As from November 19, the first sizable industry fund, Australian super, will be making some significant changes to their fund, that may cause some concern for investors, especially if they were coming close to retirement. These changes come as amid fears of a potential property market plunge. Amongst the changes, property funds will be frozen for up to two years in the event of a crisis. Furthermore, the fund will prevent members from investing more than 70% of their savings in its property portfolio option.
According to Kofkin Bond and Co, one of the most challenging changes will be the rule that states that, for up to two years, the fund has the right to freeze any attempts at withdrawing savings from the property option, as well as prohibiting funds out of, as well as any new contributions into, the options.
Capital Gains Tax changes will mean that Australian expats will be denied the capital gains tax (CGT) main residence concession if they sell their former main residence while living abroad. To date, this stands to affect over 100,000 Australians who currently live and work overseas whilst owning property back home.
The GST tax advisers acknowledge that the Senate committee believes the CGT exemption may provide improved housing outcomes for Australians. However, they believe that there may actually be a counterintuitive reaction from expats as they decide not to sell properties until they return to Australia, creating a ‘lock-in’ effect rather than improving the quantity of housing inventory for sale. In other words; to avoid losing their ‘retirement plan’ to taxes, they will hold onto their property, potentially not selling it for decades, contributing to a lack of housing stock for sale.
In Hong Kong, expatriates have come together in an attempt to create a campaign that would influence the Senate Committee to overturn the proposal. They believe that such a policy will make it difficult for firms, both Australian and international, to employ Australians to work offshore if they have the potential to have life savings wiped as a result of selling their home while not residing in Australia.
Understanding your life insurance policy, and establishing from the beginning, that it is the right policy for you will save you time, money and potentially reduce the level of frustration when it comes to making a future claim. It has been reported that there is a 50% probability of a life event occurring, to any one person, that would result in the payment of a personal insurance claim whether it be life, total or disability insurance.
Consulting with a financial/insurance adviser will ensure that you haven’t wasted, or about to waste, money that could be put to better use, by contributing to a gifted policy by either employer or Superfund. Often there are circumstances where, in such policies, the claim may be reduced to almost nil payment.
Recently, we have been closely watching market valuations that have been indicating overpriced equity markets and it has us concerned. I liken the current state of the markets to that of the movie, The Big Short, which was based on the GFC (Global Financial Crisis) (If you haven’t seen the movie and would like to know what’s happening in our current markets I urge ask you to watch it this weekend.)
Although we still have exposure to some growth assets including certain shares in both Australia and various regions, Having watched people’s wealth being destroyed during the GFC, has made us overly conservative has made us highly conservative for two reasons:
There are moments in life where unnecessary risk is taken despite the warning signs. For example, swimming outside the flags at the beach when the surf looks exciting. The flags are there for a reason, they warn you about certain dangers like turbulent currents that could suck you out to sea. For the stock market, the warning flags are overvaluation and slowing growth and investors should take heed when they are waving.
The overvaluation flag has been waving in the wind for some time. For example, the Shiller Cyclically Adjusted Price Earnings index (S&P500 price-dividend by its trailing 10-year average EPS) has been flashing extreme valuation levels for the US stock market. Based on current US valuations, if you invested in the S&P 500 you could expect a ten-year return of -3.2%. The only time in history that the US market had higher valuations than today was just prior to the Tech Wreck.
With little doubt, Superannuation (AKA Super) is likely going to be a persons longest-term investment and, therefore, deserves to be considered with a greater depth than perhaps their other financial investments. There is no better time than now to engage in a conversation with a Kofkin Bond and Co financial adviser to ensure your Super is in order.
In the course of an average life, they may have many long and short-term savings and investment objectives. Saving for a holiday or a used car in your younger days may take a year or two, Whereas saving for a home deposit may take a little longer, and even then it may take thirty years, or more, to pay it off.
Growing up in Australia, we didn’t watch a lot of baseball; it was mostly cricket and rugby. But those sports share many commonalities with baseball.
In cricket, there isn’t an umpire calling balls and strikes. Instead the batsman protects the wicket—two “bails,” or small pieces of wood balanced between three posts (known as stumps) behind the batsman. If the ball hits the batsman and would have otherwise hit the wicket (I’ll spare you excruciating caveats to this rule), or hits the wicket directly, or if a hit ball is caught, he’s out. But aside from protecting a much narrower “strike zone,” the batsman is under no obligation to swing. The batsman can wait patiently for a ball to hit. (But “hitting it for six” is every bit as exciting, I assure you, as a home run).
The purchase of property by an SMSF has long been seen as an attractive option for investors, however, the rules regarding any limitations are often misunderstood.
We have put together this article as an attempt to clarify each of the ways property can be held by an SMSF.
SMSF acquires property outright
The simplest form of ownership by an SMSF is to own the property outright; The SMSF having purchased the property with cash.
Less is more. More is less. Reaching your financial potential is all about balance, perspective, knowledge, values, and how you define what is most important to your happiness. For some, the idea of ‘success’ holds a level of allure and enticement that will motivate their actions to make more money and surround themselves with the trappings of wealth. For others, the idea of financial success means ‘less’; less debt, less stress, fewer possessions, fewer complications. Whether you consider yourself a ‘more’ or ‘less’ person, it’s all perspective and the level of energy you are willing to invest, in order for your values and financial dreams to be met. (If only it were that simple to remove outside factors and influences.)
Unfortunately, we can often fall victim to enticements, temptations and sometimes guilt or judgment from family, friends and, colleagues. There is then the constant array of online marketing that seeks to aid our deviation from our financial goals.
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