You know that guy. He earns the same as you, but he has two houses and you only have one. What’s his secret? GOOD FINANCIAL ADVICE. He has people working for him who know how to get the best from the existing system. And you can too. You just need to know how to make the system work for you.
I need to stress to the Over 50s that it is just so important to have a clear strategy for retirement. I work with a lot of clients in this space. The way you approach your planning at this stage of life can make all the difference to how you live in your later years. And it’s easy, legal, and very, very smart. Everybody needs to know this.
For those of you with an outstanding home loan debt on your home, there is good news. You are generally sitting on a lot of equity from the uplift in property values. It may seem to be just an imaginary amount of money or simply theoretical, but it is actually an important tool that you can use to free yourself from money worries in your later years.
You probably currently have no passive income sources and are going to be reliant in retirement on your superannuation generating a small amount, and then likely the Age Pension. But you could change that, depending on how you are currently set up financially.
You need to use the equity in your home to increase your wealth. We meet with people to understand the structure of their home lending, and work out how much equity they have. And then we can work out how they can put that equity to work, rather than having it sitting there doing nothing.
The good news is that anyone with equity building up, can use that equity to buy a second property. The second properties our business associates suggest you buy, they suggest for a reason.
The second property can help you reduce your existing tax base. Our associated registered accountants provide the advice here.
The second property is expected to increase in value over time, providing capital growth and make life easier at retirement. Again I will refer you to our partnered advisors who will guide you through that.
Clients will only have to contribute $20 to $50 a week themselves to actually secure the property in the current environment.
You will pay down your mortgage five to 10 years faster.
You’ll have an extra asset at retirement. With this, you can sell it, take the capital growth or keep collecting the rent.
The second properties our business associates suggest are all across Australia. They identify suitable properties in specific areas of Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland. These properties have been selected according to population trends, infrastructure, investment, and what is going on from various levels of government.
There are the usual risks. There’s always the potential of interest rates increasing. If the rents don’t increase as well, you’ll have to pay the difference. Our associates take some of that risk away from the actual rent side of things. Properties that carry a five-year rental guarantee provide support. Our associates work with property managers so that if the tenant doesn’t pay the rent, or if there’s a delay in being able to find a tenant, the property manager will actually cover the rent for five years at an agreed rate.
The other key risk is that there cannot ever be a guarantee that property prices are going to rise. But, if looking at historical data in Australia, property generally has only really done one thing over the long-term. Gone up over time. Over the decades, as population growth occurs, urbanisation happens and infrastructure goes in. Areas that weren’t once ideal to live in then become very sought-after areas. Inner city areas in Melbourne like Carlton, Richmond, Collingwood are examples. In Sydney, you have Surry Hills and Redfern. At some point in time they were very undesirable places to live. Redfern only 10 years ago was still undesirable, but thanks to urbanisation and population growth, those areas have become sought after because of their close proximity to the city.
This gentrification and subsequent increase in property values is expected to happen all through Brisbane and through to the Gold Coast. It’s these areas of stable increases in capital growth that we our associates focus on.
The Covid crisis has ultimately started to change our culture. Regional areas propertywise have experienced such a boost because of people realising that they’re never going to have to go back to the office five days a week in the city. Personally, I don’t believe it’ll ever go back to what it was with large corporations in Australia reducing commercial leasing capacity and assisting employees with flexible working arrangements.
A CASE STUDY
Alison (48) and Paul (53) have a combined income of $200k. They are both self-employed and have a house which they live in. The house they bought last year for $655k has just been valued at $850k now. They paid $300k as a deposit. What should they do before they retire?
Advice: Firstly, I would work out what the borrowing capacity is and I’d suggest property-wise, Alison and Paul can probably secure a second property around about $470k over a 30 year term. A second property is a saleable asset, if you need to sell it, you are not going to be without anywhere to live.
Alison and Paul also need to have an exit strategy at retirement.
On the other side of this process, Alison and Paul would build ownership in the property that has a renter in it and the rent is paying it off. They are only approximately paying $20 to $50 per week to get into this situation. The lending is structured so that direct mortgage exposure against the primary home is limited.
THE SECOND PROPERTY
No emotion should be attached to an investment property. Think of it like purchasing a share in a company. What you’re looking for is an asset that’s going to be generating demand.
There are other ways to increase your retirement pot. An example is salary sacrificing a part of your salary, into superannuation and at the same time access a part-pension from your superannuation. That round-robin transaction results in you firstly ending up with the same net salary each pay period that you would have otherwise, but you end vvsuperannuation’s a lower tax environment than your personal status, in your marginal tax rate.
Any superannuation strategy will be guided by our associated financial planners who are engaged to advise on the suitability of acquiring property in the fund.
So why isn’t everyone doing this? Mostly they don’t know they can. This is why financial advisors are so valuable. They understand areas in which you can quite lawfully utilise the tax laws to your advantage.
People who build up large property portfolios – all they’re doing is utilising knowledge and applying it. It’s sitting within the parameters of the tax law. Knowledge is power, and then applying it, that’s when it becomes apparent.
Property is just one asset class, and there’s many asset classes you can access. But property is one which you can utilise with the tax system to help you pay down that asset faster.
Superannuation is the other key area we can assist with. If people have built up a good base of superannuation over their careers, we can help clients navigate purchasing property through their superannuation.
How do I know how all this works? Because I’ve been a career banker. I started in 2005 and spent most of that time in the lending environment.
Up until 2018 I worked in two of the major banks, before I started NMC Finance. I started my own brokerage because I saw a gap in the bank offering. One of the reasons why I really enjoyed being a commercial banker was being able to go out and build relationships with clients and provide that personalised experience. So setting up my own firm really allows me to do that.
I’m not limited to one set of credit policies with one bank, one set of products that probably doesn’t fit all clients. I’ve got about 38 lenders in my panel, and I’ve also got the ability to go offpanel where there’s an alternative scenario that’s suitable for a client. And so when you’ve got the power of that behind you, you can build strong relationships with clients that you can keep for life. I really enjoy working in this space and it’s thrived through the pandemic.
THE TIME TO ACT IS NOW
It’s been a really great time for clients to be able to secure extraordinary discounts on their finance which are in place for the whole of the 30-year terms. It’s also the perfect time to be refinancing, securing very cheap money. It is the lowest environment, interest-rate-wise, in the history of Australia. This is your window, jump through it.
Nursing homes/care centres used to be a beige world of sitting down in front of the TV and eating boiled cabbage at mealtimes. But not anymore. The team at Silver Magazine did the tour of Odyssey Lifestyle Care Community at Robina, and we were ridiculously impressed. Here are all the things you can look forward to.
RÓISÍN MURPHY REPORTS.
I and my colleague from Silver Magazine walked into the Care Community at Robina, the first thing we noticed was the high ceilings. The architecture is beautiful in the reception area, and the décor is super-stylish. As we moved through the building, we realised that there were a lot of beautiful spaces. It was a great first impression.
As we were shown through to the restaurant/café area, we were delighted to see little kids from a pre-school nearby playing with the residents. There were board games happening, drawing was going on, there were rides on walkers. Both the littlies and the residents were having a really good time. The intergenerational program runs every two weeks and the residents love it. Also, the kids were lapping up the adult attention they were getting. Don’t get me wrong, they were playing those board games to win, the competitive spirit was fierce.
But they were loving the adult company. We have all seen documentaries where they show experiments with the generations from the opposite ends of the age spectrum…but seeing it in practice is just something else. We humans should have been doing this all along. Older people and little kids are such a natural fit. The older people have the time to lavish lots of attention, and the kids were thriving on it. Everyone in the room was having a really great time. What a win‑win. It felt happy.
FOOD AT THE COMMUNITY
I and my colleague got even happier a minute after that when we were invited to sample the coffee and cake. Even though I say coffee and cake. I mean café‑style coffee was so good I snuck back and got another one. There were cakes such as mini danish and a choc caramel slice so tasty I saw my skinny sugar-avoiding colleague take two. This isn’t the image that comes to mind from a caring community. This is what you picture at a beachfront café that is full of trendy people with thousand-dollar prams and $250 boardies.
The more formal restaurant and casual café area feel like an actual nice restaurant and café. You wouldn’t know you were in a caring community. And here is the best bit. Residents can eat chefprepared food for just $15 a day. For this, they get two a la carte meals (lunch and dinner) and which can be chosen from a menu. That works out at just $7.50 for lunch and $7.50 for dinner. Not only that, residents can have family and friends meet them in the restaurant. Just make a booking and pay at reception. So if residents don’t want to cook for say, a mother’s day celebration, they can still have everyone over for a meal. Let the lunch parties roll on!
After we sample the food, we are taken to meet the Lifestyle Coordinator, Alison. Alison definitely has a fun job. She gets to take the residents out on seriously cool day trips. They flit around the Gold Coast and surrounds. In the days before we got there, residents told us they went to Yatala pie shop to get pies, which they thought was hilarious fun. They go to art galleries, they go on river cruises, they go up to Mount Tamborine, wine tasting.
FUN AND ENTERTAINMENT
They also go on shopping trips to surrounding shopping centres. But there’s cool stuff at home too. The residents do exercises in the morning. They have hand pampering sessions and get their nails done. They get facials as well. There are entertainers visiting all the time, anything from pianists, to harpists, to karaoke. Next on the activities planner is a wine-tasting session in the wine cellar on site. Everything about this place is wrapped in a little bit of luxury and sophistication. The top floor – storey seven – is a sky garden, where Odyssey held an experimental wine tasting night recently. The terrace had never been so busy. I think we are all ready to move in.
The display apartments look like something out of a home magazine. They are styled beautifully, and the layout is incredibly well-thought-out. This isn’t twee granny taste. This is sophisticated, stylish, and clean, with excellent storage spaces. There are designer appliances and finishes, and sensitive accessibility design. But the overall look is one of a modern and minimal haven. Residents can furnish their apartments however they want, from the interior décor to the colour scheme.
When you take the tour of Odyssey you’ll understand just how cool the tech is (seriously do the tour, even to get an idea of what is out there on the market). The use of tech is now so impressive, I am sure we are all ready for the robots to take over.
The most impressive bit of the kit is the smart TV that comes with the apartment. The technology is provided by HSC Technology Group – it is a Set‑Top‑Box connected to the resident’s television, much like those you experience in high-end hotels.
Residents can use the TV to see things like weekly activities, and the restaurant menu. They can access social media on it, Google to their heart’s content, play audiobooks, play games. The TVs have cameras so that residents can use them to video call their friends and relatives. Residents have been using the TV during Covid to have a doctor’s consultation, without having to leave home. And of course, there’s Netflix and normal TV too!
There’s another tech that is very impressive. Odyssey has a sensor system that can map a person’s usual use of their apartment. If anything drastically changes, an alert is set off. They do this with just infrared sensors, rather than cameras so that the resident’s privacy is preserved. For example, if a person is on the floor in an unusual position, or if anything else is wrong, the sensors will detect this. The tech installed in Odyssey has the sole aim of being preventative rather than reactive.
There are other really thoughtful extras at Odyssey. One of these is the transition room. This is a room, which looks exactly like a luxury hotel room. It is downstairs very close to the nurses’ office. If a resident goes through a bout of illness or has returned from a hospital stay, and they don’t feel confident to stay in their apartment, they can use this room until they are confident enough to return to their usual life. They are not charged to use this room and can use it for as long as it takes, maybe a couple of days, maybe a week. This room can also be used by a family member of a resident in some situations.
THE FINAL WORD
There are some new ways of thinking at Odyssey that make it really different to other offerings. The best part about it is that once you have moved in, you never have to move again if you don’t want to. Every level of care can be provided in every apartment.
When people move in, they may feel fit and active. It is hard for residents to picture at this stage that they might need help to shower or do other tasks. Then suddenly, a higher level of care is needed, and it is at this stage that nobody wants to be moving. The ideal scenario is while you’re still fit and well, you settle in, you make friends, and you feel at home by the time you need a high level of care.
At Odyssey, there’s the retirement village vibe, with lots of opportunities for friendship and company, plus a lifestyle care community. This is especially good for couples where one partner can still go out and do their own thing, knowing that Odyssey can look after the other resident.
Residents can also have a pet join them, invite grandkids for sleepovers and couples stay together. Residents can come and go as they like, and have visitors. It is a perfect balance.
Odyssey, from what we have seen here at Silver Magazine, is the best of both worlds between retirement and aged care. The peace of mind that this is your last move is an excellent selling point. I think we are all ready to move in and grab a spot in those wine tastings. An Mt Tamborine Cab Sav? Don’t mind if I do! ■
Phil Usher has been part of the aged-care sector for almost 20 years. Here, he gives us an insight into this opportunity to simplify your life and free yourself in your later years.
A Brand New Adventure: Don’t Doubt Downsizing
So, you’re downsizing. You’ve reached that inevitable next phase in life to simplify, de-clutter and take stock of what’s really important to you. But don’t fret, downsizing can also mean that a whole new adventure is on the cards!
To some, the prospect of downsizing can evoke uncertainty or fear. This big change in life can be more akin to pulling teeth, or getting cornered into a gruelling timeshare presentation. But downsizing doesn’t have to dampen your spirits or create unnecessary worries – in fact, it should be the exact opposite!
First and foremost, you need to change your mindset and see downsizing as an opportunity for a new beginning, because that is exactly what it is. It should be viewed as a new era; one we should encourage ourselves and our loved ones to approach with zest and excitement.
Odyssey Residents: Don’t Doubt Downsizing
The people we see at Odyssey often feel a little daunted and overwhelmed with the idea of moving from a large home into a smaller setting. And of course, it is difficult when you or a loved one has been in the same house for many years and then it’s time for the next stage. But it’s also important to feel comfortable with the process.
Life is full of stuff and most of us spend a significant amount of time accumulating bits and bobs over the years to remind us where we’ve been, what we’ve seen and who we love. But as we age, clutter can become an issue, creating trip hazards, and making it difficult to find things.
When you start to declutter, don’t view this as a painful departing process, but instead see it as a way to empower either ourselves or our loved ones with choice and control. It’s often thought that our children or grandchildren will want to hold onto various items, but sadly and unfortunately, this is not always the case.
Don’t Doubt Downsizing, Pick Out Items Close to Your Heart
Hold onto the things that have meaning, whether it’s family pictures, a favourite reading chair or a few items that hold special memories. Everything else is mostly just ‘things’. A general rule to follow is, if it hasn’t been used in six months, it’s probably not needed.
One of the best things about downsizing is the ease of living in a low-maintenance environment. While it can be challenging to adjust to a new schedule and a whole new lifestyle, it’s always a pleasant surprise to have more freedom and time to do the things you love.
Whether it be spending more quality time with family and friends or engaging in new social activities, downsizing is a chapter of life that should not cause angst. It truly is a time for you to live your best life, and perhaps take up a new hobby that you didn’t have the time for before. Downsizing can bring out a whole new era of self-discovery for you that maximises the most essential elements of life – having fun and being happy and healthy.
When considering your new space, identify the things that are important to you. Things like access to quality care, remaining independent, maintaining a sense of control, living in a petfriendly setting, and being able to bond with those you love.
Choosing the Correct Location
Choose somewhere that aligns with your values, what you want, and what kind of lifestyle you want to maintain. You want to be able to focus on continuing life as normal as possible in a great atmosphere – while feeling safe and secure about where you live. My whole goal is to ensure that Odyssey Lifestyle Care Communities combine the best of retirement resort community living with first-class care built in.
Remember, the moral to the story is to change the way we see downsizing. Don’t doubt downsizing. It’s a new beginning and something you can take on with a smile and excitement. It’s about decluttering, but also about experiencing something new – a space where you’re comfortable, safe and happy. ■
PHIL USHER has been part of the aged care sector for almost 20 years. He has a keen understanding of what seniors want when it comes to living out their twilight years on their own terms.
Phil’s Mum, who passed away from dementia-related complications, was the driving force behind why he’s created an alternative to traditional aged care. When considering aged care for her, Phil couldn’t find a place that offered her the kind of life she wanted. So he made improving aged care his odyssey. If it’s not good enough for the people Phil loves, it’s simply not good enough.
Phil’s determination to create the best alternative to aged-care led to a fresh, heart-centred approach known as a Lifestyle Care Community. At Odyssey the power is given back to residents. People are put first, they have their own home in a lifestyle-orientated community, couples stay together, pets are welcome, grandkids have sleepovers and most importantly – comfort, dignity and independence are the first priorities.
Click here, to know more about the lifestyle of silver citizens.
Michael Spurge of newapartmentsales.com.au tells us that downsizing from a house to an apartment can be one of the best decisions you will ever make.
It’s a lifestyle boom. Downsizing from a house to an apartment can be one of the best decisions you will ever make. We often are told from people who have made the move that they should have done it years ago. They say that leaving the weekend maintenance behind and not having to worry about a house has been life changing.
THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN BUYING A NEW APARTMENT
Apartment buildings are often close to all conveniences including cafes, restaurants, shopping centres, beaches, transport and all things that make life easy.
Pets are welcomed in most buildings as they are viewed as companions. Those of us who love our pets would never live without them. There can be some conditions including weight limit (which is generally under 10kgs) but many larger dogs are regularly approved. One of the main requirements is your pet should not be a nuisance to other owners with things like continuously barking, which is understandable.
A new apartment will generally have lower Body corporate fees than those in an older building. This is because over time the older buildings will require more maintenance. When buying into a new building, the body corporate fees should not increase by more than 2-3% per year or by the Consumer Price Index each year. Often there may be no increase at all if the budget is met.
Body corporate fees in most new buildings are approximately $80-$100 pw for a 2 bedroom and $80-$125 pw for a 3 bedroom. This can depend on the number of facilities.
Your body corporate fees cover many things including building insurance, a building manager’s wages, all external building maintenance, pool maintenance, common area electricity among other things. When taking all this into consideration it is great value to have someone look after everything for you. A typical house with a pool will cost $8,000 to $10,000 per year over 10 years for insurance, maintenance and repairs.
When buying a new apartment, you will have the peace of mind the building has a structural warranty lasting for approximately 6 years. The appliances and apartment fittings like taps should also come with a manufacturer’s warranty.
Having the reassurance of security and onsite managers will give you the freedom to lock up. And leave on your holiday without having to worry.
BENEFITS OF BUYING OFF PLAN
Buying off the plan early will enable you to secure your preferred aspect, level and floor plan and lock in the apartment at today’s price. Buying off the plan will also give you time to prepare your current home ready for sale. You can have several garage sales, and go shopping for new furniture.
If you are needing to sell your current home to buy the apartment, it’s a good idea to give yourself plenty of time. To be ready to settle on your new apartment.
Signing the Contract
We suggest marketing your current property approximately 6 months prior to having to settle on your new apartment. When buying off the plan, only a 10% deposit is required on signing the contract. Nothing else needs to be paid until the apartment is completed and ready to move into. If you don’t have the 10% deposit available but have equity in your current home, talk to you bank. Or broker as there are many options available.
The Gold Coast has always been a lifestyle city, a place where everyone who lives here loves it. For those who don’t live here, they would love to live here too! This has been echoed by the increase in enquires for low-maintenance lifestyle apartments. ■
The Principal of New Apartment Sales, Michael Spurge is among other ventures. His experience in property sales and marketing is extensive. Moreover, he is known for his grasp of the Gold Coast property market. New Apartments Sales market hundreds of new apartments and townhouses throughout the Gold Coast. If you are looking to downsize, invest, or upgrade to a new apartment, the company can provide the latest availability. Prices and information for most of the new apartment projects on the Gold Coast. He can be contacted on 0401 012 002. Or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org Or, log on to newapartmentsales.com.au for more info.