Five Goals for the 2015 Financial Year

Posted on by Mark Fernandez

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By: Kirstin Stewart

The new financial year is just about here and every year we always wonder where the time went and upon reflection wish we had achieved more during the year.  The best time to be thinking about what you want to achieve in 2015 is now.  It is important to set SMART goats: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely.   We have listed five goals you should consider for 2015.

1.       Get organised

De-cluttering and being organised with your paperwork is essential.  For every piece of correspondence you receive, whether physical or by email, you have four options:

–          Bin it/Delete it

–          File it/Archive it

–          Give/forward to someone else

–          Action it

It is important to retain a lot of financial information for tax and many other purposes.  Having an adequate and systematic filing system will help you.   Your adviser can assist you with what information you should be keeping, for how long and also in setting up a filing system (both physical and electronic) for you.

2.       Reduce debt

Review your current debt and the different types and interest rates being charged.  Can you refinance to pay less interest?  With the level of competition amongst financial institutions it is important to compare to see if you can get a better deal.  High interest bearing liabilities should be paid off first.  Also consider paying off non-tax deductible debt first.  If you can afford to do so, slightly increasing repayments and increasing the frequency (from fortnightly to weekly) can also decrease the life of the loan and overall interest paid.

3.       Review insurances and other expenditure

Insurance for both business and personal needs should be reviewed at least annually.  Insurance policies should be reviewed with your adviser to ensure cover in the event of a claim is adequate.

Also review your other expenditure – can you get a better deal with your telecommunications company?  Are you paying high bank account fees?  It may not mean you need to change suppliers, but maybe a change to a different plan/account to better suit your needs.  It is a good idea to shop around, you could save a lot of money in the long term.

4.       Superannuation

Superannuation is an ideal way to save for retirement in a tax-effective manner.  Due to its tax-effective nature, there are limits on the amounts you can contribute to your superannuation, so you should ensure you are taking advantage of these and contributing what you can to build wealth and ensure a comfortable retirement.   Your adviser can assist you with strategies and concepts such as

–          Salary sacrificing

–          Personal contributions for self-employed persons

–          Superannuation guarantee

–          Government co-contributions

–          Transition to retirement

–          Setting up your own self-managed superannuation fund (SMSF)

5.       Start considering your business succession and estate plan

Don’t leave this until it’s too late.  Whilst we don’t like to think about it, illness or death can occur at any time and if we haven’t made any contingency plans this can leave your business partners and family in extremely difficult circumstances.  Business succession and estate planning is often perceived as being ‘too difficult’ to think about, but it is better to have some plans in place rather than nothing at all.   Everyone’s circumstances are different and your adviser can help you to:

–          Identify your requirements

–          Sort out an action plan

–          Establish a time frame

If you already have a business succession and estate plan in place, you should ensure that you review it regularly with your adviser to ensure it is still in line with your wishes.

Kirstin started her career in public practice in 1997. After some time with an international mining company and a not-for-profit organisation, Kirstin returned to public practice in 2005 with HLB Mann Judd. Kirstin develops strong relationships with her clients advising on a variety of accounting, management, taxation, succession and estate planning issues. Kirstin has experience in providing business advisory services to a wide variety of clients, particularly in the medical, professional services, property, hospitality, wholesale,retail and entertainment industries. As an Adviser Member of Family Business Australia, Kirstin is particularly interested in family businesses and is also a member of the FBA Next Generation Committee in WA.

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