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As the Federal Government focuses firmly on rebuilding the post-pandemic economy, there are a number of new stimulus measures that have kicked in.

What do you need and what are you eligible for?

By Julie Nipperess

Woman's hand taking out money from the pocket of her jeans

Tax cuts

Tax cuts kicked in towards the end of last year, leaving most Aussies with a few more dollars in their bank accounts each pay day. For most people this is going to be about $20-$40 dollars (you can check your income here) and the Federal Government wants you to spend it. What we suggest is that you save it instead. You never know when there might be a financial emergency, and if at the end of the year it’s still untouched, then you can consider spending it.

Woman computing her funds with coins and calculator on top of the paper

Superannuation changes

Currently, some employees are allocated super funds based on enterprise bargaining agreements. As of January 1 2021, the regulations around this changed, and it will affect around 800,000 Aussies, giving them more choice around where to invest their retirement savings.

Speaking of superannuation, have you reviewed yours recently? With the market fluctuations of last year, it might be time to look at your balance and consider strategies for topping up when you can. We can help.

The $10,000 early release of super funds is still currently available. However, proceed with caution. This is intended for people in dire financial stress, and not a decision to be taken lightly. Contact us to talk it over before you do anything else.

Cheerful young people eating burger and enjoying at a restaurant.

Entertainment bonus

The New South Wales State Government has started rolling out its ‘‘Out and About’ spending package giving all adult residents across the state $100 to spend on entertainment.

The money is coming in the form of vouchers and can be spent at cafes, restaurants, pubs, movie theatres and other entertainment venues that have signed up to the scheme and put CovidSafe plans in place. This is a great initiative to treat yourself, and help out smaller, local businesses who have been doing it tough.

Woman reading her books on the table

Cheaper Uni fees

Tuition fees for courses such as teaching, nursing, clinical psychology, agriculture and engineering have been reduced because these are considered areas of future demand. This will be welcome news for school-leavers, but it’s also beneficial for anyone who lost a job in 2020 and is considering re-training. Of course, a commitment to studying impacts your ability to work, which impacts your finances. If we can help you budget to make your study dreams a reality, then give us a call.

TAFE offers help to mature Australians retraining, and the Federal Government (through Services Australia) also offers financial help to students. These are all worth looking into.

Man doing renovation work at home together with his small yellow dog

Homebuilder Grants

The Government’s HomeBuilder program, which offers grants of up to $25,000 on certain property renovations, has been extended until March 31 2021, albeit with a reduction in the grant to $15,000.

This might be an ideal grant to help out financially if you’re currently renovating your home or planning on purchasing a new home, but it does come with a number of conditions – in terms of eligibility, and how the money is spent. Make sure you do your research before you commit.

Home loans are easier to get.

For first home buyers, the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme is available until June 30, allowing eligible first home buyers to obtain a loan for a new home with a deposit of as little as 5 per cent, with the government guaranteeing up to 15 percent of the loan.

The government is also relaxing a number of credit laws and regulations which will mean borrowing money will be easier.

And while interest rates are low, it’s a great time to consider getting into the property market if you can afford it. It’s a big decision, and one best talked over with a professional who can help you crunch the numbers and consider the longer-term outcomes, as well as put in place the right strategies to make sure you can cope financially, without money stresses.

Debt consolidation loans

Of course, if you’re doing it tough financially, it might also be time to consider a debt consolidation loan. This is a strategy that means that you can put all your debt together, in a single loan with a much lower interest rate than credit cards, or hire-purchase or other finance like that offered from car dealerships. The benefits are that you make one repayment, not the many you’re probably currently making, and you can get on top of the debt quicker because you won’t be paying crippling interest. We can help you work through some options.

As we head into 2021 the overall circumstances remain a bit uncertain. State Governments are still making reactionary decisions around hotspots and outbreaks, based on information they have at hand about case numbers, and while these decisions are critical for protecting public health, they can have a big impact on business and employment, so it’s wise to remain cautious with your personal spending for now.

If 2020 taught us anything, it is that life can be unpredictable. Ensuring that you’re financially secure is not just important so that you have options in unsettled times, but peace of mind too.

This is general advice and should not be treated as personal advice. Julie Nipperess is an authorised representative of Step Up Financial Group Pty Ltd ASFL No: 512509.

Need more information? Get in touch with Step Up Financial

    • 107 Moulder Street,
      Orange, NSW 2800

      PO Box 2499
      Orange, NSW 2800

    • (02) 6362 5445