To sell or not to sell?

aged-care-costs-newcastleAn aging family member is experiencing significant health issues and needs more help than we can provide even when the load is shared between us all. What next?

I meet families often who are trying to agree on the right decision. Its emotional, often political and a highly stressful time. Its often associated with a lot of personal guilt feeling that the carer is giving in, but in reality, care needs can escalate to a level that becomes essential and not a choice.

The hardest conversations are those that have been urgent and without a lot of planning.

Through multiple years of advising clients in aged care in many differing circumstances my quick guide can be a great starting point for those that are unsure of where to start.

  1. Line up your ‘official’ information.

Arrange a nominee form for Centrelink to act on that person’s behalf.

Understand the previously declared assets, income and any gifted monies, update the balances if needed.

Ensure that any estate planning documents are at your finger tips, Especially enduring power of attorney and enduring guardianship. If not, make an appointment to see a solicitor.

  1. How to gain access to care at home?

If a care facility is the right way to move forward, what should we expect to pay? And how do my assets affect the fees and the pension if they move out of their home?

The simple answer is, get some help to weigh up your options.

Care arrangements depend on your allocation/budget, the allocation is determined through a process called an ACAT assessment and can be coordinated by your GP.

Once an assessment has been offered in home, it will be determined how much care and support you can access.

An excellent tool for contacting providers about care is

  1. To sell or not to sell

In relation to the decision to sell the family home or not, there are a number of factors to consider;

Is there a family member that will continue to reside in the home that is in receipt of an income support payment? This person may be considered to be a protected person in which case the home will remain exempt as an asset and not income tested until that person moves out.

In any case, the value of your property can be excluded from the asset test for up to 2 years from the date of entry to the nursing home. The issue being, that after two years, you will have had to make a decision to rent it, sell it, or wear the impact on your means tested pension caused by the asset and income tests.

We put some rational decisions back into the emotional decision of accepting a move into aged care.

There are actually three different sets of calculations that can rationalise this decision.

Pension (aged) Fees (nursing home) Income – from the home or other assets
impact to any means tested pension such as aged pension, we will consider strategies that can increase/reduce means tested pensions.


Calculation of aged care fees, especially the means tested fees? Paying a lump sum towards the Refundable Accommodation Deposit (RAD)?

Depending on your circumstances an exemption from the normal asset test may apply on a large portion of the value of your family home

  • who will remain residing in the property?
  • is the property is rented?
  • How much refundable accommodation deposit (RAD) remains outstanding?


We provide advice to personalise the optimal decision for your loved one, so that you can understand the three interconnected issues and how they might relate if you decide to retain or sell the family home.

  1. Opportunity cost

The other thing to consider is the ability to invest the monies that may be available from the sale of the property in a way that could stream an income to your loved one, to assist with paying for care costs or any reduction in means tested pension.

There are lots of options in relation to investment, we can tailor a solution to your level of comfort with ups and downs or preference for stability, and can create a regular instalment of income to prop up life’s expenses or reinvest the returns if the money is only needed every so often.

In some instances, long term exemptions are permissible if a RAD does remain outstanding and the property is rented out (with actual rent paid into a bank account). Talk to us about your family, legacy intentions and together we can understand what it means for your family.

Don’t hesitate to call a family meeting and get some advice, it’s from an adviser with experience in helping families to optimise their decisions.


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.


Working from home – is it better for your lifestyle?

work-from-homeThe increase in home-based businesses has been monumental in the past decade with now almost one million Australians earning an income from home.

The types of businesses that can be operated from home are only limited by imagination, just as the reasons for this growing trend are varied. Some people whose jobs are made redundant will be tempted to take the plunge into self-employment; others find it appropriate when children arrive; and there are those who do it to improve their lifestyle.

But can running a legitimate business from home really be a smart lifestyle choice?

If you spend hours commuting to and from your job every day, the chance to be your own boss and work from home might seem like Nirvana. Freedom to choose your hours, have more privacy, and being able to work by your own rules, are the obvious benefits.

Before trading in the designer pinstripe for a new set of shorts and sneakers, there are a few things to consider carefully.

  • Working from home alone can be a lonely existence. Swapping emails and tweets is not really suitable daily communication and even phone calls can’t replace face-to-face relationships. It may not suit people who thrive on the social contact that comes from physically working with others.
  • Self-motivation is also critical to success – however it works both ways. If the temptation to rise late and knock off early is too strong, or your attraction to the golf course too powerful, the discipline of an “outside” job may serve you best.

On the other hand, unless you locate your workspace away from your living area – and with a door that closes – you might find yourself working longer hours than necessary. While sitting down to dinner or playing with your child, how would you respond each time you hear a chime signalling the arrival of a new email? Will you have the discipline to work to set hours and totally disconnect from “the office” if it’s only a few steps from your bedroom?

  • When you work for someone else they provide the support structure to help you work effectively – such as IT support and bookkeeping. Now you are on your own you have to do it yourself or pay someone else to do it for you. How would you survive if your computer crashed or your internet access stopped at a vital time? Working from home means being multi-skilled – how would that affect your lifestyle?

Our final tip is to talk to people who have made a success of working from home. Find out what it’s really like and how it complements their lifestyles. If the concept still ticks all your boxes, then the next thing you need to decide on is what type of business to start!

For more information visit:

Lisa Daly of APF George Richmond of Viatek and Tabitha Tworek of Insight Wealth Planning

Relocation for Insight Wealth Planning Kotara

We are now excited to announce that our New Lambton office has launched with our Advisers, Tabitha Tworek, Simon Tworek.

It’s been quite the transformation, you may know the new office, as the previous Commonwealth Bank Building in New Lambton, after a significant construction project commenced in May 2016, we finally completed  the build and moved in December 2017, it’s looking very different.

The New Lambton Village has warmly welcomed us, we are excited to be part of this bubbling community of businesses. We launched a small official opening with some of the businesses we deal with directly to mark the occasion in February 2017.

We welcome your visit to our new office for your next review. You may even get a sneak peek inside the old bank safe.

Please see the links on our website for our location details

Below are some snaps of our event.

Belle Property Newcastle Team and Simon Tworek of Insight Wealth Planning

Belle Property Newcastle Team and Simon Tworek of Insight Wealth Planning

Clive Wilson of GPS Wealth and Ross Langsford of Insight Wealth Planning

Clive Wilson of GPS Wealth and Ross Langsford of Insight Wealth Planning

Lisa Daly of APF George Richmond of Viatek and Tabitha Tworek of Insight Wealth Planning

Lisa Daly of APF George Richmond of Viatek and Tabitha Tworek of Insight Wealth Planning

more of the team of Insight Wealth Planning

more of the team of Insight Wealth Planning

Rod Jones of APF New Lambton Stpehanie Scane and Liam Carroll and Todd Hearne of WSC and Melissa wright of Insight Wealth Planning

Rod Jones of APF New Lambton Stpehanie Scane and Liam Carroll and Todd Hearne of WSC and Melissa wright of Insight Wealth Planning

Some of the Insight Wealth Planning New Lambton Team

Some of the Insight Wealth Planning New Lambton Team

The many poeple of helped celebrate the opening of our new office

The many poeple of helped celebrate the opening of our new office


Tech and tips to help the Wanderlust – Tips from experienced travellers

camperWe love hearing about client’s travels and experiences and thought this gem was worth sharing.

In a recent review appointment with Barry and Lenore from Edgeworth, they shared their best tips for those travelling, particularly the campers and motor homes. is a guide to free campsites and services that might be useful in your travels.

Lenore mentioned that the best way to find free campsites if you are talking to a tourist information centre is in fact to ask about the best fishing spots and to ask if they have services there like bathrooms and fresh water. It’s almost code for free camp grounds. is another app available for iphones and android that shows you a live data feed for local petrol prices. You can use a map to locate the local petrol stations with their live prices uploaded.

Some GPS’s (Garmin) include access to another great tool to locate points of interest and camping sites.

Barry and Lenore shared their tips about striking up conversation with other travellers to share local knowledge on the road.

Barry said, ‘ask people three questions. . ‘Where have you been? Where are you going? And Where are you from?’

They shared stories of many ‘five minute friends’ that you can share the journey with for the time you are together, and may or may not see again.

Lenore also commented on how many families are on the road with their kids and the diverse education they get whilst on the road. There are always opportunities to learn, keeping a diary, working out the costs for each person each day with food and travel costs. Kids love the experience and the travel stories that the family make along the way are so fulfilling.

We thought that more clients might benefit from the experience of these frequent travellers.


Using your mortgage to create extra wealth

For many people, reducing the mortgage as fast as possible is a wise strategy to use on the path to financial security. But if you think outside the square there are some options that might be available which involve maintaining or even increasing your level of debt for investment purposes.

A case study…

The experience of James and Lisa shows just how restructuring your mortgage can bring your financial objectives within reach, in a way you never thought possible.

James and Lisa earn $135,000 a year between them but they have concerns as to how they could achieve their long-term personal objectives.

Lisa works part-time and with two very young children feels that if she went full-time the cost of childcare would be prohibitive. She also wants to be at home with the children until they reach school age. Additionally, they have longer-term objectives of owning a holiday property and covering the costs of the children’s secondary education.

With the help of their adviser, the plan they could adopt begins with Lisa giving up work altogether. They could borrow an additional $100,000 on their mortgage and invest this in a diversified portfolio. The result is:

  • Lisa can give up work to look after the children;
  • As Lisa no longer earns an income she is eligible to receive Family Tax Benefit B;
  • Due to the reduction in their combined income, they are now also eligible to receive a portion of the Family Tax Benefit A;
  • As a result of interest on the investment loan, their combined taxable income has reduced. This leads to a $3,000 tax refund which is applied to paying off the mortgage;
  • The investment portfolio will mature about the time the children commence secondary education and, in the meantime, generates a return of some $7,000 a year, which is also applied to reducing their mortgage.
  • They are now on track for their $275,000 mortgage to be paid out in 16 years instead of 30 years.

Without affecting their standard of living, James and Lisa have achieved their short-term family objectives, while also bringing them closer to their long-term goals.

Of course, no two scenarios are the same so it is vital to look at your own financial position and goals – including insurance needs, structuring the right investment portfolio and making sure your cash flow is planned out. Talk to a licensed financial adviser to get the right advice for you.


6 considerations in choosing a Financial Planner – Do your homework

86503169There has been a lot of negative news about the financial planning industry lately.  Whether it’s the bad advice provided by employees of various banks, or the recent story that a financial planner requires less training than an 18 year old hairdresser, it’s negative and ignores the great advice provided by many financial planners across Australia.

So how does a person find one of the financial planners that will provide suitable advice and have the best interests of their clients foremost?

Here are a few of my thoughts on what a person should ask and satisfy themselves about when looking to engage a planner:

1. What relevant experience and qualifications does the financial planner possess?

Make sure the planner has had enough experience and is qualified to give advice in the area you are seeking assistance.  For instance, if you are looking for advice on how to structure your retirement, your financial planner should have a solid history of working in that area of advice.

2. Which products is the planner authorised to recommend?

Some financial planners are only authorised to recommend a very limited range of products.  This may be quite acceptable to you but it’s important to clearly understand what your planner can, and can’t, recommend.

3. Does the financial planner take the time to really understand your needs, goals and dreams?

If the planner is pushing a product from the start or seems to have a “one size fits all” approach for all clients then this is a cause for concern.  It’s a financial planners job to understand your particular circumstances and then tailor a solution that meets your needs.

4. Do you clearly understand how the financial planner will be paid for his or her services?

The pricing of the services you are seeking should readily communicated, be transparent and represent value to you. 

5. Has the financial planner had any complaints about them upheld?

It sounds obvious, but you are entitled to ask this question and seek further information if the answer is yes. The history of successful complaints by clients warrants at least some valid explanations.

6. Do you understand and get along with the planner?

Your relationship with a financial planner will probably be a long one.  Be wary of jargon and confusing terminology and make sure you have a sense that you will enjoy working with them.

We at Insight Wealth & Accounting Advice believe strongly in our reputation and commitment to the prosperity of our clients, we would be happy to talk with anyone about their goals and their considerations in choosing a Financial Planner. Contact us today.


A few minutes with … Lauren Wylie

LaurenToday we meet one of our bright young stars Lauren Wylie. Lauren is an asset in the office with her bubbly personality and diligence to her work, here is a small insight into Lauren.

Lauren Wylie

Role at Insight: Paraplanner

What you enjoy about your work? Getting the satisfaction that we have helped our clients find the best possible outcome for protecting and improving their financial situation.

What do you enjoy away from work? Spending time with family and friends, photography and scrapbooking & relaxing watching a good movie.

What is your personal passion? Researching and planning my next holiday and travelling to new places. 

Financial rule to live by: Always try to set aside a portion of your income to save for something big you really want (i.e. holiday). 

Personal rule to live by: Appreciate the small things in life and don’t sweat the small stuff.

A few minutes with … Donna McKeown

DonnaThis week we want to shine a light on Donna McKeowen, Donna is one of our Directors and a is highly experience and highly qualified Financial Planner and a great asset to both our team and the quality of the services we provide.

Donna McKeowen

Role at Insight:   Director/Financial Planner

What you enjoy about your work? Helping people achieve their financial goals and solve planning issues that leave a smile on the face of our clients.

What do you enjoy away from work? I really enjoy spending time with my family and close friends, time is precious and so are the people close to me.

What is your personal passion? I love to shop!!

Financial rule to live by: Never spend more than you earn.

Personal rule to live by: Always treat others how you wish to be treated.

A few minutes with … Simon Tworek

zoidy2Today we meet Simon Tworek. Simon, one of our Directors, recently celebrated being with us for 6 years and is one of our senior financial planners.  Outside of work he likes to spend time with his lovely wife and two beautiful children, Louie and Belle.  Golf is a passion and he partly owns a moderately successful race horse.  Keep your eye on Truly Ready next time it hits the track!

Simon Tworek

Role at Insight: Director/Financial Planner

What you enjoy about your work?

I really enjoy seeing clients, meeting a variety of people and assisting their financial growth and security in their differing circumstances.

What do you enjoy away from work?

I have a young family which keeps me busy, also like to travel. Sport is also pretty important to me.

What is your personal passion?

I would have to say sporting passions, i enjoy spending time on the golf course, supporting the Newcastle Knights in the NRL and the Sydney Swans in the AFL.

Financial rule to live by: It is a simple one. Exciting life, boring money.

Personal rule to live by: Another simple one. You get what you pay for.