Are we paying more than we should in Superannuation?

The Commonwealth Treasury has revealed that Australians are paying $20 billion annually for Superannuation at an average of $726 for each member – that’s three times more than what we’re supposed to pay, according to Treasury Director David Gruen.

Addressing the Committee for the Economic Development of Australia, Mr. Gruen pointed out a recent study by Grattan Institute that slashing fees to half of the lump sum can result to a 20% increase in retirement incomes. He also reveals that Australian fees cost three times more than Britain, calling for significant reduction of fees would benefit the country as a whole. He points out that government initiatives, such as MySuper and Superstream have to be reviewed, as these products are deficient in covering for longevity risks.

Read more about this on the Sydney Morning Herald website.

10 Property figures you should be aware of

Whether you’re a property investor or buyer, these key figures will aid in your decision making as we go through several capital city values that affected the property landscape in the country.

1%. Sydney’s capital growth for homes for the 2nd quarter of the year, making it the best performing capital city.

-2.4%. On the other hand, Melbourne’s capital growth was at the bottom for the 2nd quarter, with home values dropping to -2.4%.

$328,250. This is the median dwelling price of the most affordable capital city in Australia, Hobart.

6.1%. Darwin has the highest rental yield in Australia for houses with 6.1%.

3.4%. Despite having the most expensive median price in Australia, Sydney’s home values have only increased to a modest 3.4% for the past decade.

$468,000. Melbourne’s median price is affected by an oversupply in inner city suburbs. Economists predict property values to drop further in the future.

4.3%. Melbourne’s unit yield, the lowest for all capital cities.

10.6%. Dwelling values increase for the middle 50% of all capital cities for the past year.

7.0%. Brisbane is slowly gaining steam, with home values increasing to 7% in the past year.

5.6%. The smallest capital gain for all capital cities is in Adelaide, finishing at a measly 5.6%.

Read more about this on the Property Observer website.

Are you getting the most out of your Financial Planner?

When the time comes for you to put your money towards an investment, your financial planner should be knowledgeable in accommodating any inquiries and provide you with appropriate suggestions on how to achieve your investment goals. Are you getting any form of skepticism or hesitation from your financial planner? Here are key signs to consider in spotting a poor financial planner:

Vague explanations. Providing clients with vague explanations show inexperience in certain investment types. Your financial planner should be able to explain all key points in detail and accommodate all your inquiries as specific as possible.

Dismissing the idea right away. As their job involves explaining the investment types that suit you, dismissing the idea outright is a key sign of a poor financial planner. They are more concerned about what’s easy and not what is best for you.

Encouraging you to invest without saying why. Sure, they see that the investment type is perfect for you, but why should you invest? If they are unable to provide you with an answer that you’re satisfied with, move on as your financial planner should provide advise that is not only suitable for you, but something that you should be comfortable with.

Read more about this on the Your Investment Property website.

5 tips for a regret – free life

According to the website Happify, 90% of people have a major regret about something in their lives. It is so prevalent in our lives that it is the second most frequently mentioned emotion, after love. Often we feel the most regret in missed chances, because of the many choices that we have in our life.

Here are 5 tips for a regret – free life:

Live a life that is meaningful to you. As you grow older, you will understand that the expectations other people have on you have no bearing on how you live your life and your happiness. Do what makes you happy,

Have the courage to express your feelings. When you do, this shows people that you are not passive on certain things. When you feel so strong about something, put it into action.

Allow yourself to be happier. Do not be content on just being happy – strive to be happier! Remember though that your happiness should positively affect other people, too.

Prioritize your family. It is often said that the family is the ultimate source of happiness. As most of the time of your day is spent at the office, pause and enjoy those precious moments that you spend with your family. They are the reason you’re working hard, after all.

Stay in touch with old friends. Old friends keep you young. Take the time to reminisce on the things you did with friends, share a good laugh and stay happy.

Read more about this on the Property Update website.

What type of buyer are you?

have clear goals when purchasing. Understanding where you fit in as a property buyer will help you purchase property based on what is most important to you.

Here are the 3 types of property buyers:

House buyer. Are you more concerned about the look and the feel of the property? Does a pretty façade attract you regardless of the type of property location? A house buyer is focused on how property looks to his liking.

Location buyer. This type of buyer may be willing to compromise on the looks for as long as the property is located in a favourable location, accessible to major amenities that meet their needs.

Price buyer. If you are more concerned about how much the property costs regardless of the look and location, then you are a price buyer. A price buyer is more concerned about aligning the property with their budget.

Most property buyers may be any mix of the three, but you should be able to identify which is most important to you. This helps you avoid any risks and regrets when purchasing.

Read more about this on the Property Observer website.

Brace yourself: Home construction boom in the next 3 years

New dwelling construction in the residential sector has performed impressively this year with a value of $51 billion. Master Builders Australia forecasts this to grow to $68 billion in 2016 – 2017, exceeding the 200,000 properties in the market around that time.

The strong growth in construction has been driven by units and apartments for the past year, with around 70,000 apartments built as of June 2013. Detached houses are set to follow suit despite a slow start, with only 93,000 houses built at the same time. Forecasts show that built houses will balloon to 122,000 by June 2017. The strong growth in residential property will continue to be driven by the low interest rates to address demand and rising population in the country.

Read more about this on Your Investment Property website.

New law to allow First Home Buyers to purchase property using Superannuation

Parliament is set to debate whether First Home Buyers should be allowed to purchase property by having early access to their Superannuation. Proposed by Senator Nick Xenophon, this scheme will be similar to the one already in effect in Canada, where people can borrow as much as $25,000 from their Super and repay it in 15 years.

The proposed law has been met with mixed reactions; with others citing that this idea was taking government assistance too far, as this would create complications in cases of separation and if other circumstances take place. Others believe that the idea should be expanded to accommodate as much as $100,000 in borrowings to their Superannuation, as property values are expected to grow over time to cover this amount.

Will this new law serve as a solution to the Australian dream of owning a house, or will this pose a huge risk for one’s nest egg? The debate will be settled soon enough.

Read more about this on the Adviser website.

Is this the end of the work email?

Is email affecting office productivity? Businesses are sending and receiving emails on an average of 121 per day, a 15% increase from 2011 according to email tracking group The Radicati Group. Workers normally spend the first few hours in the office sifting through emails and sending info back and forth to colleagues and managers.

Dustin Moskovitz who was the co – founder of Facebook is running a new venture set to change the way we communicate in the workplace. Asana is a software that works as a communal notebook, social network, calendar and instant messaging application that can be shared between employees.

Email has been in existence as early as the 1960’s and it will be extremely difficult to change the way it has interconnected employees in the workplace. Until that next innovation happens, it’s back to checking our inboxes.

Read more about this on the website.

Is there a surefire way to address housing affordability?

Dwelling values have constantly increased in the past months, with Sydney and Melbourne leading all capital cities in dwelling values, up by 2% and 1.8% respectively in the 2nd quarter of the year. Overall, the combined capital cities index has increased by 1.1%. For investors, these are great news. But how about the many Australians who dream of purchasing their own home?

In an attempt to address housing affordability, Master Builders Australia, in a senate inquiry has urged the government to consider increasing the supply of housing in the country, after recent data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed a 5% decline in building approvals for the month of June. They are also encouraging the government to pursue an intergovernmental agreement to implement first homebuyers assistance for both new and established homes, and to assess the benefits of allowing homebuyers to use their superannuation to purchase property.

Read more about this on the Your Investment Property website.

ASFA: Super access will not resolve home affordability issues

A recent government draft proposal for homeowners to gain access to their Superannuation to purchase property has been under fire from various organizations, recently from the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA), citing that gaining early access to Super will not resolve home affordability issues.

ASFA suggested that the problem lies on land release, zoning and housing assistance funding issues and the decrease or removal of stamp duty. Gaining early access can jeopardize retirement, where even the existing 12% compulsory contribution is not enough for people to retire comfortably.

Read more about this on the Money Management website.