Maroba Caring Communities Transition to Care Guide

transitionAre you or a loved one considering moving into an aged care facility?

Maroba Caring Communities Transition to Care Guide is an essential read to help provide some clarity into the transition process into aged care. It will outline some of the decisions you may need to make, step you through the application process, and give you some tips to make the process easier.

Click here to view the Transition to Care Guide.


Super in your 20s. Boring? Doesn’t have to be!

20sSuperannuation is for the oldies, right? In some ways that’s true, but even in your twenties there are good reasons to take a bit more interest in your super. The average 25-year-old has around $10,000 in super, but the decisions you make now, even with relatively small sums of money, could earn you hundreds of thousands of extra dollars over your working life.

Are you getting any?

Earn more than $450 in any given month (excluding overtime, bonuses and some allowances)? Then every three months your employer should be paying 9.5% of that into your super fund. Usually you can choose your fund; if you don’t, it gets paid into a super fund of your employer’s choice. But that doesn’t mean you don’t get a say in how it’s invested.

If you don’t know if your super is being paid, or the fund it’s being paid into, ask your employer. If you think you’re missing out, search ‘unpaid super’ on the tax office website ( to see what you can do. This is your money.

Where have you got it?

Had more than one job? If you have a lot of little super accounts the money can disappear in a puff of fees and insurance premiums. Simple fix – combine your super into one account.

What about insurance?

If you don’t have any dependents, your super fund could be paying for insurance you don’t really need just yet. Cancelling unnecessary life insurance leaves more money in your account to boost your savings. On the other hand, if you do need life or disability insurance, then doing it through super could be a better option.

Is it working for YOU?

Your money is going to be stuck in super for a long time, so you want it to be working hard for you. Most funds offer a range of investment choices and some will do better than others.

Imagine your income and super contributions follow a particular pattern over the next 42 years. Your fund earns 5% per year, and when you retire it is worth $1,037,154. Now change just one thing – you choose an investment option that earns 8% each year. Now your balance could grow to over $2,000,000! That’s nearly a million bucks extra, just for ticking a different box on your super fund application form!

There’s a bit more to it. An investment choice that is expected to produce higher returns over the long term can bounce up and down in value. Some years it may even go backwards in value. However, “safer” investment options usually produce lower long-term returns.

What do you want?

Buying a new car. Travelling, Having fun. Let’s face it, there are lots more exciting things to do with your money than sticking it into super. The choice is yours but think about this:

  • If Mum and Dad retired this year, they would need a minimum of around $59,000 per year to enjoy themselves. If that doesn’t sound like much now, by the time YOU retire inflation could have pushed that annual amount to around $204,000. That means you will need to have at least $3.5 million in savings! Sure you’ve got 40-plus years but that’s still a lot of money to save up! It can be done if you start early enough – and you don’t need to miss out on enjoying life now.
  • Fact: you’re going to live much longer than your parents and grandparents. Can you imagine living another 30 years without earning an income? A sound investment plan designed to make your super work hard while you’re employed will be the difference between enjoying those decades and scraping by on a measly pension.
  • Starting early and adding a bit extra when you can makes a big difference. Let’s work on another 40 years before you can retire. If you start now by making an extra post-tax contribution of just 1% of your annual income to super, ($350 from a $35,000 salary – and the government could add to that with a co-contribution) at an 8% investment return could add an extra $149,000 to your retirement fund. If you wait 20 years before starting to make that extra contribution, you’ll only get a boost of $49,000. $100,000 less! Continuing this small extra contribution as your salary increases will turbo boost your super fund balance. Imagine your retirement party?!

So, still find super boring? That’s okay; you’re not alone. But instead of finding the time to organise all this yourself, contact a licensed financial adviser who will review your current super, any insurance required, the investment choices and prepare a strategy to get your super into shape – then you can get back to enjoying life!

Starting salary $50,000 pa increasing at 4% pa over 42 years. Super contributions fixed at 9.5% of salary and taxed at 15%. Investment returns before inflation but after tax and fees.

Income required to provide a couple with a “comfortable” level of income as calculated by The Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) (December 2016)

Value of $58,922 today in 42 years at 3% inflation.

Sum required to fund an annual income of $204,000 for 30 years at a return of 4% pa after inflation, fees and tax, disregarding any age pension.

The government makes a co-contribution to super for low income earners under $51,021pa (2016/17).

JCF - High Tea IWP fundraiser

Mad Hatters Heart Matters Event

JCF - High Tea IWP fundraiserWe have many conversations with clients affected directly by Heart health, or through a close family member, either through heart attack, cardiac arrest or other arrhythmia issues in their lifetime. We meet many clients that feel lucky having survived a significant event with their heart or the heart of a family or friend that had a close call.

We are in the business of helping people to insure against this risk with Critical Illness insurance and life insurance for this reason. It’s serious stuff.

In May 2014 Tabitha Tworek from Insight Wealth Planning passed out at a business dinner unexpectedly. It wasn’t the glass of wine with dinner, it was in fact a cardiac event causing a slow heart beat, less than 40bpm.

‘I was so lucky that it was found when it was,  a 24 hr holter monitor went on to confirm that whilst I slept, my heart missed firing 43 times, and some pauses were much longer than others. I went on to have a pacemaker put in a few days later, and subsequently a new device in April 2017, that now beats more than 68,000 times per day.’ Tabitha said.

It’s inspired an annual fundraising event to benefit others from this reminder that hearts matter.

Over the last two fundraisers we have invited our community of businesses and friends to join us for a get together to raise money, so far more than $4300 raised towards heart charities.

This year, we are proud to host the upcoming Mad Hatters Hearts Matter Tea Party on Sunday 16th July 2017 10am-12pm.

The Duke of Wellington
Regent Street

This year we are delighted to have chosen The Joshua Caruso Foundation to partner with to direct all funds raised to their goal of supplying defibrillator’s to local community groups, sports groups and schools in an effort to prevent a cardiac event from becoming more serious when a sudden event occurs.

For Joshua Caruso’s family August 13, 2013 started as a normal Tuesday. Josh woke up, got ready and headed off to school. On his way to the bus, Josh collapsed. His heart had stopped. He died instantly.

Josh had an undiagnosed heart condition – hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). HCM is a genetic condition that causes the muscles in the heart to thicken. It often has no symptoms; there was no indication that Josh’s heart was abnormal or that he was at risk.

Josh was a healthy, happy 13-year-old. He was a keen footy player and represented his local club at touch football. His death was a shock to both his family and the local community.

HCM is a genetic condition that often goes undiagnosed. If one member of the family is affected, it is very likely that others will be too. Josh’s parents, Joe and Belinda, have since discovered that their eldest son Nicholas has HCM. Their youngest son, Bayley, is at risk of developing it.

The Joshua Caruso Foundation was established to remember Josh and to raise money and awareness to help combat HCM.


Tickets are on sale now at

$70 per ticket including champagne on arrival.  Bring a friend or book a table, Gluten free available upon request, Tickets – for group bookings please purchase all individual tickets and email a table name with your attendees to

The Mad Hatters Hearts Matter Tea Party is proudly supported by Insight Wealth Planning, Property 101 Solutions, WSC Group Newcastle, Reno Riches, Viatek, Australian Property Finance New Lambton, Impero Conveyancing, and The Duke Hotel New Lambton.  Helping The Joshua Caruso Foundation to supply defribrillators to sporting clubs and schools in the Newcastle and Hunter region.

DUKE_LOGOWSC LogoviatekPS101-Logo-PropMgnt-Square-LargeimperoAPF KotaraRenno Riches


Property investors to lose out from proposed budget changes

investorsThe 2017 Federal Budget, handed down by Treasurer Scott Morrison on Tuesday night, 9th May at 7:30pm AEST includes proposed changes which will affect residential property investors Australia-wide.

The Australian Tax Office (ATO) allows owners of income producing property to claim depreciation deductions for the wear and tear that occurs to a building’s structure and the plant and equipment assets within.

The proposed changes relate to the depreciation of plant and equipment assets and the eligibility to claim this deduction. Currently, investors are eligible to claim qualifying plant and equipment depreciation on assets found in an investment property they purchase, even if they were installed by a previous owner.

“Under the new rules which are yet to be legislated by Parliament, investors will be able to depreciate new plant and equipment assets and items they add to their property, however subsequent owners will not be able to claim depreciation on existing plant and equipment assets,” said the Chief Executive Officer of BMT Tax Depreciation, Bradley Beer.

“This change will have a major impact on investors, essentially reducing the annual deductions they can claim therefore reducing their cash return each year. This could lead to investors being in a tighter financial position and may discourage future investors from purchasing a second hand residential property,” said Mr Beer.

“It is our understanding at this stage that if the property is new, they will be able to continue to depreciate plant and equipment as they were previously. We are seeking further clarification on this,” said Mr Beer.

Investors will still be able to claim capital works deductions also known as building write off, including any additional capital works carried out by a previous owner.

The budget notes were clear that existing investments will be grandfathered. This means that anyone who has purchased a property up until the 9th of May 2017 will be able to claim depreciation as per normal.

If a property investor exchanges contracts to purchase a second hand property after 7:30pm on the 9th May, there could be different depreciation rules applicable to their scenario.

“We are currently speaking with government to further understand the intricacies relating to the budget notes and the proposed changes to depreciation of plant and equipment assets,” said Mr Beer.


bmtt-tax-depreciationArticle provided by BMT Tax Depreciation.
Bradley Beer (B. Con. Mgt, AAIQS, MRICS, AVAA) is the Chief Executive Officer of BMT Tax Depreciation. 

Bradley joined BMT in 1998 and as such he has substantial knowledge about property investment supported by expertise in property depreciation and the construction industry. 
Bradley is a regular keynote speaker and presenter covering depreciation services on television, radio, at conferences and exhibitions Australia-wide. Please contact 1300 728 726 or visit


What to watch from the Budget? – Adviser Update

What to watch from the Budget?

TT-Insight-Advice-Shoot-400There are lots of opinion pieces about the 2017 budget. We caught up to discuss the things our advisers noted in this year’s budget rollout.

Was there anything that surprised you?

There’s a sneaky change that has been announced for the Liquid Assets waiting period (LAWP) that affects new applicants for Centrelink benefits, typically Newstart and Disability Support Pension. They have stretched the LAWP from 13 weeks to 26 weeks. This is impactful for someone that may have become unemployed suddenly that has some money in the bank, from a redundancy or from some other savings, particularly when the LAWP acts as an exclusion period when benefits will not be payable,’ Simon Tworek, Financial Planner and Director said.

The government has expressed their faith in the economy, comments were made about historically low wage growth, inflation sitting at 2% is still low, but headed for growth, the Medicare levy changes target tax payers with an increase in medicare levy from 2.0% to 2.5%.The indicators are for growth.

The levy targeting banks starts in July 2017, the government made comment on their gaze at the banks to see if there are policy adjustments and warned against passing on the new tax levy to customers. So if not customers? What does this mean for shareholders of the big four banks and Macquarie? Tabitha Tworek, Financial Planner commented.


Opportunities for first home buyers (FHB) sell a good news story, but we await further information about the potential preservation rules on these funds? Is it really a significant benefit?

Simon asked ‘what first home buyers are earning 90-100k per annum to really benefit from salary sacrifice in the ideal tax category to benefit from this?’.

We are focussing on clarity for first home buyers to confirm, what happens if they don’t choose to move in as a principal residence? (as a rentvestor instead?) Is the concessional tax rate of 15% on contributions in and the Marginal Tax Rate on the way out going to have the full benefit we would expect?

What if you change your mind? And decided on travel, study or growing your family instead? How will preservation rules impact this for real first home buyers?

For Retirees, selling their principal residence, there are additional measures to encourage a last minute contribution limit increase for super contributions that may result. This is an area that may allow more flexibility to add to super beyond the current tax free limit, already being reduced to some $300,000 per individual from 1 July 2017. We’ll update you with more information as it is further clarified.

Property investor world will be impacted, the positives include the affordable housing initiatives and deferred Capital Gains Tax relief, increased from 50% discount to 60% discount upon the sale of the asset in the future for properties meeting the criteria.

Stay tuned in the Winter newsletter for an update on the impact to depreciation for existing property investors, and more news from the budget.


GPS Wealth Budget Update – The “Loaves & Fishes” 2017 Federal Budget

Prepared by Grahame Evans – GPS Managing Director

When I sat down to listen to Scott Morrison last night, I had very little expectation of any worthwhile initiatives, considering the disappointments of the last few budgets. However, I must say I was pleasantly surprised. In a political and economic world of uncertainty, the Treasurer provided some visibility or glimpse that the real issues were in scope with the Government.

Our views, in summary, is that this budget provides economic hope, a recognition of areas needing addressing, some incentives for first home buyers and heading in the right direction back to a balanced budget by 2021.

We think it is a “Loaves and Fishes” budget which has taken what appeared to be, by myself and many other commentators, a basket which was pretty much and “fed the masses” with infrastructure delivery, jobs and economic growth, affordable housing for the not so fortunate, hope for the first homebuyer, strong reasons for retirees to downsize. Importantly, it appears the first steps have been taken that many thought were necessary, in the areas of foreign home ownership, management of bank practices and reductions in certain deductions for rental property without removing the need for negative gearing.

Additionally, in “feeding” the masses, the Treasurer has asked for an additional 0.5% Medicare levy to help to fund the Disability Scheme, he has asked for those who have used HELP to start paying back quicker (BTW great low cost finance for many people moving into the workforce).

Economic and Market Impacts – Neutral to Positive

Our Chairman of our Investment Committee, Emmanuel Calligeris has provided me with his snapshot of the effect on investment markets which overall will support banks and corporations.

 “From a “what does this mean for my investment portfolio” point of view, the Federal Budget 2017 was neutral to positive overall. The beneficiaries include infrastructure companies however the budget was negative for the four major banks and Macquarie Bank shares provided they are not able to pass on the tax on bank liabilities of AUD 6 billion over the next 4 years.  The announcement of AUD 75 billion in new infrastructure spending saw the market react quickly – supporting CIMIC, Downer EDI, Worley Parsons and cement producer Adelaide Brighton. From a growth perspective, the budget is optimistic on its assumptions beyond 2018 (3% +) however the infrastructure spending will go a long way to help avert the growth void from the housing industry next year. Household spending is likely to remain subdued amidst low household income growth. Business investment and both State and Federal government spending should provide an offset.”

In what areas has the treasurer turned the “Water into wine” for mum and dad and SMSF investors?

Not much from what we can see. Mostly minor.

There was a combination of the not so good (water) and the good (wine) for investors in the budget. The economic impacts with infrastructure spending provide more “wine” with jobs and economic activity expected to drive increased economic growth and therefore market confidence. Subject to other major world events, we should continue to see the Australian market place remain relatively stable. So whilst not directly impacting our clients (unless you work in the construction and associated industries), it will underpin hopefully a continuation of a less volatile environment making planning a little more certain.

The Water

  • Removal of deductions for travel expenses relating to inspecting, maintaining and collecting rent for rental properties is hardly a “biggy” I am sure we would all agree this has been open to misuse by many investors in the past.
  • The lack of continuity for depreciation on change on ownership will have some impact on prices of property and make it less attractive to buy “used” properties from a taxation perspective.
  • The gross value (including borrowings) of any asset in the superannuation system will be included in the new $1.6M transfer Balance Cap. Hardly fair or logical but a disincentive not to borrow to invest when close to or in retirement.

The increase in the Medicare levy from 2% to 2.5% to assist with funding the National Disability Scheme as well as the government kicking in to fully fund Medicare is a mixed bag. Like the concept but what I pay for medical insurance now with the levy and private insurance is significantly disproportionate to my benefit. But I suppose I just need one major illness to unfortunately occur and I won’t be so concerned.

The Wine

  • Downsizing the family home means on top of all other abilities to contribute, you can throw up to an additional $300K into super from the proceeds of downsizing. This is not impacted by the $1.6M transfer balance cap and applies if you sell your principal place of residence which you have owned for 10 or more years and both members of the couple can take advantage of this. A small windfall to get maybe another $600k into super over and above the most recent changes.
  • Tax incentives, albeit small, for investing in affordable housing with a 20% increase in the CGT discount you receive if you hold an asset for more than 12 months. What this means is that the current 50% discount on Capital gains tax when an asset is held for over 12months with increase to 60%.
  • For those of you who lost your pensioner concession card in the recent changes, this will be reinstated. A very good decision!

For those of you who are “sandwiched” between helping kids with first homes and parents into aged care, the former issue has some degree of help, allowing first home buyers to salary sacrifice (meaning contributing in before tax dollars) into super $15k per year and a maximum of $30k within current maximums which they will be able to draw out at some stage in the future for a home deposit. This applies to individuals, in other words both people in a domestic life partnership.

Overall the bank levy, the new dispute resolutions scheme and more accountability for executives in banks is a strong foundation, like most I can’t help think, this will be passed back to customers in some way in the future. (I was born a cynic!).

In summary a budget, which delivers some hope that the government knows what it is doing. Fingers crossed we can implement these initiatives well and deliver on these important “promises”.


5 Strategic Steps to Building Your Real Estate Portfolio

Everybody knows that investing in real estate can be very profitable. When it’s done right. And there is a fundamental 5 Step Strategic Process for doing a right.

And here it is:


First, and before you even begin thinking about buying a property or investing in real estate (or any investment for that matter) we need to be able to get crystal clear on exactly where you are heading.

You don’t want to go out and buy just any property and hope that it will do what you want. You must get strategic about it.

In the words of Steven Covey we – ‘Start with the end in mind!

This forms part of the strategic planning process where we determine where we are today i.e. your ‘Current State’, and determine where you want to be in the future, that is your ‘Desired Future State.’


This desired future state can take on many forms, for example, this may be determined by ‘how much’ you want to live on when you do retire or ‘when’ you want to stop working, or the ‘number of investment properties’ you would like to own in your portfolio.

In other words, what is the purpose of the real estate investment? Is it to increase your week to week income, to improve your lifestyle or your asset base or is the investment to remove the reliance on your super funds at retirement?

Once we understand the purpose of the investment and know exactly where we want to go, then we can begin the implementation process and work out how to get there.

This is where we apply the first step which is:


Let’s use an example to demonstrate how to customise the Strategic Planning Process

John and Debbie are a young couple, 34 and 28yo. John has a secure job working as a OH&S trainer. Debbie does part time receptionist/admin work and spends a great deal of her time at home supporting their two young children, Fiona (6) and Ben (4).

They bought their first home together in Charlestown just over seven years ago, when they got married. They have decided that they would like to buy their first investment property, but are just not sure where to start.

Now let’s take them through the progress to customise the strategic planning process to determine their desired future state.

Step 1 – Set Goal

What is the purpose of the investment property? Is it to create cash flow (i.e. either add to or replace income) or is it designed to create a chunk of cash (i.e. extra equity to improve their net wealth position)

In our couple’s example, John and Debbie would like to purchase a residential property to help pay for the children’s higher education. The purpose of the investment property is therefore, to supplement their current income.

They would prefer it located in their local area, as they would like to be able to keep an eye on it.

Also, both John ad Debbie love watching the TV shows about making money from renovation and would love to give it a go!

 Now that we have a clearer understanding on their goals we can move to the next which is…


Step 2 – Review Existing Position

When looking at your current position some things to consider here include the available time you have to work on your investing, your available finances to fund the project or purchase, and the current skills you can apply to the purchase and investment process –  all in conjunction with your personal goals.

For John and Debbie – In analysing their current position, it would be ideal that the property provides for immediate positive cash flow on purchase (think putting money away for Uni) but it would be great if it also had strong growth potential too. (think after the kids have left home). 

They currently have a small amount of savings that could be used for a purchase and/or renovation but they believe that they couldn’t afford to buy an investment property at this stage.

So we review the position with a specialist mortgage broker to be certain. After reviewing their position with them, as their house in Macquarie Hills  has increased in value since they purchased it 7 years ago, it was identified that they had a very strong equity position.

This means that they will be able to use some of this money towards the new property purchase, and the rent from the property will help to pay the mortgage.

And with the property being cash flow positive, it will actually ADD to their income and not cost them any money each week.  (unlike negative gearing – but that’s another story!!)

Now that we have discovered that they can afford to make a purchase, we can now:


Step 3 – Decide Your Strategy

Deciding the most suitable real estate strategy for many can be overwhelming.  And rightly so.

Think about it for a moment. There are so many areas in Real Estate that you can invest in. Just some you could consider include:- buying commercial office space, industrial sites, retail shop fronts, wholesaling, purchasing raw land, farm investing, single residential home, duplex or multi-residential property’s, apartment blocks, strata titling, or even managing a mobile home, caravan park, student accommodation, hotel, motels the list goes on and on.

And then you’ve got to consider the exact strategy to apply to be investment area you chose.

Some strategies to think about here include: Do you buy and hold the project? or sell some (or all) of it when you are done? Or do you want a strategy where you have time to be more actively involved?  Would you like to buy vacant land and build a new home? Perhaps you want to renovate and sell? or consider short or long term leasing? new construction? subdivision? or… and again the list goes on and on!

With so many options and considerations to make, it’s no wonder that people get so overwhelmed!

So, the easiest way that I have found to help with overwhelm is simply…

Decide on One Area that suits you.

And choose One Strategy to work in.

And have One Short Term Goal.

This Will Give You FOCUS

Let’s come back to John and Debbie. Their personal experience with real estate includes both having rented previously and they have also purchased their first home together.

They have decided they prefer to start with something familiar to them so that means residential real estate. Experience in this area will expand and build on their current knowledge.

As the purpose of the investment is to supplement their income, they will want to hold the project. They will also need to find a project or property that covers all of its expenses to keep it (think mortgage and maintenance) and then have some money left over to add to their bank account each month for the kid’s education.

They both love watching the renovation shows on TV, but realise that with John working full time, this means Debbie would be the one responsible for making the renovation come together. As she is not qualified in a trade, she would need to employ tradies to do the work for her project. Debbie is good with admin but will need to consider the impacts to the family time in doing something like this, and also the costs involved to employ the necessary trades people. 

Once John and Debbie have determined what is most important to them and their personal situation, they will have a clear focus and can move onto the next step which is:

Step 4 – Implement Strategy


This is where the proverbial rubber hits the road.

No more time for planning and thinking – it’s time for ACTION. At this point you must implement the chosen strategy for success.

You need to ACT NOW!

But you may be thinking… But I don’t know what makes a good real estate investment! I don’t know how to select the best property to buy! Or I don’t know anything about negotiating! Or I don’t know how to _________! (insert your reason here)

Your inner voice may be yelling STOP! You don’t know enough about this type of investing, or you don’t have experience doing this project or whatever.

And this is a good thing.

In fact, I believe this caution it is a great thing!

Your inner voice of reason is telling you to get more information so that you are confident before proceeding.

And this is exactly what you need to do – before you jump into any investment (whether in real estate or another area).

When you want to capitalise on real estate investments, you need to be able to answer a number of questions about that investment – before you buy into it!

You want to be certain that it is going to achieve your desired end result.

In every strategy (no matter which one you choose) you need to know the following (as a minimum) :

  1. What is the projected Return on Investment (ROI)
  2. What is the Opportunity Cost of completing this deal or transaction?
  3. What is the micro-market Supply and Demand situation of this type of project or property?
  4. Do the Financial Due Diligence numbers stack up for the time it will take to complete the project and finally,
  5. Does it fit well with your Strategic Plan?

You must do the necessary research and analysis on the property or project before you buy.

This is so critical – Let me say that again.

You MUST DO The Necessary Research And Analysis  On The Property Or Project

Before You Buy!

Once you are comfortable that the purchase is sound, then and only then, you would proceed.

You may also need to learn some other skills necessary for your chosen strategy. And with today’s technology, you can do this easily and in a number of ways.

Whatever it is that you don’t currently know – now is the time to learn.

Do whatever it takes – research blogs or forums online, read relevant books or magazines on the topic, complete training courses, attend seminar or webinars or get a personal coach to guide you through the process.

TIP – If you do get a coach, remember to find somebody who has already achieved your desired end result and done what you want to do.

Do whatever it takes for you to educate yourself but remember you must… Start!

And then, after you have implemented your chosen strategy, the final step of the Strategic Planning Process is

Step 5 -Evaluate Success


At this point, consider the following questions to help your review.

  • What worked well within the project?
  • What would you do differently in the next project?
  • How can you improve the process?
  • Was the return on investment sufficient for the time put in
  • What skills have you learned or need to learn?
  • Would you consider this type of project again?
  • What is your next Strategic Step from your new current state?

If you have enjoyed the project and it has brought you success, you may want to do it again. Simply rinse and repeat to build your portfolio!

So there you have it. The 5 Strategic Planning Steps to Building Wealth using Real Estate so that you can use your investment to create a lifestyle you want (or simply help to pay for the kids Uni!)

The next event to share these property strategies will be held at Insight Wealth Planning, 24 Alma Road New Lambton on Tuesday 30th May 2017. This event is strictly limited to 12 guests. To book your spot visit click here.



Picture4Article by Janene O’Connor

Janene has 13 years’ experience in the Banking and Finance industry and has been investing in real estate since she was 23yo. She went full time into residential real estate in 2000 – initially as a sales person and then became the business owner of 3 successful real estate offices on the Central Coast.

She lived the single parent life after having been widowed in 2005. After 8 years, she re-married and then built up their property portfolio (in only 3 years), for her and her husband to retire on.

While living off the income from her portfolio, Janene now devotes her spare time to helping others to achieve financial freedom though the use of residential real estate investing.


3 Fundamentals to Successful Real Estate Investing

If you were to ask 100 successful real estate investors ‘How do you use real estate to make money?’ – you would most likely get 100 different answers, and in fact each of them would be correct. But the one thing that they would say in common is this – ‘You make your money when you buy the property, not when you sell it.’

And today I wanted to share with you, what I believe you need to know about buying a solid investment property.

Here are 3 fundamentals to successful real estate investing that I live by:

  1. Picture1Buy in the right ‘Micro-Market’

Property values don’t always go up, but there is always an area where property prices are growing at any point in time.

And yes, this includes during the recession periods.

You see the Australian property market is not just one market, it’s not even a handful of markets around the capital cities…

In reality, Australia has over 1500 suburbs comprising of hundreds of smaller ‘micro-markets’. And at any one time, there may only be a fraction of these suburbs performing well.

Each of the markets have their own unique characteristics and growth cycles.

To be successful, you need to seek out the micro-markets that:

  • Have a steady rental demand. These will attract the quality tenant. This means that you will not be caught out with long term vacancy between tenants or experience significant property damage.
  • Is due to experience significant short-term growth so that you can get a quicker return on your investment.
  • Will continue to trend upwards in value over the next 2-3 decades so you can build real wealth over the long term.

But buying in the right area just isn’t enough.

You also need to …

  1. Picture2Buy at the right time on the Property Growth Cycle.

As we mentioned, each micro-property market has its unique growth characteristics.

Successful real estate investors understand the property cycle and the impacts of timing on the market. We represent this cycle in the form of a clock.

The Property Cycle

The property cycle moves from a Slow Down to Slump phase from midday through to 6 o’clock and then to the Recovery and Boom phase of the cycle falls between 6 o’clock and 12 o’clock. Then again, the values of property will plateau and sometimes they may even fall slightly, as they move into the next Slow Down phase.

And the cycle continues on and passes through the phases again and again. In general terms this cycle will take between 7 to 10 yrs.

So timing the purchase within the growth cycle of the suburb is the trick to making money with real estate. This means identifying suburbs in the beginning of the growth cycle (somewhere between 6 and 10 o’clock), where you can ride the wave of growth. (…and best to do this before the other investors catch on to what the market is doing. Hint Hint!)

Doing this will give you the best capital growth early in your ownership of the property, so that it can be leveraged for further investments. This means you will be able to grow your portfolio fast!

And would you like to know the best part of timing in the market?

It is entirely predictable.

You can identify the small growth pockets with accuracy – and time the purchase to perfection – so that you can get in early and experience the growth cycle almost immediately. Nice!

And now the final step.

  1. Picture3Use the created equity to turn your one property into 2, or 3 or more!

When you have chosen in the right area, perfected the timing and structured your property purchase like a pro – you should see significant growth in your equity position very early in your investing game.

You can use this equity to secure finance for your next property purchase. This way, you can build your property portfolio fast, without having to wait the tradition years for ‘time in the market’ – or while you save for another deposit.

Then we go through the selection process again and repeat the process with the next purchase until you have built up your portfolio to fulfil your personal needs (think replace your income so that you can quit your job… or maybe so that you retire sooner and live a comfortable lifestyle)

When you do this right, there is actually very little risk to you as an investor.

So now we know we need to:

  • Buy in the right area
  • Buy at the right time
  • Use the created equity to grow your portfolio

But you’re probably wanting some more specific details?

Well here’s the great news…

Now you can learn the exact system we (my husband and I) used to create a self-funded retirement, using residential real estate – in only 3 years.

Announcing our free training – ‘How to Build Your Property Portfolio in the Next 3 to 5 Years’ … so that you can fast track your retirement and live a comfortable lifestyle.

Together with Tabitha and I, you’ll discover:

  • The exact 3 Step Formula To Build A Property Portfolio used by professional investors to ensure the retirement goal fits your personal situation, and why following this process is practically guaranteed in generating you a ‘more than comfortable’ retirement.
  • How to create your own mini property boom in the next 12 months regardless of the economic climate.
  • Why following the award winning ‘Pathway to Wealth” strategy can achieve your financial goals much quicker.
  • The exact 6 Steps to a $1.5m early retirement strategy, featuring a residential investment property as one ingredient.
  • 10 specific strategies to manufacture growth using residential real estate. There is bound to be at least one strategy amongst them that suits you and your personal situation. Watch your future retirement transform before your eyes when you apply just one technique in 2017.
  • When to search for growth property for capital gain versus income property for cashflow (get this wrong, and you could back yourself into a corner)

Plus much, much more…

Picture4Article by Janene O’Connor

Janene has 13 years’ experience in the Banking and Finance industry and has been investing in real estate since she was 23yo. She went full time into residential real estate in 2000 – initially as a sales person and then became the business owner of 3 successful real estate offices on the Central Coast.

She lived the single parent life after having been widowed in 2005. After 8 years, she re-married and then built up their property portfolio (in only 3 years), for her and her husband to retire on.

While living off the income from her portfolio, Janene now devotes her spare time to helping others to achieve financial freedom though the use of residential real estate investing.


Explaining the upcoming $1.6m transfer balance cap

super-newcastleOf all the major changes to superannuation coming this year, probably the most confusing is the new “transfer balance cap”. In this article we’ve answered the most common questions to help you understand how it will work and to plan ahead.

What is the transfer balance cap?

The transfer balance cap is a new limit on the total amount of superannuation savings that can be transferred from an accumulation account to a tax-free retirement account. It’s a lifetime cap that applies on a per person basis, regardless of the number of superannuation accounts you have. It comes into force on 1 July 2016.

How much is the cap?

Initially it will be $1.6 million. It will increase in line with the Consumer Price Index in $100,000 steps. At the current rate of inflation the cap is expected to rise to $1.7 million around 2020-2021.

I already have more than $1.6 million in a tax-free pension. Am I affected?

Yes. You will need to remove the amount in excess of $1.6 million from your retirement account prior to 1 July 2017. You can either transfer it back into a super accumulation account, where earnings are taxed at the concessional rate of 15%, or remove it from superannuation entirely.

What happens if I don’t withdraw the excess or transfer more than the cap into a retirement account?

You will need to withdraw the excess, and until you do you will be liable to pay tax on the notional earnings on the excess amount. The tax rate is 15% for the first breach, and 30% on subsequent breaches.

There is one concession. If your retirement account value is less than $1.7 million on 1 July 2017 you will have six months from that date to withdraw the excess without penalty.

If my retirement account balance increases due to investment performance, will I have to withdraw amounts in excess of the cap?

No. The cap only applies to the amount transferred into the retirement phase account. It does not apply to subsequent earnings.

Can I make more than one transfer into the retirement account?

Yes, provided the available cap has not been exceeded. For example, if you transfer $800,000 in July 2017 you will use 50% of your cap. In a few years’ time, with indexation, when the cap rises to, say, $1.7 million, you will still be able to access 50% of this new cap, which means you can add up to $850,000 to your retirement account.

If you establish your retirement account with the maximum permissible amount (i.e. $1.6 million) you will use 100% of your cap and will not be allowed to contribute additional amounts.

Do transition to retirement income streams count towards the cap?

No, because from 1 July 2017 these income streams will lose their tax exemption. However, once a condition of release has been met, the transfer balance caps will apply to the TTR pension as it will become a standard account based or allocated pension.

How are defined benefit pensions and other non-account based pensions treated?

The treatment of defined benefit pensions and other non-account based products is complex. It depends on the type of pension or annuity, the tax status of its components, and the annual income it pays. If your pension is valued at more than $1.6 million, you won’t need to withdraw the excess, but you may be subject to tax on annual payments of more than $100,000. You will need to contact your pension or annuity provider to find out how you will be affected.

What do I need to do right now? What do I do with the excess? Do I use up my entire cap now or keep some for later?

The answers to these questions all depend on your personal circumstances and long-term goals. Good advice is essential, so the sooner you speak to your licensed financial adviser, the better.


Offset account vs redraw facility – the tax difference

offsetMost modern mortgages come with a redraw facility and a mortgage offset account.

With a redraw facility you can make additional payments to reduce the outstanding balance of your mortgage, which in turn reduces the amount of interest you pay. However, those additional repayments are not locked away – you can redraw on them at some point in the future. This increases the loan balance, so you’ll pay more interest.

An offset account works more like your day-to-day bank account. However the balance of the offset account is subtracted from the outstanding balance of your mortgage, and you only pay interest on this difference.

So which is the better way to manage your mortgage and minimise interest payments: redraw or offset?


For many homeowners it won’t make much difference. The offset account is a bit more convenient as all your cash is working to reduce the outstanding loan amount on which interest is calculated. The redraw facility may require a bit more active decision making regarding how much to pay off or redraw and when. Some banks also set minimum redraw amounts or may charge fees on each withdrawal. On the plus side, the extra effort involved with a redraw facility can provide an element of discipline for people tempted to dip a bit too readily into the available funds in the offset account.


If you are borrowing to invest, however, choosing between redraw and offset can have a significant impact on your tax bill.

Imagine you buy an investment property and have a loan of $500,000. The interest on this loan is tax deductible. You then receive a windfall that allows you to pay off $100,000, leaving a loan balance of $400,000. Soon afterwards you redraw $50,000 to splurge on an overseas holiday. The loan jumps to $450,000, but as the redraw is for personal use the loan amount attributable to the investment property remains at $400,000. You won’t be able to claim a tax deduction for the interest on the $50,000 redraw. What you will likely end up with is a headache from trying to manage the personal and investment components of the loan as future repayments or redraws are made.

Now imagine that you deposited your extra $100,000 into your offset account. The bank subtracts this from your loan balance of $500,000 and only charges you interest on the $400,000 difference. The crucial difference is the loan amount is still $500,000 and all attributable to the investment property. The withdrawal of $50,000 from your offset account is unrelated to the investment arrangement. Yes, you’ll pay interest on the full loan amount of $450,000, but it will remain fully tax-deductible.

Even if you are not a current investor but there’s a chance your existing home may turn into a future investment property, the same principle applies. This is where it could get very tricky.

Provided you have the discipline to manage your offset account, it can provide more flexibility than the redraw facility and could save you costly tax issues. To be certain about what suits you best, always seek professional advice.