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Australians love to save money on food and fashion, yet could be missing out on much larger savings by not switching home loans. The nationwide research conducted by University of Technology (UTS) and Heritage Bank, looked at why people do and don’t refinance. While it found that Australians are continually looking to make savings on the things they connect with emotionally, like clothing and travel, they focus considerably less on major life purchases such as home loan, credit cards and energy providers. Researchers found that almost a third think switching home loans is too much trouble. A further 28% said they did not switch because they perceived the cost of switching was not worth the time and effort. Contrary to this popular belief, switching home loans was found to bring significant savings. The respondents who did switch enjoyed savings of up to $3,000 per...

Financial resolutions are easy to make but harder to stick with. Here we’ll look at what you can do to ensure that 2017 really is the year that you make lasting improvements to your finances. Know where your money goes The starting point for saving money and paying off debt is to work out where your money is going. Use a free app like ASIC’s TrackMySpend to record your daily expenses and track spending by categories. Once done, you are now one step closer to setting up a budget. Use technology to do the work for you Thanks to technology we can say goodbye to the daunting task of setting up an excel spreadsheet DIY budget. There are now countless online-based budget planners and calculators that have done the hard work for you. Many of these tools will show visualisations of your financial data,...

You’re self-employed and you need a home loan. Should you take out a low doc loan or would a traditional home loan be a better choice? The answer depends on your individual situation. Both options have pros and cons, just as every lender has different lending policies and some are more open to receiving self-employed home loan applications than others. As your mortgage broker, we know who these lenders are and what criteria and documentation you’ll need to achieve a successful application process. If you take the low doc home loan path… Know that it is unlikely you will be allowed to borrow more than 80% of the value of the property and you will probably pay Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI) if you are borrowing over 60%. You may also be charged a slightly higher interest rate to account for the extra26 risk that...

You wouldn’t buy a car without considering features like parking sensors, cruise control and Bluetooth, just as you wouldn’t choose a home loan without taking into account its features. The trick is deciding what will add value, and what you can do without. Some features offer potential savings, while most others provide the certainty of added convenience and flexibility. As your mortgage broker, we can help explain the pros and cons of features like the following. 1. Extra repayments – at no extra charge The ability to pay extra on top of the minimum repayment could reduce your loan principal and interest, helping you pay off your home loan quicker. Be sure to check that unlimited extra repayments come at no charge –  some loans will cap the amount you can repay or will charge you a fee for paying off the loan early. 2....

Cash is on its way out as Australia continues to embrace the use of electronic payments. According to the Reserve Bank of Australia, cash dropped from 70% to 47% of transactions from 2007 to 2013. The demand for coins has declined by a quarter in the last three years and almost 70% of credit card transactions are now ‘tap and go’. Mobile payments This year’s launch of mobile payment services like Android Pay and Samsung Pay is an indication of our increasing appetite for cashless options. Mobile payment gives you the ability to pay for purchases by tapping your phone over the terminal in the same way you would tap your card at the point of sale. You need a card-linked mobile phone and authentication is achieved using either your fingerprint or a one-time use code. Sweden rejects cash Sweden is another country well on its...

With some research, preparation and expert advice, smart property investors can turn an ordinary tax return into one that will help kick off the new financial year with a smile. Claim every allowable expense There are around 20 expenses you can claim as tax deductions, including interest on loans, advertising for tenants, phone calls, cleaning, body corporate fees, legal fees and water charges. Refer to the Australian Taxation Office website for a detailed list. You can only claim deductions for the period during the year that the property is rented or available for rent. If the total borrowing expenses are $100 or less, you can claim a full deduction in the income year they are incurred. It’s difficult to remember every expense you incurred over a year if you don’t keep accurate records. Detailing your income and expenses as they happen rather than waiting...

If selling your property was an exam, scoring 100 per cent would bring the reward of less stress and more money. Here’s a cheat sheet of mistakes to avoid in order to pass your exam with flying colours! 1.Don’t Wrongly Price Your Property Over-pricing or under-pricing is a common mistake that occurs when property owners fail to do sufficient research about what buyers are looking for and what they are expecting to pay. Look at comparable sales in your area and use this data when you are discussing prices with your real estate agent. 2. Not tidy up Mess, dirt and clutter turns buyers off because it makes it harder for them to envisage themselves living in the property. Remove junk, personal items and family photos off countertops, shelves and walls. 3. Don’t Spend too much on renovations While a coat of paint or re-carpeting can...

If there’s any doubt in your mind about the value of property as a creator of wealth, new research from CoreLogic RP Data has found that you can’t go past property when looking for a profitable long term investment. Researchers used an automated valuation process to obtain current property valuation estimates, and from there calculated equity levels for homes around the country. The results clearly showed that in Australia, the average property is now worth almost double the amount of debt against it. This means property owners in either city or regional areas with a mortgage have accumulated 48.4% equity in their properties on average, which is the equivalent of $242,642. New South Wales and Victoria have the highest average level of home equity at 56.6% and 49.3% respectively. The ACT came next at 42.8%, Queensland at 39.9% and South Australia at 39.4%. Even...

On 3 May 2016, the Turnbull Government delivered its first Federal Budget. And it is also the last Federal Budget to be delivered by the current Government given the impending election. According to the Treasurer, this year’s Budget is not an ordinary Budget – rather, it is an economic plan that focuses on three key actions: Sticking to Government’s plans for jobs and growth; Fixing specific problems in the tax system (including major superannuation reforms); and Continuing to ensure the Government lives within its means.   [action full_width='yes' content_in_grid='no' type='simple' icon='fa-download' icon_size='fa-2x' icon_color='#ffffff' custom_icon='' background_color='#a68e19' border_color='' show_button='yes' button_text='Find out more about what the 2016 Federal Budget means for you' button_link='http://aquawealth.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/2016_Federal_Budget_-_Client_Overview.pdf' button_target='_blank' button_text_color='#ffffff' button_hover_text_color='#a68e19' button_background_color='#a68e19' button_hover_background_color='#ffffff' button_border_color='#ffffff' button_hover_border_color='#ffffff'][/action]...

Financial fitness is not that different to physical fitness. Both take time, moderation and discipline, and both are equally rewarding in terms of improving your quality of life. Here’s a five-step plan for putting your finances in healthy working order. Know what you want When you set out to improve your fitness you usually have a goal in mind – maybe you want to look good for summer or be fit enough to keep up with the kids. Do the same with your finances: work out what you want to achieve so that you can make a financial plan for how to get there.        2.  Make a plan To include exercise into your week you have to schedule it in. Maybe you have to wake up earlier? Give up your lunch break? Take the same approach when making a plan for financial...