Month: February 2018

How Does the 2018 Federal Budget Affect You and Your Family?

If you sat down at 7:30 last night to watch the 2018 Federal Budget Announcement, you may have found yourself a little overwhelmed. With so many figures and areas of taxation to get your head around, we have sat down, dissected and summarised the answers to the question you may be asking – “What’s in it for me (and my family)?”

Personal income tax
The Treasurer announced plans for a three-step, seven-year plan:

  • Step One: Effective immediate, low and middle income earners are to benefit from tax savings of up to $530 per person (or $1,060 per couple).
  • Step Two: From 1 July this year, the threshold of the 32.5% tax bracket will increase from $87,000 to $90,000, then will again increase in July 2022 from $90,000 to $120,000.
  • Step Three: From 2024-25, there will be just two income tax brackets for people earning over $41,000 per year: 32.5% for incomes between $41,001 and $200,000, and 45% for incomes exceeding $200,000.
  • The Medicare levy will remain at 2%.

Your superannuation
Have you ever considered changing your super fund, but found it cost-prohibitive because of high exit fees? Great news in this years budget– super funds will soon be banned from charging exit fees. But you’ll need to wait until 1 July 2019 to make your move.

Other changes to superannuation include:

The balance-eroding practice of automatically adding life insurance to a superannuation policy, no matter what the age of the person, will end. (To date, super members under the age of 25 pay nearly $200 million a year in life insurance fees through superannuation). Those under 25 are now required to ‘opt in’ to buying life insurance.

Companies can no longer automatically deduct life insurance cover for all funds where no contributions have been made for 13 months.

According to the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia, more than 60% of Australians have multiple super funds. So, the ATO will turn their eye to inactive super accounts and merge them with their owners’ active funds.

  • Self-managed super funds (SMSFs) can now have 6 members, up from 4.
  • SMSFs with a history of good record keeping will be rewarded by reducing annual audits to 3 yearly audits.
  • People over 65 can put up to $300,000 into super from the proceeds of selling their home.
  • First home buyers who have made super contributions under the First Home Super Saver Scheme can access their money for eligible property purchases.

Education
Young people living in rural and remote communities will find it easier to get access to Youth Allowance payments while they are studying away from home (eligibility for these payments is based on parental income).

Traineeships
The Federal Government will match funding with the states and territories to provide traineeships and apprenticeships for “high-demand” areas over four years. However, there is one caveat: each of the states and territories needed to sign up for this to go ahead.

Ageing Australia
There are a number of changes in this years budget to benefit older Australians. They include:

  • $1.6 billion over four years has been set aside so 14,000 seniors can stay in their homes rather than go into a nursing home.
  • $20 million for mental health nurses to support older people still living at home (the Government notes that men over 85 have the highest risk of suicide of all age groups).
  • $40 million has been budgeted for urgent building and maintenance work for aged care facilities in regional and remote areas.
  • $33 million has been set aside to address a chronic shortage of palliative care in nursing homes.
  • A one-year exemption from the ‘work test’ will apply to recent retirees who have less than $300,000 in total super savings.
  • The Pension Loans Scheme will be available to all Australians over Age Pension age and the maximum payments will increase to 150% of the full Age Pension.
  • Pension Work Bonus increases to $7,800 p.a. from $6,000.
  • Finally, the Government has pledged to make the aged-care system easier for families to navigate, simplifying forms and providing relevant online educational facilities.

Access to more affordable medicine: Granted, you will need to wait years for this, but it’s good to know the government will spend $302 million over four years to improve your access to generic and less expensive medicine.

Your health
There are plans to allocate $130 billion for public hospitals over five years. The government also proposed a crack down on unnecessary diagnostic tests.

Access to your own data. The government announced the establishment of a “consumer data right”. This will allow you to take control of your online personal data and safely share it with credible service providers, starting with the banking, energy and telecommunications sectors.

Small business
No budget would be complete without something for small businesses. If you run your own business, the current deduction on spending on eligible assets of up to $20,000 has been extended to July 2019. Another win: streamlining of GST reporting which, in turn, will save money – a welcome change for around 2.7 million small businesses.

Craft Beer Brewers. There are around 350 craft brewers in Australia, so chances are you aren’t one of them. However, most consider the tax changes that put small craft beer brewers at a disadvantage to be a victory for common sense. Beer sold in kegs larger than 48 litres have been taxed at a lower rate than smaller kegs, which in effect has favoured large producers. The change brings the lower tax level down to beer sold in kegs larger than the 8-litre size.

Finally
While not all of these changes are likely to affect you personally, you might give them your ‘tick’ of approval:

  • Multinational companies now to be policed and stopped from shifting profits to lower-taxing countries (they do this by loading up local operations with debt).
  • Online hotel booking websites based outside of Australia will now be taxed at the same rate as Australian businesses, ending the inequality that currently occurs between international and local booking providers.
  • Companies that are currently ‘pushing the boundaries’ and taking advantage of the research and development tax incentive scheme will be stopped. This will ensure funding goes to genuinely innovative spending.
  • A $1.3 billion plan to support Australia as a ‘global leader’ in medical technology, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals.
  • The ATO will turn an eye to the ‘Black Market Economy”, with more audits, ‘mobile strike teams’ and a ‘Black Economy Hotline’ for the public

Tips To Buy The Best Equipment For Your Salon & Spa

If you are planning to start a spa or salon, then you would already have guessed how having the perfect equipment is very important for the success of the venture. To pick the right spa or salon equipment, consider the following factors-

    • Matching The Space: Make sure that the equipment blends very well with the overall design of your spa or salon. So, for a feminine themed spa, ensure that you have equipment that is curvy and smooth. The colors must also be warm and comforting. There is no point in placing blocky, rectangular looking equipment in a spa if you mostly want it to feel feminine. That is just a bad design choice. And given a large number of brands, it shouldn’t be too tough for you to identify equipment that matches the look of your business place. If you have difficulties in choosing the equipment, consult a professional designer.

 

    • Cost vs Quality: Obviously, the cost of the equipment must be within your budget. But sometimes, you may want to buy equipment that is of a high quality, but your budget may not allow it. In such situation, you can look at other options to acquire the equipment rather than forcing yourself to write it off as something too expensive. For example, there are many aesthetic equipment leasing companies, who will be more than happy to lease, you the equipment of your choice without any down payment. So, look for leasing options in your area and contact them if necessary.

 

    • Assembling: Some equipment will be shipped to you only in parts, either because they are too big or because it is the most convenient shipping option. But either way, having to deal with unassembled equipment can be quite a pain. You may not even be able to put it together correctly and will have to spend extra money to get a professional to assemble the equipment. And in the worst case scenario, you may assemble it imperfectly and cause irreparable damage to the equipment. To avoid such situations, remember to ask the seller, whether the equipment will be sent to you fully assembled or if you have to assemble it yourself. If it is the latter, it may be better for you to look for other sellers or manufacturers.

 

  • Long Lasting: You will be running the business for a long time. Therefore, it makes sense that you only buy equipment that will also last for long. Check the reviews of the various equipment online and make sure that they are durable and dependable, If possible, you can visit other spas or salons using the equipment you ask interested in and them how it has been holding up after being used for many years. But if you have no plans for purchasing the equipment, and are only looking at the aesthetic equipment leasing options, then you obviously need not worry about the life expectancy of the equipment since you can easily replace them whenever you want.

Make sure that you keep the above points in mind when you shop for salon or spa equipment, and you are sure to pick the equipment that is a perfect match for your needs.

4 Tips To Become Successful In The Hospitality Business

If you are venturing into the hospitality industry, you have to account for certain factors that can increase the chances of your success. Four such simple, yet important, things that you should always remember include-

  • Be Smart With Your Finances: As with any other business, the smarter you are with your finances, the more likely you are to taste success in the hospitality industry. And this starts right from your investments. Do not make all your investments from your own funds. Instead, use a healthy mix of capital, loans, and other financing options. For example, for acquiring all equipment, you can opt for a hospitality equipment lease from reputed leasing companies. This will allow you to change the equipment whenever you want by just canceling the lease and taking a new lease on the new equipment. As such, wasting capital on purchasing the equipment makes too little sense. In the same way, be very careful with your expenses. Cut down any expense that you feel is unnecessary. But remember to apply discretion here and do a thorough research to ensure that the expense you are cutting off is truly non-productive.
  • Develop Strong Business Relationships: Build beneficial relationships with other businesses and develop your network. But remember that the arrangements should be mutually beneficial. Else, those business relationships won’t last long. For example, you can contact a local store and arrange for them to distribute a 10% discount at your restaurant coupon when customers purchase anything from their store. In this case, both you and the store owner benefit in some way. Such types of marketing and business relationships are far likelier to last than any deal in which only you end up benefitting.
  • Always Be Ready For Emergencies: Unfortunate events can happen anytime. And in the hospitality business, if you are unable to handle such events with minimal damage, you not only risk suffering, loss but may even have to shut down your operations. For example, if there is a fire in your restaurant, then you must ensure that all customers are properly rescued from the place. For this, you must have already taken precautions against fire hazards, preparing strategic exit points at all important locations. This would ensure that people can quickly get out of the place without any mad rush. Not foreseeing such potential hazards can end up costing you dearly, both financially and in terms of reputation.
  • Hire The Most Pleasant Customer Relationship Staff: Always hire the most pleasant person to handle the customers. The more they are able to make the customer feel comfortable and happy, the more your business will grow. As simple as that. As such, if you have to pay a higher salary for getting the right person for the job, don’t hesitate to do it.

If you keep the above in mind, whether it be getting the hospitality equipment by lease, foreseeing emergencies or any of the other things, you will surely taste more success in the industry.

Our hospitality equipment team has over 10 years of experience with helping well-known brands finance their renovation and equipment needs. We’ve provided financing for franchisor-mandated upgrades such as guest room and lobby furniture, TV’s, A/C units, mattresses, and computer reservation systems.

3 Reasons Why You Should Think Of Leasing Your Crane Equipment

If your business is in need of crane equipment, then you will have to think of ways to acquire it. And rather than trying to utilize your business funds or resorting to a business loan for purchasing the equipment, you may be better off choosing to lease it. Below are the three ways you can benefit from leasing the crane equipment-

    • Higher Chance For More Credit: Getting credit is no easy task. Creditors look for many factors to ensure that they only lend money to trustworthy businesses which they feel will be in a position to repay their debt and interest in full. And if they do not think that you meet their criteria, then you have a very low chance of getting approved for financing. And one of the most important criteria the creditors look for is your existing credit line. If you already have piled on so much debt that your debt to asset ratios are skewed, then you can forget about receiving credit. And this is where leasing becomes beneficial. When you acquire crane equipment through leasing, you won’t be showing the lease as a debt. As such, your debt to asset ratios remain intact and you will look much more attractive to creditors. So, if you are wondering how to finance a crane acquisition, then do consider leasing.

 

    • Include Soft Costs In Financing: When you buy crane equipment, you will not only be spending money on the equipment itself but also additional costs like transportation, installation, modification, operator training, etc. All these little costs can add up and eventually become a significant portion of the final acquisition cost. And if you plan to buy it through a loan, then you will have to put up more money in addition to the loan to actually be able to purchase the crane. But by using a lease option, you can forget about all such disadvantages since a lease will cover all soft costs. As such, you won’t have to spend a penny on your side to get the machine to your location.

 

  • Get The Equipment You Really Want: If you were planning on acquiring a crane equipment using your own funds or by a loan, then you will be limited by cost considerations. For example, you may like an equipment, but because you don’t have too much to spare, you may be forced to pass it off and select a cheaper equipment. With leasing, you can forget about such matters. Since you are not making any upfront investments, you are literally free to choose any equipment you want. The only limit you have to consider is the monthly installment. And as long as you can meet the monthly installment, you can acquire the exact equipment you desire no matter how high the price tag is.

So, keep the above considerations in mind when thinking of how to finance a crane equipment. Remember to consult with the leasing companies to know how exactly a lease can help you in making the crane purchase.

How to Find a Legitimate Federal Debt Relief Program

Government debt relief programs; do they exist?

Yes, government debt relief programs do exist. However, federal debt relief programs are only available for student loans.

Federal student loan relief programs are available at StudentLoans.Gov.

The key to getting a low monthly payment and the maximum amount of loan forgiveness is to qualify for an income-driven repayment plan.

The Pay As You Earn plan is a popular federal program that offers a low monthly payment and loan forgiveness.

The lower a person’s income and bigger their family size, the lower their consolidated monthly payment will be.

Students do need to recertify the Pay As You Earn and all of the income-based repayment plans every year, so if a person’s income changes so can their payment.

AFSLR Certified Student Loan Expert, Wesley Hendrickson, stated; “Don’t forget to recertify or you can lose your eligibility for loan forgiveness, and your payment can skyrocket. This is the most common mistake that I see students make. The next thing you know, your wages will be getting garnished, and credit score is shot.”

For credit card relief, government programs don’t exist. Credit card relief options available through third-party companies are available. Make sure the company you choose is IAPDA Certified and highly rated by the Better Business Bureau.

A person can also work directly with their credit card company, but the savings will be minimal compared to what a person can save with a debt relief program. Your credit card company may temporarily reduce your payments and interest, but it will only be temporary.

Most debt relief companies across the nation offer debt settlement services, but this program comes with negative consequences.

A person’s credit score can be negatively impacted and credit card lawsuits can occur while on a debt settlement program. In only about 2% of all cases, credit card companies will sue a person while on a debt settlement program. While this isn’t a large percentage of lawsuits happening, it is something that you need to beware of and ready for.

Before you join a debt settlement program, make sure to understand ALL of the potential negative consequences. Do your research and make sure the company helping you is transparent and has reputable credentials.

How debt validation works

Debt validation can allow a person to legally stop paying a debt and walk away from the debt without paying a dime to the debt collection company and only having to pay the debt relief company’s fees.

Debt relief programs that improve your credit score

No debt relief program will improve your credit score unless you get a debt relief loan to pay off your credit cards.

Since all plans can have an adverse effect on credit scores; debt validation comes with credit repair, aiming to get the debt and it’s associated negative marks completely removed from the clients’ credit reports by the end of the program.

Rick Sorrentino, IAPDA Accredited Counselor, advises consumers; “If you can afford to pay at least minimum monthly payments, try to find another way to resolve your debt besides using debt settlement or debt validation. These programs should only be used as a last resort, to save a person from having to file for bankruptcy.”