Indigo Finance a finalist for customer service excellence in the 2016 Australian Broking Awards

Indigo Finance’s Melanie Cunliffe has been named as a finalist in the Customer Service of the Year (Individual) category of the 2016 Australian Broking Awards. The awards were inaugurated in 2011 to reflect the evolution and maturation of the broking sector.

“We rely entirely on word of mouth to spread the word of what we do, which means we have to exceed our clients expectations every time,” says Melanie. “To be recognised for our commitment to customer experience by the industry is a wonderful acknowledgement of what we’ve been building.”

Over the last year, Indigo Finance has made some significant innovations in the area of customer experience:

  • Streamlining our discovery and Fact Finder to allow provide our clients a streamlined experience
  • Travelling to the Disney Institute in LA to take their customer excellence course and taking back new ways to embrace the culture of customer experience inside the business
  • Breaking down every step in our “customer journey” and walking in our clients shoes to make sure every aspect lives up to our promise to give flawless advice and cut out the complexity from seeking finance

“It’s an honour to be nominated,” says Melanie, “we are proud to say that due to our happy clients, we have seen grown of over 70 percent in the last year”.

Planning for Retirement… Will you have enough money?

Did you know? 48% of our survey respondents have an investment property! That’s music to a finance specialist’s ears – it’s satisfying to hear those people have a financial strategy that could lead to a more comfortable retirement.

66% of respondents also said they are worried about having enough money in retirement. This is a concern for many of us as almost 80% of Australians over 65 receive an aged pension. For 66% of those the pension is their main source of income1. Coincidence?

So have YOU started thinking about retirement? It is NEVER too early to start planning for retirement – but it can certainly be too late.

Where do you start?

And when should you start? Firstly, you need to focus on the lifestyle you want in retirement and then how you plan on getting there.

What if your plan changes?

That’s fine. You can make goal adjustments along the way. In fact, a retirement plan shouldn’t be a ‘set and forget’ strategy. Chances are your imagined needs in your 20s may look quite different by the time you reach your 50s.

A good starting point is to calculate how much you need to provide for comfortable retirement years.

What is a comfortable lifestyle?

For most of us this means being able to pay bills without financial stress, enjoy a few holidays, maintain a house and car and an occasional indulgence. You will generally require 60-80% of your pre-retirement income to lead the type of active life you probably desire.

It was previously assumed the first ten years of retirement would

be your most active – and most costly. With longer life spans and an

increase in the chance of health or mobility issues this could change.

What should a plan include?

There is no ‘one size fits all’ plan for wealth creation. If you are in your 20s and plan to retire at 65 your options may be more diverse than if you’re approaching 50.

Superannuation

Many Baby Boomers will outlive their superannuation savings. While younger generations will have more time to maximise super balances at retirement they may also have significant HECS debts. This was generally not an issue for previous generations.

As you approach retirement years salary sacrifice, a transition to retirement strategy or property investment through a self managed super fund (SMSF) could help build your superannuation balance.

Property investment

Property has long been considered a proven road to personal wealth yet only around 20% of Australians successfully invest in property outside the family home. But there may be more than one way to get a foot on the property ladder:

Save a deposit – Budget and stick to a savings plan. Gen Ys living at home should maximise the opportunity to save and invest. Increase savings each time you get a pay rise.

Ask your parents to help – There are several ways parents might help children into their first property including a cash gift/loan or acting as guarantor. There are also new mortgage products such as a family pledge or family guarantee.

Use rent as a savings plan – A continuous rental history of 12 months may be taken into account when assessing your ability to service a loan.

Co-ownership – Perhaps explore investing with family or friends?

Already a home owner? Access the deposit for your NEXT property by using the equity in your current home or property.

The earlier you start planning for retirement the greater your chance of living the comfortable retirement most of us desire.

1. www.dss.gov.au

Will you be renting for the rest of your life? Perhaps not…

With the ongoing concerns about increasing property prices, home ownership , the cost of living, and small or no wage increase , the question that continues to come up in general conversation is ‘how will our children ever enter the property market?

Did you know that approximately 28% of our Australian population at any time are in rental accommodation1?

The percentage of owners (including those with a mortgage) vs renters has not changed significantly since the very first census of population and housing in 1966. In 1966 the proportion of owner occupied private dwellings vs rental was 71.4%2. The most recent census information of 2006 shows home ownership has dropped slightly to 69.8%.

Although there has been a slight drop in home ownership, the population has more than doubled over the same time from 11.65M to currently over 23.8M3. In fact, home ownership rates in Australia still put us in the top five of all OECD countries.

So what can renters do?

Home ownership

The legal rights and obligations that home owners have in relation to the property they live in vary considerably according to the type of housing.

For example, those who own their home:

  • have greater security of tenure than most renters whose occupancy rights are subject to review at relatively frequent intervals.
  • generally have more freedom than renters to modify the property to suit their specific needs and tastes (eg to keep pets, take in boarders or run a business from home).

In the course of repaying their home loan, owners usually accumulate wealth in the form of home equity that can then be used to secure finance for other purposes.

Conversely, they face considerable costs associated with buying and selling property, so home owners have less flexibility when it comes to moving house.

Renting

On the other hand, renting can have advantages over home ownership, such as:

  • greater flexibility to move elsewhere at short notice,
  • lower housing costs than many owners repaying a mortgage,
  • the opportunity to invest in other assets which may yield higher returns than home ownership, plus
  • renting avoids repair and maintenance costs, rates and insurance bills that are all part and parcel of home ownership.

Can you rent AND buy?

Sometimes it makes more sense to become a renting investor, ie continuing to live in rental accommodation and buying an investment property before buying a home. Young investors in particular may do this for a number of reasons:

  • They can rent in the trendy, lifestyle driven areas they want to live – but cannot afford – and still get a foot in the property market. An investment property may not necessarily be in the area – or even state – that they want to live but can be chosen purely for affordability and good rental returns.
  • They may still be living at home with their parents rent free, enabling them to save and invest.
  • Their lifestyle is still transient – travelling, moving around with jobs or relationships. They may not be sure where they want to plant their ‘property roots’ yet.
  • They don’t see a large, non tax-deductible mortgage on a home as the best use of their money at this stage of their life.

Co-ownership scenarios may be another option for younger buyers. Pooling financial resources with family or friends may allow them to enter the property market faster than they would be able to do on their own. However, this option is a little more complex than a typical individual owner/occupier or investor purchase so you need to establish a borrowing arrangement to protect your investment

  1. Abs.gov.au
  2. Abs.gov.au
  3. Sources include: World bank, ABS population clock