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3 easy ways to eradicate mould at home

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It can be difficult to identify hidden mould in an older home. However, once you have discovered it, you can learn to eliminate it forever.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Spores are small, often incognito little gremlins that can grow from one to many in a very short amount of time. They can remain invisible for months or even years, but if they are left alone, they can slowly take over your house and affect your family's health.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">So, what should you do to identify exactly where those unwanted little spores are lurking?</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Energy-efficiency expert and scientist Jenny Edwards from Light House Architecture and Science has uncovered helpful mould precautions tips specifically for Australian homes.</span></p> <p><strong>Tip 1: Don’t block off airways </strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In the winter months it is easy to close the blinds early and lock in the heat from the heater. However, doing this will create a petri dish of mould in your room, especially bathrooms. Edwards suggests that you should always install a new extractor fan in the bathrooms of older homes. It will stop the moisture from growing spores.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;"><strong>Handy hint:</strong> Keep the extractor fan on after you leave the shower because it needs time to work. </span></p> <p><strong>Tip 2: Try not to dry your clothes inside </strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Sometimes drying your clothes inside is unavoidable. However, if there is a ray of sunshine outside and a slight breeze, try and let your garments blow in the wind. Wet clothes drying inside will increase the moisture in the air and lead to condensation. Condensation, of course, grows the mould and that is what we are trying to avoid.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;"><strong>Handy hint:</strong> If you do dry clothes inside then at least put them in the sunniest room in the house and have the windows open to allow some sun and air in.</span></p> <p><strong>Tip 3: What do to if your house already has mould </strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">You can be super cautious and attentive but mould can still creep through the cracks. So, if you do discover mould that you missed upon execution, here is what you do.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">CEO for Mycology Dr Heike Neumeister-Kemp says that the best way to get rid of mould is using white vinegar and a microfibre cloth. If there is a huge amount of mould that you can't reach, then the last resort would be to use a dehumidifier to attack the build-up of moisture.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">If you live in a home that is a little older, have a building inspector check for any mould if you think you can smell it but can’t find the source of. It can make the difference.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;"><strong>Handy hint:</strong> The best way to get rid of mould is using white vinegar and a microfibre cloth.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Written by Stewart Bunn. Republished with permission of </span><a href="https://www.wyza.com.au/articles/property/3-easy-ways-to-eradicate-mould-at-home.aspx"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Wyza.com.au</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></em></p>

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Drivers bamboozled over three-way speed limit

<p>A confusing Sydney road featuring three different signs enforcing the speed limit has baffled drivers. </p> <p>A reddit user posted an image of the road with multiple signs with the caption “Let’s play a game.”</p> <p>One sign told drivers to a red light speed camera, saying the speed limit is 50km/h. On the ground, leaning up against that sign post is another sign which says 40km/h due to road work. </p> <p>However, to add to the confusing sage, on the road, the big “60” indicates the speed limit is 60km/h.</p> <p>The road is O’Riordan Street approaching Gardeners Road in Alexandria, in Sydney’s inner city.</p> <p>“Legally, the speed limit is enforced if the numbers are surrounded by a red ring. So the numbers on the road virtually mean nothing, in the eyes of the road laws,” one user wrote.</p> <p>“It's 40. Road work signs supersede the posted limit,” another added.</p> <p>“I work for the traffic control company that is in that area, if it is Alexandria. They're meant to cover other signs if they put out a 40 sign, so someone was lazy,” one Reddit user wrote.</p> <p>The photo was then taken to Facebook page<span> </span>Dash Cam Owners Australia<span> </span>which managed to cause a stir. </p> <p>“The police have answered this question before when it's asked, they say the lowest speed limit is the one that applies,” one informative person replied. </p> <p>A few Facebook users joked all the speeds together should be added together so 40, 50 and 60, which would equal 150km/h.</p> <p>O’Riordan Street’s speed limit was reduced from 60km/h to 50km/h on October 13, 2019. </p> <p>The Road and Maritime Service website reads “Where a road work speed limit sign is displayed, the speed limit is enforceable and must be obeyed.</p> <p>“When approaching roadworks pay attention to all signs and obey reduced speed signs.”</p>

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How easy is it to flip a property?

<p>‘Flipping’ or buying properties to do up and sell can be a lot of work but the pay-off could be huge when the time comes to selling your fixer-upper. With risk comes rewards and flipping properties may just be the best financial decision for you, but weigh up the odds first.</p> <p><strong>Risk versus profit</strong> <br />Most people recognise the risks that come with flipping properties. You invest your time and hard earned money into renovating a home but it may not always pay off when it comes time to sell. Before you do anything, you must plan your budget for fixing up the fixer-upper and budget down to the smallest of things. Investing Answers suggests that you pay for the house in cash and avoid getting a mortgage for it. Even splitting the investment with a partner will be better. Having a mortgage is a "fixed obligation" and it adds extra pressure for you to be successful with flipping.</p> <p><strong>What do buyers look for?</strong> <br />The <a href="http://www.nationalpropertybuyers.com.au/buyers-agents-australia/?gclid=CLXI2pmL_c4CFQuMvQodUnQG9A">Real Estate Buyers Agents Association</a> recently released a survey of the most popular features that Australians want for their new home. These are the top 10 features:</p> <p>1. Open plan living</p> <p>2. At least two bathrooms</p> <p>3. Natural light </p> <p>4. Close to schools and shops</p> <p>5. Kitchens that flow out to outdoor entertainment</p> <p>6. Two living areas</p> <p>7. Level yard</p> <p>8. Pantry</p> <p>9. Storage space</p> <p>10.Secure car space</p> <p>Now that you know the most popular features, you can start to plan your renovations with them in mind. Aussies love to renovate their homes but perhaps more importantly, they like to do it themselves. This means that there will be a lot of costs saved on hiring people to build or demolish.</p> <p><strong>Best house on the worst street or worst house on the best street?</strong> <br />Location can make or break your gains when flipping a property; just remember -  it's all about the serenity. Buying a run-down house and fixing it up can be great, but not if it is on a terrible street. You have to ask yourself if the features of the neighbourhood are going to add value to your home. Research the past rates of property growth in surrounding streets, as well as nearby schools and amenities.</p> <p>If you are now entering the world of flipping property, know that it is a tough game to play. But if you win, the rewards can set you up for a successful financial future. Talk to the team at <a href="https://www.firstnational.com.au/">First National Real Estate</a> to find out the best places to buy for your next investment. </p> <p><em>Republished with permission of <a href="https://www.wyza.com.au/articles/property/how-easy-is-it-to-flip-a-property.aspx">Wyza.com.au.</a></em></p>

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How to have a real work-life balance

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Far too many Australians are stressed at work and it’s taking a toll on our physical and mental wellbeing. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), one in five workers suffers from some form of mental illness whether that be depression, anxiety, stress disorders or suicidal thoughts.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Untreated mental health conditions cost Australian workplaces approximately $10.9 billion every year. The importance of easing this stress and anxiety is clear. But is the solution as simple as cutting down on work?</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Shannah Kennedy, life coach, corporate speaker, author and co-creator of the Master Class of Wellness, a program that empowers professionals to reach their highest potential, says you can have a successful career and achieve a happy, balanced life without giving up your work.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“We’re taking our work with us everywhere we go these days. Work-life balance isn’t about having lots of time off work, it’s about blending our work and recreation to where we feel we have a sense of control over our health - mentally, physically and emotionally,” she says.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Kennedy says we are often to blame for pushing ourselves too hard. One way we do this is that we don’t set clear boundaries on how we use technology and there is often no separation between our work life and our personal life.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Checking phones next to our beds, checking our emails constantly affects the neural pathways for addiction. So people aren’t sleeping properly, they are overwhelmed by information and there is no off switch,” she says.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The inability to say no to people’s requests when we really should be looking after our own interests is another contributing factor. We quite often put others’ interests ahead of our own trying to be the best family member, employee, or friend that we can be. Kennedy calls this the ‘disease to please’ and it’s a habit that has to be broken if we are going to find a better work-life balance.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Many people may not even be aware that they are stressed, caught up in what Kennedy calls the ‘treadmill of life’. Telltale signs include sleep apnoea, overreacting to situations and having thoughts that replay in your head constantly. You may also find that you’re not really present in your relationships, may have high blood pressure or have trouble tasting your food.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Those close to retirement age can be particularly at risk of stress and anxiety as they often haven’t prepared for life beyond work and find themselves having to contemplate starting all over again. “Many have forgotten to work on their friendships and hobbies and have to start from scratch when they retire,” says Kennedy.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Life coaches Shannah and Lyndall share their tips for achieving that work-life balance we all long for</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But by managing your workplace stress you can become more productive at work and a healthier, happier and more inspired version of yourself. Follow these key strategies to begin your transformation.</span></p> <p><strong>Learn to say “No”</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“We fear rejection and we fear missing out, but it’s important to realise that you can’t do everything without it having a detrimental effect on you,” says Kennedy. But how can you say no without offending people? Kennedy says it’s about being nice first. “Thank the person for their invitation and then say ‘unfortunately I can’t make it this time’. Use the time to do something that helps you rest and rejuvenate instead,” advises Kennedy.</span></p> <p><strong>Have a plan and track your time</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Track your time with a timetable and include work but also activities such as yoga, meditation and social catch ups that improve your mind, body, hobbies and relationships. You should schedule this time in the same as you would important business meetings, advises Kennedy. “Book in the asset first. You are that asset in life and it’s about protecting that asset and booking time out to work on and with that asset,” says Kennedy.</span></p> <p><strong>Have technology boundaries</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Don’t sleep with your phone next to your bed and incorporate technology blackout periods into your day. Not checking your work emails will make you feel calmer, but you will also find you become more productive, free from distractions like social media. “From 8pm at night in my house, it’s phones and tablets switched off. Similarly, phones and devices are kept off until after exercise and breakfast and that gives us time to switch off too,” says Kennedy.</span></p> <p><strong>Move your body</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Exercise is a perfect stress release and has the added benefit of keeping us fit, healthy and reenergised. Instead of coming home from work and having more ‘screen time’, invest in your body by going for a walk or taking an exercise class. You will feel more refreshed when you do have to tackle those stressful work deadlines.</span></p> <p><strong>Breathe deeply</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Kennedy calls this her big secret that allows her to perform better and without stress in her working life. “Most of the population use only 30 per cent of their lung capacity. They are not maximising the oxygen intake into their bodies and their brains so they can’t think; they can’t make decisions,” she says. To reap the benefits of life-giving oxygen take five deep breaths three times a day. “You can change your whole mental state if you learn how to breathe properly,” says Kennedy.</span></p> <p><strong>Use technology to help you</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Don’t be a slave to technology. “Make it your slave and become more productive,” says Kennedy. Program your phone’s calendar with things that are non-negotiable to you and set your phone to notify you when you should be doing them. “That means my yoga, my walk, my friend time, my finances. When you get a notification to do your finances for example, you know you can’t go to bed until you finish them,” Kennedy says.</span></p> <p><strong>See a life coach</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Bring some extra help into your life by finding a life coach. “A qualified life coach can help educate you about how to better manage your work-life balance and then help you create the structure you need to be the best version of yourself by helping you improve your health, wellbeing, your family life and career,” says Kennedy.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Written by Dominic Bayley. Republished with permission of <a href="http://www.Wyza.com.au">Wyza.com.au.</a></span></em></p>

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NSW looking to remove speed camera warning signs

<p>The NSW government is considering scrapping speed camera warning signs across the state in a move it claimed could save 54 lives a year.</p> <p>Transport and Roads Minister Andrew Constance said road fatalities had increased and the government was looking at strategies to reduce preventable deaths.</p> <p>According to <a href="https://roadsafety.transport.nsw.gov.au/downloads/dynamic/nsw-road-toll-daily.pdf">Transport for NSW</a>, there have been 312 lives lost on the road so far this year, up by 14 compared to this time last year. The figures are on track to overtake the 2018 record of 347 deaths.</p> <p>“Expert advice says we could save 54 lives a year by removing speed camera warning signs,” Constance said in a statement.</p> <p>“We’ve seen speed cameras reduce fatality rates by 80 per cent at intersections around this state.</p> <p>“Everyone needs to know, if you adhere to the law, you don’t pay a fine. If you pay a fine, the money’s going into the road safety fund to try and teach you to do the right thing in the first place.”</p> <p>A <a href="https://www.audit.nsw.gov.au/our-work/reports/mobile-speed-cameras">report released by the state’s Auditor-General</a> last year said warning signs for speed cameras “limit the effectiveness of the program”, and their removal could help create “a perception that speeding can be enforced anywhere at any time”.</p> <p>The NRMA has spoken against the possible move, with spokesman Peter Khoury saying the signs are important to lower road toll.</p> <p>“The signs are important, they play an important educational role on our roads and the cameras then do the enforcement,” Khoury told <em><a href="https://www.news.com.au/technology/innovation/motoring/nsw-to-remove-speed-camera-warning-signs/news-story/6a8f1b60e744e01bd7b50c503c9f597f">news.com.au</a></em>.</p> <p>“These cameras intentionally go into some of the most dangerous locations on the roads where people have been killed or injured. What we want is people to slow down – there’s no point telling them two weeks later with a fine in the mail.”</p> <p><a href="https://7news.com.au/travel/driving/sydneys-speed-cameras-make-104-million-in-revenue-in-12-months-c-511092">Reports released last month</a> found that Sydney drivers have paid $104 million in speed camera fines in the last 12 months.</p> <p>However, Khoury said he did not want to focus on the revenue-raising potential of the proposal, which could see the speed camera revenue rise by $200 million a year.</p> <p>“We don’t want it to be a discussion about revenue, we want it to be about what we can do to reduce this horrific road toll,” Khoury said.</p>

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Carer found guilty of assaulting 81-year-old dementia patient

<p><span>A carer who punched her 81-year-old dementia patient in Wollongong has been described by a magistrate as “disturbing” and “nasty”.</span></p> <p><span>On Thursday, Alicia Gawronski was found guilty of common assault and intimidation of Gladys Buchanan in August last year.</span></p> <p><span>Gawronski, who had been working as the live-in carer for Buchanan in her Thirroul home in New South Wales’ south coast, could be heard yelling and swearing at the patient in <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-10-31/alicia-gawronski-guilty-of-punching-81-yo-dementia-patient/11660182" target="_blank">two videos recorded by police</a> outside the elderly woman’s home.</span></p> <p><span>“You are full of s**t,” Gawronski said. “No-one is going to believe someone who is full of s**t and has got dementia, remember that.”</span></p> <p><span>Gawronski also made some threats, including: “If you keep behaving like this, you’ll be going to a nursing home, and I’m going to make sure it’s the worst one available.”</span></p> <p><span>Sounds of slapping and screaming could also be heard in the video.</span></p> <p><span>Buchanan’s neighbour Stephen Leebold called the police after hearing the noise coming from the house.</span></p> <p><span>“There was no way you would talk to a human being like that unless you were trying to denigrate them,” Leebold said.</span></p> <p><span>Senior Constable Brack Lipinski, one of the police officers who responded to the triple zero call, said he saw Buchanan sitting on the floor without her pants on before Gawronski punched her in the leg.</span></p> <p><span>Gawronski said at the court that the slapping noise came from her hitting herself in an attempt to gain Buchanan’s attention.</span></p> <p><span>“Me slapping myself to get her attention, when she goes into these episodes she is not there anymore, it is quite heartbreaking,” she said. “But I am trying to get her to come back.”</span></p> <p><span>She also defended her threats, saying they were akin to “Aussie larrikin pub talk” and not meant to “scare” Buchanan. </span></p> <p><span>“It wasn’t in a sense to upset or scare her, but she didn’t want to go and it got to a point where I couldn’t care for her then she would have to go,” she said.</span></p> <p><span>Magistrate Roger Clisdell said Gawronski was “delusional” for assuming that her physical and verbal abuse against the elderly woman was normal behaviour.</span></p> <p><span>“One could go so far as to say the tone is poisonous, nasty, threatening, mean-spirited,” Magistrate Clisdell said.</span></p> <p><span>“To say what happened that night was ‘disturbing’ was to put it mildly. She was abused and threatened.”</span></p> <p><span>The magistrate said Gawronski had “reached the end of her tether and she was incapable of looking after Ms Buchanan” after rejecting a geriatrician’s advice to put the patient in high supported care.</span></p> <p><span>Gawronski will receive her sentence in December.</span></p>

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Man furious over “ridiculous” fine for parking in this seemingly innocent place

<div> <div class="replay"> <div class="reply_body body linkify"> <div class="reply_body"> <div class="body_text "> <p>A woman has taken to Facebook to vent after her brother copped a seemingly “ridiculous” parking fine for stopping at his cousin’s driveway to do a school drop-off. </p> <p>The woman told <em>news.com.au</em> her brother had parked his car in the driveway of a family member in the Perth suburb of Byford for five to ten minutes. </p> <p>The woman lashed out, saying the fine he copped last week was unfair. </p> <p>She said since the driveways in the Byford area are “too small”, her brother had tried to keep his car off the footpath but it was almost impossible for the big vehicle. </p> <p>While the ute struggled to fit in the driveway, the woman added pedestrians were still able to pass the vehicle. </p> <p>She said the parking ranger could have knocked on the door and he would have happily obliged to move the vehicle, but within mere minutes he was given a $60 fine. </p> <p>The woman shared a photo of the ute on social media, with the rear of the vehicle somewhat encroaching on to the footpath.</p> <p>The aggravated sister recalled the fine as “a bit ridiculous”, as her brother had left enough room for pedestrians to get past. </p> <p>“This really grinds my gears. Driveways in Byford are too small for four wheel drives,” she wrote in a Facebook post on Monday.</p> <p>“He tried his best to be out of the way, all street parking was taken. You can still get around the car.</p> <p>“If they don’t want people parking on footpaths they should allow for more street parking.</p> <p>“Byford is full of big cars, maybe they should start accommodating them!</p> <p>“I understand why you can’t park on footpaths, but there was plenty of room to get even a wheelchair around the car.”</p> <p>She said the family have complained to their local council, who have committed to bring up the issue at the next council meeting. </p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div>

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"Destroyed a beautiful girl": Aiia Maasarwe's rapist and killer sentenced

<p>The man who raped and killed Israeli exchange student Aiia Maasarwe while she walked home alone in Melbourne’s north has received his jail sentence. </p> <p>Cody Herrmann 21, has been sentenced to 36 years in prison with a non-parole period of 30 years. </p> <p>The man was sentenced in the Supreme Court of Victoria on Tuesday after pleading guilty to mercilessly hitting Ms Maasarwe over the head with a metal pole a minimum of 13 times. </p> <p>His appalling crimes did not stop there - he then raped the young woman and set her body and clothes on fire in the early hours of January 16. </p> <p>Herrmann has already spent 283 days in custody, which makes him eligible for parole in 2049.</p> <p>Just two rows away from the man who murdered his daughter, sat Ms Maasarwe’s father Saeed and her sister, Noor. </p> <p>Saaed could be seen changing seats throughout the proceedings to wrap an arm around Noor’s daughter which did not move until Justice Elizabeth Hollingworth had finished her sentencing remarks. </p> <p>Justice Hollingworth became emotional while speaking of the struggles of Aiia’s family. </p> <p>“Not only did you take her precious right to life but you deprived her family of a daughter and a sister,” Justice Hollingworth said.</p> <p>“Her death left an enormous hole in their lives … why did you do these appalling things?”</p> <p>Justice Hollingworth said the horrifying treatment of Aiia’s body, after she had been murdered by Hermann was a “significant aggravating feature” of his offending.</p> <p>“Treating her body in this way showed utter contempt for her dignity,” she said.</p> <p>“She had no opportunity to flee or defend herself,” Hollingworth said to the court after describing Ms Maasarwe as “physically small, unsuspecting and alone.”</p> <p>“You quickly subjected her to a savage attack with a crude weapon until she was unconscious.</p> <p>“You dragged her off the footpath to a position of cover where you raped her … you struck her with the clear intention of killing her not merely injuring.</p> <p>“Women should be free to walk the streets alone without the fear of being violently attacked by strangers.”</p> <p>Prosecutor Patricia Bourke held back tears as she read through an emotional victim impact statement from the Ms Maasarwe’s family. </p> <p>“I can’t imagine the horror she felt when she saw Cody Herrmann’s face,” her sister Ruba told the court through her statement.</p> <p>“Codey Herrmann, you have taken one life but you have broken many more hearts.”</p> <p>Ms Maasarwe’s mother Kittam said Herrmann had “destroyed a beautiful girl”.</p> <p>“When I speak about Aiia, I am overwhelmed by sadness,” she said.</p> <p>“You cannot imagine what happened to me after her death. She was my daughter and friend. I was in touch with her every day. She used to tell me always, ‘I miss you so much Mum. When I see you again I will hug you and kiss you’.”</p> <p>Ms Maasarwe’s other sister Noor said her sibling was the best person she knew.</p> <p>“She was always smiling and full of energy. As Mother Teresa once said, ‘Some people come into our life as blessings and some people come into our life as lessons’. Aiia just happened to be both.”</p>

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It should never have happened: Man dies in plumbing trench on 91st birthday

<p>A Sydney plumbing company has been fined hundreds of thousands of dollars after a 91-year-old man died in a narrow trench dug by its plumbers in his backyard.</p> <p>Proflow Plumbing and Maintenance was ordered to pay $300,000 by an NSW District Court judge, who reprimanded the company for failing to prevent the “readily foreseeable” incident.</p> <p>Leslie Sloan endured an “agonising and degrading” death on his birthday at 8am on July 21, 2017 after falling into the 1.5m-deep trench, the court heard.</p> <p>Sloan was found by his son John wedged face-up in the hole and dressed only in a singlet, underwear and one sock.</p> <p>The pensioner was unable to be reached or helped until emergency services arrived, Judge David Russell said.</p> <p>The 91-year-old died during rescue efforts from hypothermia. Overnight temperatures had dropped to 6.2C.</p> <p>“All of the family victims who gave victim impact statements are haunted by the fact that their father – a proud, active and loving family man – died an agonising and degrading death over several hours, a death which was completely preventable,” Judge Russell said.</p> <p>Leaving the trench uncovered was “a risk which would have been recognised by a first-year apprentice”, the judge said.</p> <p>“The burden or inconvenience of steps to eliminate or minimise the risk was minimal,” he said. “The offender had some basic materials in its truck, but even these were not used.”</p> <p>Proflow admitted it breached its duty of care to Sloan.</p> <p>Aside from the fine, Proflow was also ordered to pay SafeWork NSW’s legal costs, amounting to $26,400.</p>

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How to protect your nest egg

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Building up your super and other investment assets to fund your retirement is an essential financial goal for all of us. But what about after you retire?</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">After you cross that line and begin relying on investment income rather than earned income, your financial decisions can have a much more profound effect on your day-to-day lifestyle and your longer term financial wellbeing.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Protecting and preserving your retirement income, assets, and estate from the threats of tax, inflation and potential financial crises takes some serious thinking and careful planning. Let’s take a look at some of the big issues you should consider.</span></p> <p><strong>Preserving capital </strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Deciding where to invest your retirement savings is primarily driven by the dual objectives of generating enough income to live on and making sure your investment capital lasts the distance of a retirement that may be 20 or 30 years — or longer. Balancing these objectives is critical and can be quite daunting.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">At one extreme, you might choose to stick with high capital security and a predictable income from fixed interest investments. While this can be a “safe” option, it carries the risk of inflation eating into the value of your capital. In a low interest environment, the income returns are also not too flash.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">At the other end of the scale, you could seek greater income flow from share investments that pay high dividends and have the added bonus of potential capital growth, but this comes with the corresponding risk of market fluctuations.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The answer for most people will be somewhere in between, and will depend on many personal and unique factors. There is no one-size-fits-all answer. The important thing is not to become too preoccupied with the income side of the equation: by remaining diligent about the need to protect our capital, we can cope with the demands of funding an adequate retirement lifestyle over the long term. This is where having a financial planner you can trust is so valuable for objectively assessing your situation and needs, and balancing them with a sophisticated strategy that addresses your goals.</span></p> <p><strong>What about tax? </strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Tax efficiency is an important component of nest egg protection and the tax implications of any investment choice must be considered in making a balanced investment decision. This doesn’t mean that we should blindly make decisions based purely on tax minimisation, but we do need to take tax into account as part of our strategy.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In relation to retirement, this may mean considering such things as income stream investments and the benefits of dividend imputation from shares or managed funds. It can even affect decisions made in relation to maintaining or downsizing your home. Again, some informed professional advice can help weigh up the tax issues as part of a holistic strategy.</span></p> <p><strong>Disaster-proofing your plans </strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Making contingency plans for sudden mishaps is a crucial part of the protection puzzle. While insurance needs will certainly be reduced as family leave the nest and debts decrease, there is still a very strong case for maintaining some level of coverage against death and disability: to provide a legacy to your surviving spouse and children, to cover funeral expenses, and to fund any final legal and tax expenses. Healthcare costs will rise as you age, so private health insurance is also something you should not let lapse.</span></p> <p><strong>Protecting your estate </strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Beyond your own retirement needs and lifestyle, you may also need to consider how your assets will be best preserved and passed on to the younger generations in your family. Estate planning is an essential component of your overall financial plan, to ensure that:</span></p> <ul> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">wills are properly drawn up,</span></li> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">powers of attorney are put in place to ensure decision-making continuity,</span></li> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">trusts structures are implemented to protect from unnecessary tax liabilities and from misuse of inheritances, and</span></li> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">superannuation and insurances beneficiary arrangements are properly organised to make sure that benefit payouts are made promptly, and are directed in accordance with your wishes.</span></li> </ul> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The professionals you consult about such issues, including your legal adviser and financial planner will play a critical role in helping you cope with what can be a highly complex set of challenges — even for relatively modest estates.         </span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Republished with permission of </span><a href="https://www.wyza.com.au/articles/money/financial-planning/how-to-protect-your-nest-egg.aspx"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Wyza.com.au.</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> </span></a></em></p>

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5 ways to protect your small business

<p>Taking calculated risks is an integral part of the entrepreneurial spirit that drives the small business community in Australia. Without risk there is no reward.</p> <p>At the same time, however, there are some risks that are not worth taking and that can threaten the survival of a small business. Some things are simply not worth leaving to chance and you need to shelter the business from potentially disastrous impacts.</p> <p>Here are 5 of the big ones that all small businesses should consider.</p> <p><strong>1. Protect the key factor that drives success]</strong></p> <p>Think of the most valuable asset a business has and invariably it will be a person. This will usually relate to a specific attribute that key person possesses, such as a unique skill, expert knowledge, sales flair, innovative aptitude or even just a pure capacity for hard work. However, the value that this person has can be a double-edged sword, because without that person the business may quickly fail.</p> <p>To protect against this risk, a smart business will take out insurance against a catastrophic event, such as premature death or a major illness or injury. This is commonly known as key person insurance. Insuring a key person will provide an instant capital resource to enable the business to take emergency actions, such as paying out debts, employing a specialised replacement or shoring up any drop in business income, while the business adjusts to the loss.</p> <p><strong>2. Protecting partnerships</strong></p> <p>Many businesses are successful because of the combined skill and resources of two or more partners who create the synergy that makes a business tick. If one of the partners suffers a major sickness or injury or sudden death, the other partners may want to continue the business, but they will need to deal with the missing partner’s share of the business, which will most likely pass into the hands of his or her spouse.</p> <p>The ideal solution here is to have insurance protection in place to fund a buy-out of the exiting partner’s share, so that their spouse and dependents are looked after and the remaining partners can focus on keeping the business going. A solicitor can draw up a document known as a buy-sell agreement to cover the mechanics of how this transfer of equity will occur and a financial planner can be consulted to put the necessary death, disablement and critical illness insurances in place to fund this agreement.</p> <p><strong>3. Ensuring you have a succession plan</strong></p> <p>Eventually there will come a time when you will want to transition from being a business owner and into a leisurely retirement. Many business owners simply never get around to facing up to this reality, but this leaves them exposed to a major risk of the business value not being realised when the time comes to leave.</p> <p>A business succession plan worked out with a qualified financial planner will seek to take care of this by dealing with such issues as:</p> <ul> <li>will the business ownership be passed on to family members and, if so, how will the owner be compensated?</li> <li>will the business be sold on the market and how can its value be maximised?</li> <li>what are the retirement funding goals for the business owner and what shortfall is there after the business sale is taken into account?</li> <li>how will such shortfalls be made up through superannuation and investment plans outside of the business?</li> </ul> <p>There is also the risk that business succession will be forced on the owner well before retirement if health conditions arise, so a contingency plan for this must also be built into the succession plan, to avoid a fire sale situation.</p> <p><strong>4. Protecting those who matter most</strong></p> <p>Regardless of the business survival plans, business owners must also consider how they actually insure their own worth to their family – particularly if there are dependent children involved and a high level of living expenses being maintained. Business owners don’t have the luxury of an employer to pay their sick leave, so an income protection plan is essential to guard against temporary sickness and injury.</p> <p>Lump sum cover should also be in place to give the family a capital resource in the event of premature death, total and permanent disablement and suffering a traumatic illness such as heart attack or cancer. A financial planner can make a personal risk assessment and recommend cover to protect the family against the financial impacts of these emergencies.</p> <p><strong>5. One other risk often overlooked</strong></p> <p>While income protection insurance will protect a business owner personally if sickness or injury occurs, there can be a blind spot back in the business that is left exposed. Regardless of whether the business continues to trade or not, there will be a range of fixed business expenses that will continue to be incurred, such as utilities, rent, leases and non-income producing staff.</p> <p>Expenses such as these can be protected by business expense insurance. This type of cover is not very well known, but provides a vital link in the protection chain by coming into play in tandem with the person’s income protection to help pay for those fixed business expenses. Cover usually extends for a period of up to 12 months of absence and this can make all the difference in ensuring there is a business to come back to once the owner returns to work.</p> <p>Talk to your financial planner if you want to take decisive action on protecting against all of these acute business risks.</p> <p><em>Republished with permission of <a href="https://www.wyza.com.au/articles/work/small-business/5-ways-to-protect-your-small-business.aspx">Wyza.com.au.</a></em></p>

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What you need to know about capital gains tax

<p>Capital gains tax is perhaps one of the most misunderstood taxes, but it is also one that can have major impacts on the efficiency of your investment plans. The quick guide below will help you get to grips with the basics of how it may apply to you.</p> <p>As always, it is essential to consult a qualified tax adviser to obtain complete advice on your tax situation and to speak to a financial planner to help form an investment strategy to take full advantage of your tax position.</p> <p><strong>What is capital gains tax?</strong><br />Capital gains tax relates to the gains or losses you make when you sell certain types of capital assets. The difference between the purchase cost and sale cost of the asset will determine whether there is a capital loss or gain. This tax may apply to any asset purchased after 20 September 1985, which is when the tax was first introduced.</p> <p>Assets purchased for personal use, such as your home, car and furniture, are generally exempt from capital gains tax, but assets purchased for investment purposes, such as an investment property or shares, may incur the tax.</p> <p><strong>How capital gains tax is applied</strong><br />Realised capital gains are actually treated as income in the tax year in which the gain was made. Gains on the sale of a non-exempt asset must be reported in your income tax return and the capital gain is added to your income and taxed at your marginal rate.</p> <p>However, if the asset has been held for more than a year, then a capital gains tax discount will apply and only half the capital gain is taxed.</p> <p>If you incur a capital loss on the sale of an asset you may also be able to apply that loss against any capital gains you have made on the sale of other assets, thereby reducing your tax liability.</p> <p><strong>Capital losses can be carried forward</strong><br />Even if you don’t have any capital gains to report in a particular tax year, any capital losses you incur in that year should always be reported on your tax return because they can be applied against capital gains in future years.</p> <p><strong>How are managed fund investments treated?</strong><br />Managed fund investments generate returns based on dividends and capital gains on the assets they invest in. If you own units in a managed fund then any capital gains made within the fund need to be taken into account in your tax return.</p> <p>Fortunately, most managed funds will provide you with a statement which details any net capital gains or losses that apply to your stake in that managed fund, so you can use that information in preparing your tax return.</p> <p>Capital gains may also apply if you switch from one fund to another, so consult your financial planner to discuss the ramifications if you intend to do this.</p> <p><strong>It’s all in the timing</strong><br />Timing the disposal of an asset can be critical if you're trying to minimise your capital gains tax liability. For example, if you're approaching June 30 and you want to sell an asset, it may be wise to defer the sale until after June 30.</p> <p>This is especially the case if you're expecting your income in the new tax year to be lower, perhaps due to retirement or taking unpaid leave. The lower income may put you in a lower tax bracket, thereby reducing the amount of capital gains tax paid on that asset sale.</p> <p><strong>Capital gains tax on property</strong><br />Capital gains tax does not apply to your primary residence. Some people see this tax benefit as being a good reason to put spare funds into extra mortgage repayments or renovations on the family home. This can reduce the diversity and liquidity of your investment portfolio so it's best to consult a financial planner about using this as an investment strategy.</p> <p>If you have an investment property, your capital gain (or loss) will be based on proceeds from the sale of the property less the purchase cost, and any other costs associated with buying, renovating and selling.</p> <p>The capital gains discount described earlier will also apply if you sell the property more than a year after purchase. However, it is vital to note that the sale date is based on the date of the contract of sale and not on the settlement date.</p> <p><strong>What if you inherit an asset?</strong><br />If you inherit an asset from a deceased estate you do not incur any capital gains tax liability until you later dispose of the asset. Things can get a bit more complicated when it comes to an inherited home. The amount of capital gains tax will depend on a number of factors, such as:</p> <ul> <li>Whether the deceased person acquired the dwelling on or after 20 September 1985</li> <li>The amount of time between the time you inherit the dwelling and the time you sell it</li> <li>If it was the deceased person’s main residence or not</li> </ul> <p>These complexities make it advisable to seek some professional advice from your legal adviser and financial planner to assess how inherited assets may be best integrated into your investment strategy.</p> <p><em>Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://www.wyza.com.au/articles/money/financial-planning/what-you-need-to-know-about-capital-gains-tax.aspx"><em>Wyza.com.au.</em></a></p>

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Cancer fraud Belle Gibson spotted on school run despite not paying back $410k in fines

<p><span>Cancer fraud Belle Gibson has stepped out months after “locking herself away” after being ordered to explain why she hasn’t paid off her $410,000 in fines.</span></p> <p><span>Gibson was fined $410,000 for defrauding hard-working Aussies by pretending she cured cancer through healthy living. She was found guilty of five breaches of consumer laws.</span></p> <p><span>However, despite the warning and the substantial amount of fines to pay off, Gibson remains a free person in the community and dropped off her child at school.</span></p> <p><span>Gibson quickly became annoyed when she realised a photographer was taking her photo and indignantly raised her mobile phone to take pictures of the photographer.</span></p> <p><span>She quickly made headlines after falsely claiming she had brain cancer and healed herself with natural remedies, giving those who legitimately suffered from cancer new hope for finding a cure for their disease.</span></p> <p><span>She lied to well meaning consumers who supported her Whole Pantry app as well as book sales as she said she would donate money to various charities as well as a boy with inoperable brain cancer, but never ended up donating the money.</span></p> <p><span>Gibson received $440,500 from sales from her book and her app, but only donated around $10,000 to charity.</span></p> <p><span>What angers people more is that despite claiming that she has no money to pay off the funds, she has been seen going on holidays to Bali and Africa and has spent $90,000 over two years.</span></p> <p><span>Cameron Miller, who runs the Shaun Miller foundation said that the damage Gibson has done is “wrong”.</span><span> </span></p> <p>“I just think it's disgusting that she's taken advantage of these people,” he said to<em> <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7569563/Carefree-Belle-Gibson-pictured-school-run-paid-fines.html" target="_blank">The Daily Mail</a></em>. <span></span></p> <p>“She's out there parading like she's Lady Muck. I just think it's wrong.”</p> <p><span>Miller also said that she was giving a bad name to reputable charities.</span></p> <p><span>“When you have people like this it makes it hard for other foundations to convince people to donate money when you've got shonks out there,” he said. </span></p> <p><span>“I just can't get over it ... she's laughing at all these people. She should have been prosecuted (by police). She's a fraudster. She is a con-woman and she should have been prosecuted to the whole letter of the law but she just thinks it's funny.”</span></p> <p><span>While Gibson was grilled in the Federal Court earlier this year over why she hasn’t paid the fines, she claimed she was “not in a position to pay a $410,000 fine at this time”.</span></p>

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Top 10 tips for your financial back-up plan

<p>It’s natural to procrastinate over a daunting task, but the bottom line for any financial plan is how well it provides for the protection of you and your family if the worst happens. These tips will help you identify the key elements your plan should include to get the right cover at the right price.</p> <p><strong>How much is enough life insurance?</strong><br />When it comes to insuring your life, working out how much cover you should have may seem like a very subjective question, but there are certainly some guidelines to follow.</p> <p>If, for example, the family breadwinner was suddenly taken out of the picture, how much would the family need to invest to replace their income and how much capital would you need from an insurance payout to fund that investment?</p> <p>You may also want to have additional cover amounts to pay out a mortgage, cover specific emergencies or situations, or fund special purposes, such as a children’s education fund.</p> <p><strong>Are you insuring your greatest asset?</strong><br />Do a quick mental calculation of your annual income multiplied by the number of working years you have left before retirement. The answer is the amount you potentially risk if you don’t have income protection to cover you against sickness and accident.</p> <p>You can generally insure up to 75 per cent of your gross income and you can tailor cover with a “waiting period” that ties in with your sick leave entitlements, to keep premiums to a minimum.</p> <p><strong>How do you "bridge the gap" between life cover and income protection?</strong><br />If you really want to protect your lifestyle against the threat of major diseases such as a heart attack, stroke, or cancer, then why not consider trauma cover? You can insure yourself for a lump sum that is payable upon diagnosis of a range of medical conditions. You can then use this cover to fund a lifestyle change, an extended recuperation holiday, pay off debts to de-stress your life — the choice is yours.</p> <p><strong>Are you protected from a fate worse than death?</strong><br />Financially speaking, a total and permanent disablement can be a fate worse than death. You could completely and permanently lose your ability to earn income, but on top of that you may incur even greater expense burdens related to your condition, such as home renovations for wheelchair access, special vehicles, and expensive medical treatments. To protect against this financial threat, you can attach lump sum total and permanent disablement cover on your life insurance plan.</p> <p><strong>Will the cover in your super fund be enough?</strong><br />Relying on your super alone to take care of your insurance needs can be a shaky strategy. Will it be enough cover to give you the level of protection you need? Will you be able to continue coverage if you leave your employer? If not, will you still be insurable if you want to take out cover privately?</p> <p>Your financial planner can help you answer these questions and complement your work super cover with personal insurance plans.</p> <p><strong>It’s not all about the breadwinner</strong><br />A full-time homemaker in a family will also need to be protected, in case something happens to them. Lump sum life insurance cover on their life can be used to fund the cost of home help or even replace the breadwinner’s income if the breadwinner wants the flexibility to leave work and take care of children.</p> <p><strong>Don’t compromise on quality</strong><br />Not all insurance plans are the same — especially when it comes to income protection and trauma insurances. Benefit definitions and supplementary benefit inclusions can make thousands of dollars of difference when it comes to claim time, so consult a financial planner to ensure you have quality cover at the right price. When it comes to personal insurance, value is far more important than cost.</p> <p><strong>What about the children?</strong><br />Did you know that you can even insure children against premature death? It may not be a pleasant thought, but the harsh reality is that there will be significant expense if a child was to die.</p> <p>You are also ensuring that they will have the option in future to convert their cover to their own personal insurance when they reach adulthood, thus avoiding any insurability issues that may emerge at that time.</p> <p><strong>Have a review system in place</strong><br />Cover needs can fluctuate dramatically at different stages of life, so you could suddenly find yourself dangerously under-insured or wastefully over-insured. An annual review program with a qualified financial planner will help keep your plan relevant to your needs and potentially save you real dollars.</p> <p><strong>Are you paying too much?</strong><br />Using a financial planner to help with your protection program gives you the benefit of their inside knowledge on a range of insurers. They can save you the hassle of comparing plans so you can achieve the most economical solution.</p> <p>No single insurer will be cheapest for everybody at every age, so the expertise of someone who understands the market is invaluable for sourcing the best cover at the best price.</p> <p><em>Republished with permission of <a href="https://www.wyza.com.au/articles/money/financial-planning/top-10-tips-for-your-financial-back-up-plan.aspx">Wyza.com.au.</a></em></p>

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Robert De Niro sued for harassment and gender discrimination

<p>Robert De Niro has been accused of gender discrimination and harassment in a $12 million lawsuit filed by former employee Graham Chase Robinson.</p> <p>In a court document obtained by <a href="https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/6446423-Robinson.html">the <em>Hollywood Reporter</em></a>, Robinson alleges that De Niro and his film production company Canal Productions subjected her to a “hostile work environment” and “years of gender discrimination and harassment”, including “gratuitous unwanted physical contact”, “abusive and sexist comments”, and underpayments “because she was not a male breadwinner”.</p> <p>According to Robinson, whose most recent position at the company was vice-president of production and finance, De Niro called her a “bitch” and a “spoiled brat”, asked her to “scratch his back” and “put away his boxers”, and made her work 20 to 30 hours of overtime per week without any additional pay.</p> <p>De Niro also allegedly implied Robinson deserved a lower salary than a male staff “whose job required no greater skill, effort or responsibility” because she was “a woman without children”.</p> <p>“De Niro made demands of Ms Robinson that he never imposed on males,” said Robinson’s lawyer Alexandra Harwin.</p> <p>“De Niro’s treatment of Ms Robinson was inappropriate, demeaning, abusive, and intolerable, and he needs to be held accountable.”</p> <p>The complaint comes after De Niro’s company filed <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/film/2019/aug/19/robert-de-niro-sues-ex-employee-embezzlement-netflix-binge">a $6 million suit</a> against Robinson in August, accusing her of embezzling money and binge-watching television shows during office hours.</p> <p>Robinson argued that De Niro’s decision to sue her was “filled with baseless, bad faith and frivolous allegations” designed to “destroy her reputation” and prevent her from pursuing her claims.</p> <p>“Now, when her name is Googled, these allegations pop up on the screen,” the file read. “The results have been devastating to Ms Robinson. Her reputation and her career have been destroyed.”</p> <p>In response, De Niro’s lawyer Tom Harvey said Robinson’s claims are “beyond absurd”.</p>

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Starting a business later in life

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Should age be a barrier to entrepreneurship? A quick look at the statistics suggests that the answer is a resounding “no”, with nearly 30 per cent of business owners in Australia aged over 55. This includes 11.8 per cent who are aged between 55 and 59, 9.7 per cent between 60 and 64 and 7.8 per cent 65 and over.*</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">So, what motivates people to start a business later in life? For many, it may be a case of fulfilling a dream that was simply impractical earlier in life, due to family or financial circumstances. For others, it might be a desire to take a new direction in life after becoming stagnant in their current job or being made redundant. Some may also see it as a way of staying engaged and active in their retirement years, rather than just putting their feet up.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Whatever the reason, starting a business offers some real benefits, as well as some challenges. So what key aspects should you consider?</span></p> <p><strong>What are the positives?</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">On the plus side, you will have lifetime of experience to draw upon. Your experience in your previous jobs may have given you skills and attributes that are essential to running a business, such as technical know-how, an understanding of human relations, and a more sober ability to assess what you are good at and what you may need assistance with. These are qualities that you would not necessarily have had in your younger days.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">You may also have developed a strong network of contacts and experts with specialist knowledge whose experience you can draw on, such as accounting and finance, legal, sales and marketing, and tradespeople.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Financially, you may also be in a better position as an older person, since you may have the expenses of family and a mortgage behind you, and you may have savings, superannuation or a redundancy payout available to help fund the venture.</span></p> <p><strong>Consider the negatives</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It is equally important to consider what may hold you back. For starters, the skills required in the business you are starting may not correlate to experience you have gained from previous employment. For example, if you have been working in a white-collar business all your life and want to start a café, there may be a steep learning curve about suppliers, food service regulations, and retail practices.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It’s also important to be realistic about your physical stamina and health. You’re not as young as you used to be and you don’t want to end up running a business that becomes a burden. You need to have a real passion for the business, so that you enjoy it as part of your lifestyle and are not doing it purely for financial gain. In other words, make sure it is a joy and not a jail!</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Ensure your spouse is happy with the venture, too. The last thing you want is for the business to drive a wedge between personal relationships.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Possibly the biggest negative, however, is the financial risk. Assuming that one day you will want to retire completely, you need to be wary about overcommitting your financial resources to the business. If things don’t work out as you plan, or if selling the business proves to be a struggle, you may find yourself risking your retirement lifestyle.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Once you have weighed up the pros and cons, and have decided to go ahead, you need to get your planning in place.</span></p> <p><strong>Be prepared</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Before you jump into a new business venture, you need to do your homework. That means doing some research and analysis on the market for your product or service to understand your competitors and your target customers. If you are buying into an existing business, get a professional to help assess its financial state and viability.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Once you have established that there is a good business case, the next step is to put together a business plan. This is essential for articulating concrete business goals, sales and marketing plans, financing arrangements, cashflow projections, staffing issues, and regulatory/compliance obligations. It is vital to seek professional input on your plan to make sure it is sound.</span></p> <p><strong>Have an exit strategy</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Before you commit to going in, make sure you have a defined path for getting out too. That means:</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Ensure you are not overcommitting retirement funds and superannuation, so that you have a fallback if things go belly up.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">If you are dipping into retirement funds, have a plan to allocate a portion of your profits to replenish your retirement savings, so that your retirement is not overly dependent on business income or the sale of the business.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Have a succession plan for a smooth and financially successful exit from the business down the track. Will it be passed to another family member? What financial records will you need to keep on top of to maximise future sale value? How will the business be sold?</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">To get such a plan in place, it is wise to speak with a financial planner who has the experience to integrate your business plans with your overall financial plan. They can also work with your accountant to make sure all the bases are covered. Drawing on the expertise of competent advisers is a critical aspect to making your venture the success that you want it to be.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">*Australian Bureau of Statistics: Counts of Australian Business Operators by Selected Characteristics, 2012</span></em></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Republished with permission of </span><a href="https://www.wyza.com.au/articles/work/small-business/starting-a-business-later-in-life.aspx"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Wyza.com.au.</span></a></em></p>

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How to add value to your income protection

<p>We all know the heartbreaking stories of those who find out the hard way that their home insurance has exclusions or restrictions that stop them being able to claim after a flood or fire. Often the root cause is that they tried to save a few dollars in premiums, not realising that in doing so they were buying inadequate of cover that left them dangerously exposed.</p> <p>While home insurance tends to grab the headlines on this issue, the same problem can occur with income protection. The quality of cover and inclusions can make a huge difference when we actually come to depend on an income protection policy to replace income if we are sick or injured. When it’s your entire livelihood and a lifetime of income earning potential at stake, you don’t want to take chances.</p> <p>To help make sure you have the right cover, here are a few tips on some of the benefits and options you should look out for.</p> <p><strong>Is the cover comprehensive?</strong><br />The first aspect to consider with any income protection is the definition of what a “disability” is. This can vary markedly, so it is helpful to get professional guidance to help compare policy definitions.</p> <p>Some cheaper policies, known as cancellable sickness and accident policies can leave you exposed if you make a claim, as the insurer has the discretion to cancel future cover if they feel the risk is too great. A more secure option is to make sure your income protection plan is “guaranteed renewable” so that cover cannot be cancelled, as long as premiums are kept up to date.</p> <p>Another key aspect of the base policy is the benefit period. If you plan on earning income up to age 65 then you should seek cover that will pay benefits up to age 65 too. Some policies will only have a limited 2 year or 5 year maximum payment period. This may make premiums cheaper, but will leave you exposed on long term claims.</p> <p><strong>Look for standard inclusions on your base policy</strong><br />Apart from the core income replacement benefit, some policies will have inbuilt inclusions that add real value to your cover in certain claim situations. Here are a few that you should look for:</p> <ul> <li><strong>Specified injury benefits: </strong>If you suffer one of a range of specific injuries listed in the policy, your benefits will start being paid early with the standard “waiting period” being waived. Ideally it will pay such a benefit even if you are still earning income after the sickness or injury occurs.</li> <li><strong>Rehabilitation benefits: </strong>A good quality income protection plan will provide extra benefits to cover the cost of rehabilitation programs or equipment that can help you get back to work sooner.</li> <li><strong>Funeral benefits: </strong>It may not be a pleasant subject, but if you ultimately die while on claim, some plans will pay out a multiple number of months cover as a lump sum death benefit to assist the family.</li> <li><strong>Nursing or bed confinement benefits: </strong>Some sicknesses and injuries will leave you bed ridden and dependent on nursing care. A good policy will recognise the additional seriousness of such an event by waiving the waiting period and paying you benefits straight away.</li> <li><strong>Inflation protection: </strong>As the cost of living rises, your insurance coverage should keep pace, so look for a plan that has inbuilt indexation that will automatically increase your cover amount every year in line with inflation.</li> <li><strong>Waiver of premium: </strong>The last thing you want to have to pay if you are on claim is the premium on the very cover that is protecting your income. A waiver of premium benefit will ensure that premiums are not required while you are receiving income benefits.</li> <li><strong>Recurrent disability: </strong>The reality of many medical conditions is that they can recur within a short space of time. To recognise this, your policy should have adequate recurrent disability provisions so that no waiting period is needed if your condition recurs within a 12 month period of your initial claim.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Optional extras that can add real value</strong><br />Many policies will offer optional extra benefits for a small extra cost. These can often represent great value, so discuss the suitability for your situation with a qualified financial adviser. These benefits can include:</p> <ul> <li><strong>Increasing claims benefits: </strong>Increasing your cover amount in line with inflation is important when you are not on claim, but perhaps even more vital when you are on claim. To ensure you have the latter, you may need to add an optional increasing claim benefit to your plan.</li> <li><strong>Super contributions: </strong>While income protection plans will normally pay you 75% of your gross income, this may not be sufficient to allow you to continue your super contributions. An optional super contribution benefit will ensure this is paid as an additional amount to keep your super on track while you are down and out.</li> <li><strong>Business expenses: </strong>If you are running a business it is not only your personal income at risk. Your business may have fixed expenses that need to be paid whether you are working in the business or not. A business expense option can give specific extra benefits to fund these costs, so that you don’t have to fund them from your income payments. This can help your business stay afloat until you are able to return to it.</li> <li><strong>Home maker benefits: </strong>Income protection is usually only accessible to those earning income. This means those who choose to stay home and raise a family are not able to obtain cover. To help alleviate this situation, some policies will provide an optional benefit which will pay a limited form of benefit to a stay-at-home spouse who becomes sick or injured.</li> <li><strong>Trauma benefits: </strong>Certain traumatic illnesses such as heart attack can pose real challenges in recovery and lifestyle adjustment. Good quality income protection policies will have an option to add a trauma benefit, which pays extra cash if you suffer one of a range of specified medical conditions.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Getting advice to avoid confusion</strong><br />The complexity of income protection makes it advisable to get some professional help in determining which type of cover will suit you best and which options you should be looking to include. An adviser can also help shop around for the most economical cover solution too.</p> <p><em>Republished with permission of <a href="https://www.wyza.com.au/articles/money/financial-planning/how-to-add-value-to-your-income-protection.aspx">Wyza.com.au.</a></em></p>

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Safety at home is more important as we age

<p>The ageing of Australia’s population in the coming decades has significant implications for the housing market. So how might your needs change and what should you be thinking about when it comes to your current home or future needs?</p> <p>Home safety features, small and manageable housing, and easy accessibility will become more attractive to a growing proportion of our population, turning much of Australia’s traditional housing, designed for a post-war baby boom as well as younger, larger families, on its head.</p> <p>Over the 20 years between 1994 and 2014, the proportion of Australians aged 65 and over increased from 11.8 to 14.7 per cent of Australia’s population. This group is expected to increase more rapidly over the next decade, according to Australian Bureau of Statistics data, to almost 26 per cent by 2051. A further nine per cent is expected to be aged over 80.</p> <p>It’s therefore pretty clear that many more of us will be living alone and wanting suitable housing. More families will be caring for a parent or relative, and others will want to stay on in their homes despite debilitating illnesses that can be associated with ageing.</p> <p>This has important implications for the design, layout, fittings and locations of our existing and future housing. Because it’s increasingly clear that government may struggle to fund the supply of dedicated, affordable housing facilities for seniors, many of us will find that it is up to us to plan how we can adapt our existing homes so they remain suitable for us well into the future. This means we need to start anticipating today what our future needs may be, as well as what precautions and aids may be needed.</p> <p>If you are beginning to weigh up your housing options or you’re keeping an eye on a parent, relative or friend, here is some advice:</p> <p><strong>Stairs and entrances</strong></p> <p>Many of us downsize from family homes to multi-level townhouses and, as time goes on, we start struggling with stairs. If you’re considering downsizing, try and keep in mind finding a property with at least one bedroom and bathroom on the ground floor. That way, if stairs become difficult, you have the option of adjusting your living arrangements and staying in your home, rather than having to sell. If you have stairs, make sure there are secure handrails, a smoke detector, and that the stairs and stairwell are well lit. Also make sure that the floor coverings, whether carpet, wood or tiles, are secure and can’t be slipped on. The entrance and hallways should also be clear of any clutter, and have easily accessible bright lighting.</p> <p><strong>The kitchen</strong></p> <p>It’s important to make sure that kitchen appliances are easy to reach and are in good working order. Easily reached kitchen taps, microwave, oven, and stovetop controls all play a role in helping us remain self-sufficient in meal preparation. Thought should also be given to the height of bench tops, cupboards, and how easy it is to carry food from the kitchen to the eating area. It can be worthwhile making some simple design changes now rather than waiting until a parent or relative starts to have problems.</p> <p><strong>The bathroom</strong></p> <p>Moving in and out of the shower or bath without risk, and with ease, is the most important safety feature for the bathroom. Could you need to install bars or a shower seat in the future? Is it possible to add non-slip rubber mats in and beside the shower and bath? Is the shower door easy to open and close or is it difficult to manoeuvre around? Also, can the bathroom be easily accessed at night, without having to use stairs?</p> <p><strong>The bedroom</strong></p> <p>It’s important there’s a clear, uncluttered path from the bedroom to the bathroom as well as to the doorway leaving the bedroom. You might also want to consider whether it’s possible to put a television and armchair in the bedroom, if there’s the space, as this can provide a private, comfortable and secure area to relax in the evenings. It’s also important to consider whether there’s an easily accessible telephone, in the event of emergencies.</p> <p><strong>Other areas</strong></p> <p>It’s also important to make sure working smoke alarms are placed throughout the home, and make arrangements for batteries to be changed at least annually. In fact, better still, it’s a good idea to check your smoke alarms at the beginning and end of daylight saving. As you re-set clocks, just check the smoke detectors. All appliances should be in good working order and stray cords that can easily be tripped over should be firmly taped or reorganised. Take a look at your door and cupboard handles. It’s much easier to replace handles than the property, when somebody in your care is becoming less mobile. And finally, make sure emergency phone numbers are kept beside every phone in the house.</p> <p>While a safety assessment of the home might seem something only parents of young children need to need to worry about, it is an exercise that can benefit everybody.</p> <p><em>Written by First National. Republished with permission of <a href="https://www.wyza.com.au/articles/property/safety-at-home-is-more-important-as-we-age.aspx">Wyza.com.au.</a></em></p>

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How to get a good job after 50

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">We might roll our eyes when politicians suggest we work until we are 70 but the fact is many older Australians want, or need to work. As the baby boomer generation ages, the number of workers aged 60 plus is increasing at four times the rate of any other demographic.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">With national age discrimination legislation barely a decade old, workers who lose their jobs at 55 or older spend an average of 72 weeks unemployed, 1.8 times longer than their younger counterparts.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It’s a statistic that calls for some hard-hitting strategies to level the playing field, which is what prompted veteran career coach Rupert French to write 'How To Get A Good Job After 50.'</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Age is not the issue; it is the perception of being too old that creates the barrier and, too often, that perception is greater in the mind of the job seeker than it is in the mind of an employer,” French says.</span></p> <p>Rupert French and his master class for mature job seekers</p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The book outlines the strategies and tools to give mature workers the confidence to win a rewarding role.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A master of reinvention, having been a journalist, a teacher and a truckie, before his 20 years as a career coach, French knows firsthand just how to repackage transportable skills and make yourself a must-have job market commodity.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Over the past 20 or more years, French has developed a very effective job search methodology.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Now that I’m getting closer to retirement, I would like to share these insights so that others can enjoy the same success that my clients have enjoyed,” he said.</span></p> <p>In the books he writes: </p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"So you are over 50 and you’re looking for a job. Perhaps your job search isn’t being as easy as you would like it to be and you are beginning to think that no one wants you because you’re too old. Well, think again. You can, and almost certainly will, get a good job within a reasonably short period of time if you follow the strategies described in this book. By ‘good job’ I mean one that will give you job satisfaction — one that matches your interests, your values and personality; and one that is a job of your choosing. It may not be the same as your last job. That sort of job may no longer be available due to changes in technology or economic circumstances. But it will be a job that will give you fulfilment and, as a result, a feeling of success."</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">'How to Get a Good Job After 50' is available from </span><a href="http://www.exislepublishing.com.au/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Exile Publishing</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> and wherever good books are sold RRP $29.99. Also available as an eBook.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Written by Shannon Wall. Republished with permission of </span><a href="https://www.wyza.com.au/articles/work/employment/how-to-get-a-good-job-after-50.aspx"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Wyza.com.au.</span></a></p> <p> </p>

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Major heartbreaking change in Kevin Spacey lawsuit

<p>A male massage therapist who accused disgraced Hollywood heavyweight Kevin Spacey of sexual assault has died - however the lawsuit the star faces may still continue according to court records. </p> <p>Spacey, whose real name is Kevin Fowler, is being investigated in both London and Los Angeles over several allegations. </p> <p>The 60-year-old faces a titan federal lawsuit alleging he assaulted the late masseur, and his lawyers have filed a “notice of statement noting plaintiff’s death” in the federal case on Tuesday, according to<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/9957461/kevin-spacey-sexual-assault-allegations-accuser-dead/" target="_blank">The Sun. </a></p> <p>The filing said they were informed on September 11 of the masseur’s passing. </p> <p>“No further information or details have been given to Mr Fowler’s counsel, but Plaintiff’s counsel stated they intended to notify the Court with additional information at an appropriate time in the future.”</p> <p>The massage therapist claimed he was attacked by the Oscar winning actor three year ago during a massage session in Malibu, US. </p> <p>The actor also allegedly grabbed the masseur’s hand twice and guided it to his private parts. </p> <p>He has also been accused of asking to perform a sexual act on the massage therapist - which caused him to bolt from the session. </p> <p>The lawsuit could continue despite the therapist’s death. </p> <p>Spacey has been accused by more than a dozen men of sexual misconduct. </p>

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