Paying Off Mortgage Faster

June 29, 2018

Here are 5 tips to pay off your mortgage faster

    

1

Make Extra Repayments

Making bigger or more frequent repayments is the quickest way to pay off your home loan. However, you need to be aware that there may be some fees involved. Some lenders place restrictions on how much you can repay in excess of your agreed loan repayments.

If you can’t make an extra repayment without penalty, you may still be able to put extra money to good use by utilising an offset account linked to your loan (see Step 4 for more information).


2

Explore Cheaper Interest Rates

A lower interest rate means there will be less interest to pay in addition to the amount of your home loan, so your overall costs will be cheaper. It’s important not to go with the first interest rate you see, but to look at all lenders to see who has the lowest rate available to you.

Also, some lenders may offer a very low interest rate but specify certain conditions before it can become applicable to you. It’s important to read all the fine print relating to interest rates to ensure you fully understand what you are signing.


3

Apply for Discount Loans

If you work in a certain profession, for example as a doctor, accountant or lawyer, you may be eligible for a discount loan. Some lenders refer to this as a ‘Professional Package’ (or similar). Banks and lenders monitor the default rate of certain professions and sometimes offer discounts to those identified as ‘low risk’.

For example, in recent years it has been found that doctors almost never default on loans, so that places them at the top of the list.

If you work in one of these professions, a discounted loan could be highly beneficial.


4

Offset Accounts

Offset is a feature that you can link to a variable rate home loan. There are two types of offset accounts: 100% offset and partial offset.

A 100% offset allows you to use the account as an everyday banking or savings account. When the lender is calculating interest, the balance in your offset account is taken off the amount owing on your home loan and interest is only payable on the difference.

A partial offset gives you a reduced interest rate on the part of the home loan that is equal to the balance of your offset account.

The more money you have in your offset account, the less interest you have to pay on your home loan.


5

Get a Mortgage Health Check 

A mortgage health check is recommended every 2-3 years to compare your home loan structure and interest rate with available loan products on the market. Future Assist Home Loans can compare your current home loan with over 28 lenders to analyse which products are best suited to your financial needs.


These tips are taken directly from our Mortgage and Debt Tips Factsheet

Entrepreneurs Advice

June 26, 2018

Entrepreneurs worth over $100M+ share advice on how to get you to push yourself forward and reach your business goals.

By: Rahul Varshneya

Leanna Archer

CEO, Leanna’s Essentials

Take advantage of the resources available to you. Don’t know anything about business? Luckily, you have the internet. Don’t have a product idea? How about Grandma’s Haitian pomade recipe? Nothing to package it in? Use some empty Gerber jars. With this kind of resourcefulness, Archer went into business at the age of nine, hired her own dad at 17, and founded a line of hair-care products that made her a millionaire before she even went to college.


Gary Vaynerchuk

CEO, VaynerMedia

Focus on the “clouds and dirt.” Keep your big picture goals in mind (the clouds) but be sure to get your hands in the nitty-gritty of on-the-ground operations (the dirt). Whatever you do, don’t get stuck in the middle. The middle is a dangerous place. That’s the world of office politics and fretting over presentations. And that, Vaynerchuk warns, is where your business can go stale.


Robert Smith

CEO, Vista Equity Partners

Talent scout in unlikely places. If you think your next brainiac employee is going to be an ivy leaguer with sterling references, try quizzing the pizza delivery guy instead. Smith uses a personality test to suss out job candidates’ social skills, technical aptitude, and even their interest in the arts. Some of Vista Equity’s star employees were roofers, Verizon sales people, and yes, a pizza delivery guy! Smith has found these candidates to be not just cheaper than their privileged peers, but more motivated. Hiring them is socially constructive.


Alexa Von Tobel

CEO, LearnVest

Keep yourself healthy and take your thoughts off your plate. Von Tobel eats the same thing for breakfast and lunch every day. Why? The same reason Einstein allegedly refused to memorize his home address–you have more important things to think about. Set a healthy meal routine and systematize it. In addition to eating healthily, she makes exercise a daily fixture, because, she says, “everything’s better if you exercise.”

Kevin Systrom

CEO, Instagram

Be a CEO, not your target market. Although he founded the company, Systrom is a notoriously mediocre Instagrammer. Maybe that’s to highlight how he designed Instagram for the everyday person to document life on the go; not necessarily for the fashionistas and pro photographers who maximize the app’s potential as influencers. Or maybe it’s because he’s too busy being a programmer and a CEO to fuss over his own Insta posts! The point is, you don’t have to be a geek for your own product.


David Karp

CEO, Tumblr

Keep your personal time personal. Take your space and be a hermit sometimes. “I’ve found that if you’re not responsive to e-mail, it trains people to leave you alone,” Karp told Inc a few years back. And he’s right: Being on the computer all the time makes you feel gross. So, get your laptop out of the bedroom and don’t check your email until you get to the office.


Dustin Moskovitz

CEO, Asana

Passion is important. Before you say this sounds like a generic slogan from a motivational poster, let me clarify. What Moskovitz really meant was: the passion is more important than the glamour, the money, the authority, and the freedom—which are mostly not a part of a CEO’s reality. If you’re going to start a company, do it for the right reason: you’re so passionate about your idea that you can’t not deliver it to the world.


Tim Ferriss

Author, The 4-Hour Work Week

Craft your success around your dream life. Start with a vision for you life, not just for your work. Make your business the engine that propels you into the lifestyle that you have always dreamed about. Ferriss outlines this in his now-Biblical 4-Hour Work Week, but the lessons never lose relevance. Don’t work hard for your money. Make it work hard for you.


Tony Hsieh

CEO, Zappos

Live small, have fun, do something weird. Tony Hsieh is one happy guy. This doesn’t just matter for his life and well being, it matters for his business. His lively, amiable approach to life translates into happy employees and legendary customer service. This is perhaps the most important lesson on this list, and it comes from a guy who lives in a trailer park with a couple of alpacas! Your happiness is scaleable.


Originally posted by: Rahul Varshneya on Inc.com

Tow Truck Company Liquidation

June 25, 2018

Brisbane tow truck company owner Dominic Holland has told his staff they are out of work because he is placing the business into liquidation.

     

Mr Holland and his firm tow.com.au have been locked in a court battle with the Queensland Government and the liquidation announcement comes less than a fortnight after Mr Holland was ordered to hand over confidential personal records of Queensland drivers.

Mr Holland sent a text message to staff on Saturday, telling them their employment had been terminated.

On June 21, the tow.com.au website was taken offline and staff were told not to come into work.

The company’s other website — tow.co — remains in operation for online booking of regular breakdown towing.

The firm, which uses subcontractors instead of its own tow trucks, was initially heralded as one of the success stories of Brisbane’s start-up scene, earning the nickname “the Uber of tow trucks”.

In 2013, Mr Holland’s company won an exclusive contract to tow cars seized by police under the state’s anti-hoon legislation.

Seized vehicles were taken to towing impoundment yards, but when some car owners did not pay for storage fees, a $15 million legal dispute began between Mr Holland and the State Government over who should pay.

Earlier this month, Mr Holland said he planned to sell his company along with “critically sensitive” personal records of 21,000 Queenslanders because he could not afford to continue fighting the Government in the courts.

Mr Holland said some of the records, including bank account and drivers licence details, were given to him by the Queensland Police Service.

But an urgent injunction lodged in the Supreme Court prevented Mr Holland from doing that.

He was ordered to hand back some of the data and destroy his own copies by June 21.

In his message to staff on Saturday, Mr Holland blamed the Government and police for “possibly the nation’s most horrific case of wage theft”.

“Today I put the impoundment business, Tow.com.au, into liquidation; as an act to best ensure all the company’ [sic] creditors get paid in full, and the company’s debtors are pursued for the monies they owe,” Mr Holland wrote to his staff.

“As an employee of tow.com.au, it is with tremendous heartache that I need to let you know that your employment at tow.com.au is therefore terminated.”

It is understood the company had fewer than 10 employees.

Tow.com.au is also in debt to tow truck subcontractors around the country — some of whom have called in debt collectors to chase unpaid commissions.

One employee who was told they were out of work said some creditors were owed more than $100,000.

“The feedback around the business was incredibly angry and negative,” the staffer said.

The employee said tow.com.au’s business had dwindled over the last month after it pulled its targeted Google advertising.

They said staff were in shock and had been unable to reach Mr Holland after receiving his text message on Saturday.

“We’re livid because we thought we’d get some kind of notice. Now we don’t have work to go to on Monday and we still have rent to pay,” they said.

ORIGINALLY POSTED BY: Kristian Silva of ABC NEWS

Starter Kit

June 22, 2018

Please enjoy your free premium resources.

        

In this ebook we explore the various types of superfunds such as retail, industry and SMSF’s to provide insight into some of options and considerations when looking to take active control of your super.


Property investment can be a rewarding experience and may help to make your long-term goals a reality. This eBook contains information on how you can safely and efficiently create a property strategy and invest in property.


This guide provides an overview of how Salary Sacrificing works in Australia, including some steps to take if you’re considering this option


Superannuation is one of the biggest investments you will make and it plays a big part in your future. However, not all superannuation funds are equal. Understanding your super may help you get the most out of your investment.

Downsize your home, upsize your super.

June 19, 2018

The ‘downsizer contribution’, is part of a federal government program to improve housing affordability.

It offers a further opportunity for some home sellers to benefit from the tax advantages associated with superannuation. On the downside it may adversely affect eligibility for age pension.

Rules Apply:
Of course, it wouldn’t be a super contribution without lots of rules, and the main ones are.

1.) You must be 65 or older when you make the contribution. This could affect decisions on the timing of a sale. For example, Anne (67) and Rod (63) are thinking of downsizing. As only Anne can make a downsizer contribution they may want to delay selling their home until Rod turns 65 so he can also make one.

2.) You or your spouse must have owned the home for at least 10 years prior to sale; it must be your main residence; and cannot be a caravan, houseboat or mobile home.

3.) You can only use this concession once. You can’t use it with subsequent home sales.

4.) The contribution is limited to the lesser of $300,000 each or the total proceeds from the sale of the home. In the case of couples, contributions don’t need to be evenly split. Take Tom and Stephanie. They sold their house for $500,000. Rather than contribute $250,000 each, Stephanie contributes her $300,000 maximum. Tom’s downsizer contribution must then be no more than $200,000.

5.) The contribution must be made within 90 days of receiving the proceeds, though an extension may be granted in limited cases.

Curiously, given the name of this initiative, you don’t need to physically downsize your home. If you have the funds available you could buy a bigger or more expensive abode. In fact, you don’t even need to buy a new home at all.


The effect on super

On the superannuation side, you can make a downsizer contribution if your total super balance exceeds $1.6 million. However, the contribution will count towards your transfer balance cap (i.e. the cap on the amount you can use to establish a tax-free superannuation pension). Even so, it may still be advantageous to hold these funds in the concessional (15%) tax environment applicable to the super accumulation phase.


And what about the age pension?

Anyone thinking of downsizing needs to consider the impact on eligibility for age pension. A main residence is exempt from the assets test, but if its sale frees up money – for example through buying a cheaper home or renting – those funds will be assessed under both the income and assets test even if they are used to make a downsizer contribution. This may result in a reduction or loss of age pension.

The extent to which you can benefit from making a downsizer contribution depends very much on your individual situation. And it isn’t just a financial issue; lifestyle considerations are also important. Before making a decision it’s important to consider all the angles, so talk to your financial adviser about whether a downsizer contribution is right for you.

Top 10 Wealth Podcasts

June 15, 2018

Podcasts offer an entertaining and efficient way to soak up advice and commentary from top voices in any niche.

Whether you’re an entrepreneur, a middle manager, or someone focused on self-improvement, podcasts allow you to learn something new while you work out, commute to work, or finish everyday tasks.

With 2018 on its way, it’s an ideal time to take stock of where you are professionally and financially. Podcasts in the finance niche can help you evaluate your old goals and reach for greater heights.

Stacking Benjamins
Stacking Benjamins is an award-winning podcast that focuses on helping others build wealth. Hosted by Joe Saul-Sehy and characters known as the Other Guy and crazy Neighbor Doug, this podcast offers financial education sometimes disguised as comedy–all from Saul-Sehy’s mom’s basement.


So Money


Inc.com has written about So Money before, and for good reason. Farnoosh Torabi’s ability to bring in top names in entrepreneurship and business has made it a must-listen podcast for anyone striving to take his or her business to the next level.


The Tim Ferriss Show
One of the top podcasts on iTunes for several years running, The Tim Ferriss Show boasts 200 million downloads and 3,000-plus five-star reviews. You’ll feel like a fly on the wall listening to some of the greatest minds (think Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tony Robbins, Vince Vaughn) sharing some of their most amazing insights on business, productivity, and life hacks.


The Side Hustle Show
The Side Hustle Show has become the podcast for people who want to create multiple income streams with their own side business. You’ll learn new tips for your own hustle–as well as exciting new business strategies from successful entrepreneurs, like Facebook employee No. 30, Noah Kagan.


Radical Personal Finance


Financial adviser Joshua J. Sheats uses Radical Personal Finance to take you on a journey toward financial health. Through storytelling and interviews, Sheats helps listeners work on their financial issues and build wealth with proven strategies and tools. 


Smart Passive Income
Entrepreneur Pat Flynn teaches us the ins and outs of earning truly passive income on his podcast, aptly named Smart Passive Income. Flynn, who frequently earns more than $100,000 per month, will teach you all about setting up hands-off businesses and creating a lifestyle you’ll love.


Girlboss Radio
In this podcast, American businesswoman and rock star Sophia Amoruso dives deeply into the world of entrepreneurship and what it means to be a woman in charge. Not just for girls or women, Girlboss Radio can help any listener become wiser and savvier and define what success means for her or him. Guests range from Silicon Valley CEOs to A-list actresses like Gwyneth Paltrow.


Money for the Rest of Us

Money for the Rest of Us offers a safe place for people seeking financial freedom on their own terms. Financial expert and host David Stein walks listeners through the process of saving enough for retirement without outside help.


Afford Anything
Real estate investor, blogger, and influencer Paula Pant says you can afford anything–just not everything. Through her award-winning Afford Anything podcast, Pant introduces listeners to new ways to build passive income and a better life that’s not only fruitful but also free from stress and the shackles of a 9-to-5.


Listen Money Matters
Listen Money Matters promises to help anyone “free their inner financial badass” through interviews with the top minds in personal finance. You may find yourself soaking up uncensored commentary from the show’s hosts, Andrew Fiebert and Thomas Frank.

This isn’t your father’s boring money show, but you can learn to manage money better than your parents ever did by tuning in.


The original post has been edited. Originally posted by: Jeff Rose on INC.com

July 1st Changes

July 1st will bring upon the new financial year. There will be changes to fees, charges, taxes, rules, regulations and laws. Here’s a list of what will change, and how it will effect you.

Power Prices To Drop

After the 20% hike in power bills last year, Origin Energy and AGL are cutting their prices. Origin’s Media Release is HERE and AGL’s is HERE.

EnergyAustralia has yet to release their reviewed price cuts. 


Plastic Bag Ban

Single-use plastic bags will be officially  banned in Queensland, Victoria and Western Australia, aligning with South Australia, Northern Territory, the ACT, and Tasmania. 

New South Wales has not budged, and will not ban plastic bans, although most retailers have made the plastic bag ban effective nationwide.


No Passport Glasses

Due to glasses affecting facial matching, glasses (for vision impairment) are now banned. Valid medical reasons, such as recent eye surgery or severe light sensitivity are exempt, however the glasses may not obscure the eyes, and there must be no glass reflection. For more information, head HERE.


Online Shopping Tax

US Amazon will stop shipments to Australian addresses, in response to the new online GST law (effective July 1st). eBay, Alibaba and Etsy responded last year by saying they too may need to geo-block Australia under this new law. 


Downsizing Contributions

A government incentive for Australians aged 65 or older will be put in place July 1st, that allows them to contribute up to $300,000 from the sale of their family home into their super. Eligibility includes: the downsizer must have owned the home for 10 years, and it must be the main place of residence.


Better Credit Score

Comprehensive credit reporting (CCR) will become mandatory, meaning banks will be forced to share detailed positive and negative financial history with other lenders. Credit applications, defaults, overdue payments, bankruptcy and court judgements are what most lenders share, but now they will be forced to share positive information, such as repayments made on time. 


Modest Tax Relief

As part of the government’s seven-year tax plan announced in last month’s federal budget, taxpayers will be receiving modest relief in the form of either an annual lump sum tax offset or increased tax brackets from July 1.

People earning up to $37,000 a year will get a maximum offset of $200, while people earning between $37,000 and $90,000 will get a maximum offset of $530. A person currently earning $90,000 a year will also pay $135 less tax.

That’s because the 32.5 per cent tax bracket is being increased from $87,000 to $90,000 to ward off bracket creep — the process by which inflation pushes taxpayers into ever higher tax brackets.


Family Payments Changes

Parents receiving the Family Tax Benefit Part A could see their payments reduced by up to $28.28 per fortnight, per child, if their children aren’t immunised. Human Services says it will contact parents if their child doesn’t meet immunisation requirements, and will let them know what they need to do before their payments are affected.


Parking Fines Slashed

Motorists in NSW are set to benefit from a major penalty overhaul by the state government, with the 10 most common parking fines to be slashed by 25 per cent.

The 10 fines to be cut by 25 per cent will be ‘park for longer than permitted’, ‘park without ticket displayed’, ‘park after ticket expired’, ‘stand vehicle in area longer than allowed’, ‘stop in restricted parking area’, ‘park after meter expired’, ‘not stand vehicle in marked parking space’, ‘remain in ticket-operated loading zone after ticket expired’, ‘park without current loading zone ticket’ and ‘park without paying meter fee’.


Minimum Wage Increase

About 2.3 million of Australia’s lowest paid workers will get a 3.5 per cent pay increase from July 1, with the national minimum wage to increase by $24.30 per week following the Fair Work Commission’s 2017-18 Annual Wage Review.


Country Of Origin

A two-year transition phase to improved country-of-origin food labelling ends on June 30, with all food packaged and imported from July 1 required to comply with the Country of Origin Food Labelling Information Standard 2016.


Single Touch Payroll

Employers with 20 or more employees will be required to report payments such as salaries, wages, pay-as-you-go (PAYG) withholding and superannuation directly from their payroll or accounting software from July 1.

The Single Touch Payroll system will give the Australian Taxation Office near-real time visibility of an employee’s wage and super payments, meaning employers who attempt to rip off their workers will have nowhere to hide.


Opal Fares Increase

The average commuter in NSW can expect to pay about 39 cents a week extra, with Opal fares set to increase by 2.2 per cent from July 2.

The state government said it had decided to tie the increase to the consumer price index rather than the 4.2 per cent increase recommended by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal to keep downward pressure on cost of living.

 

Originally posted by Frank Cheung on NEWS.com.au

Melbourne Skyscrapers

June 8, 2018

Melbourne’s Soaring Skinny Skyscrapers Surge

Article by Alison Cheung

‘Skinny’ skyscrapers in Melbourne are increasing in their viability, in terms of engineering, market perception and finance. The slender buildings are commonly in the ‘high-rise capitals’ of New York and Hong Kong, but Melbourne is following suit. 

 

While Australia has its fair share of high-rise buildings, land shortage in the Victorian capital’s CBD has driven developers to target tiny land sites to build skyscrapers like the Phoenix apartment tower, which takes just eight steps to walk from one side to the other.

In contrast with Melbourne, the City of Sydney council has not received any applications for skinny tower developments, or similar, in the last year, a spokesperson confirmed.

Slenderness is based on the site’s width in proportion to the building’s height; a tall tower is not necessarily skinny.

Melbourne’s Proposed Magic Tower  Photo: Dezeen

The latest planning permit for this type of development set to be proposed is the Royal Society of Victoria’s proposed Magic Tower at 1 Victoria Street in the CBD. The 60-storey, 330-metre building is on a triangular site about half the size of a tennis court with a width of 18 metres.

Decibel Architecture’s Dylan Brady, who is on the Magic Tower project, said the slender tower concept was attractive because of its ability to make use of a very small site which would have otherwise not been suitable for higher density development.

“It is not inherently more efficient, nor cost-effective, as the engineering around a slender tower is more complex, and generally therefore more expensive, than a regular building,” he said, adding that slender towers are virtually always residential.

“That said, a slender tower is generally more lucrative from the point of view that the towers tend to have smaller floor plates suited to whole-floor apartments… with views from every side, rather than a single aspect or even a corner as is more traditional.”

432 Park Avenue, NYC.

Mr Brady pointed out that slender towers “can demand very high prices in the market”. In New York City, the 92nd-floor penthouse at 432 Park Avenue – one of the slenderest towers in the world – had an eye-watering AU$51.68 price tag.

“You need location, location, location here though. Views over parks, and low lying land is excellent, and many of the slender towers in New York are basically empty up to 100 metres, as they have no view below that.”

Slender towers are becoming increasingly viable, Mr Brady said, not just in terms of engineering, but also market perception and finance.

“Around the world, the major cities (are) driving infill development, increasing density and value-adding to existing, constrained urban markets,” he said.

“This type of engineering is most traditionally seen in Hong Kong, and most recently and innovatively seen in New York City.”

And slender towers are “as safe as squat buildings”, the architect said.

“Super-slender buildings embody the very latest proven technologies and engineering, and have multiple redundancy in both structure, systems and operations.”

A City of Sydney spokesperson said the development of smaller sites “needs to be managed to ensure the (Sydney CBD’s) economic performance and future… is not compromised”.

As well as the height of towers being limited by the CBD’s proximity to Sydney Airport, the spokesperson said developing on some smaller blocks in the CBD could make it more difficult for larger office developments that require the amalgamation of multiple sites.

“Minimum requirements for developments on a small site include location to neighbouring towers, day and sunlight access to public spaces and parks, outlook for future residents, wind impacts and access for vehicles and emergency services.”

Changing Market

 

Developer BPM is known for its experience with pencil-tower projects. In early April, the Melbourne-based group listed a 34-level, 130-room hotel project, approved on a 168-square-metre site at 9-11 Exploration Lane, Melbourne, with hopes of about $50 million.

And at the 350-square-metre site at 33-35 King Street, Melbourne, the developer is offloading a 30-storey, 241-room hotel development for $80 million.

Both of these projects had been changed from residential to hotel use in light of slowing off-the-plan apartment sales. Meanwhile, BPM intends to swap the originally approved 75-level apartment tower at 54-56 Clarke Street, Southbank, which has a 12-metre width, for a more modest 24-storey apartment block.

BPM development director Tom Howgate said such skinny apartment towers “are not feasible in this market”.

“We could not deliver these as apartment buildings in the current environment. It’s either we don’t deliver them or we get smarter and change the use, change our approach and deliver a hotel so we can actually deliver a building,” he said.

The reason why slender towers are the most prevalent in Melbourne, Mr Howgate said, was because the existing permits were issued by former Victorian planning minister Matthew Guy, who earned the moniker “Mr Skyscraper” from his pro-development approvals.

“If you take out the planning policy and regulations out of the equation, there’s huge benefits in building skinny towers. It means people (can) live in the buildings and get access to everything that they require out of a building but on a whole lot smaller piece of land.”

And while slender towers are more challenging to build as all the services need to fit on a smaller footprint, they are more lucrative from a developer’s perspective.

“The yield’s more efficient if you can get the height,” Mr Howgate said.

Despite Melbourne’s growing pipeline of pencil towers, Mr Howgate said it won’t reach the extent of New York and Hong Kong.

“There will be plenty more high-rise but I don’t think we’ll be punching with those guys.”

Originally Posted By: Commercial Real Estate