Search for Lost Super

October 29, 2018

Have you kept track of all your super? If you’ve ever changed your name, address, job, or done casual or part-time work, you may have lost track of some of your super.

Look after your super because it needs to look after you in retirement.

You can check your super by registering for the Australian Taxation Office’s online services via myGov. This will allow you to:

  • see details of all your super accounts, including any you may have lost or forgotten about.
  • find ATO-held super, held on your behalf when your super fund, your employer or the government couldn’t find an account to deposit your super to.
  • consolidate your super into a single fund.

If you have recently opened a super account, it may take up to 6 months to appear on your MyGov account.

You can still consolidate your super by completing a balance transfer form for each super account you want to transfer from and mailing it to your new super fund.

Originally posted by: ASIC

Credit Score Battle

October 26, 2018
Header: Credit Score Battle

Why your credit score may be lacking… and why it may improve.

By Anthony Keane

You’ve been a responsible borrower your entire life, never missed a bill or made a late repayment, but your credit score still only ranks you slightly above average.

What the heck is wrong with you, you might wonder?

The good news is there’s nothing wrong, because perfect credit scores are almost impossible to achieve. And better news is that responsible borrowers are now starting to see a spike higher in their scores as big banks become involved in Australia’s new comprehensive credit reporting regimen.

Your credit score is used by lenders when considering loan applications, and some offer lower interest rates to people with high scores. They are compiled by credit agencies such as Experian, Equifax and Illion, and free reports can be obtained directly or through websites including creditsavvy.com.au, getcreditscore.com.au and creditsimple.com.au.

A perfect credit score is either 1000 points or 1200 points, depending on the agency, and lender MoneyPlace’s CEO, Stuart Stoyan, said less than 1 per cent of consumers had a perfect score. Credit Savvy has not seen one.

“It’s kind of like a unicorn… it doesn’t really exist,” he said.

A score rated “excellent” – in the top 20 per cent of all scores – could still deliver borrowers the best interest rates.

ANZ this month started sharing comprehensive credit data – both positive and negative repayment histories – which has moved millions of people’s credit scores. NAB was already doing it and the other big banks go live later this month.

“It’s more important to pay your bills on time. Set up direct debits and reminders because this is now being recorded,” Mr Stoyan said.

Stuart Stoyan – MoneyPlace CEO

“If you don’t pay your bill for two months but you begin paying on time again, your score will recover over next 12 months, but would take an immediate hit of potentially hundreds of points.”

Recent research by Experian found that two-thirds of Australians have never checked their score. The numbers are improving slightly but a majority of consumers don’t know that more of their personal financial data is now being shared.

Australian Retail Credit Association general manager Rebecca Murray said credit scores were trending up for the majority of people as more repayment information landed on their credit files.

“I would expect once we have 24 months of ticks people’s credit scores would go way up,”

Rebecca Murray

“There wasn’t enough information before, but now we could see people with good repayment histories continue to get higher scores. People who are struggling will get lower scores.”

Ms Murray, who is also a consumer education specialist at creditsmart.org.au, said people could push towards perfection by making all repayments on time, checking their files to make sure there were no errors and close unnecessary loans.

HOW TO CHASE A PERFECT SCORE

  • Always pay bills on time.
  • Only apply for new loans when you really need it.
  • Don’t make multiple credit inquiries while shopping around.
  • Avoid high-interest payday loans
  • Avoid increasing your credit card limit
  • Don’t apply for multiple credit cards to chase reward points.

Source: MoneyPlace    Originally posted by: News Corp Australia Network

Spring Cleaning

Steps to Start Your Spring Cleaning

Start with your clothes.

Every 6 months to a year, it’s a good idea to have a quick scan of your wardrobe to see if there are old clothes in there that you should throw out. It may be hard to get rid of those clothes you’ve had forever for no other reason than “I’ve had this for a long time”, but you know it’s just useless clutter. Below is a handy little flow chart to help decide.

Desk and Office Space

Is your home office beginning to look like Einstein’s Desk?

It might be time to go through and file away those documents and receipts, or recycle some old unimportant letters you forgot to get rid of. You could also use this time to manage your digital files on your computer, and create an efficient folder system instead of saving everything to the desktop. 

Kitchen

It is almost guaranteed that at the back of the cupboard or bottom of the fridge, there is some old food that definitely needs to be thrown away. Not only that, you might have some mugs you never use or odd-one-out glasses that sit at the back untouched.

You don’t need to go as far as pulling out all the Tupperware and utensils, but even a quick look through the cupboards might remind you to finally throw out that container that has no lid. 

While you’re at it, properly clean your stainless steel appliances, inside and out.

Before you really start cleaning however, it’s best to grab some microfiber cloths, because we’ve all had cleaning days were we go through tonnes of paper towels (which is no help to the environment), so by reusing those machine washable (and incredibly soft) cloths, you’re helping yourself and the planet.

How to properly clean your stainless steel appliances.

Dusting

A quick dusting of all surfaces, top to bottom, then giving the floor a good vacuum will make any room feel brand new and fresh. Start with the ceiling and ceiling fans, light fixtures, then the walls and lastly the baseboards.

Wash those windows

Every once in a while, it’s recommended to give your windows a good, thorough clean. Add it to your spring cleaning list if required.

The bathroom

This is a massive task in itself. From throwing out those old empty bottles of shampoo and broken hair-ties, cleaning the shower and scrubbing the grout (or using a bleach pen to restore the original white grout colour). If you can’t get this done along with the other tasks, set aside one day in a coming weekend to buckle down and get it done.

Greenery and Scents

Buy some new indoor plants to put around the house, and while you’re at it, buy a nice candle (or two, or three). The indoor plants below are great for high oxygen production. 

 

Referral Gifts & Adventures

October 25, 2018

A Plain English Explanation Of Terms And Conditions

As is the spirit of Future Assist’s Referral Program, we wish to thank our valued clients with fun and enjoyable experiences. However, as with most things in life, to ensure the system is fair and safe for everyone there need to be some guiding rules.
These are as follows:

  • Rewards and gift cards cannot be exchanged or swapped once selected.
  • Rewards and gift cards are not transferable, cannot be sold or exchanged for cash.
  • Activities will be booked by Future Assist. Any amendments, rescheduling or cancellations are the responsibility of the recipient of the reward.
  • Rewards will be activated within 7 days of the referred party purchasing a financial plan or strategy. A longer time period may be required during the Christmas holiday closure.
  • In the event that activities are fully booked, if it is not time restrictive you may choose to take part in the experience in the following month, or you may take the gift card.
  • If the experience is cancelled by the experience provider due to weather, it will be rescheduled by the booking company.
  • If the experience is cancelled by the experience provider for any other reason, it is suggested that you contact the experience provider directly, and then the booking company. 
  • By choosing the adventure over the gift card, you acknowledge that activities involve some personal risk, such as horse riding, hot air ballooning and so on are undertaken at your own risk.
  • Gift cards and activities may have expiration dates, it is the recipients responsibility to ensure gift cards and activities are consumed before these dates.
  • Experience providers have their own terms and conditions which Future Assist has no authority over.  These may include weather restrictions, height, weight, age, group size or experience level restrictions.

Cyber Security Month: Online Scams

October 16, 2018

Are You Protecting Yourself Online? 

Cyber Security Month: Are You Protecting Yourself Online - Man cyber hacking on computer. Protect Yourself Online Banner.

We want to help you protect yourself online, and October is the perfect time to do so, as it is Cyber Security Awareness Month, bringing forward the importance of protecting yourself online. Technology and the world of ‘the internet’ are rapidly growing, and it can be hard to stay on top of all the different rules and know-how’s in regards to cyber security. 

Protecting yourself – your identity and assets – are vital in today’s world.

Cyber Quote: "True cyber security is preparing for what's next, not what was last" - Neil Rerup

Carry on reading to find out: what common mistakes you’re making according to the facts; learn the different types of online scams; pick up some simple quick solutions and tips to take the first steps into protecting yourself; and learn how to practice cyber security safety long term.

Common Mistakes: The Facts

Emails

Emails are still one of the biggest problems in regards to online scams.

97% of people cannot recognise a phishing scam email according to a survey put out from Intel Security in 2015.

Phishing is the practice of sending an email pretending to be from a reputable company in order to gain personal information, such as credit card details and passwords, or to infect the user’s computer with malware in order to gain unauthorised access.

An example of this is the ATO Email Scam. 

The email claims to be from the ATO and usually offer a tax refund. Generally, they link to a fake ATO website asking for personal and credit card details. One version of this scam contains an attachment infected with a virus.

If you receive an email like this, do not open the attachment or click on the link.

Microsoft Attachments

According to CISCO’s 2018 Cyber Security Annual Report, in the section ‘Malicious file extensions in email’, they discovered in their analysis that Microsoft Office attachments in emails are the most malicious. Archives, such as .zip files, were a close second. 

Donut chart on malicious file extensions. Office: 38%. Archives: 37%. PDF: 14%. Other extensions

NOT opening these types of attachments from emails you do not trust or recognise in your contact list is highly advised. Despite how curious you may be, it’s better to just delete them. This is one of the ways you can protect yourself online. 

Quick Solutions: Protect Yourself Online

Below are some simple steps to protect yourself online, this will also bring about long term awareness through actively doing these.

  1. Use a password management program
  2. Enable 2 factor when available (Even Facebook has it! What is 2 Factor Authentication?)
  3. Don’t use the same passwords for different online accounts
  4. Always keep your devices updated
  5. Back up your data regularly
  6. Look for the padlock next to your URL when making online transactions or accessing personal information
Browser Padlocks – (Left to Right) Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox.

People should use a password management program that makes it easy to create a unique password per site they register with.

Adam Shostack – Microsoft’s Security Development Lifecycle strategy team member

Hopefully you feel able to protect yourself online a little better, it’s a bunch of small steps that turn into one journey, and that journey is to cyber security safety.