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Income investing: Managed funds vs. ETFs

Posted on 18 March '19, under Money.

There are a number of options when it comes to choosing an income investment scheme. Investments that generate regular income can be useful in a number of various situations, for example funding your retirement lifestyle. Options to consider include managed funds or exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

Managed funds are where your money is pooled together with other investors and then bought and sold by an investment manager via shares or other assets on your behalf. ETFs are a type of managed fund that can be bought and sold on a secondary market like a share.

Managed funds:

  • Pricing: When buying and selling managed funds, investors won’t know their exit price until the next day. A sale takes place either at the end-of-the-day price or on the net asset value of the assets. You could have to wait several days to receive your money from the sale.
  • Risk: It is up to the individual fund manager to invest in particular stocks, allowing you to access a diversified portfolio made up of varying asset classes. This can reduce your level of risk by minimising the impact of poor performance by a particular industry or sector.

ETFs:

  • Transparency: ETFs are typically more transparent than actively managed funds. An investment manager’s website can have its underlying investments readily able to be seen, where managed funds provide relatively little information about the holdings of the fund.
  • Buying and selling: Arguably faster and more convenient than the trade of managed funds, ETFs are bought and sold like shares, meaning you will need a sharemarket account and a broker. One option could be online brokers, as there are many of them available and they offer lower rates. On the other hand, a managed fund is bought from the fund manager.

Raising early stage capital in your business

Posted on 18 March '19, under Business.

Raising capital is a step that every startup faces. When a business is brand new, the question of how to get money must be addressed. If you intend to launch a business that needs significant capital expenditure, such as a retail business or a company that employs several other people, then you won’t get far without initial funding. Every investor has pro’s and con’s, and it is best to know what ways will work best for your business.

Friends or family investors:
Going to friends or family members can be the first point of contact to raise capital for your business. Investments from family and friends usually come in the form of loans, which you can arrange to pay back. It’s important to ensure that documents such as a formal business plan and legal agreements are drawn up professionally and to be transparent about expectations surrounding the investment.

Angel investors:
Angel investors refer to wealthy individuals who enjoy helping entrepreneurs in their business ventures. They can be important to a new startup, investing their money in exchange for small ownership of part of the business in an equity investment. However, they can also provide loan investments in the same way as family and friend investors.

Venture capitalists:
One of the most popular forms of startup funding is through venture capital, who are wealthy investors that support small businesses and startups by providing them with capital to grow and expand. Unlike family or friend investors, venture capitalists are generally equity investors with the expectation of a stake in the business.

Income stream within an SMSF

Posted on 18 March '19, under Super.

One of the best ways to ensure regular, flexible and tax-effective income as a pensioner is through an income stream from your SMSF. As a member, you can receive an income stream in a reoccurring series of benefit payments from your super fund.

Income streams from an SMSF are usually account-based, which means that the amount allocated to the pension comes directly from a member’s account. Once an account-based pension commences, there is an ongoing requirement for the trustees of the superannuation fund to ensure the pension standards and laws are met.

Standards that must be met in order for SMSFs to pay income stream pensions include:

  • The minimum amount must be paid at least once a year.
  • Once the pension has started, the capital supporting the pension cannot be increased by using contributions or rollover amounts.
  • When a member dies, their pension can only be transferred to a dependent beneficiary if they have any.

SMSF trustees may need to amend fund trust deeds to meet the minimum pension standards. For more information on how to do this, you should consult a legal adviser. Records must be kept of pension value at commencement, taxable elements of the pension at commencement, earnings from assets that support the pension and any pension payments made.

PAYG withholding: New penalties for non-compliance

Posted on 18 March '19, under Tax.

New penalties for business’s pay-as-you-go (PAYG) withholding and reporting obligations are to be introduced as a result of legislation commencing 1 July 2019. The law will now prevent businesses from claiming deductions for payments to employees and certain contractors if they fail to comply.

Payments that are impacted include salary, wages, commissions, bonuses or allowances to an employee, payment under a labour-hire arrangement, payment to a religious practitioner, or payments for a supply of service. This measure highlights a key reason why governance over all employment tax is important.

Specifically, the new laws will prevent an employer from claiming a deduction for payments to employees if the employer fails to:
Withhold an amount from the payment as required under PAYG withholding rules; or
Report a withholding amount to the ATO as required.

If you make a mistake by failing to withhold an amount or to report it, your business will not lose its deduction if you voluntarily disclose this to the ATO before an audit or other compliance activity in regards to your tax affairs. Taking early action to ensure your business is compliant to these updated PAYG withholding laws will make a difference to whether you remain eligible for deductions.

Superannuation guide for retirement planning

Posted on 8 March '19, under Super.

As the time comes for you to consider leaving the workforce, it is necessary to plan how to make the most of your superannuation in order to strengthen the chances of a financially secure retirement. Careful planning can significantly boost your super and make a big difference to your future lifestyle.

Identify your dependants and non-dependants:
When it comes to planning your retirement and how your super will be used, ensure that you have clear plans about what happens to your super benefits and other assets in the event of your death. Identifying who will receive your super benefits becomes more important if you plan to leave them to a non-dependant for tax purposes, such as financially independent adult children.

Combine your accounts:
Consolidating your super funds could possibly save you thousands of dollars in fees. Other benefits include reducing your paperwork and making it easier to keep track of your super. You could also end up with more superannuation than you realise, as research has found that if all super fund members were to consolidate their multiple accounts, the average Australian account balance would increase by 79%.

Do a financial stocktake:
Another important step when it comes to planning your retirement is to work out what kind of income you would like to have. By planning this ahead of time, you can then calculate how much money is needed to finance your preferred retirement income. This will help in working out how much super and other savings you currently have and estimate what you will have if you continue your current savings strategy.

Before selling your business

Posted on 8 March '19, under Business.

Deciding to move on from your business can impact a lot of different people. When selling your business, you will need to consider the effects on all areas of operation from the actual transfer of ownership to the impact on day to day operations. While it is easy to get caught up in the price of a sale, you should take the time to reflect on what selling will really mean.

If you have decided that selling is the way you want to go, make sure everything is in the best possible condition for sale. Having all policies, contracts, finances and other relevant information well documented can help to transfer the business a lot smoother and quicker. This will also be appealing to potential buyers as they can look into all business dealings easily and make informed decisions.

Next, you should get a valuation of your business once all the elements are in order. Having a valuation done will help you decide on the right selling price. Getting professional advice for this process will help you get the most accurate figure for all your assets and a detailed look into the market value.

After all this, it is time to put your business on the market. Advertising will greatly help your sale and attract different types of buyers. For this reason, you should be strategic with your marketing, appealing to the buyers you want to sell to. While you have a had your business valued, negotiations will still be a big part of a sale. Prepare yourself with what elements of the sale you are willing to change and what elements are definitive, this will help to determine what negotiations are worth your time. Involving a professional business broker, settlement agent or lawyer in the sale of your business can help prevent problems and make sure the sale is valid.

Determining whether GST is for business or private use

Posted on 8 March '19, under Tax.

The goods and services tax (GST) is applied to most goods and services sold in Australia, taxed at a rate of 10%. If you run a business, you are likely to have GST obligations such as claiming credit for any GST included in the price of goods and services that have been purchased for your business.

However, many businesses have expenses that are used privately as well as for business purposes. This means that a business must divide the GST on these costs between private and business use. The ATO allows an annual adjustment for these expenses when it comes to determining exactly how much something is used for business or private purposes.

Common types of purchases that can be made for both business and private use include:

  • Home office costs/home power use
  • Home telephone and internet costs
  • Motor vehicle purchases and running costs
  • Computers and other electronic devices

At the end of the financial year when the business’ income tax return is being finalised, adjustments can be made to account for the reduction in the GST amount for private use that can be claimed back. The adjustment will either increase the amount of GST that businesses are liable to pay or reduce the GST refund for the tax period the adjustment is made in.

SMSF areas being monitored by the ATO

Posted on 1 March '19, under Super.

Self-managed super funds are closely monitored by the ATO to ensure regulations are being met across all areas. As SMSF are run by members, it is their responsibility to comply with all related super and tax laws. The independent nature of an SMSF creates an environment that people are confused by or can attempt to exploit.

One area of concern for the ATO regarding SMSFs is that these types of funds are being used to gain access to super before preservation age. Preservation age is dictated by the year in which you were born, super cannot legally be accessed before you reach this age. A growing number of investors in their 30s, far off from their preservation age, are moving their super into an SMSF in an attempt to gain access to their super early. The ATO has noticed an increase in this strategy in the last five years. If found to be doing this, penalties can include funds being wound up, a 45% tax impost being applied, administrative penalties which have a cost attached, or being disqualified from running a fund.

The ATO is also looking into possible problem areas in relation to SMSF contraventions. Loans to SMSF members, in-house assets, investing in related-party assets and failure to keep assets separated account for the bulk of the contravention reports. With that being said, the ATO lists administrative errors, sole purpose breaches, borrowings, operating standards and acquisitions of assets from related parties as categories also seen in contravention reports. To avoid these issues in relation to your funds, make sure your SMSF is accessible in regards to your assets and keep detailed records to help substantiate transactions.

Invest in your investments

Posted on 1 March '19, under Money.

If you are in a position to invest, it can be a great venture to help grow your wealth as well as provide opportunities for others through your contributions.

Before investing though, you need to consider what is the best avenue as there are many aspects of an investment you will need to examine to determine if it is the right fit for you. On a personal level, you will need to make a financial plan, consider risks, establish a timeframe of when you can invest as well as decide how involved in the processes you would like to be. When deciding where to invest, you should consider the following:

Understand the business:
As an investor, you should understand the day to day workings of the business you are contributing to. This will help you when deciding if an investment is the right fit for you. Research not only the particular business or company you are investing in but the industry as a whole so you can properly assess suitability. Make sure there is a market and audience for your type of investment.

Company basics:
Investors are allowed to look at the aspects of businesses that not everyone else can. When your money is involved, you have a right to know many things such as how the company functions, what it earns and how they pay employees. You should also look into whether the company is growing, their tax rates, debts and any other expenses they might have.

Management:
The day to day operations is what will help your investment strive so the management of the company is something to look into. Management history is a good way to gauge consistency, effectiveness and overall satisfaction. There needs to be cohesion between shareholders and management. To ensure this, partner with a management team that you align with which will benefit everyone involved.

Challenges your business can face

Posted on 1 March '19, under Business.

Owning and running a small business comes with positives and negatives that maintain a balance. When the negative elements start to outweigh the positives, you have a problem. Every business will face challenges along the way, the trick is knowing what they are and how to deal with them.

Clients and customer service:
A business is nothing without its clients but that doesn’t mean they are necessarily easy to work with. In the digital age, everyone is heard, meaning good client relations are vital to having a positive business image. Growing your client base comes from well-planned marketing techniques and knowing what your audiences want from you. There needs to be a healthy balance between supporting your existing customers and sourcing new ones, you should not neglect either area.

Data/Technology:
With technology ever growing, some small businesses can find it hard to keep up. For a business to continue to thrive, it needs to be able to grow and adapt to the changing market. For this reason, many businesses hire younger workers to run their social media because they don’t understand it themselves and expect the younger generation does. While having a dedicated worker to look after areas you may not be familiar with, you should have a basic level of understanding about what this technology is actually doing to aid your business.