What qualified advisers have over “finfluencers”

More people than ever are taking control of their money – but where do they go if they’re after financial advice? While ‘finfluencers’ are appealing to younger investors, ensuring any advice comes from a qualified adviser gives you a better chance of meeting your goals.

Since the pandemic began, more people have become interested in investing, particularly in the share market. Research house Investment Trends found about 435,000 new investors bought shares for the first time in 2020 and of these 18 per cent were aged less than 25, while 49 per cent were between 25 and 39. This influx of investors brings a new challenge – that of educating this group on investment strategies. So, where should they go for advice?

Generally, if an investor wants advice, they seek out a financial adviser.  A report into financial advice highlights demand for advice has doubled over the past five years. It found three out of four advised clients engaged with their adviser during lockdown while 2.6 million non-advised Australians said that they intended to seek advice. This demonstrates an increase in awareness of how valuable financial advice is. Other research backs this up. Rice Warner’s 2020 report – Future of Advice – found those who receive advice accumulate 3.9 times more assets after 15 years than those who make their own decisions.

The rise of the ‘finfluencer’

However, not everyone is going to a qualified financial adviser to discuss their financial needs. Over the past few years, financial influencers or ‘finfluencers’ have emerged, dispensing (often questionable) advice via social media platforms. Described as social media content creators that build audiences through providing financial advice, finfluencers can be found on platforms such as TikTok, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram and Reddit. But should people be taking their advice?

Some finfluencers have shown their audiences take quite a lot of notice of them. For example, the number of trades in the US video game retailer Gamestop took off after it was pumped on Reddit and tweeted about by Tesla founder Elon Musk. But it’s a case of buyer beware with these unlicenced and mostly unqualified sources. In fact, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission has been dealing with rising numbers of complaints relating to unlicensed financial advice since March 2020 – when the pandemic began.

But while the advice of some finfluencers may be suspect, they do appeal to a particular audience – such as Millennials and Gen Z. There are also some finfluencers who appear to help people better engage with their finances. But while finfluencers can provide useful tips on how to save or budget, sharing investment tips and strategies is where inexperienced investors need to take care. It’s important to be very wary of investment advice, especially if someone is pushing a scheme that they benefit from personally.

Why a qualified financial adviser?

While a finfluencer doesn’t need to have any particular expertise (and often doesn’t), anyone giving financial advice must hold an Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL) or be acting as an authorised representative of an AFS licensee. Anyone wanting to become a financial adviser must also complete a full-time professional year that includes at least 100 hours of structured training.

If you’re serious about building your wealth and meeting your financial objectives, a qualified financial adviser whom you can build a relationship with over time, is the best person to provide you with the advice that will guide you at every life stage.

So how does financial advice help investors? Some of the areas an adviser can help with include:

  • Setting financial goals
  • Advising on wealth-building strategies to meet your goals
  • Advising on appropriate insurance to protect your health, wealth and family
  • Estate planning

The benefits of seeking advice are many. An IOOF paper – The True Value of Advice – reveals the long-term benefits that financial advisers provide, with 90 per cent of advised clients surveyed saying that accessing financial advice has left them in a better position financially and 89 per cent reporting that receiving advice allowed them to live their desired lifestyle.

It’s also important to remember that financial advice is not just for those nearing retirement. Seeking advice early on could make a big difference to your finances at all stages of your life, such as when you’re buying a property, starting a family, or wanting to access your superannuation.

If you have questions and would like your financial situation to be evaluated, please email us on ds@bluerocke.com with your contacts, for an exploratory meeting, at our cost, not yours.

Article Source: http://www.onepath.com.au/investor-insights/news/news-what-qualified-advisers-have-over-finfluencers.aspx

What to consider when choosing a Life Insurance beneficiary?

When taking out a life insurance policy, it’s important to consider who should be your life insurance beneficiary and the role they play.

What is a life insurance beneficiary?

A life insurance beneficiary is the person who will receive your life insurance payment should you pass away.

When choosing yours, it’s important to think about who you would want to financially take care of should something happen to you. For most people, this is their spouse or children.

Nominating a beneficiary may seem straightforward, but there are a number of things to be aware of and plan for.

What to do if you don’t have a beneficiary
If you hold the policy in your name, your benefit will go to your estate and be managed as part of your will.

If you have outstanding debts when you pass away, your benefit may be used to pay them before it is distributed to the people named in your will – this means your loved ones could miss out on the payment.

Who can be a beneficiary?

Naming a beneficiary ensures your benefit is not paid to your estate and goes directly to the person you nominate.

It’s important to consider that if your beneficiary has any debts the proceeds might be used to pay them off. As well as this, keep in mind that if you nominate a minor such as your children, they will only receive the full amount once they turn 18.

Can you have multiple life insurance beneficiaries?

You can easily name multiple people as beneficiaries to your policy –  you can check with your insurer as to how many beneficiaries can be named on your policy.

If you do decide to choose several people, it’s useful to designate a percentage of the payment to each person, as opposed to a specific amount (as this may change).

You should also consider having a contingency beneficiary, should a primary beneficiary pass away before or around the time of your passing (for example, in an accident).

Who’s eligible to be a life insurance beneficiary?

You can nominate anyone 18 years of above as your life insurance beneficiary. This can be:

  • a spouse, which includes a person (whether of the same or different sex) with whom you’re in a relationship with
  • your child, including adopted child or step-child
  • ex-nuptial child or your spouse’s child who is financially dependent on you
  • a person with whom you have an inter-dependency relationship; either living together, have a close personal relationship or if one or each of you provides the other with financial or domestic support

What’s the difference between a binding and non-binding beneficiary?

If you have life insurance within your super, you’ll be asked to nominate a beneficiary – a family member or loved one who will receive the life insurance money if you pass away. You have the choice to make a binding or a non-binding nomination.

A binding nomination is a legally binding statement which your insurer will use to know who your money should go to if you pass away.

A non-binding nomination is not legally binding. Your insurer will take your non-binding into consideration when making the life insurance payment on your behalf, in addition to other aspects of the law.

To ensure your family is looked after when you’re not around, it’s important to keep your beneficiary details up to date within your super account.

How to keep your beneficiary up to date 

You should evaluate your beneficiary and policy at any major life event – for example, purchasing a home, having children, getting married, getting divorced or at the death of a loved one. Having life insurance beneficiaries up to date ensures your loved ones are taken care of financially if something were to happen to you.

If you have questions and would like your current insurance policies to be evaluated or any insurance related inquiries, please email us on ds@bluerocke.com with your contacts, for an exploratory meeting, at our cost, not yours.

Article Source : https://www.tal.com.au/slice-of-life-blog/four-things-to-remember-when-choosing-a-beneficiary

‘Your Future, Your Super’ – what does it mean?

The Your Future, Your Super reforms (YFYS Reforms) were passed in June 2021. The YFYS Reforms aim to make the super system better for members in four key ways:

  • Stapling – preventing the creation of multiple unintended super accounts;
  • YourSuper – empowering members by making it easier to compare products through a new Government comparison website called ‘YourSuper’;
  • Performance test – holding funds to account for product performance through an annual performance test conducted by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA);
  • Best Financial Interests – increasing transparency and accountability for how super funds use members’ savings.

Now, let’s explain the YFYS Reforms and what they might mean for you.


Stapling has been designed to help prevent the creation of multiple unintended super accounts. It means that a new super account won’t automatically be created every time you start a new job, helping you avoid multiple accounts with fees, insurance arrangements and insurance premiums.

Stapling means that your super follows you. You can start a new job knowing your employer and the Australian Tax Office (ATO) will ensure your super contributions will be paid into your ‘stapled’ account.

Stapling does not impact your ability to change funds at any time.

What stapling means for you

Stapling means you will keep your existing super account if you change jobs, unless you decide to change where your super is invested. This makes it easier for you and removes potential hassles associated with having unintended multiple super funds.

Just as importantly, it means you won’t unintentionally accrue multiple insurance policies and associated insurance premiums (with each super fund you’re in).

YourSuper comparison tool

As part of the YFYS Reforms the Government has launched a comparison website called ‘YourSuper’ to make it easier for members to compare product performance. YourSuper is provided by the ATO and accessible from MyGov. The Government says this tool “is focused on providing members with simple, clear and trusted information about their retirement savings”.

What YourSuper means for you

The YourSuper comparison website went live on 1 July 2021. It has some helpful features – you can access a personalised version via MyGov featuring your super balance and age. Alternatively if you don’t access via MyGov, the generic version will enable you to see how MySuper products have performed based on a nominal $50,000 investment. YourSuper includes information on product performance and fees.

Performance Test

APRA will assess the performance of specified products within the super fund on an annual basis. The assessment is based on comparing a product’s net investment returns (including fees and taxes) with a benchmark return and fees. The results of the annual performance test will be reflected on the YourSuper website from 1 September each year. The results will be expressed as ‘performing’, ‘underperforming’ or ‘not assessed’. For the 2021 year, only MySuper products are subject to the annual performance test, and from 2022 other superannuation products and specified investment options will be included.

What the Performance Test means for you

Whilst performance has always been in focus, super funds are now on notice to ensure they are providing the best value for their members, aiming to protect members from poor outcomes.

Best Financial Interests

The Best Financial Interest requirements are designed to “sharpen the focus” of super trustees, ensuring decisions, such as those on expenses, are in the best financial interests of members. There are also additional requirements for Trustees to make additional information available to members as part of the Annual Member Meeting.

Better informed, more engaged

The YFYS Reforms assist in improving performance and transparency within the super sector.

The Government’s own analysis suggests the YFYS Reforms will have a number of benefits for members. As noted above the YFYS Reforms make it easier for members to engage with their super savings and make better decisions. As always, keeping a close eye on your super – and getting expert advice from someone who understands your unique retirement plans – is invaluable.

If you have questions and would like your financial situation to be evaluated, please email us on ds@bluerocke.com with your contacts, for an exploratory meeting, at our cost, not yours.

Article Source: https://www.mlc.com.au/personal/blog/2021/09/your-future-your-super

How high-earning women can build their wealth.

More and more women are succeeding in high-paying careers. Here’s how to ensure today’s generous salary secures tomorrow’s future.

While the gender wage gap remains largely stagnant – with the Workplace Gender Equality Agency reporting that women today earn 13.4 per cent less than men – the past two decades have seen a rise in the number of women pursuing high-income careers.

They’re also demanding more – more money and more flexibility.

“Today, women are putting themselves and their careers first, and raising a family is sometimes being pushed back to later in life or not at all,” says MLC Financial Adviser Debbie Fing.

It’s become widely accepted that women are experts in their fields, Fing says, often bringing an even greater range of skills to their profession than their male counterparts.

“Hence, women are earning more, having less time out of the workforce, and demanding equal opportunities for promotion and advancement.” For those women earning good salaries now, the opportunity is to look to the future.

Money matters

As income increases, so too does the opportunity to build on and protect that wealth. That’s not only setting you up for the future but helping prepare you for unforeseen – or even planned – life experiences, whether that’s starting a family, caring for ageing parents, illness, redundancy, or death.

The fact is, despite promising changes in the domestic distribution of labour, women continue to bear the brunt in these areas, as figures from the Workplace Gender Equality Agency show. Of their average weekly working time, women spend 64 per cent on unpaid care work, compared to 36 per cent for men2. To facilitate care, women often choose part-time employment, or employment below their skill level, to the extent that they are in part-time employment at three times the rate of men. Women also disproportionately take time out of the workforce to have children or care for parents, and can be left particularly vulnerable in the face of a sudden withdrawal, for whatever reason, of their or their partner’s income.

Add it all together and the discrepancy shows up in women’s superannuation balances. According to the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA), there’s a 42 per cent difference: men aged 55 to 64 had an average super balance of $270,710 in 2017-18, compared to women’s average balance of $157,050.

As such, it’s critical for women to make the most of their income while it’s being generated, to ensure financial security during periods outside of the workforce. Even in the best-case scenario, taking ownership of your financial future will leave you empowered by your ability to build on your hard-earned wealth, and enjoy the additional fruits of your labour.

Get clear on your goals

It may be that you want to buy a property or boost your superannuation by contributing additional funds. Or you may want to finance your children’s education. Further down the track, you may want to move into part-time employment or set yourself up for a comfortable retirement.

There are many ways you can build your wealth and make your money work for you – through being smarter with your money, including through saving and investing. But first you have to get a sense of your immediate and longer-term goals, Fing says. Understanding your goals can help you identify what really matters to you, and what you need to do to get there.

Regarding retirement, ask yourself questions like: What age do I want to retire? How much money would I need to retire then? How is my superannuation balance tracking to deliver on that? Take a look at retirement calculators to help you get a steer on what you have versus what you might need.

Regarding wealth building, consider questions like: How comfortable am I with risk? Would I rather pay down my mortgage first or invest to build wealth? What kind of investment vehicles – property or shares, exchange traded funds (ETFs) or superannuation – am I most comfortable with? What does my dream financial scenario look like at various ages in the future?

Once you know what you want to achieve, and what you’ve got to work with, setting up your savings or investment plan becomes much clearer.

Investing doesn’t have to be hard

Investing can seem like an overwhelming concept, and many people assume you need a lot of money to get started.

The truth is, you can start investing with as little as $100.

There are multiple ways to go about investing, whether it’s directly through a broker or indirectly via an ETF or managed fund. Depending on the level of risk you’re willing to take on, there are more aggressive vehicles, like government bonds. But if you are comfortable with the idea of more volatile options, you might consider blue chip shares.

Many Australians invest in property and, with mortgage interest rates at record lows, it’s appealing.

The important thing is to do your homework first. It’s also a good idea to seek the help of a financial adviser so you can better understand what you have and what you need, and what your options are.

Start with your superannuation

Growing your superannuation is one of the easiest and most tax-effective ways to build future wealth.

Unlike your salary, your super contributions are taxed at up to 15 per cent.* If you’re able to, you should consider topping it up, either as a one-off payment or via regular additional contributions. These can be made before tax or claimed as a tax deduction at the end of the year. Either way, they are an effective way to capitalise on your higher income.

At the same time, find out where and how your super is invested – its risk profile and its growth patterns. If your money is in more than one super fund, make sure you consolidate it into one account so you are not paying additional fees that erode your balance and earnings.

Seeking support on your journey

The good news is, anyone can use their income to build wealth, and there are many ways you can do so.

With the support of a professional financial adviser you can name your goals and draw up a financial plan that includes detailed strategies to make sure you are making the most of your money. It’s a great way to move ahead and build your future.


If you have questions and would like your financial situation to be evaluated, please email us on ds@bluerocke.com with your contacts, for an exploratory meeting, at our cost, not yours.

Article Source: https://www.mlc.com.au/personal/blog/2021/08/high-earning-women