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BILLS CAN BE GOOD FOR YOU!

BILLS CAN BE GOOD FOR YOU!

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It’s been in the news, so what could the proposed amendments to the KiwiSaver scheme mean for you? Here’s the lowdown:

A new taxation bill was introduced to Parliament on 28 June 2018. Named the Taxation (Annual Rates for 2018-19, Modernising Tax Administration, and Remedial Matters) Bill, and there are five proposed amendments to the KiwiSaver Act 2006.

These are:
• providing additional KiwiSaver employee contribution rate options of 6% and 10%
• reducing the maximum contributions holiday* period from 5 years to 1 year
• changing the name of the contributions holiday* to Savings Suspension
• allowing over-65-year olds to opt-in to KiwiSaver
• removing the 5-year lock-in period for new KiwiSaver members

The proposed Bill is still in the early stages of being reviewed. Public submissions are being called for now so if you want to have your say, you can enter a formal submission through Parliament’s website here until August 13 2018.  

What do the proposed changes mean for you?

• You, through your place of work, will have the option to make a contribution of 3%, 4%, 6%, 8% or 10% of your earnings. Currently, you only have the option to make contributions of 3%, 4% or 8%

• Contribution holidays* will more accurately be renamed to Savings Suspension

• The maximum contribution holiday period will reduce from 5 years to 1 year. The aim of the shortened time period is that it will be less disruptive to your long-term saving goals

• Currently, only people 65 years and under can opt-in to a KiwiSaver scheme. Offering KiwiSaver to those over 65 years means they will be able to choose to use this as a low-cost method of investing 

• Currently, if you join KiwiSaver after age 60 you must remain a member of KiwiSaver for at least 5 years before you can make a retirement withdrawal. This five year requirement includes time spent in a complying superannuation scheme if you are transferring from such a scheme. The proposed change will remove this five year requirement for new KiwiSaver members from 1 July 2019, creating more flexibility for new members over 60. However, the five year rule will still apply to members who have joined before that date, or who transfer to KiwiSaver from a complying superannuation scheme they joined before 1 July 2019.

If you have any questions you want to be answered about your KiwiSaver scheme contact our KiwiSaver Specialist Jermaine on kiwisaver@advicefirst.co.nz

*A contribution holiday is when you’ve been contributing into your KiwiSaver account for over 12 months and want to take a break from contributing into your KiwiSaver account.

AdviceFirst Limited | A disclosure statement is available on request and free of charge

BEAT THE S.A.D.

BEAT THE S.A.D.

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Seasonal affective disorder (S.A.D) is a form of depression that's related to the change of season from summer to winter, and which affects people through the winter months – The Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand

Although the exact cause of S.A.D is unknown, it’s thought that it is due to a decline in the hours of sunlight we’re exposed to. Our body-clocks can get out of sync as a result of lack of sunshine, and we can suffer some depression-like symptoms that coincide with the winter months. Symptoms include but are not limited to:

  • A depressive state of being but not knowing why
  • Feeling like you’re irritable and or finding it hard to concentrate
  • Appetite suppression or an unexplained increase in appetite
  • Tiredness, listlessness and low energy
  • Interrupted sleep cycles
  • Feeling less sociable
  • In extreme cases, you could even be weighed down with dark thoughts
    In this instance – reach out to your general practitioner immediately, especially if you are concerned with your own safety or with the safety of others as a result.

If you’ve been suffering these symptoms since the days started getting shorter, then you could possibly be suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D), although an official diagnosis is hard to obtain even from a GP.

If you are feeling depressed, it's always worth talking to your GP anyway as they can help you even if the cause is hard to determine. You can also take an online test for depression courtesy of the Ministry of Health, which might help you come up with the right words to explain to your GP how you feel.

There are some recognised methods for helping cure milder symptoms of S.A.D.

  • Light Therapy – You can buy lamps designed to assist S.A.D from most big electronic retailers or online. They are supposed to work by giving your body clock an anchor for starting each day. Waking up to bright light or a light that increases in brightness, mimicking sunrise, aims to help your body clock regulate itself and make you feel more awake and happier. 

  • Counselling – As with any form of depression, talking about it can help. Don’t be afraid to contact your doctor, a helpline or even confide in a friend or family member you trust. A list of helpful websites and hotlines are at the foot of this segment, be sure to check them out.

  • Practice self-care – you might have heard this term bouncing around for a while now, but self-care can play a huge part in how you feel. We recently did a guide to 10 steps for Winter Wellness that you can refresh yourself on here.

  • Vitamin D supplements – Supplements can help, or you can simply eat foods rich in Vitamin D such as fatty fish, like tuna, mackerel, and salmon. Some foods are also fortified with vitamin D, like some dairy products, orange juice, soy milk, and cereals.

Useful websites & hotlines:
https://www.mentalhealth.org.nz/

https://www.health.govt.nz/your-health/conditions-and-treatments/mental-health

https://depression.org.nz/

 

Or if you need to talk to someone:

Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand
Free call or text 1737 any time for support from a trained counsellor.

Lifeline
0800 543 354 or (09) 522 2999 or Free text 4357 (HELP)

Youthline
0800 376 633

Samaritans
0800 726 666

 

AdviceFirst Limited | A disclosure statement is available on request and free of charge

 

WASTE NOT, WANT NOT

 

WASTE NOT, WANT NOT

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The cost of our food can be high in New Zealand yet we also waste a lot of our food. To be precise, we waste the weight of 213 jumbo jets in food, equivalent to $872m annually. However, there are ways you can help reduce your weekly food bills and wastage by being prudent with your choices in brand, seasonal availability and resourcefulness. To help you out with some tips on how to make that food shop go further, we’ve compiled a handy list:

  • Take stock -  Know what you already have in the cupboards and use it - use recipes with ingredients based around the staples you already have in the fridge and freezer. There’s nothing worse than getting home and finding you already had those tinned tomatoes!
  • Batch cook – it’s cheaper per item to cook more. If you have the time, make more than you need and freeze batches of your favourites.  And having casseroles or soups on hand also reduces your need to spend time cooking midweek.
  • Eat your leftovers –  save them, dress them up & repurpose them as a new meal, eat them for lunch the next day… just don’t chuck them out. There’s nothing more wasteful than throwing out perfectly good food.
  • Use all the vegetable (if you can) – broccoli and cauliflower stalks are edible. You can chop them up Julien style and add them to a stir-fry or make cauliflower rice. They will bulk out your meal and push the portions further, and they’re full of the same nutrients the top bits are.
  • Bulk out - things like bolognese or chilli can be bulked out with extra veg, beans or pulses for additional portions to make your meal go further, and if you’re okay eating the same meal twice in a week, you’re saving yourself a night of cooking and extra dishes.
  • Freeze food to save waste - this handy infographic tells you how long you can keep certain foods for in the freezer, as long as you get them in there before the expiry date.
  • Go for own-brand or value brands – the next time you’re in the supermarket and you’re looking at a brand of something, compare the ingredients and volume of an own or value brand version of the same product. You never know what you could swap out, product for product, without compromising on quality.
  • Love Food Hate Waste – has a great selection of recipes and more tips on how to save when it comes to doing your food shop. Have a look and see what other choices you could be making that can help you reduce your food bill and your waste!

AdviceFirst Limited | A disclosure statement is available on request and free of charge.

INVEST WITHOUT THE UNREST

 

INVEST WITHOUT THE UNREST

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It’s been in the headlines, scammers are hitting NZ hard with their worryingly convincing investment ploys.

According to the NZ Herald, “a Kiwi man has poured $525,000 into what is believed to be a sophisticated global investment scam”.  The man in question is university educated and thought he was investing in a carbon emissions scheme.  Claims were backed up with a very elaborate web of deceit by scammers said to be from a company called FM Wealth Management Ltd with holdings in the Cayman Islands.

The Financial Markets Authority issued the following statement on their website:
REASON FOR WARNING: We have received reports that representatives of Fitch Matthews Wealth Management are cold calling and offering investment opportunities to New Zealand residents. Fitch Matthews Wealth Management is not registered on the FSPR, therefore, is not permitted to provide financial services to New Zealand residents.

It pays to be vigilant, and you should always be wary of anyone who contacts you out of the blue and requests money. What can you do to help keep yourself safe against sophisticated investment scammers?

  • All financial services that are legitimately authorised to operate in New Zealand will be registered with the Financial Markets Authority and appear on their website register which you can access here. This includes all Financial Advisers as individuals, professional bodies, markets and businesses licensed or authorised to operate in New Zealand in a financial capacity. If that person, company or entity is not registered with the FMA, they are most likely not legitimate and should be avoided.
  • Typically, if the FMA is aware a company may be contacting individuals for investment opportunities not authorised by the FMA, they’ll issue similar warnings to the one above. You can always check their warnings and notices here.
  • The New Zealand Government has some handy websites built around consumer protection, and they have pages on how to identify a scam and how to avoid a scam.
  • Check out the International Organization of Securities Commission here for globally recognised concerns about known international 
  • Netsafe.org.nz is a website dedicated to online safety for New Zealanders and is an authority on general net safety. Their site covers a variety of topics on scams in New Zealand and they act as a contact point for reporting potential scams - so you can help keep other Kiwis safe. You can contact Netsafe by calling 0508 NETSAFE (0508 638 723) or by emailing help@netsafe.org.nz.

Stay safe, stay vigilant.

AdviceFirst Limited | A disclosure statement is available on request and free of charge

ADVISERS FOR THE AGES

 

ADVISERS FOR THE AGES

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Tobias Taylor, Head of Wealth Management at AdviceFirst recently reflected on the importance of diversity for AdviceFirst clients.

When you imagine a Financial Adviser, what do you picture? You’re probably imagining a male of a particular age – which is often how financial advice has been commercially represented. That’s why securing and nurturing a diverse next generation of Financial Advisers is a top priority for our industry as we see our ranks of veteran Financial Advisers naturally decrease.

A knowledge gap is appearing, a gap which we need to fill with the transference of skills and expertise between peers to maintain the high standards for which our vocation is held.

AdviceFirst has been working hard to influence the diversity of our Advisers, to ensure you, our clients can be represented by an Adviser that's relatable.

  • Between 2016 and 2018 our percentage of Advisers under forty years of age has increased by 13 %.

  • AdviceFirst’s number of female Advisers have grown from 18% three years ago to 31% in 2018, with over 150 years of combined experience between them. 

As a woman working for a number of years within this industry, I understand the value of sharing my knowledge and viewpoints with my colleagues; to consider and rationalise our individual thinking with others is a great source of support, particularly for our up and coming Advisers – Christine Hughes, AdviceFirst Adviser - Wellington

Along with benchmarking ourselves, building up the ranks of younger Advisers whose development is supported and mentored by our more seasoned Financial Advisers, is key to ensuring our clients’ needs for quality advice continues to be met competently and practically for years to come.

It's vitally important to us that we can represent post-war clients right down to being well positioned to advise younger Generation X and Generation Y investors, who are globally set to inherit assets in the trillions from their baby boomer parents (not to mention their own earnings) – and encourage the securing of those assets with accessible and smart financial advice.

As we evolve with social and cultural expectations, we’re building on the foundations that have been expertly set for us by our predecessors. Every time a new and younger generation grows, they bring with them a fresh approach that reflects their era, goals and preferences while remaining stabilised by the experience that helped raise them up.

I consider AdviceFirst taking the initiative to lead and introduce a wider mix of Advisers to suit an equally diverse range of clients, in age, gender and background, a logical action which can only help increase positive outcomes for our clients. Christine Hughes, AdviceFirst Adviser – Wellington

Trust is at the core of our value proposition and principles and that trust is better realised with the option for prudential stewardship, no matter who you are.

Succession planning is for all of us, AdviceFirst included.  Our journey will continue…


AdviceFirst Limited | A disclosure statement is available on request and free of charge

 

A RECIPE FOR WELL-BEING

A RECIPE FOR WELL-BEING

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Are you doing the best you can for your employees’ well-being?

It can pay to go that extra mile and show you care by providing resources and educating your workforce on living healthier lifestyles.  If you’re at a loss as to where you should start… why not check out the Health Promotion Agency (HPA)?

The HPA provides free educational resources with free shipping, covering a wide range of topics including:

  • Alcohol
  • Mental health
  • Minimising gambling harm
  • Nutrition and activity
  • Skin cancer prevention and
  • Living smoke-free

If you’re based in the Canterbury region, you can access the Community and Public Health resources.

For similar resources that are free of charge, including free delivery and for the rest of New Zealand, you can also see diet focused selection at vegetables.co.nz, or there's a different selection of health-focused resources at healthed.govt.nz.

Many of these wonderful resources come in pads and posters so you can brighten up your workspace and your employees can even take some of them home! From recipe cards, to how much water you should be drinking and educating on preventative health, there’s really no reason not to go for it!

AdviceFirst Limited | A disclosure statement is available on request and free of charge

BOOST YOUR BUSINESS HEALTH

BOOST YOUR BUSINESS HEALTH

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It might have crossed your mind as an employer, but what are the benefits of providing a health scheme to your employees?

According to a study by Southern Cross Health Society in 2015, there were several advantages for employers that provide their employees with cover.
Key findings include:

  • A reduction in absenteeism by up to 17% in those studied.
  • It’s valuable for attracting new staff – Southern Cross mention a third of all full-time employees say that when choosing new employers, subsidised health insurance is more important than subsidised income protection, the employer’s corporate reputation and recommendations from friends or family!
  • It’s also an effective retention tool. 24% of those studied said having health insurance through a work scheme improved the likelihood of them staying with an employer.
  • You’ll likely be improving job satisfaction as employees with subsidised health insurance rate their job satisfaction higher than those without health insurance.
  • And the provision of health insurance shows proactive health management – encouraging employees to look after themselves and showing a duty of care that not all workplaces can demonstrate.

If any of the benefits listed appeal, talk with one of our Advisers to discuss if a health insurance plan for your employees fits in with your business goals.

AdviceFirst Limited | A disclosure statement is available on request and free of charge

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