Retirement Income

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These ‘tin heads’ are looking for apprentices

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">When Robert and Margaret Gaston realised they had a lot of tins some 16 years ago, it signalled the start of collecting spree.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Today the West Australian duo have a collection of more than 12,000 unique tins on display in a huge shed on their Geraldton property dubbed the Tin Heads Museum.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">With some dating back hundreds of years, it wasn’t long before their collection drew overseas tourists, journalists, and even an international TV crew.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I can claim the biggest collection in Australia,” Mr Gaston said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But as dementia started to affect Mrs Gaston’s memory and Mr Gaston’s health began declining, Robert started the search for the next generation of tin heads.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“There’s too much history in the place to chuck it all away,” he said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Tin Heads Museum is more than just a collection for the pair who relish finding new tins, discovering the stories behind them, and chatting with similarly-interested visitors.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The oldest tin in their collection was made in about 1635.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Another features Queen Victoria and dates from 151 years ago.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“You could come along and say ‘oh, my grandma used to have a tin like that and I was only allowed to have a biscuit when she said I could’. It brings back memories in people,” Mr Gaston said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The profits from museum visitors are all donated to the Heart Foundation, with Mr Gaston planning to hand over $2,000 this year alone.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Mr Gaston said the new owners could take the museum on as a business or donate the funds to a worthy cause.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I was hoping to spend the rest of my life here but that’s not going to happen now,” Mr Gaston said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I would love to know </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">that it was going to be in good hands so that it can carry on because I would love to be able to come back myself in a few years' time and have a look at it again.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"And it should mean a lot to the people of Geraldton — that there's something in Geraldton that you won't find anywhere else in Australia.”</span></p> <p><strong>Image credit: ABC</strong></p>

Retirement Income

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Avoid these three things to maximise your retirement income

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Everyone wants to start their retirement with enough funds to live as comfortably as possible.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">One of the biggest sources of many Australians’ retirement incomes will be their super funds.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But, the banking royal commission found that super funds have some problems and don’t always serve our best interests as customers.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Here are three traps to avoid that could potentially save you tens of thousands of dollars.</span></p> <p><strong>Falling for bigger returns</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Switching from an industry super fund to a retail fund might sound appealing, but the large returns these retail funds offer also come with high and potentially costly risks.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Appearing on 7.30, Michelle Bradley-Smith detailed how a cold-call from a smooth talking financial advisor put her retirement at risk.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“They were very persuasive,” she told the program.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">With just $120,000 in her industry super account and rapidly approaching retirement, Ms Bradley-Smith was convinced to move her super from the industry fund into a higher-risk AMP account.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“He said that his company could make me another $24,000 as opposed to what the company I was with at the time could make me,” she said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“And it sounded like $24,000 extra when I only had seven years of work left. It sounded good.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">After the 2018 banking royal commission started repeatedly calling out AMP’s conduct, Ms Bradley-Smith realised she made a grievous error.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">She paid more than $4,000 upfront to transfer her super and had committed thousands more in annual fees.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Over the next six months, she watched as super balance began to shrink.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“After them telling me that they were there to make money, I lost … $7,000 and that’s not what I was there for,” she said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I thought, ‘I’m going to be losing money. By the time I’m 67 I might not even have $100,00’.”</span></p> <p><strong>Having multiple accounts</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Approximately a third of Australian super accounts are known as “unintended multiples”, totalling about 10 million accounts.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Despite campaigns aimed at reducing the problem, nearly 40 percent of Australians have more than one super account.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Not consolidating existing funds can mean you pay more in fees across all of your accounts, ultimately reducing the amount of money available when you retire.</span></p> <p><strong>Unnecessary insurance</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Most super accounts come with multiple forms of insurance such as life insurance, and total and permanent disability insurance.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">When combined with multiple accounts, each coming with their own insurance, this can become a problem.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“One in four Australians are not aware whether or not they have life insurance through their superannuation,” the Productivity Commission chairman Michael Brennan told 7.30.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“And one in six have duplicate accounts, which means they’re paying premiums on more than one account.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Though this might not seem like much of a problem, it comes with some unintended consequences.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“They can’t claim on both [accounts],” Mr Brennan said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This means that you might be paying for multiple forms of insurance and only gain some of the benefits when it comes to claiming them.</span></p>

Retirement Income

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13 things rich people never waste their money on

<p><strong>Impulse buys</strong></p> <p><span>Sure, it might be enticing to snag the cashmere sweater in the store window or the newest car on the lot. But making a purchase on a whim is something you will never see a wealthy person do. “If you buy things you do not need,” billionaire investor Warren Buffet told Forbes, “soon you will have to sell things you need.” It doesn’t mean millionaires don’t buy lavish items, they just put thought into them and their bottom line before swiping their credit card. Here are 13 nearly effortless ways to be more thrifty.</span></p> <p><strong>Extreme inheritances</strong></p> <p><span>It’s fantasy to think we can all leave a mountain of money to our children and grandchildren, so they don’t have to budget as we did. But large inheritances are something rich people don’t use their money for. Why? Well, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg both said they want their children to find their way rather than relying on a handout, according to CNBC. Instead, both billionaires are giving significant portions of their fortunes to charity to help those who need it most.</span></p> <p><strong>TV channels and video games</strong></p> <p><span>Rich people didn’t amass their fortune sitting around staring at a screen all day. That’s why they don’t waste money on jumbo TV packages or the latest video games. According to 2015 data from Nielsen, adults in households with annual incomes below $25,000 spent considerably more time consuming media (through TV, video games, or radio), compared to adults in households with annual incomes over $75,000. “We expected high-income households to own more devices, but we did not anticipate that low-income consumers of all devices had greater usage,” says Glenn Enoch, Nielson’s SVP of Audience Insights. Thomas Corley, the author of Rich Habits: The Daily Success Habits Of Wealthy Individuals found that 67 per cent of “rich” people say that they don’t watch TV.</span></p> <p><strong>Luxury brands</strong></p> <p><span>Millionaires can afford the latest fashions from the top designers, but that doesn’t mean they’re spending their hard-earned money on high-end apparel. In fact, the founder of IKEA, Ingvar Kamprad, told Newsweek that he doesn’t wear anything that is not from a flea market to “set a good example,” and Bill Gates told Time that he still wears a $10 watch despite being able to afford a closet full of Rolexes.</span></p> <p><strong>An over-priced home</strong></p> <p><span>Although their home-buying budget is considerably higher, rich people still look for deals. They want to feel like they’re getting the most value for their dollar and not like they’re getting ripped off. Yes, they might be spending millions, but they’re going to try to bargain with the list price like anyone else. Some wealthy individuals even go so far as not to purchase an extravagant home at all. According to U.S. News and World Report, Warren Buffett may be the third-richest man in the world, but he still lives in the home he bought in 1958 for $31,500.</span></p> <p><strong>Buying instead of renting</strong></p> <p><span>Some rich folks are going so far as to not even deal with the hassle of buying a home. Many are opting to rent, according to Extra’s Mansions and Millionaires host Michael Corbett. “Renting is more popular than ever, even among the wealthy,” he told huffingtonpost.com. “While it once made sense for people who could afford it to buy a home and flip it after two years, and the market has improved moderately this year, we’re hardly in a boom.”</span></p> <p><strong>Pricey grooming</strong></p> <p><span>Everyone needs a trim once in a while, but some famous rich people don’t think it warrants whipping out the wallet. John Caudwell, businessman and billionaire cuts his own hair, according to TIME, and IKEA founder, Ingvar Kamprad told Newsweek that he’s had his hair cut when he is in developing countries as a way of giving back.</span></p> <p><strong>Multiple credit cards</strong></p> <p><span>It’s understandable that a wealthy person might not want to walk around with a ton of cash in their wallet. But don’t think for a second that their wallet is filled with a credit card from every bank. Tom Corley, author of the best-selling book Rich Habits: The Daily Habits of Successful People, told U.S. News and World Report: Only 8 per cent of rich people use more than one card. Meanwhile, 77 per cent of poor people have multiple credit cards. With more cards, there are more fees to keep track of, more finance charges to accrue, and generally more opportunity to buy things you don’t need.</span></p> <p><strong>Late fees</strong></p> <p><span>No one likes to pay pesky late fees when they miss a bill or payment, especially rich people. That’s why they’re diligent about setting up auto-pay on all their accounts, from mortgages and car payments to credit cards and insurance, according to David Bach, author of Smart Women Finish Rich. As he told Learnvest, “late fees can add up to a fortune.”</span></p> <p><strong>Things that don't last</strong></p> <p><span>Even if rich people have the money to replace an item that wears out or breaks, they still don’t want to waste their money that way. “Wealthy people understand that the cheapest route isn’t always the most valuable,” Peter Bush, a wealth management expert, told Learnvest. “They can take the long view and consider how what they pay today compares with the worth over time.”</span></p> <p><strong>Stuff over experiences</strong></p> <p><span>Research has shown that money and material things can generate only so much happiness. Instead, it’s meaningful experiences that lead to a truly fulfilling life. According to Jaime Tardy, author of The Eventual Millionaire, the wealthy choose once-in-a-lifetime experiences over new gadgets. As Tardy told The Week, she knows several millionaires that have old iPhones rather than the newest model.</span></p> <p><strong>Retirement</strong></p> <p><span>Now, look: No one is going to advise you against investing money in your superannuation savings. But for rich people, retirement isn’t a focus mostly because self-made billionaires don’t plan to retire, according to CNBC. A 2010 study from Barclay’s Wealth, published on CNBC, revealed that 54 per cent of millionaires want to work right through their retirement years, and 60 per cent of people with a net worth of $15 million plan to work “no matter what their age.”</span></p> <p><strong>Gambling</strong></p> <p><span>Of course, rich people don’t need to play the lottery since they’ve already struck it rich. But they are still against wasting their money on gambling. Warren Buffet has bashed the whole idea, saying it’s the government preying on its citizens. “A government shouldn’t make it easy for people to take their social security cheques and [waste them pulling] a handle,” he has said. He also put a slot machine in his home to show his children that when he gave them their allowance, they would fall into temptation and end up spending it all in one day.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Written by <span>Jordi Lippe-McGraw</span></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">. This article first appeared in </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.readersdigest.co.nz/food-home-garden/money/13-things-rich-people-never-waste-their-money-on" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Reader’s Digest</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">. Find more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, </span><a href="https://readersdigest.innovations.co.nz/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRA93V"><span style="font-weight: 400;">here’s our best subscription offer</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></em></p>

Retirement Income

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11 things to stop buying that’ll save you tons of cash

<p><span>You can save a heap of money when you’re a little more savvy about where, and what you’re spending it on. Cut these simple things out of your life and you’ll be amazed how much you can save.</span></p> <p><strong>Lunch bags</strong></p> <p>Sure, your plastic lunch bags are convenient, and we’ve gotten into the habit of buying box after box. But the frequent buying of single-use plastic bags does add up at the end of the year. And they are contributing (negatively) to our mounting plastic pollution problem.<a rel="noopener" href="https://www.torontoenvironment.org/how_long_does_it_take_for_a_plastic_bag_to_break_down" target="_blank"><span> </span>In fact, plastic bags may spend 500 to 1,000 years or longer in landfill</a>. Although you will have to outlay more for reusable silicon sandwich bags initially, they are endlessly useful. Easy to wash (you can even stack them upside down in the dishwasher) and re-use, these non-toxic bags seal well, are biodegradable (when they have finally passed their use-by-date) and are also microwave safe.</p> <p>As we’ve discussed, the world is drowning in plastic, but there are<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/home-tipsscience-technology/9-brilliant-ways-other-countries-are-replacing-plastic" target="_blank">many countries that are leading the way in how they deal with the plastic pandemic</a>.</p> <p><strong>Impulse buys</strong></p> <p><span>We’re not just talking about the items that catch your eye when you shop hungry or wait in the checkout line ­– but certainly resist those too. The amount of time we spend online makes it easy to see something we never knew we wanted and then, thanks to a few touches and swipes, have it heading our way within minutes. To resist impulse buys, make a rule that all items must sit in an online shopping cart for a minimum of one day before buying. Bonus: some companies offer you a discount when they notice you haven’t yet popped in your credit card details. But, be sure in the end, that need, not the discount, informs your decision.</span></p> <p><strong>Cleaning products</strong></p> <p><span>So many of the store-bought cleaning products taking up your cupboard space really could be replaced with a few pantry items (cleaning vinegar and baking soda are two that top the list). </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/home-tips/why-clean-with-herbs" target="_blank">DIYing your own </a><span>is easier than you think – it’s mostly a matter of getting into the habit – and the right formulas really do work. Commit to replacing just one of your regular cleaning products with a homemade option. Get used to that, then keep going!</span></p> <p><strong>Unnecessary groceries</strong></p> <p>One third of all food produced for human consumption ends up being uneaten and discarded every year – around 1.3 billion tonnes of food – costing the global economy close to $940 billion. That’s bad news for your wallet and the environment.</p> <p>Some tips to help:</p> <ul> <li>Check the fridge before you shop, plan your meals and make a shopping list.</li> <li>Get creative with leftovers – overripe fruit and veggies make great smoothies. If you don’t want a smoothie right there and then, pop the overripe fruit and veg in the freezer to use at a later date.</li> <li>When eating out and you don’t finish your food, ask for a ‘doggy bag’.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Paper towels</strong></p> <p><span>While microfibre cloths will cost you more than paper towels, they will last you way longer. Invest in a stash of pretty cloth napkins, colour-coded for different cleaning jobs, and pop them in the washing machine when they get grotty. This way you will effectively keep paper products out of your kitchen.</span></p> <p><strong>Greeting cards</strong></p> <p><span>All those $3 and $5 purchases really do add up. Switching to free ecards instead of sending across the kilometres saves you money on postage, too. Can’t stand the thought of not giving them something to have and to hold? If making cards is up your alley, go for it! (Hold an afternoon card-making session to build up a stash.) Or, just buy an inexpensive box of all-occasion cards, and you’re good to go for years to come.</span></p> <p><strong>New clothes</strong></p> <p><span>Stop before you buy new and consider less expensive (and more eco-friendly) thrift and vintage items instead. When looking for current fashion, visit op shops. There are plenty of online alternatives to op shop, too. Vintage items – those 25 years or older – are great for special occasions and statement pieces. They’re easiest to score at local vintage stores or specialised online sites such as the Etsy vintage section.</span></p> <p><strong>Eating out</strong></p> <p><span>Dining out costs Australian households almost $5,000 a year, according to </span><a rel="noopener" href="http://www.the-drop.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/EatingOutinAustralia_2017_Respondent-Summary.compressed.pdf" target="_blank">Eating Out In Australia</a><span>. While no one wants to give up going out altogether, there are all kinds of ways you can bring that number down. Plan to take lunch to work or school more often. (Make it fun so it doesn’t feel like you’re skimping.) Go out during happy hour, meet for lunch instead of dinner, or opt for a potluck meal at home – using whatever food is available in your kitchen – instead of an evening out once in a while.</span></p> <p><strong>App and in-app purchases</strong></p> <p><span>Schedule some time to review your app subscriptions and quit any you no longer use. (Subscriptions that are automatically billed each month are easy to forget about.) If there are any you do use that have a particularly high in-app purchase rate, research free or low-cost replacements. You could also set a monthly limit that you’re comfortable with, and disable in-app purchases once you’ve met it. And here’s an idea: use apps to save money instead. Apps like You Need a Budget are designed to do just that.</span></p> <p><strong>Bottled water</strong></p> <p><span>If you haven’t already, it’s time to stop paying for bottled water when you can get it at home for virtually nothing. If you’re concerned about taste or quality, invest in a water filter. Sparkling water isn’t exactly cheap, either. If you’ve developed a fizzy-water habit, consider a Soda Stream and make your own. You’ll also be cutting down on piles of plastic. And you won’t have to lug home heavy shopping bags full of something you can get out of your tap or water filter. Also, invest in a reusable water bottle so you can take water with you while out and about, and refill at water stations.</span></p> <p><strong>Name-brand items</strong></p> <p><span>While it’s true that some generic items don’t compare quality-wise to their higher-priced brand-named counterparts, it’s also true that some generic products are literally identical. This is true of hundreds of items, including patent medicines, food and household items.</span></p> <p><em><span>Written by Elizabeth Flaherty</span><span>. This article first appeared in </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.readersdigest.co.nz/food-home-garden/money/11-things-to-stop-buying-thatll-save-you-tons-of-cash" target="_blank"><span>Reader’s Digest</span></a><span>. Find more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://readersdigest.innovations.co.nz/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRA93V" target="_blank"><span>here’s our best subscription offer</span></a><span>.</span></em></p>

Retirement Income

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13 money-saving tips that can be misleading

<p><strong>Differentiating bad advice from good</strong></p> <p><span>People love giving advice, especially when it comes to saving money. However, that doesn’t mean you should believe in every piece of advice you hear. After all, following the wrong money-saving tips can actually cost you in the long run. To help you differentiate bad advice from the good, we made a list of 13 money-saving tips that actually don’t pay.</span></p> <p><strong>Getting suckered into buy-one-get-one (BOGO) deals</strong></p> <p><span>When it’s genuine, it is hard to resist. Whether it’s BOGO free or BOGO half price, you have to stop and ask yourself: would I really have bought this much of this item at this price anyway? If you’re shopping for jam and see BOGO free on jam, that’s probably a great time to stock up. But if you’re looking for a new pair of runners and see BOGO half off, stop and think. You went out looking to spend $60 on runners. Now you’re spending about $100. Did you even want two pairs? Will you wear them both? Do you even like the second pair?</span></p> <p><strong>Building an emergency fund but not contributing to super</strong></p> <p><span>It’s essential these days to have an emergency fund. Financial experts say you need six months to one year’s worth of expenses. But experts also agree that you need to look after your financial future. If you’re squirreling money away into an emergency fund or savings account but not putting money into a super fund or another long-term plan, you’re not preparing for something you know is coming: old age. And with compound interest being what it is, every day you put it off is dollars wasted. When it comes to saving, the simpler, the better. And what could be simpler than ‘The $5 Savings Plan,’ i.e. stashing every $5 note that comes your way? It’s a surprisingly effective way to put some money aside. A Boston Globe writer who stuck with the plan saved $12,000 in three years.</span></p> <p><strong>Always choosing the cheapest price tag</strong></p> <p><span>I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again – buy cheap, buy twice. If you buy a screwdriver set for $1 at a dollar shop or get your shoes for a few bucks at a flea market stall, chances are you’ll be buying them again real soon. Cheaply made, poor-quality items may save you a few bucks in the short term, but you’ll only have to pay more later to replace them. And if you replace them with more cheap junk, you’ll be repeating the cycle. The only time this is not true is when you’re buying generic brands in the supermarket – you’re often getting the same product that’s in the brand-name packaging.</span></p> <p><strong>Taking store credit card offers for discounts but paying the minimum</strong></p> <p><span>That 30 per cent off is a good deal, if you actually pay off the balance in full right away. Sadly, many people find it way too easy to pay the much smaller minimum payment. Before long, you’re paying the minimum every month and adding more to the store card, and you’re suddenly a credit card revolver who is paying hefty interest charges.</span></p> <p><strong>Not putting money in the parking meter for quick outings</strong></p> <p><span>You may be a world-class speedy shopper or errand runner, but everyone’s luck runs out sometime. Chances are you’ll eventually get a ticket, which can run you anywhere from $45 to well over $200 in some cities, depending on where you live.</span></p> <p><strong>Buying food in bulk and throwing half of it away</strong></p> <p><span>When you see a whole bunch of bananas on sale for less than half the regular price, you grab them. Then you watch them turn black because you bought too many. While buying in bulk is good for lots of things, be careful when buying perishables. It’s not a bargain if you throw them away.</span></p> <p><strong>Avoiding regular visits to the dentist</strong></p> <p><span>It’s something I did as a student when money was tight. Well, after skipping regular cleanings and check-ups for a few years, I needed a bunch of costly fillings. Now I have a dental plan that covers check-ups, but even if you don’t, get to the dentist. It’s a lot better to pay for a visit now than to pay for major work later.</span></p> <p><strong>Putting off investing until you're 'rich'</strong></p> <p><span>It might be hard to think about investing when you’re not making a lot of money. After all, shouldn’t you wait until you’re well-established in your career to start thinking about that? Well, not really. Even if you just started out in your career, it’s never too early to start an investment account. According to </span><em>Listen Money Matters</em><span>, a Betterment (fixed-term) account is a good option for people who are just starting their portfolio.</span></p> <p><strong>Avoiding all debt</strong></p> <p><span>You probably know that an unpaid credit card balance or high-interest loan can significantly hurt your credit score. However, that doesn’t mean all kinds of debt will. According to </span><em>Fidelity</em><span>, certain kinds of debt with low-interest rates (like mortgages) can actually help you achieve your personal goals without harming your credit score in the process. While you should still try and make sure you pay your credit balance in time every month, there’s no harm in keeping an open mind when looking at loan options.</span></p> <p><strong>Trying to buy a house as soon as possible</strong></p> <p><span>Most of us regard owning a property as a sure sign of being established. However, rushing into buying a home can actually do more harm than good. Ending up with a mortgage that you’re struggling to pay off, or receiving a great job offer in a different city when you’ve already bought a house can actually harm your finances. After all, there is no harm in renting an apartment until you’re absolutely sure about your future plans.</span></p> <p><strong>Depending on credit cards instead of an emergency fund</strong></p> <p><span>One of the biggest financial mistakes you can make is to depend on a credit card during an emergency. Yes, you can put an unforeseen expense, such as an emergency bill, on a credit card and pay it later. However, thanks to interest, you’ll end up paying back a lot more than you spend. Your best bet in preparing for a real financial emergency would be building up an emergency fund, preferably consisting of three to six months’ worth of living expenses.</span></p> <p><strong>Not sticking to a budget</strong></p> <p><span>When you’re making enough money to cover your expenses, budgeting can seem unnecessary. However, without a budget, it’s easy to lose track of how much money you’re spending. To avoid spending yourself into debt without realising make a monthly budget and stick to it.</span></p> <p><strong>Avoiding credit cards</strong></p> <p><span>There’s no denying that credit card debt is harmful to your finances. However, that doesn’t mean you should avoid getting a credit card. As long as you pay your balance in full each month, making purchases with your credit card can be worthwhile.</span></p> <p><span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Written by Paul Michael</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">. This article first appeared in </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.readersdigest.co.nz/culture/13-money-saving-tips-that-can-be-misleading" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Reader’s Digest</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, </span><a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.com.au/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRA93V"><span style="font-weight: 400;">here’s our best subscription offer.</span></a></em></span></p>

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5 everyday items that could be worth a fortune

<h2>Typewriters</h2> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Germer says his nephew calls these “antique mechanical keyboards”. He adds that anything with gears, push buttons, and tubes are especially fascinating to the younger generation who have grown up in a wireless world. “Old typewriters need to be in working condition and will sell for $US20 to $US100; fully restored, in the low hundreds,” says Germer.</span></p> <h2>Auto parts</h2> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">You might want to check under the tarps or in the back of your garage – there could be some dusty gems. “Hood ornaments, car vases, and hubcaps are the most collected for themselves because of decorative value. Headlamps and other body parts are often repurposed for the industrial design look,” notes Germer. A hood ornament in decent condition, for example, can draw $US20, but if you discover a rare one, it could collect a tidy sum of up to $US2,500.</span></p> <h2>LEGOs</h2> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Maybe not the one you stepped on in the middle of the night, but specific LEGOs are worth their weight in gold. For example, the 2010 mini-figure Jessie from Toy Story 2 in like-new condition is selling for around $US10 on Bricklink.com. A LEGO Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Hogwarts Castle Set recently sold for $US450. However, some of the most coveted LEGOs are the missing parts from valued sets – like a window, steering wheel, or rare colour brick – and can bring up to hundreds. </span><a href="http://www.handyman.net.au/ultimate-lego-tables-youve-got-see"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Check out these ultimate LEGO tables you’ve got to see</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <h2>Magazines</h2> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Magazines, newspapers, programs and the like are in a category called “ephemera,” Jacquie Denny, cofounder of EBTH says. That’s collector lingo for any printed matter that wasn’t made to last. “The value of items in this category is related to rarity, condition, and the number of issues,” notes Denny. Surprisingly enough, they don’t have to be ancient. A special edition Life magazine from 1969 featuring the Woodstock musical festival sold for $US113 on EBTH. </span><a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/travel/tips/how-to-pay-for-your-holiday"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Dreaming about your ultimate holiday? Find out how to pay for it with this great advice.</span></a></p> <h2>Not-so-old cookbooks</h2> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">You don’t have to have an out-of-print Julia Child cookbook to earn some extra bread. Betty Crocker cookbooks that were mass-produced and widely used can be worth $US10 to $US500, depending on their condition (ideally, not too many fingerprint stains on the pages). But signed cookbooks by a famous chef can sell like hotcakes. “Cookbooks published by a celebrity chef will generally perform better if signed and sold while their market is current. If they’re sold after the chef has lost popularity, the value will be greatly diminished,” Denny says.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Written by Lisa Marie Conklin. This article first appeared in <a href="https://www.readersdigest.co.nz/money/25-things-your-house-right-now-could-be-worth-money">Reader’s Digest</a>. Find more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, <a href="https://readersdigest.innovations.co.nz/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRA93V">here’s our best subscription offer</a>.</span></em></p>

Retirement Income

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Are you sitting on a gold mine?

<h2>Vintage handbags</h2> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">OK, answer honestly: How many posh handbags have you accumulated over the years? And how many are piled in a dark corner of your closet? Fashion history is fun to look at and to collect, and such a collection could earn you a sizable chunk of change. “Vintage Chanel in good condition will retail on a secondary market for $US2,000 to $US3,000 – or even $US400 if it is in poor condition,” says Marie Dietrich, an appraiser at Gary Germer and Associates. Prada, on the other hand usually sells for much less, says Dietrich, though the nicer ones still go for $US500 to $US800. Here’s where you can sell posh handbags and other specialty items online.</span></p> <h2>Postcards</h2> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Almost everyone has random old postcards lying around in a drawer. A single postcard can sell for as little as $2 or as much as a few hundred dollars, depending on a few factors. According to Warwick &amp; Warwick, the age, rarity, condition, and subject matter all play a role. If the postcard is signed by someone noteworthy, has a message of historical significance, or has a sought-after postage stamp or postal markings, it will bring in more. Some of the more popular collectible postcards can be Art Nouveau and Art Deco style, or feature social history, street scenes, or transportation.</span></p> <h2>TV Guides</h2> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Speaking of nostalgia, the April 9-15, 1983 issue of TV Guide featuring Elvis Presley on the cover sold for $US36 on EBTH. Although TV Guides are easy to find at garage sales and flea markets, what people seem to desire is the subject matter on the cover – especially if it fits into their collection. Fans of Elvis Presley make up a big portion of the market for TV Guides featuring him.</span></p> <h2>Polaroid camera</h2> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">There are plenty of people willing to pay a pretty penny for your Polaroid. Taking a picture and watching it develop before your eyes has always been cool. Plus, once a Polaroid shot develops, it looks like the vintage filter on Instagram. A Polaroid instant camera with film recently sold on EBTH for $US152; a fancier Polaroid with a gold- and leather-bound case was snapped up for $US553 on EBTH. Buy these items now and stash them for safe keeping because they will be worth a lot of cash down the road.</span></p> <h2>Retro video games</h2> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Maybe it’s because of the fascination with gaming, the vintage artwork, or the fact that as adults, the games people were denied as children are affordable to them now – and desirable. “Retro video games are currently enjoying a renaissance in popularity,” says Denny. What that means for you if you have them stacked away in a closet is extra dosh. This past June, EBTH auctioned off a collection of vintage Sega games for $US2,382, but single titles do very well on their own. A 2001 Smash Bros. Melee for Nintendo GameCube just sold for about $US37 on eBay.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Written by Lisa Marie Conklin. This article first appeared in <a href="https://www.readersdigest.co.nz/money/25-things-your-house-right-now-could-be-worth-money">Reader’s Digest</a>. Find more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, <a href="https://readersdigest.innovations.co.nz/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRA93V">here’s our best subscription offer</a>.</span></em></p>

Retirement Income

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Clean out your home and make some cash

<p><strong>Books</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Books are one of the biggest antique goldmines,” says John Linden, lead designer at MirrorCoop whose work includes interior design with vintage and antique decor. “Collectors pay a lot of money for first-edition copies of certain books. A first-edition copy of James Joyce’s </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Ulysses</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">, for example, is valued at around $US8,000; while there were only 1,000 copies printed, those books pop up all the time, says Linden. If you own one of these rare books, you’re sitting on a gold mine. </span></p> <p><strong>Costumes and masks</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Vintage Halloween masks and costumes are fun and collectible, but not worth a ton of money,” says Gary Germer, owner and appraiser with Gary Germer &amp; Associates. A Darth Vader mask recently sold for $US47 on the estate sales website Everything But The House; a set of Star Trek shirts sold for $US91. Vintage holiday decorations can also be pretty valuable. </span></p> <p><strong>Old microphones</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Some of us sang into hairbrushes while others used a real microphone. If you have a vintage microphone laying around, you could find a musician or music producer who would be willing to spend for it. Rare finds like the Neumann U-47 from the 1940s are worth tens of thousands of dollars online, Orkin says. But the vintage microphones most people are likely to find stashed away in a box is from a maker called Shure, which could probably fetch around $US50, Orkin says. </span></p> <p><strong>Vintage cookbooks</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Take a closer look at the old cookbooks that have been handed down to you; even if they have been lovingly used in the kitchen, they could be worth some scratch. Linden says cookbooks that have gone out of print are highly valuable. And celebrity chefs like the beloved Julia Child are always in demand. “In fact, there is a 1961 first edition of </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Mastering the Art of French Cooking</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> selling on AbeBooks for $US2,000 right now,” Linden says.</span></p> <p><strong>Pedal cars</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">You hung onto your grandpa’s pedal car for nostalgic reasons, but depending on the age and condition, it could be a goldmine. Even with a little rust on it, a 1930 Lincoln pedal car is worth about $US1,000, Germer says.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Written by Lisa Marie Conklin. This article first appeared in <a href="https://www.readersdigest.co.nz/money/25-things-your-house-right-now-could-be-worth-money">Reader’s Digest</a>. Find more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, <a href="https://readersdigest.innovations.co.nz/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRA93V">here’s our best subscription offer</a>.</span></em></p>

Retirement Income

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5 things in your house that could be worth money

<h2>Vinyl</h2> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Vinyl is back, baby! Hipsters and older people alike are fighting to get their hands on limited release titles and sought after vintage vinyl. But it’s hard saying what your collection may be worth. “Some records won’t sell for more than 50 cents while coveted first pressings can command thousands of dollars,” says Dan Orkin, who manages the </span><a href="https://reverb.com/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Reverb Price Guide</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> website. Currently, on the Reverb LP marketplace there is a 1956 self-titled Elvis Presley album listed for $US105, while the Purple Rain album, by Prince, still in shrink wrap, is listed for $US179. </span><a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/true-stories-lifestyle/thought-provoking/9-most-expensive-valuable-and-collectable-records-all-time"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Check out the 9 most expensive, valuable and collectable records of all time.</span></a></p> <h2>Arcade games</h2> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">That old arcade game that you dragged from your parent’s attic to your current house’s attic may be worth some change, even if it’s not working. According to Seth Peterson, co-founder and CEO of All You Can Arcade, a nonworking arcade game can still fetch $US100 to $US400. Working games range from $US600 to $US2,500. Some titles are hotter than others right now. “Asteroids is an awesome title with high replayability and is worth $US1,000,” says Peterson. “The value of Pong has quadrupled in the last four years and is approaching $US2000.” </span><a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/money/Make-Extra-Cash-by-Selling-Online"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Find out how to make extra cash by selling online.</span></a></p> <h2>Retro/Vintage T-shirts</h2> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Those T-shirts you just couldn’t part with from your youth could be worth a whole lot more than you originally paid for them. “Concert, advertising, and shirts with a cool scene are all the rage,” says Reyne Hirsch, long-time appraiser on Antiques Roadshow. A Prince T-shirt on Poshmark recently sold for US$380 and a 1990s Mario Brothers Nintendo 64 Game T-shirt sold for $US150. </span><a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/save-money-ways-youve-never-thought-these-10-tips"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Find out how to save money in ways you’ve never thought of before with these 10 tips.</span></a></p> <h2>Air Jordans</h2> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">You begged for them, saved up your pocket money, and babysat for endless evenings in order to buy those coveted Air Jordans. Was it worth it? Hirsch says you could have a slam dunk of cash in your soles. “Early Air Jordan sneakers can sell for hundreds if not thousands of dollars, depending on which model and the condition.” </span><a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/money/How-to-Tell-When-a-Special-Deal-is-Not-So-Special"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Find out how to tell when a special deal is not so special.</span></a></p> <h2>Turntables</h2> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Lovers of vinyl need something to spin their tunes on so they could be anxious to get your old turntable. “Stereo equipment has recently been selling quite well online, especially vintage turntables and stereo receivers,” says Orkin. Check out online sources like </span><a href="http://reverb.com/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Reverb</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> or eBay to see what similar turntables have sold for if you want to part with yours.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Written by Lisa Marie Conklin. This article first appeared in <a href="https://www.readersdigest.co.nz/money/25-things-your-house-right-now-could-be-worth-money">Reader’s Digest</a>. Find more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, <a href="https://readersdigest.innovations.co.nz/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRA93V">here’s our best subscription offer</a>.</span></em></p>

Retirement Income

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Strapped for cash? Selling these 5 things could help

<h2>1980s and 1990s furniture</h2> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">We’ve seen the return of mid-century modern in interior design but it could be on its way out. “What is starting to come into favour is furniture from the 1980s and 1990s,” says Hirsch. “Styles we remember from our childhood are the first things we gravitate towards when we go to furnish our own homes. It’s all about nostalgia,” he explains.</span></p> <h2>Depression glass</h2> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Depression glass is something to be happy about. Some patterns and colous are more desirable than others, so if you have a rare colour or pattern it could be very valuable; with full sets obviously fetching a premium. An ‘American Sweetheart’ style eight-piece full tea set recently sold on eBay for $US405, says Reyne.</span></p> <h2>Cookie jars</h2> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">That old cookie jar on your countertop is a hot collectible right now, Hirsch says, if it’s from the ’40s or ’50s. An Uncle Mistletoe Marshall Fields cookie jar from the 1950s recently sold for $US1,200. But you don’t have to have a Marshall Fields version to reap the cash: Hirsch says that cookie jars in the shape of a popular figure, like an iconic cartoon figure, go for $US200 to $US500.</span></p> <h2>Fender and Gibson guitars</h2> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">You may have given up your ambitions of being in a rock band, but that Gibson you plunked down cash for in high school is probably worth some serious bread today. “Vintage guitars from Fender and Gibson have remained popular over the years because they’re easily the two most recognisable guitar brands,” says Orkin. The price range is incredibly vast, but on Reverb, Orkin notes, Gibson guitars are consistently being bought and sold. A Gibson Les Paul from the 1950s can claim prices in the hundreds of thousands, Orkin says, while less-sought after brands and models may fetch hundreds.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Bob Dylan’s guitar, which he used on his first electric tour in 1966, recently sold at auction for an eye-watering US$490,000! Check out these other </span><a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/true-stories-lifestyle/entertainment/celebrity-items-fetched-top-dollar-auction"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Celebrity Items That Fetched Top Dollar at Auction</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <h2>Watches</h2> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Watches are a lot like fancy cars – the big names are what you’re looking for,” says Dietrich. But it’s the men’s watches that people collect. Women’s watches are jewellery and fashion and just not as desirable, she points out. And the more complex the men’s watch, the more valuable it could be. “Hand wound, gold or platinum, more jewels, moon phases, stopwatch functionality, day and time, etc., are what buyers are looking for,” notes Dietrich. You’ll do even better if you have a Rolex, Patek Philippe, LeCoultre, Vacheron Constantin, or Movado.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Written by Lisa Marie Conklin. This article first appeared in <a href="https://www.readersdigest.co.nz/money/25-things-your-house-right-now-could-be-worth-money">Reader’s Digest</a>. Find more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, <a href="https://readersdigest.innovations.co.nz/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRA93V">here’s our best subscription offer</a>.</span></em></p>

Retirement Income

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The majority of Australians are not saving enough for retirement

<p>Retirement incomes will leave many short, especially single people. <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Image sourced from www.shutterstock.com</span></span> <span><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/roger-wilkins-95906">Roger Wilkins</a>, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a></em> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/carsten-murawski-3627">Carsten Murawski</a>, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a></em></span></p> <p>Only 53% of couples and 22% of single people are on track to achieve a comfortable level of retirement income, according to an in-depth study of the adequacy of retirement savings.</p> <p>The outcome of a collaboration between researchers at the University of Melbourne and Towers Watson, the <a href="http://www.melbourneinstitute.com/downloads/working_paper_series/wp2014n05.pdf">study</a> has found a significant number of Australians are not likely to achieve adequate retirement incomes, even when all sources of savings are considered.</p> <p>The research sought to address the considerable uncertainty among policy makers and the broader community about the extent and nature of retirement savings deficiencies in Australia. To do so, we developed a set of metrics indicating the adequacy of retirement savings and applied those metrics to a large representative sample of the Australian population.</p> <p>The clear finding is that most Australians are still not on track towards reaching a comfortable income during retirement, and will continue to draw a large part of retirement income from the age pension. The implication is that, despite superannuation reforms dating back over 20 years, the problem of inadequate retirement savings remains a significant public policy issue for Australia.</p> <p>An important innovation of our study is that the metrics we developed take into account not only superannuation holdings (and projected growth in superannuation holdings through investment returns and future contributions) and the projected age pension entitlement, but also a variety of other household assets that could be used to fund retirement, including various financial assets and property.</p> <p>Using this information, we are able to forecast a person’s expected income throughout retirement. We then compare this income to a “target” income, which is provided by the <a href="http://www.superannuation.asn.au/resources/retirement-standard">Association of Superannuation Funds in Australia (ASFA) Retirement Standard</a> for a “comfortable” lifestyle. The ASFA standard for a comfortable lifestyle is a widely used benchmark, and specifies a minimum income of A$57,665 for couples and $42,158 for single people.</p> <p>The ASFA benchmarks are very close to both current average income levels of retirees in Australia and the income levels that pre-retirement Australians on average believe they will need for a satisfactory lifestyle in retirement. While this concordance may seem reassuring, our findings for the projected retirement incomes of pre-retirement Australians were not.</p> <p>We projected retirement income levels for a large, representative sample of Australians aged 40 to 64 ­– drawn from the nationally representative <a href="http://www.melbourneinstitute.com/hilda/">Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey</a> – and compared our projections to the income required to sustain a comfortable lifestyle.</p> <p>Based on our calculations, only 53% of couples and 22% of singles are on track to achieve a comfortable level of retirement income.</p> <p>Our study also shows the relative importance of different sources of retirement income. If we ignore all sources of retirement income other than superannuation, only 15% of couples and 5% of singles are projected to achieve the target. Indeed, applying the <a href="http://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/sites/factbook-2010-en/11/02/02/index.html?itemId=/content/chapter/factbook-2010-89-en">OECD poverty benchmark</a> of half median income, most retirees would be living in poverty.</p> <p>Factoring in the age pension improves projected retirement incomes for many people, but still only 32% of couples and 11% of singles are on track to have a comfortable retirement income.</p> <p>Our calculations have several implications. First, they show that, for most people, superannuation is not sufficient to fund a comfortable retirement, even if they have contributed to superannuation for most of their working lives.</p> <p>Second, it is important to take into account all potential sources of retirement income, including non-superannuation assets, when computing the adequacy of retirement savings. Omitting any of these sources will likely lead to substantial under-estimation of adequacy.</p> <p>Third, single people are particularly under-prepared for retirement, being three times more likely than couples to have severely inadequate projected retirement incomes.</p> <p>Fourth, there is a gap between expectations about the importance of the different sources of retirement income and the likely reality. <a href="http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/Lookup/4102.0Main+Features50March%202009">Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics</a> show that over half of men and two-fifths of women expect superannuation to be the main source of retirement income. However, our projections show that the age pension will provide 61% of the retirement income of single people, and 39% of the retirement income of couples. Moreover, 96% of single people and 89% of couples aged 40 to 64 today are expected to receive at least a partial age pension at some stage during retirement.</p> <p>Our analyses show that most people need to think ahead to their financial situation in retirement and, if possible, make some changes – the sooner, the better. The first step is to find out whether your savings are likely to be adequate – and you can now do this easily on the <a href="https://www.moneysmart.gov.au/tools-and-resources/calculators-and-tools/retirement-planner">ASIC MoneySmart web site</a>.</p> <p>The site offers a calculator based on a simplified version of the algorithm we used in our study. It takes less than 10 minutes to enter the required information and obtain an estimate of the adequacy of your retirement savings.</p> <p>Knowing now whether you need to save more towards your retirement is an essential first step towards a retirement in which you don’t have to fear running out of money.</p> <p><em>Professor Kevin Davis contributed to this study, which began prior to his appointment as a panel member of the Financial System Inquiry.</em><!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/24957/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><span><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/roger-wilkins-95906">Roger Wilkins</a>, Principal Research Fellow and Deputy Director (Research), HILDA Survey, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a></em> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/carsten-murawski-3627">Carsten Murawski</a>, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Finance and co-head of the Decision Neuroscience Lab, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a></em></span></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-majority-of-australians-are-not-saving-enough-for-retirement-24957">original article</a>.</em></p>

Retirement Income

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What happens when you free unemployed Australians from ‘mutual obligations’ and boost their benefits? We just found out

<div class="grid-ten large-grid-nine grid-last content-body content entry-content instapaper_body inline-promos"> <p>During COVID-19 the government ran what turned out to be a giant real-world experiment into what happens when you boost someone’s unemployment benefits and free them of the “mutual obligation” to apply for jobs.</p> <p>On April 27 2020 the government as good as doubled the $565.70 per fortnight JobSeeker payment, lifting it by $550 per fortnight for what turned out to be six months. In September the boost dropped to $250 per fortnight, and in December to $150 per fortnight.</p> <p>Next Thursday the boost vanishes, although the base rate of JobSeeker will climb by a less-than substantial $50 a fortnight, leaving recipients $100 a fortnight worse off than they have been, $500 per fortnight worse off than back when JobSeeker doubled and back well below the poverty line.</p> <p>From Thursday April 1 they will also be subject to much more demanding work tests, having to show they have applied for a minimum of 15 jobs a month, climbing to 20 jobs a month from July 1.</p> <p>On top of that the government has announced:</p> <ul> <li> <p>a return to compulsory face-to-face meetings with Jobactive providers</p> </li> <li> <p>work-for-the-dole after six months of unemployment</p> </li> <li> <p>a dob-in line for employers to report jobseekers who seem not to be genuine</p> </li> <li> <p>increased auditing of job applications to ensure they are legitimate</p> </li> </ul> <p>They are the sort of “mutual obligations” that were scrapped while JobSeeker was doubled.</p> <p>Yet the government’s natural experiment where they doubled benefits and freed recipients of “mutual obligations” provides us with an opportunity to examine how a more generous approach affected recipients and whether, as the government says, a tougher approach is needed in order to compel people to work.</p> <p>During last year’s more generous approach, we conducted an online survey of JobSeeker recipients and found that (contrary to what appears to be the government’s expectation), it was helping get people into work.</p> <p>Freed of “mutual obligations”, many were able to devote time to reengaging with the workforce.</p> <p>As one respondent said,</p> <blockquote> <p>I was able to focus on getting myself back into the workforce. Yes, mutual obligation activities PREVENT people from being able to start a new business or re-enter the workforce as an employee</p> </blockquote> <p>And the extra income freed recipients to do things that would advance their employment prospects; either through study, through properly looking for work, or buying the tools needed to get work.</p> <p>One said</p> <blockquote> <p>I could buy things that helped me with employment — equipment for online work, a bicycle for travel, a proper phone"</p> </blockquote> <p>An Australia Institute review of unemployment payments and work incentives in 33 OECD countries found something similar — that higher payments correlate to lower unemployment.</p> <p>Another respondent said the suspended mutual obligation requirements made it easier to care for an elderly parent during pandemic and their recovery from major surgery.</p> <p>Another said she had been able to focus on her health needs and her children.</p> <p>People on social security are often accused of being dependent on welfare, but it’s often the economy and society that are dependent on their unpaid labour.</p> <p>Yet (except for during the worst of the pandemic) these people have been denied a safety net that ensures their survival.</p> <span class="attribution"><span class="source"></span></span> <p>The inadequacy of payments goes to a major and enduring flaw in the Australian social security system — its inability to recognise all of the productive activities people undertake, including unpaid care  largely undertaken by women.</p> <p>The decisions the government took during 2020 made a major difference to the lives of people outside the formal workforce.</p> <p>They enabled them to turn their attention away from day-to-day survival towards envisioning and realising a more financially and emotionally sustainable future for themselves and their dependants.</p> <p>The flow-on benefits, to all of us, ought to be substantial.</p> <p>The government ought to be very interested.</p> <p>If it was, it would examine the findings further, but they don’t seem to be on its radar.</p> </div> <div class="grid-ten grid-prepend-two large-grid-nine grid-last content-topics topic-list"> <p class="p1"><em>Written by Elise Klein, Kay Cook and Susan Maury. This article first appeared on <a href="https://theconversation.com/what-happens-when-you-free-unemployed-australians-from-mutual-obligations-and-boost-their-benefits-we-just-found-out-157506">The Conversation</a>.</em></p> </div>

Retirement Income

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50% of Australians are prepared to pay more tax to improve aged care workers’ pay, survey shows

<p>The final report from the aged care royal commission this week was damning. Speaking of a system in crisis, it calls for an urgent overhaul.</p> <p>The Morrison government has been facing difficult questions regarding which of the 148 recommendations it will adopt. It also needs to grapple with how to pay for the much-needed changes.</p> <p>On this question, the royal commissioners disagree. Commissioner Lynelle Briggs calls for a levy of 1% of taxable personal income, while commissioner Tony Pagone recommends the Productivity Commission investigate an aged care levy.</p> <p>A 1% levy could cost the median person who already pays the medicare levy about $610 a year, while boosting funds for the aged care sector by almost $8 billion a year.</p> <p>So far, the government has played down the idea of new taxes. There is a view this would be hard sell for a Coalition elected, at least in part, to lower taxation.</p> <p>But as debate continues about how to make the changes we need to aged care (and not just talk about it), our research suggests many Australians support a levy to improve the quality and sustainability of our aged care system.</p> <p>Our research<br />In September 2020, we surveyed over 1,000 Australians aged 18 to 87 years, representative by age, gender and state. We wanted to find out how the pandemic influenced attitudes to health, well-being and caring for others.<br />Our findings indicated overwhelming public support for aged care reform, to ensure all older Australians are treated with dignity.</p> <p>The vast majority of our respondents (86%) either “strongly agreed” or “agreed” Australia needed more skilled and trained aged care workers. On top of this, 80% thought aged care workers should be paid more for the work that they did.</p> <p>More than 80% also either “strongly agreed” or “agreed” that nurses working in aged care should be paid at an equivalent rate to nurses working in the health system. Currently, nurses working in aged care are paid, on average, about 10-15% less.</p> <p><strong>The crunch point</strong><br />Importantly, 50% of our respondents showed a willingness to pay additional tax to fund better pay and conditions for aged care workers. Of those willing to pay more tax, 70% were willing to pay 1% or more per year.</p> <p>This finding supports previous larger-scale research we undertook for the royal commission, before the pandemic.</p> <p>Here we found similar levels of public support for increased income tax contributions to support system-wide improvements. This suggests politicians seem to underestimate the public appetite for improvements to the system, and people’s willingness to contribute to achieve this.</p> <p><strong>Changing ideas about economic ‘success’</strong><br />Our survey findings also highlighted a growing recognition among Australians of the importance of a broader range of social and economic goals.</p> <p>For some time, economists, academics, organisations and peak bodies have been calling for a move away from traditional economic indicators (such as economic growth and expanding gross domestic product) at any cost, towards a broader definition of success.</p> <p>This would see governments focus on policies that promote a more equal distribution of wealth and well-being, where the fundamentals of community cohesion are highly valued and our natural resources are protected.</p> <p>We asked our survey respondents to rank the relative importance of seven key areas of public policy in framing Australia’s pathway to recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, including:</p> <ul> <li>dignity (people have enough to live in comfort, safety and happiness)</li> <li>nature and climate (a restored natural world which supports life into the future)</li> <li>social connection (a sense of community belonging and institutions that serve the common good)</li> <li>fairness (equal opportunity for all Australians and the gap between the richest and the poorest greatly reduced)</li> <li>participation (having as much control over your daily life as you would want)</li> <li>economic growth (an increase in the amount of goods and services produced in Australia), and</li> <li>economic prosperity (full employment and low inflation levels).<br />The criteria ranked most important by the largest proportion of our survey respondents were dignity (20.1%) and fairness (19.3%).</li> </ul> <p>Traditional economic indicators were not the highest priorities for the Australians we surveyed. Instead, economic growth and prosperity were only ranked as a top priority by 15.3% and 15.2% of our respondents respectively.</p> <p>This suggests the general public recognises the importance of moving beyond the traditional markers of a successful society.</p> <p><strong>What Australians want</strong><br />Our research shows significant aged care reform is entirely consistent with the current priorities of the Australian public.</p> <p>The burning question now is whether the Morrison government will step up to the challenge.</p> <p class="p1"><em>Written by Rachel Milte and Julie Ratcliffe. This article first appeared on <a href="https://theconversation.com/50-of-australians-are-prepared-to-pay-more-tax-to-improve-aged-care-workers-pay-survey-shows-156299">The Conversation</a>.</em></p>

Retirement Income

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10 habits of cheapskates you can follow to save money

<p>Secrets of the frugal and wealthy<br />Frugal people tend to be wealthy people, but that doesn’t mean they live extravagantly. In fact, their cheapskate mentality is exactly what helps them get rich and stay that way.</p> <p>Drive inexpensive cars<br />People who are smart about money understand that a car begins to lose its value as soon as it’s driven off the lot, and they refuse to invest a substantial amount of money in a depreciating asset. Instead of plunking down chunks of his massive fortune on sports cars, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg drives a Volkswagen hatchback with a manual transmission. And IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad doesn’t buy cars at all – he uses public transport instead. Some cheapskates have done the math and realised using car services like Uber is even more cost-effective than buying a car.</p> <p>Invest in quality over quantity<br />Contrary to common belief, cost-conscious people aren’t cheap in the traditional sense of the word. In other words, they don’t buy junk just to save money. They would rather invest in a high-performing, top-notch gadget that will give them their money’s worth, than have to make repairs to or replace a cheaper version. In the long run, this saves the money it would take to constantly replace something cheaper.</p> <p>Prepare meals from scratch<br />Cheapskates don’t overpay for convenience. In the supermarket, they bypass the washed and chopped veggies and go straight for the whole heads of broccoli. They bypass the frozen food section and go straight for the fresh stuff – even if it means buying more than they need. That’s because they have a no-waste mentality – if they make too much, they save every scrap and label it before putting it in the freezer so they know what needs to be eaten first. This way, they stretch their grocery budget as far as possible.</p> <p>Don’t feel the need to constantly upgrade<br />Whether it’s a smartphone or a smart home, cheapskates don’t cave into pressure to keep up with the Joneses. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has dubbed the hamster-wheel pursuit of the latest and greatest gadgets “the upgrade treadmill.” And some extremely wealthy people have been known to live in the same home for a long time, even as their wealth grows. Billionaire Mark Cuban has famously lived in his house for almost two decades.</p> <p>Avoid the Diderot Effect<br />The Diderot Effect is a social phenomenon whereby someone acquires something of high quality and feels the need to make “reactive” purchases to complement the original one. For instance, a person buys a new rug. They’re enamoured of the rug, but it matches nothing in the room – so they make a slew of additional purchases in order to furnish a room that complements the rug. Frugal people are aware of this cycle, so they avoid temptation and don’t fall prey to it.</p> <p>Sidestep fees<br />Frugal people avoid fees – both hidden and otherwise – like the plague. Instead of automating all their payments, they’re constantly monitoring all of their bills and subscriptions to make sure new fees haven’t been introduced (and to make sure they’re not paying for goods and services they don’t need). If shipping fees for online purchases are too steep, they buy in-store. And ATM fees? Forget it. Cheapskates understand that dribs and drabs add up.</p> <p>Don’t shop for fun<br />Just like physically fit people don’t eat when they’re bored, financially healthy people don’t shop for entertainment. Their spending is far too intentional for that. When they’re stressed, upset or defeated, they don’t resort to retail therapy, because they know the high from mindless shopping is short-lived and will hurt them in the long run. Instead, they’ll turn to self-care – like exercising, laughing with loved ones or listening to music – to blow off steam and reap “rewards.”</p> <p>Try repairing before replacing<br />When something breaks, the easiest thing to do is replace it. But cheapskates would sooner expend energy than spend money – and some repairs don’t cost a whole lot, anyway. Things like dishwashers, shoes and furniture often need only easy, low-cost repairs – even when you hire someone to do the fix for you. Cheapskates will always pursue the repair route before thinking of buying something new.</p> <p>Opt for community-sponsored activities that are low-cost or free<br />The money-conscious are practically allergic to high-cost entertainment like live concerts or going to the movies (and buying popcorn!). But that doesn’t mean they lock themselves up inside and have no fun. In most communities, activities that cost little to nothing abound. Renting movies at the library, attending local productions and sports competitions, and taking advantage of free museum days top a cheapskate’s weekend itinerary.</p> <p>Save every cent – literally!<br />One of the everyday tricks of cheapskates is to save their spare change in a money jar instead of keeping it in their wallets, where they’ll be tempted to spend it. They literally empty out the change compartment each day and forget about. It’s one of the most practical ways possible to save money without even feeling it – and it adds up faster than you’d think. Remember: you can be frugal, but don’t be cheap!</p> <p class="p1">Written by <span>Kristine Solomon</span>. This article first appeared on <a href="https://www.readersdigest.co.nz/food-home-garden/money/10-habits-of-cheapskates-you-can-follow-to-save-money?pages=1"><span class="s1">Reader’s Digest</span></a>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, <a href="http://readersdigest.com.au/subscribe"><span class="s1">here’s our best subscription offer</span></a>.</p>

Retirement Income

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Can you rid yourself of 2020’s financial stress as we head into 2021?

<p>2020 has been a tough year for nearly everyone, and that may be especially true for retirees and those nearing retirement who suddenly are worried about whether their careful planning and years of saving could be upended by events beyond their control.</p> <p>After all, retirement is supposed to be a pleasurable and satisfying time when you kick back and enjoy the fruits of all those decades of labor. That’s difficult to do if you’re jittery about a volatile stock market, or you fret over every expenditure because you aren’t sure whether your savings can go the distance in a lengthy retirement.</p> <p>As this year draws to a close, and we look toward 2021, plenty of people still have worries. For them – and maybe for you – the future is uncertain. But frankly, the future is always uncertain, and worrying about your finances without taking charge of your situation does no one any good.</p> <p>So, if you’re already in retirement or plan to be there soon, how can you reduce some of that financial stress that’s weighing you down in these tumultuous times? Let me offer a few ideas:</p> <ul> <li><strong>Take control.</strong> Just stewing and letting the emotional strain rule your days and nights does no good. Instead, focus on actions you can take to help reduce some of that stress. Often, just doing something – anything – can help you feel better. Review your financial assets so you truly know where you stand. Those assets might include savings accounts, investment accounts, retirement accounts, life insurance, real property or other items. You can’t create a plan unless you know exactly where you stand, so taking stock of things should be the first step. That way you aren’t operating in the dark. And what about the “T” word? Taxes! Have you imparted tax-efficiency as a part of your retirement plan? Do you know your options when it comes to this certainty?</li> <li><strong>Reconsider the timing of your retirement.</strong> Whenever the economy is shaky, it’s best to consider your options ahead of time so you can be prepared before problems arise. If you’re still working, for example, and you suddenly lose your job, one option may be to retire earlier than you originally planned and take Social Security. That can come with downsides, though. If you begin drawing Social Security before your full retirement age (between 66 and 67 for most people) you receive a reduced monthly check. That could cost you tens of thousands of dollars over a long retirement. Conversely, if your job situation is stable but you're worried your nest egg is inadequate, consider postponing retirement. That will allow you to save more, potentially increase your Social Security benefits, and can potentially give your investments time to recover from temporary market declines.</li> <li><strong>Review your budget and clean up bad habits.</strong> Many of us have less-than-stellar financial habits that we developed over the years. Those patterns of behavior don’t magically disappear as you approach retirement. You need to be intentional about changing bad habits so you aren’t spending more money than you need to – or should. To help you determine the difference between necessary and discretionary spending, review the past six months to a year of expenditures. As you review your spending, think beyond all those momentary, one-time splurges. Include your regular household bills, such as utilities, cable and cell phone service. You might be able to save money through a family plan, by bundling services, or by cutting the cord altogether.</li> <li><strong>Evaluate the risk in your portfolio.</strong> Perhaps you have had an aggressive investment strategy, and that’s how you accumulated a big nest egg that (you hope) was designed to carry you through decades of retirement. But, in an uncertain market and with retirement already here or close at hand, it may be wise to re-evaluate how much risk you’re holding in your portfolio. Now would be a good time to diversify and consider other investment options so you can help protect what you already have.</li> </ul> <p>Remember, though, that if your unsteady financial situation is getting the better of you, you don’t have to go it alone. Find an experienced financial professional who can help you develop a plan that can potentially ease at least some of your worries.</p> <p>It’s possible to get back on track financially – and, hopefully, set aside those concerns that could mar your enjoyment of life in retirement.</p> <p class="p1"><em>Written by Alan Becker, president and CEO of <a href="http://www.rsgusa.net">Retirement Solutions Group</a> and author of Return on Investment or Reliability of Income? The True Meaning of ROI in Retirement.</em> </p>

Retirement Income

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12 easy ways to save $20 a day

<p><strong>Define your budget</strong><br />Saving $20 a day can be as basic as sitting down and crafting a realistic budget. “Our society has done a poor job at teaching people how to save as well as construct a real budget and stick to it,” says Tom Graneau, author of Pennies to Power. He asserts that our money problems can be traced to a lack of discipline rather than a lack of funds. Graneau recommends putting away 15 to 20 per cent of your pay every time you’re paid, making it unlikely you’ll have that extra $20 lying around to spend on something frivolous.</p> <p><strong>Consign your clothes</strong><br />When you’ve grown bored with a once-beloved item of clothing, consider its condition. If you feel it’s too good to be put in a charity bin, a local consignment shop or online consignment space could be the perfect place to score some extra cash. “Selling clothes through consignment is a great way to earn money,” says consignment website co-founder Brielle Buchberg.</p> <p><strong>Make your own coffee</strong><br />This sounds way too simple but your daily café runs seriously add up, especially if you like the fancy stuff. Once you factor in a café latte, perhaps an overpriced pastry, and a second coffee run later in the day, by the end of the week you have seriously blown your budget. Become a DIY barista and make your own concoctions.</p> <p><strong>Say bye to gym memberships</strong><br />Many of us belong to a fitness studio, and those memberships don’t come cheap. If you use them regularly, fine, but it not you could try exercising with the help of a Fitness app instead. Look for one that offers live classes so, even though you are exercising in the privacy of your own home, you can still get that group camaraderie. It will cost you a fraction of the price of a gym membership.</p> <p><strong>Get paid for your opinion</strong><br />As a consumer, your thoughts are incredibly valuable to marketing companies. So much so that you can often find paid survey opportunities when you reveal your purchasing habits and how you decide to buy items.</p> <p><strong>Mark two no-spend weeks on the calendar</strong><br />Depending on your consumer habits, this could be a real exercise in frugality. “Other than petrol in your car and groceries in your fridge, try at least two no-spend weeks each month where you don’t pay for any extras (like that new tech gadget you don’t need),” advises Jill Caponera, a Consumer Savings Expert. “You’d be surprised how much extra money you’ll save when you’re not constantly spending it.</p> <p><strong>Experience your city… for free</strong><br />Boredom can lead to unnecessary spending, yet finding inexpensive entertainment can feel impossible. However, there are likely dozens of fun and free events either in your city or a nearby destination that can save you money while offering up a unique experience you might never have otherwise considered. Type keywords like ‘free events’ in your search engine along with the name of your city or town to discover what’s happening nearby.</p> <p><strong>Don’t be afraid to borrow</strong><br />If you’re a good neighbour, you likely have trustworthy relationships with the folks who live nearby. Before you go out and purchase, say, a power tool or a leaf blower that you may only use once a year, chat to your neighbours to see if they have the item available to borrow. The savings add up and you’re reducing waste at the same time. It’s a win-win.</p> <p><strong>Keep your budgeting style old school</strong><br />Money-saving apps are great, but they aren’t for everyone. Caponera suggests using the good old ‘envelope system’ if you prefer to keep your cash in plain sight. “Set aside a specific amount of money in individual envelopes to cover different categories of your budget,” she says. “If you’ve budgeted $400 a month for groceries, take that amount out of your bank account at the beginning of the month and put the cash in a labelled envelope. This will help you to keep your spending in check and not dip into extra money that could be saved for the future.”</p> <p><strong>When you treat yourself, create a savings ‘match’</strong><br />This idea is truly genius. According to a campaign run by a non-profit organisation, you should match the cost of what they describe as ‘non-essential indulgence’ in savings. This means that if you really want that giant cookie from the coffee shop, you should match its cost in your savings account (or a labelled envelope in cash). Think of it this way, if you can’t afford to save the matching amount, you can’t afford the treat either.</p> <p><strong>Sell some stuff</strong><br />Whether you bought into the Beanie Baby craze of the ’90s or have some other collection that simply isn’t bringing you joy anymore, it’s time to let it go. Find an app to help you list and sell items that you no longer need, or get some neighbours together for a joint garage sale. When multiple families join forces for a sale, it tends to attract more buyers looking for a great deal.</p> <p><strong>Skip takeaways</strong><br />This always feels easier said than done, but if you plan your lunches and dinners for the week, your bank account will come out ahead. Take a look at grocery ads for weekly sales and what could make for a cost-effective but healthy dinner. Bringing your own lunch to work every day also saves you a packet, so if you make more dinner than you can eat, you can have leftovers for lunch.</p> <p><em>Written by Kelly Bryant. This article first appeared on <a href="https://www.readersdigest.co.nz/food-home-garden/money/12-easy-ways-to-save-20-a-day?pages=1">Reader’s Digest</a>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, <a href="http://readersdigest.co.nz/subscribe"><span class="s1">here’s our best subscription offer</span></a>.</em><span></span></p>

Retirement Income

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The do’s and don’ts of the share economy

<p>Selling in the sharing economy seems efficient. You have a spare room you aren’t using, rent it on Airbnb. You have spare time and a car, drive for Uber. You have mad Ikea skills, sell them on Airtasker. Work in the sharing economy can be a major income earner or a cash booster. Whether it's your primary income or you're testing the waters, there are a few dos and don’ts to maintain financial security in the sharing economy.</p> <p><strong>The dos</strong></p> <p>1. Contribute to superannuation</p> <p>Everyone earning income needs to be paying into superannuation. This is the most tax effective investment you can make in your future. Missing a few years of super payments because you were travelling and covering costs with small gigs will set you back. Even putting a little bit away helps.</p> <p>2. Get insurance</p> <p>Maintain your income protection insurance to protect against sickness or injury, trauma and TPD insurances. This is more important with the latest legislation change. You might also need professional indemnity and public liability insurance. Professional indemnity protects you if clients claim your service has caused them a loss. Public liability protects you if you injure a customer or damage their property. Check you are covered for general insurances – home, contents, car if you are using them for a side hustle.</p> <p>3. Research tax requirements, benefits and government regulations</p> <p>Governments are constantly catching-up to the sharing economy. Regulations and tax laws update frequently. Surprise tax bills are nobody’s friend, so keep on top of this. If you’re using your home, car or other assets you have opened up a new world of tax deductions. It’s worth your time to look into this. If this is an undeclared income you can’t claim deductions, but declaring a second-job might mean more tax deductions for things you previously couldn’t claim. Weigh up the options.</p> <p><strong>The don'ts</strong></p> <p>1. Don't underestimate the lifestyle costs of this work.</p> <p>Consider how this will impact your life. Is it going to be profitable enough to justify the distraction? Could it impact your primary income? What are the actual costs, like cleaning and wear and tear? Would the time and energy spent on this be better spent on a second job or seeking a promotion? Often, we think we can do it all, but everything has a cost. Be honest with yourself about how you want to live.</p> <p>2. Don't sacrifice your personal finances</p> <p>Know your limits and how much you want to invest to make it work. You’re effectively starting a new business. In the initial set up you will invest your own money. After that draw a clear line between business and personal finances. Think about whether you run the business in your own name, as a trust or as a company. This decision could determine whether you are personally liable for any debts. Understand your finances: what’s coming in, what’s going out, what you owe and what others owe you. This will help you avoid costly mistakes.</p> <p>3. Don't go in without an exit plan.</p> <p>Regulations change or you might hate it. You need an exit strategy that minimises financial losses. Think about this at the start, before you’ve invested. It may change how you do the initial set up. And if you’re relying on this income, then you’ll also need a back-up plan if you’re not earning it anymore.</p> <p>I have clients who have been earning income for years through the share economy. If planned and structured well it can make a real change to your financial situation. But flying in without considering costs, or personal security, could be dangerous. Take the time to think about your options. Time researching and planning is always a good investment.</p> <p><em>Helen Baker is a licenced Australian financial adviser and author of two books: On Your Own Two Feet – Steady Steps to Women’s Financial Independence and On Your Own Two Feet Divorce – Your Survive and Thrive Financial Guide. Proceeds from the books’ sales are donated to charities supporting disadvantaged women. Helen is among the 1% of financial planners who holds a master’s degree in the field. Find out more at <a href="http://www.onyourowntwofeet.com.au">www.onyourowntwofeet.com.au</a></em></p> <p><em>Note this is general advice only and you should seek advice specific to your circumstances.</em></p>

Retirement Income

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9 things financial advisors wish you knew

<p><strong>Check out the financial planner's credentials</strong><br />When shopping around for a financial advisor, look for accreditations, such as a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) or Registered Financial Planner (RFP). If they will be handling your investments, choose a reputable Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA).</p> <p><strong>Don’t delay</strong><br />If you’re trying to get out of debt or are sandwiched between dependent children and ageing parents, take a seat. “We recognise that financial advisors can take a back burner,” says money coach and CFP Sheila Walkington. “But it’s like insurance – get it before you need it.”</p> <p><strong>Go beyond the usual suspects</strong><br />Using your bank’s in-house financial advisors may be convenient. But while their products might suit your needs, they’re limited. It’s best to ask for a referral from family and friends. Look for a financial advisor whose clients are roughly in the same financial situation and life stage as you. And don’t be afraid to interview more than one candidate.</p> <p><strong>Everyone gets a little intimidated</strong><br />Many people don’t seek out financial planning advice because they don’t know what questions to ask. Good financial planners expect they’ll need to talk you through complex matters. “There’s a lot of shame associated with money,” says CFP Robyn Thompson. “But we don’t expect you to be an expert.”</p> <p>The initial discomfort is worth it. A survey by Canada’s Financial Planning Standards Council found people who have worked with a comprehensive financial plan felt twice as confident that they will have enough money to retire. As a general rule, you’ll need about 70 per cent of your pre-retirement annual income available each year.</p> <p><strong>Come ready to chat</strong><br />Good financial advisors will spend at least a couple of hours getting to know you before recommending products or strategies. “We’ll look at your taxes, income, investments, retirement savings, estate planning, insurance, debt and any other issues,” says Thompson. Your planner should check in with you at least once annually.</p> <p><strong>Keep things simple</strong><br />It’s your financial advisor’s responsibility to make sure they clearly communicate concepts to you. If they talk down to you or bewilder you with jargon, bid them adieu.</p> <p>Also, beware of the exaggerator. Head for the door if your advisor promises to “beat the market” – no one can safely guarantee that.</p> <p><strong>Be honest</strong><br />Lay out your income and spending, warts and all. “We can bring clarity to your financial habits and give you tools to help,” says Walkington.</p> <p><strong>Know how your financial advisor gets paid</strong><br />It’s fair to ask whether they receive fees for recommending some products over others, and be sure what you’re buying meets your needs.</p> <p>If you’re looking for an unbiased approach, fee-for-service financial advisors will charge by the hour or project, and isn’t motivated by commissions to sell you certain products.</p> <p><strong>Don’t D.I.Y.</strong><br />Just because you think you can handle your own securities trades, it doesn’t mean you should. Reading headlines about the latest market meltdown can make even the most level-headed investor act rashly. An experienced financial planner can keep you on an even keel through the market’s ups and downs.</p> <p><em>Written by Anna-Kaisa Walker. This article first appeared on <a href="https://www.readersdigest.co.nz/food-home-garden/money/9-things-financial-advisors-wish-you-knew"><span class="s1">Reader’s Digest</span></a>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, <a href="http://readersdigest.co.nz/subscribe"><span class="s1">here’s our best subscription offer</span></a>.</em></p>

Retirement Income

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$1 solutions you’ll wish you knew sooner

<p><strong>Pull nails out gently</strong><br />If you’re planning to pull a nail out of wood but worry that the hammerhead will hurt the grain, protect the wood before using the hammer. How? Slip a plastic spatula under the head of the hammer before you start the job.</p> <p><strong>Replace the oil in baking</strong><br />Fat makes baked goods moist and tender. It’s also incredibly kilojoule-dense, and if you’re cutting kilojoules, it’s an easy place to start. But say you don’t like your cakes and muffins dry and tough? Then applesauce is the answer. Replace up to 2/3 of the oil called for in a cake or muffin recipe with applesauce, and you’ll add moisture and flavour while ditching the fat.</p> <p><strong>Sweeten the house</strong><br />People who are allergic to air fresheners and sprays can still enjoy the benefits of a sweet-smelling house. Wet a cotton ball with vanilla and dab it very lightly on the outside of a regular light bulb (not a halogen bulb) in your lamps. When you turn on the lamp, the bulb heats up and a faint but alluring scent of vanilla drifts out.</p> <p><strong>Soften beans</strong><br />Afraid those dry beans have been on the shelf too long? Help soften them by adding a pinch of baking soda to the soaking water. Add a fresh pinch to the cooking water, too, and you can significantly reduce the aftereffects of bean consumption.</p> <p><strong>Neutralise mouth ulcers</strong><br />Place an antacid tablet directly on the ulcer, giving it time to dissolve, or simply chew one. The medicine will stop the acids and enzymes in your mouth from attacking the tissue in the sore, and more importantly, it will stop the pain. (Be sure to check the product’s label for correct dosage instructions.)</p> <p><strong>Rip it off the right way</strong><br />Pulling an adhesive bandage off your child’s skin can be tough on both of you. Make it easier by rubbing the bandage with a cotton ball soaked in baby oil. Rub until you can easily pull the bandage off. This trick works well for adults with sensitive skin, too.</p> <p><strong>Clean your carpet overnight</strong><br />Whether your carpet smells dank and musty because of a pet, a smoker, or a season of rain, take the odour out with baby powder. Using a flour sifter, spread the powder generously over the carpet. Let it sit overnight – a few hours will suffice, but overnight is better – and vacuum up the powder and the smells in the morning.</p> <p><strong>Hold a nail</strong><br />Stop hitting your fingers every time you hammer a nail in place. Use the teeth of an ordinary comb to hold the nail while you hammer.</p> <p><br /><strong>Get rid of fishy odours</strong><br />Been chopping something pungent? The smell of garlic or fish can linger on your fingers long after the food is gone. Avoid that by scrubbing your wet hands with baking soda, just as if it were soap, then rinse in warm water. Your hands will smell sweet – and feel softer, too.</p> <p><strong>Remove splinters</strong><br />Make a paste of Epsom salt and water and apply it to the area harbouring a splinter. The paste will pull the splinter to the surface of the skin in about 10 minutes. It will pull insect stingers out of your skin, too.</p> <p><br /><strong>Skip the shaving cream</strong><br />Use hair conditioner for a smooth, clean shave – on your legs, under your arms, and (for men) even on your face. The conditioner will pamper your skin as well as your hair! You can also use hair conditioner as a soothing agent for legs irritated by shaving.</p> <p><strong>Preserve your bouquet</strong><br />Spray the undersides of your cut flowers – leaves and petals – with hair spray to prolong their life. Be sure to stand about 30 cm away when you spray them for best results.</p> <p>Numb your eyebrows<br />Make plucking your eyebrows much less painful by putting an ice pack on them until they’re uncomfortably cold. At that point your skin will be numb enough to begin plucking. You won’t even feel the tug!</p> <p><strong>Train a dog</strong><br />Most dogs hate the sound of dried beans rattling in a can. Use that to your advantage when training a dog by putting a handful of beans in the bottom of an empty aluminium soda can. Seal the top with a strip of tape. When your dog misbehaves, shake the can a couple of times.</p> <p><br /><strong>Refresh tired feet</strong><br />Take this tip from marathon runners, who know that a ten-minute soak in a sugarless mouthwash will take your tootsies from tired to terrific. Alcohol invigorates and mint will make them smell sweet again.</p> <p><strong>Remove crayon from walls</strong><br />If you find crayon markings on your wall, don’t get mad – get shaving cream. Spray the shaving cream directly onto the offending artwork, and scrub it off with a toothbrush or scrub brush.</p> <p><strong>Make a close-fitting hot pad</strong><br />Soothe aching muscles with a custom-made hot pad. Fill a long sock, such as a tube or athletic sock, with dried beans, and tie the top tightly closed with ribbon or string. Heat in a microwave on high for 30 seconds. Place it right on your painful spot. You can drape it around a stiff neck or wrap it around a sore wrist, and it will mould to you, providing faster relief.</p> <p><strong>Keep cookies fresh</strong><br />Homemade chocolate chip cookies can go from tasting deliciously soft and cakey to feeling hard and crunchy in a matter of days. To keep your freshly baked cookies tasting freshly baked, put a couple of slices of bread into the tin or jar where you store the cookies, laying the bread right on top of the cookies. The bread will keep that just-out-of-the-oven flavour and texture intact for up to a week.</p> <p><strong>Wax your windows</strong><br />Do your double-hung windows have a bumpy ride every time you open or close them? If your windows don’t slide up and down with ease, let a candle help them. Clean the insides of the window frame where the sashes travel, then rub the same area with a candle. The windows will have a much smoother journey.</p> <p><strong>Make your garage floor sparkle</strong><br />If you find a puddle of oil on your concrete garage floor, pour paint thinner over it, and then cover the area with kitty litter. (Make sure that the garage is well ventilated by keeping the garage door open, and don’t let anyone smoke or strike matches anywhere near the affected area – and keep the cats away.) The kitty litter will absorb the oil. Just sweep up the mess and you’re done.</p> <p><strong>Clean smudges off suede</strong><br />Suede jackets, shoes and handbags look great, but they’re prone to picking up dirty marks. Clean fresh smudges off quickly and easily before they set into stains by rubbing the suede gently with a piece of fresh white bread. Use a small, circular motion. You may need a second piece of bread to get the spot clean.</p> <p><strong>Keep down items from clumping</strong><br />Throw one or two tennis balls into the dryer the next time you dry down-filled items like pillows, comforters and jackets. They’ll ditch the flat look they get from the washing machine and puff up again with pride.</p> <p><strong>Repel mosquitoes</strong><br />You may love the mild apple-like flavour of chamomile tea but mosquitoes absolutely hate it. Brew a very strong batch of chamomile tea and keep it in a spray bottle in the fridge. Before you relax in the back yard or run through the tall grass, spray exposed skin liberally. It’s fragrant, potent and totally safe for children.</p> <p><strong>Fill a stripped screw-hole</strong><br />If the screw keeps turning and turning in a piece of wood, push a bit of foil loosely in the hole and try again. It will grab tight.</p> <p><strong>Freshen a fridge</strong><br />If something soured in your fridge or the freezer failed, clean it out, then fill a wide, shallow bowl with fresh coffee grounds and leave it in the fridge or freezer overnight. The strong scent of coffee will permeate the space, eradicating any hint of what went wrong.<br /><br /><strong>Banish burned-on food</strong><br />Liquid fabric softener is your best friend when it comes time to scrub pots and pans soiled by your worst enemy, baked-on grime. Soak the offending vessel in water and a squirt of fabric softener. Let it sit for an hour. Wash and rinse it all away.</p> <p><strong>Feed your plants</strong><br />Used coffee grounds are full of nitrogen, so it’s a shame to throw them away each day. Coffee is especially good for acid-loving plants, like camellias, evergreens, rhododendrons, azaleas and rose bushes, so be sure they don’t miss out on the occasional cup of coffee – grounds, that is.</p> <p><strong>Oil squeaky hinges</strong><br />Spray a little oil-based furniture polish on a squeaky door hinge, then open and shut the door several times to work the lubricant into the hinge. The furniture polish is a lot cleaner than the oil you’d usually use for a noisy hinge, and it works just as well to silence the squeak.</p> <p><strong>Untangle a shoelace</strong><br />Junior got a knot in his sneaker and pulled and pulled until it became an impenetrable mass. Sprinkle the knot generously with cornflour, and then work the knot again. The laces will start to slip and slide, and you’ll be able to get the kinks out.</p> <p><strong>Breathe better with a paper bag</strong><br />Got a case of the hiccups? Stop them before you start to hurt. Breathe in and out of a paper bag for a few minutes. You’ll create a build-up of carbon dioxide in your lungs, which helps relax your diaphragm – whose involuntary tightening causes the hiccups in the first place. This trick works if you’re hyperventilating, too.</p> <p><strong>Give the jar a hand</strong><br />No more banging a jar on the floor to loosen a tight lid. No more running it under hot water. And no more fancy tools designed to do the trick – that somehow don’t work. Just put on a pair of rubber gloves, and open the jar with ease. (Psst – sandpaper also works wonders!)</p> <p class="p1"><em>This article first appeared on <a href="https://www.readersdigest.co.nz/food-home-garden/home-tips/1-solutions-youll-wish-you-knew-sooner?pages=1"><span class="s1">Reader’s Digest</span></a>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, <a href="http://readersdigest.co.nz/subscribe"><span class="s1">here’s our best subscription offer</span></a>.</em></p>

Retirement Income

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The one quality Steve Jobs always looked for in employees

<p>Do you have what it takes to land a career that can make you a millionaire before you retire? Sure, you can perfect your resume, dress to impress, and nail the trickiest interview questions. But odds are, you’re probably forgetting one rather underrated quality – and for the late Steve Jobs, it mattered much, much more than a polished CV.</p> <p>In a rarely seen interview, a then-young Jobs revealed that when he was first hiring professional managers for Apple, he quickly learned that “most of them were bozos.” “They knew how to manage, but they didn’t know how to do anything,” he added.</p> <p>So, from there on out, Jobs began to value a different trait in job candidates. “We wanted people who were insanely great at what they did, but were not necessarily those seasoned professionals,” he said. “But who had at the tips of their fingers and in their passion the latest understanding of where technology was and what they could do with that technology.”</p> <p>In other words, forget job experience; Jobs wanted passionate people on his team, instead. Why, you ask? Not only can enthusiastic employees manage themselves, but they also understand the company’s mission – and strive for that common goal with earnest.</p> <p>To find employees with this type of passion, the Apple team interviewed each job candidate by presenting a Macintosh prototype and noting his or her reaction. “We wanted their eyes to light up and to get really excited,” Andy Hertzfeld, one of Apple’s first software engineers, said. “Then we knew they were one of us.”</p> <p><em>Written by Brooke Nelson. This article first appeared on </em><a href="https://www.readersdigest.co.nz/culture/what-steve-jobs-looked-for-in-an-employee"><em>Reader’s Digest</em></a><em>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, </em><a href="http://readersdigest.co.nz/subscribe"><em>here’s our best subscription offer</em></a><em>.</em></p>

Retirement Income