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Catherines Chat

Wholistic Financial Solutions provides a lot of essential information and updates regarding the property investment industry. Check this page for the updates.

Free GPS Economic Update Seminar 3rd March

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

On Thursday 3rd of March, Wholistic Financial Solutions will be hosting a FREE GPS Economic Update and CARE seminar at The Quality Inn , Dickson. Starting at 6.30pm this is sure to be a fun and informative evening with Special Guess speaker Rob McGregor and Emmanuel Calligeris. Visit our website or simple follow the link below. Look forward to seeing you there.

http://www.wfscanberra.com.au/BookingRetrieve.aspx?ID=247857

Stuart Westhoff on Pension Changes

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Pension changes 1 January 2017 – editorial/newsletter article

Don’t get caught offside when the pension rules change

The commencement of 2017 will see some significant changes to means testing for Social Security pensions (including the Age Pension).

Uncertainty around income can be unsettling for those receiving a pension or considering retirement. That’s why it’s important to understand if and how you might be impacted by the new rules so that you can review your game plan before they change.

What’s changing?

The Government is making two changes to the assets test which will take effect from 1 January 2017.

Pensioners need to be aware of how the changes impact their entitlements. For some, the changes will create a cashflow shortfall and may have a significant impact on standard of living.

1. Increasing the lower assets test threshold

The lower assets test threshold refers to the level of assessable assets that can be owned before pension entitlements are affected. Pension payments are reduced once assets exceed this level.

Encouragingly, it is estimated this change will result in around 50,000 part pensioners qualifying for a full pension. Those already on a full pension will be unaffected by this change.

Thresholds differ, depending on your relationship and home-ownership status. Here’s how the new levels compare to the current ones:

Status

Current lower asset threshold

Lower asset threshold from 1 Jan 2017

Single homeowner

$205,500

$250,000

Single non-homeowner

$354,500

$450,000

Couple homeowner

$291,500

$375,000

Couple non-homeowner

$440,500

$575,000

2. Increasing the assets test taper rate

The taper rate is the rate at which pension entitlements reduce where assessable assets exceed the lower threshold. The rate will be increased from $1.50 to $3 per fortnight for every $1,000 in assessable assets above the asset threshold.

As a result of this increase the pension the upper threshold is effectively lowered, meaning the pension cuts off at a lower level of assets. It is estimated that approximately 91,000 part pensioners will no longer qualify for the pension and a further 235,000 will have their part pension reduced.

Once again, the upper threshold will depend on an individual’s relationship status, home-ownership status and whether they are asset tested or income tested.

Status

Current upper assets threshold

 Estimated upper assets threshold from 1 January 2017            

Single homeowner

$783,500

$547,000

Single non-homeowner

$932,500

$747,000

Couple homeowner

$1,163,000

$823,000

Couple non-homeowner

$1,312,000

$1,023,000

Pensioners who lose entitlements as a result of the changes will cease to be eligible for the Pensioner Concession Card (PCC). They will, however, automatically qualify for the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card (CSHC) or if less than pension age, the Health Care Card (HCC).

What about income tested pensioners?

While the changes are more directly relevant for assets tested pensioners, those who have their pension entitlement determined under the income test may not be unaffected. The changes could mean that certain pensioners become asset tested and this could lead to a loss of some or all of their entitlements.

What can be done?

Thankfully, there are a number of potential strategies that could be put in play to reduce the impact of the new rules.

Strategies which reduce an individual’s or couple’s assessable assets, like gifting or expenditure on the main residence, may potentially help. As every situation is different, it’s important that your game plan is both appropriate and sustainable for your circumstances.

Don’t get caught offside when the rules change, talk to your financial adviser about your game plan.

https://www.onepath.com.au/adviser/AdviserAdvantage/pension-changes-2017.aspx


Stuart Westhoff from WFS comments

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

If you think “those” types of things only happen to other people, be warned.

In late 2007 the All Ordinaries index was over 6,500 points, my youngest daughter was only a few weeks and life could not have been better.

Two things were about to happen that had a devastating effect on my financial and personal life.

The first event some of you may have already guessed. The Global Financial Crisis hit. By mid-2008 the All Ordinaries had dropped 25% to about 5,000 points. There was more pain to come for the stockmarket but at that time the second event hit me. My wife was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Now in 2016 the stockmarket is hovering around 5,000 points again. It has recovered from its GFC low of around 3,300. My wife and I have not recovered. We are not together and I am still trying to re-build financially.

Financial stress places enormous strain on any relationship, be it personal or business.

Losses such as those experienced during the GFC are magnified by gearing, which is using borrowed funds. Financial losses from a traumatic illness add another layer of pain and when it happens during the GFC well…. as one client put it to me, “You’ve just gone through the perfect storm.”

These circumstances are not planned but do happen and it’s important to discuss the “what if’s” when putting any financial plans together. The things that can go wrong are not comfortable to talk about and that’s why it’s often easier to outsource these things to professionals who can talk through and plan for contingencies.

Please do not hesitate to review all your plans and contact us if you would like help.             

Time to Switch Banks

Friday, February 05, 2016

Has your Bank?

* changed your investment property loan to principal and interest without giving you any choice?

* Worse, raised your interest rates just because they can?

* or declined an Investment property loan over 80%?


If so, your investment property strategy is no longer as tax effective as it should be and your cash flow is reduced.


WE CAN FIX THIS FOR YOU


We can also review your entire loan structure and re-finance you to a much cheaper bank.


This could save you 1000's in Interest and TAX per year.


The big banks think they can do this to you just because they can...


Just because they want more PROFIT at your expense.


Take action now.  Beat the banks at their own game.


Contact tim@wfscanberra.com.au for your FREE mortgage review.

Stuart Westhoff From Wholistic comments on the current state of the market

Wednesday, February 03, 2016


Is there any reason to be positive on stocks?

Right now there’s apprehension over the economic growth of China, the US and the world economy. If everyone was positive on these economies’ outlooks, commodity prices would be higher and groups, such as OPEC, would actually cut supply, knowing that businesses and consumers of the world can take higher energy prices. Instead, we have a lower growth expectation for these economies. Until that view changes, stocks will have a tendency to fall rather than rise.

Some recent rallies needed to be followed up by good news but instead oil slipped under the psychologically important $US30 a barrel level. The Beige Book put out by the Federal Reserve — America’s central bank — found that in nine of its 12 economic districts surveyed there was only modest growth. If it was spectacular growth, then Wall Street would be up and would keep going up!

The same goes for China — it needs to show that its transition to a more service-oriented economy will still produce good economic growth rates.

It’s funny that we’re focusing on Chinese manufacturing data and how its reduction has hurt iron ore and oil prices and the shares of BHP, Rio, Santos, etc. However, there are changes, such as the tourist numbers out of China to Australia, which this week were 1,013,700 in the year to November. This is the first time annual tourist numbers from the country have breached one million.

This shows us the work of a lower dollar that will help Australia’s economic growth. There are changes like this happening all around the world but markets often concentrate on old rules of thumb that maybe less relevant nowadays.

One big issue being ignored is the fact that one of the world’s most important business costs — energy — is falling and that has to be helping the bottom lines of businesses.

CommSec’s Craig James points out that for many families, the weekly petrol bill is their biggest outlay so the price of petrol has to be a plus for the economy, which (along with the dollar and low interest rates) should ensure our growth rate this year is good, which has to help job creation.

The Yanks have the challenge of a rising greenback but that’s because their economy is doing well. So the big hope for the next month — the time for the earnings show-and-tell — is that US companies, which have been employing large numbers over the past year, will actually come out with better-than-expected profit numbers.

It would help if China’s economic numbers start to look better too but that could be asking for too much in the short-term.

One final point. With interest rates so low and dividends still much higher, shares are still viable and the likes of fund manager, Kerr Neilson of Platinum Asset Management, aren’t worried about a cataclysmic China slowdown that has been spooking stocks this week.


Content sourced from: 

http://www.switzer.com.au/the-experts/peter-switzer-expert/is-there-any-reason-to-be-positive-on-stocks/


It’s Time To Switch!

Monday, November 16, 2015

GUEST POST BY Tim Slarke - Mortgage Broker and Credit Licensee at Wholistic Financial Solutions

Have you taken the time to take a look at your latest mortgage statement from your bank lately? Most people just accept it as a piece of nuisance mail and may not even open the envelope. But if you take the time to have a closer look at it, and you’re with a big bank, you may be in for a surprise, and not a pleasant one.

It’s an unwritten fact that unless as a consumer you say something, or express dissatisfaction with something, nothing will happen. And the Big 4 are no different to any other major organisation in that they will not give you as a customer anything of benefit to you willingly, even if you are entitled to it.

So borrowers should take control and actively seek out the exceptional deals that are available now in the mortgage lending market. There are an enormous number of smaller lenders that are offering exceptionally low interest rates and other incentives for new clients to join them. In the past 20 years there has never been time to look beyond the obvious and really consider your borrowing options.

At WFS we have over 50 years combined of finding the best loans for our clients. Not only finding the best deal available, but also using our vast taxation experience to structure loans to maximise the tax effectiveness of our clients’ borrowings to improve their wealth and therefore their lives.

At WFS we have over 25 lenders on our panel, all looking for new clients. Combined with WFS’s experience and professionalism, the best possible result is guaranteed for the home owner and investor who is prepared to allow WFS to find the best loan for them.

Whats really going on with the Banks and Property Market?

Friday, October 30, 2015

So what’s really going on with the banks and the housing market?  It’s complicated to explain but when banks assess loans they use what they call a ‘servicing interest rate’.  So even if the loan is at 3.99% the banks use a different rate to assess the loan and the banks are being ridiculous and using rates like 9.5%.  This is no reflection of reality – as in the banks don’t think rates will go this high.  What they are doing is playing a chess game on behalf of the government with us borrowers as the pawns.

 

The Government is concerned about the ‘property boom’ happening and are trying to slow it down.  This in itself is ridiculous as the so called ‘property boom’ is limited to Sydney and Melbourne.  As we in Canberra know, it hasn’t happened here, that’s for sure.  And similarly Brisbane has only just started on the incline.

 

So…. Governments normally raise interest rates to combat property booms but they can’t do that this time because fundamentally the Australian economy like the rest of the world is not looking so healthy.  If they raise rates – they could sink Australia.  So instead of sitting back and letting the markets do what they should do, as in correct themselves, they are using borrowers as pawns and putting pressure on banks to make borrowing much more difficult. 

 

They are also putting pressure on Valuers and valuations are coming back ridiculous.  I just had a property value come in $140,000 under value as to what the purchaser was willing to pay.  I have never in my life seen this happen as a value is ‘what the property will sell for on the open market’ so if a purchaser is willing to pay the purchase price – then that’s the value.  But no, once again the banks are using Valuers as Pawns too and requesting them to value as low as possible so that borrowers can borrow less.

 

This is all temporary and could turn around next month once the Government wake up to the fact that their intervention could do far more harm than good but in the meantime we can only work with the rules the banks set.

 

I have been told I should go into politics but no bloody way.  I couldn’t handle working with the peacocks.

 

I hope that makes some sense.  Probably not as it seems a crazy way to run a country.

The Benefits of a Mortgage Broker when Purchasing Property

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Benefits of a Mortgage Broker when Purchasing Property

 

property investment advice 

 

“How to be confident that you have found the right loan and structure so that you can meet long-term financial goals and avoid serious costs – potentially saving 1000’s of dollars in long-term exit fees and interest rates”


Property Investment Advice

“Finding the right loan to meet your needs can be a very daunting task. With so many lenders to choose from and so many products within each lender, it is almost impossible for the average person or investor to sort between the products (including all the fine print). It is important that you are sure the finance you are choosing is the best one for your circumstances.’

 

Property Investment Advice | Example

 

For this bit of property investment advice we would like to use the example of buying a car.

 

If you walk into a Ford car yard and describe all of the features you want in a car and the salesperson thinks to themselves, “Gee, the latest Holden Statesmen would be the best,”– will he tell you that? No! He will convince you that the latest Ford something-or-other meets your needs. It’s the same with the banks. If you walk into a bank, any bank, you will only be sold that bank’s products.

 

We would recommend that everyone who wants to take out a mortgage should use the valuable services of a mortgage broker. Whether you are buying your first home or investment property or whether you are building a huge investment portfolio you should consult a mortgage broker. The advantages of using a broker are twofold. Firstly, it is free – the bank pays the broker the commission – and secondly, the broker is aligned to scores of banks and will find the best for you. It is in the broker’s interest to find the best product because they want your continued business.

 

Brokers have access to over 30 banks and lending institutions, including all of the majors (CBA, St George, NAB, Westpac, etc) and many popular smaller and non-bank lenders (ING, Bankwest, Rams, Suncorp, etc). Mortgage brokers will help you find your way through the complex maze of product choices and help you decide the best one for you. Everyone’s situation is different and different products suit different circumstances.

 

Mortgage brokers also assist you with all of the paperwork, submit the loan, handle all the bank’s annoying questions, co-ordinate the process with your solicitor and real estate agent and basically take all the stress and pressure from you. They’ll ‘hold your hand’ the whole way through and deal with any complications that may arise.Mortgage brokers are one of your main sources for property investment advice.

 

Pros

  • May save you time in shopping for loans.
  • May save money if fully independent.
  • Usually free.
  • Sometimes, given the broker-lender relationship, a bank will accept a loan application that they would otherwise have rejected.

Cons

  • You may pay more for your loan than necessary if the broker is not independent.
  • They may charge excessive fees or undisclosed commissions.
  • You may be persuaded to borrow more than you need, as this will boost their commission.

The cons can be easily overcome by using a broker who can correctly answer the questions above.

 

Check out the video below for more advice on investment properties

 

Chinese Investors Flocking to Australia

Monday, October 28, 2013

Chinese buyers are showing strong interest in the Gold Coast property market and are willing to pay a premium, adding pressure to an increasingly heated local market.

Gold Coast real estate agents report the number of sales has doubled in recent months with properties fetching tens of thousands of dollars more than the expected price.

Asian investors are spearheading the interest with many being bought by Chinese investors, sometimes sight unseen. When Chinese buyers see what they want, they are willing to pay a premium.

One agency has sold more than $30 million worth of property this month, including nine homes in just three days. One Currumbin property sold for 26% above reserve last month while Chinese buyers snapped up 50 properties.

It's the strongest month the Gold Coast has ever seen - it is up about 50% on previous months. About 15% buyers of buyers at Gold Coast  are currently Asian. And the Gold Coast is within the Top 3 areas of interest in Australia.

Gold Coast sales to Chinese this year are up by about 50% this year and it keeps gaining momentum. The Chinese do their research and when they can see the capital growth prospects, they buy.

Another agency has said that enquiries from South-East Asians had tripled in the past six months, with Chinese investors showing strong interest in off-the-plan developments.

According to the AFR, Chinese property listing website AC property is showing that the most searched for Australian cities for Chinese buyers are Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne and Gold Coast, in that order.

 

By Catherine Smith

New Generation Seeks Property

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Global Financial Crisis (GFC) has spooked the younger generation into shaking off the party lifestyle and instead aspiring to own property to ensure financial stability, according to recently released research.

The Future Leaders Index is a groundbreaking research series lifting the lid on the views of over 2000 young, educated Australians.

The results point to the rise of 'Generation Sensible' or 'Gen S' - a demographic of 17-29 year-old university students that is both conservative and traditional, as well as being fiercely family-orientated.

Overall, it seems that the younger generation has changed priorities. Having been spooked by the GFC, they now want financial security - 94 per cent are saving to buy property rather than pursuing the party lifestyle, with only 5 per cent of their income spent on socialising.

 

Author: Property Week


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