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Financial Advisors - Where to Find Them

December 12th, 2011 at 09:20 am

Many people depend on a financial advisor to help them achieve their financial goals. Financial advisors have access to a great deal of knowledge about finances as they are trained especially in this area. You can find a financial advisor by searching the Internet (websites), going to a bank or financial institution, or looking in the phone book. Friends and family may also be able to recommend a good financial advisor. Make sure your financial planner is properly qualified and licensed with ASIC (Australian Securities and Investment Commission).

Financial advisors charge in a variety of ways. They may charge a flat fee at an hourly rate, or a percentage of your income/assets. Some financial advisors are free - they get paid a commission on the products they sell. Most people feel this creates a conflict of interest, as they will certainly push those products from which they get the biggest percentage, rather than what is most likely to suit you.

Those financial planners who work for a bank are likely to only push the banks products - this is only natural, but remember the banks want to make money first, so their products are not necessarily designed to cater to your own specific needs.

Trouble-free Property Management

February 14th, 2011 at 09:01 am

Real-estate investment is big business in Western Australia, like for example much of the world. This is especially true of rental property. A well-maintained rental property in Perth, for example, could net an investor many thousands of dollars every year.

One of the most successful real estate investors own anywhere from a few to dozens of properties within a specific region - enough that managing them all can be quite a challenge. Upkeep, tenant needs, turnover, filling vacancies, and myriad other tasks can keep an investor busy for hundreds of hours a week, especially if each new challenge needs to be researched before it can be addressed. Perth real estate investors would do very well to hire a property management professional.

A Perth property manager knows not only the regular tasks associated with managing investment property, but in addition city and region-specific concerns. They are familiar with the various neighborhoods and know, for example, who to call when they needs reliable plumber at three in the morning or a tow-truck service on a Sunday afternoon. A property owner could spend HOURS trying to arrange for these services and would likely pay much more. Property owners maintain relationships with service providers based on regular communication and need - they can save you money.

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Perth property managers are well-versed in the processes of cleaning and repainting commercial and residential properties when tenants move out, and can turn vacancies into desirable new tenants very quickly. This last point alone can often pay for a Perth Property Management service very quickly, as an office or apartment sitting empty cost the property owner money every day that theyre not receiving rent for it. The speed and professionalism with which a good property manager can fill vacancies is usually incredibly valuable.

Could you learn the skills needed to manage your own Perth property? Sure you could, and youd surely save some money. Let me assure you, though - the money saved will be traded immediately for headaches and late nights. Property management businesses have something that you, as a property owner and investor, will never have - laser focus. You may have a lot of projects going at any given time. You may be searching for new properties or running other businesses on your income from investment property. No matter the reason, a property management professional spends their days dealing with the kinds of issues that distract you from your REAL work.

Maintenance, tenant interviews, chasing down back rent, managing utility service providers, contract negotiations - these jobs are incredible time vacuums, especially for an owner/landlord who deals with them as they arise. Through time management and batching, a Perth property manager can be far more efficient than you can and will provide better service to you AND to your tenants because of it.

Property investment is a fantastic tool for creating income, improving your net worth, and ensuring your financial future, but its a game with an incredibly steep learning curve and a lot of potential pitfalls. Hedge against failure and regret with your Perth properties by bringing in an experienced property manager to help. You wont be sorry.

How to Choose the Home Loan That Is Right for You

November 9th, 2010 at 06:37 am

Congratulations, you've found your dream home! It's just what you've been looking for; it's in a great suburb with a choice of terrific schools, there's plenty of parkland for the kids to play, the kitchens and bathrooms have been renovated, and your bedroom gets the morning sun! But the really good news is - you already know you can afford it!

It's the scenario we all dream of. There are some amazing online calculators you can use to find out so much before you go house-hunting or even talk to a mortgage broker. Find out:

- How do I achieve my savings target?
- How much can I afford to borrow?
- Make home loan comparisons
- Can lump sum repayments shorten the length of your loan?
- Can I make extra repayments?
- How much is stamp duty?

And there are many more. I was impressed with the detail provided and how easy they are to use. Even if you don't know what questions you should be asking, the list of calculators available will prompt you.

You can save so much time and effort by doing this research beforehand. Once you've found your dream home, the next thing is to find the right home loan - one that is both flexible and affordable. Let's take a brief look at the different types of loans available:

Standard Home Loans are where you borrow the amount you need in order to complete the purchase of your home. You'll need a substantial deposit and a good savings record. The loan repayments will probably be calculated over a 25 or 30 year term, on a fixed or variable rate of interest.

Home Equity Loans allow you to use the capital equity you have accumulated in your home. You may wish to renovate or make some major repairs, or perhaps you want to use the equity as security against the purchase of an investment property, buy a car or take a holiday.

Refinance Loans - There are many reasons for wanting a refinance loan. Your partner has given up work to stay home and mind the new baby and consequently, the household income has dropped. Or maybe you've noticed your current lender isnt keeping pace with the market and there are much better loans available elsewhere.

Reverse Mortgage / Reverse Home Loans are perfect for those who are who are retired and are asset-rich but cash-poor. This kind of loan allows you to draw a cash advance against the equity you have built up in your home. If you've retired, you may need to fund your living expenses, meet unexpected medical bills or you just want to take that well-earned overseas trip. Like any loan, interest will accumulate, but no repayments may be necessary until the house is sold.

Debt Consolidation Loans can give you greater financial freedom by combining two or more loans including personal loans and credit card debt into a single loan with the convenience of only one monthly repayment. Not only will it make your finances easier to manage, it will reduce your total monthly repayments.

Low Doc Loans can suit those who don't fit the criteria for a conventional home loan. Perhaps your financial history or current employment situation makes you a high-risk borrower. Fees, charges and interest rates are generally high because the lender is assuming more risk.

Shared Equity Mortgages are a viable alternative for cash-strapped home buyers or owners. In a shared equity scenario, a traditional mortgage lender will provide a home loan in partnership with an equity provider. The equity provider will effectively be taking a stake in the ownership of your house. Shared equity mortgages are designed to give you access to a more expensive property which would normally be out of your reach using a traditional home mortgage. However, you must talk to a mortgage broker and make sure you fully understand all the implications and are happy sharing the future capital appreciation from your property in return for lower monthly loan repayments throughout the term of your loan.

Family Pledge is a home buying solution like no other. Family Pledge is available to assist first home buyers or investors enter the property market; the central idea being that your family, as guarantor, helps you fund the purchase of your property. The support from your family would allow you to borrow more money than you would otherwise have been able; rather than having to settle for the cheaper alternative, you could get the house you really want! Your guarantor must understand the responsibility they are assuming should you default on your repayments, the mortgage lender would sell the property and your guarantor would be asked to cover any shortfall to repay the mortgage debt in full.

Your financial situation - the amount you earn and your long term goals - are unique to you. But no matter what your situation or which home loan you think is right for you, I recommend you always take advice from a professional mortgage broker.

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Home Loan Advisers are finance industry professionals servicing the
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home loan market in Brisbane, Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast who can offer advice on a diverse range of loans at no cost to you. Their focus is to build on-going relationships with their clients, so they will always recommend a home loan product which is right for your situation and professionally guide you through each step of the process to make your dreams of property ownership a reality. Their website has some great online calculators which allow you to make an initial self-assessment.

What You Need To Know When Choosing A Home Loan

October 15th, 2010 at 05:18 am

One of the things you will do in life that is guaranteed to give you sleepless nights or at the very least, moments of panic and anxiety is when you embark on the road to home ownership. The thought of harnessing yourself to a large home mortgage can be daunting.

How much can I afford to borrow?
What kind of loan do I need?
How will an interest rate rise affect me?
Do I need a variable or fixed interest rate?

So it's imperative that you seek professional advice when choosing your home loan and just as importantly, the mortgage broker that is right for you.

Gone are the days when you needed to do all the leg-work, going from bank to bank, gathering information about various home loan options, and then sitting down at home trying to fill in the forms only to get rejected because you missed something. It's too important and so very easy to get wrong.

Save yourself time and stress - use a reputable

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mortgage broker! Look for a broker who works in your local area; someone who will take time to meet with you and who will analyse what kind of home loan will best suit your needs. Remember to check that they are fully accredited with both the Mortgage & Finance Association of Australia (MFAA) and Finance Brokers Association of Australia Ltd (FBAA).

You no longer need to be limited to the range of home loan products that the big banks offer. Choose a mortgage broker who has access to hundreds of different home loan products through banks and non-bank mortgage lenders. They will be able to offer advice on a diverse range of home loans which ensures that you find a loan that gives you all the flexibility, affordability, savings and repayment freedom you need.

Not only do you get more choice but taking the advice of a mortgage broking professional incurs no charge. In fact, the whole purpose of using the services of a mortgage broker is to ideally save you money! So why wouldn't you engage an experienced industry adviser who can give you up-to-the-minute information about new home loan products entering the market?

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Mortgage brokers do all the work for you; their client's needs and circumstances get matched to the home loan that suits their unique situation. They offer a complete range of finance solutions that make is easy for their clients to afford what they want, when they want it. They will fully explain all the features, benefits and costs associated with the loan they recommend.

Save on Standby Power and Money

January 20th, 2010 at 08:25 am

Most of us like to think that we are following green or environmentally friendly practices with our power usage habits. Yet in many cases, if we don’t keep abreast of new technology, we may be missing some of the best and easiest ways to both save power and thus save ourselves a few – or more – dollars.

How can we make sure our power is ‘green’ without going to all the expense of installing solar panels and other power saving inventions? Using one of the latest inventions of modern technology – the green board – will certainly be a step in the right direction. The

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green power board has eight power outlets and can be used to both save standby power and electricity consumption.

It has no batteries to worry about and there are no complicated set-up steps to follow, so you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to use it. You simply plug it in to the nearest power point, and then attach all your electrical items to it.

Two USB chargers have been built into the remote switch. This new technology will give your TV a brighter, crisper picture and better sound as well as saving power.

A good feature of the green board is surge protection provided to two of the power banks. These also have extra space for those larger adaptors, so there won’t be the problem of having to unplug one item so that you can squeeze that other plug into the space. It is broadband and fibre optic compatible.

Better still, the green board has a whopping 6-year guarantee and is wholly Australian made and owned. So you know you are supporting Australia when you purchase it. So if you were looking for another way to save on electricity consumption and protect your electrical equipment, the
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green power board is the way to do it.

Financial Goals 2010

January 20th, 2010 at 06:17 am

Wealth management encompasses all elements of creating wealth including tax reduction as well as investments; implementing business structures; protection of assets, trusts and self managed super funds. A financial planner can help you to put wealth management procedures into place that will meet your financial goals and desires for your future.

Before consulting a

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financial planner you need to know exactly what those goals are, but if you find it hard to think through, then they can offer preliminary suggestions to help you. But it is only when they have a thorough understanding of your specific goals that they will be able to devise the right financial plan to suit you.

Strategic wealth management is always tied to planning for tax reduction, because when your tax is legally reduced it naturally increases your wealth. A financial planner can help you in many areas: -

- Setting financial goals
- Saving in order to achieve those goals
- Budgeting in order to save where you thought you couldn’t
- Managing your debt
- Buying a home
- Protecting yourself with insurance - remember you are your biggest asset
- Deciding whether to rent or buy
- Helping to work out what you should put into your super fund to achieve financial goals.

These are just a few examples. There are many other areas where a
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financial planner can help you.

You Don't Have to be Well-Off to Give Up Work on a Guaranteed Income for Life

July 17th, 2009 at 10:12 am

The majority of us dream of the day we pack in work for good - especially if that retirement also means we have a guaranteed income for life. To some this is an unattainable dream, but it can happen if we take the proper steps beforehand. What do we have to do to make the dream a reality?

Investing in managed funds can be the answer. You don't need a lot of money to invest in a managed fund. Some let you start with as little as $1000, others prefer twice that amount. In today's economic climate, nearly everyone can save that. Even those who have no job can find ways to save a little at a time until they have the necessary amount. So what if it takes a whole year - or even two?

With a managed fund, investors pool their money and the fund manager invests it for them. This is the easiest and simplest way anyone can start to save for their retirement. The profits from the initial investment must be ploughed back into the fund of course, otherwise it will all be spent on present needs or wants. But after a lifetime of re-investing the profits there will be a significant amount to retire on. And those who are wise enough to see the benefits will continue to save for investment purposes so that the initial deposit will swell a great deal over time.

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Self-managed superannuation is another option for making the dream come true. This option should not be taken up lightly as there is a lot of work involved with running a
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self-managed superannuation fund will have to be the trustee and you are directly accountable for everything that happens to the SMSF.

The responsibilities of a trustee are many. There are strict guidelines that you must comply with and failure will bring down the wrath of the tax office upon your head. You must lodge both an income tax return and a superannuation fund return on an annual basis. As well, there must be superannuation member contribution statements lodged every year. An approved auditor must be appointed to do an audit annually. And records must be kept for ten years. There are also restrictions on investments that must be complied with.

In fact, many people feel that the amount of work involved is not worth the benefit and so go with managed funds. Unless you have experience and plenty of time, this is a good decision.

Leave your Credit Cards at Home

July 15th, 2009 at 05:06 am

Maybe this is an obvious tip, but sometimes the obvious isn't so obvious to some (If that makes sense)

Always leave your credit cards at home to remove the urge for impulse buying. Leave them in a locked drawer and only get them out when you need to pay for something like an airline booking and then pay it off within the interest free period that most cards offer.

If your card doesn't offer an interest free period, Shop around for a credit card that does.

Winners & Losers

July 15th, 2009 at 04:45 am

You've all heard the expression "the rich get richer and the poor get poorer" right?

Well to my way of thinking there is one major difference between financial winners and financial losers.

Winners borrow money at low rates of interest for assets such as property and shares that increase in value as time passes.

Losers on the other hand borrow at high rates of interest on consumables like furniture and cars that decrease in value, in the case of new cars around 20% as soon as they leave the showroom.

While interest rates are at the lowest they have been in years do the right thing (if you are able) and borrow some money to invest in quality assets.

Managing Mid-Year Finance Woes

July 8th, 2009 at 04:50 am

Aren't you glad that the end of the financial year doesn't come at Christmas time? Instead, June rolls around and we have to be prepared for all the extra work necessary to sort out our finances. But why not be a wise owl and get in ahead of time? You can save yourself a bit of stress by being prepared. Get all your receipts to hand and do that bookwork right now. And to start with, how about trying to save money? If you inspect all those phone plans and electricity or gas and insurance bills you may find that switching to another provider can save you heaps. Of course, you know to always read the fine print so you don't sign up for something unpleasant.

You can often save in the home, too by donning warmer clothes before turning on the heater or working with the weather to dry clothes instead of using that convenient but costly clothes dryer. Looking at your saving accounts is another way you may be able to save money and make more interest. Online savings accounts are often fee-free and give wonderful rates of interest compared to ordinary savings accounts.

If you've been putting off buying that new monitor or printer for your business, remember that it is tax deductible. But there have been recent changes to what you can claim, so check that out too.

Why Creating an Emergency Fund is a Good Idea

July 8th, 2009 at 03:31 am

An emergency fund is good insurance

You may have gone to a lot of trouble to work out a budget so you know just what bills are coming in and how much you'll need to pay them. Then you feel that anything left over is yours to spend how you like. That is true of course; you've earned that money and so you have the right to spend it.

But before you go out and blow the lot on a party or the latest electronic gadget, remember that life has a habit of taking some unexpected turns. And usually money is needed to cover the costs. If you have only enough cash set aside to pay your expected bills, what happens when you get an unexpected one? Your water heater could suddenly develop a serious leak, the car may need unexpected repairs, or illness may keep you from working for some months.

If you've set aside money in an emergency fund such as a savings account or short term deposit, you won't need to worry how you'll cope financially. Sure, you feel that your credit card will get you out of any financial hole, but don't forget you have to pay that back. And if you don't pay it in time, you'll get hit with the highest interest there is. Using a credit card to cope with unexpected bills could well be digging a financial hole that it is very difficult to climb out of. So creating a special fund to cope with emergencies is a sensible thing to do.