Retirement Income

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3 coffee machines to avoid in the EOFY sales

<div> <p>Snapping up a reasonably priced coffee machine in the end of financial year sales is a smart way to save money on buying barista-made coffees – but only if it does a decent job. Some of the models we've tested performed so poorly they'll have you running straight back to your favourite cafe, KeepCup in hand.</p> <p><span>We review capsule and espresso coffee machines from brands like Breville, DeLonghi, Electrolux, Nespresso and Sunbeam. We use an expert panel to rate the taste of the coffee, while our experienced kitchen testers score the machines on other measures like ease of use and temperature consistency. </span></p> <p>The experts agree: you're better off leaving these three models on the shelf.</p> <p>Just want the top scorers? <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.choice.com.au/home-and-living/kitchen/coffee-machines/review-and-compare/home-espresso-coffee-machines" target="_blank">Read our coffee machine reviews</a>.</p> </div> <div class="article-container--body"><strong>Sunbeam Café Barista EM5000</strong> <div class="grid l-stack-med"> <div class="unit u1of2 l-right l-pad-1"> <div class="unit"><img src="https://www.choice.com.au/-/media/8930fa44e1c240fc9e8a8c11e4fbd991.ashx" alt=" Sunbeam Cafe Barista EM5000" /></div> </div> </div> <p>This<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.choice.com.au/products/home-and-living/kitchen/coffee-machines/sunbeam-caf-barista-em5000" target="_blank">barista-style espresso machine</a><span> </span>is great at serving up cup after cup at very consistent temperatures, but unfortunately the coffee is lacking in taste, with our expert tasting panel rating it an appalling 30 per cent. </p> <p>If you're looking to perfect your latte art, you'll also be frustrated by this machine's mediocre milk frothing performance. </p> <p>At $299, with an overall score of just 47 per cent, the Sunbeam Café Barista is definitely not the smartest way to get your morning fix.</p> <strong>Nescafe Dolce Gusto Lumio NCU600</strong> <div class="grid l-stack-med"> <div class="unit u1of2 l-right l-pad-1"> <div class="unit"><img src="https://www.choice.com.au/-/media/61c1d242210941479a225453ec2ff236.ashx" alt="Nescafe Dolce Gusto Lumio NCU600" /></div> </div> </div> <p>You don't always need to spend a fortune on a coffee machine to get a good cuppa (the<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.choice.com.au/home-and-living/kitchen/coffee-machines/articles/kmart-anko-espresso-coffee-machine-review" target="_blank">Kmart $89 espresso machine</a><span> </span>is a case in point), but in this instance, you get what you pay for. </p> <p>The $99<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.choice.com.au/products/home-and-living/kitchen/coffee-machines/nescafe-dolce-gusto-lumio-ncu600" target="_blank">Nescafe Dolce Gusto Lumio</a><span> </span>delivers poor-tasting coffee, poor milk frothing and inconsistent temperatures, contributing to an overall score of 49 per cent in our review. </p> <p>It's also unpleasant to use, as the coffee can splash during delivery and the unit has no waste storage, meaning you have to remove every capsule manually after use.</p> <strong>Espressotoria Capino</strong> <div class="grid l-stack-med"> <div class="unit u1of2 l-right l-pad-1"> <div class="unit"><img src="https://www.choice.com.au/-/media/5d9e8cbbe5af4716b0c4268971bfd6e7.ashx" alt="Espressotoria Capino" /></div> </div> </div> <p>Despite using a different capsule system, this machine bears an unpleasant resemblance to the Nescafe Dolce Gusto, with a price point of $99 and an overall score of 49 per cent. </p> <p>Just like the Nescafe system, the<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.choice.com.au/products/home-and-living/kitchen/coffee-machines/espressotoria-capino" target="_blank">Espressotoria</a><span> </span>produces poor-tasting coffee at inconsistent temperatures. </p> <p>The machine doesn't come with a milk frother, but we bought the optional Veloce milk frother for $35 and – surprise, surprise – it also did a substandard job.</p> <strong>Coffee machine buying tips</strong> <p>If you're tossing up between a pod or capsule coffee machine and a manual espresso machine, there are a few factors to consider.</p> <p>Pod or capsule machines are much easier to use and require very little cleaning. On the other hand, espresso machines require more work but generally have a better depth of flavour and let you make your coffee the way you like it.</p> <p>But remember, a poor-quality espresso machine can still deliver mediocre flavour, and a badly designed pod or capsule machine can be tricky to use, so make sure you do your research before committing.</p> <p>For more top tips, visit our<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.choice.com.au/home-and-living/kitchen/coffee-machines/buying-guides/coffee-machines" target="_blank">coffee machine buying guide</a>.</p> <p><em>Written by Grace Smith. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://www.choice.com.au/home-and-living/kitchen/coffee-machines/articles/3-coffee-machines-to-avoid-in-the-eofy-sales"><em>CHOICE</em></a><em>. </em></p> </div>

Retirement Income

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More people are retiring with high mortgage debts

<p>The number of mature age Australians carrying mortgage debt into retirement is soaring.</p> <p>And on average each mature age Australian with a mortgage debt owes much more relative to their income than 25 years ago.</p> <p>Microdata from the Bureau of Statistics <a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/Lookup/6541.0.30.001Main+Features12013-14">survey of income and housing</a> shows an increase in the proportion of homeowners owing money on mortgages across every home-owning age group between 1990 and 2015. The sharpest increase is among homeowners approaching retirement.</p> <p><strong>More mortgaged for longer</strong></p> <p>For home owners aged 55 to 64 years, the proportion owing money on mortgages has tripled from 14 to 47 per cent.</p> <p>Among home owners aged 45 to 54 years, it has doubled.</p> <hr /> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/278480/original/file-20190607-52741-1gvtikf.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/278480/original/file-20190607-52741-1gvtikf.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a> <span class="caption"></span> <span class="attribution"><a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/Lookup/6503.0Main+Features12015-16" class="source">Source: Authors’ own calculations from the Surveys of Income and Housing</a></span></p> <hr /> <p>Meanwhile, the average mortgage debt-to-income ratio among those with mortgages has pretty much doubled across every home-owning age group.</p> <p>In the 45-54 age group the mortgage debt-to-income ratio has blown out from 82 per cent to 169 per cent.</p> <p>For those aged 55-64 it has blown out from 72 per cent to 132 per cent.</p> <hr /> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/278619/original/file-20190610-52758-wdha1w.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/278619/original/file-20190610-52758-wdha1w.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a> <span class="caption"></span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Source: Authors’ own calculations from the Surveys of Income and Housing</span></span></p> <hr /> <p><strong>3 reasons why</strong></p> <p>The soaring rates of mortgage indebtedness among older Australians have been driven by three distinct factors.</p> <p>First, property prices have surged ahead of incomes.</p> <p>Since 1970 the national dwelling price to income ratio <a href="https://www.ceda.com.au/CEDA/media/General/Publication/PDFs/HousingAustraliaFinal_Flipsnack.pdf">has doubled</a>.</p> <hr /> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/278624/original/file-20190610-52780-1hzmy9f.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/278624/original/file-20190610-52780-1hzmy9f.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a> <span class="caption">Prices and wages in 1970 are assigned an index of 100.</span> <span class="attribution"><a href="https://www.ceda.com.au/CEDA/media/General/Publication/PDFs/HousingAustraliaFinal_Flipsnack.pdf" class="source">Sources: Treasury, ABS, Committee for Economic Development of Australia</a></span></p> <hr /> <p>Despite weaker property prices, the ratio remains historically high. This means households have to borrow more to buy a home. It also delays the transition into home ownership, <a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/by%20Subject/4130.0%7E2015-16%7EMain%20Features%7EAcross%20the%20Generations:%20Twenty%20years%20of%20housing%7E10003">potentially shortening</a> the the remaining working life available to repay the loan.</p> <p>Second, today’s home owners frequently use flexible mortgage products to draw down on their housing equity as needed for other purposes. During the first decade of this century, one in five home owners aged 45-64 years increased their mortgage debt <a href="https://www.ahuri.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0013/2191/AHURI_Final_Report_No217_Housing-equity-withdrawal-uses,-risks,-and-barriers-to-alternative-mechanisms-in-later-life.pdf">even though they did not move house</a>.</p> <p>Third, older home owners appear to be taking on bigger mortgages or delaying paying them off in the knowledge that they can work longer than their parents did, or draw down their superannuation account balances.</p> <p><strong>Super could be changing our behaviour</strong></p> <p>For mortgage holders aged 55-64 years, there is evidence to suggest that larger debts <a href="https://www.ahuri.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0008/12023/AHURI_Final_Report_No275_A-new-look-at-the-channels-from-housing-to-employment-decisions.pdf">prolong working lives</a>.</p> <p>In 2017 around <a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/6238.0">29 per cent</a> of lump sum superannuation withdrawals were used to pay down mortgages or purchase new homes or pay for home improvements, up from <a href="https://www.pc.gov.au/research/completed/superannuation-post-retirement/super-post-retirement-volume1.pdf">25 per cent</a> four years earlier.</p> <p>In the Netherlands, where a mandatory occupational pension scheme along the lines of Australia’s super scheme has been in place for much longer, <a href="https://opendata.cbs.nl/statline/#/CBS/nl/dataset/81702NED/table?ts=1539244705047">over one-half</a> of home owners aged 65 and over are still paying off mortgages.</p> <hr /> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/278784/original/file-20190611-52780-kg72kd.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/278784/original/file-20190611-52780-kg72kd.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a> <span class="caption">The base is the total number of uses of lump sums rather than the number of people taking lump sums.</span> <span class="attribution"><a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/6238.0" class="source">ABS 6238.0 Retirement and Retirement Intentions</a></span></p> <hr /> <p><strong>The implications are huge</strong></p> <p>Internationally, studies have found that indebtedness <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0277953615001203?via%3Dihub">adds to psychological distress</a>. The impacts on wellbeing are more profound for older debtors, without the ability to recover from financial shocks.</p> <p>Debt-free home ownership in old age used to be known as the <a href="https://www.ceda.com.au/CEDA/media/ResearchCatalogueDocuments/PDFs/27922-CEDATheSuperChallengeofRetirementIncomePolicySept2015FINAL.pdf">fourth pillar of the retirement incomes system</a> because of its role in <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10901-010-9187-4">reducing poverty in old age</a>. It allowed the Australian government to set the <a href="https://melbourneinstitute.unimelb.edu.au/assets/documents/hilda-bibliography/conference-papers-lectures/2013/Haffner-Ong-Wood-ENHR2013-Paper.pdf">age pension at relatively low levels</a>.</p> <p>Growing indebtedness will increase after-housing-cost poverty among older Australians and create pressure to <a href="https://www.ahuri.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0022/2857/AHURI_Positioning_Paper_No153_Assets,-debt-and-the-drawdown-of-housing-equity-by-an-ageing-population.pdf">boost the age pension</a>.</p> <p>Mortgage debt burdens late in working life will also expose home owners to unwelcome risks, as health or employment shocks can ruin plans to pay off their mortgages.</p> <p>During the first decade of this century, around <a href="https://www.ahuri.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0007/2104/AHURI_Final_Report_No187_Sustaining_home_ownership_in_the_21st_century_emerging_policy_concerns.pdf">half a million</a> Australians aged 50 years and over lost their homes.</p> <p><strong>Taxpayers will be under pressure to help</strong></p> <p>Those losing home ownership are often forced to rely <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0042098014550955">on rental housing assistance</a>. Moreover, as older tenants they are <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0042098014550955">unlikely to ever leave housing assistance</a>. This will put pressure on the government to boost spending on housing assistance, which is likely to further boost <a href="https://theconversation.com/when-falling-home-ownership-and-ageing-baby-boomers-collide-102846">demand for housing assistance</a>.</p> <p>Super and government housing assistance could become the safety nets that allow retirees to escape their mortgages.</p> <p>It wasn’t the intended purpose of superannuation, and wasn’t the intended purpose of housing assistance. It is a development that ought to be front and centre of the <a href="https://www.afr.com/news/policy/tax/retirement-incomes-face-review-20190524-p51qsi">inquiry into the retirement incomes system</a> announced by Treasurer Josh Frydenberg.</p> <p>It is a change we’ll have to come to grips with.</p> <p><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em>Written by <span>Rachel Ong ViforJ, Professor of Economics, School of Economics, Finance and Property, Curtin University and Gavin Wood, Emeritus Professor of Housing and Housing Studies, RMIT University</span>. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://theconversation.com/more-people-are-retiring-with-high-mortgage-debts-the-implications-are-huge-115134"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>. </em></p>

Retirement Income

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How to pick the right financial adviser

<p><span>Whether you’re making a major purchase, setting long-term financial goals or creating important legal documents, professional help may just be what you need. 2.1 million adults in Australia are expected to entrust a financial adviser to help manage their wealth in the next two years, according to Investment Trends.</span></p> <p><span>However, it can be hard to know where to turn for advice, especially when our trust in financial planners and banks are at an <a href="https://www.adviservoice.com.au/2018/11/trust-in-financial-planners-and-banks-are-at-all-time-lows-investment-trends-2018-financial-advice-report/">all-time low</a>. </span></p> <p><span>Here are some of the best tips on finding the right financial adviser.</span></p> <p><strong><span>Know what you’re looking for</span></strong></p> <p><span>An adviser that specialises in the area of your needs will be better equipped to assist you. Round up a shortlist of potential candidates – from personal referrals or <a href="http://fpa.com.au/">public</a> <a href="https://www.afa.asn.au/find-afa-financial-adviser">databases</a> – and read up on their qualifications and experience as well as their financial services guide, which outlines their services, employers, affiliations and fees. Some advisers can provide comprehensive advice, while others only have expertise in specific fields, such as investments, insurance, tax, or home loans.</span></p> <p><span>Always ensure that they have a current Australian Financial Services (AFS) licence with <a href="https://connectonline.asic.gov.au/RegistrySearch/faces/landing/SearchRegisters.jspx?_adf.ctrl-state=y6csp1lp5_4">ASIC</a>. Also check if they are a member of any industry association and/or professional body, as it generally requires them to follow a code of conduct and participate in ongoing training and professional development. You can also find out if they have any past misbehaviours on <a href="http://asic.gov.au/online-services/search-asics-registers/additional-searches/enforceable-undertakings-register/">ASIC</a> or the <a href="https://fpa.com.au/professionalism/professional-accountability/">Financial Planning Association (FPA)</a>  if they are a member. </span></p> <p><span>Examine your personal situation and determine whether it calls for ongoing advice or just a one-off appointment. According to <a href="https://www.choice.com.au/money/financial-planning-and-investing/financial-planning/buying-guides/financial-planning#do%20i%20need">CHOICE</a>, ongoing advice is only necessary for those who have considerable assets and a sizable investment portfolio, or those whose financial life contains complex, dynamic parts.</span></p> <p><strong><span>Understand the cost</span></strong></p> <p><span>Advisers come with a range of different fee models – some may charge an upfront fee, while others ask for a percentage of your assets. </span></p> <p><span>When it comes to financial advice, the procured cost can be more than just out-of-pocket. Advisers who earn their pay from commissions may limit their recommendations to certain products and professionals they can benefit from, and thus not work in your best interest. </span></p> <p><span>Should this happen, ask about how their affiliations with banks or other financial institutions influence their advice and why the recommended product is better than any other options. “Just because they’re getting a commission doesn’t mean it’s not the best product for some people, you don’t want to discount it completely,” Laura Higgins from ASIC's Moneysmart told the <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-04-17/personal-finance-how-to-find-the-right-financial-adviser/11019638"><em>ABC</em></a>.</span></p> <p><span>Most advisers have an Approved Product List (APL), which contains a collection of financial products that they have researched and been authorised to give advice on. You can ask if they could advise you on products outside of this list.</span></p> <p><strong><span>Shop around</span></strong></p> <p><span>Make time to meet face-to-face with at least two advisers for a free consultation. “If you can’t establish a good bond early on in your first meeting with a financial planner keep looking,” the FPA said.</span></p> <p><span>Don’t hesitate to put your questions forward and request further information as needed. “The best way to do that is to take nothing for granted, read contracts before committing to anything, and if you don’t understand it, don’t sign it,” Michael Roberts of Bailey Roberts Group told <a href="https://thenewdaily.com.au/money/your-budget/2019/05/12/how-to-choose-a-financial-adviser/"><em>The New Daily</em></a>.</span></p> <p><span>There is no need to rush and go all-in, either. Adrian Raftery, financial expert and associate professor at Deakin University told the <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/money/investing/the-questions-you-need-to-ask-before-you-pick-a-financial-adviser-20180423-p4zb4l.html"><em>Sydney Morning Herald</em></a> that you can build trust with your adviser slowly by entrusting your assets in stages.</span></p> <p><span>Below are the queries you can ask hopeful advisers:</span></p> <ul> <li>How do you charge for services?</li> <li>How do you get paid?</li> <li>What areas do you specialise in?</li> <li>What type of <span>clients do you usually see?</span></li> <li>Do you advise only on in-house products?</li> <li>How will my investments be monitored?</li> <li>What financial institutions do you <span>have a relationship with, if any? How do you benefit from this relationship?</span></li> <li>Why do you recommend this product?</li> </ul>

Retirement Income

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These are the world's most valuable brands in 2019

<p>Apple has topped <em>Forbes</em>’ list of the world’s most valuable brands for the ninth year in a row.</p> <p>The world’s 100 most valuable brands in 2019 are worth a cumulative US$2.33 trillion (AU$3.34 trillion / NZ$3.52 trillion), increasing by 8 per cent from the previous year according to the magazine’s annual list released in late May.</p> <p>Tech giants dominated the list, led by Apple with a brand value of US$205.5 billion, up 12 per cent over the past year. The company – which was noted for its unique ability to move its customer base from one product category to another – has become the first to cross the $200 billion threshold.</p> <p>Google came in second with US$167.7 billion in brand value, followed by Microsoft (US$123.5 billion) and Amazon (US$97 billion). Facebook rounded up the top five with a value of US$88.9 billion, down 6 per cent over the past 12 months.</p> <p>Brands from 16 countries made the 2019 list. US companies comprised the majority with 56 brands among the top 100, as well as 80 per cent of the top 10. Other prolific countries included Germany with 11 brands, France with seven and Japan with six.</p> <p>No Australian companies made the final cut.</p> <p><strong>World’s most valuable brands:</strong></p> <ol> <li>Apple (US$205.5 billion)</li> <li>Google (US$167.7 billion)</li> <li>Microsoft (US$125.3 billion)</li> <li>Amazon (US$97 billion)</li> <li>Facebook (US$88.9 billion)</li> <li>Coca-Cola (US$59.2 billion)</li> <li>Samsung (US$53.1 billion)</li> <li>Disney (US$52.2 billion)</li> <li>Toyota (US$44.6 billion)</li> <li>McDonald’s (US$43.8 billion)</li> </ol> <p>Find the full list <span><a href="https://www.forbes.com/powerful-brands/list/#tab:rank">here</a></span>.</p>

Retirement Income

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When is it OK to spend money on yourself?

<p><span>One of the most common financial wisdom is to skip on gratifications – buy home brands, cut back on takeouts, make your own coffee, stay in for the weekend and more. However, most financial experts agree that frugality is not always helpful. In fact, there are some circumstances where spending will bring more benefits to your life than saving.</span></p> <p><span>“There is more to life than repaying debt or saving for a rainy day,” said Ryan Guina, founder of <a href="https://cashmoneylife.com/spending-money-is-good/"><em>Cash Money Life</em></a>. “Money is for spending. Money is for living.”</span></p> <p><span>Here are some of the occasions where you do not have to lose sleep over splurging. </span></p> <p><strong><span>When you’re in a transition</span></strong></p> <p><span>Life changes – be it a new job, a new city or a breakup – can be difficult to navigate. Setting aside some discretionary cash will help you <a href="https://www.lifehacker.com.au/2018/02/its-okay-to-increase-your-discretionary-spending-sometimes/">start afresh</a> and settle in. Making acquaintances, becoming part of a new community and rethinking what you want out of life often means spending money. During these times, don’t feel guilty about taking a class, trying out neighbourhood restaurants, joining book clubs or buying new clothes – they are likely to be worthwhile expenses.</span></p> <p><strong><span>When quality is important</span></strong></p> <p><span>Being frugal does not always mean resorting to the cheapest options. Longevity comes at a cost – a low retail price may not mean much if the product wears out more easily or needs to be replaced after minimum use. For example, getting a budget vehicle may not do your wallet any favour if they are a gas-guzzler or require frequent repairs, upgrades and maintenance works. The same goes with furniture, appliances and other everyday items such as bags and wallets – is your time worth the hassle of dealing with broken products?</span></p> <p><strong><span>When time is key</span></strong></p> <p><span>It’s wise to prepare a fund for a rainy day, but there is also a positive side to seizing the day. A recent study</span> <span>published in the <a href="https://www.anderson.ucla.edu/faculty-and-research/anderson-review/occasion-matching"><em>Journal of Marketing Behavior</em></a> found that delayed gratification can backfire as we wait too long to enjoy special things. The researchers discovered that people were more likely to wait for the “right” occasion to use things that are labelled as more special, such as chocolates from a fancy boutique or a VIP concert pass. Moreover, those who delayed were eventually less satisfied with the things and expressed more regret than those who did not wait.</span></p> <p><span>Our time in the world is limited, and there can only be so much memories. If your financial health is in shape, do not put off your plans. Cash out that gift card, take your dream trip, go and attend that concert – in other words, enjoy the things that prompted you to save up in the first place.</span></p>

Retirement Income

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"We have nothing left": 83-year-old tricked into buying $26K car she can’t use

<p>An 83-year-old great-grandmother who requires the help of a walking frame to get around says she felt pushed into buying a $26,000 Great Wall ute that she is unable to use.</p> <p>As Mary Dewes hasn’t driven in three years, the ute isn’t required.</p> <p>Her husband, Philip, also has a brain injury that causes him to constantly fall asleep, which means he is unable to drive as well.</p> <p>However, when Philip replied to an online car ad, salesman Christian Van Lieshaut quickly called them up.</p> <p>"We got the call, he said he was the salesman and would we like a demonstration run and Phillip said yes," Mrs Dewes told <em>A Current Affair</em>.</p> <p>"Next thing we know, he was at the door and we were out in the four-wheel drive."</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en-gb"> <p dir="ltr">Mary Dewes is 83, needs a walking frame to get around, and suffers memory loss. But that didn’t stop a car dealer selling her a 1.7-tonne ute. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/9ACA?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#9ACA</a> | FULL STORY: <a href="https://t.co/Yon1H6cxOJ">https://t.co/Yon1H6cxOJ</a> <a href="https://t.co/GDQWEAEEjf">pic.twitter.com/GDQWEAEEjf</a></p> — A Current Affair (@ACurrentAffair9) <a href="https://twitter.com/ACurrentAffair9/status/1138373222343143424?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">11 June 2019</a></blockquote> <p>Mary said that Mr Van Lieshaut picked them up at their retirement home and he was able to see that she needed the walking frame to move around. Mary also said that he had to help her get into the ute as she was unable to do it by herself.</p> <p>Once the test drive was finished, they were driven straight to the car yard where a contract was put in front of them.</p> <p>Mary said she and her husband felt “pushed into something we didn’t understand”.</p> <p>Mary’s daughter Tracy explained that her mother suffers from memory loss and by the next day was unable to remember signing the contract. Mary also thought she had put down a deposit of $1000, instead of the full $26,000 price tag.</p> <p>"My mum won't even look at the car because it's too distressing and she ended up in hospital the other day and it's caused a lot of stress for her," Tracy said.</p> <p>"That was their life savings and they have nothing left."</p> <p>As the couple now have a car, they are rendered ineligible for the retirement home’s free bus to the shops, which left them struggling for weeks to buy groceries.</p> <p>Mary is angry at herself and her husband for the situation.</p> <p>"I'm angry with ourselves and I'm angry with that man that did not take anything into consideration," Mary said.</p> <p>"All he wanted was our signature on that contract."</p> <p>There is no cooling-off period with a new car, but after some investigation by Tracy, she realised that there’s a provision in the contract for the dealer to tear it up and keep 10 per cent of the purchase price.</p> <p>Tracy reached out to Van Lieshaut and begged him to tear up the contract, but he declined to do so.</p> <p>Van Lieshaut declined to comment when approached by <em>A Current Affair</em>, but his boss Paul Nelson agreed to discuss the issue with Tracy off camera.</p> <p>The day after the segment aired, Mr Nelson drove to the retirement village where Mary and Philip live to apologise and offered a refund. Mr Nelson also retrieved the Great Wall ute.</p>

Retirement Income

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Is your superannuation safe? The little known changes starting from July 1

<p>There are major changes coming to Australian superannuation from July 1, which were designed to stop super balances from being eaten up by insurance fees.</p> <p>However, the new changes mean that thousands of Australians could be about to lose the only form of insurance they have and not be aware of it until they need it.</p> <p>The new changes will involve “ghost accounts” being transferred to the Australian Taxation Office if they haven’t had any contributions in the past 16 months or have a balance of less than $6,000.</p> <p>Financial counsellors spoke to the<a rel="noopener" href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-06-07/superannuation-changes-to-strip-remote-australians-of-insurance/11182772" target="_blank"> ABC</a> about what these changes would mean to those who need it most, which include remote Australians.</p> <p>The counsellors believe that people who don’t have a bigger account balance will no longer be covered by insurance policies attached to the funds, which includes life and total and permanent disability (TPD) cover.</p> <p>Broome, WA, financial counsellor Alan Gray explained he had been “losing sleep” over the new changes coming July 1.</p> <p>"We're talking about amounts of money that could be more than $100,000, in some cases more than $200,000 or even $300,000 in insurance payouts to some of the poorest people in Australia," he said.</p> <p>"What really is making me lose sleep at the moment is that no-one in the cities who framed these laws realised that there are thousands upon thousands of Indigenous Australians who never got street delivery of mail," Mr Gray said.</p> <p>"What will happen if they don't hear about these changes, then they will lose all of those benefits on July 1 and the insurance companies will no longer have to pay out any of those large amounts of money."</p> <p>TPD and death benefits that are attached to super funds are massively important, especially for Indigenous communities where the life expectancy is lower and rates of illness are higher than the general population.</p> <p>Broome resident Leah Dolby hasn’t been able to work since 2017 due to suffering health complications, including renal failure.</p> <p>She has had five super accounts over the course of her life with four having active insurance policies.</p> <p>She’s recently qualified to receive a disability support pension and planned to make a claim for TPD on her insurance policies.</p> <p>Dolby has only recently received a letter outlining the changes and has a small window to contact her fund to keep the account alive.</p> <p>"I didn't like the sound of the letter when I read it, and I think nah, this can't happen, I can't work and all this, I'm going to lose out on my super, so I need to do something about it," she told the ABC.</p> <p>"It just made me feel a bit upset, for me to work that hard, and all this super I'm going to lose out on it.</p> <p>"So, I thought I'm going to need to get some help to see what I can do about it."</p> <p>She’s been encouraging others to contact their superannuation funds.</p> <p>"I've been encouraging some people, but I think there's a big need out there for our people to get this help and have this discussion about their super," she said.</p> <p>"Because in the end we might lose out, we might not, we might be lucky. But it'd be good to have that discussion and remind families about superannuation."</p> <p>However, Nick Kirwan from the Financial Services Council, has said that the industry is “worried” about those with smaller balances that may be impacted.</p> <p>"We're especially worried about some of those people, because their accounts are quite likely to be inactive, they may not get that communication," he said.</p> <p>"If people are on parental leave, it might be the last thing they want to have their life insurance cancelled if they've got a new baby to think about, or people who are on long-term sick leave.</p> <p>"Insurance companies want insurance customers, so they absolutely don't want people to have their insurance cancelled, if the person needs the insurance."</p> <p><strong>What can you do?   </strong></p> <p><strong>Find your super: </strong>You can try finding it yourself or go the easy way and sign onto your MyGov account to find your “lost super”.</p> <p><strong>Ask about your super: </strong>You can go online to see how much money your super is earning, as well as find out about fees and default payments for things like insurance. You can also check what kind of insurance cover you’ve got and make changes.</p> <p><strong>Consolidate your funds: </strong>Under the new changes, some funds will automatically be consolidated by the ATO. However, if you have active funds with more than $6,000, you can consolidate them yourself. You’re able to nominate a fund through a form from the ATO website. You need a MyGov account for this to work.</p>

Retirement Income

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Why you should reframe your financial goals

<p><span>Ever heard the mantra that we need $1 million or more for a comfortable retirement? This is one of the many popular financial goals that revolve around specific numbers – for example, saving $30,000 for a home loan deposit or collecting $10,000 in savings in a year. Settling on a target amount to save may seem wise at first – it can give you a clear idea on what you should achieve and help you strategise on ways to get there.</span></p> <p><span>However, there is more to personal finances than dumping cash to your savings account.</span></p> <p><span>Focusing on numbers may not be the best way to frame your goals. As the personal finance website <em>The Financial Diet </em>said, “Accumulating money for the sake of a number misses the point entirely – life should be treated as a story you are writing, and money should be the ink that helps you write, not the story itself.”</span></p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr">"Being rich" is among the most empty goals a person can have. Accumulating money for the sake of a number misses the point entirely -- life should be treated as a story you are writing, and money should be the ink that helps you write, not the story itself.</p> — The Financial Diet (@TFDiet) <a href="https://twitter.com/TFDiet/status/1117800774724128768?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">April 15, 2019</a></blockquote> <p><span>In other words, it can be more helpful to focus on what you want to do with your money rather than how much money you have to earn. </span></p> <p><span>A focus on numbers revolve around what you <em>should </em>do – and thus may seem intimidating and unattainable – but paying attention to the potential results helps shift your perspective to what you <em>can </em>do and gives you more fuel to work towards your goal.</span></p> <p><span>Making your goals about experiences instead of numbers can help you become more flexible and inspire ideas to achieve your desired ends with <a href="https://www.lifehacker.com.au/2019/05/tie-your-financial-goals-to-results-not-numbers/">less spending</a>. For example, trying to put aside $25,000 to buy a new car is different to keeping in mind that you want to find and get a nice, affordable car.</span></p> <p><span>Setting the goal of “touring Europe” instead of “saving up $8,000 to travel around Europe” may also prompt you to get creative and think up of faster, more affordable ways to get to the other side of the world without being tied down to a certain amount.</span></p>

Retirement Income

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Woolworths' pokies business under growing scrutiny

<p><span>Woolworths has found itself under growing pressure to back away from the controversial pokies industry, as a major shareholder warned that involvement in gambling may harm the supermarket giant’s reputation.</span></p> <p><span>Woolworths owns a majority stake in Australia's largest slot machine operator ALH Group, which has more than 12,000 pokies machines across the country.</span></p> <p><span>According to a <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/business/companies/pressure-grows-on-woolies-to-ditch-pokies-as-key-shareholder-joins-push-20190523-p51qf0.html">Fairfax Media</a> report, one of the grocery chain’s most influential shareholders, Perpetual Investments, has pushed the company to exit the pokies business.</span></p> <p><span>The investment firm reportedly told the Woolworths’ board that their support for poker machines is incompatible with the supermarket’s family-friendly values and may threaten the brand’s standing within the community.</span></p> <p><span>Woolworths owns a 75 per cent share in ALH and gained $259 million from the pubs and pokies company last year, which accounted for about 10 per cent of its pre-tax profit.</span></p> <p><span>This is not the first challenge against Woolworths’ relationship with slot machines. Last year, it was revealed that staff at poker machine venues owned by Woolworths offered extra free drinks to “<a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-08-06/woolworths-confirms-clubs-monitored-poker-machine-customers/10077940">high-value</a>” punters to boost profits, which goes against the company’s commitment to responsible gambling. In response to the report, staff at at least 22 venues were sacked and disciplined by ALH.</span></p> <p><span>In a 2017 annual general meeting, Woolworths chairman Gordon Cairns rejected the idea that divesting would help relieve Australia’s gambling problem, as ALH only accounts for 6 per cent of Australia’s poker machines. “A much more constructive way to solve the problem is if we show industry leadership by maintaining the most responsible program,” he said.</span></p> <p><span>Australia is the country with the most poker machines per person in the world, excluding gambling holiday destinations such as Macao and Monaco. In 2015, there was one slot machine for every 114 Australians. According to a 2017 study by the <a href="http://www.tai.org.au/sites/defualt/files/Pokies%20pub%20test%20FINAL.pdf">Australia Institute</a>, Australia owns 18 per cent of the world’s poker machines.</span></p> <p><span>“Australia’s large number of poker machines and our unusual decision to allow them in pubs and clubs make us a global anomaly,” said the report’s <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/dec/14/australia-gripped-by-poker-machine-addiction-report-says">co-author</a> Bill Browne.</span></p> <p><strong><span>Gambling Helpline</span></strong><span>: 1800 858 858</span></p> <p><strong><span>Lifeline</span></strong><span>: 13 11 14</span></p>

Retirement Income

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3 common money mistakes that Aussie women make

<p><span>Dealing with personal finances can be a stressful and uncomfortable experience. Many women are likely to think that they are simply “not good with money”, and this attitude is often reflected in their hesitance to take charge and manage their finances. </span></p> <p><span>However, this may lead women to be worse off. A 2018 <a href="https://theconversation.com/hilda-survey-reveals-striking-gender-and-age-divide-in-financial-literacy-test-yourself-with-this-quiz-100451">HILDA survey</a> found that women had lower levels of financial literacy than men – one in two men (49.9 per cent) could answer five financial literacy questions correctly, compared with only about one in three women (35.4 per cent). Low financial literacy is linked with poor financial wellbeing – indeed, women and those with low financial literacy are more likely to be in poverty.</span></p> <p><span>To help relieve this problem, it could be helpful to learn where we are doing things wrong and how we can improve our money habits. Susan Edmunds, senior business journalist and author of <a href="http://www.newhollandpublishers.com/"><em>Starting Out Starting Over</em></a><em>: A single woman’s guide to money in Australia</em>, dissected some of the most common financial mistakes Aussie women make.</span></p> <p><strong><span>1. Not taking interest in money</span></strong></p> <p><span>Edmunds said finances may seem too boring or too difficult of a topic to understand. “Some women decide to leave all their financial decisions up to other people – often a partner – or they decide it’s not something they’re interested in or are not any good at and just sort of disengage.”</span></p> <p><span>However, this may leave them exposed to problems. “At best, this means that they end up missing opportunities and at worst it can leave them really vulnerable – particularly if they’re used to money being someone else’s problem and then that someone is no longer around.”</span></p> <p><strong>2. Mixing up emotions and money</strong></p> <p><span>When it comes to family members who are struggling, many women may feel obliged to help out in any way they can, including financially. But Edmunds advised to examine your own situation before giving a hand to others.</span></p> <p><span>“It’s like a plane oxygen mask – you have to take care of yourself first,” she said.</span></p> <p><span>“I’ve seen women burnt by going guarantor on a partner’s property – who then turns out to be terrible with money – or by offering loan after loan to their kids, which are never repaid … Your kids might not thank you for those loans if they mean you have to shift into their spare bedrooms when you retire with no money left!”</span></p> <p><span>The same goes for separations. While settling things as early as possible may be a priority, Edmunds said women should not shy away from asserting what they are entitled to. “Even if your ex is the most reasonable person in the world, you need to get independent advice on what your entitlements are, then make sure you get them,” she said. “It’s not worth ‘keeping the peace’ if it means you set yourself up for a lifetime of financial struggle.”</span></p> <p><strong>3. Not thinking through retirement plans</strong></p> <p><span>Edmunds said retirement planning is something that tend to be overlooked. “So many people seem not to want to think about it at all,” she said.</span></p> <p><span>However, a strategy to manage money would be necessary considering that Australians are living longer. According to a 2018 <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/aug/16/australians-living-longer-but-life-expectancy-dips-in-us-and-uk">report</a>, the life expectancy of Aussie women is among the world’s highest at 85.46 years, meaning that you could still have decades of life ahead of you from retirement. </span></p> <p><span>“It’s not really appropriate to pull all your money out of your investments and put it in a savings account,” said Edmunds. “You need to make sure that you have some way to preserve your capital to get you through those retirement years.”</span></p> <p><span>To ease the transition process, Edmunds recommended phasing out work gradually. “For many people, stopping suddenly isn’t realistic for a whole lot of financial and emotional reasons,” she said. </span></p> <p>“Some of the happiest people I’ve seen have been those who’ve been able to slowly pull back from work over time, perhaps with some consulting or part-time work.”</p> <p><img style="float: left;" src="/media/7827447/moneymistakec.jpg" alt="Ian -rankin -twitter -headshot -space --wyza -com -au" width="138" height="200" /></p> <p><em>Starting Out Starting Over</em>, New Holland Publishers RRP $29.99 - available from all good book retailers or online. </p>

Retirement Income

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It's tax time: Who the ATO is targeting this year

<p>With tax time approaching fast, Aussies have been warned that their claims will face tougher scrutiny as part of the Australian Taxation Office’s attempt to crackdown on the $8.7 billion “tax gap”.</p> <p>Suspicious work-related claims – such as laundry, home office and car expenses – will be examined more closely, along with property rental deductions and earnings from cryptocurrency investments and gig economy platforms such as Uber and Airtasker.</p> <p>According to the ATO, there is an $8.7 billion shortfall between the tax that people should pay and the tax they are actually paying, with work-related expenses as the biggest contributor in widening the gap.</p> <p>Last month, the ATO also said it would keep a close eye on dodgy rental deductions this year, including holiday homes that are not genuinely available for rent. </p> <p>“A random sample of returns with rental deductions found that nine out of 10 contained an error,” said Assistant Commissioner Gavin Siebert.</p> <p>“Where we identify claims of concern, ATO staff will investigate and prompt taxpayers to amend unjustifiable claims. If necessary, we will commence audits.</p> <p>“Over-claiming robs the whole community of essential services and will not be tolerated by the Australian community.”</p> <p>According to H&amp;R Block director of tax communications Mark Chapman, the ATO has secured more resources from the government to act on tax noncompliance.</p> <p>“I think we’ll see far more audits and more letters in relation to incorrect claims around work-related expenses and property, and we’ll see far more data-matching around cryptocurrency and the sharing economy,” Chapman told <em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.news.com.au/finance/money/tax/well-see-far-more-audits-and-more-letters-ato-to-ramp-up-crackdown-on-dodgy-returns/news-story/050b85f35b65600baa7c622bea9de129" target="_blank">news.com.au</a></em>.</p> <p>“'They do a lot of investigation in this space through technology — they data-match, they have benchmarks, if expenses are outside the norm people will get a letter which is not a full audit, it invites them to think again.”</p> <p>Siebert said the ATO expects to double the number of in-depth audits they conduct this year and may investigate more data from the audited taxpayers, including utilities, tolls, social media and other online activities.</p> <p>Deliberate attempts to over-claim entitlements or underpay tax may lead to a penalty of 75 per cent of the claim.</p>

Retirement Income

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Why you shouldn't throw away empty prepaid cards

<p><span>You may come into possession of a prepaid debit card through many different ways – perhaps you purchased it to keep your transactions secure and under control, or maybe it had been gifted to you. No matter how you use it, you might want to keep the card even after the balance is completely spent.</span></p> <p><span>Many people often would simply choose to declutter their wallet and throw out the card as soon as it is emptied out of instinct. However, it might be worth hanging onto – even when it’s used up, there are some reasons why keeping it may be beneficial or even necessary. Here are some situations where a used-up card may come in handy.</span></p> <p><strong><span>When you need a “dummy”</span></strong></p> <p><span>Many free trial programs require you to give out credit card details, so that you can be charged once the try-out period expires. Instead of putting reminders, you can avoid these unwanted charges by putting in the info of your empty prepaid card. </span></p> <p><strong><span>When you need to get a refund</span></strong></p> <p><span>Looking to get something returned to the store? If you are eligible for a refund or rebate, it often goes directly onto the card. The merchant might not be able to process it otherwise, as many banks have a matched refund policy to prevent fraudulent transactions. So if the card you used to purchase has been thrown away, you may have little luck re-accessing your money.</span></p>

Retirement Income

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Why you may not be spending a lot of money lately

<p><span>Have you been spending less and less in recent months or years? You may not be alone – Australians have not been spending as much, thanks to the “wealth effect” from falling house prices.</span></p> <p><span>The wealth effect is an economic concept that refers to a change in consumer spending based on their wealth. If the value of assets – such as house and shares – is rising, consumers will feel more financially secure and therefore more confident to spend more and, usually, save less.</span></p> <p><span>However, if the value falls, consumers are more likely to hit the brakes on spending.</span></p> <p><span>This theory is especially relevant now in Australia, as the country has continued to see property values decline since around September 2017 after four years of strong growth.</span></p> <p><span>For example, if you bought a house in Sydney in mid-2017 for $1 million, it is now worth only $861,000 – or $139,000 less – thanks to the 13.9 per cent plunge in dwelling values as recorded by <a href="https://www.corelogic.com.au/sites/default/files/2019-04/Monthly%20Property%20Market%20and%20Economic%20Update%20April%202019.pdf">CoreLogic</a>.</span></p> <p><span>The wealth effect is prominent in Australia. For example, <a href="https://www.caradvice.com.au/753296/vfacts-april-2019-new-car-sales-figures/">344,088 cars were sold</a> in the calendar year to April, representing an 8.1 per cent drop from the previous year’s tally. Retail spending growth has also remained flat at a year-on-year rate of 2.7 per cent to February, with consumers spending less and less on discretionary items such as clothes and department store goods.</span></p> <p><span>And this trend is likely to continue. Investment management company <a href="https://www.ampcapital.com/au/en/insights-hub/articles/2019/march/econosights-the-wealth-effect-and-the-impact-on-consumer-spending">AMP Capital</a> expected that weak wages growth and further declines in home prices will lead more people to spend less and save more over the next one to two years, taking off around 1 to 1.5 per cent from consumer spending growth. </span></p>

Retirement Income

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Age pension under pressure – should retirees be panicking?

<p>Australia’s age pension is under increasing pressure as seniors in the present have longer lifespans while the workforce that pays the taxes that help fund pensions is a small part of the population.</p> <p>While it is concerning, finance specialists say the future looks to be stable.</p> <p>According to the experts, the growth of superannuation nest eggs will continue to benefit the public, and governments in the future will have plenty of room to change the pension system to ensure the money is going to those who truly need it.</p> <p>The change has already begun with the family home being potentially included in age pension assets tests.</p> <p>Government data has revealed that almost 80 per cent of retirees were recipients of a full or part age pension in 2016-17, with 21 per cent fully self-funded.</p> <p>Bob Budreika, financial advisor for Planning for Prosperity, told the <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/moneysaverhq/pension-pressures-the-future-of-australias-key-seniors-payment/news-story/4b2da8da89fc947dbd0979822c7e505e" target="_blank"><em>Daily Telegraph</em></a> that ever since the government became stricter with the Centrelink assets test in 2017, fewer people had access to the age pension.</p> <p>A lot of people became self-funded retirees, not because they wanted to but because the government reduced the benefit,” he says.</p> <p>“People will have to be more self-reliant. I believe that ultimately the government will assess a person’s home as an asset as they do for aged care. They will nibble away at the benefits — I think they will be forced to.”</p> <p>While the move will prove to be unpopular, it would restrict those who live lavish lifestyles from receiving a full age pension. </p> <p>“It does become ridiculous having someone with a substantial asset and relying on a source of income from the government, so the kids end up with the house tax-free,” Mr Budreika said.</p> <p>However, he also believes that Australians would not let seniors suffer. </p> <p>“In this country we do have a social conscience.”</p> <p>Accessing your super may become a little more complicated – such as locking part of peoples’ nest eggs into an income stream paying regular instalments.</p> <p>Currently, seniors are able to withdraw all of their super, spend it in one go and then proceed to live off their pension. </p> <p>“It’s easy to say we will spend $30,000 or $40,000 on a cruise and then later say, ‘Oh shivers, we should have been more frugal.'”</p> <p>According to financial strategist Theo Matinis, age pension would never be completely obsolete, but fewer people would be receiving it by 2050 “because the super system is working".</p> <p>But the question remains whether retirees will demand for more? With the pension currently paying a person $926.20 a fortnight, including supplements, or $24,081 per annum, a couple would expect to receive $1,396.20 a fortnight, or $36,301 a year.</p> <p>“The Depression generation was frugal,” Mr Marinis said. </p> <p>“Today’s generations were brought up in much more affluent times and our expectations are different. However, human beings are adaptable.”</p>

Retirement Income

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Get in quick! Coles announces MASSIVE 50% off sale

<p>Supermarket giant Coles has revealed a sneak peak into what’s to come in its next half price sale.</p> <p>For one week only, the grocery chain will be offering a slew of products across the makeup, skincare, household, pantry, toiletries and freezer sections for 50 per cent off.</p> <p>Those looking to top up or replace some of their makeup products, toilet paper, frozen meals or laundry detergent can score selected items for half price.</p> <p>However, this special sale will run for one week only, starting from Wednesday May 29 to Tuesday June 4, so you better get in quickly.</p> <p>Here is what you can expect to get for a reduced price from Coles.</p> <p><strong>Household and pantry items</strong></p> <p>This sweet sale is the perfect time to stock up on some of your pantry and household staples.</p> <p>For just $1 you can grab a pack of Continental soups, Golden Circle fruit juices for $2.25, Allen’s lollies starting from $1.50, strawberry jam for $2.50 and John West tuna for $1.15.</p> <p>5kg of Sunrice will put you out of pocket by $8 while olive oil can be purchased from $4.50.</p> <p>Smoothies won’t cost you an arm and a leg for this sale as frozen fruits, including banana slices or mixed berries, will cost just $2.50.</p> <p>Making your way down to the toiletries aisle, there will also be a number of goodies up for grabs. Colgate mouthwash will start from $3, toothpaste from $3.50, Libra pads from $2.10 and Sorbent toilet paper $4.70.</p> <p>Thrifty shoppers can also stock up on laundry detergents. Cold Powder products including front and top loader liquid or powder will cost you about $8.25 each.</p> <p><strong>Freezer products</strong></p> <p>Easy cook meals don’t have to be expensive – you can get Steggles 1kg chicken breast goujons for $8, McCain pizza starting from $3.75, Mrs Mac's Crispy Microwave sausage roll for $1.22 or a pack of Golden Wok Diana Chan's dumplings for $3.75.</p> <p>For shoppers with a specific sweet tooth for ice cream, rest assured for 50 per cent off some of your favourite creamy dessert brands.</p> <p>A Ben &amp; Jerry’s pint-sized container will set you back $5.50, while a Streets Magnum tub will go for $4.25. If you’ve been eyeing some of the American brands for a while now, you can get a Hershey’s or Reese’s tub or cone for $4. Mars ice cream bars are also on sale for $4.25.</p> <p><strong>Cosmetics and skincare</strong></p> <p>Shoppers can stock up some of their favourite cosmetic brands and grab a Maybelline mascara for $9.97, Revlon foundations starting from $17.47, Rimmel lipstick for $7.47 and Garnier BB Cream for $8.47.</p> <p>The massive reductions will be available online and in-stores Australia-wide starting from Wednesday May 29 through to Tuesday June 4.</p> <p>Scroll through the gallery above to see some of the awesome deals set to launch tomorrow.</p>

Retirement Income

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Scott Morrison's biggest challenge

<p>Albo might have had a lucky accident. Usually, it’s Labor that inherits an economy turning down.</p> <p>This time, it’s the Coalition. And because of regular updates from the Reserve Bank and the Bureau of Statistics strikingly at odds with their public position that the economy is strong, they ought to be finely attuned to it.</p> <p>Economic growth, the catch-all that is supposed to show us where the economy has been and where it is headed, is frighteningly small.</p> <p>The Treasury’s best estimate of potential growth – how strongly the economy could be growing over time if things were well managed – is <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/business/the-economy/myefo-treasury-downgrades-its-budget-projections-20151124-gl6mfd.html">2.75 per cent per year</a>.</p> <p>The reality, for the two most recent quarters for which we have data, is <a href="http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/5206.0">0.3 per cent and 0.2 per cent</a>.</p> <p><strong>The economy is anaemic, despite the crowing</strong></p> <p>If you add those two numbers together and multiply by two you discover that for six months the economy has been growing at an annualised pace of just 1 per cent – way, way short of its potential.</p> <p>Stripping out population growth and minimal price growth, real living standards have been going backwards.</p> <hr /> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/275322/original/file-20190520-69199-1ir7rrj.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/275322/original/file-20190520-69199-1ir7rrj.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a> <span class="caption"></span> <span class="attribution"><a href="http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/5206.0" class="source">Australian National Accounts</a></span></p> <hr /> <p>The result of what the Reserve Bank describes as “<a href="https://www.rba.gov.au/publications/smp/2019/may/pdf/domestic-economic-conditions.pdf">persistently slow growth in household incomes and declining housing prices</a>” has been something of a strike in consumer spending. The real value of spending per household hasn’t been falling, but it hasn’t really been climbing either.</p> <p>The bank says consumption growth has slowed most noticeably for discretionary items that tend to have the strongest relationship with home buying, such as furnishing and household equipment. It says growth in other types of discretionary spending, such as eating out, has also slowed. Consumption of so-called “essential” items is holding up.</p> <p><strong>We’re going to need a boost</strong></p> <p>It means we can’t rely on household spending to revitalise the economy (although the government will give it a go, stumping up a bonus of <a href="https://theconversation.com/its-the-budget-cash-splash-that-reaches-back-in-time-114188">as much as $1,080</a> to be delivered with each tax return from July in a much-needed boost that will be disguised as a <a href="https://theconversation.com/election-tip-23-9-is-a-meaningless-figure-ignore-the-tax-to-gdp-ratio-115432">tax cut rather than spending</a>).</p> <p>Household spending accounts for three-fifths of gross domestic product. The bank identifies uncertainty over household spending, which itself derives from uncertainty over income growth, as a “<a href="https://www.rba.gov.au/publications/smp/2019/may/pdf/economic-outlook.pdf">key risk</a>” for economic growth:</p> <blockquote> <p>Should households conclude that low income growth will be more persistent than previously expected, households may adjust their spending by more than currently projected and consumption growth could remain weak for a longer period.</p> </blockquote> <p>Labor would have helped stabilise uncertainty over income growth by immediately intervening before the Fair Work Commission to get higher wages, directing it to draw up a long-term strategy for higher wages, restoring cut penalty rates, and funding the increases of some childcare workers itself.</p> <p>Having won an election opposing those things, the Coalition will have to try other things, perhaps even bigger and earlier tax cuts.</p> <hr /> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/275325/original/file-20190520-69186-1pvxbji.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/275325/original/file-20190520-69186-1pvxbji.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a> <span class="caption"></span> <span class="attribution"><a href="http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/5206.0" class="source">Australian National Accounts</a></span></p> <hr /> <p>Prayer would help – prayer that international commodity markets remain strong, that the Reserve Bank cuts rates on June 4 (it is practically certain to), that it cuts them again before the end of the year (financial markets are literally 100% certain that it will) and that home prices stabilise.</p> <p><strong>Perhaps a very big boost</strong></p> <p>On the face of it, none of these would be enough to force economic growth back up. If it falls even further and continues to fall, Australia will enter a recession within this term of government, an outcome to which the academic economists polled by <em>The Conversation</em> in January <a href="https://theconversation.com/no-surplus-no-share-market-growth-no-lift-in-wage-growth-economic-survey-points-to-bleaker-times-post-election-110315">assigned a 25 per cent probability</a>.</p> <p>So far employment growth has been the economy’s brightest light, but in its quarterly update released a week before the election the Reserve Bank pointed out that employment growth can lag economic growth by <a href="https://www.rba.gov.au/publications/smp/2019/may/pdf/domestic-economic-conditions.pdf">up to nine months</a>, meaning it might be about to turn down, although it added that it was not unusual for “trends in GDP growth and the labour market to diverge for sustained periods”.</p> <p>If employment growth does turn down (and the bank says “near-term leading indicators of labour demand have softened”) it is likely to happen first in the construction and retail industries. The construction jobs will come again (and the government is doing its best to bolster them with promises of spending on infrastructure) but the retail jobs might never return, the nature of retailing having changed.</p> <p><strong>The economy matters more than the surplus</strong></p> <p>If needed in order to avoid a recession the government will have to be prepared to abandon its promised 2019-20 budget surplus. If the prospect of a recession does loom, it’ll have the political cover. And if it looms early in its term, it might still be able to deliver a budget surplus by the end.</p> <p>Scott Morrison and his treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, were elected to manage the economy, and that means doing whatever is needed to avoid a recession and the long-term damage to lives and living standards it would deliver.</p> <p>Speaking personally, I’ve no doubt they are up to the task, just as Labor would have been. In a way it’s a pity they didn’t adopt one of Labor’s key economic promises, which was to have a new budget in August, to refresh things.</p> <p><strong>And it matters more than superannuation</strong></p> <p>And they’ve got to focus on lifting living standards over the longer term where, conveniently, they have a big advantage over Labor.</p> <p>Labor has a blindspot when it comes to superannuation. It wants to lift compulsory contributions from 9.5 per cent of salary to 10 per cent on July 2021, and then by another 0.5 per cent the next year and another 0.5 per cent the next year and so on for five consecutive years, apparently regardless of what it will do to incomes now.</p> <p>It’s a good thing that, unlike Labor, the Coalition will be relaxed about pushing out the timetable if the economy can’t stand it, as it has done before.</p> <p>Before the election it was preparing to respond to the landmark <a href="https://theconversation.com/frydenberg-should-call-a-no-holds-barred-inquiry-into-superannuation-now-because-labor-wont-114079">Productivity Commisson report</a> that found that unintended multiple accounts and the defaulting of new workers into entrenched underperforming funds were costing members an extraordinary A$3.8 billion per year.</p> <p><strong>The Coalition can set up super for the future</strong></p> <p>Weeding out the chronic underperformers, clamping down on unwanted multiple accounts and insurance policies, and letting workers choose funds from a short menu of good funds and stay in them for life would give the typical worker entering the workforce an extra A$533,000 in retirement.</p> <p>The commission recommended a full-blown independent inquiry into <a href="https://theconversation.com/frydenberg-should-call-a-no-holds-barred-inquiry-into-superannuation-now-because-labor-wont-114079">how much superannuation we need</a>.</p> <p>Labor, wedded to a series of increases, would never have done it. The Coalition can.</p> <p><em>Written by <span>Peter Martin, Visiting Fellow, Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University</span>. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://theconversation.com/their-biggest-challenge-avoiding-a-recession-117381"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>. </em></p>

Retirement Income

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Booted Jacqui Lambie admits struggles: "Living on Vegemite toast"

<p>Controversial Senator-elect Jacqui Lambie, has revealed the struggles she faced after being booted from Parliament.</p> <p>Lambie – who made a stunning comeback after being re-elected in last week’s federal election – shared how she was forced to live off $150 a week after being kicked out of Parliament in 2017 for being a dual citizen.</p> <p>Speaking to <a rel="noopener" href="https://thenewdaily.com.au/" target="_blank"><em>The New Daily</em></a>, Lambie said the sudden unemployment left her with nothing and that she survived by munching on Vegemite toast.</p> <p>After falling behind on her mortgage payments, Lambie decided to take part in reality show,<span> </span><em>I’m</em> <em>A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here</em> to help pay for her political campaign.</p> <p>According to her, she only made $20,000 a year from media appearances and public speaking. Out of that income, she attempted to pay for groceries and home repayments of $1000 a month.</p> <p>“I just had to do it. No new clothes. No make up. I just did it. I had friends who cut their own meat, and (have) veggie gardens. They were giving back,” she said.</p> <p>“You just do it. I was not prepared to go back on the dole queue.</p> <p>“I don’t run around in Armani, sweetie.”</p> <p>In 2017, Lambie outed herself as a dual citizen, forcing her departure from Parliament.</p> <p>“There was no pay out. Because we were imposters. It was just walk out and you’re finished,” she said.</p> <p>After being re-elected in Tasmania, Lambie will now earn a cool $200,000 a year. Out of that hefty amount, she plans on devoting $1500 a month to putting a stranger through drug rehabilitation – a cause that’s close to her heart as her own son fought an ice addiction.</p> <p>Talking about son Dylan, the 48-year-old said, “That was four years ago now. He’s holding down a good job and all the rest. He gets tested where he is for drugs.”</p> <p>“I just like to give back. My son spent 18 months in long-term rehab and now I want to sponsor someone again.</p> <p>“It’s long-term rehab – $1500 a month. Soon as I get paid, I was talking to them yesterday, I will sponsor someone again.”</p> <p>And regarding her love life? Lambie says there’s nothing to look forward to.</p> <p>“Mate, I was broke, I was unemployed, I don’t think that’s very attractive to blokes,” she said.</p> <p>“It’s been a while now. It’s been about 15 years.”</p>

Retirement Income

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Tony Abbott set to receive hefty "pay rise" after losing the election

<p>Former prime minister Tony Abbott may have lost his seat in the latest federal election, but he is set to leave the government with a major pay rise.</p> <p>After serving his electorate for 25 years, Abbott lost the Sydney seat of Warringah to independent candidate Zali Steggall in Saturday’s election.</p> <p>However, the former Coalition leader will leave politics with a hefty pension of nearly $300,000 this year – significantly higher than the $207,100 pay he received as a backbencher.</p> <p>This amount is also going to <a href="https://williamsummers.blog/2019/05/20/tony-abbott-set-to-enjoy-296000-pension/">appreciate in value</a> to follow any increases in the salaries of the sitting MPs, according to researcher William Summers.</p> <p>As Abbott was elected before 2004, he became a part of the Parliamentary Contributory Superannuation Scheme. This made Abbott eligible to earn a percentage of the wage based on the years served – in his case, 75 per cent.</p> <p>Abbott’s various official roles during his time in office – such as Prime Minister, Leader of the Opposition and Leader of the House – also added on to his salary.</p> <p>Combined together, this led to a sum of $295,720 in pension for the 2018/19 period.</p> <p>“The key reason for why they're so large, is that these pre-2004 pensions are linked to current MPs' salaries, not the salaries that they retired on,” Summers told SBS’ <em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.sbs.com.au/news/the-feed/tony-abbott-s-pension-will-be-bigger-than-his-mp-paycheck-here-s-why" target="_blank">The Feed</a>.</em></p> <p>“The only way it could go down is if MP salaries went down and that is very, very unlikely.”</p> <p>Summers said based on current calculations, the pre-2004 pension scheme afforded to politicians is set to cost taxpayers $43.7 million this year. This number will peak in 2035 at $59.3 million before falling off as the pension holders die out.</p> <p>Abbott will also benefit from Life Gold Travel Pass, which allows former parliamentarians to gain 10 free return airfares within Australia each year for life. After the benefit got scrapped in 2017, it is now only available to politicians elected before 2012.</p> <p>Abbott’s next career move is yet to be confirmed, but his backers have urged the Coalition government to give the former MP a public role in his post-parliamentary life.</p> <p>Liberal MP Craig Kelly said Abbott could be an ambassador to the United States to replace Joe Hockey, who is set to vacate the role next year. “As an ex-prime minister, he should be given a range of options to see how he can best use his skills and talents,” said Kelly.</p>

Retirement Income