Save through super for your first home

A new scheme may help you make your dream of owning a home come true.

BR July

High property prices have made owning a home unattainable for many prospective first time buyers. But the First Home Super Saver scheme, passed by the Australian Government in December 2017, may help keep their dream of buying their first home alive.

The scheme helps you save for your first home by allowing you to use the concessionally taxed superannuation environment to build a house deposit. Eligible voluntary contributions are limited to $15,000 in any one financial year and $30,000 across all financial years. They include voluntary concessional and voluntary non-concessional contributions.

You can withdraw eligible contributions, plus associated earnings, from 1 July 2018 to buy or build a first home. You may be allowed to withdraw 100 per cent of eligible non-concessional contributions and 85 per cent of eligible concessional contributions.

Check if you’re eligible

To be eligible to have your contributions released, you must be aged at least 18 and must not have owned property in Australia or asked the Commissioner of Taxation to release funds previously under the scheme. If you have owned property, you may still qualify if the Commissioner determines that you have suffered a financial difficulty that led to the loss of your property.

The Australian Taxation Office will assess eligibility to withdraw contributions on an individual basis. This means you and your partner or a family member may each apply for a release of contributions to buy the same property.

Once your super fund releases your contributions, the Commissioner of Taxation will withhold tax. This will be calculated at your marginal tax rate – less a 30 per cent offset.

You have up to 12 months from the time you receive the first amount to sign a contract to buy or build a house. If you need more time, you may apply for an extension of up to 12 months.

Get advice

It’s important to seek professional advice before you consider making or withdrawing voluntary super contributions to buy your first home.

Contact Dev Sarker on 1300 71 71 36 today to see how the scheme can work for you!

Be retirement ready – plan early

You need to be savvy to build a sufficient nest egg for retirement. Planning is key, and so is getting professional advice.

Most Australians are not saving enough for retirement and risk running out of money sooner than they expect.

Data shows that in 2015–16, Australians had average superannuation balances of only $270,710 for men and $157,050 for women at the time of retirement.[1] These sums are significantly lower than the $545,000 that the Association of Superannuation Funds (ASFA) estimates singles need for a comfortable lifestyle in later years.[2]

The good news is that you can avoid pinching pennies in your retirement by planning ahead.

Setting a plan

Start planning by finding out how much income you will need. You can do this by answering the following questions:

  • What are your retirement goals?
  • What kind of lifestyle do you want?
  • What’s your life expectancy?

While it’s relatively easy to set goals and lifestyle expectations for retirement, estimating how long you will live can be tricky – not to mention unsettling. But it’s crucial to make retirement planning decisions. For example, knowing your estimated life expectancy can help you decide on your asset allocation or when to stop working to ensure you can sufficiently fund your retirement. It can also help you determine when is the most appropriate time to start your super income stream.

Although there are tools for calculating life expectancy, a financial adviser can guide you through the process and help you come up with an accurate estimate.

The ASFA retirement standard may help you see how much you will need annually to maintain your lifestyle. The table below shows ASFA’s September 2017 quarter estimates for people aged around 65.[3]

Table 1: Retirement budgets for those aged around 65

Modest lifestyle Comfortable lifestyle
  Single Couple Single Couple
Total budget per year $24,506 $35,189 $44,011 $60,457

Keep in mind that these are national estimates and assume that retirees own their home. Seek your adviser’s guidance in estimating an amount based on your lifestyle expectations, profile and life expectancy.

Ensuring enough income

Once you know how much you’ll need, your adviser can design a plan and make recommendations to help you meet your required retirement income. These may include growing your retirement fund by investing some or all of it.

Investment strategies come with various levels of risk and target returns. It’s important that you choose investments that suit your risk appetite and need for returns.

There are also products that offer a regular and stable flow of income in retirement. Speak to your adviser to know your options.

Getting advice

It’s important to understand that retirement planning is a complex process that can make or break the kind of lifestyle you want later in life – which is why seeking professional advice can be both critical and beneficial. Talk to your financial adviser about how you can navigate this process.

Get in touch with Dev Sarker today on 1300 71 71 36 and start planning!

[1] ASFA Research and Resource Centre, 2017, Superannuation account balances by age and gender. Accessible at:

[2] ASFA, 2017, ‘How much do you need to get comfortable?’. Accessible at:

[3] ASFA, 2017, ‘ASFA Retirement Standard’. Accessible at:


Staying on top of finances for a small business

There is a lot to keep track of when running a small business, including your finances. They can make or break your business, so here are some pointers to help you keep them in check.

Don’t lose out

Ensure you are taking advantage of recent tax and regulatory changes. Businesses with turnover of less than $25 million are eligible for the lower 27.5 per cent company tax rate from the 2017–18 financial year.

In addition, if your turnover is less than $10 million, you are eligible for the $20,000 instant asset write-off threshold. The government extended the deadline for eligible businesses to 30 June 2018. This means that if you buy an asset for less than $20,000, you can claim an immediate deduction of the portion of the asset you use for business purposes in your tax return. But you must use the asset, or install it ready for use, in the financial year in which you are claiming it.

If you are seeking to raise equity, you could benefit from a new crowd-sourced equity funding regime that reduces the costs and regulatory requirements for public fundraising.

Brush up on the basics

Sound budgeting is important to ensure your business stays on track. Have a clear understanding of your income streams and expenses – and keep a close eye on your cash flow. It doesn’t hurt to overestimate expenses, and it is wise to have an emergency fund in case something goes wrong.

Regularly review your budget as your business and the market evolve.

Remember that cash flow is the fuel that keeps a business running smoothly, and you need to keep a constant watch. If you have surplus funds, explore options to make them work for you.

Get help with bookkeeping

You might save money by doing your own bookkeeping, but if you aren’t good at it or you put it off because you are too busy, it can hurt your business. If you can afford it, hire a bookkeeper or accountant to dissect your numbers, pay your bills, help you calculate your deductions, organise your cash flow and, of course, ensure your records are in order.

Also, consider how new technologies and apps could help. For instance, cloud accounting solutions could provide real-time insights into your finances while also saving you time.

Be proactive

Whether you need goods or services for your business, don’t be afraid to try to negotiate better terms with your suppliers. If you are unhappy, shop around.

Also, encourage your clients to pay as quickly as possible. Send your invoices via email, which is instant, and set clear payment terms.

Most importantly, take time off to work on your business, rather than just working in it.


Get in contact with Dev Sarker today on 1300 71 71 36 and start planning!


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Get help choosing personal insurance

When things go wrong, it’s nice to know you’re covered. But getting suitable insurance cover can be a matter of getting professional advice.

Protecting what you have worked hard for is important, so it’s essential to get appropriate insurance cover. To do that, you need help.

It’s a good idea to speak to your financial adviser about your personal cover regularly, especially if there have been changes in your life, such as a new home loan, the arrival of children or changes to your marital status.

Life insurance

Several types of products fall under the broad category of life insurance, including life cover, trauma cover, income protection, and total and permanent disability (TPD) insurance.

Life cover pays the beneficiaries on your policy a predetermined amount when you die.

TPD insurance pays a lump sum if you are totally and permanently disabled to help with rehabilitation and living costs. TPD is often offered within superannuation and bundled with life cover.

Trauma cover insures you for specific catastrophic illnesses or injuries, such as heart disease, loss of limbs or cancer.

Income protection provides money to keep you going if you’re unable to work because of sickness or injury.


There are a number of ways you may be able to cut the cost of insurance without reducing your cover.

For example, some insurers offer ‘bundle’ discounts, which means they reduce premiums if you have several policies with the company.

Certain premiums, such as those for income protection insurance, are also tax deductible if you pay them yourself. This may make these policies more affordable.

Stepped versus level premiums

Another option is to consider ‘stepped’ over ‘level’ premiums.

Stepped premiums may be cheaper when the policy is issued but increase as you age. It pays to do the sums and consider what the total cost of the premiums will be over five years or so.

This may be a good option for new business owners or others who don’t have a lot of disposable income but expect to earn more over time.

Level premiums are not affected by your age, but are generally more expensive than stepped premiums in the beginning. If you want to control your costs over time and intend to hold the insurance for a long period, level premiums may be less expensive in the long term. Nevertheless, the premiums may be affected by inflation or be adjusted by the insurer.

You may also be able to have a combination of stepped and level premiums based on your circumstances and policy structure. For example, you may want level premiums for income protection and trauma cover if you intend to have them for the long term, and stepped premiums for life cover and TPD. The important thing is to review your premium structures regularly with your adviser.

Superannuation options

Funding life insurance through a superannuation fund may be tax effective. In fact, it is common to use a super-linked policy when bundling life cover with TPD.

The result may be significantly lower premiums and it may also be possible to increase the sums insured for no additional net cost.

Funding income protection through superannuation, however, is subject to terms and conditions that your financial adviser can explain. In many cases, it may be better to fund income protection outside superannuation.

Seek advice

Before committing to any insurance, it’s crucial to speak with an expert adviser who will explain the different types of insurance and their applications and calculate what cover you need.

They can also be there to lend a helping hand at claim time, working hard to smooth the way and reduce the stress on your or your family.

Speak to Dev Sarker today on 1300 71 71 36!

Take a break – without breaking the bank

Holidays should be a well-deserved break from worry. Here’s how to minimise your stress and have a relaxing time away.

Plan ahead

Doing your research may be one of the best ways to save money on your holiday. Even with the summer holidays just around the corner, it’s not too late to do your homework – and you can always start planning for 2019 as well.

The earlier you start planning and booking, the more money you can save. Thinking ahead will allow you to take advantage of promotions throughout the year, and you’ll have more time to save. And when it comes to peak travelling times such as December, typically the earlier you book your flights and accommodation the better your account balance will be.

Create a budget

Whether you choose Bali or the bush, create a budget. Account for expenses such as flights, petrol, accommodation, food and activities, such as visiting museums or a spa.

Research what activities your destination offers and see if you can book early. The more you can book and pay for beforehand, the less you’ll need to worry about overspending. Plus, you may come across free activities to add to your experience.

Start saving

When you’ve worked out how much you will need for your holiday, start saving. Even putting a small amount aside each week can add up, so you could enjoy some great experiences you may not have thought you could afford. A good tip is to open a high-interest savings account and set up an automatic transfer on your payday.

Hunt for bargains

There are lots of useful websites that compare deals on everything from flights to tours. Check out and And don’t worry if you have left things to the last minute – there’s a website for that too:

Just make sure you turn on private browsing when researching online. Some travel sites track users and raise prices on the things you are researching if you return repeatedly.

Take a look at credit card promotions. You may be entitled to a few holiday perks that you’re not aware of, from hotel room upgrades to frequent flyer points and insurance.

Also, follow travel agencies, airlines, hotels and other travel-related companies on social media. You never know when they might post a special deal.

While you’re on holiday…

It can be easy to splurge – you’re on holidays after all. But to avoid spending the new year paying it off, keep track of your finances while you’re away.

Set yourself a daily spending limit – or use a travel app to help you stay on track. If you’re travelling in a group, there are apps that can track how much each person is contributing to shared expenses.

Or if all that’s too much of a buzzkill, transfer the exact amount you’ll need into a bank account just for your holiday. This may help you stay out of your other savings or everyday accounts unless it’s absolutely necessary.

Talk to your adviser

Your adviser may help you create a financial plan tailored to help you achieve the holiday you want. Get in contact with Dev Sarker today on 1300 71 71 36!

Financial literacy leads to healthy habits

It’s an important skill but many people are still not as financially literate as they should be. Here are some ways that may help you improve.

Financial well-being is defined1 as when a person is able to meet expenses and has some money left over, is in control of their finances and feels financially secure, now and in the future. However, financial decision-making is complex and contextual and often we need help to understand what to do.

The latest Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) Australian Financial Attitudes and Behaviour Tracker, which monitors financial attitudes and behaviour in adults, showed Australians had some great habits when it comes to their finances but that there were also ways we could improve.

Healthy financial habits

About nine in 10 respondents to the ASIC survey said they kept track of their finances in some way and eight in 10 had a budget2. Significantly, 23 per cent said they always stuck to their budget.3

Keeping track of your finances is crucial to strong financial literacy. Here are some quick tips:

  • set a budget for your weekly expenses and stick to it
  • check your bank and credit card statements regularly
  • save something from every pay.

Educate yourself

Staying on top of the latest financial information and learning key concepts may help you understand more about what you need to discuss with an adviser. Generally, there’s a low understanding of key investment concepts when choosing financial products. Fewer than one in three respondents to the ASIC survey understood the risk-return trade-off and only four in 10 understood the principle of diversification in investing.4

Do your research

There is a lot of financial information at hand and it’s easy to get overwhelmed and stick with what you know – but committing to researching the latest on finance monthly or checking in with your financial adviser every quarter is all it may take to update your financial knowledge and skills and make better informed decisions.

Think long term

A long-term financial plan may help you see the ‘big picture’ of your finances. However, only about one in four respondents had a long-term financial plan, with 63 per cent monitoring their progress in the past six months.5 If you set a long-term financial plan, you can work towards it every day and even if the goal is just to get out of debt, the satisfaction of reaching it will be worth the effort.

Talk to your adviser

Your adviser may help you achieve a higher level of financial literacy and give you a financial plan that remains in sync with all the changes in your life.


A Financial Adviser could work with you to develop a financial plan that’s specifically tailored to your needs, so get in touch with Dev Sarker today on 1300 71 71 36.