John Cameron's personal blog

Serious discussion about your financial position now - and in the future.

4 Things To Think About When Deciding Whether Or Not To Do It - The Age Pension and Downsizing

The recent Federal budget contained some incentives for older Australians to sell their homes and downsize. Specifically, people over 65, who were selling their home that they had owned for 10 years or longer, will be able to put $300,000 each into their superannuation. Previous restrictions that would prevent this, will not apply.

However, it remains to be seen how attractive this is, especially to people who may lose all or part of the age pension in the process. By freeing up capital in this way, it moves from the non-means testable area (your home), into the area where it becomes means testable. In the process, all or part of your age pension may be affected.

In our experience, people often decide not to downsize when faced with this loss of pension. However, this action is not logical and puts too much emphasis on the age pension. After all, the age pension is nothing but a source of income, and it is not inherently better than an alternative source of income.

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How Big Is Your Buffer?

One of the issues that repeatedly crops up when dealing with clients is, “How well placed are you to deal with unforeseen expenses?” 

The expenses can range from relatively minor things such as an appliance suddenly failing, a minor car accident or a leaky roof, through to things far more catastrophic – a major illness, death of your partner, loss of job, marriage breakdown or any of a whole host of other things.

I started thinking along these lines, on reading a story in the Financial Review on 1st July. The story reported a survey carried out by the US Federal Reserve, to assess the resilience of American households if some financial shock occurred.

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Was The Change In The Budget Limiting The Amount In Account Based Pensions A Black Swan Event?

In the financial world, “Black Swan Events” are unforeseen changes that have a profound impact.

The term ‘black swan event” has come into regular play in the world of finance since Nazim Taleb’s 2007 book, “The Black Swan; the impact of the highly improbable.”

Recognising the existence of “Black Swan Events” is profoundly important, and has significant implications on how we all should manage financial matters. In some ways, the lessons of Black Swan Events challenges much of the conventional wisdom of financial planning.

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The Culture Of Banks?????

Last week was a bad week for the banks so far as publicity goes.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull gave the banks a genteel tongue lashing (they hadn’t always acted in their customers’ best interests, he said) at a lunch called to celebrate Westpac’s 99th birthday. 

A birthday party may not be the usual place for a VIP guest to give his hosts a jolly good talking to, but the PM’s words were soon followed by a chorus of politicians calling for a Royal Commission into the Banks. Motives undoubtedly varied from the purely political to the more principled. However, nobody has yet spelt out what they want any Royal Commission to enquire into and there hardly seems any point in having a Royal Commission just for the sake of it. The Government, for its part has replied that ASIC already has Royal Commission like powers, and presumably could be relied on to use these powers if they thought it was necessary.

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