The Aqua Blog — Aqua Wealth
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Spend big in the lead up to Christmas then pay for it in the New Year. It's an all too common habit that many of us fall into, leaving us in serious debt by the time January rolls around and should be avoided. Start thinking now about ways to practice safe Christmas spending and you may well avoid that New Year financial hangover. The festive season brings with it many celebrations and dollar spending opportunities, but there's no reason you can't enjoy yourself without overdoing it. Limit credit Know that you have the money before you make a purchase. Pay in cash or lay-by your gifts so that you can keep a handle on where your money is being spent. If you have to pay by credit, try to use only one card. Avoid store cards Store cards may offer convenience and discounts but they don't come cheap. Interest rates can be up to seven...

It has been over a year since the Reserve Bank raised the cash rate, and economists predict it will remain at the historic low of 2.5 per cent until 2015. Australians have enjoyed one of the longest periods of rate stability on record, and when rates do increase, it is expected to be a gradual process with several small adjustments over an extended period. Economist surveyed by AAP believe there is a 46 per cent chance of an increase during the third quarter of 2015, a 21 per cent chance that rates will begin to rise in the first quarter next year, an 18 per cent chance of rates to start rising in the second quarter of 2015 and a seven per cent likelihood of rate hikes from October next year. RP Data reports that national annual house and unit sales have reached their highest levels in four years. While some economists have...

An OECD study of 15-year-olds across 18 countries found that Aussie teenagers rank among the highest for financial skills and knowledge. Understanding concepts like how to budget and manage money are important skills that parents can foster in kids from a young age. Here’s how you can teach your children about saving and spending priorities to help set up good money habits for life. Hands on learning As soon as a child can count they can be shown the difference in value between coins and notes and be encouraged to divide up and count denominations. Whenever you use cash at the shops allow them to help hand it over and check for the right change. Find entertaining ways to teach money habits like age-appropriate books, board games, apps and computer games. Money choices When your child has a bit of their own money (pocket money, cash for chores or gift money) encourage them to try out different...

When it comes to making money from renovation, any old house won’t do. The key to a successful renovation is to choose the right suburb, the right street and then the right property. It can be difficult to make a decent profit if the property is located in an area that doesn’t attract significantly higher prices for renovated homes or if the property ends up costing you more than the likely sale price. Long before you roll up your sleeves and start on the hands-on-job of renovating, here’s what you need to do to spot the true potential of a property. Research comparable sales Make sure the street and suburb where you purchase the property can absorb the price increase you would expect on the sale. Some areas have very little difference in value between an un-renovated and renovated property, which leaves little room for profit even if you do stick to a tight...

The first property you buy doesn’t have to be the one you live in. Starting out with an investment property is one way to get a foothold in the property market and would especially suit the following scenarios. You can’t afford to buy in your favourite suburb You might want to live near beaches or cafes or close to work so you don’t have to waste time commuting. In which case it may be more cost-effective to rent where you want to live and buy an investment property in a more affordable area. There are some investors who have never lived in a property they own, choosing instead to rent in desirable locations they would never be in a position to buy. You haven’t decided what kind of home you’d like to buy You may not yet have a family or you might be expecting to change job locations, so you are not sure...

Record breaking housing construction is still underway, according to research by BIS Shrapnel and Master Builders Australia. The value of residential building work is forecasted to grow from $51 billion in 2013-14 to $68 billion in 2016-17, which will see the number of homes exceed 200,000 during this period. Research shows the construction boom has been sparked by the extended period of low interest rates, which has encouraged builders and developers to address the pent up demand for housing. Home building has not kept pace with population growth for many years, translating to a deficiency of around 100,000 homes says researchers. A growth in high-rise apartments has led the charge but the construction of detached houses is catching up. If you’re looking to buy a home or an investment property, the message is not to wait around. With interest rates sitting at historic lows and construction booming in many of our cities, there are...

If you use a family name, a pet’s name, a birthdate or numbers between 1 and 6 as your online password, you are an easy target for a hacker. The recent cyber-attacks on a spate of organisations, from EBay to Apple, has emphasised the importance of choosing strong passwords that can’t easily be discovered. An alarming 25 per cent of the top most common passwords are first names and the average password people use (and hackers know about!) is six characters and all lower case. The security risk becomes even greater if you are one of the 73 per cent of Australians who use the same password for multiple sites. Once a hacker has discovered your password for one site, they will use automated software to fire it at a whole bunch of other sites. Experts advise that not only should you have a different password for every site, but also that you...

Did you know? Damage caused by insects like termites is usually not covered. Any damages to your home office probably won’t be covered without a separate business insurance policy. Leaving your property unoccupied for an extended period of time may void the policy. Many policies don’t cover damage done by pets. Even if your policy protects against ‘fire’, this may not include damage by burning or scorching where there have been no flames. You are not covered for any part of a building that can’t be locked. You may have to pay more to protect fridges, washing machines, pool pumps etc. against motor burn outs. ...

Taking out home insurance is a requirement of most lenders, but it pays to become familiar with the fine print before you choose a policy. If your home is burgled and your electronic gear is stolen, did you know there is probably a cap on how much you can claim. If your child accidently lobs a ball through the kitchen window, you might not be covered for broken glass. If your property is burnt down, the cost of temporary accommodation might be taken out of the amount you insured your home for. A good place to start is by understanding the difference between ‘total replacement’ cover and ‘sum insured’ cover. Total replacement cover typically has the highest premium and includes all the costs to rebuild your home to the standard it was prior to an event. ‘Sum insured’ will cover you up to a set amount that you have selected. Check whether...

You already own one property and now you want to purchase a second. How do you get started? We have helped many clients with this scenario and this is what we tell them: 1. Choose a strategy There are various ways to approach property investment so it is important to decide which one works for you. First ask yourself what you are trying to achieve: long term financial security? A little extra cash flow? Multi-million dollar portfolio? Then decide how best to go about it: do you want to renovate and then sell for quick profit or would you prefer to buy and hold the property to achieve capital gain? Going ahead without an investment strategy not only leads to confusion during the property search, but also opens you up to all kinds of unwanted risks like buying the wrong kind of property, paying too much or reduced investment return. 2. Assess your finances Have a conversation...