$80 Million Unclaimed…life insurance. Where Are YOUR important documents?

When faced with the sad loss of a loved one the bereavement process can be an incredibly difficult period. It is certainly not a time when we need additional stress.

One of the earliest tasks that often needs to be completed is locating important documents such as insurance policies, wills, funeral plans etc. If your loved ones don’t know where to look can you imagine the distress this can cause?

What if you passed away and your intended beneficiaries could not locate your life insurance policy? According to ASIC there is around $80 million of unclaimed life insurance in Australia. Perhaps this proves just how difficult it may be at times to locate documentation – or if many loved ones even know a policy exists?

Life changes… We move house, forget to update addresses, relationships change or we take out insurance and don’t inform anyone. Future difficulties for our loved ones are certainly NOT what any of us intend when we take out a policy or plan to assist them financially in the event of our death.

Traditionally we have used filing cabinets, briefcases, safety deposit boxes, fireproof safes, external hard drives and flash drives to preserve and protect our important documents and data. The downside of most of these methods is that documents and data can be damaged, stolen or lost.

It may be that nobody even knows WHERE important documents are held or WHAT documents exist.

Jamie Wilson’s story…

In Jamie Wilson’s case the difficulty of this task was the catalyst for creating a business that would ultimately deliver a worry-free digital solution to file storage for important documents.

When his father was diagnosed with terminal cancer, Jamie’s trauma was compounded when he realised there was no ONE safe place where he could access all of his dad’s most sensitive documents including his will, insurance papers, passwords to online accounts and other confidential information.

As a result, accountant turned entrepreneur Jamie was driven to create Your Digital File. Given his own experience it is not just business – it’s also personal.

Jamie worked tirelessly for three years with the world’s top online security experts to fulfil his dream to help people survive such worst-case scenarios. His online solution was realised with the launch of Your Digital File – a single source of confidential documents stored in a cloud-based virtual vault that is only accessible to those with explicit permission.

Jamie says, “While I never stopped in my quest to develop and patent the most secure document storage platform ever created, there were moments I faltered.”

At one such critical juncture Jamie met a young woman whose father had died suddenly. Because she could not find evidence of any insurance and didn’t know of his superannuation accounts she and her mother were facing foreclosure on their home.

For Jamie this meeting reaffirmed the urgency and necessity of his mission. He also became determined to set an entry price affordable for all families.

Security is important

Nobody can predict when tragedy will strike – be it illness, natural disasters like flood or bush fires or criminal activity such as identity theft or computer hacking.

Your Digital File is like a ‘fortress in the cloud’ where only you and your designated family and/or loved ones can access critical, confidential information such as wills, trust deeds, power of attorney documents, funeral plans, family photos, passwords, letters and more.

“Your Digital File makes this process simple while also providing unmatched security and a full audit trail that preserves the integrity of documents,” says Jamie.

From as little as $1 per month you could provide the peace of mind that YOUR loved ones will have access to everything they need.

Would you like to know more?

Give us a call TODAY and we will send you further details of Your Digital File or go to www.yourdigitalfile.com.

Make sure you mention our name to them!

Planning for retirement. Will you have enough money?

Our recent client survey revealed 48% of our respondents told us they 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.

However, 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 the Aged Pension. For 66% of those retirees the pension is their main source of income. 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 20’s may look quite different by the time you reach your 50’s.

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, the odd holiday, 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 IF you have paid off your mortgage.

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 20’s 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 your 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.

Change is coming 1 July. Super!

Okay, so maybe your’re thinking that retirement for you is a long way off? Should you be worried?

A recent study found up to 50% of older working Australians are expected to retire with debt and around 20% are expected to retire with a mortgage.

So what do you think is one of the primary reasons for this level of debt? It’s the sandwich!

The trend has largely been attributed to our current older generation being the first ‘sandwich’ generation. Many over 50’s are under financial pressure from intergenerational dependency resulting in almost $200 billion being contributed to both their parents and children in their lifetime.

The study estimated around 72% of this is going towards education, home deposits and other expenses for adult children over 18.

Interestingly, mortgage debt has been identified as a significant contributor to financial stress during retirement.

So do you think this trend will continue for the NEXT generation of retirees? Well…

Probably – unless we learn from it!

So how DO YOU plan for a successful financial future?

Of course there is always our superannuation – but super is just ONE component of planning for future retirement. The path to wealth creation can take many forms.

As your finance specialist we can assist you to explore options suitable to your particular circumstances. We can also introduce other specialists in the finance industry to support your path to wealth creation.

Did you also know there are upcoming changes to Australia’s superannuation system as of 1 July?

Most changes to the super system initially announced in the May 2016 budget commence from 1 July 2017. The changes will potentially affect our super contributions and the way super and retirement income is taxed.

You may not be affected, however it certainly pays to find out IF and HOW the changes could affect YOU – whether that be now or further down the track. After all, your super is YOUR money!

Here is a general overview of some of the changes and who they may affect:

Low income earners(earning less than $40,000 pa)

• Change to spouse tax offset

• New low income super tax offset (LISTO)

• New ability to ‘carry forward’ your super cap

• Change to government super co-contributions

Retirees or people approaching retirement

• Earnings on transition to retirement (TTR) pensions taxed up to 15% (currently NOT taxed)

• For the first time there will be a limit on how much super can be transferred to a tax free account-based super pension

High income earners(earning more than $250,000)

• Division 293 tax threshold reduced from $300,000 to $250,000 affecting more higher income earners

There is also a reduction to before and after tax contribution limits that may affect all income levels.

Financial commentators generally agree the new super rules can be complex. Ultimately, the impact of changes will depend on your financial situation and stage of life.

There are strict rules in place as to who can give you financial advice so you should always seek independent financial advice to determine how these changes may apply to your individual circumstances.

And should you help your kids before you help yourself? Ask us that question when we next chat.

Remember! It’s NEVER too early to start planning for a debt free retirement but it can certainly be TOO LATE!

Time to get started?

Call the office for our article ‘Planning for retirement. Will you have enough money?’