How often should you review your financial plan?

How often should you review your financial plan?

Posted by | Financial Planning | No Comments

Your plan is your financial roadmap and you should refer to it regularly to make sure that you are on track to where you want to go.

However, a plan only works when you’ve considered your current situation. It’s a document that should change and evolve as your life does, accounting for births and marriages, moves and downsizing, and more.

So how often should you look at it? There’s no absolute rule. However, reviewing it at least once a year will help you stay on top of changes you may need to make to your plan.

There are also some milestones that make reviewing your financial plan essential.

Milestones:

  • Birth of a child
  • New job/promotion
  • Loss of job
  • Moving house
  • Buying/selling a house
  • A significant change in health status
  • Death/inheritance
  • Getting married/divorced/separated
  • Achieving a goal in your financial plan, such as paying off a debt or acquiring a significant new asset

These are just a few ideas of times when it’s worth reviewing your plan, but your financial planner can help you make a bigger, more tailored list for your situation.

Winquote offers Financial Planning services. If you’d like us to review your financial plan, please call us on 1300 971 308 or email info@winquote.com.au

Securing finance in the next 90 days

Posted by | Business Finance, Finance Application | No Comments

With the significant changes to how responsible lending is tested by the lenders, the burden of being sensible in the way perceived risk is mitigated is now put on the borrowers and/or their appointed brokers.

The lead questions on the online platforms such as ebroker highlights the primary risk assessments as it tries to match Credit scenario to Credit Providers and qualify the opportunity.

Even responses to a simple question such as “when do you need the funds by?” could have risk implication.

Business owners can’t be sloppy anymore with their finance applications. Credit enquiries are recorded and who they borrowed the funds from can be a red flag.

Our recommendation is that any finance application should not be rushed, but rather, be well prepared with the goal to achieve the best results in pricing.

This would require having up to date business financials, including aged debtors and creditors listings, and a business summary, which should include commentary on a second way out for the Lender.

A drill down on the risk aspect is the best way to negotiate for better pricing.

Traditional brokering in the SME space is no longer about sending in an application and hoping for approval.

In today’s market brokering is about presenting the loan proposal with well-documented credit risk mitigation and credit assessment attended by the broker so the right Lender or funder is selected.

Hence, approval is secured in a timely manner with the least footprint of credit reporting.

At Winquote we take this one step further. We will not just find you the most appropriate solution for you current funding requirement but have a strategy to exist over time to the lowest funding costs and introduce you, the client, to bankers that understand your business.

If you would like us to review your finance options  and assist to secure funding to grow your business then please call us on 1300 971 308 or email info@winquote.com.au

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Overcoming the five biggest hurdles to gaining property funding

Posted by | Business Finance | No Comments

The onset of the Global Financial Crisis has meant that borrowers now face significant hurdles in obtaining funding for property transactions. This new lending environment has seen Australia’s Big Four Banks tighten their purse strings, making it much more difficult for property investors to secure loans. Five hurdles stand out above all others with respect to property investment, however there are proven strategies for overcoming them.

1. Beating the loan to value ratio

The majority of Australian bank and non-bank lenders will demand a loan to value ratio of 80% for an investment property loan. This means that you will have to stump up a larger deposit in order to secure a loan. Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI) offers you the chance to purchase an investment property at a higher loan to value ratio of say 95%, however you can expect to pay thousands of dollars for LMI over the course of your loan.

2. Poor credit history

Recent changes to Australia’s credit reporting regime that took effect in 2014 have made it much easier to ruin your credit history. Every time you apply for an investment property loan, lenders will scrutinise your credit history. A poor credit history could mean that banks view you as a credit risk, leading to a higher interest rate on your loan. To overcome this, keep a very close eye on your credit card bills, in-store finance and personal loans. Also, assess your credit history annually and be sure to fix any discrepancies as they are identified.

3. Location, location, location

Choosing the right property will set you well on the way to achieving a higher LVR for your property. Lenders, like investors will be far more sympathetic if a property is close to public transport with a strong rental market and two bedrooms or more. Properties that are located in far-flung locations or are too small will not curry favour with lenders.

4. Diminishing rental returns

Finding the perfect property in the right location is only half the battle. Lenders are far less generous when it comes to considering the value of your rental income. If you’re applying for your third or fourth investment property loan then expect the banks to consider only as much as 75% of the value of rental income. The way to overcome this is to ensure that you are charging the full rate of rent for your existing properties through yearly reviews. It may also be possible to increase your disposable income to entice the banks further.

5. Fewer lending options available in the market

The number of small-scale lenders and diversified lending products (i.e. lo doc loans) active in the marketplace has dramatically fallen post-GFC. This has led to less competition and more stringent requirements among those that remain. Obtaining finance from fewer sources and product variations has allowed lenders – particularly banks – to only deal with investors with a proven track-record. To overcome this, it makes sense to engage the services of a financial specialist. Winquote specialises in helping self-employed individuals and SMEs secure the right loan for an investment property.

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How We Helped a Client Restructure His Debt Finance Tax

Posted by | Case Studies | No Comments

Debt restructuring and consolidation often sounds (to the uninitiated) like a failing business’s last-ditch effort to restore liquidity; however, there is much more to the process than just rehabilitating a company in financial distress. It is a tool that allows a business to improve cash flow and manage their finances more effectively by renegotiating payment arrangements or restructuring their borrowings. Seen in this light, debt restructuring becomes an effective vehicle to grow a business.

Sadly, the success rate among companies who have undergone a restructure has been markedly low over the past few years—only 4.4 percent in February 2014already a significant drop from 2008’s 7.1 percent and a pittance next to the 14 percent high of 1999These statistics, however, apply only to those companies that were already facing insolvency before they began the process. No word on whether early restructuring would have upped their chances of success, but a stronger cash flow does have its benefits regardless of your standing.

restructuring v insolvencies

Image: Dissolve

If you’re contemplating a restructure, the thing to remember is that it requires a realistic appraisal of all your existing financial relationships. What could happen (and does happen in a lot of cases) is that you get a wakeup call about certain financial structures which you thought were cost-effective but were actually missed opportunities in the context of your overall capital management strategy.

Such was the state of affairs in today’s featured case. Below is a breakdown.

The Problem

When our client first came to us, he was looking for a simple refinance of his parents’ residential property, the apparent end goal being to try and reduce the cost of their current funding. While we were quickly able to reduce this by $1,500 per annum, the savings proved to be insufficient in light of our client’s busy lifestyle.

Upon further inquiry (which is part and parcel of Winquote’s ‘duty of care’ approach), we realized that our client’s needs went beyond the refinance. We decided to do a thorough financial health check, the new goal being to explore alternative financing structures which, implemented the right way, would maximise the benefits and exemptions to which our client was entitled.

A bit of background on the client and the financing structures he had in place prior to consulting Winquote: Our client owns a business in IT services and had purchased a commercial property which was leased out to a manufacturing business. On the surface, the arrangement seemed beneficial. But as there was absolutely no debt against this property, the client was ineligible to receive any interest deductions from it.

His parents provided a temporary solution by gifting him a portion of the money for the purchase, which they obtained from their equity in their residential property. They weren’t getting any interest deductions from this debt, either—another downside.

Finally, the client was paying back the gift to his parents as a soft loan, which meant that he was doing so on a post-tax basis—again, no benefits.

The Solution

What we helped the client realise was that he could stand to save much more than $1,500 per annum IF there was debt on the property payable on a pre-tax basis. Our recommendation was that he draw against his commercial property and repay his parents the funding they had gifted him. The proviso was that he had serviceability of the debt, which he did—through his own income and the rental income from the property itself.

The solution seems so simple—saving on tax rather than on interest—but it’s not uncommon for SMEs to overlook these benefits. This kind of problem stems from focusing too much on a particularly problematic financing structure and failing to recognise that it is only a small part of one’s comprehensive capital management framework.

The Results

Our advice saved our client approximately 30 percent of the interest payments. He was able to realise this amount due to the fact that he was now able to pay his debt using his pre-tax income rather than his post-tax income.

At Winquote, we understand the true cost of capital and are therefore able to take a big-picture approach to debt and financing. We make a point of investigating all viable avenues for financing during a restructure. If there’s something like a tax-effective facility you’ve been overlooking all this time, we’ll be sure to let you know.

Conclusion

We’re more than just a finance intermediary; if you’ll let us, we’ll be your key relationship manager, giving you the full advantage of our solid understanding of finance, our knowledge across other associated professions, and our accreditations with multiple lenders. Our goal is to help you achieve the optimal financing structure for your needs, and peace of mind throughout the process to boot.

To learn more, feel free to get in touch with our representatives. We’ll be happy to provide a free finance health check for your situation.

how we helped develop a portfolio winquote

How We Helped a Client Develop a Successful Property Portfolio

Posted by | Case Studies | No Comments

The Australian Bureau of Statistics’ Social Trends Report released in December 2011 said that more than forty percent of the average Australian household’s assets consist of property assets.This tendency among Australians to gravitate toward property seems natural, given the promise of accelerated capital growth, cash flow, and tax benefits.

But anyone new to the game will soon realise that developing a property portfolio isn’t as easy as it sounds. It requires a sound financial strategy founded on a thorough understanding of how to (a) capitalise on your borrowing power, (b) use equity to grow your portfolio, and (c) maintain a sizeable financial buffer.

The old adage therefore applies: “Fail to plan…and you plan to fail.”

One of the most difficult aspects of building a successful property portfolio is finding the right funding partners. Without up-to-date insider knowledge, industry expertise, and the right contacts, you’d be hard put to know the difference between clever sales talk and a lender’s actual capabilities.

It’s important to keep in mind that each individual’s case is unique and that there is no one-size-fits-all strategy to growing your property portfolio. And if a highly critical consideration in this strategy is to have the right funding partners on board, then it is equally critical that these same partners be able to tailor their funding to suit your strategy. The logic sounds a bit circular, yes, but asking questions along the following lines should help:

  • What is it that I want to achieve?
  • Why do I want to achieve this?
  • How am I going to achieve this?

so that's why - winquote

Finance advisors call this “so that” thinking. Think “I’m choosing/doing X so that I can do Y,” Y being your goal: retiring early, improving your long-term retirement prospects, creating wealth, you name it. Assuming you already have a strategy in place, the next question to raise is: Can this potential funding partner provide the optimum financing structure for the specific needs I have mapped out?

This was the core issue in today’s case: the hunt for not just one, but multiple funders. Winquote believes that it is feasible, even easy, for the average Australian investor to develop a well-structured portfolio within a relatively small time frame, given that he is able to connect with the right people and organisations. This case is proof positive.

The Problem

We were approached by our clients, a self-employed couple, as a result of their desire to increase their property portfolio through their trusts. As things stood, they already had an investment strategy in place but had only an initial deposit and as yet no property in their portfolio.

They knew they needed the assistance of multiple funders to reach their objective of growth in net asset value through property. (This was their “so that” statement.) The problem was that they weren’t sure how to go about the hunt in a timely and cost-effective manner.

That was where we came in.

The Solution

What they had going for them was their early realization of the fact that their spending an inordinate amount of time and effort to canvass all the banks to try and find the right solution for them would have meant a substantial loss of income and productivity. Having approached us, they were able to appoint a Winquote expert as their key finance relationship manager. Our representative was able to manage all of their requirements easily, thanks in part to our ongoing relationships with multiple lenders—a significant advantage our clients had the opportunity to leverage.

The Results

Through the one relationship with Winquote, our clients were able to get in touch with, and borrow from, multiple institutions. And they were able to achieve this hassle-free, in a timely manner, AND at a great price. Our contact base was the key to their success. With Winquote as their de facto relationship manager, they benefited firsthand from our solid understanding of finance and our existing relationships with some of Australia’s biggest lenders.

Conclusion

Winquote will be happy to be your one point of call for all your financing matters. But we’re not just an intermediate; we’re an advocate, and we’re rooting for your success. Our specialty lies in taking an integrated, holistic, and consultative approach to your financing needs, ensuring that all bases are covered and that you’ll have as little to worry about as possible throughout the entire process.

If you’d like to get in touch with us for a consultation, call our office at 02 9929 9733 or drop by Suite 7, 345 Pacific Highway, North Sydney 2060.