Planning

INSURANCE

Pets can cost owners a bundle

John Collett   We love our pets but they can cost a fortune. Should your dog or cat suffer a serious illness or accident, you could be left out of pocket to the tune of thousands of dollars.

TIP OF THE WEEK

Walk the financial line with your kids

Financial education can start when children are quite young.

Dominique Bergel-Grant   Showing children how to be independent is one of the greatest gifts you can give.

WELL-HEELED

Planning eases the pain of unexpected strife

MON00 Melissa
Melissa Browne.

Melissa Browne   Unforeseen things happen, and it's important to prepare yourself for them.

ASSET CHECK

Upside to paying off the mortgage

Home owners have a very effective tax strategy available to them - by paying off their mortgage quickly, they can then borrow against the house on a tax deductible interest basis to buy investments.

Daryl Dixon   Paying off a home loan fast and then re-borrowing using the house as collateral is a very tax-effective strategy.

THE DOLLAR

Wobbly world's pleasing pay-off

That Beijing will do almost anything to prop up prices on its sharemarkets suggests an opportunity.

David Potts   Greece's debts and sharemarket falls in China offer investors opportunities.

ASSETT CHECK

Policy switch on life insurance is long overdue

Hopefully, the reduction in commissions payable will reduce the pressures put on customers to switch their insurance arrangements.

Daryl Dixon   When it comes to insurance, the benefits of shopping around can be substantial.

TIP OF THE WEEK

High income doesn't always equal wealth

Spend, spend, spend is not the route to wealth

Michael Hutton   No matter your pay grade, if you're spending everything you earn then you're reducing your wealth.

Comfort zone not best place to be

Even if you take the plunge, the pension is always there as a backstop.

David Potts   Many pensioners will be worse off by 2017 – unless they ramp up their risk-taking – and remember there is the pension to fall back on.

MAKING IT

Seven wealth secrets of the super-rich

The only Australian in the top 100 of the Forbes global rich list, Gina Rinehart is worth an estimated $US1.1billion.

Joe Shute   Expand rapidly, turn complex regulations to your advantage - a new book lays bare the tactics of billionaires.

Planners divided on life insurance reforms

Among proposed changes for the life insurance sector are a cap to controversial upfront commissions to 60 per cent of a policy's premium in the first year by 2018.

Ruth Liew   Financial planners are split over the impact incoming regulatory changes will have on their life insurance businesses, with some arguing the proposals will deal serious blows to the profitability of their companies.

The last thing to worry about

‘‘I really struggle’’,  says Linda Young who is dying of cancer.

Christine Long   Those with terminal illness can now get their super more easily. But there are other issues which need to be faced.

WINNERS & LOSERS

Slow road or fast lane - goals need nurturing

At 38, marketing consultant Jasmine Skee is thrilled at having reached her biggest financial goal of owning a home.

Emily Chantiri   Why do some people reach financial targets and others do not? What's the secret of their success?

NEW YEAR, NEW YOU

Take full control of your finances

If you're lying awake worrying about money, it's time to tackle the issue.

John Collett   The start of a new financial year is a good time to review your financial affairs, especially if they're keeping you awake at night, writes John Collett.

THE ECONOMY

It's all Greek for the markets

Greek markets are feeling the pinch but it's the Chinese and the US markets we should worry about.

David Potts   Markets are in a tizz again though exactly why is all Greek to me.

Seven ways to thrive in the new financial year

MON00 Melissa
Melissa Browne.

Melissa Browne   It's time to stop talking about getting busy and start doing something about it.

GETTING AHEAD

What the new financial year could bring

Tarot cards may be as useful as anything else when it comes to predicting  what will happen on the stock market.

David Potts   Here it is, halfway through the year already and nothing seems to be going according to plan.

INSURANCE

Funds fear rise of lawyer-led claims

Do you really need legal advice to make an insurance claim on your super fund?

Sally Patten   Super funds have grown increasingly concerned that lawyers are becoming involved in claims from an early stage, even before a claim has been knocked back.

TRAVEL MONEY

Heading to Greece? Should you avoid 'Y euros'?

X marks the spot. The serial numbers of Euro notes printed in Germany have an 'X' prefix.

Klyde Caldwell   Euro notes' serial number denotes country of origin. If Greece does exit the euro, will Greek-issued euros become worthless?

FAMILY PLANNING

Parents are to blame for Sponge Society

Teach children good habits while they are young.

Michelle Hutchison   They have fled the nest but are still being spoon-fed. And it's not helping them.

THE OLD GUARD

For ‘greypreneurs’, necessity is the mother of invention

Older people are embracing risk and starting new businesses.

David Potts   Hitting retirement age doesn’t necessarily mean you’re ready to retire.

AGED CARE

Retirees can escape low rates trap

Jim Donovan says he has had to cut back on many things he enjoys. He receives a part age pension and, together with his wife, owns this unit in Sydney's Marrickville.

John Collett   With term deposits offering so little, other options for a better income and quality of life need to be looked at.

WILL POWER

Where there's a will there's a way out

Wills are being contested more and more frequently, often by adult children.

Barbara Drury   A recent report on will-making and contested estates reveals that about three quarters of contested estates are done so successfully.

CARD SHARPS

Travel cards not all created equal

Travel cards are a good way to pay for an overseas holiday - especially when the Australian currency is weaker.

John Collett   A little bit of homework on which card to use when travelling overseas can really pay off.

TIP OF THE WEEK

Six steps to a rosier future

Women must make steps towards financial independence.

Dominique Bergel-Grant   Want to take control of your finances? Here are some practical tips to follow.

WILL POWER

Make your last wishes everlasting

Make sure your will doesn't go to waste.

Barbara Drury   If you want your wishes respected after your death, you need a cast-iron will, but how do you make one?

BOURIS ON MONEY

We need right tools to build financial futures

People need to be equipped with the right transaction tools when making decisions regarding super, insurance, mortgages and shares

Mark Bouris   If people must be responsible for their own retirements, we can at least help them help themselves.

BRIGHT SPARKS

The uni students making a fortune

Mark McDonald and business partner Josiah Humphrey launched their business in 2011. It is predicted to turn over $100 million in revenue by 2018.

Nina Hendy   Some uni students are well on their way to financial freedom before their final exam.

Numbers you need

The trade deficit in April was the worst in records going back almost 45 years, according to CommSec.

David Potts   The statistics it pays to know.

Billionaires' pledge isn't all that it seems

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett have seen more billionaires over the years join their Giving Pledge initiative.

Brendan Coffey   There's an unpublicised but important detail in Bill Gates and Warren Buffett's push to get billionaires to promise to give over half of their fortune.

TIP OF THE WEEK

Redundancy payouts reward careful handling

If you manage to find another job quickly, a termination payout can prove a welcome bonus.

Olivia Maragna   A redundancy could be the breath of fresh air needed to really revitalise your career.