first home

First Home Owner Scheme officially legislated

The Bill to allow first home buyers easier access to the property market has now been passed in both the upper and lower houses.

first home

WILLIAMS MEDIA recently wrote of the progress of the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme as it made its way from the Senate to the Lower House. Read it here

The Bill to allow the scheme to become law has now passed through both the upper and lower houses and The Property Council welcomes the legislation that helps first homeowners and ensures a stronger supply of housing data for informed decision making.

Ken Morrison, Chief Executive of the Property Council of Australia, said the new first home loan scheme would not only provide pathways to home ownership for more Australians, but provide timely stimulus for housing and construction supply.

“The current ‘deposit gap’ has been a big hurdle for many first home buyers and adds to the time they need to spend saving to meet the lenders deposit requirements, or purchase expensive mortgage insurance,” Mr Morrison said.

At a glance:

  • It takes 9 years to save a 20 per cent deposit for a home
  • The First Home Loan Deposit Scheme reduces barriers for up to 10,000 homebuyers per year
  • Extra housing data will be available from new research function through the scheme

“According to recent data from CoreLogic, the average Australian homebuyer needs just under nine years to save for the 20 per cent deposit requirement – and longer in markets such as Melbourne and Sydney.”

“The First Home Loan Deposit Scheme reduces these barriers to entry for up to 10,000 first homebuyers every year, and boosts support for construction sector jobs, helping to drive economic growth at a critical time.

“We welcome a commitment to review the scheme after 12 months to ensure it will be responsive to demand.”

The Property Council also warmly welcomes the provision of extra housing data that will stem from the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation’s (NHFIC) new research function.

“Australia has suffered from a lack of timely and reliable data on housing over past years,” Mr Morrison said.

“The NHFIC’s new research function will provide additional information on demand, supply and affordability that will be immensely helpful in shaping future housing policy.”

Source: The Real Estate Conversation 17th October 2019 https://www.therealestateconversation.com.au/news/2019/10/17/first-home-owner-scheme-officially-legislated/1571267513

This article provides general information which is current as at the time of production. The information contained in this communication does not constitute advice and should not be relied upon as such as it does not take into account your personal circumstances or needs. Professional advice should be sought prior to any action being taken in reliance on any of the information.

 

depreciation deductions

How Investors can save thousands this October 31

Investors who self-assess or estimate costs based on their own judgement when lodging their tax return are potentially missing out on thousands of dollars, according to BMT Tax Depreciation.

With the October 31 tax deadline fast approaching, It’s common for investors to self-assess or estimate costs based on their own judgement when lodging their tax return.

However, investors who do so are potentially missing out on significant depreciation deductions by incorrectly evaluating their claims.

Depreciation is one of the most lucrative tax deductions because it’s a non-cash deduction, meaning investors don’t have to spend money to be eligible to claim it.

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) allows owners of any income-producing properties to claim depreciation for the building’s structure via capital works deductions and for the plant and equipment assets contained within the property. 

In residential properties, capital works deductions must be depreciated at a rate of 2.5 per year for a maximum of forty years, while eligible plant and equipment assets must be depreciated over time using an effective life supplied by the ATO.

Read more about tax depreciation on the BMT Tax Depreciation website

Property investors who choose not to seek expert advice and self-assess deductions put themselves at risk of using the wrong depreciation rates and classifying items incorrectly.

As a result, they could be missing out on thousands of dollars’ worth of deductions. 

Quantity Surveyors are recognised under Tax Ruling 97/25 as one of the few professionals with the expert knowledge necessary for estimating construction costs for the purposes of calculating property depreciation.

A Quantity Surveyor can assess a property and provide a comprehensive depreciation schedule which outlines depreciation deductions accurately.

A tax depreciation schedule is the best way to ensure the biggest tax refund possible and can act as evidence should the ATO complete an audit of a claim.

There is no item too small to consider including in a schedule.

Low-cost assets and low-value assets all add up to maximise depreciation benefits.

If an asset has sufficiently low value, legislation allows it to be written off much faster or even claimed in full immediately.

A BMT Tax Depreciation Schedule covers all deductions available over the lifetime of a property (forty years) to maximise cash flow.

In FY 2018-19, BMT found residential clients an average of almost $9,000 in first-year tax deductions.

To find out more, Request a Quote or speak to the team at BMT Tax Depreciation.

Source: The Real Estate Conversation 8th October 2019 https://www.therealestateconversation.com.au/news/2019/10/08/how-investors-can-save-thousands-this-october-31/1570497759

This article provides general information which is current as at the time of production. The information contained in this communication does not constitute advice and should not be relied upon as such as it does not take into account your personal circumstances or needs. Professional advice should be sought prior to any action being taken in reliance on any of the information.

 

deposit

7 Tips For Saving Your Deposit

Investing in property is an enterprise that can take a lot of research, advice and sometimes even trial and error to get off the ground. And, most importantly, it takes money. There are many costs involved when it comes to buying a property, one of which is the initial deposit you’ll need to put down. Generally, most buyers aim to save or access a deposit of 10% of the purchase price, although a deposit of 20% is ideal if you want to avoid lenders mortgage insurance (LMI).

deposit

Prime Minister Scott Morrison recently outlined a First Home Loan Deposit Scheme that could help some buyers get their property goals off the ground with a deposit as low as just 5%. While the plan is intended to help first home buyers enter the property market, not investors, this could be a step towards rentvesting for those who are keen to leverage the scheme. For many, the prospect of saving a property deposit is daunting and is something they focus on once they are closer to wanting to buy. But to give yourself the best chance of growing the biggest possible deposit, you should ideally start planning and saving at least two years before you hope to buy.

This would mean you could save a greater amount and wouldn’t need to borrow as much from a bank or lender, which would serve you well in the current climate in which many investors are hampered by strict lending conditions.

 It would also increase your borrowing power and expand your loan options by allowing you to demonstrate a positive savings habit to potential lenders. In addition, if you could avoid having to pay the fee associated with LMI – which is a insurance policy that protects the lender in case of default – you could stand to save thousands of dollars.

For many investors-to-be, saving a property deposit can be a difficult prospect, especially if you find that you run out of money before you run out of month as it is. But with our tips for saving, you could be well on your way to landing your first investment property sooner rather than later.

1. Get budgeting

Budgeting sounds like the obvious tip – and it is. However, clear, strategic budgeting is about much more than simply saying you will put ‘X’ amount into your deposit savings every pay period. Instead, see if you can work out a budget that includes paying yourself a regular amount – enough to cover your essential bills, plus a discretionary spending allowance. You might find that it leaves you with more to set aside than your initial ‘X’ savings amount. To boost this value, look for opportunities to skim costs, such as by cooking more and eating out less. Go on a spending freeze for a month, when you don’t spend a cent on anything unless it’s absolutely necessary. Opt for Netflix and homemade comfort food rather than going out for dinner and a movie. In other words, make a few small sacrifices now to reap the rewards later.

2. Reduce your rent

This can be one of the most effective ways to save for a property deposit, as paying rent can take up a huge chunk of your earnings each month. While it’s not feasible in every situation, there are various ways to reduce rent, such as by housesharing, moving back in with your parents, or moving to a cheaper location. It might be slightly painful in the short term, but keep your eye on the prize: property ownership awaits.

3. Consolidate debts and credit cards

Consolidating debts and credit cards can reduce your repayments and interest, which frees up cash that can be redeployed into your savings account. Not only that, but the less debts you have, the more favourably your bank will look upon your home loan application. Banks offer debt consolidation or personal loans that allow you to combine these payments into one; or you can just make a plan to carve through your debts and smash it as swiftly as possible.

4. Simplify your life

Simplifying sounds… simplistic, but foregoing some of the little things will also help you save money. For instance, if you spend $100 over the course of the week on buying beverages – a coffee on the way to work or a beer at the pub after you’ve knocked off – then that’s $5,000 you’ve frittered away in a year alone. For every meal out that you would have bought, put that money into your savings. Work out what other things you can cut back on, and put the money not spent into your savings.

 

Do you use your gym membership, for instance? Could you use the exercise equipment in a park instead, or do you have equipment at 

home? Remember, cutting back to save a deposit doesn’t mean you have to live a completely spartan lifestyle, but it will be worth it when you reach your end goal.

5. Be a mindful consumer

Really think about your usage of fans, heaters and air conditioning throughout your home – energy bills can chew through thousands of dollars per year, and being smart about your consumption could see you make some significant savings. Could you hang your clothes out to dry instead of using a dryer, and wait to do your laundry when the load is full instead of in smaller batches?

6. Access the First Home Owner Grant

If this is your first home, you may be eligible for the First Home Owner Grant – however, there are conditions to be met, depending on the state or territory in which you intend to purchase the home, and the price of the property. Requirements vary, but generally you need to be a permanent resident or a citizen of Australia, and intend to buy the property as an individual and not as a corporation or trust. The applicant must live in the property as their principal place of residence within 12 months of the purchase, and remain there for at least 12 months.

7. Seek support

Some of the ways that family could help you get a leg up on the property ladder include lending or gifting money towards a deposit, or agreeing to go guarantor on the loan (using a proportion of the equity in their own home or investment property towards your property loan). As guarantor, they also become responsible for making loan repayments in case you are unable to do so; thus, you become a less risky prospect for a lender. The best way for this situation to work is when there is a win-win for both parties – for instance, if your parents provide a 20% deposit, then they retain 20% of the property’s value. Look for ways to exchange value, remembering that it might not always be monetary.

Applying these tips and learning how to save will not only help you get started in property investment but could also result in some important lifestyle changes that could benefit you in the long run. Not only will you be able to work towards saving a deposit but you’ll also be ready for a rainy financial day.

Source: Your Investment Property 25th July 2019 https://www.yourinvestmentpropertymag.com.au/property-tips/7-tips-for-saving-your-deposit-264440.aspx?utm_source=GA&utm_medium=20190728&utm_campaign=YIP-Newsletter-Opener&utm_content=&tu=

This article provides general information which is current as at the time of production. The information contained in this communication does not constitute advice and should not be relied upon as such as it does not take into account your personal circumstances or needs. Professional advice should be sought prior to any action being taken in reliance on any of the information.

 

tax deductions

Five things to know about depreciation this tax time

With tax time fast approaching, claiming depreciation is the key to increasing cash flow from an investment property.
tax deductions

BMT Tax Depreciation has some tips for investment property owners when it comes to claiming depreciation at tax time. Below are five ways to make sure you get what is yours.

1. Don’t miss out on depreciation deductions

Property investors are entitled to a range of tax deductions which help to lower taxable income and make owning an investment property more viable.

Some of the tax deductions available include council rates, the interest from a mortgage, property management fees, land taxes, strata fees, maintenance costs, insurance, accounting fees and depreciation.

Of these deductions, depreciation is the most commonly missed.

This is because it’s a  non-cash deduction.

That is, investors do not need to spend any money to be eligible to claim it.

Research has shown 80 per cent of property investors are missing out on the depreciation deductions they’re entitled to.

To ensure that depreciation is being claimed correctly and maximised, investors should contact a specialist Quantity Surveyor, such as BMT Tax Depreciation, to organise a comprehensive depreciation schedule.

A BMT Tax Depreciation Schedule outlines all the deductions an investor can claim for their investment property. It lasts for forty years and the fee for preparing it is 100 per cent tax deductible.

During the 2017-2018 financial year, BMT Tax Depreciation found their clients an average of $8,212 in tax deductions in the first year claim alone for residential properties.

Visit BMT’s tax depreciation calculator for an estimate of the deductions you may be entitled to.

2. If you recently purchased an investment property, you can still make a claim this tax time

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) allows investors to claim depreciation based on the number of days a property was available for lease.

A BMT Tax Depreciation Schedule makes partial year claims like this easy for the property investor and their accountant and can pro-rata deductions based on the percentage of time the property was available for rent.

3. Have you made improvements? Don’t forget to update your tax depreciation schedule

If improvements have been made to the property in the past financial year, like a renovation, it’s a good idea to get in touch with a Quantity Surveyor to see if you will require an updated depreciation schedule.

It’s important to be aware there is a difference between a repair and a capital works improvement, as this will affect the claim. The cost of any repairs can be claimed in full in the same financial year they are completed.

An improvement, on the other hand, is when you improve the condition of an item or property beyond that of when it was purchased. Such improvements are capital in nature and must be depreciated over time.

For this reason, if any renovations or improvements have been made to the property in the last financial year, the property investor should seek the advice of an experienced Quantity Surveyor to ensure their deductions are claimed correctly.

Find out more about BMT Tax Depreciation by visiting their website.

An updated tax depreciation schedule may be required after a renovation to capture all newly installed plant and equipment assets or capital works expenditure.

4. Discuss tax depreciation deductions with your accountant

An accountant will often refer property investors to a Quantity Surveyor or contact them on your behalf to arrange a schedule.

While they can process the deductions, they can’t estimate construction costs to provide you with the tax depreciation schedule.

Only a qualified Quantity Surveyor can do that.

Quantity Surveyors are one of the few professionals recognised under Tax Ruling 97/25 to have the appropriate construction costing skills to estimate building costs for depreciation.

However, not all Quantity Surveyors specialise in tax depreciation.

Only a tax depreciation specialist like BMT can be relied on to maintain detailed knowledge of all current ATO Tax Rulings relating to depreciation.

Once a tax depreciation schedule has been completed, an Accountant will input these deductions into the property investor’s annual income tax return.

5. Amend previous tax returns and don’t miss out on claiming past years’ deductions

Investment property owners often enquire about a property they have owned and rented for a number of years and they haven’t claimed depreciation deductions before.

The ATO allows tax returns to be easily adjusted for two years after the initial submission. This enables property owners to recoup some of the deductions that may have been missed.

It’s important to note a separate application will need to be submitted for each financial year requiring an amendment.

Income, depreciation and other claims made will impact the outcome of each tax return.

If you have missed or not maximised your claim in previous years, the depreciation schedule can be tailored within the eligible years.

BMT offers a guarantee to all clients that if we can’t find double our fee in deductions in the first full financial year, we won’t charge for our service.

To learn more about depreciation, visit the tax depreciation overview page on the BMT Tax Depreciation website.

 

 

Source: The Real Estate Conversation 7th May 2019 https://www.therealestateconversation.com.au/news/2019/05/07/five-things-know-about-depreciation-this-tax-time/1557189981

This article provides general information which is current as at the time of production. The information contained in this communication does not constitute advice and should not be relied upon as such as it does not take into account your personal circumstances or needs. Professional advice should be sought prior to any action being taken in reliance on any of the information.

date night

Upgrading Your Home: Save Money Without Giving Up Date Night

There are a few things Aussie homeowners aren’t willing to sacrifice when saving for an upgraded property, and date night is one of them. ING’s Upgraders Homeownership Survey Report found that only 25% of those surveyed would give up social activities—for example, date night—in order to speed up their savings.

Saving for an upgraded home means that you’ve already got a roof over your head, so there may be less pressure to cut little luxuries from your budget. But Aussies are saving money in other ways that might surprise you.

One in five home buyers moved interstate to places like Brisbane or the Central Coast, where house prices are more affordable. Over half of the survey respondents reported that they were thinking about an interstate move in the following year.

That’s not the only way buyers are saving for a home upgrade. Over one-third of people who upgraded in the past year took in a flatmate for help with the rent. Of those, 32 percent were families.

If you want to upgrade but don’t fancy moving states, taking in a renter, or getting rid of date night, what are your options?

Balance is the key to saving, whether it’s your first home, your second home, or your tenth. While you may need to cut out some small luxuries, you don’t have to give up everything that you enjoy.

Of course, it feels great to upgrade to the home you’ve been dreaming of, but not at the expense of everything you enjoy. Here are some tips for making the most out of your savings, without putting a padlock on your wallet.

Identify your priorities
Start by identifying your priorities, both in terms of your upgrade goals and your day to day lifestyle. First, ask yourself what you hope to gain by buying a new property.

The ING survey found that 40 percent of upgraders want a nicer house. Other reasons include the desire to relocate to a different area, to get more outdoor space, or simply to get a larger house for their growing family.

If you’ve outgrown your house, the timing of your upgrade may be more important than the house itself. If you’re looking for a specific property but are in no rush to move, your priorities will be different.

The next step is to figure out your lifestyle priorities. Think about how you spend your disposable income: is it coffee, dinners out, and movie nights? Or is it beach holidays, organic produce, and clothes? Whatever it is, decide where you can and can’t budge.

Look for deals
Put your investigative skills to the test and start hunting out the savings. If you don’t want to give up date night but you need to save money, you’ve got options. Use websites like Groupon and Scoopon to find discounted deals on restaurants, activities, and more.

You can also install a browser attachment like honey, which will automatically seek out coupon codes for purchases you make online, giving you the opportunity to save even more on your purchases.

Airbnb your space
Got space to spare but don’t want to take in a long term tenant? Consider using Airbnb to temporarily rent out a room in your home. While this does mean having paying guests staying in your home, it gives you more control over when you’ll have tenants. This can work well if you’ve got a granny flat or a bedroom with its own private entrance.

Take turns hosting
Sometimes the best part of social activities isn’t going to a restaurant or bar, it’s simply being somewhere different. Take turns with your friends to host social events like game nights or dinners. It doesn’t have to cost much, but you’ll still get out of the house and have a good time.

Go digital at the library
If new magazines are your weakness, the costs can add up quickly. Turn to your local library, where you can often download digital copies of the latest magazines and books onto your own device. Bonus points for being good to the environment!

Use a keep cup
If a good cup of coffee is important to you, we’re not going to tell you to give it up. But you might be able to reduce the cost of your daily java by using a keep cup. Many coffee shops discount the cost of your coffee when you bring your own cup, so invest in a reusable option and save over time.

Set a budget
Establish a weekly or monthly budget for little luxuries like dining out or shopping—the amount is up to you and your household—but don’t exceed it. That way you can still do the things you enjoy, but without worrying that your spending will snowball.

Compare home loans
Compare home loans annually to ensure you’re still on the best rate and getting the features you want. Our home loan professionals are here to help you get the most from your money. It’s quick and easy—in just a few clicks you’ll be on your way to saving.

Knowing you’re on the best possible rate can give you peace of mind at the very least!

Consolidate your subscription services
With entertainment options like Netflix, Hulu, and Foxtel on the table, it seems that spending a little bit of money on a monthly subscription can lead to greater savings.

But if you oversubscribe, you’ll end up spending much more than you might have on a few movie tickets. Take stock of your monthly subscriptions: could you pick just one and get rid of the rest?

Finally, finding balance in your budget is about being thoughtful, not restricting every activity that makes you feel good! There’s a reason that Aussies are reluctant to eliminate date night, and that’s because it offers real value.

Don’t underestimate the difference a mortgage broker can make when shopping for an upgraded property. A home loan professional can help you find great deals on a new mortgage, so your savings go even further than you’d hoped. Compare home loans now with the experts.

Source: Your Investment Property 11th March 2019 https://www.yourinvestmentpropertymag.com.au/property-finance/upgrading-your-home-save-money-without-giving-up-date-night-262053.aspx

This article provides general information which is current as at the time of production. The information contained in this communication does not constitute advice and should not be relied upon as such as it does not take into account your personal circumstances or needs. Professional advice should be sought prior to any action being taken in reliance on any of the information.

Advice For Young Couples Who Invest Together

While it might be easy to just jump in and invest as soon as you have the ability and resources, gaining strong returns from property investment require hard work, proper knowledge, commitment and good timing. Even experts in the field experience hiccups from time to time, so imagine how hard this can be for everyone else, especially younger people who are still in the process of settling down.

In an interview with Bryce Holdaway and Ben Kingsley, authors of a new book entitled Make Money Simple Again, Your Investment Property (YIP) narrowed down the discussion and focused on basic factors that need to be considered particularly by younger couples before they finally decide to pay down home loans to invest.

Holdaway and Kingsley suggested that general rules and basic knowledge must be kept in mind by anyone trying to invest.

First, the authors noted that it is important to organize your expenses, in order to increase their savings.

“Too often [younger couples] are tempted to ‘have now’, rather than ‘sacrificing now to enjoy later.’  If they can organize their money management to trap more surplus savings, they will build a good deposit and get on the property ladder before their friends do.”

It was also pointed out that changes to circumstances will impact cashflow and, ultimately, the ability to maintain the investment loan.

“Property is a long-term investment, not a short term speculation event.  Ensuring you can hold the property both today and tomorrow will give you the best chance of climbing the property ladder,” the authors said.

More importantly, younger couples should acknowledge that not all properties perform the same. Being able to pick the best location, as well as an investment grade asset, rather than an investment stock asset, can make all the difference in the overall investment returns they will take home.

Lastly, Kingsley and Holloway emphasised the importance of conducting proper research about the market.

“Spending time on real estate portals just looking at nice property isn’t going to yield you a great return. Understanding what owner occupier appeal is and how demand and supply influences property values is a far better use of your precious time before making a purchasing decision,” they said.

If these points are successfully grasped by younger couples, Ben and Bryce believed that pleasant possibilities await them.

“There are amazing opportunities all over Australia currently, and in some cases they may not be in their own city.  Investing is about getting a great long term return, so don’t be afraid to be a borderless investor,” they concluded.

Source: Your Investment Property Mag 8th November 2018  https://www.yourinvestmentpropertymag.com.au/news/advice-for-young-couples-who-invest-together-257262.aspx

This article provides general information which is current as at the time of production. The information contained in this communication does not constitute advice and should not be relied upon as such as it does not take into account your personal circumstances or needs. Professional advice should be sought prior to any action being taken in reliance on any of the information.

mortgage stress

Financial stress: We’re worrying ourselves sick over money

ABC Health & Wellbeing By Darragh O’Keeffe

It was a break-up with her partner four years ago that plunged Shari Rainbow into sudden financial dire straits.

“Within a month, I went from owning my own home and having a pretty successful small business to losing the lot and being left in debt,” says Ms Rainbow, who lives on the Gold Coast with her three children.

It did not take long for the huge financial stress to affect her health and wellbeing.

“I became a complete insomniac,” she says.

“I’ve probably managed three or four nights of proper sleep over the past four years.”

She lost a lot of weight and, perhaps most upsetting of all, she began to lose her hair.

“I remember going to my hairdresser, the same one I’ve been going to for years; she was washing my hair and these big clumps were just falling out,” Ms Rainbow says.

Even though she came from a large family and was close to her parents and four siblings, Ms Rainbow felt she could not ask for help; in fact, she became increasingly isolated.

Money worries ‘top cause of stress’

Ms Rainbow’s experience is not unique. Research clearly shows an increasing number of Australians are living with immense money worries.

Finances regularly top our list of worries according to the annual Stress and wellbeing report by the Australian Psychological Society.

“Australians’ concerns about money have not abated. Financial issues are rated as the top cause of stress over the first years,” says the survey, which the APS published annually between 2010 and 2015.

Other research published late last year found 24 per cent of the 2,000 Australian employees surveyed were feeling financially stressed. This was across all industries, incomes levels and job roles.

“Employees who are financially stressed are less satisfied with their lives, less engaged with their employers and ultimately more likely to underperform at work,” the research commissioned by AMP found.

While the triggers of financial stress differ among individuals, the report identified five key themes: bad debt, home loans, retirement, supporting the family and budgeting.

Similarly, research by the Centre for Social Impact conducted for National Australia Bank found that two million Australians are experiencing severe or high financial stress, while a further 10 million are living with some level of financial worry.

That study found one in two Australians have limited to no savings, while one in six report they are just managing to make repayments on debt.

What’s more, those researching financial stress in Australia say the issue is getting worse.

In its most recent report Facing financial stress, Wesley Mission, a charity that provides financial counselling and financial literacy education programs, identified a growing number of people are living with financial hardship.

Wesley’s survey of 500 households in New South Wales found 44 per cent were facing financial stress, up 7 per cent from 2010.

The charity also found that 38 per cent of households were spending more than they earn.

Bad for our health

Most of this research has identified the physical and psychological toll that money concerns can take.

There are links with mental and physical health issues, family breakdown and substance abuse, and it can lead to social disengagement and isolation.

For Dina Bowman, who has been talking to low-income households about how they manage financial uncertainty, health issues and financial stress are a “chicken and egg” problem.

“Often health concerns can trigger financial distress, say, if someone can no longer work because of an illness,” says Dr Bowman, principal research fellow in work and economic security at the Brotherhood of St Laurence.

“But financial worry can in turn trigger health concerns, as people unsurprisingly become distressed and anxious.”

Dr Bowman’s research examines how low- and moderate-income households, many of whom rely on casual work and volatile incomes, are coping with the stresses of financial uncertainty.

“Those with health issues often can’t address things that need attention. Dental care is a very common area, because people simply don’t have the money,” Dr Bowman says.

Understanding how we cope

For the past four months, her team has been conducting a fortnightly survey on the same 75 families to understand how they cope in difficult circumstances.

“Often the way people deal with it is to put it out of their minds; if they thought about the future it would be too distressing,” Dr Bowman says.

Many of the women in the families report they will forgo eating dinner so there is enough food for their children.

“Women also talk about not turning the heating on until their husbands and children come home, so again there is a level of self-sacrifice among women, many of whom take responsibility for money management.”

‘One step at a time’

What can often compound the burden of financial stress is a feeling of hopelessness. But experts are keen to get the message out: help is available.

Many people aren’t aware of the free financial counselling available and the assistance they can provide, says Dr Nicola Brackertz, who authored a report on support services for the Salvation Army.

“There’s a lack of understanding of what the service is and what it does; financial counsellors can be incredibly proactive,” she says.

“If you’re feeling stressed you’re probably not in a good frame of mind to negotiate with your utilities company but a financial counsellor can do that on your behalf.”

Her report found 69 per cent of those who used the Salvation Army’s financial counselling felt more positive about the future as a result, while people generally felt it had helped their emotional and physical wellbeing.

“Across the board, 94 per cent said they would be willing to seek financial help earlier,” she says.

That is what happened to Ms Rainbow.

She got on top of her money worries by accessing free support services. She joined a savings program, which came from a partnership between several banks, community organisations and government funding.

The service provides individuals and families on low incomes with the skills to save and then matches their savings up to $500 towards education costs.

“It was baby steps,” Ms Rainbow says.

“I started off saving $10 a month, then I increased that and it grew from there. It helped me become conscious of how I spend every cent, not to waste anything and to think positively.”

“It doesn’t happen overnight, but it does happen.”

Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/health/2017-02-10/financial-stress-worrying-ourselves-sick-over-money/8258784

This article provides general information which is current as at the time of production. The information contained in this communication does not constitute advice and should not be relied upon as such as it does not take into account your personal circumstances or needs. Professional advice should be sought prior to any action being taken in reliance on any of the information.