portfolio, our cash, our super…. are these jointly held with our spouse? Are they held in a family trust, our super, or other type of trust? And if so, who ultimately has the control of that trust?   And who stands to benefit from any of our life insurance or superannuation death benefits?

These questions are critical in planning any form of succession pathway. If you do not know the answers, then your solicitor can determine these with help from your accountant (who hopefully has a good handle on them for tax reasons), your financial planner, records at the Lands Titles Office, and from the various trust deeds themselves.

Only assets held in your own name will fall directly into your estate. Other assets (such as those that are held jointly with your spouse) will have their own natural pathway and may only fall into your estate if, for example, your spouse has predeceased you.

All of this will be discussed at your first appointment with your solicitor to determine your estate planning requirements.

Other than making provisions for your assets, you may also wish to let your loved ones know how you wish for your bodily remains to be disposed of. Whilst this may be an unpleasant thing to think about, and you may think that you “won’t care as I’ll be dead anyway!” – it is really for the benefit of those loved ones that you should ideally turn your mind to this. It may be of some comfort to them in their time of grieving to know that they are disposing of your remains in the manner in which you had specifically chosen, rather than leaving it for them to decide whether to bury or cremate you, and where to inter your remains or scatter your ashes? It can be comforting for them to know where you genuinely wished to end up.

Certainty and control – so hard to come by in this ever-hectic life of ours, and likewise after we die unless we can really get onto these issues soon, before it’s too late!

Katherine Vincent is of Johnston Withers Lawyers and will be on the panel
of our upcoming FREE online workshop: ‘Farm Succession Planning‘ Register your place, here.

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Everyone can benefit from making small contributions into super, which — over a period of time — can make a big difference to your future. It’s never too late to start putting something extra aside for the years ahead.


Here’s how three different people — all in similar jobs — approach their super and the different type of retirement years they can each expect.

Take the case of Tom, Jill and Sue

All three started working at age 25, earning a gross annual salary of $45,000, to which their employers added the Superannuation Guarantee (SG) of 9.5%.

  • Fresh out of university and paying rent for the first time, Tom chose not to make any extra contributions to his super. Jill found herself in the same position, but decided she could afford to put aside an extra $20 a week.
  • Over the course of his working life, Tom will have saved around $368,000* in super, while Jill will end up with $483,000* — that’s $115,000 more!
  • Meanwhile, Sue waited until she was 45 to start saving more, but contributed $40 extra each week from her take-home pay to make up for lost time. She’ll retire with $454,000* — that’s still $86,000 more than Tom.

Three people, three different super strategies. You can clearly see the benefits of starting early. And even though Sue will retire with almost $30,000 less than Jill, she’ll be able to pursue more of her dreams in retirement than Tom, proving that it’s never too late to start saving.

super case study

Still unsure whether you’ll top up your super? Here are five things that might change your mind.

  1. You could enjoy a more comfortable retirement lifestyle

So what’s ‘comfortable’? The Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) Retirement Standard outlines how much money retirees need to fund either a comfortable or modest standard of living. A ‘modest’ lifestyle is considered better than one funded solely by the Age Pension, allowing for costs such as one or two short trips near home each year, plus the occasional restaurant meal and paid leisure activity. For a single person aged 65, the annual amount required at retirement for a modest lifestyle is $23,000 ($34,000 for couples).

A ‘comfortable’ lifestyle, on the other hand, provides much greater spending freedom: an annual holiday, for example. Making voluntary contributions to your super while you are working will go a long way towards helping fund such a lifestyle.

  1. Could you live on the Age Pension?

The current weekly rate for the full Age Pension for singles is around $435, which takes care of most of your day-to-day essentials. However, supplementing this with your super savings will help you pay for anything extra.

  1. You’ll be able to live well for longer

We’re living longer than ever before, with Australia ranked seventh worldwide in terms of life expectancy. With men living to age 80, on average, and women to 84, it’s important to have enough money to fund all of your retirement years.

  1. You could make a tax saving  

By making a contribution to your super from your before-tax pay (known as salary sacrifice), you’ll be taxed only 15%. It makes sense to make contributions this way, rather than from your take-home pay after you might have paid a higher income tax rate.

  1. The government could help your super, too

If you earn less than $51,000 a year and make an after-tax super contribution, you may be eligible for a bonus of up to $500 from the government, known as the government co-contribution. Contact the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) to find out more.

There are so many benefits to be had by setting something aside for your super from your weekly budget. Contact your super fund to find out how you can start topping up your super today — plus, industry super funds have financial advisers who can discuss your individual circumstances.


* Assumptions: Investment earnings of 6.5% net per year and employment is constant until age 67. Inflation of 2.5% per year and figures are in today’s dollars (i.e. the final value is discounted for inflation). Figures include SG contributions of 9.5%. Calculated at 01/03/2016. This example is an illustration only and is not guaranteed. Actual outcomes may differ. Investments may go up or down.

Issued by H.E.S.T. Australia Ltd ABN 66 006 818 695 AFSL 235249, the Trustee of Health Employees Superannuation Trust Australia (HESTA) ABN 64 971 749 321. This information is of a general nature. It does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or specific needs so you should look at your own financial position and requirements before making a decision. You may wish to consult an adviser when doing this. Before making a decision about HESTA products you should read the relevant Product Disclosure Statement (call 1800 813 327 or visit for a copy), and consider any relevant risks (


women and finance



early home loan payments

Paying off your home loan over a period of 30 can seem like forever.  Whilst it is a long term commitment, here are 5 easy steps that can help you own your home sooner:

  1. Switch from monthly to fortnightly repayments. By doing this alone, a $500,000 mortgage can be paid off in 25 years and 6 months.  Taking 4 years and 6 months off your loan and $68,000 in interest savings

  2. Even the smallest extra repayment can help you reduce your loan term. By paying $25 / week extra (one bottle of wine!) you save yourself another 2 years and 3 months and another $33,000 in interest savings

  3. As interest rates are still reducing, keep your repayments at the higher rate. This has two benefits, you get in front and you have additional money sitting in your home loan and when rates start to increase you will not even notice the difference. For example if your interest rate has dropped 0.5% over the last 12 months, then this would be a saving of approximately $150 / month. If you did this, say, from year 3 of your home loan, this is then an additional 2 years and 8 months saved and another $36,838 savings in interest.

  4. Any bonuses / tax returns etc you receive, put them into your home loan too. If you receive an annual $4,000 tax return / bonus and from the first year you put this cash injection on to your home loan, this reduces your loan by another 5 years and another $87,000 in interest savings!
  5. Use an offset account. Money sitting in your offset account reduces the interest component of your repayment as the interest sitting in this account is calculated daily but charged monthly. So for every day those funds are sitting in the offset account you are reducing the interest you pay on your home loan. For example, your loan is $500,000 and you have $25,000 sitting in your offset account. You are only paying interest on $475,000 whilst your monthly repayment (assuming a rate at 4.24%) is still the same at $2,457 / month the interest charged reduces from $1766 down to $1678. Saving you $88. This, overtime, can have a big impact on reducing your loan. Bonus points if you have a credit card where all your expenses are paid from and you swipe your credit card balance in one transaction keeping your cash in your offset account– remember every dollar makes a difference!

I have seen people combine all five of these principals and this has seen clients reduce their loan term by half and from here they have then used equity to purchase an investment property and here begins the building of an empire!

Get in touch with 10thousandgirl Trusted Advisor, Nicole Cannon, of Pink Finance, here

women and finance

property investment

Wouldn’t you love an investment honey pot that produces enough income to let you retire early, or let you help out family and friends, or perhaps work part time?

There’s another name for that honey pot: it’s called an investment portfolio. However when it comes to building an investment portfolio, many of my clients only want to invest in property. They think that when all else fails that bricks and mortar is the safest investment. I have a slightly different view. Let me explain.

Property investment—as with any investment—carries a level of risk. For example, will you always have tenants? Will they pay the rent on time? How much rent will they pay? What’s your property worth? How much would a future buyer be prepared to pay for it? What if you have bad tenants? Then there are the ongoing maintenance costs, rates and taxes. What happens if for some unexplained reason your income stops, or is reduced, and you can’t afford to finance the loan on your investment property? What happens if your financial situation changes and you need to sell urgently under ‘fire sale’ conditions?

These are all legitimate questions that need to be carefully considered before jumping into the investment property market. Most people are aware that share prices move up and down because the share market performance is in the news every day. Imagine if property prices were reported daily! I wonder if bricks and mortar would still be perceived as ‘the safest investment’ if it was valued two or three times daily as the share market is?

That’s one of the things that concern me about property investment. It’s NOT valued daily. So at any point in time, you don’t really know what your property investment is worth. The popular belief is that property values always increase, but that’s simply not true. There are examples of oversupply or low demand that limit or even reduce property values. Equally there have been occasions when interest rates have soared and people have been forced to sell their homes below what they paid, leaving them with money still owing on the loan. That situation is known as having ‘negative equity’ and it means that you still owe money on something that you no longer own.

Just because you can see and touch property, it doesn’t mean it’s a safe investment.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying property is a bad investment. We all know many people who have done very nicely from property investing. However I also know people who haven’t done so well. In the course of providing investment advice to clients, and hearing their stories, I’ve learnt that property investment is not a magic bullet.

The point I want to make is that a property investment may not perform to your expectations. Before you commit to taking a loan on a property talk to someone such as a financial adviser who has experience in advising on a wide choice of investment opportunities and who has seen both good AND bad outcomes of property investing.

If you’re convinced that property investment is right for you there are a number of the things you should think about: firstly understand WHY you’re investing. Do you have a specific timeframe? Will you need your capital at some fixed point in the future for other planned expenses? Do you have a risk management plan in case you can’t work for a period of time and you have gone into debt to buy the property? What sort of loan is the most appropriate and what ‘structure’ should hold the asset? Should it be in your own name, jointly with someone else, in super, a trust or a company?

Give some thought to diversifying your investments as well as your attitude to risk. How much risk are you prepared to take? If your superannuation funds are already invested in the diversified investment option, of an industry or retail super fund, then in all probability you will have some involvement in property already.

Where else can you get advice? Will property seminars help you make a decision? The purpose of many property seminars is often to entice you to become involved in one property or another, or to invest in a property fund. If f you go to a seminar and you like what you hear, make sure you do your research before committing yourself to borrowing, buying or becoming involved. While there are plenty of trustworthy property brokers who genuinely want to help people buy the right property, there are just as many who are more than happy to part you from your retirement savings on the basis of a few hollow promises about the safety of bricks and mortar.

So to start building or adding to your investment honey pot, do get some advice before leaping into the property market. An appointment with a qualified financial planner is a good place to start. I’m not just saying that because I’m a qualified financial planner. I’m saying that because a planner will consider any potential property investment in the context of all your other investments and financial goals and commitments.

If you would like to make an appointment with a First State Super financial planner, call our customer service team on 1300 650 873 or call me directly in Canberra on 02 6221 6200. You don’t have to be a First State Super member and your financial goals do not need to be just about property, super or retirement.

Written by

Gianna Salvestro AFP®, BFin UC., AdvDipSuper, AdvDipBus, DipFP

Financial Planner

This is general information only and does not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation or needs. It does not constitute product or investment advice.

FSS Trustee Corporation (FTC) ABN 11 118 202 672, AFSL 293340 is the trustee of the First State Superannuation Scheme (First State Super) ABN 53 226 460 365. Financial planning advice is provided by First State Super Financial Services Pty Ltd ABN 37 096 452 318, AFSL 240019.

women and finance

investing in shares

10thousandgirl’s Tina recently interviewed industry expert Greg Hoffman, who hosted our online workshop: Investing In Shares.  Greg is the Chairman of Forager Funds Management, which manages more than $200 million for its clients.

T:  What do you tell those who are intimidated by the sharemarket?

G  I tell them they’re probably already invested in shares through their super fund. So even if they don’t want to invest directly, a little bit of knowledge about their indirect share investments might go a long way.

T:  What about those who are keen to invest directly?

G:  It’s never been easier! There are a number of ways to start and we’ll explore the main ones in the online workshop (see below to watch and listen).

T:  Where is the best place to start with a few thousand dollars to invest?

G:  A good investment library! Self-education is key to financial success but I reckon those involved in 10 thousandgirl already know that. I recommend a few important books in the session (see below to watch and listen) for those keen to learn more.

T:  Any tips for first time investors?

G:  The sharemarket can be fun and rewarding. It can also be frustrating and expensive. Take it a step at a time while you build up your knowledge and experience. It’s a big advantage over property that you can start with just a couple of thousand dollars (or even potentially money you already have in your super fund). Once you know yourself better as an investor, you’ll find it easier to decide if you want to be a direct share investor (picking your own individual shares) or an indirect investor (through funds). After that, there are further aspects to consider in each of those paths.


Watch and listen to the full online workshop below, or go here for more resources around investing in shares!



ethical superannuation
As much as I shouldn’t admit it, I too am one of those that struggles to getting round to reading mail from my super fund.
In fact, many of us probably spend more time considering the origins of our coffee (Fairtrade anyone?) or the happiness of the chickens that laid our eggs (free range please!) than our super.
But when you consider  that super is likely to be the second biggest investment of our lives after purchasing a house maybe it’s worth a few minutes of our time?
Many of us have things we are passionate about, from reducing poverty, living with a lighter environmental footprint, and happy chooks. But although you may think about this in the supermarket aisles, are you thinking about this in the context of your super too?
Your super could be supporting activities that you are passionate about or investing in issues you are strongly against.
So why don’t you take 15 mins to ensure your super isn’t running against your values.
Here’s 5 steps to take a closer look:
1. THINK: Start by having a think about the issues that are important to you
2. READ: Have a read about your own superfund to see how they consider ethics and ‘responsible investing’ (most have a section on responsible investment on their website)
3. TALK: If you don’t find what you need, send them an email – how are you considering [insert your passion: climate change/refugees/animal welfare/weapons/child labour] in the way you invest?
4. RESEARCH: If you don’t get an adequate response, look at the options – there’s plenty of ethical investments out there that perform as well as other investments – see here as a start.
5. WALK: maybe it’s time to switch to an ethical or responsible super option? But let your old superfund know why you’re leaving, that way more will consider these important issues in future.
Simon, CEO of Responsible Investment Association Australasia, will be presenting a 10thousandgirl  Let’s Talk About Money workshop at the Queen Victoria Women’s Centre, Melbourne on July 14th on Ethical Investment.
Join us and find out more about ethical super investment – get your place, here.
About Simon 

Simon is the CEO of Responsible Investment Association Australasia, the peak industry body for responsible and ethical investors across Australia and New Zealand. RIAA represents 165 members who manage over $1 trillion of assets globally – ranging from large super funds and asset managers to financial advisers and research houses. RIAA works to see more capital flowing into sustainable assets and enterprises, working with members to both increase the uptake and deepen the impact of responsible investment.

Simon operates at the intersection of economics, finance and sustainability and has over 15 years of international experience as an economic adviser, investment analyst and environmental consultant, across finance, corporate and not for profit sectors.

Prior to joining RIAA as CEO in early 2013, he spent over five years at the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) as their Economic Adviser. In particular he led the debate on issues such as financing the transition to a low carbon economy working

get rid of bad debt

ICKY DEBT – I am talking about store cards and credit cards.  Let’s get rid of them and get you on track to a healthier financial you!

  1. Google “best credit card balance transfers” and choose the longest term for the lowest interest rate. The term is more important that the interest rate, or the fees. The longer the term the more time you are giving yourself to get rid of bad debt. Transfer the balance of your card and cut up both or all of your credit cards. You might find that banks will only transfer 75% of your credit card debt. Do the research and find the best deal. It’s the best shopping you will ever do for yourself.
  2. Cut up your new and old credit cards. You can’t reduce ugly debt and keep accumulating it at the same time! If you have ugly debt then you haven’t been living within your means. Get rid of all temptation to overspend.
  3. Get a direct debit card and go on a cash diet. That way you simply cannot spend more than you earn.
  4. Pay off whatever is left on your high interest credit cards first, the 25% that may not have been transferred across to the lower interest rate card.
  5. Divide the amount of money owing on the low balance credit cards by the months you have on the low rate and set up a direct debit to pay that amount off each month. If you can’t manage to pay off the debt within the time period, do the best you can and then repeat the process.
  6. Look at your spending patterns. Where your money is going is the first step to saving money. Cut costs wherever you can. Keep reducing your bills. There are always ways to save more money. ASIC Smart Money website has a great budget spreadsheet. 
  7. Never pay full price for anything, better still don’t buy clothes or go on expensive holidays until your ugly debt is paid off.
  8. Think before you buy everything.
  9. Don’t eat out, or if you have to, go out for breakfast, or have a picnic somewhere beautiful. It’s cheaper.
  10. Have long range vision and be patient. See yourself without having credit card debt. What is that going to feel like? Imagine it.

By Nicole Heales  – Dip F.A (Sec Inst) MComm Dist (F.P) Cert IV
Find out more about Nicole, one of our Trusted Advisors, here.

NicoleHeales Pic


superannuation tips


If you care about your health and wellbeing, then you probably have a plan in place to help you reach your goals.

In the same way, it makes sense to support your financial health with a range of ‘good habits’.

Your super is one of the most significant investments you’ll make in your lifetime.

Here are five simple steps you can take to ensure your super account is the healthiest it can be:

  1. Consolidate (or roll over) your super into one account to avoid multiple fees and their impact on your super balance. You’ll also help reduce your paperwork and carbon footprint by cutting down the amount of mail you get.
  1. Find lost super — this is vital if you’ve ever changed your job, name or address. Millions of Australians currently have unclaimed super. Useful websites are and Best of all, it’s free to find your lost super!
  1. Put a little away now to benefit later in life by making voluntary before-tax contributions (also known as salary sacrifice) to your super. You may reduce your taxable income and contributions may be taxed at a lower rate than your income. Just remember, annual contribution caps apply.
  1. Take advantage of the government co-contribution scheme to receive 50 cents for every $1 you contribute (after tax) to your super — up to a maximum of $500. The maximum co-contribution reduces with every dollar you earn over $35,454, and cuts out after $50,454. Visit to find out if you’re eligible.
  1. Make an active choice about your investment options to reflect the level of risk you’re comfortable with and your retirement goals. Visit your super fund’s website to find out your options.

With thanks to one of our Supporting Partners, HESTA, for this post.


With more than 25 years of experience and $33 billion in assets, more people in health and community services choose HESTA for their super.

Issued by H.E.S.T. Australia Ltd ABN 66 006 818 695 AFSL 235249, the Trustee of Health Employees Superannuation Trust Australia (HESTA) ABN 64 971 749 321. This information is of a general nature. It does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or specific needs so you should look at your own financial position and requirements before making a decision. You may wish to consult an adviser when doing this. Before making a decision about HESTA products you should read the relevant Product Disclosure Statement (call 1800 813 327 or visit for a copy), and consider all relevant risks (

Financial literacy events for women





household cashflow

Worried about a big bill hitting you expectedly? Finding you’re looking at a scary low bank balance too often? This could be highlighting the importance of a household cash flow. Planning your cash flow will help you get ahead of the ins and outs in the bank account that lead to money worries.

What is a cash flow?

A cash flow or cash flow budget is a plan that sets out all of the planned sources and uses of cash. It’s usually set up by month, so you can see if there are any points during the year when you’ll be particularly short of cash.

What does a cash flow look like?

A typical cash flow has a column for each month, usually laid out in a simple spreadsheet tool. At the top, the template shows all of the expected incoming cash: income, tips, commissions, tax refunds or any other sources. Below that, cash outlays are detailed: outlays on food, transport and other incidentals. Bills that you expect to pay will also be shown in this section, based on when the payments are made. For example, an annual insurance bill is shown entirely within the month when the payment is due.

At the bottom, you’ll be able to calculate the net cash income/outflow for the month. By starting with a current bank account balance, it’s then very easy to project the balance over the rest of the year. In doing so, you’ll know if you’re ever too close to the line. And you’ll have something to check your balance against, for a very real-time measure of how well you’re sticking to your plan.

Financial literacy events for women


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