The Ultimate SMSF End of Financial Year Checklist 2020


 

OK, so here we are with only a few weeks left to the end of the financial year to get our SMSF in order and ensure we are making the most of the strategies available to us. Here is a checklist of the most important issues that you should address with your advisers before the year-end.

Its been a busy year and I have not had as much time as usual to put this together so if you find an error or have a strategy to add then please let me know. Links were working at the time of writing.

Warning before we begin,

Before we start, just a warning as in the rush to take advantage of new strategies you may have forgotten about how good you have it already Be careful not to allow your accountant, administrator or financial planner to reset any pension that has been grandfathered under the pension deeming rules that came in on Jan 1st 2015 without getting advice on the current and possible future consequences resulting in the pension being subject to current deeming rates if you lose the grandfathering. Point them to this document

  1. It’s all about timing!

If you are making a contribution the funds must hit the Superfund’s bank account by the close of business on the 30th June.  Careful of making contributions through Clearing houses as they often hold on to funds before presenting them to the individual’s superannuation fund for 7-30 days and it’s when the fund receives the payment that the contribution is counted except if paid via the government’s Small Business Clearing House. Pension payments must leave the account by the close of business unless paid by cheque in which case the cheques must be presented within a few days of the EOFY and there must have been sufficient funds in the bank account to support the payment of the cheques on June 30th. Get you payments in by Friday 26th or earlier to be sure (yes I’m Irish).

  1. Review Your Concessional Contributions options – 25K per year up to 65 this year but work test from 1 July 2020 will apply to 67.

 The big news is the government have changed the contribution rules from 1 July 2020 to extend the ability to make contributions from age 65 up to age 67. Read more here. Maximise contributions up to concessional contribution cap but do not exceed your Concession Limit. The sting has been taken out of Excess contributions tax but you don’t need additional paperwork to sort out the problem. So check employer contributions on normal pay and bonuses, salary sacrifice and premiums for insurance in super as they may all be included in the limit.

       3.   If your Super balance on 1 July 2019 was under $500,000 Review your previous Concessional Contributions (CC) and consider using the ‘Carry forward’ concessional contributions cap

 Broadly, the carry forward rule allows individuals to make additional CC in a financial year by utilising unused CC cap amounts from up to five previous financial years, providing their total superannuation balance just before the start of that financial year was less than $500,000.

This measure applies from 2018-19 so effectively, this means an individual can make up to $50,000 of CC in a single financial year by utilising unapplied unused CC caps since 1 July 2018 and going forward from up to five previous financial years.

Prior to these amendments, if an individual did not fully utilise their annual CC cap in a financial year, they could not carry forward the unused cap to a later year. But please note the balance refers to $500,000 across all of your Superannuation accounts.

 

  1. Review plans for Non-Concessional Contributions (NCC) options

From 1 July 2020 the new age limit of 67 will apply to Non-Concessional Contributions (NCC) without meeting the work test so you have the option of making $100,000 NCC per year up to turning 67.

Hopefully this month (tabled for 18th June 2020 sitting) the Parliament will also pass legislation allowing you to also use the “3 year bring forward rule” up to age 67.

So people who turned 64 0r 65 this year and who planned to use the “3 year bring forward rule” may want to review that strategy if they wish to get more money in to super

Current Option if turned 65 in 2019-20 FY: NCC of $100,000 or $300,000

Proposed Option: NCC $100,000 2019-20, NCC $100,000 2012-21, NCC $300,000 2021-22

Have you considered making non-concessional contributions to move investments in to super and out of your personal, company or trust name. Maybe you have proceeds from and inheritance or sale of a property sitting in cash.

As shares and cash have been hit by the Covod-19 crisis value you may find that it is opportune for personal tax reasons to take this time to move some assets to super may help control your tax bill.

 

  1. Co-Contribution

Check your eligibility for the co-contribution and if you are eligible take advantage. Note that the limits have changed and it is “free incentive money to save for your retirement” – grab it if you are eligible.

To calculate the super co-contribution you could be eligible to receive based on your income and personal super contributions, use the Super co-contribution calculator.

 

  1. Spouse Contribution

If your spouse has assessable income plus reportable fringe benefits totalling less than $37,000 for the full $540 tax offset and up to $40,000 for a partial offset, then consider making a spouse contribution. Check out the ATO guidance here

 

  1. Over 65 and soon up to 67? Do you meet the work test? (The 40 hours in any 30 days rule)

 You should review your ability to make contributions as if you if you have reached age 65 you must pass the work test of 40 hours in any 30 day period during the financial year, in order to continue to make contributions to super. Check out ATO superannuation contribution guidance . Keep an eye later this month for new of the age limit rising form 65 to 67 before needing to meet the work test from 1 July 2020.

 

  1. Check any payments you may have made on behalf of the fund.

It is important that you check for amounts that may form a superannuation contribution in accordance with TR 2010/1 (ask your advisor), such as expenses paid for on behalf of the fund, debt forgiveness or in-specie contributions, insurance premiums for cover via super paid from outside the fund.

 

  1. Notice of intent to claim a deduction for contributions

If you are planning on claiming a tax deduction for personal concessional contributions you must have a valid ‘notice of intent to claim or vary a deduction’ (NAT 71121).

If you intend to start a pension this notice must be made before you commence the pension. Many like to start pension in June and avoid having to take a minimum pension but make sure you have claimed your tax deduction first. The same applies if you plan to take a lump sum withdrawal from your fund. GET THE NOTICE OF INTENT IN FIRST

 

  1. Contributions Splitting to your spouse

Consider splitting contributions with your spouse, especially if:

  • your family has one main income earner with a substantially higher balance or
    • if there is an age difference where you can get funds into pension phase earlier or
    • If you can improve your eligibility for concession cards or age pension by retaining funds in superannuation in the younger spouse’s name.

This is a simple no-cost strategy I recommend everyone look at. See my blog about this strategy here.

 

  1. Off Market Share Transfers (selling shares from your own name to your fund)

If you want to move any personal shareholdings into super you should act early. The contract is only valid once the broker receives a fully valid transfer form not before so timing in June is critical.

 

  1. Pension Payments – so many more options this year 2019-2020 and in 2020-2021

If you are in pension phase, the government have brought in the Temporary Reduction in Minimum Pensions as part of the Covid-19 response. So please ensure you take the new minimum pension of at least 50% of your age-based rate below. For transition to retirement pensions, ensure you have not taken more than 10% of your opening account balance this financial year.

The following table shows the minimum percentage factor (indicative only) for each age group.
Minimum annual payments for super income streams for 2019/20 and 2020/21 Financial years.

Age at 1 July Standard 

Minimum % withdrawal 

50% reduced

minimum pension

Under 65 4% 2%
65–74 5% 2.5%
75–79 6% 3%
80–84 7%  3.5%
85–89 9% 4.5%
90–94 11% 5.5%
95 or older 14% 7%

 

FINER DETAILS with TIPS and TRAPS

Here is some of the finer detail on how these measures will work, along with some tips and traps to consider when taking withdrawals for the rest of this financial year and the full 2020-21 financial year:

The measures are forward looking so if a pension member has already taken your minimum pension for the year then they cannot change the payment for this year but they can get organised for 2020/21. So, no you can’t try to sneak a payment back in to the SMSF bank account!

If a pension member has already taken pensions payments of equal to or greater than the 50% reduced minimum amount, they are not required to take any further pension payments before 30 June 2020.  For example, many would have taken quarterly or half yearly payments. If they add up to the 50% reduced minimum then you do not need to take anymore payments this financial year.

If you still need your pension payments for living expenses but have already taken the 50% reduced minimum then, it may be a good strategy for amounts above the 50% reduced minimum to be treated as either:

  1. a partial lump commutation sum rather than as a pension payment. This would create a debit against the pension members transfer balance account (TBA).  Please discuss this with your accountant and adviser asap as some funds will have to report this quarterly and others on an annual basis. OR
  2. for those with both pension and accumulation accounts to take the excess as a lump sum from the accumulation account balance to preserve as much in tax exempt pension phase as possible going forward to future years.

See here for a worked example

 

  1. Sacrificial Lamb

Think about having a sacrificial lamb, a second lower value pension that can sacrificed if minimum not taken. In this way if you pay only a small amount less than the minimum you only have to lose the smaller pensions concession rather than the concession on your full balance. When combined with the ATO relief discussed in the following article “What-happens-if-i-don’t-take-the-minimum-pension” you will have a buffer for mistakes.

Before reading the above: Be careful not to reset a pension that has been grandfathered under the new deeming of pension rules that came in on Jan 1st 2015 without getting advice.

 

  1. Reversionary Pension is often the preferred option to pass funds to a spouse or dependent child. Review your options

A reversionary pension to you spouse will provide them with up to 12 months to get their financials affairs organised before having to make a final decision on how to manage your death benefit.

You should review your pension documentation and check if you have nominated a reversionary pension. If not, consider your family situation and options to have a reversionary pension.

This is especially important with blended families and children from previous marriages that may contest your current spouse’s rights to your assets. Also consider reversionary pensions for dependent disabled children. T

The reversionary pension has become more important with the application of the  $1.6m Transfer Balance Cap limit to pension phase.

 

  1. Review Capital Gains Tax Position of each investment

Review any capital gains made during the year and over the term you have held the asset and consider disposing of investments with unrealised losses to offset the gains made. If in pension phase then consider triggering some capital gains regularly to avoid building up an unrealised gain that may be at risk to government changes in legislation like those proposed this year.

 

  1. Review and Update the Investment Strategy not forgetting to include Insurance of Members

 Review your investment strategy and ensure all investments have been made in accordance with it, and the SMSF trust deed. Also, make sure your investment strategy has been updated to include consideration of insurances for members. See my article of this subject here. Don’t know what to do…..call us.

 

  1. Collate and Document records of all asset movements and decisions

Ensure all the funds activities have been appropriately documented with minutes, and that all copies of all statements and schedules are on file for your accountant/administrator and auditor.

 

  1. Double Dipping! June Contributions Deductible this year but can be allocated across 2 years.

For those who may have a large taxable income this year (large bonus or property sale) and are expecting a lower taxable next year you should consider a contribution allocation strategy to maximise deductions for the current financial year. This strategy is also known as a “Contributions Reserving” strategy but the ATO are not fans of Reserves so best to avoid that wording! Just call is an Allocated Contributions Holding Account.

 

  1. Market Valuations – Now required annually

Regulations now require assets to be valued at market value each year, ensure that you have re-valued assets such as property and collectibles. Here is my article on valuations of SMSF investments in Private Trusts and Private Companies. For more information refer to ATO’s publication Valuation guidelines for SMSFs.

 

  1. In-House Assets

If your fund has any investments in in-house assets you must make sure that at all times the market value of these investments is less than 5% of the value of the fund. Do not take this rule lightly as the new SMSF penalty powers will make it easier for the ATO to apply administrative penalties (fines) for smaller misdemeanours ranging from $820 to $10,200 per breach pere trustee.

Covid-Relief – The ATO has responded to current market conditions, and has announced it will not take compliance action against SMSFs where:

  • at 30 June 2020 the market value of an SMSF’s in-house assets is over 5% because of the downturn in the share market
  • the trustee of the SMSF prepares a rectification plan
  • by 30 June 2021, the rectification plan either:
      • cannot be effectively implemented because of market conditions
      • does not need to be implemented because the market recovers and the 5% test is again satisfied at 30 June 2021.

For good guidance on this issue https://www.cgw.com.au/publication/what-to-do-if-covid-19-has-ruined-your-smsfs-in-house-asset-ratio-the-atos-no-action-position-for-some-cases/

 

  1. Is your fund providing Covid-19 Rent Relief to a property tenant whether a related party or not? Get your documentation in place.

If you have provided Rent Relief to a tenant, related or not, then get it documented now before June 30 that you have considered, managed and documented the request, the reasoning behind the Trustee’s decision and the details of the relief provided

The ATO have thankfully provided a non-binding practical approach of broadly not applying resources to this issue for FY2020 and FY2021. However, this announcement, while positive, should not be relied on given the considerable downside risks.

For detail of what your auditors will most likely require please check Item 3 in this blog https://smsfcoach.com.au/2020/05/22/be-prepared-with-these-9-smsf-audit-tips/

 

  1. Careful if replacing TPD Insurance (Total Permanent Disability – basically “never work again” insurance)

Have you reviewed your insurances inside and outside of super? Don’t forget to check your current TPD policies owned by the fund with an own occupation definition as the rules changed a few years ago so be careful about replacing an existing policy as you may not be able to obtain this same cover inside super again.

 

  1. Do you need to update to a Corporate Trustee

We recommend a corporate trustee to all clients. To understand why please read this article on Why SMSFs should have a Corporate Trustee

 

  1. Check the ownership details of all SMSF Investments

Make sure the assets of the fund are held in the name of the trustees on behalf of the fund and that means all of them. Check carefully any online accounts you may have set up without checking the exact ownership details. You have to ensure all SMSF assets are kept separate from your other assets.

 

  1. Review Estate Planning and Loss of Mental Capacity Strategies.

Review any Binding Death Benefit Nominations (BDBN) to ensure they are valid (check the wording matches that required by the Trust Deed) and still in accordance with your wishes.  Also ensure you have appropriate Enduring Power of Attorney’s (EPOA) in place allow someone to step in to your place as Trustee in the event of illness, mental incapacity or death. Do you know what your Deed says on the subject? Did you know you cannot leave money to Step-Children via a BDBN if their birth-parent has pre-deceased you?

 

  1. Review any SMSF Loans

Have you provided special terms (low or no interest rates , capitalisation of interest etc.) on a related party loan? Then you need to review your loan agreement and get advice to see if you need to amend your loan. Have you made all the payments on your internal or third-party loans, have you looked at options on prepaying interest or fixing the rates while low. Have you made sure all payments in regards to Limited Recourse Borrowing Arrangements (LRBA) for the year were made through the SMSF Trustee? If you bought a property using borrowing, has the Holding Trust been stamped by your state’s Office of State Revenue. Please review my blog on the ATO’s Safe Harbour rules for Related Party Loans here 

 

  1. Still have Collectibles in your fund?

Play by the new rules that came into place on the 1st of July 2016 or get them out of your SMSF. More on these rules and what you must do in a good blog from SuperFund Partners  here.

 

  1. SuperStream obligations must be met

For super funds that receive employer contributions it’s important to take note that since 2014 the ATO has been gradually introducing SuperStream, a system whereby super contributions data is received and made electronically.

All funds should be able to receive contributions electronically and you should obtain an Electronic Service Address (ESA) to receive contribution information. If you are not sure if your fund has an ESA, contact your fund’s administrator, accountant or your bank for assistance.

If you change jobs your new employers may ask SMSF members for their ESA, ABN and bank account details. Some employers may also ask for your Unique Superfund Identifier (USI) – for SMSFs this is the ABN of the fund.

 

Don’t leave it until after 30 June, review your Self Managed Super Fund now and seek advice if in doubt about any matter.

Are you looking for an advisor that will keep you up to date and provide guidance and tips like in this blog? then why now contact me at our Castle Hill or Windsor office in Northwest Sydney to arrange a one on one consultation. Just click the Schedule Now button up on the left to find the appointment options.

Please consider passing on this article to family or friends. Pay it forward!

Liam Shorte B.Bus SSA™ AFP

Financial Planner & SMSF Specialist Advisor™

SMSF Specialist Adviser 

 Follow SMSFCoach on Twitter Liam Shorte on Linkedin NextGen Wealth on Facebook   

Verante Financial Planning

Tel: 02 98941844, Mobile: 0413 936 299

PO Box 6002 BHBC, Baulkham Hills NSW 2153

5/15 Terminus St. Castle Hill NSW 2154

Corporate Authorised Representative of Viridian Select Pty Ltd ABN 41 621 447 345, AFSL 51572

This information has been prepared without taking account of your objectives, financial situation or needs. Because of this you should, before acting on this information, consider its appropriateness, having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs. This website provides an overview or summary only and it should not be considered a comprehensive statement on any matter or relied upon as such.

There is more to success in life than money.


Financial Security

In my search for more information for my SMSF clients on building wealth, achieving happiness and financial security I’m pleased to share with you part 1 of NAB’s latest whitepaper: Rethink Success.

This research explores what ‘success’ looks like for 2,000 Australians aged 16-70 years, and considers the importance and relevance of quantitative measures of success such as wealth, status and home ownership against qualitative factors such as experience, personal fulfilment and wellbeing.

Key insights

  • Australians rank happiness as the top measure of success
  • There is a disconnect between what Australians value personally, and what we think society values
    Success is a work in progress, with 71% believing they’re still working towards achieving it
  • This research also highlights the value Australians place on the experiences money enables them to have such as feeling financially secure, travelling overseas and buying a house.

Please read the full report here whitepaper, and share it with your partner, spouse and family and maybe come and see us about a plan to help achieve your financial peace of mind which can aid that search for happiness.

Liam Shorte

 

Opportunities after Government back-flip on the superannuation reforms announced in the 2016 Budget.


Superannuation - What's in , What's out the door!

Superannuation – What’s in , What’s out the door!

So the ironclad changes to superannuation turned out to be more flexible and government policy more akin to a revolving door, one second its in and next it’s out the door. I am angry that the government created all this angst over the last 6 months only to water-down the changes and have damaged yet again the confidence in the superannuation system. They should have consulted with industry, ATO and their own members before announcing such major changes. However change was needed so at least they did show flexibility.

Below is a summary of the measures that have been amended. The detail of each measure will only be known once draft legislation is published and the final outcome will only be known after Parliament considers the legislation.

Non-concessional contribution cap – Lifetime limit –gonnnnnee!

The original proposal was to replace the existing non-concessional contribution (NCC) cap with a lifetime limit of $500,000, including all NCCs made since 1 July 2007.

To ensure the passage of the Government’s broader superannuation package through the Parliament, Treasurer Scott Morrison confirmed this measure is to be replaced with an annual NCC cap of $100,000 (currently $180,000). Individuals under age 65 will also be able to continue using the bring-forward rule. This new NCC cap, which applies from 1 July 2017, will be based on four times the lower concessional contribution cap of $25,000.

However, people with a superannuation balance of more than $1.6 million will no longer be able to make NCCs from 1 July 2017. The individual’s account balance will be tested at 30 June of the previous financial year. Those with account balances close to $1.6 million would only be able to make use of the bring-forward rule to the extent that the sum of the fund balance, the current year contribution and each brought forward contribution is less than $1.6 million. The threshold amount will be linked to the transfer cap amount relating to amounts being transferred to pension phase.

Individuals who have triggered the bring-forward rule prior to 1 July 2017 and have not fully utilised that amount will have the remaining bring-forward amount reassessed on 1 July 2017 in line with the new caps.

As the existing rules remain until 1 July 2017, SMSF trustees and other superannuants who are able to utilise the existing thresholds should consider doing so once the legislation is finalised. This is particularly important for those who have total superannuation savings of close to or exceeding $1.6 million. This is likely to be the last year individuals with super savings of at least $1.6 million will be able to make an NCC.

So if an SMSF member is under age 65 and hasn’t triggered the bring-forward rules, they could do so this year and contribute up to $540,000 this financial year.  This is a real opportunity for those who were concerned they wouldn’t be able to make any further contributions.

Recontribution Strategy back on the table

The recontribution strategy can now be reconsidered where appropriate but limited to the new $100,000 or 3 times that using the bring forward rule if under 65. This may help improve the taxable/ tax-free components of your account and aid with reducing tax on death benefits to non-dependant beneficiaries.

Important Note for Small Business Owners: There are no changes to the contributions made under the CGT cap amount of up to $1.415 million relating to the small business CGT concessions.

Work test over 65 to continue

The Government will retain the existing requirement that you must meet a work test to be able to contribute to super between ages 65 and 74 (they had originally proposed to remove this requirement). So to make a contribution after age 65 you need to work at least 40 hours in a 30 day period during the year  and before you make the contribution. You are also limited to $100,000 non-concessional contributions with no 3 year bring forward available to you.

Catch up concessional contributions

The Government will continue with the proposal to reduce the concessional contribution (CC) cap to $25,000 from 1 July 2017. However, the commencement date for the catch up contributions will be delayed until 1 July 2018.

From 1 July 2018, individuals will be able to make CCs above the annual cap, where they have not fully utilised their CC cap in previous financial years. Amounts are carried forward on a five year rolling basis. Amounts not used after five years will expire.

This measure is limited to individuals with a super balance of less than $500,000. There is no detail as to when the account balance is assessed to determine eligibility.

If who have the capacity to fully utilise the current CC cap for 2016/17 may wish to consider doing so before the CC cap reduces.

image.jpeg

Others measures going ahead as proposed.

  • Reduce the CC cap to $25,000 from 1 July 2017
  • $1.6 million transfer cap for tax free earnings in the pension phase of superannuation and the need to reduce pension balances to this threshold by 1 July 2017
  • Tax on earnings for amounts held in a transition to retirement pension
  • Reduce the income threshold from $300,000 to $250,000 that the additional 15% tax is payable on CCs
  • Ability for all individuals to claim a tax deduction for superannuation contributions with the removal of the 10% test
  • Increase of the income thresholds for eligibility for the spouse superannuation contribution tax offset
  • Introduce the Low Income Superannuation Tax Offset (similar to the Low Income Superannuation Contribution which will be abolished from 1 July 2017)
  • Abolish anti-detriment payments
  • Apply the measures to defined benefit funds.

While I understand the need for budget secrecy to some extent, the government need to understand that their changes effect major systems like the ATO, Superannuation software and Accounting software as well as the reality that not all superannuation balance or contribution history information is available or up to date.

I hope this guidance has been helpful and please take the time to comment. Feedback always appreciated. Please reblog, retweet, like on Facebook etc to make sure we get the news out there. As always please contact me if you want to look at your own options. We have offices in Castle Hill and Windsor but can meet clients anywhere in Sydney or via Skype. Just click the Schedule Now button up on the left to find the appointment options.

Liam Shorte B.Bus SSA™ AFP

Financial Planner & SMSF Specialist Advisor™

SMSF Specialist Adviser 

 Follow SMSFCoach on Twitter Liam Shorte on Linkedin NextGen Wealth on Facebook   

Verante Financial Planning

Tel: 02 98941844, Mobile: 0413 936 299

PO Box 6002 BHBC, Baulkham Hills NSW 2153

5/15 Terminus St. Castle Hill NSW 2154

Corporate Authorised Representative of Viridian Select Pty Ltd ABN 41 621 447 345, AFSL 51572

This information has been prepared without taking account of your objectives, financial situation or needs. Because of this you should, before acting on this information, consider its appropriateness, having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs. This website provides an overview or summary only and it should not be considered a comprehensive statement on any matter or relied upon as such.

When your Husband Retires and the Nightmare Comes True


Nightmare for Older Women

I deal with a lot of couples where one spouse has retired well in advance of the other and has established a routine or habits they are comfortable with and enjoy. The working spouse is often totally engrossed in their career or business with little else in the way of interests or hobbies. When they do eventually retire they can not only struggle to make the most of the free time, but they can also destroy the lifestyle their parter has come to enjoy.

This letter printed in Newsweek in 2004 sums it up better than I ever could and should be a warning to you to ensure your spouse or partner regardless of gender, has interests that extend beyond their working life.

THE ‘GOLDEN YEARS’ ARE BEGINNING TO TARNISH

My worst nightmare has become reality. My husband retired. As the CEO of his own software company, he used to make important decisions daily. Now he decides when to take a nap and for how long. He does not play golf, tennis or bridge, which means he is at home for what seems like 48 hours a day. That’s a lot of togetherness.

Much has changed since he stopped working. My husband now defines “sleeping in” as staying in bed until 6 a.m. He often walks in the morning for exercise but says he can’t walk if he gets up late. Late is 5:30. His morning routine is to take out the dog, plug in the coffee and await the morning paper. (And it had better not be late!) When the paper finally arrives, his favorite section is the obits. He reads each and every one–often aloud–and becomes angry if the deceased’s age is not listed. I’d like to work on my crossword puzzle in peace. When I bring this to his attention, he stops briefly–but he soon finds another article that must be shared.

Some retirement couples enjoy this time of life together. Usually these are couples who are not dependent on their spouse for their happiness and well-being. My husband is not one of these individuals. Many wives I’ve spoken to identify with my experience and are happy to know that they’re not alone. One friend told me that when her husband retired, he grew a strip of Velcro on his side and attached himself to her. They were married 43 years and she hinted they may not make it to 44. Another woman said her husband not only takes her to the beauty shop, but goes in with her and waits! Another said her husband follows her everywhere but to the bathroom… and that’s only because she locks the bathroom door.

When I leave the house, my husband asks: “Where are you going?” followed by “When will you be back?” Even when I’m at home he needs to know where I am every moment. “Where’s Jan?” he asks the dog. This is bad enough, but at least he hasn’t Velcroed himself to me–yet.

I often see retired couples shopping together in the grocery store. Usually they are arguing. I hate it when my husband goes shopping with me. He takes charge of the cart and disappears. With my arms full of cans, I have to search the aisles until I locate him and the cart, which is now loaded with strange-smelling cheeses, high-fat snacks and greasy sausages–none of which was on the shopping list.

Putting up with annoying habits is easier when hubby is at work all day and at home only in the evening and on weekends. But little annoying habits become big annoying habits when done on a daily basis. Hearing my husband yell and curse at the TV during the evening news was bad enough when he was working, and it was just once a day. Now he has all day to get riled up watching Fox News. Sometimes leaving the house isn’t even a satisfying reprieve. When I went out of town for a week and put him in charge of the house and animals, I returned to have my parrot greet me with a mouthful of expletives and deep-bellied belches. It wasn’t hard to figure out what had been going on in my absence.

Not that my husband has any problem acting out while I’m around. He recently noticed that our cat had been climbing the palm trees, causing their leaves to bend. His solution? Buy a huge roll of barbed wire and wrap the trunks. After wrapping 10 palms, he looked like he had been in a fight with a tiger and the house took on the appearance of a high-security prison. Neighbors stopped midstride while on their daily walks to stare. I stayed out of sight. In the meantime, the cat learned to negotiate the barbed wire and climbed the palms anyway.

It is now another hot, dry summer, and the leaves on our trees are starting to fall. Yesterday my husband decided to take the dog out for some fresh air. They stood in the driveway while he counted the leaves falling from the ash tree. Aloud. Another meaningful retirement activity.

I think my husband enjoys being at home with me. I am the one with the problem. I am a person who needs a lot of “alone time,” and I get crazy when someone is following me around or wanting to know my every move. My husband is full of questions and comments when I am on the phone, working on my computer or taking time out to read. It is his way of telling me he wants to be included, wanted and needed. I love that he cares–but he still drives me up the wall.

I receive a lot of catalogs. In one there is a pillow advertised that says grow old with me. the best is yet to be. Another catalog has a different pillow. It reads screw the golden years. Right now it’s a tossup as to which pillow will best describe our retirement years together. Just don’t ask me while I’m working on my crossword puzzle.

Zeh lives in Houston.

Do you get the point I am trying to get across? Retirement takes as much planning as working years. You still have to fill all those waking hours previously filled with commuting and work. If you don’t plan ahead and ensure your partner does too then you could end up destroying both of your retirements and often your relationship. It is no surprise that their has been a rise in what is term “grey divorce as couples find themselves with an empty nest and only each other for company. We start planning the transition to retirement with clients 5-10 years out to ensure they have covered off all facets of their retirement needs. That’s what a professional planner covers rather than just an investment advisor.

retirement

For some ideas and a list of organisation for retirees to suit all interests you should visit The Seniors Information Service here . They also have some great ideas on Leisure, Lifestyle and Travel

I hope this guidance has been helpful and please take the time to comment. Feedback always appreciated. Please reblog, retweet, like on Facebook etc to make sure we get the news out there. As always please contact me if you want to look at your own options. We have offices in Castle Hill and Windsor but can meet clients anywhere in Sydney or via Skype.

Liam Shorte B.Bus SSA™ AFP

Financial Planner & SMSF Specialist Advisor™

SMSF Specialist Adviser 

 Follow SMSFCoach on Twitter Liam Shorte on Linkedin NextGen Wealth on Facebook   

Verante Financial Planning

Tel: 02 98941844, Mobile: 0413 936 299

PO Box 6002 BHBC, Baulkham Hills NSW 2153

5/15 Terminus St. Castle Hill NSW 2154

Corporate Authorised Representative of Viridian Select Pty Ltd ABN 41 621 447 345, AFSL 51572

This information has been prepared without taking account of your objectives, financial situation or needs. Because of this you should, before acting on this information, consider its appropriateness, having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs. This website provides an overview or summary only and it should not be considered a comprehensive statement on any matter or relied upon as such.

Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Are your accountant, lawyer and financial planner working as a team for your benefit?


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As a business owner, you need to leverage off all the relationships you build as your business develops. You therefore need to make smart choices between service providers to your business and advisors who go that step further to help your business grow by adding their expertise and experience. Many successful businesses have an advisory board to guide them in areas where they know they have weaknesses. However, many entrepreneurs need advice, but feel that they can’t ask for help since they’re “in charge”, so I need to start from a more basic position.

I’ll be very blunt and say you can’t afford to have:

  • an accountant who simply prepares your financials, processes your BAS and takes your calls from time to time as issues arise;
  • a lawyer who handles your contract needs for employment or agreements with suppliers and agencies, or who provides those nasty letters to overdue debtors;
  • a financial planner who updates your insurance every few years and diversifies your superannuation to protect your nest egg; or
  • regularly changing business bankers or mortgage brokers who only contact you to service your loan and sell you a new service.

I could go on, but these are probably the core of “service suppliers” to any business. If I have sketched a good representation of your relationships, then you are wasting your time and money.

You need to hire advisors who are going to look after and out for opportunities for your business. You are probably focused on what you do best; you should be using the benefit of your advisors’ expertise to guide and protect your business. For example one pro-active accountant I deal with now asks clients if he  can end me the details of client’s income and super once over 55 to see if a TTR is suitable for them. I run a quick calculation and as a team we meet the client to discuss this and other  savings ideas. Regularly we see savings of over $100,000 in a 5 year period. That’s teamwork.

I regular refer clients back to their accountant or lawyer when I see gaps in their strategies or opportunities for clients to have more certainty in business, finance or estate planning.

Your advisors must have a passion for small business and engage with you, rather than reacting to requests when you to contact them.

They must be thinking ahead. Good advisors should be acting pro-actively for you by:

  • running workshops and seminars on innovative ideas for business growth or expense reduction;
  • providing solutions to improve budgeting and sourcing business concessions;
  •  revamping your credit terms or systemising your data processing through “the cloud”;
  •  thinking years in advance on ideas to fund expansion and manage risk;
  • bringing ideas from other business cases to adapt to your  needs;
  • analysing employment and entity structure options to cater for business growth; and
  • seeking introductions to each other to develop holistic proposals benefiting from their interaction, in your best interest.

You may often not know what the next steps for business growth entail, but they, as a collective, should be able to share other clients’ experiences as stepping-stones to help you negotiate the rapids.

Don’t be afraid to change. If a member of your advisory team is not up to scratch, look for an alternative. If you are not sure what you are looking for, Google “small business advice” in your suburb and seek out the small business professionals that offer case studies, blogs, networking, advice seminars, forums, checklists and other services that show they are not paper shufflers, but business professionals willing to bring more to the table than a service proposition.

Stalk them! Check them on Google, LinkedIn, their website, blog and Twitter. Also check their Professional Association to make sure they are legit. For financial planners look up Adviser Ratings and Independent source of feedback on Advisers.

In summary, understand what different advisors can do for you. Decide what you need from each advisor, leveraging off their strengths, and encourage them to work as a team to meet your needs.

Now the next step is to develop a Strategic Advisory Board, but that’s for another day!

I hope this guidance has been helpful and please take the time to comment. Are you looking for an advisor that will keep you up to date and provide guidance and tips like in this blog? Then why now contact me at our Castle Hill or Windsor office in Northwest Sydney to arrange a one on one consultation. Just click the Schedule Now button up on the left to find the appointment options.

Liam Shorte B.Bus SSA™ AFP

Financial Planner & SMSF Specialist Advisor™

SMSF Specialist Adviser 

 Follow SMSFCoach on Twitter Liam Shorte on Linkedin NextGen Wealth on Facebook   

Verante Financial Planning

Tel: 02 98941844, Mobile: 0413 936 299

PO Box 6002 BHBC, Baulkham Hills NSW 2153

5/15 Terminus St. Castle Hill NSW 2154

Corporate Authorised Representative of Viridian Select Pty Ltd ABN 41 621 447 345, AFSL 51572

This information has been prepared without taking account of your objectives, financial situation or needs. Because of this you should, before acting on this information, consider its appropriateness, having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs. This website provides an overview or summary only and it should not be considered a comprehensive statement on any matter or relied upon as such.

Image courtesy of aechan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Adapted from my original article on MYOB’s small business blog in 2012 http://myob.com.au/blog/are-your-accountant-financial-advisor-and-lawyer-operating-as-a-team-for-your-benefit-2/

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