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How Centrelink-scamming nurse rorted $100k in taxpayer money

<p>A nurse who falsely claimed she was a single parent while still being married in order to get Centrelink payments has been jailed for three months.</p> <p>Nicole Dunjey, from Pimpama on the Gold Coast, married her boyfriend in 2010 and let Centrelink know as required.</p> <p>However, when she realised that her payments as a single parent would stop, she called Centrelink back and informed them that her and her husband had separated.</p> <p>Over the next six years, the nurse received $99,662.08 in single parent payments, reported the <em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.goldcoastbulletin.com.au/news/crime-court/nicole-dunjey-lied-for-six-years-about-being-married-to-get-single-parenting-payment/news-story/55b6372f4c2f40ab825ba624e8634056" target="_blank">Gold Coast Bulletin</a>.  </em></p> <p>It was only after her and her husband applied jointly for a loan at NAB in 2016 that Dunjey was busted.</p> <p>The ATO quickly discovered that the pair shared the same address, had gone on a holiday to New Zealand together and that her husband was noted as her next of kin.</p> <p>The woman pleaded guilty to dishonestly gaining financial advantage.</p> <p>However, Dunjey claimed that she did it to support her child as the amount her husband earned wasn’t enough.</p> <p>Her husband earned $400,000 over the six years of their marriage</p> <p>The judge said that her offending was “persistent and deliberate” and ordered the nurse to pay back the money.</p> <p>She has been jailed until December 11, when she will be released on a $1,000 good behaviour bond.</p>

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5 ways to escape the credit card debt trap

<p>Feeling the pinch towards the end of the year and want to get ahead on your finances and debt? Here are some suggestions.</p> <ol> <li><strong>Start a piggy bank</strong> Go old-school! Save up for purchases instead of buying on impulse.</li> <li><strong>Only use one credit card.</strong> The more cards you have, the more you’ll be tempted to carry a larger balance and take on unwanted debt.</li> <li><strong>Pay the highest interest rate first.</strong> If possible, pay off your credit card bills and card balance in full each month. Or pay as much as you can afford above the mandatory payments on the highest interest rate card first. Set up a direct debit for minimum payments to avoid late fees or transfer your balance to a new 0% interest credit card for a limited time.</li> <li><strong>Spend less than you earn.</strong> Cut back on unnecessary expenses and use what you already have before buying new things. Create a self-imposed ‘spending freeze’ for a few months. Take your credit card out of your wallet and only use physical cash for a month.</li> <li><strong>Don’t spend ‘imaginary money’. </strong>Avoid spending any money you haven’t yet earned and lower your credit card limit to help avoid temptation. Financial experts suggest keeping records, making a budget and sticking to it. If you have more than one card, close off each credit card as you pay it off.</li> </ol> <p><em>Written by Readers Digest Editors. This article first appeared in <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/money/5-Ways-to-Escape-the-Credit-Card-Debt-Trap">Reader’s Digest</a>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, <a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.com.au/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRA93V">here’s our best subscription offer</a>.</em></p>

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“Who’s got in her ear?”: Pauline Hanson launches scathing attack on Jacqui Lambie over drug testing

<p>Controversial One Nation Leader Pauline Hanson has ruffled feathers again, after personally calling out Jacqui Lambie for removing her support for drug testing welfare recipients.</p> <p>"No, I won't be supporting it, unless I can see the rehabilitation services and the services that these people need to kick their habit are actually set up. Which I am yet to see," Lambie said.</p> <p>Hanson, after hearing that Lambie had backflipped on supporting the drug testing for welfare recipients, said that she’s surprised to hear that Lambie isn’t supporting this.</p> <p>Why? Because Lambie’s son “has been on drugs”.</p> <p>"Her child has been on drugs and you wouldn't knock back something that could possibly help people like her son," Ms Hanson said in parliament, according to <em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.news.com.au/finance/work/leaders/australian-politics-live-tuesday-september-10/live-coverage/054eb53f424d35e8ee77c27512284649" target="_blank">news.com.au</a>.</em></p> <p>"Why is she knocking this back? Who's got in her ear?"</p> <p>Lambie has since responded on Twitter, saying that her son Dylan defeated his addiction due to being able to access rehab services.</p> <p>She tweeted saying the following:</p> <p>“My son is an example of what happens when you have access to the support and rehab services you need. 500K Aussies don’t have access to those services. My son has moved on from the past, he can thank his 18 mths Teen Challenge in Toowoomba and the people of QLD for that.”</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en-gb"> <p dir="ltr">My son is an example of what happens when you have access to the support &amp; rehab services you need. 500K Aussies don't have access to those services. My son has moved on from the past, he can thank his 18 mths <a href="https://twitter.com/teenchallenge?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@teenchallenge</a> in Toowoomba &amp; the people of QLD for that.<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/auspol?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#auspol</a></p> — Jacqui Lambie (@JacquiLambie) <a href="https://twitter.com/JacquiLambie/status/1171242520358948864?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">10 September 2019</a></blockquote> <p>Lambie first referenced her son’s battle with drug addiction in parliament after she revealed she was desperate to help him.</p> <p>"I am a senator of Australia, and I have a 21-year-old son who has a problem with ice," she said.</p> <p>"I can't involuntarily detox my own son, because I'm not talking to my son anymore, I'm talking to a drug."</p> <p>However, this candid moment from Lambie back in 2015 was used against her by Hanson, who also mentioned her son Dylan during an interview with <em>Sky News.</em></p> <p>"She should be the first one to say yes, yes I want it, because I want my child off drugs. So what is the issue here?" she said.</p> <p>The government is currently pushing for a trial that would screen 5,000 Newstart and Youth Allowance recipients for drugs, quarantine the payments of those who test positive and organise rehabilitation services for them.</p> <p>The Senate is currently trying to regain Lambie’s support by suggesting that those who do test positive for drugs could receive up to $65,000 worth of rehabilitation services, according to <u><em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/" target="_blank">The Telegraph</a>.</em></u></p> <p>However, Lambie remains unmoved. Labor was also equally dismissive of the move by the Coalition.</p> <p>"Every single health expert in the country tells them that they are wrong. This does not work. It will not assist people who are drug addicted,” said frontbencher Catherine King.</p> <p>"What assists people who are drug addicted is proper services, not punishing them and sending them into dire poverty. That is what this government wants to do.</p> <p>"It's all about punishing people on welfare. It is not about actually helping people with what is a substantial health problem."</p>

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5 times to never use your credit card for payment

<div class="postIntro">Credit cards might be convenient and reliable, but here are some scenarios where swiping or entering your digits could be dangerous.</div> <p><strong>1. When a website address does not begin with "HTTPS"</strong></p> <p>If you don’t see these five letters in the address bar of the website you are trying to make a payment on, it means the site is not secure.</p> <p>“HTTPS is a protocol for secure communication over a computer network which is widely used on the Internet,” explains Robert McKee, lawyer and certified international privacy professional.</p> <p>“Its main motivation is authentication of the visited website and protection of the privacy and integrity of the exchanged data.”</p> <p>When the URL begins with “HTTPS”, the site is secure, and you are safe to use a credit card.</p> <p>If the site does not include an “s” in this beginning part of the URL, opt out of the online purchase, and try using a third-party payment system like PayPal instead.</p> <p>These sites act as another barrier between an organization and your credit information. If all else fails, try paying in person.</p> <p><strong>2. When you're responding to an email</strong></p> <p>It is actually better to provide your credit card to someone over the phone (only when you have initiated the call—more on that later) or even via text message than it is to respond with your credit card number in an email.</p> <p>“There is a technique called ‘phishing’ or ‘spear phishing’, and it involves emails that are designed to extract your credit card number for an unauthorized purchase,” warns Stephen Lesavich, PhD, JD, attorney, credit card expert, and best-selling author.</p> <p>Before clicking on any link, look for phishing clues like spelling mistakes, strange use of English, and logos that look off.</p> <p>Another technique is to hover over a link while not clicking on it and see if you can recognize the URL.</p> <p>Look for the same site outside your email and compare them.</p> <p>If there is anything suspicious, do not make the purchase or make it from another site.</p> <p>They’re smart, they’re sneaky, and they want your personal information.</p> <p><strong>3. When charity fundraisers approach you on the street</strong></p> <p>Quite often, and mostly in big cities, you’ll see charity fundraisers walking the streets in an attempt to collect donations in the form of money for a variety of causes – the environment, child welfare, and pet care, to name just a few.</p> <p>They might only ask to take your name down so they can contact you at a later date, but if they ask you for your credit card, beware.</p> <p>“These causes are known to target people’s emotions to get them to donate,” warns Lesavich.</p> <p>“Although legitimate in some cases, they could instead be scams to charge your credit card and get your credit card information.”</p> <p>If you want to contribute to these causes, a safer bet is to visit their website, check that it’s secure and then make a donation from there.</p> <p><strong>4. When speaking to anyone over the phone</strong></p> <p>Try to avoid giving your credit card information over the phone for the simple reason that you don’t know where it will go once you hang up.</p> <p>You also don’t know who’s listening in on the call – whether it’s people around you, someone else on the line, or even the person on the other end of the phone who’s taking down your digits.</p> <p>“One of the most common examples of card information being given over the phone is through delivery food purchases,” says Jeremy Brant, VP of Information Technology for .<br />Bank.</p> <p>“In situations like these, or other instances where a vendor is asking for card information over the phone, order the service online or pay cash in person.”</p> <p>With delivery food, should the location not have its own website (or the website is not secure), third-party smartphone apps can fill in the gap.</p> <p><strong>5. When an online merchant has no reviews</strong></p> <p>If you’re considering buying from a merchant on any type of marketplace – from eBay to Etsy – look them up online. If you Google them and there’s only one listing for the merchant, with no online reviews, no past experiences from other customers, and no social media accounts, you should think twice about handing over your card.</p> <p>This is true for online merchants, of course, but real-world merchants as well. “The Internet has given consumers a much more effective way to gauge the reputation of the companies we do business with, so use it,” suggests Adam Jusko, founder and CEO of a card comparison and news site.</p> <p>Along these same lines, look for contact information on the websites you buy from, including address and phone number if you’re unfamiliar with the merchant.</p> <p>“Cross reference the address and phone numbers by looking them up in a search engine to see if they match the merchant.”</p> <p><em>Written by Jenn Sinrich. This article first appeared in <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/true-stories-lifestyle/thought-provoking/10-times-never-ever-use-your-credit-card-payment">Reader’s Digest</a>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, <a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.com.au/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRA93V">here’s our best subscription offer</a>.</em></p>

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URGENT RECALL: Coles pulls popular milk amid contamination fears

<p>Coles customers in Western Australia have been urged to avoid purchasing the home-brand milk products due to fears that the product could be contaminated.</p> <p>The two-litre bottles of Coles Brand Fresh Full Cream Milk with the use-by date of September 13th 2019 have been pulled from shelves at Coles Express stores in Western Australia.</p> <p>This is due to the concerns that the milk could contain cleaning fluid. </p> <p>A statement has been issued by Coles saying that the contaminated products may have a “yellowish colouring and/or a metallic chemical taste”.</p> <p>“Customers must not consume this product, and anyone concerned about their health should seek medical advice,” the statement said.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FColesExpress%2Fposts%2F2111317999164606&amp;width=500" width="500" height="580" style="border: none; overflow: hidden;" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowtransparency="true" allow="encrypted-media"></iframe></p> <p>“Customers seeking further information can contact Coles Customer Care on 1800 061 562,” the statement said.</p> <p>“We apologise to our customers for any inconvenience.”</p> <p>Customers are saying that the apology is not enough.</p> <p>“Randomly bought a bottle as we ran out of our normal milk only to find it’s the recalled milk,” one customer wrote.</p> <p>“It’s almost empty. Myself and my daughter have been feeling ill with sore tummy’s. What bloody chemicals have we consumed?????”</p> <p>The unhappy customer said that a refund wasn’t enough for ingesting chemicals.</p> <p>“A refund is not enough! What’s happening with your quality control?! Customer care line is useless as it’s not open today.”</p> <p>Another customer has ingested the milk whilst being 9 weeks pregnant.</p> <p>“Same here, Im 9 wks pregnant and myself and 2 year old who have both consumed this milk have sharp stabbing pains and also have high fevers,” she wrote.</p> <p>“We finished the bottle yesterday morning. I don’t want a refund; I want answers too.”</p> <p>Coles Express milk consumers with the affected product can return the item for a full refund.</p> <p>A recall has not been issued for Coles Brand milk sold at supermarkets as the milk is produced by a different supplier.</p>

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5 ways to save on your electricity bill

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As the weather starts to warm up a little bit, it can be tempting to get the air flowing in the house after months of stuffy winter weather.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">However, it’s important to remember that using electricity comes at a cost. If you’re dreading opening your next electricity bill, here are five tips that you can use to cut back costs.</span></p> <p><strong>1. Use energy efficient lighting</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Light bulbs contribute more than you think to your power bill, especially if you have old incandescent or halogen light bulbs. This is because it takes more watts of electricity to power them. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Switching to compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) or light emitting diodes (LEDs) can save you money as they use less electricity to run and can last longer.</span></p> <p><strong>2. Wash clothes with cold water</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It takes electricity to heat up water in your washing machine and it can be a real energy suck. Try sticking to the cold wash setting for day to day laundry if possible.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Make sure that you take advantage of any eco-settings that are available on your washing machine as well as setting the machine to the correct load size in order to save on power.</span></p> <p><strong>3. Switch off appliances at the wall</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Switching off appliances at the wall might sound a bit cheap, but when you consider how many devices are plugged into power without being used all the time, this trick can save you money on your next electricity bill.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Standby appliances, such as microwaves, televisions and even phone chargers cost a typical household over $100 a year in wasted electricity.  </span></p> <p><strong>4. Check appliance settings</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">While we’re on the topic of appliances, make sure that the settings of certain appliances are adjusted to what you need them to be. It’s as simple as making sure the television isn’t too bright and the fridge isn't too cold.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It can also mean taking advantage of eco-settings that are available on dishwashers, clothes dryers, washing machines and air conditioners (if you have these appliances). </span></p> <p><strong>5. Compare energy providers</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">If you’ve been with the same energy provider for years, but the prices keep increasing when you’re doing all you can to reduce your bill, maybe a change of provider is in order.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">You can save around by shopping for a better deal, as energy companies are always changing their products and prices.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Just because you got a good deal upon signing up doesn’t mean that the energy company requires that it stays that way.</span></p>

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13 things you should know about negotiating

<p>Follow these tips to get the most out of yourself and your bottom line.</p> <p><strong>1. Learn to improvise</strong></p> <div id="page1" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide"> <div class="slide-description"> <p>Pay close attention to what your negotiating partner is expressing and be willing to step outside your comfort zone.</p> <p><strong>2. If someone offers a good deal</strong></p> <p>If someone offers a good deal, be sure it’s worth the risk to ask for more.</p> <p>As Harvard Business School professor Michael Wheeler writes in 2013’s The Art of Negotiation, “When someone hands you a tasty piece of cake, with rich frosting to boot, think twice about asking for sprinkles on top.”</p> <p><strong>3. Jot down what you want beforehand</strong></p> <div id="page3" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide"> <div class="slide-description"> <p>Written plans help you focus on achieving your goals, instead of getting flustered, says Marty Latz, founder of the training and consulting firm Latz Negotiation Institute.</p> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/money/13-things-you-should-know-about-negotiating"><strong>4. Know your triggers</strong></div> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/money/13-things-you-should-know-about-negotiating"> <div id="page4" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide"> <div class="slide-description"> <p>Gail Levitt, a facilitator at York University’s Schulich School of Business in Toronto, says understanding what affects you emotionally makes it easier to avoid taking things personally and concentrate instead on solving the conflict.</p> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/money/13-things-you-should-know-about-negotiating"><strong>5. Be a copycat</strong></div> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/money/13-things-you-should-know-about-negotiating"> <div id="page5" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide"> <div class="slide-description"> <p>A 2007 study of the effects of mimicry on negotiation found that ten out of 15 buyers who subtly copied their partners’ mannerisms during the process achieved a deal. Only two out of 16 buyers who didn’t mirror succeeded.</p> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/money/13-things-you-should-know-about-negotiating"><strong>6. When negotiating for money</strong></div> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/money/13-things-you-should-know-about-negotiating"> <div id="page6" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide"> <div class="slide-description"> <p>When selling your car or asking for a raise, for example – ask for a range, not a fixed number. This approach may make it harder for your partner to counter with a lower sum.</p> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/money/13-things-you-should-know-about-negotiating"><strong>7. Small talk goes a long way</strong></div> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/money/13-things-you-should-know-about-negotiating"> <p>Researchers from Stanford, Columbia and Northwestern universities followed people participating in email-based negotiations.</p> <p>One group went straight to business; members of the second began by telling their partners about themselves.</p> <p>Chatty negotiators reached an agreement 59 per cent of the time, while business-centred participants succeeded only 39 per cent of the time.</p> <p><strong>8. Demonstrate potential</strong></p> <p>You need to demonstrate potential rather than listing accomplishments.</p> <p>A 2012 US study measured how participants felt about a hypothetical job candidate.</p> <p>Respondents felt a person who lacked experience but had potential would be more successful than one with experience but fewer prospects for improvement.</p> <p><strong>9. Beware the gender disparity</strong></p> <div id="page9" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide"> <div class="slide-description"> <p>According to Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever, authors of Women Don’t Ask, 20 percent of women admit they don’t negotiate at all – and those who do negotiate ask for 30 percent less than men on average.</p> <p><strong>10. Don't fall prey to "negotiation myopia"</strong></p> <div id="page10" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide"> <div class="slide-description"> <p>“Negotiation myopia” is a strategic mistake in which one party fails to see a solution that’s mutually beneficial. Look for a resolution with which both sides can be happy.</p> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/money/13-things-you-should-know-about-negotiating"><strong>11. Update your boss regularly</strong></div> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/money/13-things-you-should-know-about-negotiating"> <p>Update your boss regularly on your accomplishments.</p> <p>If you save them all for one session, you’re in danger of coming across as needy.</p> <p><strong>12. Have a fallback position</strong></p> <p>“If you’ve got a great Plan B, you’ll have a more powerful negotiation,” Latz says.</p> <p>“The easier it is to walk, the more likely you are to achieve your goals.”</p> <p><strong>13. Be soft on the person and hard on the problem</strong></p> <div id="page13" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide"> <div class="slide-description"> <p>Levitt says, “Ask yourself, ‘What do I want the other party to say or do at the end of the conversation?’ If the answer is, ‘Change into somebody else,’ that’s not an appropriate outcome.”</p> <p class="p1"><em>Written by Lara Zarum. This article first appeared in <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/money/13-things-you-should-know-about-negotiating" target="_blank">Reader’s Digest</a>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, <a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.com.au/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRA93V">here’s our best subscription offer</a>.</em></p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div>

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“We’re working very long hours”: Tasmanian MP demands pay rise after claiming $190,000 isn’t enough

<p>Sue Hickey has previously been known for speaking out on social issues such as homelessness, but now, The Clark MP is making headlines for completely different reasons.</p> <p>The Tasmanian parliamentary speaker believes that she deserves to earn more than her $190,000 annual salary.</p> <p>According to Hickey, Tasmania’s Speaker and Legislative Council President were the worst-paid presiding officers in the country and argued that the salary should be increased to make sure that those who are the most qualified are attracted to the role.</p> <p>She did admit that her position was an unpopular opinion.</p> <p>“I recognise that most of our public servants believe they’re underpaid, and a lot of people would like to see Newstart increased, and we do look like we’ve got significantly larger salaries,” she said.</p> <p>“But I can tell you we’re working very, very long hours, seven days a week, and sometimes putting ourselves at great risk.</p> <p>“I would just like to see it commensurate with our peers on the mainland.”</p> <p>But despite Legislative Council President and Labor MP Craig Farrell also earning $190,000, he disagrees with Hickey’s stance as he believes they’re paid more than enough.</p> <p>“I think after listening to some of the stories I’ve listened to this weekend [at the Labor conference] about public servants battling, people having to take two jobs, I don’t think I’ll be standing up saying, ‘please give me more money’,” said Farrell.</p> <p>In the ACT, which has a significantly smaller population to Tasmania, Speaker Joy Burch is on an annual salary of over $260,000.</p> <p>Northern Territory Speaker Kezia Purick earns almost $270,000.</p>

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4 money mistakes that are costing you thousands

<div id="page1" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide"> <div class="slide-description"> <p>Discussing money with our loved ones is awkward at best – and intimidating and nerve-wracking at worst. While budgeting is by no means a sexy topic of conversation, it’s a necessary endeavour to achieving your goals and creating the life you want.</p> <p>Unfortunately, there are plenty of financial decisions that cost us dearly – just think about what you could do with an extra $2,500 to $5,000 in your pocket. It’s not typically one big ticket item that breaks a budget, but rather, “death by a thousand cuts” as the saying goes. The bright side is that your simple mistakes often have simple solutions.</p> <p><strong>1. Making only minimum payments on your credit card</strong></p> <p>Making minimum-only payments is a financial No Man’s Land. Case in point, if you have a credit card with a balance of $5,000 and an interest rate of 19.9%, you’re required to pay two per cent as a minimum payment on a declining balance – think $100 on the first month, $99 on the second month, and so on. At that rate, it will take you about 65 years – and more than $22,000 in interest! – to pay off your credit card.</p> <p>If you take that same scenario and upgrade to a fixed payment of $125 per month, you’ll be debt-free in just over five years (assuming you’re not reusing the card). Of course, you’ll still pay $3,274 in interest, but your future-self will thank you for the saved time and money.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;">The solution:</span> <span>Do your best to put your credit products away. If you absolutely must use credit, be sure to make higher than minimum payments.</span></p> <p><strong>2. Buying coffee-to-go everyday</strong></p> <p>A daily cup of coffee on your way to work can cost you $10-$50 per week. Multiply this by 52 weeks in a year and that cost shoots up to $520-$2,600. And remember: that figure doesn’t even include the coffees you may purchase during your lunch breaks or on weekends.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;">The solution</span>: Purchase a travel mug, make your coffee at home and consider fancying up that cup of joe by adding vanilla or cinnamon. If you absolutely must have that store-bought coffee, buy yourself a coffee card and stick to an allowance of $25 per month.</p> <p><strong>3. Disregarding a weekly meal plan</strong></p> <p>We’ve all been there: you’re at the supermarket with your grocery list in hand and think to yourself, “Wait, do I already have this item in my pantry?” You purchase the product anyway, and lo and behold, it was sitting in your kitchen the entire time.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;">The solution</span>: Create a weekly or bi-weekly meal plan after checking your freezer, pantry and fridge for items you might already have. Apps will also allow you to shop the flyers, compare prices and price match. And of course, only buy what’s on your list.</p> <p><strong>4. Shopping without thinking</strong></p> <p>Impulse spending can wreak havoc on both your budget and your emotions – those “good vibes” from your purchase very quickly turn to feelings of guilt and shame.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;">The solution</span>: Figure out what triggers you using the TEMPO acronym – T: time; E: environment; M: mood; P: place; O: occasion – and find alternatives to spending money. In the meantime, consider leaving your credit and debit cards at home when you’re out and give yourself a guilt-free allowance.</p> <p class="p1"><em>Written by </em><em>Stacy Yanchuk Oleksy</em><em>. This article first appeared in <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/money/15-money-mistakes-are-costing-you-thousands">Reader’s Digest</a>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, <a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.com.au/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRA93V">here’s our best subscription offer</a>.</em></p> <p><img style="width: 100px !important; height: 100px !important;" src="/media/7820640/1.png" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/f30947086c8e47b89cb076eb5bb9b3e2" /></p> </div> </div> </div>

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Most Aussies missing the target for a comfortable retirement

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">New research by the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) shows that most Australians are missing the target for a comfortable retirement.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Their new </span><a href="https://www.superannuation.asn.au/ArticleDocuments/359/1907-Better-Retirement-Outcomes-a-snapshot-of-account-balances-in-Australia.pdf.aspx?Embed=Y"><span style="font-weight: 400;">study</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> shows that median super balances for retiring Aussies aged 60 to 64 are only $154,453 for men and $122,848 for women.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This is well below the $545,000 figure that ASFA estimates is needed for a comfortable retirement.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">While retirement savings have grown significantly in recent years, ASFA chief executive Dr Martin Fahy said that it’s going to be several years before the median balance reaches the standard for a comfortable lifestyle. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Once the legislated increase of the Superannuation Guarantee to 12 per cent is in place, ASFA projects around half of Australians will be living comfortably in retirement by 2050, which is just over double the current proportion,” Dr Fahy said to </span><a href="https://thenewdaily.com.au/money/superannuation/2019/07/24/super-balances-less-comfortable/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">The New Daily</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Combined Pensioners and Superannuants Association chief executive Paul Versteegehas said that average retirement balances are “quite low” considering the system of superannuation has been in place for more than 25 years. However, he has reinforced that the figure given by ASFA doesn’t suit everyone.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“For some people, that’s too much, for others it will be far too small,” Mr Versteege said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“We need to let government and Australian citizens define what it means to have enough, and not leave it to ASFA or the superannuation funds.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Eva Scheerlinck, chief executive of the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees has agreed, saying that the amount of savings needed will vary from person to person.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“All benchmarks have their limitations due to the various assumptions they make about lifestyle and expenditure patterns,” she told </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">The New Daily</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“For example, the current benchmark for a ‘comfortable’ retirement of around $43,000 a year for a single person might be generous by some people’s living standards, but inadequate for the increasing cohort of single people who retire without owning a home.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“For this latter category, increasing the compulsory super contribution rate to 12 per cent will be critical.”</span></p>

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URGENT: Major security breach after customers banking information hacked

<p>An urgent warning has been issued after hackers broke into a new payment system that put tens of thousands of customers’ personal banking information at risk.</p> <p>The scammers were able to obtain phone numbers, customer names, BSB and account numbers which were all linked to PayID. The fraudsters targeted unsuspecting customers with fake texts and phone calls in order to access the New Payments Platform (NPP) database and steal millions of dollars, according to the<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.heraldsun.com.au/" target="_blank"><em>Herald Sun</em></a>.</p> <p>All big four banks around the country were affected as those impacted include Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank, ANZ and Westpac.</p> <p>Westpac emailed its customers urging them to remain vigilant, as the stolen data could be used to commit fraud.</p> <p>It is understood that the breach initially took place at another bank, but soon spread to other financial institutions.</p> <p>“We have heightened monitoring on your account and ask that you are on the lookout for any suspicious activity,” read the email.</p> <p>“We ask that you also be vigilant with any messages received via text or phone calls from an unidentified source.</p> <p>“We are urging all customers to be wary of any SMS phishing attempts – for example, a personalised message which looks like a legitimate message from Westpac or another bank, in an attempt to acquire banking credentials and password,” it said.</p> <p>The NPP was a highly anticipated initiative that was introduced in 2018, promising to deliver 24/7 instant transfers, as it moved cash in seconds.</p>

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Rent prices continue to rise – but it depends on where you live

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Despite a 2.7 drop in rental prices in the past twelve months, some surprising cities are among the top five most expensive rental markets across the country.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Sydney remains the most expensive capital city to rent in, with a median weekly price of $580.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This was followed by Canberra at a shocking $549 a week, Melbourne at $458 a week, Hobart at $457 a week, Darwin at $456, Brisbane at $435, Perth at $389 and Adelaide at $386.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Hobart has had the biggest leap in rental prices in the past 12 months at 4.7 per cent while Darwin fell by the same percentage.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">CoreLogic’s quarterly rent review showed that Australia-wide weekly rent increased by 0.3 per cent over the second quarter of 2019.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">However, the increase in rent is outside metropolitan areas, as regional areas have risen by 1.9 per cent in the last 12 months.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"Overall, the rental market remains quite mixed, however, it is clear that Sydney accounts for a large share of overall renters with annual falls in Sydney, leading to a fall in the combined capital city index," CoreLogic analyst Cameron Kusher said to </span><a href="https://finance.nine.com.au/personal-finance/rent-prices-review-numbers-shows-australias-most-expensive-cheapest-places-to-rent-news-national/d05e415c-d924-4b46-a0f1-60138d76da91"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Nine Finance</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"The past year has seen a change of direction for both the Brisbane and Perth rental markets, following a number of years of declines rents are now climbing again."</span></p>

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The slow death of the milk bar in Australia

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The milk bar, convenience store or local deli used to be a staple for suburbs around Australia, but they are dying a slow death.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">For decades, families would flock to get lollies, ice-cream, fresh milk or bread or to pick up the daily newspaper.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">These days are all over. This is thanks to supermarkets, petrol stations and on-demand smartphones that have suffocated the market.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“The milk bar really hasn’t just shut up shop overnight, it’s been happening for at least 40 years, but now it’s pretty rapid,” said Eamon Donnelly, the author of a coffee table book documenting Australian milk bars to </span><a href="https://thenewdaily.com.au/money/consumer/2019/07/21/death-of-the-milk-bar/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">The New Daily</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I’ll see real estate listings for old milk bars on a weekly basis now. They just can’t sustain the business – the rents are huge and if you don’t have that traffic and customer base then it’s really difficult to see it surviving.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Many old milk bars have been converted into homes or cafes, and Mr Donnelly said that for millions of Australians, a trip to the corner store was a part of growing up.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Milk bars were a treasure trove or an Aladdin’s cave of lollies, sweets and ice creams and colour – that’s the thing everyone remembers,” he recalled.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“It was that first taste of independence. It was the first place many people bought something of their own. It’s such a vivid Australian memory, going up to the milk bar on a Saturday with your friends and getting a couple of ice-creams and just hanging out for hours and hours, before social media and before phones.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The first milk bar was set up in Martin Place, Sydney back in 1932. It was a very glamorous experience, according to Mr Donnelly.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Instead of selling sodas he’d sell milkshakes and hence why he called the business a milk bar – they’d sell milkshakes and you’re served on a bar,” Mr Donnelly said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“It was very Hollywood style. It was really glamorous.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Then all of these little corner stores in the suburbs thought, ‘We’ll sell milkshakes as well and we’ll put “milk bar” on the business’.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Seventy years later, milk bar is just part of the vernacular now – we still call that little shop a milk bar even though you can’t get a milkshake anywhere.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“A lot of people think that the milk bar was named after the place where you just go and get your milk.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Mr Donnelly has said that milk bars have always had strong ties to immigrant communities.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“It was a way to get that migrant food culture into Australia,” he said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Before milk bars, the Greeks used to buy olive oil from the chemist – it was medicinal.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“They offer money transfers now, dry cleaning – a lot of the signage is being updated to other languages.”</span></p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/0ge-pEMTjj/" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/0ge-pEMTjj/" target="_blank">A post shared by @cup_or_cone</a> on Mar 21, 2015 at 4:05pm PDT</p> </div> </blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">However, oil and gas giants have funds that the lowly milk bar just don’t have.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“We’ve seen the large oil companies take the lead in terms of reinventing convenience,” said Jeff Rogut, CEO of the Australasian Association of Convenience Stores.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“They’ve continued to reinvent the model, continued to upgrade stores and, importantly, upgrade facilities and the products offered inside stores.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“We’ve seen a demise nationally of the true community corner store,” he said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Many kept doing all the things they’ve been doing all the years, with stores that had not been upgraded, front windows plastered with phone card posters, dusty-styled dingy-type outlets, not opening extended hours.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“They really had to become smarter. They had to become more professional retailers – they couldn’t really rely on the old [method of] standing behind the counter and hoping people would cross their doorstop.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“It’s about continually innovating and changing the business – should I be selling coffee, offering fresh pastries, freshly baked bread, things like that, that will actually get people to the store.”</span></p>

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Did you get this text? Beware the fake ATO message scamming Aussies out of thousands

<p>A warning has been issued over a text message that appears to be from the Australian Tax Office, but is really a fraudulent scam aiming to take money out of the pockets of hardworking Aussies. </p> <p>“You are due to receive an ATO direct refund of $2675.61,” the text reads.</p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height:281.25px;" src="/media/7829691/new-project.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/d69d06c2a25046eeb70206b6d99db5f3" /></p> <p>“Visit<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="http://www.ato.direct/" target="_blank">www.ato.direct</a><span> </span>and logon with your phone number **** and ATO PIN: **** to claim.”</p> <p>The seedy link tells the receiver of the text message it is a “new system” used by the ATO to hand out tax refunds, and is “very straightforward.”</p> <p>“It has been designed and personalised to prevent third parties from claiming your refunds,” the scam reads. </p> <p>NSW Police are urging anyone who has received the SMS text to delete it immediately and to not click on any links in the message. </p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="/media/7829690/new-project-1.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/616578330cd64d85881ad11cad350708" /></p> <p>Anyone who has clicked on any of the links given are advised to file a report with<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.cyber.gov.au/report" target="_blank">Australian Cyber Security Centre<span> </span></a>or call the police assistance line on 131 444.</p> <p>Read more:<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/finance/legal/how-to-outsmart-the-scammers" target="_blank">How to outsmart the scammers</a></p>

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“Rubbish”: Kochie’s new show How To Make $10k In 20 Days slammed by viewers

<p>David Koch has been brutally slammed by viewers for claiming any ordinary Australian can earn an extra $10,000 in just 20 days.</p> <p>His new show<span> </span><em>How To Make $10k In 20 Days</em><span> </span>premiered on Channel Seven on Wednesday night and it was met with harsh criticism.</p> <p>The<span> </span><em>Sunrise</em><span> </span>host, who started off as a financial journalist, believes anyone can make as much as $500 a day by just picking up a “side hustle” or selling items around the house.</p> <p>Two couples decided to take part in the “sprint saving” challenge – the first was Gold Coast pair Tim and Jana who collectively earned $150,000 a year, and Sydney parents Mick and Rebecca Adamson who rely on a single income of $83,000.</p> <p>Over three weeks the couples cut down their grocery bill by half and took on extra jobs such as cleaning toilets and gardening.</p> <p>They also put their properties on Airbnb and sold any unwanted items.</p> <p>But viewers at home were not impressed, saying the people shown on the program do not represent the “average Australian”.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fchannel7%2Fvideos%2F364241284492418%2F&amp;show_text=0&amp;width=476" width="476" height="476" style="border: none; overflow: hidden;" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowtransparency="true" allowfullscreen="true"></iframe></p> <p>Many took aim at the couple earning $150k, accusing them of living the “high life” while trying to save for their wedding reception.</p> <p>“Seriously a couple earning more than $150,000 combined … why do they need to go on a show like that?” said one person.</p> <p>Another said: “I found the show ridiculous. The young couple have fancy breakfasts every morning and complained when they have to have Vegemite on toast. Spend $300 a week or fortnight on dining out and drinking. And they love their shopping. They aren’t struggling for money. They just spend it all on so many unnecessary things … why not get a couple on the show that’s actually struggling with money.”</p> <p>One wrote: “Yeah sure, young couple earning $150,000 a year sounds like they really need the help … how about helping families who are actually doing it tough, not the ones earning $3,500 per week.”</p> <p>“Rubbish, how can you save up with prices of bills, rent and petrol, these topics are just far from reality,” another woman said.</p> <p>In the end, the Adamsons fell short by making $7253, but they aim to sell any unwanted items with a garage sale in the coming weeks.</p> <p>They plan on using the money they saved to pay off their credit card bills and going on a “date night”.</p> <p>Tim and Jana managed to reach the $10,000 goal towards their dream wedding, after Tim reluctantly sold his boat for half the amount he bought it for.</p>

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What to do if you receive this threatening letter from the ATO

<p>Australian tax payers are being hit with threatening ATO “data matching” letters and are being advised to act quickly or face being thousands of dollars out of pocket.</p> <p>With the introduction of sophisticated technology, tax men are now able to sift through mountains of data from third-party institutions such as banks to see if any information, like sales or shares of property, are being excluded from people’s tax returns.</p> <p>Each year, an increasing number of Aussies are receiving “please explain” letters, in a bid to raise over $1 billion in revenue by cracking down on dodgy claims.</p> <p>According to Etax, once the recipient is given the letter, they are under a time limit.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="width: 368.3823529411765px; height: 500px;" src="/media/7829512/capture.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/5561f49d99f74a4ab1a7de985179eb6f" /></p> <p>“What it means is the taxpayer has lodged a return either current or up to two years ago, and now the ATO has done some data-matching with third parties and decided that something on the return is incorrect so they send out a letter,” said Etax senior tax agent Liz Russell.</p> <p>“Once you get that, quite often people can freak out or get concerned, they might stick it in their drawer and hope it goes away. But if you don’t address it within the time frame, usually 28 days, the ATO will raise an amended assessment based on the information they believe to be correct and in some cases, issue a penalty for overpaid refunds.”</p> <p>Ms Russell revealed that due to companies providing more information, the ATO has been able to investigate tax returns from years ago as previously, that data was unavailable.</p> <p>“I’ve seen them go back four years,” she said. “It doesn’t have a lot to do with deductions because deductions aren’t things they can data match. It’s things like dividends, shares, sale of rental properties, missing PAYG summaries.”</p>

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