Finance

New body aims to boost financial literacy

A not-for-profit company is being launched to boost financial literacy and capability in the community.

Financial Services Minister Kelly O’Dwyer said the new body would manage and distribute the $40 million paid by ANZ and NAB relating to the manipulation of the Bank Bill Swap Rate.

The money is part of settlement agreements between the lenders and corporate watchdog, the Australian Securities and Investments Commissions (ASIC).

It will also receive the $10 million committed in the federal budget to developing women’s financial capability.

Senate inquiry launched into aged care providers' tax practices

A Senate inquiry will examine if for-profit aged care organisations are using loopholes to avoid paying or minimising tax, while cutting corners on the quality of service and value for money while receiving government subsidies.

The Senate Economics Reference Committee inquiry has released its terms of reference and will also assess whether accountability measures for taxpayer money are adequate and if their current practices meet public expectations.

The inquiry was proposed by Australian Labor Party Senator Jenny McAllister and agreed to by the Senate last week.

New alliance seeking fairer retirement outcomes

National Seniors has joined an alliance to explore ways of fixing problems with existing superannuation taxation, Age Pension means test, and broader retirement income systems.

The formation of the Alliance for a Fairer Retirement System was made in response to Labor’s proposal to disallow refunds of excess franking credits for a range of retirees and shareholders.

Top Australian super funds

Just under two thirds of superannuation fund members are satisfied with the performance of their fund, new research shows.

The Roy Morgan Superannuation Satisfaction Report revealed that in the six months to March 2018, average superannuation satisfaction was 61.1 per cent.

This was on par with the average satisfaction level for industry funds. Retail funds were below the average at 60.1 per cent and satisfaction with major retail funds ANZ, CBA, NAB and Westpac was lower again at 58.7 per cent. 

Government urged to expand downsizing policy for seniors

National Seniors Australia said today the Federal Government needed to rethink its downsizing policy introduced in last year’s Budget to allow Australians aged 65 and over to sell their home and divert up to $300,000 per person into superannuation.

National Seniors Chief Advocate Ian Henschke said the policy, which will come into effect on 1 July this year, had not been well received by most older Australians.

Economic issues are key to budget and election

Nearly one third of Australians believe the economy, or some kind of economic issue, is the most significant problem facing Australia, a new study shows.

Roy Morgan Research said 32 per cent of people surveyed in February said they were concerned about issues, including the cost of living, lack of wages growth, increasing utilities bills, economic instability,  financial insecurity and money problems.

A lack of jobs and employment opportunities and the gap between rich and poor were cited as other economic worries.

Estate planning workshop for WA seniors

If you have a will but you are still unsure about your care when you are no longer able to make your own decisions, then National Seniors can help.

An estate planning workshop in Perth next month will assist you to plan for the time others may have to choose on your behalf, if you’re unable, and dictate how your wealth is distributed on your death.

The three-hour workshop will go beyond wills and help towards mapping out a comprehensive estate plan aimed at engaging with your family.

Credit to Shorten for listening, but more required

By Chief Advocate Ian Henschke

A week’s a long time in politics and a fortnight’s even longer. 

Bill Shorten spoke to reporters on 14 March and announced his policy to save $59 billion dollars over 10 years. He said he’d do it by ending tax credits to share-owning retirees with no taxable income. He was ready for a “tough debate”. He got one. It created so much anger and concern among those affected he’s now “improved” his policy. 

Labor not budging on dividend imputation tax plan

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten is refusing to back down on the dividend imputation policy despite a widespread backlash against Labor’s plans to abolish franking credit cash rebates for retiree investors.

The Labor leader last week rejected calls to water down the proposed policy, or exempt pensioners or those with modest self-managed superannuation funds.

Mr Shorten said Labor was braced for “a tough debate” and it was unfair that “a few people” could claim a tax refund when they had paid no tax.

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