Federal Budget 2024-2025 Tax Implications

Federal Budget 2024-2025 Tax Implications

Federal Budget 2024-2025 Tax Implications

Federal Budget 2024-2025 Tax Implications

Major tax cuts were the centrepiece of the Albanese government’s third Federal Budget, even though the changes have already been announced and legislated.

Small businesses can breathe a sigh of relief, with the popular $20,000 instant asset write-off hanging on for another year and a valuable bill rebate on the way to help with the burden of high energy bills.

Tax cuts for everyone

From 1 July 2024, all 13.6 million Australian taxpayers will receive a tax cut, with the average taxpayer’s tax bill being $1,888 (or $36 a week) lower.

Under the new rules, the lowest tax rate reduces from 19 per cent to 16 per cent, with the 32.5 per cent marginal tax rate reducing to 30 per cent for individuals earning between $45,001 and $135,000.

The current 37 per cent marginal tax rate will be retained for people earning between $135,001 and $190,000, while the existing 45 per cent rate now applies to income earners with taxable incomes exceeding $190,000.

Low-income earners (under $45,000 p.a.) are the biggest winners from the changes. A single taxpayer with a taxable income of $40,000 who pays $4,367 in tax in 2023 24, would have received no benefit from the original Stage 3 tax plan, but now receives a tax cut of $654.

Boost for tax compliance

On the revenue side, the Budget includes savings of $2.5 billion in tax receipt measures through a crackdown on the shadow economy, fraud, and tax avoidance.

Taxpayers can expect the ATO to continue its recent tougher stance, with technology upgrades to enable better identification and blocking of suspicious activities in real-time and a new compliance taskforce focussed on recovering lost revenue and stopping fraudulent refunds.

Foreign residents will pay an additional $600 million over the next three years due to strengthening of the capital gains tax rules applying to this group.

Law change for old tax debts

However, one controversial measure, labelled ‘robotax’ by the media, may be abandoned, according to the Budget papers.

The ATO had been calling in historical tax debts, some accrued more than a decade ago, saying it had no choice under current laws. But the government now intends to change the tax law to give the ATO discretion about whether to collect the individual, small business, and not-for-profit debts.

Instant asset write-off retained

The deadline for the $20,000 instant asset write-off will be extended to 30 June 2025, allowing small businesses with annual turnovers of less than $10 million to immediately deduct eligible assets.
In addition, $23.3 million will be spent boosting adoption of eInvoicing to help improve small business’ cash flow and productivity.

Relieving energy bill pressure

Direct relief for small business energy bills will come in the form of a $325 rebate, while there will also be new funding for reforms to help businesses find their best electricity contract.

Assistance for smaller entities

With trading conditions remaining difficult, small business will receive $641.4 million in new targeted support. This includes $10.8 million to extend both the NewAccess for Small Business Owners program providing free mental health support and the free phone-based Small Business Debt Helpline.

An additional $25.3 million will be provided to expand the Payment Times Reporting Regulator and help improve payment times.

Nuisance tariffs abolished

From 1 July 2024, 457 nuisance tariffs will be abolished by the government to cut business compliance costs.
New funding to expand the government’s Digital ID system is designed to lower the administration burden for small businesses storing identification data on their customers and employees.

Anti-money laundering crackdown

The Budget includes $168 million over four years to pay for reforms to Australia’s anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing regime. Tighter rules are expected to result in lawyers, accountants and real estate agents being required to undertake due diligence on their customers and report any suspicious activities.

Information in this article has been sourced from the Budget Speech 2024-25 and Federal Budget Support documents.

It is important to note that the policies outlined in this article are yet to be passed as legislation and therefore may be subject to change.

This article is intended as an information source only and to provide general information only. The comments, examples, words and extracts from legislation and other sources in this publication do not constitute legal advice, financial or tax advice and should not be relied upon as such. All readers should seek advice from a professional adviser regarding the application of any of the comments in this article to their particular situation.


Federal Budget 2023-2024 Analysis

What does the Federal Budget mean for me?

Federal Budget 2023-2024 Analysis

What does the Federal Budget mean for me?

Treasurer Jim Chalmers has high hopes that his 2024 Federal Budget will rein in inflation earlier than expected, ease cost-of-living pressures and build a stronger economy in the future.

It’s a Budget for the here and now, he says, but also for the decades to come.

More than $8.4 billion has been allocated to quick-fix cost-of-living adjustments along with the previously announced Stage 3 tax cuts and the waiving of $3 billion in student debt.

With a federal election due next year, the Federal Government has announced spending of almost $83 billion on housing, infrastructure, health and a Future Made in Australia project to build a more resilient economy for the future.

The big picture

While Treasury is forecasting a $9.3 billion surplus for 2023-24 after the previous year’s $22.1 billion surplus, the books will look considerably different the following year with a $28.3 billion forecast deficit expected.

That’s against a backdrop of an uncertain global economic outlook with wars in the Middle East and Ukraine as well as slowing growth in China and elsewhere.

“Most advanced economies recorded subdued outcomes during 2023, with around a third of OECD nations recording a technical recession,” notes Treasury in the Budget papers.

“Global inflation has moderated but remains too high, and there are risks it will persist. Tackling inflation remains the primary focus but, as inflationary pressures abate and labour markets soften, the global policy focus will increasingly shift to managing risks to growth.”

There are some bright spots for Australia though.

Treasury is forecasting inflation could return to the target rate of between 2 and 3 per cent earlier, perhaps by the end of the year, the Treasurer says.

Jobs growth is stronger here than in any major advanced economy and real wages are growing again for the first time in almost three years.

Cost of living

This year’s Budget aims to help out those struggling to pay the bills with a range of tax cuts and subsidies.

Every taxpayer will pay less tax as part of the Stage 3 tax cuts announced earlier this year. The average tax cut is $36 a week or an annual $1,888.

More than 10 million households will receive a total rebate of $300 on their electricity bills and eligible businesses will receive $325.

The government says its Energy Bill Relief Plan has kept electricity price increases to two per cent through the year to the March quarter this year. Without it, prices would have increased by 14.9 per cent.

While it won’t provide immediate relief, the government has grocery prices in its sights. It’s taking steps to make a Food and Grocery Code mandatory with penalties up to 10 per cent of turnover for major breaches. It also directed the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to investigate pricing and competition in the supermarket sector.

Commonwealth Rent Assistance has been increased by a further 10 per cent, there is a $138 million boost to emergency relief funding and financial support services, and the freeze on the deeming rate for income support recipients has been extended. The deeming rates are used by Centrelink to predict earnings from super and investments over the 12 months ahead. The lower deeming rate will remain at 0.25 per cent and the upper rate will remain at 2.25 per cent until 30 June 2025.

Anyone with a student debt will welcome a change to the indexation rate for the Higher Education Loan Program (HELP). The government says it will cut $3 billion in student debt for more than three million Australians.

Health

Medicines can be a big cost for many people and a new $3 billion agreement with community pharmacies is expected to help. The government is expecting the deal to deliver cheaper medicines and better patient health.

There will be a one-year freeze on the maximum patient co-payment and a five-year freeze for pensioners and other concession cardholders. This change means that no pensioner or concession card holder will pay more than $7.70 (plus any applicable manufacturer premiums) for up to five years.

Almost half of Australians live with a chronic health condition and the Budget provides more than $141 million for research and services for conditions including bowel and skin cancer, diabetes and dementia.

The government is also providing an extra $411 million to the Medical Research Fund to continue research for low-survival cancers.

And, in a strengthened mental health package, the government has committed more than $888 million over eight years to improve access to services and support.

Aged care

Providing further support for the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, the Budget allocates $2.2 million to develop a new Aged Care Act. The Act is expected to establish a new Support at Home program and improve the standard of in-home aged care.

An extra 24,100 Home Care Packages will also be made available to reduce waiting times and wait times for the My Aged Care Contact Centre will be reduced.

Meanwhile, the government has allocated funding to beef up the regulatory capabilities of the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission.

To support fair wages for care workers, the government has committed to fund a further increase in the award wage for direct and indirect aged care workers. The government is also providing $87.2 million for initiatives to attract nurses and other workers into aged care.

Housing

With housing affordability affecting millions of Australians, the government has allocated $6.2 billion in the Budget on a range of initiatives.

There’s a further $1 billion for states and territories to deliver new housing, more student accommodation, an increase in funds for homelessness services and more concessional loans for community housing providers.

The Build to Rent market will receive a boost with a plan to allow foreign investors to purchase developments with a lower foreign investment fee.

The government is also supporting 20,000 new fee-free TAFE places for courses in the construction sector.

Infrastructure

The government aims to stimulate the economies of the states and territories with funding for a number of major infrastructure projects.

There’s $21.6 billion for Queensland over 10 years for projects including the Sunshine Coast rail line and Bruce Highway works; $20.8 billion over 10 years for NSW for various road upgrades; $19.2 million in Victoria for the North East Link and other projects.

Attracting investment

Aiming to shore up Australia’s economic fortunes, the government has created a comprehensive package of projects to lift our manufacturing industry and position us to take advantage of net zero.

The Treasurer says the world’s commitment to net zero by 2050 will demand “the biggest transformation in the global economy since the industrial revolution”.

He believes Australia’s energy, resources, regions, researchers and workers can all play a part in creating a “renewable energy superpower”.

To that end, the Budget includes $13.7 billion in production tax incentives for green hydrogen and processed critical minerals, $1.7 billion to develop new industries using green metals and low carbon fuels and $566 million to map the geological potential of the entire country to get a better picture of our critical minerals and groundwater.

There will be major work on attracting new investment by reforming investment settings and regulatory processes.

The government says it will make it simpler to invest in Australia to entice more capital both from overseas and at home. It will work with business, governments, unions, communities and other experts during 2024 to come up with the best approach.

Supporting women and families

With escalating rates of family violence and an alarming increase in the incidence of violence against women, the Budget includes funding to support a range of programs.

More than $925 million will be spent over five years to provide support for victim survivors leaving a violent intimate partner relationship and a program to strengthen accountability for systemic gender-based violence in higher education.

The government will invest more than $56 million over four years to improve access to sexual and reproductive healthcare for women including training GPs to provide better menopause care.

A newly released national gender equality strategy will drive government action on women’s safety, sharing, economic equality, health, leadership and representation.

In a move to take the pressure off parents, superannuation will be paid on government funded Paid Parental Leave (PPL) for parents of babies born or adopted on or after 1 July 2025.

Looking ahead

The stimulus provided by this Budget will bring some relief in the short term, but our economy will be relying on the big ideas, such as the Future Made in Australia project, to provide the resilience we need in an uncertain global economy.

Treasury is forecasting slow global growth and only 1.75 per cent growth in Australia this financial year and 2 per cent next year along with a significant deficit.

But the Treasurer is confident he has delivered “an inflation-fighting and future-making Budget” with “responsible relief that eases pressure on people and directly reduces inflation”.
It’s one that will “forge a new economy and a new generation of prosperity”, he says.

If you have any questions about the Budget measures announced, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

This article is intended as an information source only and to provide general information only. The comments, examples, words and extracts from legislation and other sources in this publication do not constitute legal advice, financial or tax advice and should not be relied upon as such. All readers should seek advice from a professional adviser regarding the application of any of the comments in this article to their particular situation.


Market movements and review video - May 2024

Market movements and review video - May 2024

Stay up to date with what's happened in markets and the Australian economy over the past month.

As eyes turn to the 2024-25 Federal Budget, stronger-than-expected domestic inflation was recorded for April.

The markets have been subdued due to geopolitical instability and uncertainty around cash rates both in Australia and the US.

The S&P/ASX 200 was down by about 2.5% for April.

Click the video below to view our update.

Please get in touch if you’d like assistance with your personal financial situation.

This article is intended as an information source only and to provide general information only. The comments, examples, words and extracts from legislation and other sources in this publication do not constitute legal advice, financial or tax advice and should not be relied upon as such. All readers should seek advice from a professional adviser regarding the application of any of the comments in this article to their particular situation.


Loud Budgeting: Is It for You?

Loud Budgeting: Is It for You?

Think of loud budgeting as having a frank chat about your finances with friends. It’s about sharing financial goals openly, getting everyone on board and excited about your financial journey.

It's a trend that may have started as a joke but is being embraced by those who want to share their financial goals and priorities and in doing so, also improve their chances of achieving them.

It was comedian and writer Lukas Battle who bought the term “loud budgeting” to the world in a TikTok post, presenting it as an alternative to “quiet luxury” as loud budgeting represents a move away from spending to impress or conform.

As is the way with trends, the idea resonated with people, was picked up and run with by a growing group of budgeters. The spirit of the trend is about saying a loud “no” to what doesn’t align with your values. But there’s more to it than that, and there is also a right way to go about loud budgeting that will enable you to keep your finances on target – and your friendships intact.

The benefits of loud budgeting

But before we look at how to get it right, let’s explore why loud budgeting can be such a powerful tool to put you in control of your financial journey.

The fundamental reason it works is because talking transparently about your finances and sharing your reasoning behind how you want to spend your money gives you power and lets you decline invites in a way that is less likely to offend others.

Being open about your challenges can create a sense of community and inclusion. By sharing and acknowledging that it is normal to have limited spending capacity and that it can be a juggle to manage our short-term spending with our long-term savings goals, helps everyone understand each other’s pressures.

Once things are out in the open you are also more accountable. When you have shared your financial hopes and dreams with others, you are more likely to do what is required to stay on track and get support from those who care about you.

Making it loud - and successful!

Think of your goals
Before you start sharing your financial goals with others you must be clear on what they are. Think about what is important to you and what you are working towards. Don’t just have figures in your head - do a proper budget of what you have coming in, what you need to save to meet your targets and what you have left over to spend, so you can make educated decisions.

What matters to you
When you have decisions to make about how to spend your money it can help to think about what is important to you and make intentional choices. That ensures you are not living unnecessarily frugally, but being selective about what you choose to spend your money on, taking into consideration what matters most to you.

Eye on the prize
It’s important to keep your eye on the prize (or prizes) whatever form they may take. Looking to the longer term, this can be smaller goals, like saving up for a special occasion or bigger ones, such as a home deposit. It could also be prioritising payments such as mortgages, student loans and other kinds of debt. Check in from time to time to track your spending and savings against your goals.

Careful communication
Being careful in your phrasing will help make sure feelings aren't hurt when you decline an invitation. Part of loud budgeting is not saying ‘no’ outright – it's about explaining what’s going on for you and offering an alternative that works for you. For example, if you’re invited out for a dinner that you know will blow the budget, you could say “I’m trying to get enough together for a deposit to buy a place so I’m on a tight budget at the moment, can we catch up for a BYO barbeque at my place instead?

Making financial choices that are in line with how you want to live your life and prioritising long-term goals over temporary indulgences is a great way to set yourself up for a fantastic future. So why not speak up and try making your budgeting loud?

This article is intended as an information source only and to provide general information only. The comments, examples, words and extracts from legislation and other sources in this publication do not constitute legal advice, financial or tax advice and should not be relied upon as such. All readers should seek advice from a professional adviser regarding the application of any of the comments in this article to their particular situation.


Unlock Savings: Guide to Refinancing Your Home Loan

Unlock Savings: Guide to Refinancing Your Home Loan

Refinancing your home loan has the potential to save you thousands, reduce your monthly repayments and free up your finances to achieve your goals.

However, mastering the art of refinancing requires strategic planning, an understanding of the process and taking numerous considerations into account. Whether you plan on external or internal refinancing, here’s what to keep in mind.

Understand the different types of refinancing

While many people think of refinancing as switching lenders, you can also choose a better deal but stay with your original lender. Refinancing through your original lender but opting for a different deal is referred to as an internal refinance; external refinance is where you find a different lender.

In 2023, it was reported that Australia had the largest boom in mortgage refinances in history over the past three years.i And according to Finder’s Housing Market Report 2023, while in 2019 just over half of refinancers were external refinancers, by mid-2023, this had jumped to 72%.ii

Know the market and interest rate movements

As the stats show, in recent times more mortgage holders than ever, are swapping lenders in order to chase a better deal. Often this is the main goal – to refinance to get a lower interest rate.

Given the fluctuations in the market and the rise and fall of interest rates, it’s smart to keep informed as to what’s happening. It’s also a good idea to touch base with a financial expert to get their take on whether now is a good time to refinance.

Assess your financial health

It’s then time to look at your financial situation, so you have a clear understanding of your credit score, current financial position and equity, income, and debt-to-income ratio.

It may have been some time ago that you last did this and it’s likely that some things have shifted, especially given the higher cost of living at the moment.

Understand your loan

Whatever your reasons for wanting to refinance are, you need to understand what your current commitment is and what changes you want to make.

Read through your current loan’s terms and conditions, as it may have been a while since you’ve checked them. You can chat to your current lender to see if there are any benefits you haven’t been utilising or costs you are unaware of.

Understand refinancing costs

A follow-up from knowing your loan is ensuring you have a clear understanding of refinancing costs. While the lure of a better deal can be hard to resist, you may find that it may cost you more than you had thought.

Calculate your break-even point to determining if refinancing is beneficial – this includes taking any valuation fees and payout costs (such as exit fees) into consideration. If you are on a fixed rate home loan, you may need to pay a break free if you refinance.

Consider the impact on your credit score and LVR

Another thing to be aware of is how refinancing can impact your credit score. Aspects that come along with refinancing, such as ending a loan and needing another credit check, can cause your credit score to dip. And if there is the possibility that you skip out on a mortgage payment (should the refinancing process take longer than expected, for example), this will further damage your credit score.

Loan to Value Ratio (LVR) is the difference between the amount you’re borrowing to the value of the property. If your LVR is over 80%, you need to pay Lender’s Mortgage Insurance (LMI). When refinancing, it’s likely that your LVR has shifted due to your mortgage repayments, so your LVR tends to be lower as a result. However, if your property has fallen in value and your LVR has risen, then you may need to pay LMI when refinancing.

We can assist with refinancing to ensure it’s not only beneficial for you, but that it also frees up your finances. Get in touch today so we can discuss your options.

i https://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2024/03/mortgage-refinancing-boom-turns-bust/
ii https://www.finder.com.au/home-loans/housing-market-report

This article is intended as an information source only and to provide general information only. The comments, examples, words and extracts from legislation and other sources in this publication do not constitute legal advice, financial or tax advice and should not be relied upon as such. All readers should seek advice from a professional adviser regarding the application of any of the comments in this article to their particular situation.


Mastering Risk Management for Business Expansion

Mastering Risk Management for Business Expansion

Effective risk management is key to successful business expansion. Discover strategies that help mitigate risks while you grow.

It’s a risky business being in business for yourself, so knowing how to identify and manage risk is an important part of running a thriving business.

Anything that impedes a business's ability to achieve its financial goals is considered a risk, and there are many issues that have the potential to derail a successful business. Some of these can ruin a business, while others can cause serious damage that is difficult to recover from.

However, taking risks is an essential part of growing a business - it’s how you thrive and expand. The key to achieving the rewards that come with risk and avoiding the devastation that can occur, is identifying and actively managing your business risk.

Assessing your tolerance for risk

The first step is to think about what level of risk you are comfortable with. A range of factors influence your appetite for risk including your individual circumstances, financial resources, specific industry dynamics, economic conditions, and business goals.

It's important to acknowledge the relationship between risk and reward. High-risk activities may provide the potential for significant returns when you are going for growth but are also associated with greater uncertainty and the potential for larger losses.

Not all risk is equal

Some types of risk are best managed through insurance while others can be managed through thoughtful decision making and risk mitigation.

Risk taking is often associated with innovation and entrepreneurship and there are countless examples of reckless business behaviour that paid off - and as many examples that did not pay off. To expand, evolve and stay relevant in a changing marketplace, businesses may need to take calculated risks. This can encompass the development of new services or targeting a different client base, employing staff, developing new products, the adoption of emerging technologies, or exploring new markets.

Taking calculated risks involves some planning - conducting research, gathering supporting data and considering possible outcomes before making a decision. Informed, calculated decisions have a greater chance of success and doing your homework is a great way to mitigate risk in business.

Managing business risk

There are many ways to manage business risk, depending on the type of risk. Threats come in many shapes and forms and can include strategic, compliance, operational, environmental, and reputational, but one of the most fundamental risks is that of the business no longer being financially viable. All the above can impact a businesses’ bottom line so when considering your strategies, it’s a good idea to identify the risks that could affect your business’s ability to meet its financial obligations.

Setting up and maintaining a cash reserve is critical for small businesses, particularly ones with narrow margins. Half of all small businesses hold a cash buffer of less than one month which may not be adequate.i A cash reserve is a great risk mitigation strategy as it can help you get back on your feet when faced with an adverse event.

Keep an eye on cashflow

Growing a business can put pressure on cashflow, and managing your cashflow is a powerful way of managing your business risk.

If you have not already done so, creating, and maintaining a cash flow forecast helps you anticipate and cash shortages. Monitoring your cash flow over time gives you visibility of your financial situation and an understanding of any seasonal ebbs and flows.

Some things you can do to manage your cashflow include being responsive with invoicing and chasing overdue payments. Negotiate payment terms that support your cashflow requirements and consider offering incentives for early payments or penalties for overdue invoices.

For many businesses, one of the leading causes of cash flow shortfalls is overstocking, which increases the amount of cash you have locked up in your stock. Effective inventory management and working with suppliers to reduce lead times can assist with cashflow.

We can help you develop solid cash flow management and provide expert advice to make growing your business less of a risky proposition.

i https://www.jpmorganchase.com/institute/research/small-business/report-cash-flows-balances-and-buffer-days

This article is intended as an information source only and to provide general information only. The comments, examples, words and extracts from legislation and other sources in this publication do not constitute legal advice, financial or tax advice and should not be relied upon as such. All readers should seek advice from a professional adviser regarding the application of any of the comments in this article to their particular situation.


Securing Your Finances for Retirement in Australia

Securing Your Finances for Retirement in Australia

Secure your retirement with the right financial planning. Learn about managing costs and maximising superannuation in Australia.

If you’re nearing retirement age, it’s likely you’re wondering if you will have enough saved to give up work and take it easy, particularly as cost-of-living increases hit some of the basic expenses such as energy, insurance, food and health costs.

Fortunately, someone has already worked out what you might need.

The Association of Superannuation Funds in Australia (ASFA) updates its Retirement Standard every year, which provides a breakdown of expenses for two types of lifestyles: modest and comfortable.i

Based on our average life expectancy - for women it is just over 85 years and men 81 - if you are about to retire at say age 67, you will have between 14 and 18 years in retirement, on average and depending on your gender.ii

ASFA finds that a couple needs $46,944 a year to live a modest lifestyle and $72,148 to live a comfortable lifestyle. That’s equal to $902 a week and $1387 respectively. The figure is of course lower for a single person - $32,666 for a modest lifestyle ($628 a week) or $51,278 ($986) for a comfortable lifestyle.iii

What does that add up to? ASFA estimates that, for a modest lifestyle, a single person or a couple would need savings of $100,000 at retirement age, while for a modest lifestyle, a couple would need at least $690,000.iv

A modest lifestyle means being able to afford everyday expenses such as basic health insurance, communication, clothing and household goods but not going overboard. The difference between a modest and a comfortable lifestyle can be significant. For example, there is no room in a modest budget to update a kitchen or a bathroom; similarly overseas holidays are not an option.

The rule of thumb for a comfortable retirement is an estimated 70 per cent of your current annual income.v (The reason you need less is that you no longer need to commute to work and you don’t need to buy work clothes.)

Building your nest egg

So how can you build up a sufficient nest egg to provide for a good life in retirement? There are three main sources: superannuation, pension and investments/savings. Superannuation has the key advantage that the money in your pension is tax free in retirement.

Your superannuation pension can be augmented with the government’s Aged Pension either from the moment you retire or later when your original nest egg diminishes.

Your income and assets will be taken into account if you apply for the Age Pension but even if you receive a pension from your super fund, you may still be eligible for a part Age Pension. You may also be eligible for rent assistance and a Health Care Card, which provides concessions on medicines.vi

Money keeps growing

It’s also important to remember that the amount you accumulate up to retirement will still be generating an income, whether its rentals from investment properties or merely the growth in the value of your share investments and the accumulation of money from any dividends paid.

You can also continue to add to your superannuation by, for instance, selling your family home and downsizing, as long as you have lived in the home for more than 10 years.

If you are single, $300,000 can go into your super when you downsize and $600,000 if you are a couple. This figure is independent of any other superannuation caps.vii

Planning for a good life in retirement often require just that – planning. If you would like to discuss how retirement will work for you, then give us a call.

i Retirement Standard - Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia
ii Life expectancy, 2020 - 2022 | Australian Bureau of Statistics (abs.gov.au)
iii https://www.superannuation.asn.au/media-release/retiree-budgets-continue-to-face-significant-cost-pressures
iv https://www.superannuation.asn.au/resources/retirement-standard/
v https://www.gesb.wa.gov.au/members/retirement/how-retirement-works/cost-of-living-in-retirement
vi Assets test for Age Pension - Age Pension - Services Australia
vii Downsizer super contributions | Australian Taxation Office (ato.gov.au)

This article is intended as an information source only and to provide general information only. The comments, examples, words and extracts from legislation and other sources in this publication do not constitute legal advice, financial or tax advice and should not be relied upon as such. All readers should seek advice from a professional adviser regarding the application of any of the comments in this article to their particular situation.


Support and Resources for the Sandwich Generation in Australia

Support and Resources for the Sandwich Generation in Australia

Struggling to manage dual caregiving responsibilities? Explore essential support and planning tips for Australia's sandwich generation juggling children and aging parents.

If you are feeling a bit like the meat in the sandwich you are not alone. The ‘sandwich generation’ is a growing social phenomenon that impacts people from all walks of life, describing those at a stage of their lives where they are caring for their offspring as well as their elderly parents.

The phenomenon is gathering momentum as we are tending to live longer and have kids later. It even encompasses royalty - Prince William has been dealing with a sick father while juggling school aged kids (as well as a partner dealing with serious health issues).

A growing phenomenon

The number of people forming part of the sandwich generation has grown since the term was first coined in the 1980’s, as we tend to live longer and have kids later. It is estimated that as many as 5% of Australians are currently juggling caring responsibilities which has implications for family dynamics, incomes, retirement and even the economy.i

Like many other countries, the number of older Australians is growing both in number and as a percentage of the population. By 2026, more than 22 percent of Australians will be aged over 65 - up from 16 percent in 2020.ii It is also becoming more common for aging parents to rely on their adult children for assistance when living independently becomes challenging.

The other piece of bread in the sandwich is that as a society we are caring for kids later in life. The median age of all women giving birth increased by three years over two decades.iii

And with young people staying in the family home well into their twenties, we are certainly supporting our children for longer. Even after the kids leave the nest, it's also common for parents to become involved in looking after grandchildren.

Taking its toll on carers

While we want to support our loved ones, when that support is required constantly and intensively for both parts of the family, it can mean that something has to give and that ‘something’ is often the carer’s well-being.

Even if you are not part of the sandwich generation but being squeezed at either end – caring for kids or parents, acting as a primary care-giver often requires you to provide physical, emotional, and financial support. It’s common to feel it take a toll on your own emotional and physical health, and sometimes your finances as you sacrifice some of your savings or paid work to help your loved ones.

Support for caregivers

It can be difficult to acknowledge you need assistance but there are a number of ways you can access help.

Deciding what to get help with
It can feel like there is not enough hours in the day and that’s overwhelming. Try to think about what you really need to do and where your time is best spent and consider if you can get assistance with tasks or duties you don’t have to do. This may mean outsourcing things like buying a healthy meal instead of cooking or getting a hand with gardening or lawn mowing.

Think about what others could assist with to lighten and share your load.

Accessing support
There are also support networks out there that exist to take off some of the pressure. Reach out to local support networks via Carers Australia for help identifying mainstream and community supports.

You or your loved ones may also be entitled to government support, under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) or My Aged Care. These programs provide funding and resources to help pay for essential care; from domestic assistance with cleaning and cooking, to home modifications, to 24-hour care for those who require more support.

The importance of self-care
It’s vital to take some time out for yourself and make your own wellbeing a priority. Don’t feel that it’s selfish to take care of your own needs as that’s an essential part of being a carer. Resources like respite care and getting support when needed is an important gateway to self-care.

Managing your finances
Caregiving can put financial pressure on the whole household and has the potential to impact retirement savings. The assistance of a trusted professional can help, and we are here if you need a hand.

Raising kids as well as supporting parents to live their best lives as they age is becoming more common and can be a challenging time of life. While the act of caring is the ultimate act of kindness - the most important thing to remember is to be kind to yourself.

i https://info.careforfamily.com.au/blog/sandwich-generation
ii https://www.sydney.edu.au/news-opinion/news/2023/10/09/confronting-ageing-the-talk-australia-has-to-have.html
iii https://www.abs.gov.au/

This article is intended as an information source only and to provide general information only. The comments, examples, words and extracts from legislation and other sources in this publication do not constitute legal advice, financial or tax advice and should not be relied upon as such. All readers should seek advice from a professional adviser regarding the application of any of the comments in this article to their particular situation.


Market movements and review video - April 2024

Market movements and review video - April 2024

Stay up to date with what's happened in markets and the Australian economy over the past month.

Expectations of interest rate cuts later this year in Australia and the United States fuelled activity in the markets last month.

Australian shares reached a new record high at the end of the month, driven by mining shares with gold, iron ore and lithium all rebounding.

US markets also reached new highs during March, leaving the benchmark index up more than 10 percent so far in 2024.

Click the video below to view our update.

Please get in touch if you’d like assistance with your personal financial situation.

This article is intended as an information source only and to provide general information only. The comments, examples, words and extracts from legislation and other sources in this publication do not constitute legal advice, financial or tax advice and should not be relied upon as such. All readers should seek advice from a professional adviser regarding the application of any of the comments in this article to their particular situation.


Deep Work: Mastering Focus for Peak Performance

Deep Work: Mastering Focus for Peak Performance

Master the art of deep work to unlock unparalleled productivity. These expert tips will guide you through cultivating a focused mindset for success.

Phone buzzing, emails constantly popping up, ongoing chats with colleagues, responding to meeting invites and all the while trying to work on that report. Sound familiar?

While we’ve all become reasonably proficient at multitasking in this digital age, numerous commentators are pointing to the toll the constant distractions are having on our productivity and the outcomes of our efforts. So, let’s look at the benefits of deep focus – uninterrupted time to work at your maximum potential and create quality work, faster.

What is deep work?

The notion of ‘deep work’ or an intense, productive focus, was first coined by computer science professor and author Cal Newport. Cal suggests that our online tools are making us lose the capacity for focus in a hyper-distracted world. He argues that for your brain to work at its maximum potential, you need to enter a state of focus, with no external distractions.

Multitasking as an impediment to productivity

While multitasking is an essential survival tool, it’s not great for your productivity to be in that state constantly.

When you switch between tasks - for example responding to an ‘urgent’ email while drafting a proposal - some of your attention remains on the previous task so you are still mulling over the email when you go back to your proposal. This is known as attention residue, and it impedes productivity. Research shows that it can take more than 20 minutes to get your train of thought back on track and up to speed after an interruption, which could mean if you are constantly responding to interruptions, you are never working at your full capacity.i

It's also been demonstrated that not only do people take longer to complete tasks when multitasking, they are also far more likely to make mistakes, so accuracy plummets when you are hopping from one thing to the other.ii

Why is deep focus so effective?

Each time you practice deep focus, leads to more effective learning. When you concentrate deeply on a single task, your brain creates pathways to consolidate and reinforce learning which means you are literally rewiring your brain to help you perform at an optimal level.iii

How to dive deeper

Ok, I hear you saying. This all sounds great but how do I fit this into my already busy life when finding an interrupted block of time feels next to impossible?

Once you start to use deep flow as part of your daily routine you may find that you are accomplishing more and getting through your workload a little faster, given the productivity benefits so you’ll free up time.

It’s important to schedule and prioritise how you are spending this precious deep focus time to maximise the benefits. One way to achieve deep focus can be to schedule regular blocks of time to dedicate to important tasks that require focus, followed by short breaks.

A time management technique known as the Pomodoro technique suggests that the optimal time for concentration is 25 minutes, followed by a short five-minute break. Don’t feel that you must set a timer if that feels too restrictive for you, as you can adjust the timings to suit you and your workflow. The idea is to set aside blocks of time and impose time limits on your tasks to focus, taking breaks in between bouts of intense focus to refresh yourself.

Consider when you are at your best to undertake these important deep flow tasks - whether its first thing in the morning, after a bite to eat at lunch, or later in the day.

It’s also important to accept that interruptions will inevitably happen and try not to get angry or upset as that will derail your train of thought.

Finally, don’t be afraid to play around with what works for you and experiment with adding some deep flow into your work processes. You’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain. So, what are you waiting for - turn that phone onto silent mode and dive deep!

i https://ics.uci.edu/~gmark/chi08-mark.pdf
ii https://news.stanford.edu/2020/10/28/poor-memory-tied-attention-lapses-media-multitasking/
iii https://psycnet.apa.org/

This article is intended as an information source only and to provide general information only. The comments, examples, words and extracts from legislation and other sources in this publication do not constitute legal advice, financial or tax advice and should not be relied upon as such. All readers should seek advice from a professional adviser regarding the application of any of the comments in this article to their particular situation.