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Fitness for life

How much super is enough?

Life stage financial planning for women

making the aged care journey smoother

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5 economic trends shaping 2018

1803 cba i female financial freedom ai


How women can take charge of their money at every stage of life

Thursday 8 March is International Women's Day – a time to celebrate what has been a remarkable year for women around the world. From the #metoo and #timesup campaigns to demands for equal pay, women are taking unprecedented strides in both the professional and public spheres. 

In this new era of female empowerment, however, there's at least one area where women remain at a disadvantage: their finances. From the gender wage gap to career breaks for raising children, women still face unique barriers that can prevent them from achieving financial security. 

But for women who manage their finances proactively, it's still possible to successfully navigate these obstacles and regain financial control at each stage of life. Here's how to do it. 

Starting out (18–34)

For many women, early adulthood means juggling tertiary studies with part-time or casual work. Then, when you begin working full time in the early stages of your career, having a regular paycheque coming in may be your first taste of financial independence. 

But when you're starting out in the workforce on a limited disposal income, it can be challenging to manage your bills and day-to-day expenses, especially if you're paying off a student-loan. This can be even harder for women than for men, because the unfortunate reality is that full-time female workers still earn an average of 15.3% less than males.i 

With so many temptations out there for you to throw your hard-earned money at, it's important to be careful with your spending. What may start with a few innocent taps of your credit card could lead to a debt spiral that takes years to escape. 

So before you find yourself saddled with additional financial responsibilities as you move through life, or a starting-out loved one, now is the perfect time to develop smart saving habits. Your financial adviser can help you set up a regular savings plan to get you, or friend of family member started. By putting aside even a small amount of money each week or fortnight, you can make a big difference to your savings over the long term. 

A balancing act (35–44)

As you move through your career, you'll hopefully land higher-paying jobs as well. But even if you're now richer in assets and income, you're probably also facing a significant amount of debt – from a mortgage to a car loan and perhaps a few credit cards in between. 

If you're like many women in this age bracket, things are even more complicated if you're juggling your professional responsibilities with the demands of raising children. And while you're focused on keeping up with bills, groceries and other household expenses, it can be hard to plan seriously for your family's future. 

At this stage of life, many women also take time out of the workforce to look after their kids before they start school. If you're one of them, it's worth preparing financially before taking a career break. One way is to start salary sacrificing a bit extra into your super from your pre-tax pay while you're still working. This will help ensure your retirement savings don't fall behind during the period when you're not receiving super contributions from your employer. 

With your children's future to consider, it's also essential to have the right insurance cover. This might include taking out income protection and life insurance policies, so your loved ones will be covered financially if the unexpected happens. 

Remember, a financial adviser can help you put together a strategy so you can make the most of your income and protect your wealth. 

Changing direction (45–54)

It's common for women to experience a period of change during their 40s and 50s – whether it's a career shift or a relationship breakdown. Even a small setback can have a lasting financial impact, so it's vital to have your finances under control. 

As senior family members become frailer, you may also find yourself squeezed between the responsibilities of taking care of ageing parents as well as teenage children. In fact, around 60% of Australian female workers deal with life's conflicting demands by sticking to part-time or casual work, compared to only 32% of Australian men.ii 

On the other hand, as your children get older, you might be returning to the workforce full time after a lengthy career break. In this case, it's important to put your renewed financial independence to good use. 

For instance, you might want to focus on getting your mortgage out of the way so you can enjoy a debt-free future. It's also a good idea to begin preparing financially for your retirement – you can start by asking your financial adviser about the best ways to grow your nest egg. 

Rich with life experience (55–64)

Your children have probably flown the coop by now, so you can really knuckle down on getting retirement-ready. This is especially important if you've had career breaks over the years that have taken their toll on your super balance. 

In fact, by the time women reach this age bracket, they have an average of around $180,000 in super savings – compared with over $320,000 for men. What's more, only 17% of women say they regularly engage with their super – so for most women, their super may not be working as hard for them as it could be.iv 

At this stage of life, it's also important to start thinking long-term about your health and possible future medical needs. One option could be to take out trauma insurance, which can provide much-needed financial support if you're ever struck by a serious illness like cancer, a stroke or a heart attack. 

Financially fit for retirement (65+)

For Australian women who are now reaching retirement age, their average life expectancy is currently above 87 – around three years higher than men.v While this is good news for women, it also means you'll need your retirement savings to stretch further than a man's, especially if you want to avoid relying on the Age Pension. 

Entering retirement is also the perfect time for a change of scenery – whether it's taking the overseas trip you've always dreamed of, or making a permanent sea or tree-change. And if you choose to downsize your home to something more manageable, you might even be able to give your retirement savings an extra boost. 

From 1 July this year, Australians aged 65 or over who sell their eligible family home can contribute up to $300,000 of the sale proceeds into super. This could be the extra push your nest egg needs to ensure you'll be financially comfortable for the rest of your life. 

When you're weighing up your options on how best to structure your super and other investments, be sure to speak to your financial adviser. They can also make sure you're receiving any Centrelink benefits you're entitled to, so you can make your retirement years as enjoyable as possible. 

i Workplace Gender Equality Agency, Australia's gender pay gap statistics, August 2017. 

ii Workplace Gender Equality Agency, Australia's gender quality scorecard, 2017. 

iii Australian Bureau of Statistics, Gender indicators, 2016. 

iv Commonwealth Bank, Enabling change: A fresh perspective on women's financial security, 2017. 

v Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Life expectancy, 2017. 


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Speak to us if you would like to understand how this information might impact your financial situation. 

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Wedding thrills minus the endless bills

1802 cba i wedding thrills

Many newlyweds start married life struggling from heavy debts from their big day. But with a proper financial plan, a walk down the aisle can also be a stroll in the park. 

With the average cost of an Australian wedding now over the $30,000 marki, tying the knot can mean a huge financial burden for many couples. It can also have a knock-on financial impact for years to come – for example, if they use credit cards or a personal loan to cover costs, or if their wedding debt means they have to put off buying their first home. 

Of course, most couples want the happiest day of their lives to be as grand as it is in their dreams, but that doesn't mean it needs to break the bank. In fact, with some careful cash flow management (and maybe some minor compromises), a couple can save themselves thousands. And if the parents of the bride or groom are also chipping in as well, it's important to make sure the festivities aren't overshadowed by family tensions over a blown budget. 

Watch out for hidden expenses

Wedding budget blowouts can happen without warning and can easily snowball out of control. To avoid this happening to you or your loved ones, ask recently married friends if there were any unexpected costs that tripped them up. Here are some of the common ones: 

  • Package deals. Many wedding venues offer food and drinks packages at a fixed cost or per head. Make sure you know what's covered, so you can see which option will give you the best value for money.
  • Venue extras. Be clear about what you're getting for your venue hire fee, otherwise you could get stung for the extra cost of things like lighting, sound, décor and bar staff. Plus, if you've booked an outside venue, is there an inside option if it rains on the day – and is it covered by the venue fee?
  • Overseas costs. If you're planning an overseas wedding, remember to factor in things like visa costs and currency fluctuations. The last thing you want is for your guests to have to pay more than they bargained for.
  • Taxes and service charges. Check and double check the fine print in your contracts and service arrangements to make sure there will be no difference between the price you've been quoted and what the final bill will come to.

5 ways to do a wedding cheaper

If you want to keep costs down, there are plenty of ways to go about it – you might even end up making the event more memorable for your guests: 

  1. Wedding on a weekday. If your wedding is a gathering of your nearest and dearest – and you give them plenty of notice – no one will begrudge taking a day off work to attend.
  2. Budget clothes. Okay, the words 'budget' and 'clothes' together for a wedding day may seem unappealing, but so does paying thousands on outfits you wear once. A non-traditional wedding dress will always be cheaper, and you could save even more by hiring or making one.
  3. Buy your rings online. To find the cheapest price for your wedding jewellery, start looking online. But if you're buying overseas, make sure you factor in the exchange rate and any taxes.
  4. Make your own decorations. Not only will this save you money, it also gives your wedding a personal touch. If you don't think you're arty enough, enlist a friend who is to give you a bit of creative support.
  5. Keep it small. A small family ceremony can create a special and intimate event. And if you have it at home rather than hiring an expensive venue, you could save a fortune.


i Easy Weddings, Annual Australian Wedding Survey, 2016. Based on a survey of 2,300 Australian couples between August and September 2016.

For more information

Contact your financial adviser who can help you manage your cash flow and work with you and your partner towards other significant goals and milestones. 

Call 0883225088 or email us at

Teaching kids the secrets of financial success

1802 cba i teaching the kids ai

In an increasingly digital world, the value of money can be a difficult concept for children to grasp. Here are some tips for helping your kids and grandkids become wealthy and wise. 

When you were young, do you remember standing next to mum or dad at the corner shop and watching them count out notes and coins to pay for the bread and milk? This was a valuable lesson about the purpose and value of money. 

Fast forward to today – few corner shops exist and the days of counting change are almost over. When our children see us pay for something at the shopping centre, it's likely to be with a piece of plastic – or even by mobile phone. 

That's why it's now more crucial than ever to consciously teach your children and grandchildren about money: how to spend it and how to save it. Here are five ways to do it. 

1. Help them budget and save

Many children believe parents have an endless supply of money – which is why it's so important to talk to kids about money from an early age. You can start by discussing your own household budget and explaining how you manage costs like weekly grocery shopping and phone bills. If there's something your child wants, like a new soccer ball or item of clothing, work out a budget so they can save up and buy it. Then reward them by taking them shopping. 

2. Give them pocket money

Pocket money is one of the simplest and most powerful ways to teach children the value of cash – which is why it should be earned rather than given freely. Whether it's payment for completing chores or a reward for behaving well, children will understand very quickly that money has value. You can also separate their pocket money into portions for spending and saving, so they'll learn how to put money aside for the future. 

3. Set up a bank account

By setting up a bank account for your child, you can teach them the basics of everyday banking. It's worth discussing the statements with them when they arrive – not only so you can explain what each part means, but also so you can check their progress towards their savings goals and praise them as they reach each milestone. You might even open a separate savings account to help making saving fun and easy. 

4. Make money fun

Learning about money doesn't have to be another chore: there are plenty of games you can use to teach kids financial literacy. From a young age, you can play-act spending situations with your kids, like pretending to 'shop' with their toys or using food items in the kitchen. As your children get older, these games can become more advanced. In fact, one of the best ways may be through playing Monopoly – which you can use to teach more complex concepts like rent and taxes. 

5. Surf the net

The internet is a treasure trove of information on all things financial. Here are some of our favourites

  • MoneySmart – packed with online resources and activities for children of different ages
  • CommBank Youth App – teaches real-life money skills to under 14s
  • Kidspot – a popular online parenting magazine with games and ideas for finance education
  • Bankaroo – a fun virtual bank for kids to learn about saving, spending and budgeting.

For more information

We can help you to explore the financial strategies available to help your children or grandchildren. 

Call 0883225088 or email us at

Your financial future starts now

1802 cba i your financial future ai

They say every great journey begins with a single step - and yours is just beginning. Here's how to get on the path to financial freedom at the same time. 

Every year, thousands of young Australians start one of the biggest journeys of their lives: their careers. And if you're one of them, you're probably having a great time making the most of your new income without thinking too much about planning ahead. 

But the good news is, you can get yourself set up financially for the future while still enjoying life now. Here are some things to keep in mind so you can get started on the right foot. 

What are your life goals?

When you first join the workforce, it's worth taking the time to really think about where you want to be in 5 or 10 years from now. That way, you'll be able to make sure you're headed in the right direction. 

As the first step, consider your short- and long-term goals, both personal and professional. These may include: 
  • Buying a car
  • Moving out of home
  • Furthering your education
  • Finding your dream job
  • Saving for a house
  • Starting a relationship
A financial adviser can help you see the big picture, while still making the most of the here and now. The sooner you get professional advice, the easier it will be to navigate a path towards your goals. 

How much will it all cost?

If you're moving out of home for the first time, you're probably celebrating your newfound freedom and independence - but beware how expensive your independence can be. Even with a regular paycheque coming in, it's easy to overspend without thinking about it. The last thing you want is to rely on credit cards that you never seem able to pay off. 

The Australian Government estimates the minimum cost of living to be over $20,000a yeari - so it's a good idea to work out a careful budget based on your salary. You should take into account your ongoing expenses like rent, bills and groceries while also putting aside savings for things that crop up occasionally, like car rego and medical costs. 

It's also worth factoring in your goals and including a savings plan in your budget. So, for example, if your aim is to buy a car, set a deadline and calculate how much you need to save out of each paycheque to reach that goal.

Why do you need super?

At this stage of your life, retirement seems a long, long way off. But right now, time is on your side for growing your nest egg - and you'll thank yourself later. 

In most cases, your employer has to contribute 9.5% of your pre-tax salary into your super fund. But you can make your retirement savings grow faster by making extra contributions yourself. One way is to salary sacrifice an amount from each paycheque straight into super. 

For example, a 20 year old who earns $50,000 a year could expect to have a super balance of around $256,000 if they retire at the age of 67. But if they put in an extra $50 a week (via salary sacrifice) throughout their working years, they'll end up with more than $115,000 extra at retirement age - which will make a huge difference to their quality of life.ii 

Which types of insurance should you consider?

Sure, you're young and healthy - but the reality is, no matter what shape you're in, you never know what lies around the corner. And right now, there's a good chance you're taking some risks as well, especially if you enjoy active sports or adventure travel. 

That's why you should consider protecting yourself with insurance cover, so you know you'll be looked after if you end up with a serious injury. We can take a close look at your situation and help make the right insurance choices for your needs. 


i Australian Government, Living costs in Australia, July 2016. 
ii Based on calculations made using ASIC's MoneySmart Superannuation Calculator. Assumptions: 4.8% investment returns (before tax and fees) on a Balanced investment option, with 7% tax on earnings, administration fees of $50 pa and investment fees of 0.5% pa.

For more information

By getting guidance from us now, you'll be taking an important first step towards achieving financial freedom in the future. 

Call 0883225088 or email us at

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Jill Hoadley
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Jessica Ni
Robert Julian
Financial Planning & Superannuation
Nicola McReyolds
Amy Hou
Ian Brock

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