Aspirations Insights : June 2023

Welcome to the fifth edition of the Aspirations Wealth (AW) Insights for 2023. AW constantly monitors the investment markets and aims to keep our valued clients regularly informed and updated.

In this Insights edition we cover:

  • USA Debt Ceiling
  • Protecting your finances from cyber fraud
  • Year-End Tax Planning

USA Debt Ceiling

The U.S. debt ceiling is a statutory limit set by Congress on the total amount of debt that the federal government can legally borrow to finance its’ obligations. It serves as a mechanism to control government spending and borrowing. When the U.S. government hits the debt ceiling, it is unable to borrow more money to meet its financial obligations, such as paying bills, funding programs, or servicing existing debt. This situation can lead to significant economic consequences, including potential disruptions in financial markets, increased borrowing costs and potential delays in receiving government payments. The current USA government debt is at a staggering $31 trillion.

Heightened uncertainty surrounding the debt ceiling may cause increased volatility in financial markets. It’s important to stay focused on your long-term investment goals and not be swayed by short-term market fluctuations. If the debt ceiling is not raised in a timely manner, it can lead to a downgrade in the U.S. credit rating. This, in turn, can result in higher borrowing costs for the government, which may have implications for interest rates in the broader economy.

Historically, Congress has raised or suspended the debt ceiling when necessary to avoid defaulting on its’ obligations. However, political negotiations and debates around the debt ceiling can sometimes be contentious and lead to temporary uncertainties. While the debt ceiling is a complex issue, understanding its significance is essential for financial planning clients. By staying informed, monitoring market developments and consulting with financial professionals, you can make informed decisions and adapt your financial plan to mitigate any potential impacts that may arise from debates and discussions surrounding the debt ceiling. Remember, a well-informed and adaptable approach is crucial for maintaining financial resilience in a dynamic economic landscape.

 

Protecting your finances from cyber fraud

In today’s interconnected world, where technology plays a vital role in managing our finances, it is crucial to be aware of the risks associated with cyber fraud. Cyber criminals are constantly evolving their tactics, making it imperative for individuals to stay informed and take proactive measures to safeguard their financial well-being. This insight aims to provide you with practical tips to protect yourself from cyber fraud and keep your hard-earned assets secure.

  1. Using strong and unique passwords for all your financial accounts is a fundamental step in cyber protection. Avoid common or easily guessable passwords and consider employing a password manager to help generate and store complex passwords securely. Enable two-factor authentication whenever possible to add an extra layer of security.
  2. Cyber criminals often use phishing techniques to trick unsuspecting individuals into revealing sensitive information. Exercise caution when receiving unsolicited emails, messages or phone calls requesting personal or financial details. Verify the authenticity of the source independently before sharing any information and never click on suspicious links or download attachments from unknown senders.
  3. Keep your devices, including computers, smartphones, and tablets up to date with the latest operating systems, antivirus software, and security patches. Regularly install updates and use reputable security software to protect against malware, ransomware and other cyber threats.
  4. Avoid conducting financial transactions or accessing sensitive information using public Wi-Fi networks as they may be unsecured and susceptible to interception by cyber criminals. Instead, use password-protected, encrypted networks or consider employing a virtual private network (VPN) for enhanced security when accessing financial accounts remotely.
  5. Stay vigilant by monitoring your financial accounts regularly. Keep track of your transactions and review your bank and credit card statements carefully for any unauthorized or suspicious activity. Report any discrepancies to your financial institution immediately.
  6. Exercise caution when sharing personal or financial information online. Be mindful of the information you provide on social media platforms as cyber criminals can gather data to facilitate identity theft or target you with personalized scams. Limit the visibility of your personal information and consider adjusting privacy settings on social media accounts.

Protecting yourself from cyber fraud is a critical component of your overall financial plan. By implementing these proactive measures, such as using strong passwords, being cautious with personal information, and staying informed about the latest threats, you can significantly reduce the risk of falling victim to cyber criminals. Remember, a proactive approach to cybersecurity is a key pillar of financial well-being in the digital age.

 

Year-End Tax Planning

With the end of financial year fast approaching, it’s time to think about tax planning. Below are things to consider:

  • Maximise your concessional super contributions, current limit is $27,500.
  • Consider tax deductible charitable donations.
  • Where you are claiming deductions for work related expenditure (such as laundry, travel expenses, car expenses and phone or internet expenses), you must comply with the substantiation provisions. These rules may require you to maintain logbooks and diaries, and to retain invoices and documentation.
  • The ATO has announced changes to the method for individuals who claim working from home deductions under the simplified method. While the actual cost method remains unchanged, the fixed rate method has been changed to exclude the 80 cents per hour shortcut method but increased the Fixed Rate method from 52 cents per hour to 67 cents per hour, which applies from 1 July 2022. To claim under the new rules, taxpayers are required to keep significantly more detailed records.
  • If you are planning on paying any dividends in your private company prior to year-end, it is important to ensure that you have met the documentation/notification requirements.
  • Timing and planning are everything when it comes to assessing your capital gains tax. Maybe sell assets to trigger gains or losses (detailed advice needed here).
  • Trustees of discretionary and family trusts must make valid distribution resolutions before 30 June to effectively distribute trust income to eligible beneficiaries.

Also, just a reminder that the superannuation guarantee rate will rise from 10.5% to 11% from 1 July 2023. The rate will subsequently rise by 0.5% each year until it reaches 12% by the 2024-25 income year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Any advice contained in this insight/update is general advice only and does not take into consideration the reader’s personal circumstances. To avoid making a decision not appropriate to you, the content should not be relied upon or act as a substitute for receiving financial advice suitable to your circumstances. When considering a financial product please consider the Product Disclosure Statement. Aspirations Wealth Group is a Corporate Authorised Representative of Aspirations Private Wealth Pty Limited. ABN 57 622 182 076 – AFSL 503889.