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  1. Andrew from Vista Financial

    Personal Insurance - Updated Education Guide

    Financial planning is about protecting your wealth as well as building your wealth. It is easy to think that you won’t get sick or hurt and ignore the need to protect the very thing that generates your wealth - your own health and your ability to work. But if accident or serious illness does occur the impacts can be devastating. It’s worth remembering that no matter how much expert advice you receive or how well you manage your finances there is always a risk that you could suffer an early death or serious illness or injury. Where that leaves you and your loved ones in the future depends on the wealth protection strategy you have in place. Risks you could face in the future may include: · Emotional, physical or mental trauma · Death or serious illness · Loss of income due to temporary or permanent incapacity · Damage to your house or other personal assets · Theft of, and/or damage to business assets · Public liability and/or professional indemnity risks Your financial plan should include a strategy to minimise risks that could jeopardise both your present and future plans. In simple terms, if you cannot afford to lose something then you should try to protect your exposure. Insurance can provide a cost-effective protection mechanism. This may take a combination of personal, general and health insurance policies. There are many different aspects to insurance and it is best to tailor a package that suits your needs as well as your budget. How the Strategy Works Personal risk insurance protects your wealth accumulation strategy by providing money if you are no longer able to earn an income due to disability, trauma or death. The money received can help with medical bills, loan repayments and living expenses. Many people often underestimate the importance of personal insurance which has led to a problem with underinsurance in Australia. It is important that you consider having enough cover to replace your income and cover expenses so that the personal tragedy does not create financial tragedy. You can apply for insurance to cover you in the event of death, temporary or permanent disability, or trauma (critical illness). Outlined below is a brief outline of types of personal risk insurance. Life Insurance The most common type of cover is life insurance (term life insurance). Life insurance will pay a lump sum to your estate or specific beneficiaries in the event of death or in some cases, on diagnosis of a terminal illness. The advantage of life insurance is peace of mind that your death will minimise any financial hardship for your loved ones. Life insurance can be used to pay off debts, provide an income for dependents, cover funeral expenses and generally assist in maintaining your family’s lifestyle in the event of your death. With this type of cover, your family would not be burdened by debt and may be protected from selling assets to pay debts or cover living expenses. Total and Permanent Disability Insurance Total and Permanent Disablement (TPD) can prevent you from working and require expensive medical treatment and ongoing care. TPD insurance aims to provide a lump sum if you suffer an illness or injury and you: · Are permanently unable to work again or · Are unable to care for yourself independently, or · Suffer significant and permanent cognitive impairment. TPD insurance pays a lump sum which can be used to pay for medical expenses, ongoing care costs and to meet living expenses for you and your family. The definition of TPD can vary and may include options for a range of occupations, including homemakers. Options that you can choose from include: · Any Occupation TPD: The benefit will be paid if you are unlikely to be gainfully employed in any business, profession or occupation for which you are reasonable suited by your education, training or experience. This definition is generally less expensive than an Own Occupation definition but for some people, it may be harder to meet. · Own Occupation TPD: The benefit will be paid if you are unlikely to ever be gainfully employed in your own occupation. Own Occupation TPD provides a generous definition as it is specific to your occupation and is particularly suitable for specialist occupations. The premiums for this type of definition are more expensive than Any Occupation TPD. You should discuss your circumstances with your financial planner. Trauma Insurance A serious illness or injury can prevent you from working for a period of time and may require expensive medical treatment. Trauma insurance (also known as critical illness, crisis or recovery insurance) aims to provide a lump sum upon the diagnosis of a specified illness or injury such as life-threatening cancer, stroke or heart attack. Trauma insurance pays a lump sum that can be used to pay medical expenses and reduce any financial pressure while you focus on recovery. This payment is made regardless of whether you are able to return to work, and is designed to relieve financial pressure at a time when you are under great stress. Child Trauma insurance can be added to your policy to cover a seriously ill or injured child. This provides a lump sum to help you cover medical treatment and eases financial worry for parents who may need to take time off work to provide care. Income Protection Insurance Income Protection insurance aims to minimise the financial impact of sickness or injury by replacing income lost during a prolonged absence from work. A monthly benefit will assist you to meet living expenses and debt repayments. Income Protection policies will usually pay a benefit up to 75% of your gross income (some policies may pay higher) after a waiting period. Payments continue for a set term or until you return to work, whichever occurs first. Waiting period: This is the time period that you must be off work before an income benefit is payable. Waiting periods range from 14 days to two years. Generally, the longer the waiting period, the lower the cost of the income protection insurance. Benefit period: Starting at the end of the waiting period, the benefit period is the maximum time the benefit is paid. Options range from two years, five years or until a specified age such as age 65. Types of contracts include: Agreed value: The monthly benefit is agreed at the time of application and will not reduce even if your income decreases after your policy commenced. This option provides certainty and peace of mind on how much income you will receive. If details of your income are provided at the time of application the benefit can be guaranteed so that no further financial assessment is required at the time of claim. Agreed value contracts are not available to new policy holders from 31 March 2020, however existing policy holders with an agreed value policy will still be able to increase their benefit amount. Indemnity value: The monthly benefit paid depends on your earnings at the time of a claim. If your income at the time of claim is lower than it was when the policy started, the monthly benefit may be reduced accordingly. Details and proof of income will be required at the time of claim. You can generally claim a tax deduction for the premiums paid on an income protection policy (other that any portion of the premium that is attributable to benefits of a capital nature such as physical injury or critical illness) However, income payments received are considered taxable income. Business Expense Insurance Business expense insurance can help to keep your business running if you are unable to work due to temporary illness or injury. This may be particularly appropriate for a sole trader. This type of insurance will usually cover up to 100% of your eligible business expenses, for example rent/lease payments, interest costs, accountant’s fees, telephone, electricity, etc. However, not all expenses are covered so you should check the policy wording before taking out a policy. Alternatively, if you run a larger business you may need to consider life, trauma, TPD or income protection insurance to cover ‘key’ employees or your business partners in case they die or become disabled and are unable to work. This type of insurance protects your business in the event of the loss of a person who makes a significant contribution towards the profitability or stability of the business. As an example, ‘key person’ insurance may provide the business with a lump sum that could be used to either hire a temporary replacement, cover costs of training a new staff member or just compensate the business for any reduction to profit. The premiums may be deductible as a business expense depending on the insurance purpose and the proceeds may also be considered taxable income. Premiums Premiums for all types of personal insurance will vary with age, gender and smoking status. Occupation and medical history may also affect the cost of premiums. Premium options include: Level premiums: The premium rate is fixed when you start the policy and does not change as you get older except in line with CPI indexation. Level premiums are initially higher (than stepped premiums) but will be more stable over time. This can help with affordability and reduce the risk that premiums will become unaffordable as you get older. Stepped premiums: The premium rate increases each year according to you age. Stepped premiums are initially more affordable than level premiums but over time may become more expensive. However, this option can provide you with flexibility as your needs change over time. Your financial adviser can assist in determining which premium option is most appropriate for you. Ownership Life, TPD and income protection policies can be owned personally or through a superannuation fund. Trauma insurance can be owned personally. When held within a superannuation fund, the policy is owned by the trustees of the superannuation fund, for the benefit of the member. When making a choice of how to own the policy you need to consider the advantages and disadvantages of each option. Inside Superannuation In Personal Name Advantages · Premiums are paid using contributions into the fund (e.g. employer contributions) or your superannuation savings – this can help to ease a drain on your cash flow. · Tax concessions on contributions may reduce the effective cost of the premiums (e.g. salary sacrifice to cover the cost of premiums) · In some funds you may be eligible for automatic acceptance (for some cover) which means you will not have to provide evidence of health or income · The claim proceeds are usually tax-free · Claim proceeds will be paid directly to you, your estate or nominated beneficiary as appropriate. This ensures the money is available when you and your family need it · A wider range of benefits and features may be available · Income protection premiums are generally tax deductible Disadvantages · The policies may have less benefits and features than those offered outside superannuation due to legislation restrictions · Tax may be payable on claim proceeds, depending on circumstances and rules at the time · Your disposable income will be reduced as you need to pay premiums from your after-tax income · Premiums need to be paid from after-tax money and so may be a higher cost to you than premiums inside superannuation Taxation How insurance premiums and claim proceeds are taxed will depend on the type of insurance policy and beneficiary, but will also depend on whether you choose to hold the policy inside or outside of superannuation. You should seek specialist taxation advice to check the taxation applicable to your circumstances. Inside Superannuation In Personal Name Premiums · Premiums are deductible to the fund · Not deductible except for income protection policies Claim Proceeds · Life policy – the proceeds are taxable unless paid to tax dependents · TPD – if you are under age 60 when you take this money out of superannuation, tax may be payable · Income protection – the benefits are assessable income to you and are taxed at your marginal tax rate. · The proceeds from a life, TPD or trauma policy are generally tax-free. However, the benefits from an income protection policy are assessable income and taxed at your marginal tax rate Application and Underwriting When applying for insurance you will need to complete an application form providing both personal and medical information so that the underwriter can assess the application. Some applicants may also need to undergo a medical examination and/or blood tests or a report may be requested from their usual doctor to determine whether to accept or decline the cover. Depending on your circumstances and health you may be asked to pay an additional premium, known as a loading, if you have an unfavourable medical history or display higher risk factors for developing chronic illness such as being overweight or high blood pressure. In some cases, the life insurance company may apply an exclusion to your policy. For example, a decision may be made to not cover your for high risk activities and sports or a pre-existing injury/illness. This means that if an event occurs that is excluded, the benefit under the policy will not be paid. Many policies are guaranteed renewable. This means that as long as you pay the premium you will continue to receive cover regardless of any changes in your circumstances or health. If you do not pay your premiums, your insurance will lapse. Some life companies may provide a short window of opportunity to pay your overdue premiums to maintain the cover if you have missed the due date. If your policy lapses and your health or circumstances have changed it may impact on your ability to get the same cover at the same premium. It is important to understand the benefits included in your policy, and optional extras. Benefits included are at no extra cost however optional extras may increase your premium. Your financial adviser can discuss the features of the recommended policy with you.
  2. Andrew from Vista Financial

    What Vista Financial Services can do for you

    This thread is just to give a bit of an overview of the services provided by us here at Vista Financial Service and how we might be able to assist you in these areas. UK Pension Transfers You can currently only transfer your UK Pensions directly to Australia if you are aged 55 years or over. It this is the case and you engage Vista in relation to a Pension Transfer we will see the whole process through from start to finish including: Obtaining relevant UK Pension information and overseas transfer paperwork; Providing a comprehensive Statement of Advice in relation to: whether a transfer is in your interests; recommending an appropriate Super Fund in Australia to receive your UK Monies; detailing rules and legislation around UK Pension Transfers and what you can and cannot do going forward; the advantages and disadvantages of a UK Pension Transfer; Completion of the necessary new QROPS Super Fund Application and Pension Transfer documents; Administering the transfer including follow up calls with your UK Pension Transfer Company to chase payments and/or other required documents; Placement of the monies into the appropriate recommended investments; Dealing with the calculation of any relevant tax payable on the transfer of the Fund and the options available in relation to this tax. We of course also take care of any other issues that arise throughout the whole Pension Transfer process and the above is the simplified version of the process as it happens but be rest assured we take care of the whole transfer. Superannuation Advice We consider client Super Funds and what clients want from a Super Fund and determine whether the Super Fund they currently have is appropriate for their needs at that particular time; We also consider consolidation of Super Funds if clients have more than one Super Fund (but this is a case by case basis as it may in some cases be appropriate for clients to have more than one Super Fund for example if one of the Funds contains Insurance); We look at how the monies are invested within the Super Funds and whether they are invested in accordance with a client’s Risk Profile. For example most people are in the default Balanced Options in their Super Funds but this wouldn’t be appropriate for say a Conservative or Defensive Investor as there would be too much risk to their monies (in the markets). In actual fact the word Balanced is rarely what it would seem to be as most of the time around 80% of monies in the default Balanced Fund are invested in the markets and as much as 90% in some cases. We assess a client’s attitude to the risk they want to take with their monies and then recommend investments that align to that Risk Profile; We consider the beneficiaries nominated on a client’s Super Fund. Some clients have no-one nominated, others have non-binding nominations, others binding nominations. We check what is currently in place and ensure it continues to remain in line with the client’s wishes in the event of their passing; Life (Risk) Insurance We consider four types of Insurances being Life Insurance, Total and Permanent Disability Insurance, Trauma Insurance and Income Protection. We carry out what is called a Needs Analysis for a client to determine how much of each insurance they require (for example cover to clear the mortgage, cover for children’s education costs etc) and then we make recommendations in relation to how to structure this insurance and indeed the Insurance Provider; Risk Insurance has evolved greatly over recent years and you can now have Life, TPD and Income Protection Cover with a retail provider (comprehensive insurance) with the premiums funded from a nominated Super Fund. This can assist with cash-flow and also make it tax efficient to fund the premiums. You can also hold all of these insurances outside of Super and fund the premiums yourself or a combination of the above. We look at what a client needs, the costs involved and then tailor an Insurance Package to best suit the client’s needs and budgets; We assist our clients with insurance claims as the last thing someone wants/needs to contend with is dealing with an insurance company to try and get money paid while they are sick or grieving. Pension Advice When a person reaches a certain age/retires they are able to transfer their Super monies into a Pension. We advise on this transition which can often result in a client receiving a tax free income generally or at the very least a tax free eligibility on earnings within the Pension (that are taxed in Super) which in turn increases a client’s retirement monies and in turn retirement income; We also as with Super advise on the Investment Portfolio within the Fund (namely the appropriate investment of the monies in accordance with a client’s Risk Profile); Again we also consider a client’s beneficiary details and in Pension you can also have what is known as a Reversionary Pension Arrangement whereby in the event of the passing of one Spouse the other will continue to receive the income without the need to close the Fund; There is a requirement by law to take a certain percentage of income from a pension each year and we advise clients in relation to how much income should be taken in conjunction with the Retirement Planning Projections we carry out (more details below). Retirement Planning We consider a client’s Retirement Goals and Objectives namely how much income does a client want annually in retirement. We then consider whether a client is on track to receive that level of income taking into account all the income they will be eligible to receive such as monies from their Super Funds, UK Private Pensions (if applicable), Australian Aged Pension Income, UK State Pension Income (if applicable), Rental Income and any other sources of income a client might have. If the client is on track to achieve their Retirement Income Goal that is great and we then may start to consider whether early retirement is an option. However if they fall short we look at ways we may be able to make up the shortfall and get the client where they need to be using various strategies (detailed below) or alternatively discuss with them the reality and what the negotiables may be for example working longer or taking less income and the like. We provide detailed Projections which show the income likely to be achieved in retirement and indeed at what age this income is likely to run out and when a client would be solely reliant on the State for income (which is of course not ideal in the very least early retirement). Investments If a person has money to invest we consider a client’s goals for this money including their investment time horizon as well as their attitude to Risk (namely how much risk they want to take with their monies) and then make recommendations in relation to appropriate investments such as: Direct Shares (including ETFs, LICs); Managed Funds; Managed Accounts; Short and Long Term Annuities; Cash and Term Deposits; Property (through Funds or directly). When you invest money the appropriate ownership structure of that investment is important for a number of reasons and so we will also consider that structure for you which will include structures such as: Direct Ownership (Solely or Jointly); Through a Trust Structure (Family Trust for example); Investment Bond; Education Bond; Superannuation Estate Planning We consider whether a client has a Will, Powers Of Attorney as well as Guardianship for their dependents, if not then we make a firm recommendation to seek Professional Advice in relation to these areas (in SA we refer them to a Solicitor who specialises in this area). We will then work with the Professional to ensure that the client’s Estate Planning is in good health. Strategies We look at client’s disposable income (if they have any) and where this money could be best directed. Again in conjunction with the Retirement Planning sometimes we recommend surplus income is directed to Super by way of a Salary Sacrifice Arrangement or Tax Deductible Contributions (subject to monetary limits), sometimes we recommend in addition that money is contributed to Super as voluntary payments or to an investment vehicle outside of Super if more appropriate (for example access is required before Super is available. We might direct surplus income to a client’s mortgage, loan, credit card or other outstanding debt but we will assess the client’s situation as a whole and determine the most appropriate and tax effective way of increasing a client’s wealth and/or reducing debt. We also consider whether client’s are eligible for any other contribution incentives such as the Government Co-Contribution whereby someone earning below a certain threshold will be able to have the Government match (or at least contribute) an amount to their Super Fund in accordance with an amount they also contribute so effectively you contribute and so does the Government (again increasing retirement wealth); There are also other strategies like Spouse Splitting (whereby one Spouse transfers money to the other Spouse’s Super) which may be beneficial in certain circumstances, Spouse Contributions whereby a Spouse contributes to the other Spouse’s Super and they receive a Tax Offset and again in some circumstances this can be beneficial; All of the above and more are assessed for our clients to assist (if applicable) to create wealth and save tax and each client is assessed accordingly and the relevant strategies recommended. Ongoing Service In most cases when we have advised a client in respect of an issue they become ongoing clients (this is optional) and this service consists of the following: At least an annual review of all of the above including an advice document and any additional recommendations and implementation of those recommendations; We are on call as their Advisers throughout the year to assist if and when needed in relation to any Financial Matter (in existence or new); We are pro-active if something arises throughout the year that could impact our clients such as for example the reduction in the Concessional Contribution limit that came into effect on 1 July 2017. This impacted a lot of our clients and we had to advise them to reduce their then Salary Sacrifice amounts to ensure they did not breach the new limit in place (this required an additional review and advice document for each client impacted). We assist clients administratively throughout the year as and when paperwork is required to be completed for particular matters (such as beneficiary updates, Centrelink assistance). Mortgages We offer a Mortgage Broking service which includes arranging mortgages/home loans for: Residential Purchases; First Time Home Owners; Investment Property Purchases; Re-Finances; Equity Release (may be to invest in shares/managed funds). We have had a freeze on Mortgage business for about a year however we are currently recruiting a new Mortgage Broker so should be offering these services again shortly. Summary We really take a holistic approach to a client’s whole Financial Planning Needs as it is really about getting to retirement and having the income that they require at and during retirement. We look at utilising all the available strategies at their disposal while in the meantime protecting their wealth and income through risk protection strategies (via insurances) and ensuring that in the event of their passing their assets are distributed in accordance with their wishes. Along the way we are ensuring their monies are invested appropriately for their Risk Profiles and that their Super Funds and the investments are performing as they should and if not then considering alternative options. In addition to the extensive approach taken in relation to a client’s Financial Plan we as detailed above cater for an ongoing client’s changing needs as there will of course be road bumps along the way due to life changes such as redundancy, illness, separation, having children and the like so these changes will have to be navigated as indeed will the regulatory changes that occur (which have been extensive over recent years) such as state pension age changes, reductions in contribution caps to super and the like. We are a Financial Advice Firm that you can TRUST and I know that trust is one of the reasons that a lot of people do not take financial advice particularly at the moment with the bad press around Bank Financial Planners and their advice. This is a real shame as a good Planner can add so much value. Vista has been working with forum members for almost 10 years now and we continue to evolve and expand to cater for our client base as we need too. We put the interests of our clients first and foremost and will (and have) at times put a freeze on accepting new business so that we can maintain our commitment to our existing clients and service levels. If you wish to discuss any of the above further then feel free to call us on 08 8381 7177 or send an email to info@vistafs.com.au Kind regards Andy
  3. Andrew from Vista Financial

    What Vista Financial Services can do for you

    This thread is just to give a bit of an overview of the services provided by us here at Vista Financial Service and how we might be able to assist you in these areas. UK Pension Transfers You can currently only transfer your UK Pensions directly to Australia if you are aged 55 years or over. It this is the case and you engage Vista in relation to a Pension Transfer we will see the whole process through from start to finish including: Obtaining relevant UK Pension information and overseas transfer paperwork; Providing a comprehensive Statement of Advice in relation to: whether a transfer is in your interests; recommending an appropriate Super Fund in Australia to receive your UK Monies; detailing rules and legislation around UK Pension Transfers and what you can and cannot do going forward; the advantages and disadvantages of a UK Pension Transfer; Completion of the necessary new QROPS Super Fund Application and Pension Transfer documents; Administering the transfer including follow up calls with your UK Pension Transfer Company to chase payments and/or other required documents; Placement of the monies into the appropriate recommended investments; Dealing with the calculation of any relevant tax payable on the transfer of the Fund and the options available in relation to this tax. We of course also take care of any other issues that arise throughout the whole Pension Transfer process and the above is the simplified version of the process as it happens but be rest assured we take care of the whole transfer. Superannuation Advice We consider client Super Funds and what clients want from a Super Fund and determine whether the Super Fund they currently have is appropriate for their needs at that particular time; We also consider consolidation of Super Funds if clients have more than one Super Fund (but this is a case by case basis as it may in some cases be appropriate for clients to have more than one Super Fund for example if one of the Funds contains Insurance); We look at how the monies are invested within the Super Funds and whether they are invested in accordance with a client’s Risk Profile. For example most people are in the default Balanced Options in their Super Funds but this wouldn’t be appropriate for say a Conservative or Defensive Investor as there would be too much risk to their monies (in the markets). In actual fact the word Balanced is rarely what it would seem to be as most of the time around 80% of monies in the default Balanced Fund are invested in the markets and as much as 90% in some cases. We assess a client’s attitude to the risk they want to take with their monies and then recommend investments that align to that Risk Profile; We consider the beneficiaries nominated on a client’s Super Fund. Some clients have no-one nominated, others have non-binding nominations, others binding nominations. We check what is currently in place and ensure it continues to remain in line with the client’s wishes in the event of their passing; Life (Risk) Insurance We consider four types of Insurances being Life Insurance, Total and Permanent Disability Insurance, Trauma Insurance and Income Protection. We carry out what is called a Needs Analysis for a client to determine how much of each insurance they require (for example cover to clear the mortgage, cover for children’s education costs etc) and then we make recommendations in relation to how to structure this insurance and indeed the Insurance Provider; Risk Insurance has evolved greatly over recent years and you can now have Life, TPD and Income Protection Cover with a retail provider (comprehensive insurance) with the premiums funded from a nominated Super Fund. This can assist with cash-flow and also make it tax efficient to fund the premiums. You can also hold all of these insurances outside of Super and fund the premiums yourself or a combination of the above. We look at what a client needs, the costs involved and then tailor an Insurance Package to best suit the client’s needs and budgets; We assist our clients with insurance claims as the last thing someone wants/needs to contend with is dealing with an insurance company to try and get money paid while they are sick or grieving. Pension Advice When a person reaches a certain age/retires they are able to transfer their Super monies into a Pension. We advise on this transition which can often result in a client receiving a tax free income generally or at the very least a tax free eligibility on earnings within the Pension (that are taxed in Super) which in turn increases a client’s retirement monies and in turn retirement income; We also as with Super advise on the Investment Portfolio within the Fund (namely the appropriate investment of the monies in accordance with a client’s Risk Profile); Again we also consider a client’s beneficiary details and in Pension you can also have what is known as a Reversionary Pension Arrangement whereby in the event of the passing of one Spouse the other will continue to receive the income without the need to close the Fund; There is a requirement by law to take a certain percentage of income from a pension each year and we advise clients in relation to how much income should be taken in conjunction with the Retirement Planning Projections we carry out (more details below). Retirement Planning We consider a client’s Retirement Goals and Objectives namely how much income does a client want annually in retirement. We then consider whether a client is on track to receive that level of income taking into account all the income they will be eligible to receive such as monies from their Super Funds, UK Private Pensions (if applicable), Australian Aged Pension Income, UK State Pension Income (if applicable), Rental Income and any other sources of income a client might have. If the client is on track to achieve their Retirement Income Goal that is great and we then may start to consider whether early retirement is an option. However if they fall short we look at ways we may be able to make up the shortfall and get the client where they need to be using various strategies (detailed below) or alternatively discuss with them the reality and what the negotiables may be for example working longer or taking less income and the like. We provide detailed Projections which show the income likely to be achieved in retirement and indeed at what age this income is likely to run out and when a client would be solely reliant on the State for income (which is of course not ideal in the very least early retirement). Investments If a person has money to invest we consider a client’s goals for this money including their investment time horizon as well as their attitude to Risk (namely how much risk they want to take with their monies) and then make recommendations in relation to appropriate investments such as: Direct Shares (including ETFs, LICs); Managed Funds; Managed Accounts; Short and Long Term Annuities; Cash and Term Deposits; Property (through Funds or directly). When you invest money the appropriate ownership structure of that investment is important for a number of reasons and so we will also consider that structure for you which will include structures such as: Direct Ownership (Solely or Jointly); Through a Trust Structure (Family Trust for example); Investment Bond; Education Bond; Superannuation Estate Planning We consider whether a client has a Will, Powers Of Attorney as well as Guardianship for their dependents, if not then we make a firm recommendation to seek Professional Advice in relation to these areas (in SA we refer them to a Solicitor who specialises in this area). We will then work with the Professional to ensure that the client’s Estate Planning is in good health. Strategies We look at client’s disposable income (if they have any) and where this money could be best directed. Again in conjunction with the Retirement Planning sometimes we recommend surplus income is directed to Super by way of a Salary Sacrifice Arrangement or Tax Deductible Contributions (subject to monetary limits), sometimes we recommend in addition that money is contributed to Super as voluntary payments or to an investment vehicle outside of Super if more appropriate (for example access is required before Super is available. We might direct surplus income to a client’s mortgage, loan, credit card or other outstanding debt but we will assess the client’s situation as a whole and determine the most appropriate and tax effective way of increasing a client’s wealth and/or reducing debt. We also consider whether client’s are eligible for any other contribution incentives such as the Government Co-Contribution whereby someone earning below a certain threshold will be able to have the Government match (or at least contribute) an amount to their Super Fund in accordance with an amount they also contribute so effectively you contribute and so does the Government (again increasing retirement wealth); There are also other strategies like Spouse Splitting (whereby one Spouse transfers money to the other Spouse’s Super) which may be beneficial in certain circumstances, Spouse Contributions whereby a Spouse contributes to the other Spouse’s Super and they receive a Tax Offset and again in some circumstances this can be beneficial; All of the above and more are assessed for our clients to assist (if applicable) to create wealth and save tax and each client is assessed accordingly and the relevant strategies recommended. Ongoing Service In most cases when we have advised a client in respect of an issue they become ongoing clients (this is optional) and this service consists of the following: At least an annual review of all of the above including an advice document and any additional recommendations and implementation of those recommendations; We are on call as their Advisers throughout the year to assist if and when needed in relation to any Financial Matter (in existence or new); We are pro-active if something arises throughout the year that could impact our clients such as for example the reduction in the Concessional Contribution limit that came into effect on 1 July 2017. This impacted a lot of our clients and we had to advise them to reduce their then Salary Sacrifice amounts to ensure they did not breach the new limit in place (this required an additional review and advice document for each client impacted). We assist clients administratively throughout the year as and when paperwork is required to be completed for particular matters (such as beneficiary updates, Centrelink assistance). Mortgages We offer a Mortgage Broking service which includes arranging mortgages/home loans for: Residential Purchases; First Time Home Owners; Investment Property Purchases; Re-Finances; Equity Release (may be to invest in shares/managed funds). We have had a freeze on Mortgage business for about a year however we are currently recruiting a new Mortgage Broker so should be offering these services again shortly. Summary We really take a holistic approach to a client’s whole Financial Planning Needs as it is really about getting to retirement and having the income that they require at and during retirement. We look at utilising all the available strategies at their disposal while in the meantime protecting their wealth and income through risk protection strategies (via insurances) and ensuring that in the event of their passing their assets are distributed in accordance with their wishes. Along the way we are ensuring their monies are invested appropriately for their Risk Profiles and that their Super Funds and the investments are performing as they should and if not then considering alternative options. In addition to the extensive approach taken in relation to a client’s Financial Plan we as detailed above cater for an ongoing client’s changing needs as there will of course be road bumps along the way due to life changes such as redundancy, illness, separation, having children and the like so these changes will have to be navigated as indeed will the regulatory changes that occur (which have been extensive over recent years) such as state pension age changes, reductions in contribution caps to super and the like. We are a Financial Advice Firm that you can TRUST and I know that trust is one of the reasons that a lot of people do not take financial advice particularly at the moment with the bad press around Bank Financial Planners and their advice. This is a real shame as a good Planner can add so much value. Vista has been working with forum members for almost 10 years now and we continue to evolve and expand to cater for our client base as we need too. We put the interests of our clients first and foremost and will (and have) at times put a freeze on accepting new business so that we can maintain our commitment to our existing clients and service levels. If you wish to discuss any of the above further then feel free to call us on 08 8381 7177 or send an email to info@vistafs.com.au Kind regards Andy This post has been promoted to an article
  4. Andrew from Vista Financial

    Education Guide - Personal Life Insurance

    Financial planning is about protecting your wealth as well as building your wealth. It is easy to think that we won’t get sick or hurt and ignore the need to protect the very thing that generates our wealth, our own health and our ability to work. But if accident or serious illness does occur the impacts can be devastating. It’s worth remembering that no matter how much expert advice you receive or how well you manage your finances there is always a risk that you could suffer an early death or serious illness or injury. Where that leaves you and your loved ones in the future depends on the wealth protection strategy you have in place. Risks you could face in the future may include: Emotional, physical or mental trauma Death or serious illness Loss of income due to temporary or permanent incapacity Damage to your house or other personal assets Theft and/or damage to business assets Public liability and/or professional indemnity risks Your financial plan should include a strategy to minimise risks that could jeopardise both your present and future plans. In simple terms, if you cannot afford to lose something then you should try to protect your exposure. Insurance can provide a cost-effective protection mechanism. This may take a combination of personal, general and health insurance policies. There are many different aspects to insurance and it is best to tailor a package that suits your needs as well as your budget. How the Strategy Works Personal risk insurance protects your wealth accumulation strategy by providing money if you are no longer able to earn an income due to disability, trauma or death. The money received can help with medical bills, loan repayments and living expenses. Many people often underestimate the importance of personal insurance which has led to a problem with underinsurance in Australia. It is important that you consider having enough cover to replace your income and cover expenses so that the personal tragedy does not create financial tragedy. You can apply for insurance to cover you in the event of death, temporary or permanent disability, or trauma (critical illness). Outlined below is a brief outline of types of personal risk insurance. Life Insurance The most common type of cover is life insurance (term life insurance). Life insurance will pay a lump sum to your estate or specific beneficiaries in the event of death or in some cases, terminal illness. The advantage of life insurance is peace of mind that your death will minimise any financial hardship for your loved ones. Life insurance can be used to pay off debts, provide an income for dependents, cover funeral expenses and generally assist in maintaining your family’s lifestyle in the event of your death. With this type of cover, your family would not be burdened by debt and may be protected from selling assets to pay debts or cover living expenses. Total and Permanent Disability Insurance Total and Permanent Disablement (TPD) can prevent you from working and require expensive medical treatment and ongoing care. TPD insurance aims to provide a lump sum if you suffer an illness or injury and you: Are permanently unable to work again or Are unable to care for yourself independently, or Suffer significant and permanent cognitive impairment. TPD insurance pays a lump sum which can be used to pay for medical expenses, ongoing care costs and to meet living expenses for you and your family. The definition of TPD can vary and may include options for a range of occupations, including homemakers. Options that you can choose from include: Any Occupation TPD: The benefit will be paid if you are unlikely to be engaged in any gainful business, profession or occupation to which you are reasonable suited by your education, training or experience. This definition is generally less expensive than an Own Occupation definition but for some people may be harder to meet. Own Occupation TPD: The benefit will be paid if you are unlikely to ever be engaged in your own occupation again. Own Occupation TPD provides a generous definition as it is specific to your occupation and is particularly suitable for specialist occupations. The premiums for this type of definition are more expensive than Any Occupation TPD. You should discuss your circumstances with your financial planner. Trauma Insurance A serious illness or injury can prevent you from working for a period of time and may require expensive medical treatment. Trauma insurance (also known as critical illness, crisis or recovery insurance) aims to provide a lump sum upon the diagnosis of a specified illness or injury such as life threatening cancer, stroke or heart attack. Trauma insurance pays a lump sum which can be used to pay medical expenses and reduce any financial pressure while you focus on recovery. This payment is made regardless of whether you are able to return to work, and is designed to relieve financial pressure at a time when you are under great stress. Child Trauma insurance can be added to your policy to cover a seriously ill or injured child. This provides a lump sum to help you cover medical treatment and eases financial worry for parents who may need to take time off work to provide care. Income Protection Insurance Income Protection insurance aims to minimise the financial impact of sickness or injury by replacing income lost during a prolonged absence from work. A monthly benefit will assist you to meet living expenses and debt repayments. Income Protection policies will usually pay a benefit up to 75% of your gross income (some policies may pay higher) after a waiting period. Payments continue for a set term or until you return to work. Generally premiums for income protection are fully tax deductible. Waiting period: This is the time period that you must be off work before an income benefit is payable. Waiting periods range from 14 days to two years. Generally, the longer the waiting period, the lower the cost of the income protection insurance. Benefit period: Starting at the end of the waiting period, the benefit period is the maximum time the benefit is paid. Options range from two years, five years or until a specified age such as age 65. Types of contracts include: Agreed value: The monthly benefit is agreed at the time of application and will not reduce even if your income decreases after your policy commenced. This option provides certainty and peace of mind on how much income you will receive. If details of your income are provided at the time of application the benefit can be guaranteed so that no further financial assessment is required at the time of claim. Indemnity value: The monthly benefit paid depends on your earnings at the time of a claim rather than at the time of application. If your income at the time of claim is lower than it was when the policy started, the monthly benefit may be reduced accordingly. Details and proof of income will be required at the time of claim. You can generally claim a tax deduction for the premiums paid on an income protection policy to reduce the effective cost but any income payments received are considered taxable income. Business Expense Insurance Business expense insurance can help to keep your business running if you are unable to work due to temporary illness or injury. This may be particularly appropriate for a sole trader. This type of insurance will usually cover up to 100% of your eligible business expenses, for example rent/lease payments, interest costs, accountant’s fees, telephone, electricity, etc. However, not all expenses are covered so you should check the policy wording before taking out a policy. Alternatively, if you run a larger business you may need to consider life, trauma, TPD or income protection insurance to cover ‘key’ employees or your business partners in case they die or become disabled and are unable to work. This type of insurance protects your business in the event of the loss of a person who makes a significant contribution towards the profitability or stability of the business. As an example, ‘key person’ insurance may provide the business with a lump sum that could be used to either hire a temporary replacement, cover costs of training a new staff member or just compensate the business for any reduction to profit. The premiums may be deductible as a business expense depending on the insurance purpose and the proceeds may also be considered taxable income. Premiums Premiums for all types of personal insurance will vary with age, gender and smoking status. Occupation and medical history may also affect the cost of premiums. Premium options include: Level premiums: The premium rate is fixed when you start the policy and does not change as you get older except in line with CPI indexation. Level premiums are initially higher (than stepped premiums) but will be more stable over time. This can help with affordability and reduce the risk that premiums will become unaffordable as you get older. Stepped premiums: The premium rate increases each year according to your age. Stepped premiums are initially more affordable than level premiums but over time may become more expensive. However, this option can provide you with flexibility as your needs change over time. Your financial adviser can assist in determining which premium option is most appropriate for you. Ownership Life, TPD and income protection policies can be owned personally or through a superannuation fund. Trauma insurance can be owned personally. When held within a superannuation fund, the policy is owned by the trustees usually for the benefit of the member. When making a choice of how to own the policy you need to consider the advantages and disadvantages of each option. Inside Superannuation In Personal Name Advantages · Premiums are paid using contributions into the fund (e.g. employer contributions) or your superannuation savings – this can help to ease your cash flow. · Tax concessions on contributions may reduce the effective cost of the premiums (e.g. salary sacrifice to cover the cost of premiums) · In some funds you may be eligible for automatic acceptance (for some cover) which means you will not have to provide evidence of health or income · The claim proceeds are usually tax-free · Claim proceeds will be paid directly to you, your estate or nominated beneficiary as appropriate. This ensures the money is available when you and your family need it · A wider range of benefits and features may be available · Income protection premiums are generally tax deductible Disadvantages · The policies may have less benefits and features than those offered outside superannuation due to legislation restrictions · Tax may be payable on claim proceeds, depending on circumstances and rules at the time · Your disposable income will be reduced as you need to pay premiums from your after-tax income · Premiums need to be paid from after-tax money and so may be a higher cost to you than premiums inside superannuation Taxation How insurance premiums and claim proceeds are taxed will depend on the type of insurance policy and beneficiary, but will also depend on whether you choose to hold the policy inside or outside of superannuation. You should seek specialist taxation advice to check the taxation applicable to your circumstances. Inside Superannuation In Personal Name Premiums · Premiums are deductible to the fund · Not deductible except for income protection policies Claim Proceeds · Life policy – the proceeds are taxable only if paid to a non-tax dependant · TPD – if you are under age 60 when you take this money out of superannuation tax may be payable · Income protection – the benefits are assessable income to you and are taxed at your marginal tax rate · The proceeds from a life, TPD or trauma policy are generally tax-free. However, the benefits from an income protection policy are assessable income and taxed at your marginal tax rate Application and Underwriting When applying for insurance you will need to complete an application form providing both personal and medical information so that the underwriter can assess the application. Some applicants may also need to undergo a medical examination and/or blood tests or a report may be requested from their usual doctor to determine whether to accept or decline the cover. Depending on your circumstances and health you may be asked to pay an additional premium, known as a loading, if you have an unfavourable medical history or display higher risk factors for developing chronic illness such as being overweight or high blood pressure. In some cases, the life insurance company may apply an exclusion to your policy. For example, a decision may be made to not cover your for high risk activities and sports or a pre-existing injury/illness. This means that if an event occurs that is excluded, the benefit under the policy will not be paid. Many policies are guaranteed renewable. This means that as long as you pay the premium you will continue to receive cover regardless of any changes in your circumstances or health. If you do not pay your premiums, your insurance will lapse. Some life companies may provide a short window of opportunity to pay your overdue premiums to maintain the cover if you have missed the due date. If your policy lapses and your health or circumstances have changed it may impact on your ability to get the same cover at the same premium. It is important to understand the benefits included in your policy, and optional extras. Benefits included are at no extra cost however optional extras may increase your premium. Your financial adviser can discuss the features of the recommended policy with you. Director - Vista Financial Services - Financial Advisor for Poms in Oz - UK Pension Transfers / Financial Advice Andrew@vistafs.com.au FPA Member, Adv Dip FP www.vistafs.com.au Ph: 08 8381 7177
  5. Andrew from Vista Financial

    Education Guide - Personal Life Insurance

    Financial planning is about protecting your wealth as well as building your wealth. It is easy to think that we won’t get sick or hurt and ignore the need to protect the very thing that generates our wealth, our own health and our ability to work. But if accident or serious illness does occur the impacts can be devastating. It’s worth remembering that no matter how much expert advice you receive or how well you manage your finances there is always a risk that you could suffer an early death or serious illness or injury. Where that leaves you and your loved ones in the future depends on the wealth protection strategy you have in place. Risks you could face in the future may include: Emotional, physical or mental trauma Death or serious illness Loss of income due to temporary or permanent incapacity Damage to your house or other personal assets Theft and/or damage to business assets Public liability and/or professional indemnity risks Your financial plan should include a strategy to minimise risks that could jeopardise both your present and future plans. In simple terms, if you cannot afford to lose something then you should try to protect your exposure. Insurance can provide a cost-effective protection mechanism. This may take a combination of personal, general and health insurance policies. There are many different aspects to insurance and it is best to tailor a package that suits your needs as well as your budget. How the Strategy Works Personal risk insurance protects your wealth accumulation strategy by providing money if you are no longer able to earn an income due to disability, trauma or death. The money received can help with medical bills, loan repayments and living expenses. Many people often underestimate the importance of personal insurance which has led to a problem with underinsurance in Australia. It is important that you consider having enough cover to replace your income and cover expenses so that the personal tragedy does not create financial tragedy. You can apply for insurance to cover you in the event of death, temporary or permanent disability, or trauma (critical illness). Outlined below is a brief outline of types of personal risk insurance. Life Insurance The most common type of cover is life insurance (term life insurance). Life insurance will pay a lump sum to your estate or specific beneficiaries in the event of death or in some cases, terminal illness. The advantage of life insurance is peace of mind that your death will minimise any financial hardship for your loved ones. Life insurance can be used to pay off debts, provide an income for dependents, cover funeral expenses and generally assist in maintaining your family’s lifestyle in the event of your death. With this type of cover, your family would not be burdened by debt and may be protected from selling assets to pay debts or cover living expenses. Total and Permanent Disability Insurance Total and Permanent Disablement (TPD) can prevent you from working and require expensive medical treatment and ongoing care. TPD insurance aims to provide a lump sum if you suffer an illness or injury and you: Are permanently unable to work again or Are unable to care for yourself independently, or Suffer significant and permanent cognitive impairment. TPD insurance pays a lump sum which can be used to pay for medical expenses, ongoing care costs and to meet living expenses for you and your family. The definition of TPD can vary and may include options for a range of occupations, including homemakers. Options that you can choose from include: Any Occupation TPD: The benefit will be paid if you are unlikely to be engaged in any gainful business, profession or occupation to which you are reasonable suited by your education, training or experience. This definition is generally less expensive than an Own Occupation definition but for some people may be harder to meet. Own Occupation TPD: The benefit will be paid if you are unlikely to ever be engaged in your own occupation again. Own Occupation TPD provides a generous definition as it is specific to your occupation and is particularly suitable for specialist occupations. The premiums for this type of definition are more expensive than Any Occupation TPD. You should discuss your circumstances with your financial planner. Trauma Insurance A serious illness or injury can prevent you from working for a period of time and may require expensive medical treatment. Trauma insurance (also known as critical illness, crisis or recovery insurance) aims to provide a lump sum upon the diagnosis of a specified illness or injury such as life threatening cancer, stroke or heart attack. Trauma insurance pays a lump sum which can be used to pay medical expenses and reduce any financial pressure while you focus on recovery. This payment is made regardless of whether you are able to return to work, and is designed to relieve financial pressure at a time when you are under great stress. Child Trauma insurance can be added to your policy to cover a seriously ill or injured child. This provides a lump sum to help you cover medical treatment and eases financial worry for parents who may need to take time off work to provide care. Income Protection Insurance Income Protection insurance aims to minimise the financial impact of sickness or injury by replacing income lost during a prolonged absence from work. A monthly benefit will assist you to meet living expenses and debt repayments. Income Protection policies will usually pay a benefit up to 75% of your gross income (some policies may pay higher) after a waiting period. Payments continue for a set term or until you return to work. Generally premiums for income protection are fully tax deductible. Waiting period: This is the time period that you must be off work before an income benefit is payable. Waiting periods range from 14 days to two years. Generally, the longer the waiting period, the lower the cost of the income protection insurance. Benefit period: Starting at the end of the waiting period, the benefit period is the maximum time the benefit is paid. Options range from two years, five years or until a specified age such as age 65. Types of contracts include: Agreed value: The monthly benefit is agreed at the time of application and will not reduce even if your income decreases after your policy commenced. This option provides certainty and peace of mind on how much income you will receive. If details of your income are provided at the time of application the benefit can be guaranteed so that no further financial assessment is required at the time of claim. Indemnity value: The monthly benefit paid depends on your earnings at the time of a claim rather than at the time of application. If your income at the time of claim is lower than it was when the policy started, the monthly benefit may be reduced accordingly. Details and proof of income will be required at the time of claim. You can generally claim a tax deduction for the premiums paid on an income protection policy to reduce the effective cost but any income payments received are considered taxable income. Business Expense Insurance Business expense insurance can help to keep your business running if you are unable to work due to temporary illness or injury. This may be particularly appropriate for a sole trader. This type of insurance will usually cover up to 100% of your eligible business expenses, for example rent/lease payments, interest costs, accountant’s fees, telephone, electricity, etc. However, not all expenses are covered so you should check the policy wording before taking out a policy. Alternatively, if you run a larger business you may need to consider life, trauma, TPD or income protection insurance to cover ‘key’ employees or your business partners in case they die or become disabled and are unable to work. This type of insurance protects your business in the event of the loss of a person who makes a significant contribution towards the profitability or stability of the business. As an example, ‘key person’ insurance may provide the business with a lump sum that could be used to either hire a temporary replacement, cover costs of training a new staff member or just compensate the business for any reduction to profit. The premiums may be deductible as a business expense depending on the insurance purpose and the proceeds may also be considered taxable income. Premiums Premiums for all types of personal insurance will vary with age, gender and smoking status. Occupation and medical history may also affect the cost of premiums. Premium options include: Level premiums: The premium rate is fixed when you start the policy and does not change as you get older except in line with CPI indexation. Level premiums are initially higher (than stepped premiums) but will be more stable over time. This can help with affordability and reduce the risk that premiums will become unaffordable as you get older. Stepped premiums: The premium rate increases each year according to your age. Stepped premiums are initially more affordable than level premiums but over time may become more expensive. However, this option can provide you with flexibility as your needs change over time. Your financial adviser can assist in determining which premium option is most appropriate for you. Ownership Life, TPD and income protection policies can be owned personally or through a superannuation fund. Trauma insurance can be owned personally. When held within a superannuation fund, the policy is owned by the trustees usually for the benefit of the member. When making a choice of how to own the policy you need to consider the advantages and disadvantages of each option. Inside Superannuation In Personal Name Advantages · Premiums are paid using contributions into the fund (e.g. employer contributions) or your superannuation savings – this can help to ease your cash flow. · Tax concessions on contributions may reduce the effective cost of the premiums (e.g. salary sacrifice to cover the cost of premiums) · In some funds you may be eligible for automatic acceptance (for some cover) which means you will not have to provide evidence of health or income · The claim proceeds are usually tax-free · Claim proceeds will be paid directly to you, your estate or nominated beneficiary as appropriate. This ensures the money is available when you and your family need it · A wider range of benefits and features may be available · Income protection premiums are generally tax deductible Disadvantages · The policies may have less benefits and features than those offered outside superannuation due to legislation restrictions · Tax may be payable on claim proceeds, depending on circumstances and rules at the time · Your disposable income will be reduced as you need to pay premiums from your after-tax income · Premiums need to be paid from after-tax money and so may be a higher cost to you than premiums inside superannuation Taxation How insurance premiums and claim proceeds are taxed will depend on the type of insurance policy and beneficiary, but will also depend on whether you choose to hold the policy inside or outside of superannuation. You should seek specialist taxation advice to check the taxation applicable to your circumstances. Inside Superannuation In Personal Name Premiums · Premiums are deductible to the fund · Not deductible except for income protection policies Claim Proceeds · Life policy – the proceeds are taxable only if paid to a non-tax dependant · TPD – if you are under age 60 when you take this money out of superannuation tax may be payable · Income protection – the benefits are assessable income to you and are taxed at your marginal tax rate · The proceeds from a life, TPD or trauma policy are generally tax-free. However, the benefits from an income protection policy are assessable income and taxed at your marginal tax rate Application and Underwriting When applying for insurance you will need to complete an application form providing both personal and medical information so that the underwriter can assess the application. Some applicants may also need to undergo a medical examination and/or blood tests or a report may be requested from their usual doctor to determine whether to accept or decline the cover. Depending on your circumstances and health you may be asked to pay an additional premium, known as a loading, if you have an unfavourable medical history or display higher risk factors for developing chronic illness such as being overweight or high blood pressure. In some cases, the life insurance company may apply an exclusion to your policy. For example, a decision may be made to not cover your for high risk activities and sports or a pre-existing injury/illness. This means that if an event occurs that is excluded, the benefit under the policy will not be paid. Many policies are guaranteed renewable. This means that as long as you pay the premium you will continue to receive cover regardless of any changes in your circumstances or health. If you do not pay your premiums, your insurance will lapse. Some life companies may provide a short window of opportunity to pay your overdue premiums to maintain the cover if you have missed the due date. If your policy lapses and your health or circumstances have changed it may impact on your ability to get the same cover at the same premium. It is important to understand the benefits included in your policy, and optional extras. Benefits included are at no extra cost however optional extras may increase your premium. Your financial adviser can discuss the features of the recommended policy with you. This post has been promoted to an article
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