If a home loan is too good to be true, odds are it is. Due to the lengthy time commitment of a home loan and the costly investment, what may seem like small oversights can add and cost you thousands. A guide to reading the fine print of your home loan is attached below.
Low-interest rates on loans may not be for the entire borrowing period.
These types of rates offer a very competitive interest rate that many don’t realise is for a limited period, usually 12 months. The interest rate will rise to a lender’s standard variable rate, which may not be the most competitive rate you sought on the market. It is vital to know how long the introductory rate on your home loan is available for before signing the agreement.
Don’t forget about LMI
If you borrow over 80 percent of the value of your property, you are required to pay lender mortgage insurance. The higher percentage amount of the value of the property you borrow, the higher this fee will become.
Restrictions on additional payments
In some variable rate loans and fixed-rate loans, additional payments at any time or within the fixed rate period are not permitted. A cap may be placed on additional payments. You should check your terms and conditions to make sure that if you receive an inheritance, a bonus at work or win the lottery, you can pay your home loan down when the opportunity is presented to you.
Superannuation is more critical than it has ever been. If having an ageing population has taught us anything, it is how managing money now can have substantial ramifications for your retirement plan.
Merge your super
Every super account you have comes with a set of fees. It is worth your while chasing down inactive accounts and putting all your super into the one account to reduce fees and maximise the investment benefits.
If you can budget putting more of your salary away into a super account every month, you can reap multiple rewards. First, you can use the extra super payments to offset your pre-tax payments up to the current concessional contribution cap of $25,000 per year and after-tax contributions of $100,000. You can also build up your super while you can afford to.
Your investment strategy should depend on the amount of risk you are willing to take. This will vary on where you are in your career. A growth investment option, which is high risk, might suit you if you are in the early stages of your career development. However, as your income stabilises to your goal amount, it might be wise to change super funds to a lower risk option that will protect your growing retirement nest egg.
The Australian Tax Office (ATO) has released draft guidelines changing its previous stance on Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT) for utes. Amendments originated from reports that dodgy tax returns were responsible for a loss of $8.7 billion in income tax due to wrongful claims. Failure to comply with the new requirements listed below may result in a 20 percent FBT imposed on the cost of the vehicle.
The requirement of a logbook
New rules require employers to ensure their workers using these vehicles keep detailed logbooks. Whether the logbooks are the electronic or hard copy, it is vital that the process be effective for returns lodged in the 2019 FBT year, when the law takes effect. Employers receive confirmation via email from employees using the vehicles at the end of the 2019 FBT year with their logbook including all regulated diversions and private use.
Diversions and private use rules
The guidelines introduce capped limits for the log books to comply with. Professional travel means that the vehicle must not deviate more than 2km from its usual route. However, 1000 km of non-work related travel is allowed, provided that there is no single trip exceeding 200 km. Such regulations provide greater flexibility than previous guidelines. What the ATO deems “minor” or “irregular trips” like carpooling the children to and from school or an occasional trip to visit relatives will not render you non-compliant so long as it is recorded as non-professional use.