Q: Should financial literacy such as savings plans, credit scoring, personal finance, credit cards, interest rates, home loans, interest calculations, buying and selling and the value of money all form an important component of the high school curriculum?
Of all the things I learned in high school (let alone an economics degree at university) none of them prepared me better for the really important financial decisions of my life than my father’s homespun wisdom on money. And I am still using this advice (with supplementing texts) some 30 years after graduating high school.
Decisions around investment, understanding tax, preparing for retirement etc should be covered off in high school curriculum. If you could just eliminate waste of money in your life you would be miles in front when the financial challenges of home ownership, children etc enter your life.
Q: It is reported 75% of Australians over the age of 65 receive the full or part pension from the Government.
Compulsory superannuation was introduced into Australia in 1992 (26 years ago) for employees to have a percentage (now 9.5%) of their income invested into a superannuation fund to help fund their retirement years. The desired outcome was for people to be self-funded retirees as opposed to being reliant on government pensions.
The superannuation industry is a $2.6 trillion dollar industry with something like $26B of fees paid annually.
If after 26 years, 75% of Aussies over 65% are still reliant on the government it begs the following questions
1. Is the current superannuation policy working?
2. Who is really benefiting from the compulsory superannuation regulations?
3. Should superannuation be compulsory or voluntary?
We’d love to get your thoughts and opinions.
A: I am a strong believer in compulsory superannuation. Saving is a task that can at times be beyond some individuals for any number of reasons. If it were to become voluntary I would assume that 90-95% of retirees would be dependent on government assistance - an enormous strain on the economy.
The matter of fees is a separate one. Financial institutions that gouge or do not align their fees with performance should be avoided at all times. Full transparency around this should be mandatory.
Q: A good friend set the ground rules for his 16-year-old daughter when she got part-time work. She could spend 50% of what she earned but the remaining 50% had to be deposited into a savings account.
I'd like to ask about the strategies others have in play to help teach kids the value of money and the value of saving?
A: Reminds me of the saying of The Oracle of Omaha - Warren Buffett. Worlds third richest person. "Do not save what is left after spending. Spend what is left after saving".
Haven't got into these strategies yet with my 7, 6 and 4 year old but we do count money and talk about how they can earn (not get) money in the future. I have instigated the old "for every dollar you raise collecting bottles I will match you a dollar". That seems to be working well.
I would love to hear some other strategies.
Q: I have a desire to pool my wife's superannuation with mine and invest in a property. I understand that I must move into the SMSF to do this but what are the practical steps associated with the plan?
Q: I am keen to use the equity in my home to invest - maybe real estate. Maybe another option. Does anyone have any firm advice on the available options at the moment?
Q: Does the term of my home loan always have to be 30 years? What if I want to put some pressure on myself to pay it back earlier?
Q: They say changing lenders is easy and you should look for a better price and service - but how often should I do this?