A fintech firm has launched what it claims is the UK’s first “free and independent Financial Planning app for freelancers and self-employed people.”

The app, which will be launched by Multiply this month, was said to provide self-employed people with “a simple way to get on top of their finances and plan for the future.” 
 
The UK has seen a surge in flexible working, and significant growth of the gig economy in recent years, with 4.8m people now working for themselves.

But millions are denied access to the financial perks of full time employment, including saving on a predictable income, automatic pension contributions, and life insurance.

Multiply says a lack of relevant products, the high cost of advice, and confusing industry jargon meant many self-employed people struggle to get the financial help they need.

The innovation is currently in the FCA’s sandbox and is seeking full registration with the regulator. 
 
Vivek Madlani, co-founder and CEO of Multiply, said, “We want to help inde...

July 25, 2018

Given that self-managed superannuation funds (SMSFs) enjoy substantial tax concessions, it comes as no surprise that the Australian Taxation Office wants to ensure trustees play by the rules and don't take advantage of the system.

Hence the existence of independent SMSF auditors, whose role is to check compliance and maintain the integrity of the SMSF sector through yearly audits.

From July 1, 2019, this will change for eligible SMSFs as a result of the government's 2018 budget announcement that the compulsory audit cycle for SMSFs will be extended from one to three years. This "reward" will be available only to SMSFs which can demonstrate a clear audit report for three consecutive years and have lodged their annual returns in a timely manner.

The rationale is it will assist trustees by reducing red tape. Reality or wishful thinking?

The cost of annual audits depends on many factors such as the number of members, how active the fund has been in terms of its investments, the complexiti...

July 23, 2018

MOUNTAIN View Medical Centre in Mossman has been serving the local community for over thirty years, but in recent months a lot has changed. 

The modern accredited general practice surgery still upholds the traditional values on which it was founded, but has now transformed into a multidisciplinary team with a strong emphasis on allied and holistic healthcare.
 

Managing Director Louise Cooper said the new holistic health program means the practice focuses on the individual’s overall needs and mental, physical and spiritual wellbeing.

“We address not just the medical condition but the whole person,” Cooper said.

The team of doctors and allied health practitioners work together to provide specialised support for different patient needs.

Mountain View Medical now offers GP services along with psychologists, exercise physiologists, accredited dietitians, podiatrists and a diabetes educator.
 

The new additions to the centre come after change of ownership in January when Cooper, who comes f...

June 27, 2018

Banks would have to bluntly warn parents planning to guarantee their children's business debts that they risk losing their home, and that many small businesses end up failing, under proposals to the royal commission.

After the commission last month delved into parental guarantees of business loans, Bank of Queensland (BoQ),  Legal Aid NSW and the Finance Sector Union (FSU) backed changes to ensure guarantors were making informed decisions when putting their home on the line.

However, the major banks are resisting further change, arguing current laws and the industry's revamped code of conduct give guarantors enough protection, with one suggesting further change could make it harder to get a loan.

A key issue examined in the royal commission's small business hearings was the risk that family members - particularly those who are elderly or vulnerable - do not always understand the risks they are taking when they agree to guarantee a loan to a loved one.

Currently, banks must encour...

June 2, 2018

On 24 May 2018, the Minister for Revenue and Financial Services announced the beginning of a 12-month Superannuation Guarantee Amnesty (the Amnesty) and introduced the associated legislation to parliament. The legislation is intended to apply retrospectively once enacted.

The Amnesty is a one-off opportunity for employers to self-correct past super guarantee(SG) non-compliance without penalty. The Amnesty will be available from 24 May 2018 to 23 May 2019.

Under the Amnesty, catch-up payments are tax deductible and you will not face penalties and charges that may otherwise apply to late payments.

To be eligible for the Amnesty you must disclose your SG shortfall amount including nominal interest to us within the 12-month Amnesty period.

If you are subject to an audit of your SG, you cannot take advantage of the Amnesty for those periods.

If you are not up-to-date on your SG obligations and do not come forward during this time, you may face harsher penalties in the future.

To take advanta...

May 26, 2018

Here’s something you might not expect to hear a financial planner say: maybe repaying your debt is the last thing you should do.

We should explain. Not all debt is equal. Financial planners divide debt into two broad types: deductible and non-deductible. As these names suggest, deductible debt lets you claim a tax deduction for the interest that you pay. Non-deductible debt does not. This means that you have to pay the interest on non-deductible debt after you’ve paid tax on your income. In pre-tax terms, this makes non-deductible debt much more expensive, which is the reason why non-deductible debt should be paid off as quickly as possible.

But once you have paid off your non-deductible debt, you should think twice about whether to repay deductible debt. There are a couple of reasons for this.

The first reason is that there is often a better use for your money. Obviously, this will depend on what interest rate you’re actually paying on your deductible debt. But if we assume tha...

March 24, 2018

Problems with cash flow are constraining the revenue generation of virtually all Australian SMEs, a new report suggests, indicating it could be having a meaningful flow-on effect on the national economy.

The biannual Scottish Pacific SME Growth Index found a staggering 92.7 per cent of the 1,200 surveyed businesses had their revenue potentially cut because of cash flow problems.

“When asked how much additional revenue could have been generated over the previous 12 months had cash flow been better, only 7.3 per cent responded that better cash flow would not have led to more revenue,” the report noted.

Close to a quarter believed they would have increased revenue by between 10 and 25 per cent had they enjoyed better cash flow.

It comes after a business advisory firm claimed the vast majority of SMEs are having no problem accessing finance, suggesting other factors such as late payments of invoices are weighing on SMEs.

At a time when the RBA has serious concerns about low wage growth, such a...

March 23, 2018

On March 20, Senator John Williams will notify the joint coalition senate party room of plans to move a referral to hold a parliamentary inquiry into the scandal-ridden $170 billion franchise sector.

Senator Williams has been working closely with the Minister for Small Business, Craig Laundy, on the proposed terms of reference.

He told The Australian Financial Review he was confident he has the numbers to get a joint parliamentary inquiry across the line, with a report due September 20.

It comes after he organised a meeting in Sydney on February 16 that included Minister Laundy, representatives from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and 30 franchisees from a cross section of franchises including Foodco, Domino's, Retail Food Group (RFG) and Caltex.

The franchisees were asked to discuss some of the issues facing them in their respective franchise networks.
 

"All of them had been burnt to a cinder," Senator Willia...

February 28, 2018

I spend much of my time with senior executives from organizations in, shall we say, not the most glamorous fields: community banks, electrical distributors, heartland manufacturers, and, perhaps least glamorous of all, insurance companies. These executives are rightly proud of what their organizations do, and they can get people like me excited about their plans for growth and change. But they have one huge problem that literally keeps them up at night: Young people find their companies dull and don’t have much enthusiasm for a career in their field. I hear it time and again — How can we compete with Facebook or Google for young engineers? How can we attract digitally savvy marketers against Starbucks or Amazon?

Their challenge, in other words, is to make their “boring” companies “cool” — to persuade 20-somethings to join an organization or work in a field that doesn’t exactly sizzle. It’s a worthwhile challenge — indeed, a make-or-break challenge — but there are right and wrong ways to...

February 26, 2018

Small business bosses are being forced to use their homes as "piggy banks" to sustain cash flow, pay wages and keep their doors open, analysis of residential property refinancing reveals.

Equity draw-downs from rising residential property values has increased by more than 50 per cent in the past six years as property prices soared and unsecured loans for small business slows, analysis shows.

"Small business is doing it tough and has been doing it tough for a while," said small business ombudsman Kate Carnell about the eight in 10 small business owners with loans secured against their homes.

"Tens of thousands of small businesses are using loans against the equity in their homes to keep their businesses afloat," Ms Carnell said.

Lenders "are not interested" in providing lines loans and lines of credit unless they are secured against real estate rather than cash flows or potential business growth, she said.

Small businesses receive about 80 per cent of their external funding from the big four...

February 25, 2018

ASX-listed online recruiter Seek has warned it was "unlikely" that automation would create more new jobs than the ones that will be lost.

It said that around half of the existing jobs in the economy were already automatable with current technology and that the country faced a period of radical change.

"Addressing falling demand with a fixed supply side of labour in the market may see downward pressure on wages," the company says in a submission to a Senate inquiry into the future of work.

"This will be a significant shock to the Australian labour force, which has known only continuous economic growth for over a quarter of a century," Seek writes.

Seek's research finds workers in manufacturing and transport, construction, financial services and call centres and customer service all had a perception that their current jobs would not exist within 10 years.

Conversely those in science and technology, senior and executive management, healthcare, government and defence feel less under threat.

Educ...

February 22, 2018

We will start this blog with a question. When you spend money, how often do you ask yourself what you won’t be buying as a result of your spend? After all, you can only spend a dollar once. Whenever you buy something, that means there is something else that you cannot buy.

Financial advisers call this the ‘opportunity cost.’ Instead of expressing the price of something in simple dollar terms, the price can be expressed in terms of what else the same money could have been used to purchase. To give you an example: let’s say I only have $100 to spend. I can use that money to buy a microwave oven or a set of noise cancelling earphones. If I buy the oven, I cannot buy the earphones, and vice versa. The opportunity cost of buying the oven is missing out on the earphones. And the opportunity cost of buying the earphones is missing out on the oven.

We often forget about opportunity cost. This is because it is perhaps relatively rare that we are faced with a choice between something like an...

February 20, 2018

Not all debt is the same. Even if the interest rate is.

One of the main differentiators between debt is whether or not you can claim a deduction for the interest. If interest is not deductible, then the interest rate paid is much higher than you might think.

When interest is not deductible, you have to pay tax before you pay the interest. You can see this with an example: If your nominal interest rate is 5%, and you are a 45% taxpayer (the highest tax bracket), the effective interest rate around 9% before tax. To understand this, consider an interest bill of $5000. A person paying tax at 45% has to earn $9000 in order to pay this bill. Of this $9000, they pay $4050 in tax to the tax office, leaving (virtually) $5000 remaining to pay the interest.

When interest is deductible, you don’t have to pay tax before you pay the interest. So you only have to earn $5000 to pay an interest bill of $5000. Here is the effective rate of interest on non-deductible debt for different levels of income:

The...

February 19, 2018

Financial planners divide debt into two types: deductible debt and non-deductible debt.

Deductible debt lets the borrower claim a tax deduction for the interest incurred on the debt. Non-deductible debt does not. Whether interest is deductible or not can have a massive impact on how expensive that debt actually is.

When interest is not deductible, you have to pay tax before you pay the interest. You can see this with an example: If your nominal interest rate is 5%, and you are a 45% taxpayer (the highest tax bracket), the effective interest rate around 9% before tax. To understand this, consider an interest bill of $5000. A person paying tax at 45% has to earn $9000 in order to pay this bill. Of this $9000, they pay $4050 in tax to the tax office, leaving (virtually) $5000 remaining to pay the interest.

When interest is deductible, you don’t have to pay tax before you pay the interest. So you only have to earn $5000 to pay an interest bill of $5000. Here is the effective rate of interest...

December 12, 2017

2017 is drawing to a close and we wish you all the very best good fortune of the season. Thank you for being part of our journey in 2017. May this summertime solstice be a peaceful one for you and your loved ones.

During 2017, Australia took the record for the longest period without a recession – 26 years. The signs are strong that 2018 will continue this great run. This record run is a combination of good luck and good management. So, we thought we would end the year by listing out lots of other lucky things about living in Australia. These ‘facts’ have all been sourced from the Internet, so you can be absolutely sure that they are reliable.

  • Australia has three times as many sheep as people;

  • There are also more kangaroos than people in Australia;

  • Perhaps unsurprisingly, the world record jump by a kangaroo is held by an Australian. The record is 9 metres;

  • This record may or may not have been held by the largest kangaroo ever seen. This kangaroo was also an Australian a...

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