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One of the most read articles in 2021

10 little-known pension traps proving the value of advice.

1.Additional income

 

Most wealthier pensioners are asset tested, yet emails keep asking if it’s okay to earn some more

money. Of course, it is – the income test is not relevant if you are asset tested. A couple with assets

of $800,000, receiving a pension of $136.80 a fortnight each, could have assessable income of

$68,000 a year including their deemed income, and employment income, without affecting their

pension because they would still be asset tested.

 

2.Valuing assets

 

Your own home is not assessable, but your furniture, fittings and vehicles are assets tested. Many

pensioners fall into the trap of valuing them at replacement value. This could cost them heavily

because every $10,000 of excess assets reduces the pension by $780 a year. Make sure these assets

are valued at garage sale value, not replacement value. This puts a value of $5,000 on most people’s

furniture and older furniture these days has very little resale value.

 

3.Don’t spend just to increase pension

 

There is no penalty for spending money on holidays, living expenses and renovating the family

home, but don’t do this just to increase your pension. Think about it. If you spend $100,000

renovating your home your pension may increase by just $7,800 a year, but it would take almost 13

years of the increased pension to get the $100,000 back. Of course, the benefit of money spent

should be taken into account too – money on improving your house or travelling could have huge

benefits for you. The main thing is not to spend money with the sole purpose of getting a bigger age

pension.

 

4.Revaluations

 

Each year on 20 March and 20 September, Centrelink values your market-linked investments, such

as shares and managed investments, based on the latest unit prices held by them. These

investments are also revalued when you advise of a change to your investment portfolio or when

you request a revaluation of your shares and managed investments. If the value of your investments

has fallen, there may be an increase in your payment. If the value of your investments has increased,

then your payment may go down.

 

The rules are in favour of pensioners. If the value of your portfolio rises because of market

movements, you are not required to advise Centrelink of the change. It will happen automatically at

the next six monthly revaluation. However, if your portfolio falls you have the ability to notify

Centrelink immediately.

 

5.Gifting

 

You can reduce your assets by giving money away but seek advice. The Centrelink rules only allow

gifts of $10,000 in a financial year with a maximum of $30,000 over five years. Using these rules, you

could gift away $10,000 before June 30th and $10,000 just after it, and so reduce assessable assets

by $20,000.

 

6.Superannuation

 

There is devil in the detail. If a member of a couple has not reached pensionable age, it’s prudent to

keep as much of the superannuation in the younger person’s name because then it is exempt from

assessment by Centrelink. However, the moment that fund is moved to pension mode, it’s

assessable irrespective of the age of the member.

 

7.Mortgaged assets

 

A common trap is when a loan is used to purchase an investment property with the loan secured by

a mortgage against the pensioner's own residence. The debt against an investment asset is only

deducted from the asset value if the mortgage is held against the investment asset. If the mortgage

is secured against an asset other than the investment asset, the gross amount is counted for the

assets test and the loan is not deducted. The effect on the pension could be horrendous.

 

8.Family trusts

 

Family trusts can cause problems with both income and assets tests for the age pension. Thanks to

the information sharing and matching abilities between Centrelink and the ATO, you can bet that

Centrelink will know if a family trust is involved in your affairs.

 

Even if you have a high-risk child (such as a child with a relevant disability) who makes Mum the

appointer or default beneficiary for asset protection and there is no ‘pattern of distribution’, Mum

could be caught.

 

It’s a complex topic. If there is a family trust somewhere in your financial affairs, it is suggested that

you take expert advice long before you think about applying for the age pension. It may pay big

dividends.

 

9.Bequests

 

Bequests are another trap. There is a big difference between the asset cut-off point for a single

person and that for a couple. As at 20 September 2021, the single homeowner cut-off point was

$593,000, whereas for a couple it was $891,500. Many pensioner couples make the mistake of

leaving all their assets to each other, which can cause a lot of extra grief when the surviving partner

finds they have lost their pension as well as their partner.

 

An example Jack and Jill had assessable assets of $740,000 and were getting around $11,800 a year

in pension. Jack died suddenly and left all his assets to Jill. This took her over the assets test limit for

a single person and she lost the pension entirely. Had he left the bulk of his estate to their children

she would have been able to claim the whole pension plus all the fringe benefits.

 

10.Jointly owned assets with adult children

 

A wrong decision in the past can have serious consequences in the future. Think about a couple aged

52 who want to help their daughter into her first home. Without taking advice, they bought a 50%

share of a house worth $400,000 so that the daughter could obtain a loan. Fast forward 15 years

when the house is now worth $900,000 of which their half share is $450,000.

 

Their other financial assets were worth $600,000 so they believed they would be eligible for a part

pension. To their horror they discover that their equity in the daughter’s home of $450,000 took

them over the assets test cut off point. If they transferred their share to the daughter the capital

gains would be $225,000 after discount, on which capital gains tax could well be at least $80,000.

Furthermore, they would have to wait five years to qualify for the pension because Centrelink would

treat the $450,000 as a deprived asset for the next five years. The total value of the CGT payable and

the pension lost could be at least $150,000. If they had been aware of the trap, or taken advice, they

could have gone guarantor for their daughter, possibly putting up their own home as part security

and this would have had no effect on the future pension eligibility.

 

This article is general information and does not consider the circumstances of any individual.

 

 

 

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Retirement Planning

Retiring on your own terms is not always easy to achieve, however it is evident that those who plan for retirement are more likely to do so. Results also show that obtaining professional help during the pre-retirement years further improves the probability of attaining your retirement objectives.

The earlier you start implementing a plan the better the outcomes.

During one’s working life there is always an income to make ends meet when raising children, paying off a mortgage, etc.

Retirement planning is about the lifestyle you will have after you stop work and receiving employment income.  Planning focuses on issues such as how much superannuation is enough, taking a super pension, claiming the Age Pension, making superannuation contributions while receiving a pension from a super fund, estate planning and looking after your family.

Planning properly is becoming even more important now we are expected to live longer.  This greater need means that professional help has never been more important.

At Wybenga Financial we will provide the time and expertise needed to help you implement the best pre-retirement plan possible.  Contact us today to discuss how we can work together on: (02) 9300 3000 or .

Building Wealth

Investing your hard earned savings can be a complex task.  There are many issues such as levels of risk, market timing, asset classes, and your own goals, objectives and preferences that need to be considered. It can often seem a daunting task. At Wybenga Financial we have the expertise to assist you in taking control of your finances and making sure you are generating the wealth you need both now and in the future.

The first step is to create a plan. At Wybenga Financial we take great care in getting to know our clients and their future goals and objectives. We combine our knowledge of your personal goals together with an analysis of your current situation, to create a detailed, personalised plan that will help you meet your objectives. This plan will become your road map which outlines how we are going to meet your goals, whilst aligning all investment decisions to your specific risk tolerance.

After we have created your personal plan, we move to implementation. This is where we action the immediate changes set out in your plan, and put in place reminders for anything that is to occur in the future. As your professional advisers, we can action many steps on your behalf making the implementation of changes as painless for our clients as possible. We aim to make the process smooth and seamless, providing a holistic service that can be executed with ease.

The final and most important phase of the relationship with Wybenga Financial is the ongoing management and monitoring of your wealth. This ensures you are sticking to your plan and that your portfolio is aligned to your needs and attitude toward risk. An ongoing relationship ensures that we know when your circumstances change and that these can be recognised and reflected in changes to your investment approach.

While we are monitoring your portfolio from the perspective of your personal goals and situation, we also take into account the wider economic landscape and changes to legislation. We continually review and analyse our preferred investments in a structured and objective way. The benefit to our clients is that we are unemotional. This can be significantly beneficial over the long term.

At Wybenga Financial we can provide the time and expertise that will help you invest intelligently and prudently.  Contact us today to discuss how we can work together: (02) 9300 3000 or .

Personal Insurance

Life insurance isn’t just a cost, though it often feels like it.  You buy peace-of-mind that should a serious issue effect you then the consequences won’t unduly affect your family.  Insurance provides you with the ability to manage the financial and emotional impact of some of the more drastic events, whether personally or in your small business.

Insurance can’t replace a loved one but it can help reduce the financial burden by providing the capital to ensure your family has choices.

Many Australians are underinsured and the consequences can be very serious for families should there be a death or serious injury. A yes to any of the following questions means you may have a need for insurance coverage:

  1. Do you have a mortgage?
  2. Do you have school fees?
  3. Do you have any personal loans?
  4. Do you have any credit card debt?
  5. Do you have dependents?
  6. Would your financial position be affected if you were to suffer from an illness or injury?
  7. Do you want to have enough capital to look after your dependents if you were unable to care for them for an extended period of time or perhaps indefinitely?

We understand that it can be difficult determining the type and level of cover you might need, let alone choosing an insurer. We can assist by helping you determine your needs and recommend an insurer that is right for you.

At Wybenga Financial we know how to protect your wealth and will recommend solutions that best suit your needs. Contact us today to discuss how we can work together: (02) 9300 3000 or .

Superannuation

Superannuation is mandatory but taking an early and active interest in your retirement planning is critical to ensuring your benefits are maximised by the time you retire.  Many will have a superannuation scheme through employment but increasing numbers are starting their own Self-Managed Super Fund (SMSF).

For many, simply relying on employer contributions may not be enough to provide the lifestyle you desire at retirement. We can assist in building strategies to ensure your retirement goals are met and your required lifestyle is maintained throughout retirement.

It is always best to start saving and planning for your retirement as early as you can. 

At Wybenga Financial we know our job is to help you meet your retirement needs and we have the skills and experience to do this for you.  Contact us today to discuss how we can work together: (02) 9300 3000 or .

Self Managed Super Funds

Self-Managed Superannuation Funds (SMSFs) offer a good strategy option for many individuals, families and small business owners to build tax effective wealth and to protect assets over time. SMSFs are becoming popular for those who are ready to take control of their own super investments as they give you ultimate control and flexibility to manage your retirement benefits.

It must be noted though, that you will have increased responsibilities as a trustee of the fund. As a SMSF Trustee you need to keep up to date with all required regulations and keep up with the fast paced financial markets.

Wybenga Financial can work with you to understand your personal financial situation and decide whether a SMSF structure is appropriate for you. We will also make sure your assets are invested in the most effective way to maximise your retirement benefits.

Should you wish to consider establishing a SMSF then we can help with all aspects of the process from establishment to managing your compliance obligations.

Wybenga Financial would welcome the opportunity to discuss how we can help maximise your opportunities to grow your wealth through a Self Managed Superannuation Fund (SMSF).  Contact us today to discuss how we can work together: (02) 9300 3000 or .

Estate Planning

Your estate is made up of everything you own. This includes your home, property, furniture, car, personal possessions, business, investments, superannuation and bank accounts.

Having an estate plan is extremely important.  Having a will is just the first step in your estate plan. It is critical to consider what outcomes you would like for your estate and to ensure a plan is in place to achieve those outcomes, both including and beyond the terms of your will.

Wybenga Financial would welcome the opportunity to discuss how we can help ensure your estate is organised to ensure your plans are implemented as you wish.  Contact us today to discuss how we can work together: (02) 9300 3000 or .

Finance

Loans and loan management are central to overall financial management.  Obtaining the best loans for your needs is crucial and Wybenga Financial can help you with solutions that meet your short and long term needs.

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Contact us today to discuss how we can work together: (02) 9300 3000 or .

Property

We have partnerships with many respected property agents and research firms. This enables us to source suitable properties for individuals, couples and families looking to make an investment into property.

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Strategic Planning

Strategic planning is determining how an investor is going to meet their goals and objectives. It is about helping clients define their goals, gathering information and analysing data to make a plan, then implementing the plan and monitoring the results. It is also monitoring and updating goals and objectives as clients move through different phases of life.

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Financial Videos

 

Secure File Transfer

Secure File Transfer is a facility that allows the safe and secure exchange of confidential files or documents between you and us.

Email is very convenient in our business world, there is no doubting that. However email messages and attachments can be intercepted by third parties, putting your privacy and identity at risk if used to send confidential files or documents. Secure File Transfer eliminates this risk.

Login to Secure File Transfer, or contact us if you require a username and password.

Tess Uncle

B.Sc, M.Com, CA, DipFP

Tess has over 22-years experience in Chartered Accounting Firms and in this time has had a broad range of experience in superannuation, taxation, business services, and financial strategy.

Over the last seven-years, Tess has turned her attention to Financial Planning, earning a Diploma of Financial Planning in 2015 and leading the newly established financial division of the Wybenga Group as a director of Wybenga Financial.

Tess’s mission is to bring the ethics and integrity of her Chartered Accounting background to the area of wealth management.

As a woman in a male dominated field, Tess is active in promoting gender equality in the industry through various programs and mentoring opportunities.

Using her depth of knowledge and experience in tax and accounting Tess is able to demonstrate a level of competence that is unique in the Financial Planning sector.

  • 2001 – Commenced employment with Wybenga & Partners and part-time accountancy studies
  • 2004 – Graduated Masters of Commerce from the University of New South Wales
  • 2005 – Admitted as an Associate Member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia
  • 2007 – Promoted to Manager at Wybenga & Partners
  • 2012 – Appointed as Associate Director
  • 2015 – Awarded a Diploma of Financial Planning
  • 2016 – Appointed as Partner of Wybenga Group and Director of Wybenga Financial

Schedule a Meeting with Tess


Adam Roberts

B.Bus, B.Sc, CA, DipFP

Adam has over 18-years experience in Chartered Accounting Firms and in this time has had a broad range of experience in superannuation, taxation, business services, and financial strategy.

Over the last seven-years, Adam has turned his attention to Financial Planning, earning a Diploma of Financial Planning in 2015 and leading the newly established financial division of the Wybenga Group as a director of Wybenga Financial.

Adam’s mission is to bring the ethics and integrity of his Chartered Accounting background to the area of wealth management.

Combining traditional accounting and financial services has been a welcome move for Adam, allowing him to operate and advise in the financial sector that has been a long time personal passion.

Using his depth of knowledge and experience in tax and accounting Adam is able to demonstrate a level of competence that is unique in the Financial Planning sector.

  • 2005 – Graduated Bachelor of Science from the University of Western Sydney
  • 2005 – Commenced employment with Wybenga & Partners and part-time accountancy studies
  • 2007 – Graduated Bachelor of Business from the University of Western Sydney
  • 2010 – Admitted as an Associate Member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia
  • 2010 – Promoted to Manager at Wybenga & Partners
  • 2012 – Appointed as Associate Director
  • 2015 – Awarded a Diploma of Financial Planning
  • 2016 – Appointed as Partner of Wybenga Group and Director of Wybenga Financial

Schedule a Meeting with Adam


Advisory Cadetships

What is an Advisory Cadetship?
An Advisory Cadetship enables you to commence your career whilst attaining the necessary university qualifications by studying part-time.

How does it work?
Generally, our cadets complete a relevant business or accounting degree at the University of New South Wales, the University of Technology Sydney, Macquarie University, or the University of Western Sydney.

The Firm provides 3-hours paid study leave per week to attend university. This can either be taken at the one time or broken between days depending on the individual’s requirements. In addition, the Firm provides paid study leave for both mid-semester and end-of-year exams.

We take the work life balance very seriously at Wybenga Financial and our cadets are encouraged to have a fulfilling life outside the office. A typical day will have you arriving at the office at around 8.30am with most days concluding at 5.30pm.

What are the benefits of an Advisory Cadetship with Wybenga Financial?
Our cadets benefit from the following:

  • Career path – on completion of their degree our cadets have significant practical experience which will assist them in advancing their careers
  • Work helps your studies – by working full-time our cadets are able to apply their practical knowledge in the university subjects
  • Camaraderie with other cadets – the Firm has a number of cadets at various stages of their career
  • Mentoring – cadets are paired with a senior staff member who oversees their progress and training both at work and with their studies
  • Communication and feedback – the Firm has an open door policy which enables all cadets to interact with all members of staff including Directors
  • Culture – the Firm promotes a friendly social culture with a number of functions throughout the year
  • Modern environment – including ‘socialising’ areas such as pool table and break out area
  • Training – ongoing support and technical training. We also provide internal and external training on a monthly basis
  • Remuneration – working full-time provides a market salary and independence with salaries being reviewed every 6-months

What happens when I complete my degree?
The completion of your degree is the first step of what we hope to be a long and successful career with us. The next step is the commencement of a Diploma of Financial Planning followed by completing the requirements to become a Certified Financial Planner (CFP).

There are always progression opportunities for the right cadets and we are dedicated to the long term development of our staff.

Who should apply?
Current Year 12 students or first/second year University Students who:

  • want to commence their career in financial advisory;
  • are due to commence or are currently completing a part-time business or commerce degree at university with an advisory major;
  • want to gain valuable hands-on experience while completing their qualifications;
  • are looking for a friendly working environment;
  • are team players who display initiative;
  • have a commitment to self-development;
  • possess excellent personal presentation and communication skills; and
  • are motivated and mature minded.

How do I apply for an Advisory Cadetship?
To apply for a Cadetship position at Wybenga Financial send us your details. Please also include in your covering letter why you wish to do a cadetship, include relevant qualities you possess, main interests / achievements, and any previous employment.

Interested candidates should initially forward a resume/covering letter of no more than 3-pages. Please provide full details of contact information (telephone or e-mail).

What if I have more questions?
For further information about our Cadetship program, please send your enquiry to .