Thursday, 5 March 2009

When is it smart to pay your HECS debt down?

This is a bit of an old article from the Sydney Morning Herald, but I stumbled across it today while checking some payroll matters for staff at work, and it's very useful to know.

If you have a HECS debt, then there are ways, and times, to pay it off, that are more sensible and cost effective than others. Be careful that you don't fall into a trap of borrowing to pay it off, for instance (it will cost you more than it would if you stuck to the indexed rate). Pay off your mortgage first if you can. It's better to pay 2% of your salary once you reach the threshold (currently over $41,000 per year in the 2008-09 tax year) than hold back on getting your home or other things.

Anyway, it's probably better to read what the author man says. Here.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Raking some of those insurance/superannuation/managed fund fees back.

Well, here's a useful little tip for those of you who care about all the mysterious fees you're paying to fund managers, Super and otherwise...

Did you know that in your first year in an insurance plan, the fees you pay can be as much as 130% of the annual premium? That's extreme, but they can typically run between 10-30% each year. Then when it comes to super funds and managed funds, there are residual commission trails of between 0.5% and 1.7%. So over time (especially when we are talking Super!) this can add up to tens of thousands of dollars paid to someone you'll never talk to again, so you won't actually be getting customer service either.

Now an Australian company I just heard about, Your Share is helping you to get most of this money right back in your pocket, in the form of an annual cheque. And you don't have to change funds to do it either. They simply cover you for the funds that you're already a part of.

They make their money by taking between 30-50% of the trailing fee they get back for administration. But you get the whole initial commission is all yours to keep, and can amount to a hefty cheque! They also guarantee to better any other rebate service out there.

So, I've just signed myself up. Go download their forms (at the "Get Your Cash Back Now" button at the bottom left), and see what you can get back!