READ MORE Ask Noel & The Explainer: Since when does a bank account beat super? July 20, 2017 I was shocked to read a recent column of yours where a female pensioner sought advice on investing a legacy of $20,000. You told her not to put it in super but instead use a bank account ‘‘that pays reasonable interest’’. Why would you do that when bank... READ MORE Ask Noel & The Explainer: How will Airbnb affect my capital gains tax? July 13, 2017 I am renting out part of my home on Airbnb and have been faithfully declaring the income and expenses on my tax return. Does that put my capital gains tax position in jeopardy? READ MORE Ask Noel & The Explainer: How pensioners should use an unexpected gift July 6, 2017 I HAVE been bequeathed $20,000 and do not knowhow best to invest this unexpected gift. I am 68, female, retired, but work the odd day per month. My super account is still open with a balance of $8000, I receive the full... READ MORE Ask Noel & The Explainer: How will CGT gains be calculated? June 15, 2017 MY wife and I are trustees of our self managed super fund and are the only two members. The fund is in pension mode and we pay our pensions in lump sums before June 30. If the fund does not have enough cash to cover our minimum pensions, can we transfer shares in specie to ourselves in lieu? We have had conflicting advice on... READ MORE Ask Noel & The Explainer: Is it worth borrowing for aged care? June 8, 2017 I am on a full age pension and wondering if money can be gifted to myself directly into my standard super fund. My concern is having my pension reduced if I am gifted directly into a bank account... READ MORE Ask Noel & The Explainer: How much can I save for a home? May 25, 2017 I refer to the new first-home super saver scheme. Are the contributions subject to the cap on concessional contributions that will drop to $25,000 a year from July 1? I have been told that they are counted within the cap, but that does not seem logical. Yes, they do count within the concessional cap and I agree that this does not seem logical. After all, the purpose of the caps on contributions is to prevent people building up large sums in the low tax superannuation environment, while the stated aim... See full answer to this and more questions in the full article here: Download Full Article READ MORE Ask Noel & The Explainer: Complex situation for defined benefit members May 18, 2017 WE are looking at downsizing to extract some surplus from our existing home to add to super. If we draw on existing super to pay the deposit for our new (smaller) home, are we able to replace that money into our super on the sale of the old home or will we be subject to the READ MORE Ask Noel - Article from the Newcastle Herald March 17, 2017 MY wife and I, both in our 80s, run our self-managed super fund and at present we both have more than $1.6 million in the fund. Both are in pension mode. There is one bank account attached to the fund. We are now required to transfer above $1.6 million to individual accumulation accounts. The question is how is the bank account... READ MORE THE EXPLAINER - Do you still get compulsory super after the $1.6m cap? March 6, 2017 YOU recently explained that an individual with more than $1.6 million in superannuation will no longer be able to make any contributions to super after June 30. If the individual is still working, does that mean that the employer can no longer make the required contributions to their account either? If that is the case, does the employer just keep that money or would they pay it to the employee in another form? Once a person has more than $1.6million in superannuation they will not be allowed to make any non-concessional contributions. However, employer contributions are ... Download Full Article READ MORE THE EXPLAINER - Will we lose our eligibility for health care card? March 6, 2017 THE Commonwealth Seniors Health Care Card (CSHC) is of great value to us self-funded retirees. We have more than $1.6 million each in superannuation and are concerned that we will lose the grandfathering provisions when we are required to adjust our arrangements on June 30. Can you throw any light on this matter? A Treasury spokesperson assures me that existing CSHC holders with current retirement income balances in an account based pension of more... Download Full Article READ MORE THE EXPLAINER - How to boost the pension by $792 a fortnight February 7, 2017 MY wife is 62 and currently has a Transition to Retirement super pension as well an associated accumulation account. Her job is being terminated in a few weeks (the business is closing down) but she would like to maintain something like her current arrangement (a super pension and accumulation account) as she is likely to obtain short-term work from time to time but also... Download Full Article READ MORE Contribute to Super at 65+ July 20, 2016 In the budget, the Coalition promised that people aged between 65 and 75 would be able to contribute to superannuation without passing a work test. I thought this only applied to the concessional contribution. Does it also apply to the non-concessional contributions? It would suit me very well if that was the case. Download Full Article READ MORE THE EXPLAINER - Couple may need 30 years of growth November 26, 2015 I'm lucky enough to have a fully paid-off investment property. Is there any way to withdraw equity from it to buy a home to live in, besides selling? It would be great to take advantage of negative gearing, but I assume using the investment property as security for a home loan wouldnt allow me to do that. Download Full Article READ MORE Things look good for 2016 October 22, 2015 IS the glass half full or half empty? I guess it depends who you talk to. Just this week, Credit Suisse released a report forecasting a slowdown in world growth - at the same time the National Australia Bank business confidence index bounced back from its worst reading in four years. Download Full Article READ MORE Super goalposts shift again October 15, 2015 BATTEN down the hatches nd take cover: our superannuation is under attack. The Abbott government-remember them? - promised no changes to superannuation, on the grounds that today's retirees had invested in superannuation in the reasonable belief that the present rules would remain unchanged and no retrospective legislation would be enacted. Download Full Article READ MORE Perfect fiscal storm loom October 8, 2015 THE more I travel, the more I see that most developed nations are facing the same problems - the sad reality is that their governments seem powerless to solve them. Ive spent the last week in London, where Labour has elected as leader a populist politician... Download Full Article READ MORE Diversify, go international October 1, 2015 IT'S a challenging time to be an investor - the Australian dollar is plunging and stock markets are all over the place. But don't let the volatility faze you: this is a great time to look at your portfolio to see if you can improve it. ... Download Full Article READ MORE Supperannuation is safe September 24, 2015 HOW safe is my super? What do you think the government has in store for us? The person who asked these questions is an executive in his early 50's who is busily trying to get his finances in shape to retire at age 65... Download Full Article READ MORE Changes sap creep's effect September 17, 2015 FEDERAL Treasurer Joe Hockey celebrated his second anniversary in government by promising to cut income tax to protect us from bracket creep, Certainly, tax cuts are welcome, but achieving them in the context of a worsening budgetary position is going to be a major challenge.... Download Full Article READ MORE To stay or go is the question September 10, 2015 FAMILY situations are dynamic. Additions to the family, or a new hobby, may mean you need to upgarde your home. this begs the question-should you move or renovate? No matter which option you choose, there are going to be hassles. As a person who has both moved and renovated, let me assure you that both create major disruptions in your lifestyle.... Download Full Article READ MORE Hang in and add to portfolio September 3, 2015 WHAT a week it's been. The Dow Jones had its eight-biggest decline in history, markets all over the world tumbled, and of course the Australian market crashed as well. For the nervous it was a time to wonder if this is the start of another global financial crisis, for the experienced investor the big decision was whether to sit tight or jump in and buy.... Download Full Article READ MORE Keep pension goals on track August 13, 2015 ‘‘DO you really need a million dollars to retire?” It’s the question that has been dominating the media all week. But it’s a pretty silly question when you think about it, because there are a multitude of factors that determine how much anybody would need to retire comfortably. These include the state of your health, the extent of travel you are planning, and how often the children are likely to put their hands out for help.... Download Full Article READ MORE Be shrewd with your super August 6, 2015 THIS month, expect to receive a most important document - your annual superannuation statement. If you're like most Australians, you'll probably give it a cursory look and then throw it in the too-hard basket until you've got more time to think about it... Download Full Article READ MORE Tax reforms pose quandary July 30, 2015 Tax reform is back on the agenda, with the usual suspects establishing their positions. This week ACTU head Ged Kearney took a strong position against widening the GST, calling for a higher Mediacare levy, a review of negative gearing and increased tazes on superannuaion. The employer groups responded with a call for a cut in company tax and the abolition of payroll tax... Download Full Article READ MORE Postponing the inevitable July 15, 2015 Government corruption and tax evasion are to blame for Greece’s woes. GREECE was certainly a victim of the global financial crisis, but their troubles started long before 2007. The root of the problem seems to have been that most Greeks expected their government to be a fountain of wealth, but were not prepared to pay one cent in tax to help make that happen. Not only do the Greeks hate paying tax – the system is purpose built for tax evasion. Can you believe that some of their more picturesque islands have more churches than citizens? Apparently, including a tiny church on the land... Download Full Article READ MORE Start as you mean to go on July 9, 2015 Consider how you’ll make the most of your money this financial year. WELCOME to a new financial year, and the opportunity to lay some solid foundations for the year ahead. As always, the last year was a challenging one, and current market gyrations in the Eurozone indicate more challenges ahead. Market movements are nothing new. What makes the coming year unique is a growing awareness of... READ MORE Smart plans to reduce tax July 2, 2015 There are a number of strategies you can use to help reduce your tax bill. JUNE30 is rapidly approaching, which means it is time to seek advice about ways to save tax. Smart tax planning means deferring income while bringing forward expenses. For example, if you have money to spare, think about placing it ona term deposit with the interest maturing after June 30. The interest will then be taxed next year. If you have... Download Full Article READ MORE The negative point of view June 25, 2015 It can be a tough road trying to be self-sufficient by the time you retire. WEALTH creation is becoming a dirty joke in Australia. For months we have been subjected to attacks on the money we’ve accumulated in superannuation; now Labor and the Greens have upped the ante by calling for the abolition of negative gearing. It’s an attack on middle Australia. Contrary to the spin,... Download Full Article READ MORE Split super funds and win June 18, 2015 Splitting superannuation with your spouse can save you money. THE attacks on superannuation are ongoing. Labor has already announced plans to increase taxes on super, while my Canberra spies tell me that Assistant Treasurer Josh Frydenberg was openly amenable to changes at a retirement conference in Canberra last week. This is despite promises by his leader, Tony Abbott, that any changes were off the table. One thing is clear... Download Full Article READ MORE Pensioners feel the pinch June 11, 2015 It can be a tough road trying to be self-sufficient by the time you retire. WEALTH creation is becoming a dirty joke in Australia. For months we have been subjected to attacks on the money we’ve accumulated in superannuation; now Labor and the Greens have upped the ante by calling for the abolition of negative gearing. It’s an attack on middle Australia. Contrary to the spin,... Download Full Article READ MORE Keeping wolves from door May 28, 2015 It’s a big word, but testamentary trusts are simple in operation. Noel Whittaker is the author of Making Money Made Simple and numerous other books on personal finance. His advice is general in nature and readers should seek their own professional advice before making financial decisions. ACCUMULATING enough money to retire on is one issue – trying to protect it for our beneficiaries is another. In many cases the best option is to include a testamentary trust clause in your will. Don’t let the term scare you, it’s worth... Download Full Article READ MORE Retirees face balancing act May 21, 2015 DESPITE the rumours, superannuation and negative gearing were left untouched in last Tuesday’s Budget. However, as foreshadowed in this column last month, the government announced a change in attitude to wealthy pensioners by changing the asset test taper rate. By increasing the level at which the pension starts to reduce due to assets, and by steepening the taper rate itself, they managed to increase... Download Full Article READ MORE Stability would be super May 14, 2015 Labor’s tax proposal would create a new compliance burden. ‘‘FORGIVE them Lord, for they know not what they do,’’ said Jesus Christ, as he was about to be crucified. It’s just as relevant today, when you think of the proposal by Opposition Leader Bill Shorten to crucify thousands of retirees with a new tax on super – the implications of which have obviously never occurred to anybody in the Labor Party. Unfortunately, dreaming up impractical ideas to... Download Full Article READ MORE How to become a first home owner sooner May 10, 2015 The Reserve Bank of Australia lowered the official cash rate to an historic low of 2 percent this month, but that won’t necessarily make it easier for first home buyers to enter the property market. In fact, of the 34 leading economists ... READ MORE Money for nothing May 7, 2015 A simple super strategy works, and need not break the bank. THE May budget is just a few days away and my mailbox is full of emails from retirees who are concerned that their ability to make lump sum withdrawals from their super will be suddenly curtailed. Invariably the question is: ‘‘Should I take all my money out of super before budget night?’’ There isno need to worry – Prime Minister Tony Abbott has recently pledged there will be no adverse changes to superannuation in the life of... Download Full Article READ MORE Make plannerwork for you April 30, 2015 Three letters mean a lot when you are choosing a financial planner. WHAT does ‘‘financial planning’’ make you think of? Anxious nights trying to make ends meet? Money disappearing into super with the promise you’ll see it again in 20 years? The shonky advisers you’ve read about in the papers, who left their clients penniless? It’s notmeant to belike that! Financial planning is about... Download Full Article READ MORE The problem with pensions April 23, 2015 There’s a big move against linking the age pension to the cost of living. AUSTRALIA has one of the most generous superannuation systems on the planet. There is just one problem – it’s unsustainable. Under the current rules, a couple can have up to $1,151,500 of assets, plus a family home of unlimited value, before losing access to at least... Download Full Article READ MORE Get to know your super plan April 9, 2015 Understand your fund’s access rules and work them to your advantage. SUPERANNUATION has been all over the news this week, with scary headlines aplenty about what governments of all persuasions may do to change the system and make saving for retirement even harder. Don’t lose any sleep about it. It’s all part of yet anotherproposed reform of the tax system, which has been put out for consultation with the aim of making possible changes in 2016. There are many potential problems with that: ... Download Full Article READ MORE Board the share roller-coaster March 26, 2015 The younger you get used to the ups and downs of the stockmarket, the better position you’ll be in later. IS a million dollars enough to retire on? It’s a tricky question, and certainly a topical one, judging by the emails I received after a recent column in which I talked about a couple who were living in a $2 million home and receiving the full age pension of $33,000 a year. The example assumed they had nothing much in the bank due to... Download Full Article READ MORE Super idea not a good one March 19, 2015 Dipping into your superannuation to buy a new home is a bad move. THE prize for the stupidest idea of the week must go toTreasurer Joe Hockey for his suggestion that first home buyers should be allowed to access part of their superannuation for a house deposit. Not only would it drive up house prices, the plan has two other major faults: it ignores the true cost of homeownership and it subverts the purpose of superannuation. Certainly, falling interest rates have reduced the gap between owning and renting, but... Download Full Article READ MORE Tax tweak misses themark March 5, 2015 Running a small business just got even harder with the new lower company tax rate. PRIMEMinisterTony Abbott is full of paradoxes.He has repealed the carbon tax, restored the live cattle trade, and taken steps to get the budget back inthe black andstop the boats. Unfortunately he has also sacked Philip Ruddock, and knighted Prince Philip – a ridiculous decision which many of us though twas a hoax when we first heard about it. But his latest effort really gets first prize for getting it wrong. That is to give small business a much-needed boost by cutting their company tax by... Download Full Article READ MORE Rethinking pension policies February 26, 2015 Politicians are floating a raft of ideas to cope with the ageing population. One, means testing the family home, has administrative implications. PENSIONERS have had a scary week. Senator David Leyonhjelm started the ball rolling with a major newspaper article in which he stated: ‘‘We are not entitled to an age pension merely because we have paid taxes all our life. Pensions are not for everyone; fundamentally they are welfare reserved for the poor.’’ He then pulled out the old chestnut about pensioners living in multimillion-dollar houses while drawing the full pension. His solution for them was to... Download Full Article READ MORE In for a long, exciting haul February 5, 2015 Forego instant gratification in favour of the thrill of accruing real wealth. JANUARY has gone, and all those NewYear’s resolutions to lose weight and get your finances in order may have gone with it. You’re probably berating yourself with statements like ‘‘I’ve got no willpower’’, or ‘‘this happens every year’’. Take heart – the sad truth is that the human body is not wired for long-term planning. Our ancestors were hunters and gatherers who lived by the rule of fight or flight. Their dominant thoughts were... Download Full Article READ MORE Share in compound effect January 29, 2015 Term deposits have fallen behind the investment pack since the 1980s. FOR my money, shares are the best investment any body can have. No other asset class offers such flexibility or liquidity, nor the tax benefits offered by franked dividends if you invest in Australian shares. Peter Thornhill has been preaching the gospel of Australian industrial shares for more than 30 years, and I’m sure many of you have had the pleasure of listening to him at investment seminars. A feature of his presentations is a graph which tracks both income and capital from... Download Full Article READ MORE A good year for investors January 22, 2015 For the third year in a row, all major asset classes produced positive returns. THE year so far has been characterised by a litany of bad news. Terrorism is in the headlines, commodity prices are falling, and governments all over the world are having increasing trouble balancing their budgets. Depressing as that may be, it’s still important to keep your own goals in mind and not let yourself be sidetracked by extraneous matters over which you have little control. For starters, keep in mind that... Download Full Article READ MORE Holiday homes no picnic January 15, 2015 Be sure to do your sums carefully before buying that place in the sun. THE holiday is going fine, the weather is perfect,and you are probably thinking how wonderful it would be to own a holiday home of your own. It’s a natural feeling but... Download Full Article READ MORE Reap long term rewards January 8, 2015 Before planning for 2015, understand recent legislative changes. MUCH of the news coming out of Canberra last year has been political parties fighting with each other. The fights made the headlines, but behind the scenes a lot of legislation actually got passed. Today I will take you through... Download Full Article READ MORE Fight for a fair go pays off January 1, 2015 Challenger took on an unfair government aged care ruling – and won. THANKS to some decisive action by Challenger some of our most vulnerable senior citizens have been spared a... READ MORE When$45 becomes$530 December 18, 2014 Beady eyes are needed when your credit card statement arrives. THE dangers of credit cards at this time of the year have been well publicised. First is the danger of ... READ MORE The gift of financial insight December 11, 2014 Giving a book about money matters is an investment for the future. CHRISTMAS is fast approaching and with it, the usual challenge of finding a gift that will be of lasting value to the recipient. As usual, I’ve done the rounds of the book stores and found some titles that would be welcome in any Christmas stocking. Financial success is much easier if you start earlier rather than later. This is why my first choice is... READ MORE All dressed up in red tape December 4, 2014 A financial adviser should act in their client’s best interests, apparently. FINANCIAL loss is nothing new. In fact, Edinburgh in Scotland has a Library ofMistakes which contains more than 6000 volumes that chronicle a whole litany of financial misfortunes. There is even... READ MORE Investing for the long haul November 13, 2014 Medibank is a powerful brand, and there’s no reason that won’t continue. MEDIBANK is the hottest topic in town right now– and every where I go, people ask if it’s a good buy. Yes, I do think it’s a good buy, but it’s obvious that most... READ MORE The power of one vision November 6, 2014 Investors should use market turbulence as a time to buy, not to sell. READ MORE History can help calm jitters October 30, 2014 Learn from past financial crises before proclaiming the end of the world. READ MORE Boom or bust, it's still a case of buyer beware October 23, 2014 Australia’s current economic state can be blamed on the GFC. READ MORE Can you afford to retire? October 16, 2014 It’s important to plan early to ensure a comfortable retirement. READ MORE Super reforms a no-brainer August 28, 2014 The anomalies in the system can be fixed without too much pain. READ MORE New Year's Countdown August 21, 2014 Centrelink income tests for retirees kick in on January 1. There’s still time to prepare. READ MORE Beat banks at their own game August 7, 2014 Choosing the best home loan product is much more than ticking boxes. READ MORE Death planning doesn't kill July 31, 2014 The earlier you take out life insurance, the more you will save – and sleep.